Month: September 2018

MotoGP: Marc Marquez snatches victory in scintillating Aragon race

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez demonstrated his cunning and racecraft in an intense MotoGP race at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain, taking victory ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso after a hard fought battle between the title rivals.

Temperatures soared to their highest point of the weekend as the riders lined up on the grid, causing many teams to make last minute changes to their chosen selection of race rubber, in readiness to combat the heat.

As the race began the track thermometer was reading 45°C – higher than it has ever been at the Aragón circuit for a MotoGP event – and following all the changes, five of the six allocated tyre compounds were now featured in different combinations throughout the field.

Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo was on pole after an exciting qualifying session on Saturday, which saw him take the first grid spot in the very last moment of the session. However, the Spaniard’ race was short-lived as he crashed out on the first corner after a late lunge by Marquez forced Lorenzo onto the dirty part of the track. Lorenzo had two choices; run wide and lose places, or force the bike to take the line he wanted. The Spaniard chose the latter, was too greedy with the gas and highsided out of the race.

This immediately handed the lead to his Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, a position he held for the next 13-laps, before coming under pressure from Marquez.

The pair then duelled out the remaining 10-laps of the 23-lap race, with the lead frequently changing hands as they pushed their tyres to the limit on a track that now had diminished grip levels due to the increased heat.

Marquez was using a hard front and soft rear pairing, while Dovizioso had gone for a hard/hard combination and the two battled it out for the final laps, and it was Marquez who had more rubber left, pulling out a slender lead to cross the line first, ahead of Dovizioso and Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone.

Marquez said: “I woke up this morning with the idea that today I could take a risk. I hadn’t felt totally at ease during the weekend with the hard rear spec tyre so, after the warm-up, I said to my team that I wanted to use the soft rear. That started many meetings and discussions but in the end I won the race because I could convince my box to take that gamble! In the end, it was the correct choice. I had a good start but soon after I almost lost the front in a dirty spot on the track, so I had to release the brakes and go a bit wide. I didn’t realize until the end that Lorenzo had crashed.

“Anyway, the fight was very tight with Dovi and Iannone as well; it was a hard fight but within the limit. This is MotoGP, and it’s what the fans enjoy to watch. Motorland is one of my favourite tracks, and I enjoyed so much riding here over the weekend even if the pressure was high, with events, people, and many things to do every day. I mean, it’s good but also demanding. Even with this, I managed to remain focused, work well with the team, and ultimately to stop Ducati’s momentum. This morning I listened to “In my feelings” from Drake and in the honour lap I thought back to that song and it was great. Anyway, now more than ever it’s the moment to keep calm and manage well the race weekends because I want to win the Championship and to do that you must remain fully concentrated.”

 

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WSBK: double joy for Rea at Portimao

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A double Portimao race win for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea saw him extend his championship lead/ The track is a happy hunting ground for the Ulsterman; since he joined Kawasaki in 2015 he has won six Portuguese races in a row and seven in a row at Portimao overall.

After his dominant race victory on Saturday Rea had to start race two from ninth position, which made Sunday’s race a more combative affair in the early laps. Ducati’s Chaz Davies led for the first 11 laps across the line, with Tom Sykes and then Rea challenging behind on the Kawasakis. However, Rea pounced on Lap 12, taking the leading and building a gap as the podium order changed behind him. Michael van der Mark eventually finished second, Marco Melandri third.

Jonathan Rea said: “The run right now is incredible. It was a really tough race, as I had to fight a lot in the beginning. I made a very good start and had good track position early on. At turn five an opportunity opened up behind two riders and I found myself right behind Tom. He proved very hard to pass. I made a pass stick in T13, and chased Chaz down within a lap. Then it took me so many laps to go past him because he was braking so late, and his bike was so fast in the straight. Once I got past I just concentrated on making a couple of clean laps and setting my rhythm.

“The pace today was a little bit slower because the temperature had risen a bit and also I used the tyre a little bit more coming through the pack. I put everything into the race and managed to get 25 points, so I am really happy.”

The win was Rea’s 12th race victory so far in 2018  and extended his all time winning record in WSBK to 66. He has earned full points for six races in succession recently, scoring doubles at Laguna Seca, Misano and now Portimao.

In the championship Rea now has 420 points, Davies 304 and van der Mark 284, with three rounds and six races remaining. Rea will have his first opportunity to close out the championship at the following round in France, if results go his way.

The next round, the 11th of the 13 round championship, takes place at Magny Cours in France, between the 29th and 31st of September.

New kit: Alpinestars launches Limited Edition Doohan Supertech R boot

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The San Marino MotoGP race weekend at the iconic Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli holds fond memories for five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan; the Australian won at the track in 1991 and enjoyed another five victories on Italian soil throughout his illustrious career.

Mick dominated racing’s premier class until 1998, winning five consecutive world titles, and to celebrate this incredible feat Alpinestars has created the Limited Edition Doohan Supertech R Race Replica.

The Doohan Limited Edition Supertech R’s are a fitting tribute to Doohan’s achievements on the track. Featuring all of the technical innovations of Alpinestars’ class-leading Supertech R boot, the special colorway allows fans to enjoy a distinctive, premium race boot fit for Champions.

MOTOGP: Dovi reigns supreme in Misano

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Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took an expertly-crafted victory at the San Marino Grand Prix, fighting his way into the lead and unleashing incredible pace to secure only the second ever win for Ducati at the venue.

His win also makes it three in a row for the Borgo Panigale factory, having won at Brno and Austria.

It was polesitter JorgeLorenzo who shot out ahead and got the holeshot on his Ducati, shadowed by Jack Miller on the satellite Pramac Racing Ducati and Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.

However, Dovizioso struck quickly against the reigning champion, dispatching Marquez before picking off Miller, pushing hard to tag on to the back of his teammate as Marquez then sliced past the Aussie too – intent on keeping tabs on the Ducati duo at the front.

Unfortunately, the pace was too much for Miller, and he slid out a lap later at Turn 14.

Back at the front, Dovizioso was honing in on Lorenzo and looking to make a move. With 22 laps to go the Italian did just that, slicing past at Turn 7. He then began to pull away as Marquez tagged on to Lorenzo in the battle for second, before the number 93 then shot past with 14 laps to go as Lorenzo ran wide.

Lorenzo wasn’t done though and retook the position a few laps later at Turn 8, a move which lit the touch paper on a few spectacular exchanges between the two. Once past, Lorenzo put the hammer down and Lorenzo set about cutting the gap to his teammate. Tenth by tenth, the Spaniard was reeling him in – and the gap went back down to 1.3 seconds. Dovizioso began to respond, but drama suddenly hit the front on the penultimate lap when Lorenzo suddenly slid out of second.

That Dovizioso in free air at the front to take his first ever win at the venue, having managed the race to perfection. Marquez took second and extended his championship lead, with Crutchlow’s impressive pace and race rewarded by a podium after the late drama.

Dovizioso said: “I wanted this win so badly, because here at Misano Ducati and I have always struggled in recent years. In the test in August however we realised that we had made an important step forward and we could be competitive in the race. We worked really well during the weekend, in very different conditions, but both Lorenzo and Marquexz are very strong here so to win I had to do a perfect race. I started off in the right frame of mind, fully focussed on the race strategy, and when I took the lead, I pulled out a small advantage and then managed the situation until the finish.

“I’m really pleased, because winning here at Misano was very important for Ducati but also for me. Years ago it seemed like an impossible dream, but now we’ve done it and it fills me with so much satisfaction.”

Outside of the podium places Suzuki’s Alex Rins impressed on the softer compound rear tyre to get well in the initial fight and then hold great pace to the flag, not able to stay ahead of Crutchlow but nevertheless holding station in the top five until Lorenzo’s late crash saw him take fourth.

Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales took fifth after dropping back slightly from a front row start and suffering a more difficult race, holding off some steady pressure from Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who took sixth.

It was a difficult Sunday at home for Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Missing the race through injury last season – as his special edition ‘Back to Misano’ helmet attests – Rossi had high hopes for the race that takes place so close to his home town of Tavullia. He crossed the line in seventh, retaining his qualifying position as he took the flag. Compatriot Andrea Iannone, also had a tough weekend, and came home eighth on his Suzuki.

Alvaro Bautista continued his good run of recent form and took ninth on his angel nieto Ducati, with Tech 3’s Johann Zarco completing the top ten ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the second Pramac Ducati; Petrucci had a difficult race day and was also given a 1.1 second penalty for cutting a corner early on.

Franco Morbidelli on the Marc VDS Honda beat Takaaki Nakagami on the LCR Honda to claim the honour of top rookie and twelfth, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro taking points for the Noale factory on home turf in fourteenth, just ahead of Ducati Test Team wildcard Michele Pirro.

Behind them? Lorenzo had remounted and dueled  with KTM’s Bradley Smith to the line, but the Brit was just able to stay ahead by a tenth.