Month: June 2018

WSBK – rampant Rea does double at Laguna Seca

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Jonny Rea claimed a double win at laguna Seca, one again showing the rest of the field that he his the benchmark by which all other riders are judged.

After qualifying third fastest in Superpole on Saturday morning, Rea spent the early laps right behind eventual race one second place rider Chaz Davies on the factory Ducati, before pouncing to lead on lap seven; Davies ran wide at the entrance to the famous Corkscrew chicane and Rea instantly took his opportunity on the inside line.

Rea built his lead from then on to ease out to an eventual clear advantage of 2.978 seconds after 25 intense laps, on a tricky track surface that rose to over 50°C under the hottest conditions of the weekend so far.

Speaking after the race, Rea said: “In the early laps I felt good behind Chaz, although his pace was really fast. I knew as soon as he made that mistake I wanted to go through, set my rhythm, and tenth-by-tenth slowly build up a lead.

“It was not easy, much more difficult than I expected. The front grip was dropping quite a lot at the end so I just had to ride accordingly. We have not had that issue all weekend but the temperature change today, that extra ten degrees on the track, was massive. We learned some things from the race today to be a little bit stronger tomorrow.”

Race Two saw Rea start from the third row, under the reverse grid rules for race two at each event.

Rea had got up to fifth on lap one and then into the lead by lap eight at the intense 3.610km long hillside circuit. He went unchallenged to claim his eighth victory of the season, giving him a 50% winning record for the season so far. It was also the Ulsterman’s 25 career WorldSBK podiums today.

In winning for a fourth time in his career at Laguna Seca, Rea extended his championship lead to 75 points over runner-up in race two, Chaz Davies.

Rea, said: “An incredible weekend. I expected to be strong here but I had no idea how strong. Two weekends in a row now, Brno and here, we have been the reference. Weekends like that do not happen all the time so we have to really absorb it and enjoy the moment. A double win at Laguna in the sunshine – it does not get much better.

“I am so so so happy, to have a weekend like we’ve had – to be so strong. It doesn’t happen every weekend, this weekend – aside from my tip off on Friday – its been plain sailing. I was able to make my passes, make them stick and go away.

“Laverty had a really good pace and was a really good marker. I was in no urgency to arrive and then step by step I got there, and then made my rhythm. It was awesome to see my rhythm increasing, and then just five or six laps to go I was absorbing the feeling in Laguna Seca in the sunshine I just felt so blessed to be here and it’s a cool moment.”

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MotoGP – Lorenzo dominates to claim second win in a row

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Two weeks after his Mugello triumph, Jorge Lorenzo made it two in a row by winning the Catalan GP at the Montmeló circuit.

The rider from Mallorca, who started from pole, moved into the lead of the race onLap 2 when he passed Honda’s Marc Marquez, and then firmly held onto that position right until the chequered flag, finishing more than four seconds ahead of his Honda rival.

Lorenzo has now moved up to seventh place in the overall standings on 66 points, followed by Dovizioso with the same haul, while Ducati now lie second overall in the Constructors’ championship with 132 points.

Lorenzo said: “Today’s win was really fantastic! We showed that we can win not only by entering the first turn in first place, but also by recovering and overtaking the others. It was actually a complicated race because I got off to a bad start and lost a lot of metres to Marquez, but I told myself that the race was long and I had to keep calm.

“It wasn’t too difficult to take Marquez, because I had that little bit extra under braking, but he stayed pretty close to me right down to the flag.

“Now we’ve got a very competitive package and I think that this is the most complete Ducati bike of all time:  We must capitalise on this situation because the Desmosedici works well at virtually every track, it doesn’t consume the tyres too much, and this is a big advantage. Now let’s enjoy this win and then we’ll think about the next race.”

The next race of the MotoGP championship will be in the Netherlands, in two weeks time, at the Assen circuit for the Dutch TT from June 29  to July1.

WSBK – Rea extends Kawasaki contract

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The first piece of the 2019 WSBK rider jigsaw has fallen into place after Kawasaki’s Jonny Rea announced he will spend another two years riding for the Japanese manufacturer.

Rea’s extension with Kawasaki comes after week’s of speculation that the Ulsterman was set to turn his back on the factory outfit for a ride with Suzuki in MotoGP or by switching allegiance within the WSBK series and signing for Ducati.

Choosing to stay at Kawasaki, Rea looks set to dominate the series for the immediate future on board the all-conquering ZX-10RR.

Rea said: “I am more than happy to continue in these next two seasons with the Kawasaki Racing Team. Since the end of last season we have already started to talk about continuing our partnership, so it’s nice to finalize everything now, so that we can concentrate on the remaining races of 2018.

“From the moment I arrived at the end of 2014, I was welcomed into the Kawasaki family and since then we have achieved success beyond our wildest dreams. Here is where I want to stay. Of course, it feels natural to keep writing this incredible story together, and I want to thank everyone in the Kawasaki Racing Team for believing in me and for this opportunity.”

“Together we will work harder than ever to keep the ZX-10RR at the front of WSBK in the future. I have the best team of people around me to ensure that we can continue fighting for the World Championship.”

The singing will trigger intense activity among the rest of the field and the question is now is where Rea’s rivals will land for 2019 – with rumors still circling about the futures of Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes, and the bikes they could possibly be riding next season.

The future of Sykes at Kawasaki seems perilous; Sykes and Rea have clashed ever since Rea joined the team, and their recent clash in Brno has brought things to a head.

Sykes has been linked to several rides in the WSBK paddock, especially Yamaha, and it is widely believed he will replace Van Der Mark within the team.

Sykes is expected to announce his plans imminently, and this will then trigger a flurry of moves.

MotoGP – Lorenzo in, Pedrosa out at Repsol Honda

Lorenzo Honda

Big changes are afoot at the factory Honda squad after it has emerged that Jorge Lorenzo will replace the outgoing Dani Pedrosa, who is leaving the Repsol team after 18 years with HRC and Honda.

Lorenzo has penned a two-year deal which will see the three-time MotoGP world champion join Marc Marquez in the factory Honda team.

In a terse statement after his maiden win on the Ducati at Mugello, Lorenzo accused the Italian factory of not doing enough to give him a bike to win, publicly slating their lack of support and development.

Many paddock insiders saw this as a sign he was heading to a satellite Yamaha effort, but Lorenzo’s leftfield jump to Honda has caused shockwaves in the paddock.

The move means Honda now has its very own dream team; the two riders share a total of 11 Championships, 130 victories and 255 podiums between them, many of which have been fought against each other. The two are also the only riders to have been crowned MotoGP world champion since 2011 – Lorenzo in 2012 and 2015, adding to his first premier class crown taken in 2010, and Marquez in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Lorenzo is now a rider who has two wins for two different manufacturers, and he will be keen to add a win on a third to prove the many doubters who have written him off wrong.

But, how will Honda manage the relationship between Marquez and Lorenzo, both of whom are convinced they are the best rider in the world? The job of handling two of the biggest egos in the paddock will fall to Alberto Puig, a man who is also known his the size of his ego. Expect fireworks to fly…

What is clear is that HRC now has two of the most successful riders of recent times in its factory team. How they get along, or don’t, will determine whether the team continues its stranglehold on the title.

Watch this space…2019 will be explosive….

Eleven things I’ve learnt from this year’s TT…

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01) Hickman’s 135mph lap was sensational, but every rider who races is a warrior and I salute every single one of them, regardless of where they finish…respect
02) Bikes are a great leveller. It doesn’t matter, what your background, or your social standing, we all have something in common
03) It is possible to stab yourself in the nose and draw blood while eating a pizza, eh Yag?
04) The scones at the Ballacregga Corn Mill are smaller and drier than previous years…disappointing
05) There’s nothing better than being told by a copper to ‘go for it’ from the Creg because he likes the look of the Tuono and he’d like to hear the V4 ‘given some’
06) Speaking of which, the Tuono 1100 APRC may just be the best bike ever…comfortable, fast, nimble and THAT noise…stunning. Race mode has never felt so good. Thanks Griff
07) The peanut butter cheesecake at The Forge is still out of this world
08) There’s nothing funnier than watching your mate stall it at the traffic light GP…than seeing him paddle round a corner in your mirrors because he can’t restart it. Then learning he did it in front of an unmarked police car. Poor Flo…
09) A BMW M3 at full chat on the island is a giggle a minute. And the noise on the overrun…mmmmmmmm
10) The Steam Packet company still treats bikers with contempt. Why there’s a need to line the bikes up so close together while waiting for the boat baffles me
11) Racing is a cruel mistress, but everything should be done to protect the TT…if you’ve never been you won’t understand, but if you have…