MotoGP

MotoGP: Marquez wins dramatic race at Phillip Island

MM CC 1

Marc Marquez has clinched victory in an incident-packed MotoGP race at Phillip Island.

The 2019 Champion was involved in a race-long duel with Maverick Vinales who crashed on the final lap while trying to put a move on Marquez.

After darting into the lead on Lap 10, pole-sitter Vinales was stalked by Marquez until the final lap with the Repsol Honda rider measuring his rival’s pace around the iconic Australian circuit.

Marquez made his move at the start of the last lap to charge into the lead on the main straight into Turn 1. The newly-crowned MotoGP world champion then produced a defensive lap to keep Vinales at bay, with Vinales looking to sweep around Lukey Heights and attack Marquez down into Turn 10, but his soft rear tyre slipped out from underneath him to send the Yamaha crashing out.

With Marquez storming to his 55th career premier class victory, he surpasses Mick Doohan on the all-time list of winners and achieved his fifth-straight premier class win for the first time since 2014.

Marquez said: “It has been a crazy weekend with the weather and everything. Maverick was very fast today, but I was able to follow him and start slowly cooking the victory. Viñales started to push very hard and very fast at the front, but I knew that if I could stay with him for four or five laps then the victory was possible. The Repsol Honda Team has done a great job with the limited track time we have had. We had to gamble a little bit with the soft rear tyre and it was on the limit in the end, but we were able to win! It’s really special to take this 55th win with Honda, I feel incredible with the Honda family and I’m excited to enjoy this moment with them and the team.”

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow rode to a strong second to claim his first rostrum since the Sachsenring, with Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller claiming the final step on the podium.

MotoGP: Zarco set to make LCR Honda MotoGP debut at Phillip Island

ZARCO

Johann Zarco will make his debut in LCR Honda IDEMITSU colours this weekend as he replaces Takaaki Nakagami at the Australian Grand Prix.

The 2017 #MotoGP rookie of the season has joined Lucio Cecchinello’s outfit for the final three races of the calendar with Nakagami having opted to undergo shoulder surgery ahead of the 2020 campaign.

Zarco will be determined to demonstrate the ability that saw him claim three podiums back in 2017 as he rejoins the MotoGP class following his acrimonious mid-season split from KTM.

Paddock insiders believe this is a dress rehearsal for the Frenchman to take Jorge Lorenzo’s seat inside the Repsol Honda team for the 2020 season. If Zarco impresses Honda bosses in the next three races, he will be offered Lorenzo’s ride. If he fails to deliver, his MotoGP dream will be over.

The Frenchman said: “I’m very happy. It’s difficult to fix a target, but I want to clear up all the feelings I got this year, because I had a great first two years in MotoGP, but this year has been really complicated. It looked like the MotoGP story was finished, but then Lucio (Cecchinello) called me to catch the opportunity to ride in these three races and yes, I’m catching it because it’s maybe my last three races. I took a big risk this summer quitting my contract for 2020, but I realized that racing is what I want to do. So now I have a short future, but I can live it with a lot of intensity.”

MotoGP: Marquez wins in Thailand to take 2019 MotoGP crown

15 Tailandia GP 3, 4, 5 y 6 de octubre de 2019, circuito de Chan

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was crowned the 2019 MotoGP World Champion in the only way he knows how: with a thrilling race win delivered at the final corner at the Thai MotoGP round.

A full house at the Buriram Circuit were treated to an edge of their seats MotoGP race as they witnessed Marc Marquez crowned World Champion for the eighth time. From the front of the grid, Marquez charged forward and immediately began to chase pole setter Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha. With his only title rival, Andrea Dovizioso, a distant fourth Marquez was able to focus solely on the race win.

After trading fastest laps, the pair settled into their rhythm and Marquez waited for his moment to attack. The final laps were explosive as the 2019 MotoGP World Champion launched an all out assault on the young French rider, moving ahead as the last lap began. But it would go down to the final corner, Marquez expertly defending from Quartararo in the last corner to take the 2019 MotoGP World Championship in style.

Speaking after the race, Marquez said: “I’m very happy. I’m so happy. When you have an advantage like I had you realise you are so close to the championship but you need to find something to keep you motivated. Today it was winning the race and it’s what I did. Fabio was so fast during the race but I never gave up, even during the middle of the race where it looked like he was escaping. It was a beautiful way to win the championship – even if I wasn’t thinking about it on the last lap! Arriving in parc ferme with the whole Repsol Honda Team there was fantastic; it’s a dream to do it with the whole fan club and the nice celebration. Every year is special, it’s not easy to keep everything perfect each year to fight for the title and I had a very hard winter with the injury but myself, the team and HRC managed it well. Now we’ll enjoy this feeling a little bit!”

With 325 points, nine wins, 14 podiums, nine poles and 10 fastest laps – Marquez becomes the MotoGP World Champion for the sixth time and takes the eighth World Championship of his career. The victory is also Honda’s 150th in the MotoGP class – an achievement no other manufacturer has been able to match.

MotoGP: Marquez wins last lap duel to take victory in Misano

rd13_misano_marquez_2019-00235.jpg

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez rode a controlled race, pouncing on the last lap to take the MotoGP win at Misano.

After a promising morning Warm Up session, Marquez entered the 27-lap San Marino Grand Prix with confidence.

Marquez made a flying start to the race and moved to fourth by the first corner, quickly progressing up to third just a few corners later. Muscling past Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales on Lap Four, the World Championship leader set about closing down the almost one-second lead of Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman’s advantage was soon reduced to just two tenths, with Marquez electing to wait for his moment to attack. As the laps ticked down, the reigning champion began to edge closer and put increasing pressure on the young French rider.

The start of the last lap saw Marquez’s RC213V roar past Quartararo heading into Turn One, the pair briefly sparring before Marquez made the move stick later in the lap. Crossing the line 0.903s ahead of Quartararo, Marquez returned to the top step of the podium after back-to-back second place finishes.

Marquez said: “Honestly speaking, I knew it wasn’t necessary to win because I saw that Rins was out and Dovizioso was far from us but I had some extra motivation. I just tried to stay with Fabio as close as I could and in the end I was weighing up whether to try or not. On the last lap I decided to go. I knew Fabio was very fast in Sector 3, so I made my move before that and closed the corner as much as I could. Fabio rode a very strong race today. I raced as smart as I could and in the end it is nice to win in Italy, but even nicer to have 93 points of advantage.”

The win moves him 93 points clear of title rival Andrea Dovizioso in the MotoGP World Championship standings with six races remaining. Taking the 77th win of his career, Marquez also moves ahead of Mike Hailwood to cement himself as the fourth most successful rider in Grand Prix history.

MotoGP: Marquez grabs another COTA pole after stormy qualifying session

2019, Round 3, COTA, MotoGP

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: Aprilia unveils new 2019 livery and squad

Screenshot_2019-02-22 (1) Twitter

Aprilia has unveiled its 2019 livery and team line-up for the new season.

As well as a new bike, the team has shaken up its squad in a bid to change its fortunes, appointing Massimo Rivola as new racing CEO, Romano Albesiano’s as technical director, Bradley Smith as test rider, with Andrea Iannone joining Aleix Espargaro.

“The final part of last season and the winter tests were fundamental from a technical point of view,” Albesiano said. “The arrival of Andrea and Bradley added new information to Aleix’s fundamental contribution, helping us to define the RS-GP’s line of evolution. This is a project that has come to fruition this season, with an overall improvement in every aspect.

“A lot of work was done on making it lighter. We made changes to the chassis architecture and electronics management, leaving room for further advancements that will be done constantly throughout the season.

“The reorganisation of the racing department and the reinforcement of the test team were two key factors in preparation over the winter, allowing us to streamline processes and have more precise data analysis. These are essential aspects in MotoGP these days.”

MotoGP: recovering Marquez tops the timesheets on first day of testing

Screenshot_2019-02-06 marquez - Twitter Search

Despite still suffering the effects of surgery on his left shoulder during the winter break, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez topped the timesheets on Day 1 at the Sepang Test with a 1:59.621, 0.259 faster than Suzuki’s Alex Rins in second and 0.316 quicker than third place rider Maverick Viñales on the factory Yamaha.

Marquez completed 29 laps on Day 1 before stopping in the early afternoon to give his left shoulder a rest ahead of the next two days, with the reigning world champion heading for more physio in the afternoon. New team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is sitting out the test due to injury, but there were three Hondas in the top ten as Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda, fastest in Jerez, took seventh and Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) ended Day 1 in P9, just under six tenths off Marquez.

LCR Honda Castrol rider Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, returned from his ankle injury sustained at Phillip Island with a solid 51 laps on Wednesday, ending his first time back on a bike in P14 with a 2:00.681.

Alex Rins was one of the big headlines of the day, able to put in a substantial 61 laps on board his 2019 GSX-RR and was fastest for some time until deposed by Marquez. He remained second after his earlier fast lap, however, and was the lead Hamamatsu machine by quite a stretch. Rookie teammate Joan Mir ended the day in P23, just behind veteran French test rider Sylvain Guintoli on the Suzuki.

There were positive signs from Yamaha, who are looking to bounce back after trying 2018 season. Maverick Viñales ended the day in P3 after 63 laps with a best of 1:59.937, with team-mate Valentino Rossi in P6 after 56 laps and just over a tenth off Viñales.

New team on the block Petronas Yamaha SRT, meanwhile, had Franco Morbidelli just outside the top ten in P12 after 60 laps – only eight tenths off the top – with rookie team-mate Fabio Quartararo a further half a second in arrears in P18 on tight timesheets.

Just behind Viñales, meanwhile, was the first of the Borgo Panigale machines – but it was Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat who took that honour. Less than half a tenth off Viñales and the last man under the two-minute barrier, the Spaniard impressed on his first day back on a MotoGP machine at fuller strength, having missed much of the latter part of last season following his horrific crash at Silverstone. Just behind him came the first of the factory Ducati bikes in the form of new arrival Danilo Petrucci, with the Italian just 0.003 ahead of Rossi after 54 laps. 2017 and 2018 runner up Andrea Dovizioso, meanwhile, ended Day 1 of 2019 in P8 with a 2:00.197.

Jack Miller wasn’t far off the second factory machine despite a small crash either, with the Aussie taking P11 – three tenths off Dovizioso and lead Alma Pramac Racing machine. Rookie team-mate Francesco Bagnaia – reigning Moto2 Champion – made for close company too, impressing in P15 as the fastest debutant.

Completing the top ten was an impressive day’s work for KTM factory rider Pol Espargaro, with the #44 completing a fitting 44 laps with a best of 2:00.313 despite a crash at the end. The Spaniard took the honours of lead Austrian machine by sixth tenths, although the second KTM on the timesheets was an equally stunning performance: rookie Miguel Oliveira of Red Bull KTM Tech 3. The Portuguese rider finished the day in P16 and only just off fastest newcomer Bagnaia, making a big impression on Day 1 after more difficult tests at Valencia and Jerez. Experienced test rider Mika Kallio was in P19, just ahead of Espargaro’s new team=mate Johann Zarco as the Frenchman continued his adaptation in P20.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was the fastest Noale machine in P13 and said the 2019 bike is a definite improvement, with the Spaniard putting in 55 laps to end the first day of the season just ahead of Crutchlow. New team-mate Andrea Iannone was down in P21 and suffered a crash on his first lap, ending the day 1.6 seconds off Marquez as he continues to get used to his new machinery.

MotoGP: Yamaha factory team unveils 2019 livery

maverick-vinales_21.gallery_full_top_fullscreen

A new era has dawned on the factory Yamaha MotoGP team with the unveiling of a new livery;  the Movistar colours have been ditched in favour of a darker black-and-blue look for the arrival of new title sponsor Monster Energy.

Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing, said: “We like the new colours of the bike a lot. It’s more aggressive and I think that is what we need to be. We need to adopt the attitude of ‘beast mode on’ to be world champions.”

MotoGP: #69 to be retired at the Circuit of the Americas

Nicki Hayden

In tribute to the late, great Nicky Hayden, who passed away in 2017, the number 69 will be retired from Grand Prix racing at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The “Kentucky Kid” rode 69 to the crown and MotoGP Legend status during an impressive career that saw him leave an indelible mark on the sport and the paddock.

Hayden’s first successes came in 2003 when he took podiums as a rookie and he went on to win his first Grand Prix in 2005. That created a perfect springboard for the following season and he put together an impressive campaign to become 2006 MotoGP World Champion, wrapping up the crown in the season finale.

Hayden rose from dirt track beginnings to the absolute pinnacle of his sport, taking his unique blend of work ethic, humility and talent from the domestic scene to the world stage and putting his name to an astounding number achievements both within racing and beyond its limits – key amongst which was his moniker as ‘the nicest man in Grand Prix racing’.

Hayden remained a cornerstone of the paddock until his departure at the end of 2015, upon which he was named a MotoGP Legend. The number 69 will now forever remain the number of the “Kentucky Kid”; the man who rode it into the Hall of Fame.

“What a great honor it will be for Nicky’s #69 to be retired at Austin,” says Hayden’s father, Earl. “It is very fitting that it will be done at the US race as these races meant so much to Nicky and he looked forward to them so much every year. For myself in particular this will be very special event because the #69 was my number when I raced and I was very proud to see Nicky run the #69 on his bikes for his entire career. On behalf of my entire family I would like to say a special thanks to Dorna for honoring Nicky in this special way along with the many other gestures they have done to support us through the difficult times.”

MotoGP: Crutchlow ditches Arai to sign with HJC

2019-cal-crutchlow-with-hjc-motogp

HJC Helmets have reached an agreement with Cal Crutchlow to become his official helmet sponsor for 2019 and 2020 in the MotoGP World Championship.

Cal has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP grid since 2011 and the British rider continues his relationship with Team LCR Honda in 2019 after celebrating three podiums in 2018 including a victory in Argentina. Unfortunately, an injury sustained in Australia excluded Cal from the final three races of the season.

A well-respected rider by all in the paddock, Cal will become a vital part of HJC’s racing program. His maturity and experience on track bring important knowledge to contribute to the development of HJC’s products, building on their 47 years of experience in manufacturing quality motorcycle helmets.

Crutchlow said: “I am very pleased to announce my new partnership with HJC Helmets. They’ve grown their presence in the MotoGP paddock over the past few years, sponsoring races and I’m happy to join the family. Despite being a huge company, they haven’t lost the personal approach and relationship, and this means a lot to me. Their helmet is a great product and I’m looking forward to working with them to continue to develop and evolve their design.”

The move sees Cal ditch his long-standing relationship with Arai.