Month: May 2019

MotoGP: Dominant Marquez takes Honda’s 300th premier class win in France


Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took his third win of the 2019 season with another dominating performance at Le Mans.

Cold conditions from morning Warm Up carried through until the start of the French Grand Prix at 14:00 local time, with a track temperature of just 18°C making for treacherous opening laps.

Marquez was able to keep clear of trouble at the front, opening a small advantage over Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller, and while Miller was briefly able to get past, the Repsol Honda Team rider responded to the challenge on lap six and retook the lead.

Steadily building his lead lap-by-lap, Marquez crossed the line 1.9 seconds clear of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, claiming Honda’s 300th win in the premier class in the process.

The Spaniard said: “Of course here in Le Mans it’s always difficult with the temperature and the weather, especially today. I think this is the first time I have had a race where I had the soft tyre in the front but it was the safest option. I was focused on being consistent until I saw the gap increasing, I pushed a little bit more and into the low 32s until I saw I had two seconds. I’m happy with today’s result and it is fantastic to be able to take Honda’s 300th premier class win!”

The win is also Marquez’s 47th in the premier class, drawing equal with Jorge Lorenzo in third on the all time premier class wins list. Marquez now extends his lead in the MotoGP World Championship to eight points, Honda maintaining a healthy advantage in the Constructor Championship.

The win is Honda’s 300thvictory in the premier class, the first manufacturer to achieve such success in the premier class. Jim Redman and the Honda RC181 achieved Honda’s first win in the premier class back in 1966 at Hockenheim with Mike Hailwood becoming the second winner a few races later in Brno.

Freddie Spencer returned Honda to the top step of the podium in the 500cc class in 1982 at Spa-Franchoramps on the NS500. Takazumi Katayama would become the first Japanese rider to win in the 500cc class for Honda the same year.

1984 marked the debut of the NSR500 – the legendary 500cc machine taking a total of 132 wins and saw the likes of Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Alex Criville and Eddie Lawson claim the premier class title and seven Constructors World Championships.

The debut of the four-stroke era saw Honda achieve immediate success with the RC211V, winning the first race at the 2002 Japanese GP. The RC211V, RC212V and RC213V have seen Honda take 144 wins in the four-stroke era, including Marquez’s win at the French GP.

Honda’s 300 Premier Class Wins

Jim Redman 2
Mike Hailwood 8
Freddie Spencer 20
Takazumi Katayama 1
Randy Mamola 4
Wayne Gardner 18
Eddie Lawson 4
Pierfrancesco Chili 1
Mick Doohan 54
Alex Criville 15
Daryl Beattie 1
Alberto Puig 1
Luca Cadalora 2
Carlos Checa 2
Tadayuki Okada 4
Max Biaggi 5
Loris Capirossi 1
Alex Barros 6
Valentino Rossi 33
Tohru Ukawa 1
Sete Gibernau 8
Makoto Tamada 2
Nicky Hayden 3
Marco Melandri 5
Dani Pedrosa 31
Toni Elias 1
Andrea Dovizioso 1
Casey Stoner 15
Marc Marquez 47
Jack Miller 1
Cal Crutchlow 3

New kit: Alpinestars launches Zarco Supertech R Limited Edition

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The French MotoGP race weekend at the legendary Le Mans circuit is one of the highlights of the racing calendar, a heady mixture intoxicating history, Gallic passion and close racing. Local hero Johann Zarco has tasted success at his home track; in 2017 he finished second and became the first French rider to finish on the podium in the premier class at his home race since 1988, and he secured third in the Moto 2 race in 2015.

Johann is a back-to-back Moto2 Champion, and has a 125cc win, 15 Moto2 wins and six premier class podiums, four poles and four fastest laps to his name. Noted for his blistering speed, daring overtakes and aggression, Johann is one of MotoGP’s frontrunners, with his smooth riding style often in the thick of the action. The Johann Zarco 2019 Limited Edition Supertech R recognizes his devastating corner speed and bravery on two wheels. Featuring all of the technical innovations of Alpinestars class-leading Supertech R boot, the black, blue, white and red fluo colorway allows fans to enjoy an eye-catching, premium race boot fit for champions.

The Supertech R features performance innovations, including a redesigned compound rubber sole, an ergonomically profiled shin plate and a redesigned front flex area – all of which enhance the podium winning performance of this CE-certified boot.

MotoGP: Marquez masters a wet Le Mans to take another pole


Even a crash during Q2 couldn’t stop Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez from claiming his third pole position from five races as he conquered the tricky conditions at Le Mans.

With a track temperature of just 14°C and a brisk air temperature of 12°C, conditions were treacherous in FP4, and Marquez suffered a slow speed fall at Turn 9 early in the session.

Rain returned to the 4.2 km long Le Mans circuit the same moment as pit lane opened for Q2, and a second fall of the day, this time at Turn 6, after setting his fastest lap could not stop Marquez taking pole position for the French GP. It was Marquez’s 55th premier class pole and draws him level with Valentino Rossi and just three behind Mick Doohan’s record 58 premier class poles.

The Spaniard said: “Today was one of those days! The conditions meant you didn’t know if a slick or a wet tyre would be best with the light rain, it was really difficult. In Qualifying we knew we had to push on the first lap when there was the least water on track. Then with more water on track it got more difficult. I’m happy with this pole because it was a day where you could easily start from the back if you weren’t careful. Now we see what the weather does tomorrow!”

Tomorrow’s 27-lap French Grand Prix will take place at 14:00 local time, the weather forecast remaining unpredictable. The race presents Honda with the first opportunity to seal their 300th premier class victory.

WSBK: Rea dominates Superpole race at Imola


The first and only race at at Imola on Sunday was the Tissot Superpole Race, which provided fireworks once more. On a damp but drying circuit, there was drama before the race even started, as BMW’s Tom Sykes  missed the warm up lap and was forced to start from pit lane.

At the front, Ducati’s Chaz Davies got the jump from pole, while Race One winner Jonathan Rea went side-by-side with the Welshman, but the Ducati held firm and maintained the lead.

With the race settling down, a mistake from Davies at the final chicane allowed Rea and Alvaro Bautista on the other factory Ducati to get ahead of him. Davies now had to put in the hard work all over again, as reigning champion Rea began to pull out an advantage.

Davies soon despatched his team-mate and the two dominant forces of WSBK in the past four seasons – Rea and Davies – went head-to-head in terms of lap times, both on lap record pace. The gap momentarily came down to below a second, but Davies was unable to get on terms with Jonathan Rea, while Bautista rode answerless in third position.

Rea’s victory never looked in doubt and he powered to his first Tissot Superpole Race win. Davies and Bautista came home behind him, while Michael van der Mark took his best Imola result with a strong fourth. Team-mate Alex Lowes finished fifth, with Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam placed in sixth.

WSBK: Rampant Rea returns to winning ways in Race One at Imola


It was a welcome return to the top step of the podium for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, who put in a riding masterclass to take victory in Race One.

The Ulsterman enjoyed a bright start, but couldn’t get the better of Ducati’s Chaz Davies down into Tamburello. However, on the run to Acque Minerale, Davies suffered a problem and was forced to retire, handing Rea the lead while Davies’ team-mate Bautista moved up to second.

At the end of the opening lap, Rea and Bautista had the leading positions, with BMW’s Tom Sykes in third and ahead of Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark.

As the race settled down, Rea built a comfortable lead and was extending his advantage over Bautista by around 0.7s per lap. Bautista in turn was escaping the attention of Sykes but the main battle through the race was for fourth, with van der Mark leading Alex Lowes.

However, Lowes began to slip back, having been ill all weekend, and then Sykes suffered another mechanical issue, robbing the 2013 WorldSBK champ of a certain podium.

Sykes’ demise promoted a huge battle between van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu for the final podium position. The Turkish star made his move in the closing stages and got ahead of van der Mark. The pair then swapped paint and traded blows on the penultimate lap, colliding twice and fighting down to the wire.

Meanwhile, in a league of his own, Jonathan Rea blitzed the opposition in vintage fashion, taking his first win of the season to end the run of victories by Alvaro Bautista.

It is Jonathan Rea’s eighth win at Imola and his 72nd career victory in WSBK, ending his longest winless run since 2013. It is the 128th win for Kawasaki in WSBK.

MotoGP: Marquez romps to Jerez win


Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has become the first repeat premier class winner of 2019 after storming to victory in Jerez.

Marquez stormed off the line to lead the 23-rider field through the opening corners, and once at the front he never looked back. Lap eight saw the Spaniard begin to open a gap and begin to break away, steadily building an advantage with each corner and eventually crossing the line 1.654 seconds ahead of second place rider, Suzuki’s Alex Rins.

Marquez said: “This race was a mental race, more than a physical one. After the mistake in Austin it wasn’t easy to lead the race like that from beginning to end, but I knew I had the pace to do it and the bike to do it. I wanted to do a race like in Argentina and at the start in Austin to prove it was a mistake there. I felt good all weekend, smooth, comfortable and able to ride how I want. Thanks to the Repsol Honda Team, they’ve done an amazing job over the last few weeks and here this weekend. It’s great to be leading the championship again.”

Marquez took the holeshot from third on the grid, with Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli just getting the jump on his team-mate, polesitter team-mate Fabio Quartararo, to slot into second. But it was tight, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso initially threatening for P2 but then getting shuffled back to fifth behind Maverick Viñales on the factory Yamaha.

Marquez quickly set about getting into a rhythm at the front, but Morbidelli wasn’t letting the reigning champion escape. Little by little, however, the gap began to extend. And as the number 21 dropped off the back of the Repsol Honda in the lead, team-mate Quartararo was looking menacing in third. Soon enough, the Frenchman was able to capitalise on a small mistake for the Italian and it was the rookie polesitter who moved into second.

Unleashed, Quartararo soon set about getting on terms with Marquez’s pace but a mechanical issue stopped him in his tracks. This mishap moved Morbidelli in second and Suzuki’s Alex Rins in third.

However, the pace was too hot for Morbidelli and Rins, then Viñales, Dovizioso and Petrucci all got past.

Out at the front Marquez took the chequered flag ahead of Rins, but the fight for third was close, with Viñales and Dovizioso fighting until the very last corner for the final podium place, and although the Italian was close throughout the final lap looking for a way through, it was the Spaniard who took third.

Dovizioso took a decent fourth, ahead of team-mate Danilo Petrucci, with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi finishing sixth, Morbidelli seventh, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow eight, Takaaki Nakagami ninth and Honda test rider Stefan Bradl an impressive tenth.

The result was Marquez’s 46th win in the premier class, his 72nd across all classes, and sees him top the overall riders standings with 70 points, a point clear of second placed Rins. His 1’38.051 on Lap 15 of the race secured Marquez a new race lap record at the Jerez circuit along with his 25 World Championship points. He also becomes the third most successful Honda rider in the premier class, overtaking Jim Redman who claimed 45 wins, and he overtakes Lawson to become the sixth most successful MotoGP rider in terms of premier class podium finishes with 80.

MotoGP: rookie Quartararo rewrites history on way to pole in Jerez

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Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo became the youngest ever MotoGP pol sitter at 20 years, 14 days after setting a new Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto lap record in qualifying, a 1:36.880 seeing the Frenchman beat teammate Franco Morbidelli by 0.082 as the new Petronas Yamaha SRT outfit lockout the front of the grid, with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in third, 0.090 behind Quartararo.

At the start of the session it was Repsol Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo who led the field onto their first flying laps and stalking the number 99 was teammate Marquez, and the reigning champion was able to take full advantage of Lorenzo’s draft to set a 1:36.970.

Marquez emerged on his second set of Michelin slicks before the rest and it was looking good for the Honda rider to move the goal posts further from his rivals, but he lost time in the last sector and it was as you were when the rest of the field ventured back out on fresh rubber. Lorenzo wasn’t faring so well however, and a crash at Turn 2 ruined his qualifying.

Quartararo then put in a sensational lap to go into P1 with a blistering 1:36.880 – the best lap of the weekend and a new lap record, just ahead of Morbidelli, who propelled himself into P2, 0.082 off his teammate and 0.008 ahead of Marquez.

At this point, Marquez was gearing up for his third run. A tenth down in the first sector wasn’t what he was looking for and, in true 93 fashion, he was on ragged edge – but this proved costly. Horribly out of shape at Pedrosa Corner, he then compromised his hot lap even further with a huge front end slide at Turn 7 to end his pole position hopes, handing Quartararo his maiden MotoGP P1 grid slot start.

It means Petronas Yamaha took a sensational Spanish GP qualifying 1-2.

Marquez completes the front row, just ahead of Ducati’s Andrre Dovizioso in fourth, with Q1 graduate Maverick Viñales piloting his factory Yamaha to P5 after a good second run in Q2 to finish 0.234 from pole. Last year’s pole man Crutchlow completes the second row in sixth. Danilo Petrucci, a late crasher at Turn 1, will start seventh after looking strong all weekend. The Italian only 0.3 from P1 as he’s joined by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – his best qualifying in the premier class – and Alex Rins (Suzuki) on the third row.

MotoGP: Jerez Turn 6 named after Pedrosa

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Former MotoGP pilot Dani Pedrosa now has corner named after him at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto.

Turn 6, formerly Curva Dry Sac, is now officially known as ‘Pedrosa Corner’ after a presentation at the circuit on Friday evening.

The three-time World Champion joins names such as Jorge Lorenzo, Sito Pons, Angel Nieto, Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez and Alex Criville to have corners named after them at the circuit.

The Spaniard spent his entire grand prix career with Honda – starting in the 125cc class in 2001, followed by two seasons in 250 and then 13 years at the factory Repsol team in MotoGP, culminating in his final race at the 2018 season finale in Valencia.

Pedrosa and Honda claimed 54 race victories together, 31 in the premier-class, while winning the 125cc crown in 2003, then 250cc title in 2004 and 2005.