MotoGP

MotoGP: Marquez reigns supreme at home GP

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Marc Marquez celebrated a dominating home victory at the Catalan GP, riding to the front early on and controlling the race to take the 48th premier class win of his career.

The hottest conditions of the weekend met the MotoGP World Championship as the 24-rider strong field lined up on the grid. 51°C track temperature caused Marc Marquez little issue as he relished an early fight as the lights went out.

Marquez would soon find himself leading his home Grand Prix with a comfortable advantage due to incidents behind.

Consistently lapping in the mid to low 1’40s during the early stages of the race, Marquez maintained his advantage to cross the line 2.660s clear of second place.

The Spaniard said: “I chose the soft rear to try and push in the beginning and to try to not overheat the tyre but to try to be constant and fast. All of the Repsol Honda Team did a really good job this weekend; we worked hard and prepared well for the race. The team told me something had happened to Dovi, so I just kept pushing and focusing on my own race. We had the perfect strategy regardless and I want to thank all the fans who came out. Gracias! It’s always special when you can celebrate winning together with your brother, Alex rode well this weekend!”

This is the reigning MotoGP World Champion’s second premier class win in Barcelona and his fourth of the 2019 season.

However, the talking point of the race was a banzai move by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, when the three-time champion Lorenzo folded the front-end at the Turn 10 left-hander on Lap Two with an out of control move, clipping the back end of Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati, which in turn skittled Maverick Vinales’ Yamaha to his outside, while the close-following Valentino Rossi had nowhere to go but over Lorenzo’s stricken Repsol Honda.

An apologetic Lorenzo said: “You don’t have any options if you brake a little bit too late here, like happened with me. It was my fault, my mistake and I apologise. It was really unfortunate to take out Dovi, Maverick and Valentino – it wasn’t their fault obviously, it was mine. The only thing that matters today is the crash, I took out three riders unfortunately but if we think aside from this it was a weekend where we were able to make a step forward and I was consistent throughout.”

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales was critical of Lorenzo after the race, saying: “Actually, I saw someone coming very fast on the inside, and I tried to pick up the bike to avoid a crash. Dovi was in front of me and I thought that just they were going to crash, but unfortunately they touched my rear tyre and I jumped. I couldn’t avoid it and I’m really disappointed, but on the other hand I’m really happy. We’ve made a good start and did some good first laps. We had prepared the bike really well with the full fuel tank, so the method we’ve tried this weekend is not so bad, it’s working. We’re going to try to reproduce our work in Assen and see if we get the same result, because we saw on the first lap that I was able to get to the front and push, and that was the most important for me. Who knows what would have happened if I could have followed Marc? But the bike was working well and the team was doing an excellent job this weekend, so we need to keep working like this.”

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

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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

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

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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.

MotoGP: Marquez romps to Jerez win

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.