Month: June 2017

Classic racing – Lincolnshire legends to spearhead Suzuki assault at Spa

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Lincolnshire legends Guy Martin and Pete Boast will join Team Classic Suzuki for the Spa Bikers’ Classic on July 1, with the duo set to campaign the team’s Suzuki Vintage Parts-supported Katana in the four-hour race.

Martin returns to the brand after a disastrous stint at the NW2100 and the TT and NW200 for Martin who labelled the 2017 Honda Fireblade ‘a Jonah’ after suffering a big crash during practice, while Pete Boast – no stranger to endurance racing – claimed British and European Flat Track titles with the Suzuki.

Team Classic Suzuki principal, Steve Wheatman, said: “We’re really pleased to be welcoming Guy and Pete to the team for this round of the Classic Endurance series, both have strong links with Suzuki and both love their classic racing.

“The Spa Classic is an excellent event that is well-known across Europe. It’s always well-attended, with plenty going on alongside the four-hour race for fans to enjoy. But of course, the four-race is why we’re going, and after the disappointment of Donington we want a good result.”

The Katana debuted at the Donington Park 4 Hour round of the series but failed to make a single lap after Jamie Whitham lost control and wrecked the bike in the process.

The Spa Classic takes place from 1-2 July at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, with Team Classic Suzuki taking part in the four-hour race that starts at 20:00 on Saturday.

MotoGP – Rossi rolls back the years to win at Assen

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Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi brought penned another stunning chapter in what is now the longest winning career in the history of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at the ‘Cathedral’ of speed, as #46 took his 115th win at the Motul TT Assen, more than 20 years after his first.

The nine-time World Champion completed a challenging weekend in mixed conditions with a superb win, giving him the longest winning career through all classes, spread over 20 years and 313 days.

Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from fourth position as darker skies loomed, quickly slotting in behind Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez in third place, setting a provisional fastest lap of the race on lap three and four, with Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci tagging along.

The Doctor piled on the pressure with 17 laps to go and overtook Marquez a lap later in the first corner. He duplicated this manoeuvre on the next lap to take over the lead from Zarco, which was followed by a touch between the two in turn 4, but the Italian kept the lead. Four laps later the Factory Yamaha man inched away as his pursuers battled for second place.

The Doctor increased his lead to about a second, but with 8 laps left white flags came out as rain started to fall. Rossi was forced to lower his pace, allowing his rivals to close up. Adrenaline levels reached an all-time high for the VR46 fans as their hero fought tooth and nail to hold off his rival. Petrucci passed him with five laps to go, but the nine-time World Champion wasn’t going to let the win slip away that easily. A lap later he charged past his compatriot in the chicane to regain the lead.

The last laps were filled with drama as the pair had to deal with backmarkers, but Rossi held firm, taking a sensational win with a 0.063s advantage. Just six hundredths of a second was the distance between victory and podium, as Rossi just beat compatriot Petrucci over the line, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez winning a three-way fight for third to complete the rostrum in another close contest, beating Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) by 0.042 at the flag.

Rossi said: “I’m so happy, and for different reasons, because it’s a very important victory for the championship, but especially the feeling of coming back to the number one spot after one year is fantastic. Sincerely, I race with motorcycles for this feeling: for what I feel in the five or six final laps of the race. That’s always great and especially after a year without a victory. It was a great race and a great battle with Petrucci and everybody else. I’m also happy from a technical point of view, because we worked a lot on the bike and we changed the chassis and now I feel like I can ride the bike more in my own manner, in a better way. Everything is open and this year we discovered that, from one track to the other, the situation can change a lot. We have to wait for next week and try to be competitive also at the Sachsenring.”

Today’s results see Rossi move up to third place in the championship standings with a 108-point total. He is now three points behind his teammate Viñales in second place. The sensational win sees Yamaha hold the lead in the constructor championship with a 22-point margin and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP remain the leaders in the team standings by 28 points as they move on to Germany for the next round at Sachsenring in one week’s time.

MotoGP – stunning last lap gives Zarco pole at Assen

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Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco took his first ever premier class pole position at the Dutch GP, dueling it out with reigning champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda right to the wire.

Marquez crossed the line first and his stunning lap left him in first position, but the flying Frenchman hit back immediately with a sensational ride to take his first pole on his final lap.

Zarco’s Assen heroics also make him the first French rider to take pole since Olivier Jacque in 2002.

Another rider who put in a riding masterclass was Danilo Petrucci, who followed up his first ever front row in the Catalan GP by repeating the feat in the Netherlands in very different conditions.

Factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi looked a contender for the top spot until his final sector, and although ultimately falling short, the Doctor heads the second row and has good scope to attack.

Scott Redding starts a season-best fifth after graduating from Q1 and topping FP3 on his Pramac Ducati, and Jonas Folger on the second Tech 3 Yamaha completes Row 2 after another impressive in the rain.

Alvaro Bautista piloted his satellite Ducati to P7 for his best QP of the season ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso completing the third row after suffering a crash in QP.

Aprilia’s Sam Lowes made the most of his first ever Q2 appearance, taking a top ten start to head up Row 4, ahead of championship leader Maverick Viñales on the factory Yamaha.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa starts from P12 after a more difficult day in the rain.

WSBK Race Two – Misano joy for Melandri

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After a difficult Sunday, the Ducati WSBK team bounced back in Race 2 at Misano with a masterful win by Marco Melandri.

The Italian rider, who crashed out of Race One during the last lap while fighting for the win, mounted a spectacular comeback from 10th position on the grid to take his maiden victory with the Panigale R and his 20th overall in WSBK.

Melandri said: “This win means so much to me. It’s my first with Ducati and first on Italian soil but also the 100th by an Italian rider in WSBK. It’s the result of a lot of efforts, a composed attitude during some difficult moments, and great teamwork. We never stopped to believe in ourselves, and this result is a payback for all the sacrifices.

“We made a small change to our setup this morning, and before the start I was sure I could have a go at it. During the race, I tried to manage my pace and, once I took the lead, to ride smoothly. I hope Chaz recovers soon, he had a nasty crash but fortunately without serious injuries. I hope to be able to fight for another win, this time with him on track as well, at Laguna Seca.”

Team-mate Chaz Davies endured a miserable time on Italian soil. Declared unfit for Race 2 due to a fracture of the transverse process of L3 (3rd lumbar vertebra) and a contusion of the left thumb caused by a crash in Race 1, Chaz Davies watched the race from the pits after being discharged from the hospital.

The Welshman will now observe a period of rest with the intention to be back on track for the eighth round of the season, scheduled for July 7-9 at Laguna Seca.

WSBK – ‘Lucky’ Sykes wins incident packed Race One at Misano

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After taking his first race win of the season at Donington Park in the previous round, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was gifted another win at Misano, despite starting the final lap in fourth position.

The drama saw championship leader Jonathan Rea fall after colliding with the last-lap race leader Chaz Davies, just before Rea was set to make a final move to try re-take the lead he had held on two separate occasions in a dramatic 21-lap race. it was a nasty coming together – Rea had nowhere to go and rode over the prone Daveis, with the Ducati rider’s speed hump and helmet bearing the full weight of the Kawasaki

In a race full of incident and close competition Rea took the lap one lead, only to be passed by Michael van der Mark who was in a leading position for the next 13 laps. Rea had to take avoiding action and lost time to the riders behind after van der Mark suddenly fell, but Rea still re-took the lead, until lap 19, when Davies passed him.

Sykes’ race had seen him drop back from his pole position start to spend most of the race in fifth position; then fourth after van der Mark’s crash. When the then third-placed Marco Melandri fell on the last lap Tom moved into a podium position, which suddenly became a winning position after the collision of Davies and Rea.

Sykes said: “In racing it is all circumstances. In the end the circumstances meant we were able to win today and finally for this I am happy. We will take the 25 points. In racing you have to accept things like this and I only hope that Chaz is OK after I saw some footage of his crash on the slow-down lap. It looked a nasty incident so I hope Chaz is going to be OK and will be fit to race tomorrow. In this moment we will take the 25 points and get them under my own steam tomorrow.”

Alex Lowes took second, passing Rea, who managed to remount and cross the line for a podium place – his 100th career podium.

Rea said: “The plan was to just release the brake and go up the inside of Chaz on the last corner, but unfortunately for both of us it did not get that far. Especially for Chaz. He made a mistake and tucked the front and I am super-sorry that I hit him but I had absolutely nowhere to go. I hope he is OK. I can’t remember ever being on the podium in a race I have fallen in, maybe in a wet race but probably not, to be honest. In van der Mark’s crash earlier in the race I had to go off track. I was so close to almost hitting him and then his bike almost hit me. It was certainly eventful. It was a shame for me and Chaz as we were fighting for the victory.”

BSB – Dixon propels himself into BSB premier league with Knockhill victories

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Jake Dixon propelled himself into the premier league of the British Superbike Championship at Knockhill as the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider followed up his debut win in the opening race to make it a double after an epic second contest in Scotland.

Dixon got his day off to a flying start in the opening race, celebrating a classy debut win in race one as the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider hit the front of the chasing pack and held off Luke Mossey to seal an emotional victory.

On the opening lap Dixon fired off the front row of the grid to lead the pack as Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Jason O’Halloran clipped on the run into turn one for the first time, pushing them down the order.

At the front James Ellison was tucked in behind Dixon with Mossey in close contention, but O’Halloran had made back some places and he was soon on the attack and by the start of lap four, the pair had pushed Ellison back to fourth.

Ellison fought back a lap later at the Hairpin to pass O’Halloran, but on lap six the McAMS Yamaha rider slid out of contention at turn three. O’Halloran was soon coming under pressure from his Honda Racing team-mate Dan Linfoot; the Australian was pushed back a place at the Hairpin, but Linfoot lost the front end on the brakes and tipped out of contention.

The leading pair of Dixon and Mossey had edged an advantage but the battle for third then became a three-way fight between O’Halloran, Byrne and home hero Taylor Mackenzie who was having his strongest performance of the season for Bennetts Suzuki.

Byrne was pushing to make a move and on lap 16 the Be Wiser Ducati rider emerged ahead after a decisive move at the Hairpin. The defending champion was able to hold off O’Halloran to the chequered flag to cross the line third behind Dixon and Mossey.

Josh Brookes had been pushing to bag the points for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team, but the Australian was another rider to crash out at the Hairpin unhurt.

Mackenzie scored his best result in fifth place with Peter Hickman moving to sixth for Smiths Racing BMW after Bradley Ray crashed out unhurt on the Buildbase Suzuki. John Hopkins ended the race in seventh place for Moto Rapido Ducati with Sylvain Guintoli, Lee Jackson and Michael Laverty completing the top ten.

Dixon then further cemented himself as a Showdown contender by following up his debut win in the opening race to make it a double after an epic second contest in Scotland.

Dixon had hit the front of the field on the opening lap to stake his claim from the start, holding off Mossey and Ellison with Linfoot and Byrne in the hunt. The opening laps saw an incredible dice between the leading group with Mossey and Ellison exchanging blows five times in one lap as they battled for the advantage at the front.

As the lead continued to change Dixon then made his move and he was defending hard until the seventh lap when Mossey then reclaimed the position at the front of the field. As the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider bid to make a counter attack, Ellison then fired his McAMS Yamaha into second place with Byrne stalking in fourth.

Byrne and Dixon were then inseparable and the defending champion made a move to put himself back into a podium position and relegate the race one winner into fourth place. At the front Mossey had edged a marginal lead but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki lost the ground with a mistake and it allowed his rivals to return to striking distance.

Ellison was first to take the advantage as the McAMS Yamaha hit the front to push Mossey back to second as Dixon moved to third to push Byrne back into fourth as the final five lap sprint beckoned.

Dixon then made a decisive move on Mossey to push the new championship leader back into third and into the clutches of Byrne, who waited until the final two laps to make his move and return to the podium for the second time today.

Dixon stalked Ellison and a last gasp attempt to make a move for the win put the young gun ahead which he held to the chequered flag to claim his second win ahead of Ellison and Byrne. Mossey narrowly missed out on the podium with Brookes returning to the top five for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team.

Linfoot was the leading Honda Racing contender in sixth place, just ahead of his team-mate O’Halloran with Michael Laverty, Hickman and Billy McConnell completing the top ten.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, race one result:

  1. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki)
  2. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +3.740s
  3. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +6.159s
  4. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +6.670s
  5. Taylor Mackenzie (Bennetts Suzuki) +9.907s
  6. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +13.730s
  7. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +15.038s
  8. Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +17.152s
  9. Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +17.481s
  10. Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +21.952s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill, Race two result:

  1. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki)
  2. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +0.437s
  3. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.473s
  4. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +2.201s
  5. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +4.610s
  6. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +5.502s
  7. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.571s
  8. Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +6.995s
  9. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +9.341s
  10. Billy McConnell (Quattro Plant FS-3 Kawasaki) +10.022s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Knockhill:

  1. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 141
  2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 111
  3. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 90
  4. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 86
  5. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 83
  6. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 78

Tested – Suzuki V-Strom 1000

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This is the new Suzuki V-Strom 1000, a bike which looks very similar to the outgoing model it replaces. But looks can be deceiving.

The biggest changes are that the new bike is now Euro4 emission compliant, as witnessed by that massive can, and to this end the breathed-on 1037cc liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin engine has lost just one lb.ft of torque.

There’s also a subtle tweak to the styling – the new nose beak now faithfully mimics the look of the 1990 DR-Z desert racer and DR-Big models, and there are now hand guards and an under-engine cowl as standard equipment. The windscreen has also been updated making it a little wider and 9mm higher. The height can still only be adjusted with an Allen key, but that doesn’t come in the toolkit. However, you can still change the angle with a one-handed push.

All of these changes have clearly been designed to emphasise Suzuki’s heritage in the category, but make no mistake, this isn’t a full-blown adventure machine. Instead it’s a sports-tourer with a comfy, upright riding position and a sticker on the beak that says ‘Adventure’.

Aside from the changes to the engine, the biggest ehancement to the bike is the addition of a cornering-aware ABS system and linked brakes. It’s based on the system used on the 2017 GSX-R and uses a new inertial measurement unit (IMU) to add lean data to the information collected by the existing wheel speed sensors to judge whether you’re braking too much at the wrong time. The brakes are also linked, which means the system adds a measured amount of “stability enhancing” rear brake when the front is applied. Unfortunately, the TC system hasn’t been changed to reap the benefits from the onboard IMU.

Turn the key and you’ll notice another new feature – the Suzuki Easy Start System. This enables you to start the engine with only a single push of the starter button. Is it lifechanging? No. But it’s a neat trick. And once you’re on the move you’ll notice the Low RPM Assist feature, a rider aid which automatically raises idle revs when pulling away from stops or crawling through town at low rpm. It’s been designed to prevent the bike from stalling, but it feels more like a gimmick than anything else. Whatever happened to entrusting bike control to the rider’s right hand?

Out of town and on the move, and the V-Strom 1000 feels like a decent enough bike, with the gearing on open roads feeling especially good. At first, gears five and six feel tall, but the V-Twin engine is infinitely comfortable hauling from low revs and pulling you forward. In fact, riding the bike at low revs is where it is most comfortable, and it handles better and rides smoother when you keep a gear high and roll through the meat of the torque curve. Yes, the V-Strom is capable of being a revver, but Suzuki has made the torque curve fat and juicy low down and it’s a much more enjoyable bike when kept down there.

The handling characteristics are typical Suzuki – it tips into corners in a linear, non-dramatic fashion, and while the handling isn’t sharp, it’s not lazy either. It’s a bike which will roll onto its side predictably and comfortably, inspiring confidence.

It’s comfortable too. The redesigned screen does a good job of protecting the rider from the elements, and that big comfy seat allows you to cover big miles with ease.

The more time I spend with the bike, the more it becomes clear that this would make a brilliant weekend tourer. It dispatches motorways with ease, and still has enough about it to make the twisties fun, if not spectacular.

And there is a decent selection of official accessories available to allow you to bespoke the bike to tailor it exactly to your needs – low and high saddles, centrestand, taller touring screen, heated grips, crash bars, fog lamps and a very practical 55-litre topbox capable of swallowing two helmets.

So, there’s an awful lot to like about the new V-Strom, especially when it can be yours for less than £10K. But for me, by far the biggest strength of the bike is that it’s not trying to be a rival to the ubiquitous BMW GS. Result.

Racer’s Kit – Andrea Dovizioso

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Andrea Dovizioso, 31, is a racer who competes in the premier class for the Factory Ducati team.

Andrea won the 125cc Aprilia Challenge in Italy in 2000 before scooping up the 125cc World Championship with the Kopron Scot Honda team in 2004.

He moved up to the 250cc class in 2005, picking up five podium finishes and third place overall in his debut season. He finished second behind series winner Jorge Lorenzo a year later, and finished second again in 2007.

In 2008 he moved up to the elite class with JiR Team Scot, finishing a credible fourth place in the season opener in Qatar. He finished fifth overall and the following season became an official Repsol Honda rider, replacing former world champion Nicky Hayden. He won his first premier class race at Donington Park and finished sixth overall in the standings.

Andrea went one better in his second season as a Factory Honda rider, finishing fifth overall in 2010.

Despite taking four second places the following season in the three-man Repsol team, and finishing third in the championship behind Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea rejected the offer of a Honda satellite bike and moved to the Tech 3 Yamaha squad, partnering Britain’s Cal Crutchlow.

Dovizioso was quick straight from the off on the Yamaha, gaining top-five finished in his first three starts, and he finished the season in fourth overall to cap an impressive year.

His riding caught the attention of Ducati, who signed Andrea as a replacement for the departing Valentino Rossi in 2013. Despite struggling to adapt to the career-destroying Desmosedici, he scored a fourth in the wet at Le Mans and finished the season in eighth.

His fortunes improved significantly following the arrival of Gigi Dall’Igna, and this year has seen his stock rise even more – outclassing Jorge Lorenzo and enjoying two wins already.

He’s had his fair share big offs – especially on the notoriously difficult to turn Ducati – and knows what kit works and what doesn’t. Here he shares his kit wisdom.

HELMET: “Everything is important when it comes to your helmet – protection, comfort, vision, quietness, ventilation.

“My advice is to try as many on as you can and buy the best you can afford. You can’t afford to settle for less.

“In terms of order of importance, protection is most important for me, then comfort and finally vision. You want your helmet to give you peace of mind. I need to know it’s going to protect me when, not if, I come off. And it needs to be comfortable. When you’re on the bike you don’t want the interior to be uncomfortable, or to be pinching your head, you want not to notice it so you can focus solely on your riding.

“Ventilation is important too. You can soon overheat in hot races, or mist up in west weather, so having a helmet with effective vents is crucial.

“And you want a helmet to be quiet, the quieter the better. Anything that distracts you from takes your focus away from what’s ahead isn’t good.

“The only thing I change about my helmet is the fit. I wear Suomy and we have adapted it slightly so that the visor aperture sits higher up on my head. That way I can see more when I’m in a full racing crouch. Apart from that it’s completely standard.”

LEATHERS: “I like my leathers to be tight. It’s no good having them loose or they’ll offer little or no protection when you crash. But you can’t have them so tight as to restrict movement, so look for leathers with a good range of stretch panels.

“And don’t be put off by weight. Yes, lightness is important, but you don’t want the material to be that thin that the asphalt burns through it as you slide along the tarmac at 180mph.

“I’m not so fussed about external armour, as I don’t think it makes that much difference. So long as you have armour in the crucial areas, then that’s fine. The principle’s the same as when you go MotoCross riding – you want to be protected, but you don’t want it so restrictive that you can’t move.

“My suit has an airbag, but I can’t say I even notice the difference. It doesn’t make the sit feel any heavier or restrict my movement on the bike.”

BACK AND CHEST PROTECTORS: “I wear both and I can’t recommend them enough, especially the back protector. When was the last time you heard of a rider getting paralysed?

“There’s really not any excuse not to wear either anymore. They’re light, comfortable and after a couple of times wearing them you forget you’ve got them on. There’s a huge choice out there, and most are adjustable.”

GLOVES: “Gloves need to have protection in the right places, especially the wrist. If you come off the bike at speed your hands are going to come into contact with the tarmac. It’s very easy for your hands to dig in and break either your wrist or fingers, so the more heavy-duty protection and sliders gloves have, the better.

“The difficulty is finding the right balance between protection and feel. Your hands control the throttle and brakes, so you need movement, but some gloves are that thin and light that when hit the ground or roll through the gravel they almost fall to pieces. That’s not good, so always go for gloves that are that bit thicker.”

BOOTS: “Boots need to be comfortable, flexible and protective. The ankle is a very complex joint, and is easily damaged, so look for boots with lots of external protection in the ankle area.

“I wear Supertech boots and they’re brilliant. The use a really snug tightening mechanism that keeps the boot snug and secure. They’ve got loads of chunky plastic armour but they’re thin enough on the top of the foot to make changing gear easy.”

BASELAYERS: “I can’t imagine riding without these. They’re excellent at keeping your core temperature constant, and work just as well whether the temperature is 5C or 35C. And they make it so much easier to get into and out of your leathers.”

EARPLUGS: “I always wear earplugs. It is impossible to ride a GP bike without them – the engine is just too loud.

“In the 2008 GP at Donington Park I didn’t have time to put my earplugs in as I rolled out the pits for the outlap before the race. It was horrific. It actually hurt my ears. The bike was that loud. You definitely couldn’t complete a full race without wearing them. I’ve never made that mistake again.”

New issue – out soon

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We’re busy putting the finishing touches to the latest issue Lincolnshire Biker, your FREE bi-annual magazine made by bikers for bikers.

This issue features some real heavyweights. Bikes like Honda’s Africa Twin, Ducati’s Multistrada and Kawasaki’s ZX-10R show just how good today’s machinery is. We’ve never had it so good, and whether you want to cross a continent in supreme comfort, enjoy a blast along your favourite B-road or chase your personal best at Cadwell, these bikes show that there’s a bike with your name on it, regardless of your experience or ability.

Research shows that the average annual mileage for a British biker is just 3500 miles, with many riders struggling to even leave this great county of ours. That’s a real shame, and to this end we are throwing our weight behind MCN’s #ride5000miles initiative, a scheme aimed at encouraging riders to get out and enjoy their bikes. More time in the saddle means you’ll be more confident in your ability, and you’ll feel more comfortable on the bike too. It’s win, win.

And if you feel like your skills are lacking, or you need a refresher, then why not sign up for our Performance Plus road riding day at Cadwell Park? We guarantee you’ll leave a more capable rider.

This issue also sees us focus on kit, especially leathers. We caught up with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso at Barcelona, and we’ve also teamed up with our own resident kit expert Julian Button again – this time he’s sharing his knowledge on one-piece suits.

Our riding expert Ade Thomas also looks at wet weather riding and the skills you’ll need to keep it shiny side up.

We hope you enjoy the issue. See you on the road.

MotoGP – Dovizioso claims second season win at Barcelona

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Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso has taken an incredible second win of the season in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, making him the first Ducati rider to score back-to-back victories for the Borgo Panigale factory since two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner achieved the feat in 2010.

There was drama off the line as Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa got a good start from pole and Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo almost clashed with fellow front row starter Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Racing satellite Ducati, with a wayward Petrucci then making contact with Marquez. The collision saw the Italian dropped back and the reigning champion pulled clear as Lorenzo attacked for the lead, taking over at the front.

Championship leader Maverick Viñales found himself heading through the run off area at Turn 1 off the start and dropping back on his Factory Yamaha, with the Spaniard then facing a fight back from outside the points after a tough weekend – teammate Valentino Rossi was also unable to make big progress from P13 on the grid either.

Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa, with Dovizioso on the hunt in fourth and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Jonas Folger in fifth.

It was Marquez who challenged for the lead first, diving under the Ducati with Pedrosa needing no invitation to follow him through. Lorenzo then lost out to his teammate as he began to struggle after the lightning start; Folger and Petrucci were the next to get through.

Pedrosa then attacked for P1 and made the move stick, with Dovizioso taking Marquez. However, the top couldn’t pull away from Folger in fourth, or Petrucci just behind. After a handful of laps playing high-speed chess, Dovizioso then went around the outside of Pedrosa to take the lead – pulling a small gap before Marquez followed the Italian through.

A three-way fight then broke out between Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati. Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha and Lorenzo for P6, with the squabble providing some spectacular wheel-to-wheel action. The trio exchanged places, and with some of the riders struggling to manage the rubber, Lorenzo charged ahead and Folger fell back.

However, Dovizioso was imperious at the front and crossed the line for his fourth career win to become the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2010 to win back-to-back. Marquez took second with Pedrosa crossing the line in third to join his teammate on the podium.

Lorenzo sliced back through to take fourth at the flag, ahead of Zarco, who got the better of Folger in a last minute duel between the Tech 3 machines. Bautista, after a late run off at Turn 1, came home in P7.

Valentino Rossi came home in eighth after struggling in the latter half of the race, Hector Barbera took P9 in his 250th start in the World Championship, and Maverick Viñales piloted his Factory Yamaha to a disappointing tenth – taking a big hit on his points lead in the Championship.