Ducati

BSB – Byrne takes first season double at Snetterton

MCE British Superbike Championship

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

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

WSBK Race Two – Misano joy for Melandri

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After a difficult Sunday, the Ducati WSBK team bounced back in Race 2 at Misano with a masterful win by Marco Melandri.

The Italian rider, who crashed out of Race One during the last lap while fighting for the win, mounted a spectacular comeback from 10th position on the grid to take his maiden victory with the Panigale R and his 20th overall in WSBK.

Melandri said: “This win means so much to me. It’s my first with Ducati and first on Italian soil but also the 100th by an Italian rider in WSBK. It’s the result of a lot of efforts, a composed attitude during some difficult moments, and great teamwork. We never stopped to believe in ourselves, and this result is a payback for all the sacrifices.

“We made a small change to our setup this morning, and before the start I was sure I could have a go at it. During the race, I tried to manage my pace and, once I took the lead, to ride smoothly. I hope Chaz recovers soon, he had a nasty crash but fortunately without serious injuries. I hope to be able to fight for another win, this time with him on track as well, at Laguna Seca.”

Team-mate Chaz Davies endured a miserable time on Italian soil. Declared unfit for Race 2 due to a fracture of the transverse process of L3 (3rd lumbar vertebra) and a contusion of the left thumb caused by a crash in Race 1, Chaz Davies watched the race from the pits after being discharged from the hospital.

The Welshman will now observe a period of rest with the intention to be back on track for the eighth round of the season, scheduled for July 7-9 at Laguna Seca.

MotoGP – Dovizioso claims second season win at Barcelona

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Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso has taken an incredible second win of the season in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, making him the first Ducati rider to score back-to-back victories for the Borgo Panigale factory since two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner achieved the feat in 2010.

There was drama off the line as Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa got a good start from pole and Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo almost clashed with fellow front row starter Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Racing satellite Ducati, with a wayward Petrucci then making contact with Marquez. The collision saw the Italian dropped back and the reigning champion pulled clear as Lorenzo attacked for the lead, taking over at the front.

Championship leader Maverick Viñales found himself heading through the run off area at Turn 1 off the start and dropping back on his Factory Yamaha, with the Spaniard then facing a fight back from outside the points after a tough weekend – teammate Valentino Rossi was also unable to make big progress from P13 on the grid either.

Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa, with Dovizioso on the hunt in fourth and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Jonas Folger in fifth.

It was Marquez who challenged for the lead first, diving under the Ducati with Pedrosa needing no invitation to follow him through. Lorenzo then lost out to his teammate as he began to struggle after the lightning start; Folger and Petrucci were the next to get through.

Pedrosa then attacked for P1 and made the move stick, with Dovizioso taking Marquez. However, the top couldn’t pull away from Folger in fourth, or Petrucci just behind. After a handful of laps playing high-speed chess, Dovizioso then went around the outside of Pedrosa to take the lead – pulling a small gap before Marquez followed the Italian through.

A three-way fight then broke out between Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati. Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha and Lorenzo for P6, with the squabble providing some spectacular wheel-to-wheel action. The trio exchanged places, and with some of the riders struggling to manage the rubber, Lorenzo charged ahead and Folger fell back.

However, Dovizioso was imperious at the front and crossed the line for his fourth career win to become the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2010 to win back-to-back. Marquez took second with Pedrosa crossing the line in third to join his teammate on the podium.

Lorenzo sliced back through to take fourth at the flag, ahead of Zarco, who got the better of Folger in a last minute duel between the Tech 3 machines. Bautista, after a late run off at Turn 1, came home in P7.

Valentino Rossi came home in eighth after struggling in the latter half of the race, Hector Barbera took P9 in his 250th start in the World Championship, and Maverick Viñales piloted his Factory Yamaha to a disappointing tenth – taking a big hit on his points lead in the Championship.

MotoGP – Dovizioso gifts Ducati ‘dream win’ at Mugello

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Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian GP…and the tricolore flew high over the podium at Mugello, as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso took a magnificent win battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line over a second clear of  Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales  and an impressive home podium for second Italian Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Ducati.

Home hero Valentino Rossi shot off the line for the lead from P2 on the grid, denying teammate and polesitter Viñales as Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo stormed up from seventh to fight off Dovizioso for third.

With the leaders in-line, Lorenzo used the incredible speed of the Ducati to take the lead for the first time in red, dueling with old nemesis Rossi before the Italian took him back.

Dovizioso pounced next, passing Lorenzo after Viñales had gone through on Rossi, the Championship leader taking the ‘Doctor’ as the trio began to break away from Lorenzo – with Petrucci on the chase.

Petrucci caught the group before too long as Dovizioso took over at the front, and the Pramac rider then pounced on Viñales after a small mistake to follow the factory Ducati.

The gap grew and then shrunk, before the factory Ducati in the lead gained a small gap, then Viñales took over in second. Closing in and then falling back, the pendulum swung between the two men until the last lap – with Dovizioso riding inch-perfect around every corner to take his third ever Grand Prix victory, and the first for a red machine at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009.

Viñales took second to increase his Championship lead once again, with Petrucci putting in the dry-weather ride of his life to complete the podium after staying clear of Rossi over the last couple of laps. The ‘Doctor’, who suffered a motocross crash in training the week before the event, pushed hard through the pain barrier at home and just missed the podium but took good points.

Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati took a big scalp as he caught and passed reigning champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda to complete the top five, with Johann Zarco guiding his Tech 3 Yamaha to seventh behind Marquez.

Lorenzo, after his early duel for the lead, suffered grip issues later in the race and crossed the line in eighth, beating Ducati test rider Michele Pirro over the line. Suzuki’s  Andrea Iannone  completed the top ten.

Late drama further down the field saw Dani Pedrosa slide out, with his Repsol Honda unfortunately collecting LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.

WSBK – Davies does the double at Imola

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After winning Race 1 in a dominant fashion, Chaz Davies did the double at Imola (Italy), giving the factory Ducati squad its fourth WSBK success in a row at its home race.

The Welshman, who took pole position on Saturday, had to work his way up the field from ninth position today, based on the new 2017 grid regulations for Race 2, and got off the blocks quickly at the re-start – the red flags interrupted the race after only two laps.

Davies then progressively climbed his way up the ranks, closing the gap from provisional leader Sykes on the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

The Welshman then took the lead on lap 8, and eventually pulled away to win with a four-second advantage on his rivals.

Davies said: “What a weekend! For the first time this year I feel we’ve been the benchmark from the beginning. We were able to find our rhythm on Friday, and it sort of snowballed from there.

“The team has done an awesome job, the bike worked superbly in both races, in different conditions, but today it was quite interesting. We got mixed up at the first start, but after the re-start we got a good launch and I was able to make some good moves that put us in a good position. Sykes’ pace was strong, so I had to put my head down to hunt him and, once I caught him, I was able to set my own pace and that was good enough. Thanks to all the Italian fans for showing up this weekend, their push was something special.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director, said: “Once again, Imola coincided with a really emotional weekend. Chaz rode two flawless races, and we dedicate the wins to all the Ducatisti who flooded the circuit and showed their passion, and also to all the boys at home who allowed Chaz and the team to finalise the job. To win at Imola is incredible.”

WSBK – Ducati dominates Race One at Imola

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The factory Ducati team enjoyed a day to remember in front of its fans at Imola as Chaz Davies once again proved to be the man to beat at the Italian track.

The Welshman, who secured pole position in the morning while showing an unmatched pace, never looked back after the start and finished with a seven-second advantage over his rivals when, with six laps to go, the race was red-flagged after Eugene Laverty’s big crash.

The race was declared, and with the results based on the positions from the previous lap, Ducati had two riders on the podium with team-mate Melandri enjoying his first WSBK podium at Imola .

Race winner Chaz Davies said: “It’s been a perfect weekend so far. I think this track really suits me and the Panigale R. We’ve made good steps forward under acceleration this year, and it was a big help here with the tight chicanes. Also, this layout helps me to take advantage of the strong points of my riding style. I kept controlling the gap from Rea, looking after the tyres, and the bike felt really consistent. It was a lonely race, but not an easy one.

“Tomorrow’s going to be different, starting from the back. We need to keep it clean and be patient. We can still improve something on the electronics side, but clearly we won’t make any big changes. Thanks to all the ducatisti for their amazing support today!”

Team-mate Marco Melandri said: “To step on the podium in front of the home crowd is amazing, but it wasn’t easy out there today. From this morning, we had some issues. I still didn’t feel at 100 percent under braking, and under acceleration I had to shut the throttle often while upshifting, without being able to fully take advantage of our power.

“Nonetheless, Chaz was really fast, especially in the third sector, and while trying not to lose contact with him I made some mistakes. After a few laps, with less fuel in the tank and a lighter bike, we improved. I was ready to fight against Sykes and in general I expected to battle against the two Kawasakis, but we didn’t take advantage of our full potential and I want to do better tomorrow.”

WSBK – Rea wins Race One at Assen

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Jonathan Rea claimed the Race One win after a day of controversy at Assen.

The Ulsterman was caught up in a war of words with Ducati’s Chaz Davies in Parc Ferme, with the title rivals exchanging candid views about a coming together in qualifying – the Kawasaki rider was convinced he had left Davies enough room; Davies adamant that Rea had ruined his hot lap. Race Control sided with the Welshman, judging Rea had impeded the progress of a rival while he had been setting a fast lap, and thus imposed a penalty demoting him to fourth.

Tensions were still simmering on the grid for the start, with Davies still seething about Rea’s ‘lack of sportingness’.

As the lights dropped, Davies, Sykes and Rea made strong starts, with Davies doing most of the early front-running.

The pace was fast and Rea set a new lap record, over a second faster then the previous one, on lap three, with a 1’34.880 as he caught Davies, shadowing the Ducati rider for lap after lap.

Rea eventually pounced, only to be re-passed, and after a close battle, managed to edge back into front with two laps to go. However, the drama was not over as Davies was forced to stop trackside on Lap 20 with an electrical issue.

Rea crossed the line to take the win, his tenth at the Dutch track, with team-mate Tom Sykes claiming second and Ducati’s Marco Melandri taking over third spot.

Rea said: “That one was really nice because the more wins you get on a certain track the more pressure you feel to repeat it. I am not sure why I click so well with Assen but it seems to be working. It seems like our bike was working very well in the faster sections of the track, and Chaz was fast out of T5 in acceleration. I could maintain the lap time as we were to-ing and fro-ing at certain parts of the track, but I was strong in the back section, where it counts for passes. I had good pace at the end and I wanted to go through then and make a gap. But every time I put my nose in front there was a big block pass into the last corner. It was, honestly, very unfortunate for Chaz at the end and it is never a good way to lose points. But it was important for me that that bad luck happened to him when he was behind me because at that point of the race I was trying to make my rhythm and go away.”

WSBK – resurgent Davies takes Race Two win at Aragon

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The Ducati team took its first win of the season in Race 2 at Aragon thanks to a brilliant performance by Chaz Davies.

The Welshman bounced back from a nasty crash in Race One to claim his sixth victory at the Spanish track and 21st of his career.

Starting in tenth position, Davies quickly stormed through the field, already joining the leading group on the third lap. Davies and teammate Marco Melandri then stalked race leader Johnny Rea until lap 12, when Davies pounced to take the lead.

As in Race One, the final laps resulted in a spectacular series of passes between the leading protagonists, with Melandri climbing to second position before eventually falling away. Davies on the other hand continued to dice with Rea several times before making the decisive move at the last chicane to take the win.

Chaz Davies said: “The whole weekend has been difficult, from start to finish, so it was really important to cap it with a win, especially after yesterday’s disappointment. We were confident our bike would be fast at Aragon, but it wasn’t easy at all out there today and our main rivals seem relatively comfortable so we know there’s still work to do in many areas.

“Today we suffered a bit with grip early on. Also, the wind was really strong. It kept pushing me away from corners and in the last lap I got caught by a gust going into turn 5 and I missed a backshift, going a bit wide, but we still managed to finish in front. We’re competitive but it’s still not enough, so we need to keep working to improve.”

MotoGP – Viñales shines, Lorenzo crumbles in season opener at Qatar

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Rain, delays and uncertainty all combined to create a spectacle at the opening race of the season, one which is easy to criticse but difficult to manage – unless you’re, Maverick Viñales, who kept his cool to deliver a riding masterclass on his competitive debut on the Factory Yamaha.

A stunning start from Ducati’s Andrea Iannone from P2 was soon overshadowed as rookie Johann Zarco slammed his Tech 3 Yamaha into the lead in the first laps, getting away and making a gap as Viñales found himself falling back into the clutches of teammate Valentino Rossi.

The Tech 3 rider looked comfortable at the front, pulling out a gap before sliding out of the lead soon after – leaving ‘DesmoDovi’ out front.

With the number 4 Ducati getting away in the lead, Iannone then crashed out of the fight for second – leaving reigning Champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, Viñales and Rossi chasing the leading Desmosedici. After a dramatic scuffle between the #46 and 93, the ‘Doctor’ set off in pursuit of his teammate.

And then there were three: Viñales, Dovizioso, and Rossi.

It wasn’t long, however, before there was some fresh air between the leading two and The Doctor, a battle which saw Viñales’ corner speed pitched against the sheer might of the Ducati. After trading places for a few laps and the race impossible to call, the Spaniard was then able to hold off the Italian on the penultimate lap – and made it to the line to take his second MotoGP win; his first in Yamaha colours.

Viñales said: “I feel incredible and it shows in the results. We did a great job during the whole weekend and we started good in the test, then in FP1 we were already feeling really good.

“The race was difficult, it started to rain and there was a bit of confusion because we didn’t know what to do. The first laps were very challenging, the track was so slippery and I wanted to take it easy and stay calm. I knew I had a good pace, so I tried to push at the very end of the race.

“There were many crashes at the front, so I waited for the right moment and finally we took the victory. The feeling when I crossed the line was incredible. As the first victory with Yamaha, it was even more important than the first MotoGP victory, because there was so much pressure. We were leading all the test, “You can do it”, and finally we did, so I’m happy how I handled the pressure and also that the team worked really good. The electronics were ready and the grip of the tyres was really good on the last laps. The third sector was honestly so crucial, because Andrea [Dovizioso] used the soft tyres, so he collected the benefits and could accelerate better all the time and he didn’t waste the tyre, so it was hard to beat him, but in sector three I was really strong the whole weekend.

“I set my best sector three on the last lap and it was the minimum to take the victory, it’s really great, I’m so happy. I hope for a perfect start in Argentina. The start here was good, but I just went outside of the line and when Zarco came he crashed into me, so I had to pick up the bike and then Marquez and Dovi passed me so it was a bit chaotic on the early laps, but then I was able to concentrate. We have to continue like that and maintain this concentration.”

Reigning champion Marquez crossed the line fourth, just ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa by the flag – who took fifth after getting the better of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia; Espargaro’s result was a historic first top six for Aprilia in the stunning first ride in Noale colours for the rider from Granollers.

Impressive performances from Scott Redding on the Pramac Ducati and Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda saw the two men come home in P7 and P8, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins top rookie in P9 – just ahead of YamahaTech 3 rider Jonas Folger, who completed the top ten.

It was a difficult ride for Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, with the wet conditions once again messing with the Spaniard’s head. He went wide on the first lap after a solid start, down to near the back of the grid after carefully rejoining and then beginning a steady fight back through the field. Up into tenth with 12 laps to go, the ‘Spartan’ crossed the line in P11 by the end of play – a disappointing end to his debut. And one which must have Ducati wondering whether the money they’ve spent enticing Lorenzo into the red corner would have been better spent coaxing their test rider into coming out of retirement; Stoner would definitely not have folded in such a spectacular fashion.