Honda RC213V

MotoGP – Jackass walks away from massive crash at Le Mans

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The most dramatic moment of the French MotoGP round undoubtedly came during FP4, when Jack Miller suffered a terrifying crash at Turn 2.

The Marc VDS pilot was following Marc Márquez and Danilo Petrucci through Turn 1 and was preparing to flick his satellite Honda into left for Turn 2 when the front end folded.

What happened next was frightening – the front tyre gripped again and sent Miller straight towards the wall on the inside of the track. Miller’s factory spec RC213V then veered towards the wall, sliding and straightening as it went before glancing the protective barrier. The impact was violent enough to throw the Australian off the bike, sending him cartwheeling through the gravel parallel with the wall.

It was a violent crash, yet Miller walked away virtually unscathed – a testament to today’s airbag technology – and after a medical check a shaken Miller took his place in Q2 on his spare bike despite the discomfort of football-size swelling on his right knee and bruised right hand.

Those injuries contributed to a second but harmless tumble at the final corner when he was set to improve his time in the final moments of qualifying.

Miller said: “I was happy to get back on the bike for qualifying after not feeling 100% after the crash in FP4. It was a nasty crash and I’m lucky to walk away with just some bruises. I had some locking on the front through turn one which sent me towards the wall and when I saw I wasn’t going to stop in time I let go before I hit the wall. In Q2 I went quicker on my first run but my hand was not perfect after the crash and I struggled to stop the bike on the brakes in the final corner and touched the kerb. A shame but I’ll be ready for the race after I get some ice on my hand and knee to get the swelling down.”

Respect.

 

 

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MotoGP –Hayden gets Factory ride filling in for Pedrosa at Phillip Island

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Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden is to roll back the years and  throw a leg over a Factory Honda again, filling in for Repsol Honda’s crocked Dani Pedrosa at Phillip Island.

Pedrosa broke his collarbone in a monster highside during free practice at Motegi, and Honda WSBK pilot has got the call, fresh from filling in for an injured Jack Miller earlier in the season.

Hayden said: “First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does. For me it’s crazy hard work but it’s a chance, ten years after winning my world title, to get back to my old “dream team”!

“Doing a weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team.

“Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider, the weather and the tyres but it’s a track I love and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward”.

MotoGP – Marquez takes the win, and the title, at Motegi

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Marc Marquez took a remarkable victory at Motegi, his first on Japanese soil, to become the 2016 MotoGP world champion with three races to go.

Marquez got off to a brilliant start and immediately engaged in a fight for the lead with title rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. On the second lap he overtook the Italian at turn eight and began to pursue Lorenzo, taking the lead on lap four.

He immediately showed that he had the rhythm and speed to make a breakaway, putting in a series of laps in the 1’45 range and pulling a half-second gap on his countryman.

Lap six brought the first major turn of events, as Rossi fell at turn seven and was forced to retire. Marquez continued stretching his lead until Lorenzo also slid off, with five laps remaining.

With his fifth win of 2016 and the 55th in his career (across all classes), Marquez became the youngest rider in the history of the sport to earn five World Championships (125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014 and 2016).

Marquez is also the only rider in any class to score points at every race so far this year. Today’s victory also extended Honda’s lead in the Constructors World Championship to 28 points, and it is the sixth Honda victory in the last eight races.

The Spaniard said: “It’s incredible! Before the race I didn’t expect to be champion, and I said that here it would be impossible. However, when I saw that Rossi was out of the race, I decided to push hard for the victory. I was riding my hardest, and when there were three laps to go, I read on my pit board that Lorenzo was also out; on that same lap, I made mistakes in four or five corners, as it was difficult to stay focused.

“I’m very happy because this title is very special considering some of the crashes I had last year, and also because it came at Motegi, Honda’s home. Honda has worked so hard this year, and you could see the fruits of that effort also at this track, where we’ve struggled in the past.

“I myself also improved during the season; for instance, I learned how to better use the front Michelin tyre. It has been a demanding year, but a fantastic one. It’s great for my team, and of course I don’t want to forget my grandmother, who passed away this year and would be very happy with this World Championship. Now we can just enjoy it and go into the last three races with maybe a more ‘Marc Marquez’ style.”

 

MotoGP – Marquez dominates qualifying at Aragon

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The grey of Friday at MotorLand Aragon turned powder blue on Saturday, as qualifying brought warmer temperatures and late September sun for Aragon. Q2’s pre-session favourite for pole was unquestionably Marc Marquez after the Repsol Honda rider was fastest by some margin in both FP3 and FP4, and #93 turned promise into pole position in spectacular style to head the timesheets by an incredible gap of six tenths.

FP4 saw PULL&BEAR Aspar rider Yonny Hernandez into the top ten, but the Colombian sadly wasn’t able to replicate the performance in Q1 as Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci, Avinita Racings’ Hector Barbera and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini duo Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl joined the South American in the battle for graduation to Q2. Petrucci eventually topped the session, with Bradl piloting the Aprilia through to Q2 for the second successive race after Bautista managed the same at Misano last time out. Alex Lowes (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), replacing the injured Bradley Smith for the third time in a row, had a heavy crash in FP3 and subsequently decided to sit out qualifying– he will make a decision on whether to race on Sunday morning.

With Q2 underway Marquez hit first, and the Repsol Honda rider’s first flying run proved to be his fastest time – just shy of a 1:46 lap of the 5.1km venue – with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow slotting into P2 early on and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo dramatically pulling the pin to post a laptime to take a provisional front row.

As the second runs got underway, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso leapt up into P2 before former teammate Cal Crutchlow lost his Honda into Turn 1 in the first high profile crash of the session. It was then Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales who struck and moved up into second, just as Friday’s fastest rider, Honda’s Dani Pedrosa lost the front mid-way through a potential pole.

The last minute drama wasn’t over there, as Lorenzo again improved his laptime in the final minutes to knock Dovizioso back off the front row, completing the all-Spanish top three on home turf behind Marquez and Viñales.

Marquez, who claimed the 64th pole of his career, said: “I’m very happy with how the day went, especially with the pace we had in FP4, which was very good. Today we found a good setup for the bike and we were able to improve on yesterday, although it was a shame about the crash this morning.

“In qualifying I was very comfortable on my first lap, as it is when the tyre has its maximum potential, and I also pushed on my second lap but not as close to the limit. With today’s temperatures we were able to work very well with the front end. Hopefully the good weather continues tomorrow. If it gets colder, we would have to reassess the front tyre choice. Regardless, I’m satisfied; like every year, I feel very good at this track and I hope we can finish well on Sunday.”

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1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’47.117 2 7 329.3

2 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 1’47.748 6 7 0.631 0.631 330.4

3 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 1’47.778 7 7 0.661 0.030 329.0

4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’47.819 6 7 0.702 0.041 337.8

5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda HONDA 1’47.843 3 7 0.726 0.024 328.3

6 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 1’47.951 7 7 0.834 0.108 329.3

7 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’48.017 6 7 0.900 0.066 330.6

8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 1’48.230 7 7 1.113 0.213 325.6

9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI 1’48.236 6 6 1.119 0.006 331.4

10 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI 1’48.242 7 7 1.125 0.006 333.4

11 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’48.448 5 6 1.331 0.206 324.9

12 6 Stefan BRADL GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 1’49.083 3 8 1.966 0.635 321.8

MotoGP – Kentucky Kid set to fill in for Miller at Aragon

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Honda’s WSBK pilot Nicky Hayden is returning to MotoGP, deputising for the injured Jack Miller on the factory Honda at the Aragon GP.

The former world champion will be riding for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing team for the Spanish round at Motorland Aragon, filling in while Miller recovers from his hand injury.

Hayden said: ““First of all I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery. He is a buddy of mine and he is a rider I believe in a lot, so I hope he can get healthy as quickly as possible to show the high potential we all know he has got.

“This is an unusual experience for me because I’ve never been a stand-in rider before. But I have a good relationship with Honda and when the idea first came up they were behind it and Ten Kate gave me their blessing, so it is nice to go and help out another Honda team.”

“For me it just a chance to go and have fun.I know MotoGP is not a place that’s always easy to have fun because the level is so high but I’ve got a lot to learn and it won’t be a walk in the park.”

“I haven’t ridden the bike and there are different tires, and electronics, but I’ve got a lot of experience and I get another shot at MotoGP, which is great for me personally.”

“I want to thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for the opportunity and Ten Kate and my sponsors who all made it happen and I will try and do them all proud.”

 

MotoGP – Crutchlow gambles and wins big in Brno

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CAL CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR HONDA HONDA MotoGP GP Czech Rep 2016 (Circuit Brno) 19-21/08.2016 photo: MICHELIN

Cal Crutchlow rode the race of his life in Brno to claim his maiden MotoGP win and end 35 years of hurt for Britain.

The LCR Honda rider gambled on a hard compound front and rear wet weather tyre for the race, and was one of only three riders to match front and rear hard rubber after torrential rain had soaked the 5.403km track.

The rain continued to fall during the Moto3 and Moto2 races but eased off as the MotoGP grid formed, and with the rain clouds clearing, the 22-lap race was declared wet.

Riders and teams frantically tried to come up with a strategy just minutes before the lights went out, and with previous race winner Iannone’s last-minute decision to run a soft front and rear, many riders were left fearing they may have made the wrong decision.

Crutchlow started from tenth on the grid and fell down to 15th by the end of lap-one as he struggled for grip while trying to get his tyres up to optimum working temperature.

The factory Ducati’s made a lightning start and were joined by Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi before the factory Yamahas began to tumble down the order.

Crutchlow bided his time, carefully warming his tyres up before making a determined charge through the field, finding grip where no one else could. It was a riding masterclass in skill, bravery and confidence, carving his way through the pack before taking the lead from last week’s winner Iannone on Lap 16.

Crutchlow continued to pull away, riding the wheels of his Honda RC213V to cross the line 7.2 seconds ahead of second-placed Rossi.

It was a deserved victory, made even more special as Crutchlow became the first British winner of a premier class motorcycle race since Barry Sheene in 1981.

Crutchlow said: “I’m very, very pleased to get this win today as it’s something very special for my career.

“We took the gamble and I knew that after three or four laps I would be competitive, but it was quite difficult to manage the tyres at the start of the race, because I needed to get the heat in them.

“I knew once I got going it was the right choice of tyres and I’m really happy with this result for me and my team.

“Winning doesn’t feel like I expected it to. I last won six years ago and the emotion then was different to how it is now. I feel that the biggest emotion I had was three weeks ago when Willow was born, so I don’t think it compares in that sense but that being said, it’s the best day of my racing career and the best emotion of my racing career. Hopefully it can happen again.”

The battle for the remaining podium places was an enthralling encounter which saw many riders change places throughout the race. Valentino Rossi eventually took second place with the final podium position going to championship leader Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.

The next race on the MotoGP calendar sees the paddock heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday, September.

MotoGP – bravery, audacity and talent see Marquez land pole in Brno

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Honda’s Marc Marquez dug deep in Brno today, earning pole with an audacious last lap during an intense qualifying session.

Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo looked set to have put his recent crisis of confidence behind him with an imperious riding display, posting a blistering lap time to lead the field. However, Marquez had other ideas, and on the last lap of the session he posted the fastest time in the second and third sectors, quickly closing in on the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Pol Espargaro. It looked like he was about to get held up by the duo ahead of him, but in an outrageous display of bravery, accuracy and skill, the Spaniard pounced, diving under Rossi to place his bike just inches behind Espargaro, gaining a handy tow from his compatriot on the drag to the line. It was enough to land him his 63rd pole position, a result which sees him equal Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in career poles.

Marquez said: “I honestly didn’t expect to get this pole position. I saw myself fighting for second place or to be on the front row, which was our main objective. Lorenzo had a great lap this morning that I believed would be difficult to match, but I was able to find a good reference that helped me during the qualifying session.

“Espargaro and Rossi were in front, and I was able to take advantage of their slipstream and overtake them in the final corner without losing time. In the end we did a very good time and I’m especially happy with how FP4 went, as we took a step forward in terms of our pace. “We’ve completely changed the set-up and things have gone much better. If the race is dry tomorrow it gives me hope, because I was finding things tough. If it rains then it will be more difficult, but I’m happy because we’re competitive.”

MotoGP – marvellous Marquez dominates in tricky conditions at German GP

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A mix of pure talent, tactics, teamwork and a cool head earned Marc Marquez one of the best wins of his career in one of the most difficult and mixed-conditions races so far this season.

With heavy rain intermittently hitting the Sachsenring throughout raceday, the MotoGP race was declared wet and teams prepared for another flag-to-flag GP.

Poleman Marquez opted for the Michelin rain super soft front, the same tyre chosen by almost the entire grid, but it didn’t prove to be the two-time world champion, who progressively lost ground from the front in the first phase of the race, eventually dropping back to ninth position after an excursion in the gravel in Turn 8.

However, with the track drying, Marquez was the first to blink and switched to slick tyres as soon as conditions were safe enough to allow it, entering pitlane and changing bikes on Lap 18.

As the Sachsenring continued to dry out, Marquez quickly began to carve his way through the field, and the young Spaniard was already sixth and chasing the front riders when they pitted to swap bikes.

The reshuffle meant that Marquez was now second, and he began closing down Jack Miller, making his move on Lap 24, before  finally crossing the line with almost a 10 second advantage on runner-up Crutchlow.

Marquez said: “At a certain point today, I thought my run at this circuit was going to come to an end, but in the end we succeeded and earned a very good result, especially considering how Rossi and Lorenzo finished the race.

“I’m very happy with how we worked with the team today: they did a great job preparing my bike after my crash in the warm-up, and then in the race our strategy proved to be perfect. It was a very difficult race, with it being flag-to-flag and the track conditions so delicate. In the first part of the race, in the wet, I found things a little difficult. I had picked the wrong front tyre for my riding style, but I was able to switch to slicks. I was very careful in the opening laps after changing bikes, because the dry line was very narrow and there was still a lot of water on the surface.

“It’s always very difficult to decide when to change bikes, and perhaps we made our switch very early—I think I was the second rider to do so—but I decided to take a chance and it went well. We end the first half of the season with our homework done and off the back of a good race, but we must not forget to prepare well for the second half of the year.”

The win sees Marquez extends his championship lead to 48 points over Jorge Lorenzo and 59 over Rossi.

MotoGP – JackAssen gives a wet weather masterclass

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The 250th race of the modern MotoGP era will be one that Australian Jack Miller will never forget, after the Mark VDS pilot claimed a remarkable maiden premier class victory at the historic Assen track.

Miller overcame perilously tricky conditions on a weather-dominated afternoon at the Dutch TT to become the first non-factory rider in 10 years to win in MotoGP.

He also became the first Australian to win a MotoGP race since Casey Stoner in 2012 after a day of high drama and tension in front of a sell-out crowd of 105,000 fans in Holland.

Scheduled to be a 26-lap race that started on a wet track, Miller had expertly mastered the tricky track conditions to charge from 19th into eighth when the action was halted on safety grounds on lap 15 as monsoon conditions enveloped the 4.5km Assen venue.

Once conditions had improved and standing water was cleared from the track, the race was restarted over a shortened distance of 12-laps, with the grid forming based on positions from part one.

Conditions were no less hazardous in part two, but as experienced riders crashed out of contention, Miller rode a majestically measured and composed race to move into the top three on only the second lap.

A brilliantly executed overtake on Factory Honda rider Marc Márquez on lap four then put Miller at the front of the field.

And it was a lead he never looked like relinquishing, as he rode a faultless final eight laps to win by almost two seconds, sparking jubilant celebrations to mark the first MotoGP win by Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS since its premier class collaboration started with Honda in 2015.

Miller said: “I don’t often say this but I’m lost for words. I feel incredibly emotional right now and it is hard to describe the sensation of winning for the first time in MotoGP. I felt confident and fast in the first part of the race but it was the right call to red flag it because the conditions were getting pretty dangerous.

“The track was really slippery for part two as well but I immediately felt comfortable. I could see a few riders making mistakes but I just kept my focus and concentrated on being fast and consistent without taking any silly risks.

“Once I passed Marc I just tried to block out the fact that I was heading for my first win and keep a clear mind. Coming out of the final chicane and seeing the chequered flag was just an unbelievable feeling. My family and I have made a lot of sacrifices to make today happen and it feels amazing. I can’t thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS enough. They have given me incredible support and never stopped believing in me. I must also thank Honda and their management for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to show what I can do at this level. It might take a while to sink in but I am going to enjoy tonight that’s for sure!”

MotoGP – double reason for Pedrosa to celebrate at Mugello

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Dani Pedrosa arrives in Mugello with two reasons to celebrate – he’s just renewed his contract with the Honda Factory team for an additional two years and also celebrates a personal milestone achievement this weekend as he makes his 250th Grand Prix appearance.

Over the 15 years following his debut race in 2001 at Suzuka aboard an Honda RS125R, Pedrosa won three world titles (1 x 125cc – 2003, 2 x 250cc – 2004, 2005) and has achieved more podiums for the Honda Factory than any other rider, with a total of 142 including 51 victories (8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 28 x MotoGP).

The Spaniard said: “I’m very happy to arrive at the Italian GP having already renewed with Honda and aware I will be able to keep working with a team I know and trust. With our future well lined up we’ll be totally free to just focus on the work to do on track.

“Mugello has a very fast and flowing layout with many long corners so finding a good setup and a good grip will be crucial. So far my overall pace in races has been better than it could be expected from practices, in Le Mans at least it was so in the second part of the race, so I’m hoping to start strong from Friday and to keep improving over the weekend. I’ll try to do better Saturday in qualifying and to get a better grid position so be closer to the front and not remaining stuck in the first part of the race”.