Author: Simon Toyne

Lincolnshire Biker and PMF Biker magazine editor, Goodwood (grrc.goodwood.com) motorcycle road tester and reviewer, UlsterGP contributor, Paddock chatter contributor, Bikefan.co.uk editor, Ducati 749S & Aprilia RSV-R Factory owner, full-time sportsbike lover, part-time deer slayer, petrolhead and owner of Write On Media (Writeonmedia.strikingly.com)

Classic racing – Brittens to return for IOM Classic TT Races

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The iconic New Zealand-built Britten machine will make its return to the Isle of Man in August with not one but two of John Britten’s ground-breaking creations taking to the Mountain Course once more at the Classic TT Races.

The pink and blue Britten and CRS Britten, owned respectively by Kevin Grant and Bob Robbins, were both campaigned at the 1994 Isle of Man TT races and will be ridden this year by Bruce Anstey and fellow Kiwi Stephen Briggs in the Classic Racer Magazine Classic TT Retro Parade on Monday 28th August.

Grant’s machine won the BEARS World Championship in the 1990s and was ridden by Nick Jefferies at the 1994 Isle of Man TT Races with the 1993 Formula One TT winner lapping at more than 118mph from a standing start in the 1994 Senior Race before being side-lined with a gearbox issue.

The machine has continually been demonstrated around the world since and returned to the TT in 2004 with triple World Champion and double TT winner Hugh Anderson MBE on board. It was last seen on the island in 2014 when Anstey paraded the bike during the Classic TT festival and the 12-time TT Race winner will again put the bike through its paces.

The CRS Britten competed at the TT on more occasions than any of the other Britten machines with Shaun Harris’ ride in the 1996 Senior being one of the most popular finishes of recent times. The machine has only recently returned from being on museum display to being demonstrated at events internationally.

Briggs, who competed in the Supersport 600cc TT races in 1994 and 1996 will ride the equally striking black and yellow CRS Britten. Both bikes have been rebuilt completely to ensure there are no issues and are sure to be one of the most popular attractions at the 2017 Classic TT.

Tickets for Classic TT races and events are available to book now starting from as little at £5, see theClassic TTpage for details and a full schedule of events.

New metal – Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition

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Meet the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition – the company’s farewell to its desmodromic V-twin platform.

However, this isn’t a limited edition, but instead a numbered edition machine – Ducati will continue to manufacture the Panigale R Final Edition for as long as there is consumer demand for it.

Looking at the bike’s spec list, it’s clear that this bike is a celebration of the Panigale, and the bike features the best bits of the model range.

Each 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is individually numbered and will be offered in a dedicated tri-colour scheme. An offshoot of the 1299 Superleggera engine, the Final Edition Superquadro packs nearly 209 bhp at 11,000rpm and peak torque of 142Nm at 9,000rpm. It features a lighter crankshaft with a larger crank pin and tungsten balancing pads, while the con-rods, like the intake-exhaust valves, are made of titanium. As on Superbike engines, the two 116 mm diameter pistons have just two segments and slide on steel cylinder liners.

It’s also Euro 4 compliant.

The chassis set-up on the Ducati supersport is the same as that of the Panigale R, and features an ultra-compact monocoque and Ohlins suspension. The bike also gets the Euro 4 compliant all-titanium Akrapovic exhaust with dual silencer, just like the one on the WSBK Panigale R racer.

The electronics package features the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and is equipped with cornering ABS, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO), Ducati Traction Control EVO (DTC EVO) and Engine Brake Control (EBC). These systems have default settings linked to the selected Riding Mode (Race, Sport and Wet) but can be personalised as desired.

 

Tested – BMW RnineT Racer

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There are now five bikes bearing the R nine T moniker, and this is the latest addition to the family – the Racer.

Essentially the sporty version of the range, the Racer S definitely looks the part. Long and low, the Racer comes with a fairing complete with BMW Motorsport paint, a steel fuel tank, a set of clip-on bars, new rearsets and a single seat. The rest – the headlight, clocks, the tail – has already been seen on the original R nineT. Yes, it may be a spare parts lash-up, but the overall effect is stunning – this looks every inch the carefully crafted cafe racer. This is in no small part down to the fact that Boxer motor looks perfectly so at home in a café-racer, especially one as sleekly proportioned as the Racer.

The first thing that makes itself known when sitting on the bike’s comfortable and beautifully sculpted solo seat is the long reach to the bars. It’s really, really long and effectively forces you to lean forward across the long petrol tank, putting pressure on your wrists, forearms and neck.

Trundling through town this splayed riding position feels counter intuitive, but leave town, head for the open roads and wind the throttle on and you’ll notice that that low fairing does a good job of directing some of the wind from your chest, allowing you to take some weight off your wrists.

On the move, the dohc, 1170cc eight-valve Boxer engine, which is based on the unit which previously powered bikes such as the R1200GS, has a broad spread of torque and enough power for very lively and engaging ride. The fuelling is crisp and the mid-range acceleration is strong, meaning that the Racer pulls cleanly at low speed, surges past traffic with a twist of the throttle, and sits smoothly and effortlessly at the legal limit.

It’s vibey though – its unique configuration, whereby both pistons go in and out at the same time, means you’re always aware of the engine thumping furiously below you. Admittedly, it’s never that intrusive, but it’s still there nonetheless. No doubt BMW owners would refer to this as ‘character’.

Push on and you’ll notice just how much mass there is over the Racer’s front wheel. This, when combined with the narrow clip-ons, means that the Racer struggles with the tight and really twisty stuff, initially feeling reluctant to turn in, but it’s perfectly happy on the more flowing, sweeping bends. It’s very much a bike which responds to firm rider input and feels stable and predictable, allowing you to push it to the limit of its modest ground clearance.

As you’d expect from BMW, there are a wide range of accessories for the bike with everything from a brushed aluminium petrol tank to a pillion seat available. And if customising your Racer feels too much like hard work, there’s even a Racer S version, complete wire wheels and heated grips.

So, the Racer is a very good looking bike which is perfect for short Sunday blast and popping down to the local bike meet for a drink and a blether. Try one, you may just like it.

 

 

BSB – Byrne takes first season double at Snetterton

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Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne delivered his strongest performance of the BSB season so far to claim his first double win of the season for the Be Wiser Ducati team, holding off the challenge from arch rival Josh Brookes in both races.
On the opening lap of race one Leon Haslam fired himself to the front on his racing return ahead of James Ellison, but the McAMS Yamaha was instantly on the attack and claimed the lead with a move at Brundle. Pole sitter Byrne had dropped to fourth at the start, but by the second lap he had pushed his way back into third place when he passed Dan Linfoot on the brakes into Riches.

A lap later and Byrne was up to second, out dragging Haslam down the Senna Straight to move ahead. The defending champion then had Ellison in his sight and on the fifth lap a mistake from the race leader gave Byrne the gap he needed to snatch the position and move to the front of the pack.

Byrne was being chased by Ellison but there was further disappointment for the McAMS Yamaha rider when he suffered a technical problem which forced him to retire from the race. Byrne had the advantage but behind there was a battle of the Australians as Jason O’Halloran was fending off the challenge from Brookes.
Brookes forced the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha ahead and then held off his Honda Racing rival as he bid to close down Byrne, but at the flag it wasn’t enough to make a final strike back; however he showed his rivals he was back in business as he bids for a second crown.

O’Halloran was soon under pressure from a closing Haslam over the final laps but he managed to fend off the closing JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider to return to the podium. Haslam celebrated his return to racing action with a fourth place ahead of the second Honda Racing Fireblade of Dan Linfoot.

Jake Dixon got the better of Peter Hickman in the closing stages with John Hopkins, Bradley Ray and Sylvain Guintoli completing the top ten.

In the second race Byrne again started from the pole position, but it was Brookes that launched off the line fastest at the start to lead the pack into Riches for the first time ahead of Ellison and Byrne with Haslam holding fourth place.

Hopkins and O’Halloran though were moving through the field and the pair were soon on the back of the leading trio of Brookes, Ellison and Byrne. At the front Byrne made a move on Ellison on the ninth lap to close in on his Australian rival, but the McAMS Yamaha wasn’t going to settle behind the five-time champion. However as Ellison bid for podium contention, he crashed out unhurt at Murrays.

At the front Byrne was closing on Brookes and on lap 14 the Be Wiser Ducati rider pushed ahead on the run down to Riches, which O’Halloran repeated on Hopkins as the pair exchanged blows in the battle for third position.

Byrne was able to hold off the counter attack from Brookes to the finish to claim his first double win of the season with O’Halloran completing the first double podium for the Honda Racing team as Hopkins dropped to fifth when Jake Dixon made a last corner move on the final lap.

Hickman claimed sixth place which fired him into the Showdown six in the standings ahead of Linfoot and Haslam. Guintoli and Mossey completed the top ten, with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider still holding the advantage at the top of the standings ahead of Brands Hatch.

Byrne said: “It’s been a good weekend and in both races, I used my head and bided my time. I didn’t make the greatest of starts in race one but stayed safe in the first few laps and we’d worked hard over the weekend to make sure we were fast throughout the race.

“I took my time to get to the front and then at half race distance pushed on a bit and it all panned out perfectly.

“Race two was definitely tougher as Josh (Brookes) was setting a good pace. He put the hammer down around half race distance so I made my move and obliterated my own lap record to grab the lead soon after.

“The Be Wiser Ducati team did a great job all weekend and after only getting a couple of thirds at Knockhill and with Glenn getting injured, it’s good to put the smiles back on everyone’s faces, especially ahead of my home round at Brands Hatch which is next.”

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Race one result:
1.  Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
2.  Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +3.295s
3.  Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +7.698s
4.  Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +7.885s
5.  Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +11.656s
6.  Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +14.513s
7.  Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +14.698s
8.  John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +16.596s
9.  Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +17.140s
10.Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +21.341s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Race two result:
1.  Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
2.  Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.686s
3.  Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +7.701s
4.  Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +8.261s
5.  John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +8.544s
6.  Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +13.576s
7.  Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +13.615s
8.  Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +17.625s
9.  Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +20.022s
10.Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +23.088s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Snetterton:
1.  Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 147
2.  Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 140
3.  Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 132
4.  Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 118
5.  Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 115
6.  Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 93

MotoGP – Marqyez extends German winning streak

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Reigning Champion takes eighth successive win at the Sachsenring, under pressure from a stunning rookie ride by home hero Folger.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has taken an incredible eighth win in a row at the Sachsenring, extending his run from the 125 World championship to another year of the premier class – with all those wins from pole.

However, it was anything but easy, however – with German rookie Jonas Folger on the Tech 3 Yamaha pushing the reigning champion throughout the race in a stunning ride to his first podium. Dani Pedrosa on the seconf Repsol Honda completed the podium.

Marquez took the lead into Turn 1 from pole, with teammate Dani Pedrosa slotting into second as Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo sliced through from P6 on the grid to third, pushing Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci and Jonas Folger back.

Marquez and Pedrosa began to pull away in the lead as Folger charged through to get himself into third, and then started threatening the Repsol Honda duo in the lead.

The Tech 3 rookie look composed and smooth and quickly took Pedrosa and prepared to attack Marquez – pushing through soon after and below lap record pace.

With Petrucci through on Lorenzo into fourth, it was Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha who struck next, with the Italian, Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati and Petrucci battling for fourth as Pedrosa began to drop back from the lead duo.

Folger then headed wide and Marquez took the opportunity, but couldn’t shake the German.

That’s the way it stayed – with Marquez’ pitboard remaining +0.1 lap after lap, and the rookie not for giving up. Facing down the reigning.
Finally it was a small mistake that saw Folger run deep, and Marquez pulled the pin to stretch the gap – eventually crossing the line for win number eight just over three seconds clear.

Folger’s tyres were shot, but he kept his head to cross the line in second for his first premier class podium, sealing the deal in an incredible performance at his home race. Dani Pedrosa completed the podium after a more lonely ride in the latter stages, also bouncing back from a tough Dutch GP.

As the top ten battled it out further, Rossi found his fourth under attack from Dovizioso, with team-mate Viñales then joining the fight. After some stunning wheel-to-wheel action, it was Viñales who took P4, with teammate Rossi close behind to complete the top five.

Bautista took P6 after an impressive ride, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro crossing the line in seventh for a good haul of points for the Noale factory ahead of the summer break.

Championship leader going into the race, Dovizioso crossed the line in eighth and remains third in the standings – ahead of a stunning comeback from Johann Zarco (who guided his Tech  Yamaha to ninth after fighting from P19 on the grid. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completed the top ten, with Jorge Lorenzo crossing the line in P11 after running at the front earlier in the race.

Danilo Petrucci was another who fell back, taking twelfth ahead of another double points finish for Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda completed the top fifteen.

Marquez said: “I’m very, very happy. I knew before the weekend that this was an important moment in the Championship and that the Sachsenring was an important circuit for us. It was the place to take a risk if necessary and to try to win. So I’m happy we took these 25 points and the lead in the Championship before the summer break.

“I wish to dedicate this win to Nicky (Hayden) and his family. I had promised this to myself after his incident because we had some very good moments together and he was a friend.

“The race was very tight. Honestly, before the start I thought I would have to battle with Dani, but actually there was also another very fast opponent. I was very surprised at the beginning to see Jonas there, and I thought he might stay in between with the other riders, but he actually remained there! He was quite a tough opponent!

“The Championship is very close with four riders within 10 points and with Dani also not far away. Everything is open, so we’ll keep the same mentality, the same positivity and hard work. Now we have a few days of holidays, but not too much to be ready for Brno test!”

 

 

BSB – Shakey smashes Snetterton lap record to take pole

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Defending MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne smashed the existing lap record of Snetterton to set the fastest ever lap of the Norfolk circuit on his way to celebrating pole position ahead of tomorrow’s two races.

The top nine riders prepared themselves for the first Superpole shootout of the season and first to exit pitlane was championship leader Luke Mossey. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider set the benchmark with his fastest lap of the weekend, with Jakub Smrz making his first appearance in Superpole. The Czech rider made a mistake at Wilson and had to settle for second.

Next up to attack a flying lap was Leon Haslam, who had fired himself into Superpole in the final stages of Q2. He then outpaced his team-mate to move to the top of the times with his flying lap as Dan Linfoot then rolled out of pitlane to start his Superpole bid for the top.

Linfoot’s best effort put him third fastest behind the JG Speedfit Kawasakis of Haslam and Mossey as Jason O’Halloran on the second of the Honda Racing Fireblades began his flying lap. The Australian was gaining momentum and he crossed the line to move ahead and put himself as the new target at the top of the times.

James Ellison was next to shoot out for his Superpole lap on the McAMS Yamaha and he was consistently improving, as he crossed the line he had done just enough to push O’Halloran back into second with just Josh Brookes, Jake Dixon and Byrne left to set a lap.

Brookes was wrestling with the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha but he could only post the fifth fastest time as Dixon got his flying lap underway at the RAF Reserves Kawasaki’s home circuit. Knockhill double winner Dixon was only marginally faster than Brookes to put himself fourth and then all eyes were on Byrne.

The five-time champion set a blistering pace to lap the 2.968-mile circuit in the fastest ever time, with an incredible lap of 1m:46.024s to put him 0.537s ahead of Ellison to claim pole position ahead of Ellison and O’Halloran who complete the front row.

  1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:46.024s
  2. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +0.537s
  3. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +1.082s
  4. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +1.096s
  5. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +1.327s
  6. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +1.331s
  7. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +1.486s
  8. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +2.093s
  9. Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing BMW) +2.139s

MotoGP – Marquez extends Sachsenring pole record

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Marc Marquez continued his Sachsenring dominance by taking his eighth successive pole at the venue in a washed out Q2.

The reigning champion Marc Marquez took his sixty-eight career pole position in career, but it was anything but easy for the number 93 as  Pramac Racing’sa Danilo Petrucci pushed him hard. Only a tenth and a half back despite the conditions, ‘Petrux’ starts second to split the Repsol Hondas, with Dani Pedrosa completing the front row after a weekend of impressive pace.

Marquez said: “When I saw that it was going to be a wet qualifying session, I set a front-row position as my target. Anyway, I’ve felt very good on the bike since the beginning and I saw that the rain was easing off, so I tried to find a good rhythm as I prepared to attack in the final stages.

“Halfway into the session there was a bit of confusion with Maverick. In qualifying everyone pushes a lot and there was some contact, but luckily nothing happened. In the end I was able to do a very good lap and I’m quite happy with that, as it’s always very difficult to manage in the rain.

“Now we just need to focus on the race, which will be tough as there are many fast riders with a good pace, starting with my teammate! It seems that it won’t rain, but whatever conditions we find, it will be okay, as we have a really good pace both in the dry and in the wet.”

In a late rush for pole as the sun began to peek out, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was a key protagonist in the session and will start fourth, ahead of home hero and rookie Jonas Folger on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo completes the second row after putting in a solid if not spectacular performance as he gets to grips with the Desmosedici in the rain.

KTM’s Pol Espargaro was the second man to move through from Q1 with Petrucci, and the Spaniard took the Austrian factory’s best ever qualifying result in seventh to continue the incredible form into Q2. Older brother Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha complete the third row.

Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso was another of those to have a slightly more difficult session to pilot his Ducati to tenth, but starts ahead of key rival in the points standings Maverick Viñales on the second factory Yamaha bike, who was eleventh fastest in the wet. Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati completes the top twelve on the grid from Q2.

Classic racing – Lincolnshire legends to spearhead Suzuki assault at Spa

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Lincolnshire legends Guy Martin and Pete Boast will join Team Classic Suzuki for the Spa Bikers’ Classic on July 1, with the duo set to campaign the team’s Suzuki Vintage Parts-supported Katana in the four-hour race.

Martin returns to the brand after a disastrous stint at the NW2100 and the TT and NW200 for Martin who labelled the 2017 Honda Fireblade ‘a Jonah’ after suffering a big crash during practice, while Pete Boast – no stranger to endurance racing – claimed British and European Flat Track titles with the Suzuki.

Team Classic Suzuki principal, Steve Wheatman, said: “We’re really pleased to be welcoming Guy and Pete to the team for this round of the Classic Endurance series, both have strong links with Suzuki and both love their classic racing.

“The Spa Classic is an excellent event that is well-known across Europe. It’s always well-attended, with plenty going on alongside the four-hour race for fans to enjoy. But of course, the four-race is why we’re going, and after the disappointment of Donington we want a good result.”

The Katana debuted at the Donington Park 4 Hour round of the series but failed to make a single lap after Jamie Whitham lost control and wrecked the bike in the process.

The Spa Classic takes place from 1-2 July at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, with Team Classic Suzuki taking part in the four-hour race that starts at 20:00 on Saturday.

MotoGP – Rossi rolls back the years to win at Assen

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Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi brought penned another stunning chapter in what is now the longest winning career in the history of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at the ‘Cathedral’ of speed, as #46 took his 115th win at the Motul TT Assen, more than 20 years after his first.

The nine-time World Champion completed a challenging weekend in mixed conditions with a superb win, giving him the longest winning career through all classes, spread over 20 years and 313 days.

Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from fourth position as darker skies loomed, quickly slotting in behind Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez in third place, setting a provisional fastest lap of the race on lap three and four, with Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci tagging along.

The Doctor piled on the pressure with 17 laps to go and overtook Marquez a lap later in the first corner. He duplicated this manoeuvre on the next lap to take over the lead from Zarco, which was followed by a touch between the two in turn 4, but the Italian kept the lead. Four laps later the Factory Yamaha man inched away as his pursuers battled for second place.

The Doctor increased his lead to about a second, but with 8 laps left white flags came out as rain started to fall. Rossi was forced to lower his pace, allowing his rivals to close up. Adrenaline levels reached an all-time high for the VR46 fans as their hero fought tooth and nail to hold off his rival. Petrucci passed him with five laps to go, but the nine-time World Champion wasn’t going to let the win slip away that easily. A lap later he charged past his compatriot in the chicane to regain the lead.

The last laps were filled with drama as the pair had to deal with backmarkers, but Rossi held firm, taking a sensational win with a 0.063s advantage. Just six hundredths of a second was the distance between victory and podium, as Rossi just beat compatriot Petrucci over the line, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez winning a three-way fight for third to complete the rostrum in another close contest, beating Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) by 0.042 at the flag.

Rossi said: “I’m so happy, and for different reasons, because it’s a very important victory for the championship, but especially the feeling of coming back to the number one spot after one year is fantastic. Sincerely, I race with motorcycles for this feeling: for what I feel in the five or six final laps of the race. That’s always great and especially after a year without a victory. It was a great race and a great battle with Petrucci and everybody else. I’m also happy from a technical point of view, because we worked a lot on the bike and we changed the chassis and now I feel like I can ride the bike more in my own manner, in a better way. Everything is open and this year we discovered that, from one track to the other, the situation can change a lot. We have to wait for next week and try to be competitive also at the Sachsenring.”

Today’s results see Rossi move up to third place in the championship standings with a 108-point total. He is now three points behind his teammate Viñales in second place. The sensational win sees Yamaha hold the lead in the constructor championship with a 22-point margin and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP remain the leaders in the team standings by 28 points as they move on to Germany for the next round at Sachsenring in one week’s time.

MotoGP – stunning last lap gives Zarco pole at Assen

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Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco took his first ever premier class pole position at the Dutch GP, dueling it out with reigning champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda right to the wire.

Marquez crossed the line first and his stunning lap left him in first position, but the flying Frenchman hit back immediately with a sensational ride to take his first pole on his final lap.

Zarco’s Assen heroics also make him the first French rider to take pole since Olivier Jacque in 2002.

Another rider who put in a riding masterclass was Danilo Petrucci, who followed up his first ever front row in the Catalan GP by repeating the feat in the Netherlands in very different conditions.

Factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi looked a contender for the top spot until his final sector, and although ultimately falling short, the Doctor heads the second row and has good scope to attack.

Scott Redding starts a season-best fifth after graduating from Q1 and topping FP3 on his Pramac Ducati, and Jonas Folger on the second Tech 3 Yamaha completes Row 2 after another impressive in the rain.

Alvaro Bautista piloted his satellite Ducati to P7 for his best QP of the season ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso completing the third row after suffering a crash in QP.

Aprilia’s Sam Lowes made the most of his first ever Q2 appearance, taking a top ten start to head up Row 4, ahead of championship leader Maverick Viñales on the factory Yamaha.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa starts from P12 after a more difficult day in the rain.