Month: October 2018

MotoGP: Maverick Viñales is top gun as he reigns down under to end Yamaha winless streak

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Maverick Viñales proved he was top gun in Australia as he took Yamaha’s first win in 26 races with a commanding ride at Phillip Island.

As the lights went out it was Danilo Petrucci who got a lightning launch from eighth to head around the outside and lead into turn one, but the Italian then ran off at turn two when a technical issue put an end to his race. Pramac Racing team-mate Jack Miller then took advantage to take the lead of his home Grand Prix at turn four, with polesitter marc Marquez  just behind and Andrea Iannone slotting into third.

However, it was all change just a lap later, when Marquez pounced for the lead at Turn One, with Andrea Dovizioso fighting through to second and Miller dropping back to fourth behind Iannone.

Lap six saw all hell broke loose at the front of the field, when Johann Zarco slipstreamed Marquez and a Ducati, the extra increase in speed resulting in Zarco’s Tech 3 Yamaha hitting the back of Marquez’s Honda, leading to the Frenchman suffering a scary 200mph crash. The impact was so strong that it left Marquez’s rear sub unit severely damaged, and the Spaniard coasted back to the pits to retire.

The coming together allowed Dovizioso to take the lead, ahead of Miller and Ianonne, but then Viñales began a sensational charge through the field. By lap eight he had joined the fight at the front, and dived into the lead at turn four. He never looked back, controlling the race and building a five-second lead before eventually crossing the line 1.5 seconds ahead of Iannone, with Dovizioso rounding out the podium.

Speaking after the race, a clearly ecstatic Viñales said: “This is the best feeling. We’ve been in the dark all year, and suddenly we came into the light I couldn’t show my potential in the previous races, but today I could.

“Being first in Australia is always amazing! It’s the best track ever and to win here and break this long none winning period of Yamaha is unbelievable! I was riding on the bike like I was in FP4. I got a really good feeling from the bike, so I knew I could maintain 1‘29s. That’s what I did for most of the middle of the race. I tried to escape as far as I could, because I knew my tyre wasn’t going to last until the end. I knew opening that gap would be difficult, I had some moments with some riders, and some shaking on the bike – I was struggling, but I still made it through anyway.”

 

 

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MotoGP: Marquez snatches difficult pole at Phillip Island

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has secured pole position at Phillip Island, his fifth  consecutive pole at the track (equalling Casey Stoner’s five poles in a row).

Tricky weather conditions, including occasional rain, low temperatures and cold wind, made the search for bike set-up challenging and the track conditions demanding.

Marquez, wearing gloves and boots in Mick Doohan’s iconic colors as a tribute to the Aussie legend, was able to choose exactly the best moment to push, and his 1’29.199” lap time proved to be untouchable in the final minutes of the session.

With a 47-point lead in the Constructors Championship and three races remaining in the season, Honda have the chance to clinch their 24th Constructors Title tomorrow.

WSBK: imperious Rea continues winning streak with Race One victory in Qatar

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2018 WSBK champion Jonathan Rea continued his impressive form, taking a commanding win in the opening race under the floodlights at Losail and equalling the existing record of 17 wins in a single season with his 11th consecutive victory.

Despite not starting on pole, Rea took the holeshot into turn one and from then on ran at his own pace to add yet another win to his impressive haul, his 56th for Kawasaki; a record for a single rider with a single manufacturer in WorldSBK. Eleven race wins in succession also moved Rea’s recent record of ten consecutive races on by one.

Sykes was on strong form from the start at Losail this weekend and extended his career Superpole record with a 1’56.124 lap in SP2 that just edged our Rea by 0.131 seconds.

Speaking after the race, Rea said: “There is a lot of hard work done to arrive in this position. It is really difficult; to build the package, the team atmosphere and a feeling with the bike. This weekend I have not quite felt myself on the bike and I said to my guys yesterday evening that this game is so much about confidence. We have been lucky this year in that I have had such a great feeling with the bike and that we have had that little bit extra. That gives you confidence and you are able to ride in a certain way. That is how it is done; that confidence the bike gives me, working with the team. Every time we are struggling, or my confidence is down, my crew chief Pere Riba finds a way to re-invent that, and turn things around. I am really grateful for that. People can find a good team and a good bike, and a good team can find a good rider, but trying to put all the elements together is really difficult.”

Race two will take place on Saturday the 29th of October 2018, again under the floodlights at 19.00 local time.

MotoGP: Pedrosa signs two-year test deal with KTM

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Dani Pedrosa has signed a two-year deal with Red Bull KTM to be the manufacturer’s MotoGP test rider for 2019-2020.

The three times champion and thirteen-season premier class veteran will work alongside Mika Kallio developing the KTM RC16 for what will be the motorcycle’s third year of Grand Prix competition.

 

 

New kit: Alpinestars Limited Edition Stoner Supertech R boot

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The Australian MotoGP race weekend at the legendary Phillip Island circuit is synonymous with one rider, two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner. The Australian took six consecutive premier class wins at his home Grand Prix during his illustrious career, and to celebrate this remarkable achievement Alpinestars has created the Limited Edition Stoner Supertech R Race Replica.

The Stoner Limited Edition Supertech R recognizes Stoner’s racing success, his style and his devastating speed. 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 packed with cutting edge performance innovations, including a redesigned compound rubber sole, an ergonomically profiled shin plate and a redesigned front flex area.

Stoner burst onto the MotoGP scene in 2006, taking pole in just his second race as he established himself as one of the quickest riders on the grid. He dominated the championship the following season, taking tens race wins and six pole positions on his way to giving Ducati their first premier crown.

Stoner added another MotoGP title in 2011 and finished his career with 38 wins, 69 podiums, 39 pole positions and 29 fastest laps from his 115 race starts

MotoGP: Marquez wins in Motegi to clinch fifth premier class title

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Marc Marquez took an incredible victory at Twin Ring Motegi, thus becoming the 2018 MotoGP World Champion with three races to go.

After starting from the sixth spot on the grid, Marquez was immediately able to recover four positions, taking over second place and engaging in race-long battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso and fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow. With two laps remaining, the Italian rider crashed out of the race, just after Marquez had passed him in preparation for a last-lap duel.

With his eighth win of 2018 and the 69th in his career (across all classes), Marquez becomes the youngest rider of all time to reach the milestone of seven World Championships (125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018); he does this at the age of 25 years and 246 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 26 years and 140 days old when he won his seventh title, the 1966 350cc crown.

He said: “I feel really, really good. I would say it’s a dream came true, or better, that I’m living a dream. It’s something so special, here together with my team, all the Honda and HRC people, my family and my staff. It has been a great season, and ever since Aragon I’ve been tasting, imagining this title, because it was very close. Then I realized that this wasn’t my style, and I needed extra motivation, so I set the goal of trying to achieve it with my first match ball in Motegi, by winning the race. This circuit was a challenging one to manage that, but it seems like when I’m under pressure, I feel better on the bike! Today the race was as I expected. I was prepared to make a good start and immediately make some passes. I got to second place at the end of the first lap, and then was able to follow Andrea and stay with him. I thought I could try and attack before the last lap because I felt I had something extra to give. He was pushing very hard and made a mistake, and that’s a shame because he deserved to be here on the podium. Anyway, when I crossed the finish line it was an explosion of joy. My people prepared this Level7 celebration, but I didn’t know anything ahead of time. I never want to know, but I think it’s because I used to play that kind of game a lot. Now it’s time to celebrate this seventh title and enjoy these final three races.”

 

 

MotoGP: Dovi on pole in Japan

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Ducati Andrea Dovizioso powered to a scintillating pole position in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held tomorrow at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

The Italian, who had also been quickest in the morning’s FP3 run, then went out in Q2, in which he set a time of 1’44.590 on his second exit. Today’s pole is the second of the season for Dovizioso, his seventh in MotoGP and also the seventh pole of the 2018 season for Ducati.

Dovi said: “My qualifying session went very well and I’m happy with the feeling I had during my pole run. We’ve got a good pace, but so has Marquez and not only him. I think we still have to improve something if we want to fight for the win tomorrow, so we’ll analyse the data to see what the tyre wear is like, because probably we’ll be able to adopt a different strategy than in the last two races, where we had to save the tyre for the final few laps. We went strongly both with the soft and the medium, and we haven’t decided yet which one to use. I want to thank my team for their great job, because with a few small modifications we were able to make a big improvement and in qualifying I did a really great lap. This morning my aim was to set a time of 1’44.6 and I ended up lapping in 1’44.5!”

WSBK: Record-breaking Rea dominates Race Two in Argentina

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On the same weekend that Kawasaki won the WSBK Manufacturers’ Championship, Jonathan Rea wrote his name in the history books by racing to his tenth consecutive victory.

Heavy overnight rain the second race day at the all new San Juan Villicum circuit threw up even more unknown challenges for the field, but it made no difference to Rea, who dominated the race once again.

Rea, launching from ninth on the grid after his Race One win on Saturday, had to use all his skill to pass his rivals on a new track surface that had one clear racing line. Into second place by Lap Four, Rea chased down the fast-starting leader Xavi Fores on the Barni Ducati on Lap Nine and set about recording his unique fifth double winning weekend in succession.

The win was even more impressive given that the four-time champion was taken ill on Saturday evening and was awake most of the night.

In recording his 55th victory on a Kawasaki, as part of his career record of 70 race wins in all, Rea has now equalled the greatest number of wins scored with a single manufacturer in WSBK racing.

Rea’s 16th win of the season has also taken him to within one victory of equalling the record of race wins in a single year, with two races remaining at the final round.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is really special to come to a new track, where everyone starts from zero, and be able to take the same kind of results. To be fast in the hot conditions and keep our tyre that was the key to the race. It was probably the hardest race win from the third row of the grid. If I went off line to pass, I could not be creative with my line choices. Everybody was pretty much on the same line so the passes had to be set up a few corners in advance. Once I settled into my rhythm I was able to clock off the lap times and pick off riders one by one. When I got clear track to Fores I tracked him down quite fast, but then there was the matter of passing him. Today has been difficult because I caught some kind of virus last night. I was ill all night from one o’clock until five this morning. It was good to have the race at 4pm because most of the day I have been sleeping in the cabin, regaining energy!”

WSBK: dominant Rea equals race-winning record in Argentina

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Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea dominated in Argentina to win a record-equalling ninth WSBK race in succession at the all-new Villicum circuit, ensuring that Kawasaki won the Manufacturers’ Championship for the 2018 season.

Under greying skies and in front of an enthusiastic crowd Rea had started from second position on the grid after Superpole qualifying, getting a good launch from the startline  into the downhill first corner and taking a lead that he was to enjoy for the entire race, setting a new lap record of 1’39.175 and coming very close to breaking the Superpole record in the process.

High winds were a factor for all riders to deal with and even occasional spots of rain appeared for a time. The threat of heavier rain passed and in the final laps Rea was able to bring it home with a huge advantage of 9.163 seconds to the second placed rider, Marco Melandri on the Ducati.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was an incredible way to do it today. To take the manufacturers’ championship with a race win was really nice. Especially to win for the first time in Villicum and Argentina. It is a technical track, it has got everything. I was always worried about coming here because everyone starts from an equal base. The teams that react the fastest, and make the best setup in a short space of time, are the ones that would do well. There was a lot of side wind today and it was buffeting me around a lot. There were spots of rain at one time and I just tried to convince myself it was not raining. The facilities, the new track, the spectators; it has been a pretty awesome weekend so far.”

In the Manufacturers’ Championship Kawasaki has an unassailable lead of 92 points, with a maximum of 75 points left to play for. This was the fourth Manufacturers’ Championship win in succession for Kawasaki.

MotoGP: Marquez snatches victory in Thailand

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It was another master-class race for Championship leader Marc Marquez, who took the first MotoGP win ever in Thailand in front of a cheering, enthusiast crowd of more than 100.000 spectators. The Spaniard’s seventh victory of the season is also the 68th of his career, putting him equal with Jorge Lorenzo as the fifth-most winning rider across all classes. It was a hat-trick weekend for the Repsol Honda pilot, who earned pole position, set the lap record and earned the victory.

Marquez’s win came down to the last corner of the last lap, thanks to a thrilling battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso. The points scenario makes the next round, the Grand Prix of Japan, the first match point for the MotoGP Title.

Speaking after the race, Marquez said: “Of course I’m very, very happy today because it’s the first time I’ve beaten Dovi in this way. We were very equal, and my strategy was to try and attack in order to open a gap and avoid having it come down to the last lap. But Dovi had a very good pace and I was struggling with the front tyre, so I wasn’t able. Instead, I just tried to manage the tyres and stick to him. Honestly, I wasn’t so confident going into the final lap because I’ve lost many head-to-head finishes with him in the past. But this time, we swapped roles—I used Dovi’s style and Dovi used Marquez’s style!—and that worked to overtake him on the corner exit.”