Month: April 2019

Road racing: Michael Dunlop switches to Alpinestars for 2019 campaign

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Michael Dunlop is the third most successful rider in the Isle of Man TT’s long and illustrious history and has 18 victories so far to his name. The northern Irish racer is widely recognised as one of road racing’s most determined and tenacious competitors, and the 2019 campaign sees him join the Alpinestars line-up as he races between the hedges in a bid to add more silverware to his name.

Michael will wear Supertech R boots and recently visited the company’s Italian HQ in Italy to get measured. He said: “Alpinestars is the best company in the world in terms of producing protective rider equipment. For 2019 my plan was to make sure I have the best materials available to me, and that is why I’ve chosen Supertech R boots. I firmly believe these boots are a different level. I’ve spoken to fellow road racer John McGuinness and I know the company listens to feedback from its athletes, and then uses this feedback to improve its products. It’s a good demonstration of the company’s commitment to protection.”

MotoGP: Rins takes maiden premier class win in incident-packed race at COTA

Race 3 MotoGp Austin

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Suzuki’s Alex Rins secured his maiden win in an incident-packed race in Texas, thus giving Suzuki’s its first premier class victory since the 2016 British GP.

As the lights went out it was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow who got the better launch out of the front three on the grid, with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi also getting off the line well as the duo pulled alongside polesitter Marc Marquez up the hill, but it was Marquez who was bravest on the brakes to grab the holeshot.

Rossi and Crutchlow slotted into second and third as the duo tried to keep tabs on the leader, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso making a stellar start from P13 to move up to P6 on the opening lap.

Marquez didn’t get away from the clutches of Rossi straight away in the opening couple of laps, but the reigning World Champion then started to pull the pin and by lap five, the gap was 1.4 seconds.

Behind the Spaniard it was quickly becoming a battle for second, with Rossi and Crutchlow fighting with Pramac’s Jack Miller and Rins.

Crutchlow’s race then came to a premature end as he crashed out of contention at Turn 11 on Lap 6, which started a chain reaction of misery for Honda. With a three second lead on Lap 9, Marquez was clear of the rest and the magnificent seven was well in sight. But then the unthinkable happened. The King of COTA crashed, tucking the front at Turn 12, and through he remounted, he was unable to restart his RC213V.

Then, sensationally, he was quickly followed by teammate Jorge Lorenzo, with another chain issue forcing the Spaniard to retire.

Back at the front, Rins had got past Miller for third and it was soon Rossi vs Rins for the Americas GP win. With ten laps to go, Rossi was cracking the whip at the front with Rins less than half a second back, and Miller a furher two seconds adrift in a lonely third.

With four laps to go Rins made his move, with a clean and crisp pass up the inside. Rossi attempted to bite straight back at Turn 12, but ran in too hot and ran wide. This left Rins with a 0.7 advantage with three to go and then with two to go, with the gap still hovering at half a second, Rossi ran in deep at Turn 11.

Rins never looked back, crossing the line to take his maiden win in the class, thus becoming the first rider to win at the Circuit of the Americas in all the classes.

Rossi rode to his second consecutive second of the season to claim his 198th premier class podium, with Miller holding off some late pressure from Dovizioso to take his first Ducati podium.

Dovizioso finished fourth, ahead of Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli in fifth, with  Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci in sixth. Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo finished in seventh, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro in eighth, Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia in ninth and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the top ten.

It was a miserable race for Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales. Both he and compatriot Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were handed ride through penalties after clear jump starts, although Viñales bizarrely penalised himself even further by also taking the long lap penalty before coming through pitlane for his penalty.

New kit: Alpinestars Limited Edition kenny Roberts Sr. Supertech R


Alpinestars has launched a Limited Edition Kenny Roberts Sr. Supertech R boot at the Circuit of the Americas as a celebration of American racing.

King Kenny’s distinct riding style, honed on the dirt, redefined premier class motorcycle racing, with his kneedown style soon being adopted by the rest of the field.

King Kenny enjoyed 60 starts in 500cc racing, securing 24 wins, 44 podiums, 22 poles and 27 fastest laps as he dominated the class.

Regarded as a legend of the modern era, the Kenny Roberts Sr. Limited Edition Supertech R recognizes King Kenny’s racing success, his revolutionary riding style and his bravery. 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.

During the presentation of his Limited Edition Supertech R Boot, at the US MotoGP round, Circuit of the Americas, Kenny expressed his views on the boots and the design: “From the beginning, I needed boots that gave me good feeling and with these new boots, Alpinestars has always been able to keep the comfort level. It feels like a street shoe that is made for racing. That is hard to achieve and Alpinestars did a great job with this. For me, I want to put a boot on and not feel like I have one on, and that’s not easy to do. Not only do the boots look good, but they do a good job for what a rider needs.”

MotoGP: Marquez grabs another COTA pole after stormy qualifying session

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez secured a seventh straight pole position at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas after setting a 2:03.787 in Q2 to finish 0.273 clear of Yamaha’s second Valentino Rossi, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completing the front row in Texas.

After horrendous weather throughout the morning in Austin, the lightening and rain was replaced with beautiful blue skies above the Circuit of the Americas for qualifying. Normal service was resumed at the beginning of Q2 as Marquez slammed in a 2:03.787 straight out the gate, chasing down teammate Jorge Lorenzo – who topped the timesheets in Q1 – to put in the best time of the weekend. Lorenzo then encountered a chain issue with his Honda machine heading onto his second flying lap behind the number 93 – a Marquez-style park it and run down pitlane followed for the five-time World Champion.

Meanwhile, Marquez’ scorcher of a time was seemingly well out of sight as the riders completed their first flying laps, with Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales a full two seconds back before his teammate Rossi jumped up to second, 0.733 the gap. No one could get closer than that to Marquez after the first runs though, with Rossi emerging as best of the rest ahead of Pramac’s Jack Miller, Viñales, Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Crutchlow.

The riders emerged out of the box for their second time attacks, with Marquez unable to better his sensational first lap at the first attempt on fresh rubber.

Marquez said: “I’m happy to be on pole position but for tomorrow nothing is certain yet. Today we were fastest and got pole, but no one knows about race pace or tyres yet as we lost FP3. We will have to work well in Warm Up to make up for the time we sadly lost to the weather. After Warm Up we will know more but there are many people who could be in the fight.”

But it wasn’t the same story for his rivals behind, with Rossi improving to move within three tenths of P1, with Rins and Miller exchanging laps good enough for the final front row slot just behind. However, neither would occupy P3 for long as Crutchlow crossed the line to displace the duo, the British rider just 0.087 off Rossi.

Miller took top Ducati honours in P4, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro just behind. The Spaniard enjoyed a stellar Q2 session to secure KTM’s best qualifying position in fifth, just 0.685 from pole, with Viñales improving on his last lap to grab a second row start in P6.

The Spaniard’s lap knocked Rins down a place to seventh, with Q1 graduate Danilo Petrucci piloting his Ducati to eighth ahead of Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. Teammate Franco Morbidelli qualified  P10, ahead of Lorenzo and rookie Francesco Bagnaia on the second Pramac bike.

The major talking points from qualifying were the absence of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso from Q2 and Lorenzo’s bike throwing a chain, with paddock insiders posting the finger at Honda’s carbon fibre swingarm; many speculate that the swingarm now flexes too much to keep a chain on at full throttle on a slow turn.

Road racing: Dunlop finally gets his hands on new BMW S1000RR

Screenshot_2019-04-12 Kyle White ( Kyle3white) Twitter

Michael Dunlop has taken to the track for the first time on the all-new Tyco BMW S1000RR during a shakedown test at the Kirkistown Circuit in County Down, Northern Ireland.

The latest version of the German Superbike was unveiled at the 2018 EICMA motorcycle show in November, but Dunlop’s Tyco BMW team and Peter Hickman’s Smiths Racing BMW team only took delivery of their machines in the last month. Since then it’s been a race against time for the teams to get the bikes prepared and built to official Superbike specification.

Despite their best efforts, neither team had their bikes ready for the official British Superbike tests in Monteblanco, Spain or Portimao, Portugal last month and they were also forced to miss the final BSB test earlier this week at Silverstone.

The BMW has been the weapon of choice on the roads since Dunlop took a memorable Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT hat-trick riding for the Hawk BMW team in 2014. Since then, 11 of the 15 1000cc races around the TT Mountain Course have been won on the BMW S1000RR with Dunlop, Hickman and Ian Hutchinson each winning for the German manufacturer.

MotoGP: Hayden’s iconic #69 racing number to be retired at COTA

Nicki Hayden

Nicky Hayden’s iconic #69 will be retired from premier class racing in a special ceremony at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

The event kicks off at Midday on Friday and will see FIM President Jorge Viegas and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta preside over a ceremony attended by Hayden’s family and friends in which the Kentucky Kid’s #69 will be officially retired from the MotoGP class.

Later that day, the MotoGP paddock will join Hayden’s family, friends and track marshals at Turn 18 ‘Hayden Hill’ grass berm, where Hayden’s 2006 Championship-winning Repsol Honda will be on display.

Race day will then see the Hayden family present at the front of the MotoGP grid, together with Nicky’s 2006 RC211V.

WSBK: Another hat-trick of race wins for runaway Bautista at Aragon

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Alvaro Bautista enjoyed another perfect round at his home race at Aragon to maintain his perfect start to the WSBK season, taking another three wins to bring his total to the season to nine.

The MotoGP exile produced a carbon copy performance, taking a comfortable Race One win before adding the Sprint Race and Race Two victories to his tally to extend his lead in the standings to 39 points over Jonathan Rea.

The Spaniard said: “It has been an extraordinary weekend for me. Winning three races here in Spain in front of my family, my friends and the Spanish fans was really great. In all three, I was able to make my own strategy, that is get a fast start and maintain my own pace.

“The conditions in the three races were different, especially today in the Superpole Race which took place in the morning when it was very cold. Luckily it got a bit warmer for Race 2, but you could really feel the wind.

“Despite this, I was able to stay focussed, understand the situation on the track and push hard all the way.”

Jonathan Rea took a hat-trick of second-place finishes to limit the damage, with Ducati’s Chaz Davies finally enjoying a strong race weekend, taking a brace of third-place finishes.

Road racing: TT 2019 Superbike start numbers announced

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The top twenty seeded riders for the 2019 Isle of Man TT Races are confirmed as follows
 No. 1    Conor Cummins Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda
 No. 2    Dean Harrison Silicone Engineering Kawasaki
 No. 3    John McGuinness Norton
 No. 4    Ian Hutchinson Honda Racing
 No. 5    James Hillier Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki
 No. 6    Michael Dunlop Tyco BMW
 No. 7    Gary Johnson RAF Kawasaki
 No. 8    Michael Rutter Batham’s Honda RCV
 No. 9    David Johnson Honda Racing
 No. 10  Peter Hickman Smith’s BMW
 No. 11  Lee Johnston Ashcourt Racing BMW
 No. 12  Derek McGee Doyne/McGee Racing Kawasaki
 No. 13  Sam West Cycle Store BMW
 No. 14  Phil Crowe Sheffpack BMW
 No. 15  Jamie Coward PreZ Racing Yamaha
 No. 16  Derek Sheils Burrows Engineering / Kelly Developments Suzuki
 No. 17  Shaun Anderson Anderson Racing Developments Suzuki
 No. 18  Davey Todd BMW
 No. 19  Daley Mathison BMW
 No. 20  Dominic Herbertson Davies Motorsport Kawasaki

MotoGP: Marquez destroys the field to romp to victory in Argentina


Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took a brilliant victory in Termas de Rio Hondo with a dominant performance at the front, taking the championship lead in the process to leave Argentina four points clear on the way to Texas.

The Spaniard said: “Today was a perfect day. I have been so concentrated since FP1 and everything worked well, just a tiny hiccup in FP4. But we kept pushing, pushing and in the race I knew that my strongest point was the first five laps. I put everything in and then I saw the difference, one second, two seconds, three seconds and then I settled into my rhythm and pushed a little less. I managed the tyres and the bike, it was a really sweet feeling with the bike.”

Marquez took the holeshot from pole as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso pounced for second, with Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales losing out from the middle of the front row and Valentino Rossi leapfrogging his teammate. Marquez immediately pulled the pin to make a gap, with Rossi soon attacking Dovizioso.Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller was next to go on the offensive as he dived past Rossi, but the move didn’t stick, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow getting past Viñales to tag onto the Australian. Chopping and changing, Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci was next to attack the #12 Yamaha in the melee – before Miller took Rossi, with Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli trying to get past the number 46 too.

It was a breathless tussle over the first two laps but one rider was then forced out of it: Crutchlow was given a Ride Through penalty for jumping the start. That took him out of the battle as Dovizioso, Miller and Rossi found Morbidelli back on their tail and Rossi pounced on Dovizioso just as Morbidelli pounced on Miller in turn. Spectacular though it was, it was shortlived as both Yamahas then headed wide and the ensuing shuffle reset the battle. Dovizioso and Rossi followed by Morbidelli, Petrucci, Miller and Viñales, all fighting it out for the podium.

As the laps ticked on the Dovizioso-Rossi battle lit up and started to pull away from the pack behind. Dovizioso blasted down the straights, Rossi made the most of the Yamaha’s strengths in the corners; the duo trading positions at times but able to stay ahead of the battle that now included Suzuki’s Alex Rins as he arrived on the scene from 16th on the grid.

As that raged on, the last lap was a relaxed one for Marquez at the front. The reigning Champion completed his stunning performance and took his first win of the year, but the battle for second stayed tense to the line.

Rossi stalked his prey for the first half of the lap, but at Turn 7 he pounced to perfection. A block pass saw the Italian not only get past his compatriot but also create just enough of a gap to keep him ahead until the end; resulting in Rossi returning to the podium for the first time since the Sachsenring last season. Dovizioso, meanwhile, although forced to settle for third, achieved his goal of getting on the podium at a track that usually proved tough for Ducati.

The fight for fourth saw Rins and Miller locked in battle, and in the end it was the Australian who took the spoils, coming home in the same position as last year and as top Independent Team rider.

Rins took an incredible fifth after gaining 11 places, with Petrucci ultimately dropping into the clutches of Viñales and Morbidelli. Viñales attacked Petrucci, Petrucci held him off and the two Yamahas behind then came into contact, Morbidelli riding into the back of the factory bike and sending both riders crashing out, allowing Petrucci to take sixth.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami took a week deserved seventh, with Fabio Quartararo piloting his Petronas Yamaha to a credible eighth, finishing top rookie. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro took ninth ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro in tenth, with Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira taking 11th,

Repsol Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo finished a disappointing 12th, ahead of Crutchlow, Francesco Bagnaia on the Pramac Ducati and Johann Zarco on the factory KTM.