WSBK

WSBK – Ducati back to winning ways as Chaz Davies wins Race Two at Magny Cours

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After being hampered by a technical issue in Race one, Ducati factory rider Chaz Davies bounced back with a dominant win in Race Two at the eleventh round of the WSBK Championship at Magny Cours, the team’s eighth overall win of the season.

In tricky conditions, with a light rain falling intermittently on different sections of the track, the Welshman built his win (the 27th of his career) in the early laps, when he was the only rider capable of lapping in the 1:38 mark after a blistering start from 11th position.

Newly-crowned world champion Jonny Rea endured a miserable race, and he was forced to retire after Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty high-sided off in front him on Lap One, striking and damaging the rear of his Kawasaki.

It made no difference to Davies though, who stormed into the lead past Alex Lowes on Lap Three. Davies quickly built a lead while Lowes battled for position with Leon Camier, only for the MV Agusta rider to be forced out with a mechanical issue on Lap Nine, which lined up a Pata Yamaha second and third with Michael van der Mark completing the podium.

Speaking after the race, the Welshman said: “Saturday’s racing was bitter, but today was sweet. This is the best way to put behind us a couple of tough races. I woke up feeling really motivated and I think it showed in the opening laps, as I was making passes and got to the front pretty quickly from 11th position.

“It wasn’t an easy race though. The rain was on and off throughout, and it was hard to tell where the wet patches could be. It was a matter of pushing hard but not too much, just enough to keep the gap in check, and that’s what we did. Now we’re looking forward to the last two races, the hunt for second position in the championship is still open and we can be fast both in Jerez and Qatar.”

 

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WSBK – Three is the magic number as Rea makes history at Magny Cours

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Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea made history at Magny-Cours at the weekend, claiming an unprecedented third WorldSBK championship following his 50th WSBK career win.
The polesitter, who dominated the race from beginning to end, said: “To be honest I can’t sum up my emotions. I just feel super proud of my team and Kawasaki.
“It has been such a team effort, and even though I’m the guy who rode it over the line, there have been so many people involved to make it possible. Every season is different and special in its own individual way.
“2015 was a seamless year, I joined a high-level team with a well-developed bike. I jumped on a bike that was ready to win and we won. 2016 was possibly more special because we had a completely new ZX-10R, and I’m really proud of my team for the constant development.
“We had a lot of success last season and although we didn’t score as many points, we were able to understand the bike and it was a lot more difficult, so it was a lot harder.”
Rea has now won 35 races for Kawasaki since ending his long-term relationship with Honda three years ago, and he was keen to stress how important teamwork has been to his achievements.
“This season we showed the strength of the team, the manufacturer, the strength of Pere [Riba]. We went through some hard winter tests and we worked through the problems, and were able to go out and win at Phillip Island.”
There are still four races remaining in the 2017 season, but the 30-year-old is already switching his attention to next year.
“2018 as a whole looks uncertain, and we need to understand how the bike will work with some new regulations.
“Winter testing will be so important, and when we turn our attentions to 2018, I am 100% confident in my team and Kawasaki that we will always give our 100%.”

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.

WSBK – ‘Lucky’ Sykes wins incident packed Race One at Misano

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After taking his first race win of the season at Donington Park in the previous round, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was gifted another win at Misano, despite starting the final lap in fourth position.

The drama saw championship leader Jonathan Rea fall after colliding with the last-lap race leader Chaz Davies, just before Rea was set to make a final move to try re-take the lead he had held on two separate occasions in a dramatic 21-lap race. it was a nasty coming together – Rea had nowhere to go and rode over the prone Daveis, with the Ducati rider’s speed hump and helmet bearing the full weight of the Kawasaki

In a race full of incident and close competition Rea took the lap one lead, only to be passed by Michael van der Mark who was in a leading position for the next 13 laps. Rea had to take avoiding action and lost time to the riders behind after van der Mark suddenly fell, but Rea still re-took the lead, until lap 19, when Davies passed him.

Sykes’ race had seen him drop back from his pole position start to spend most of the race in fifth position; then fourth after van der Mark’s crash. When the then third-placed Marco Melandri fell on the last lap Tom moved into a podium position, which suddenly became a winning position after the collision of Davies and Rea.

Sykes said: “In racing it is all circumstances. In the end the circumstances meant we were able to win today and finally for this I am happy. We will take the 25 points. In racing you have to accept things like this and I only hope that Chaz is OK after I saw some footage of his crash on the slow-down lap. It looked a nasty incident so I hope Chaz is going to be OK and will be fit to race tomorrow. In this moment we will take the 25 points and get them under my own steam tomorrow.”

Alex Lowes took second, passing Rea, who managed to remount and cross the line for a podium place – his 100th career podium.

Rea said: “The plan was to just release the brake and go up the inside of Chaz on the last corner, but unfortunately for both of us it did not get that far. Especially for Chaz. He made a mistake and tucked the front and I am super-sorry that I hit him but I had absolutely nowhere to go. I hope he is OK. I can’t remember ever being on the podium in a race I have fallen in, maybe in a wet race but probably not, to be honest. In van der Mark’s crash earlier in the race I had to go off track. I was so close to almost hitting him and then his bike almost hit me. It was certainly eventful. It was a shame for me and Chaz as we were fighting for the victory.”

WSBK – Rea ends Sykes stranglehold with historic Race Two win at Donington

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In a contest where only 14 riders finished the race, Jonathan Rea put in stellar performance to win his eighth race of the year and Kawasaki’s 100th in Superbike history.

Despite having to start from the fourth row of the grid because of his huge high speed crash in Race One,
Rea made a superb launch and was able to scythe his way through the field – such was Rea’s early pace that he went from tenth on the grid to second after just one complete lap, eventually taking the lead at Redgate on Lap Rea.

It was a commanding ride, and while many riders fell, Rea kept his cool, managing the gap to the chasing pack.

It was team-mate Tom Sykes who pushed Rea hardest. Sykes was in fifth place in lap one and eventually got to second place on lap seven. He managed to close the gap with some hard charging, but with the laps counting down Rea had enough of an advantage to hold the lead and win his 46th race since he joined the WSBK series.

The win secured put Kawasaki’s place the history books as only the third manufacturer to reach the landmark figure of 100 race victories. It was an impressive feat made even more remarkable considering his scary crash in yesterday’s race, and another heavy spill during this morning’s practice

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I had an incredible first lap today. I had been really frustrated because I got penalised by no fault of my own yesterday in scoring no points and then penalised again with my grid position today, when I went back to tenth. I knew I had to make a good start straight away otherwise my race was over. I was really quiet today and after warm-up I was really nervous. I was going through all these scenarios in my head about what I would do with a good start, or a bad start, and then what my race plan would be. My guys worked really hard overnight to build a completely brand new bike because yesterday’s was destroyed. The first time I rode it this morning, with some set-up changes from Pere. The bike was talking to me in a way I have not had this year. So I knew today was mine if I could get a good start.

“There was a little bit of pressure for the 100th Kawasaki win and I was thinking about it today. From half race distance I said to myself that it has to be me today. We managed the race perfectly and I even managed a nice little stand-up wheelie at the end!”

WSBK – Sykes continues Donington domination with Race One win

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On a dry track surface at Donington Park Tom Sykes won his first WSBK race of the season in dominant style, crushing the field by crossing the line a clear 16.5 seconds ahead of second place man Leon Haslam.

The victory sees Sykes score his ninth successive win at Donington Park – the 32nd of his career – and means he closes the points gap on his team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea to 50 after after a problem with his rear tyre caused Rea crash spectacularly at Craner Curves, without injury.

In the morning, before the start of the first race, Superpole was won by Sykes – the 39th of his career and the first this season, setting a new track best of 1’26.641 in the process.

At the beginning of the opening 23-lap contest, it was Ducati’s Chaz Davies took the lead, from Sykes and Rea, then after one lap of the 4.023km track Rea slotted into second place, and then the lead, after Davies crashed out on lap seven.

Having been down in fourth place for a short period, after trying to pass Rea for second but running wide, Sykes found himself behind eventual podium finisher Leon Haslam, racing as a wildcard at his ‘home’ circuit on the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing machine.

Sykes steadily worked his way into the lead at his favourite circuit and eventually had a clear run to victory, while Rea began experiencing some vibration issues late in the race which forced him to slow his pace. However with three laps to go his tyre deflated, causing the rear to come around as he tapped on the gas through Craner Curves.

Haslam, a wildcard rider for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and riding with the blessing of his JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike team, took his second place after Rea’s misfortune, but was already in line for a podium finish close to the end of the race after making a strong start.

The final rung on the podium was gifted Alex Lowes on the Yamaha after Ducati’s Marco Melandri, after he inexplicably ran on to the grass on the approach to the final corner.

Tom Sykes, stated: “That was a fantastic race and I enjoyed it. It turned out to be very difficult and not necessarily what I had in the plan but that is part of racing. We had a good start but during the attempted pass on Chaz I had a full fuel load and was just a little bit on the limit, I ran wide and did again on Jonathan. I lost a lot of time there but today’s experience has been a blessing in disguise really, because I now have a better understanding of the race bike set-up while riding with the others. All weekend I have been fairly much alone on track and doing my own thing and had some great results. But today being behind other riders was hampering the lap time. Overall to win here and continue my form at Donington is fantastic. ”

Jonathan Rea, stated: “About a lap before Tom passed me I started to get a lot of vibration entering the corner off the gas. I had a lot of chatter from the front and the rear. When Tom passed me it started to get worse and worse. All I was thinking about was to finish the race and get some points. In hindsight I should have pulled over because I would have saved my bike because it was completely destroyed. The team will have to build me a new bike for tomorrow so that is frustrating for the mechanics as well. I am really disappointed, to be honest.”

WSBK – Hayden in ‘serious’ condition after training crash

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Nicky Hayden remains in a very serious condition in hospital after a bicycle accident while training in Italy.

The 2006 MotoGP world champion was reportedly hit by a car between Tavoleto and Riccione, south of the seaside resort of Rimini and rushed to a local hospital with severe head and chest injuries. However, the severity of his injuries led to the medical team deciding to fly him to the Bufalini hospital in nearby Cesena, one better equipped to cater to serious head injuries.

Hospital staff describe Hayden’s condition as ‘very serious’ and he has now been moved to intensive care.

Hayden was in the region training following last weekend’s fifth round of the WSBK series at nearby Imola.

The Kentucky Kid raced for the factory Honda and Honda  MotoGP teams before switching to WSBK in 2016, finishing the season in place.

 

 

 

 

 

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 – Laverty escapes injury in huge Race One off at Imola

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Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty emerged unscathed from a dramatic, and fast, racing incident during Race One at Imola.

Saturday’s Superpole sessions were promising for the Milwaukee Aprilia rider, with Laverty qualifying an encouraging P6 after going straight to Superpole 2 from Free Practice.

Laverty made a good getaway and quickly took fifth place, and although he couldn’t manage the pace of the top four he ran well in the middle of the field, enjoying battles with the Ducati of Fores and the MV Agusta of Camier.

As his pace dropped Laverty fell into the clutches of the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes, defending well against both until a late move from Lowes resulted in a contact of the bikes.

Laverty’s bike suffered a broken front brake line and he was unable to slow as he approached Turn 17 – he managed to jump from his bike at high speed and avoided a collision with the wall, while his bike burst into flames on impact.

Laverty said: “I was optimistic at the start because the bike was feeling good, but I started losing pace after about 7 lap and I was moving backwards. I tried hanging in, and just before the crash happened the bike started to feel good again.

“We didn’t have much rear grip today. It was good at the start and then went away, but then it came back in the middle of the race which was strange. That’s something we need to look closely at, at times I felt I could really push but it was disappointing to see other guys coming past.

“I’m OK after the crash and I thought it would hurt me more, but my gear did its job and I’m ready to get on the bike again tomorrow. It’s hard to know how tomorrow will go, obviously there are positives to take from today but we have to analyse where we’re struggling.”

Laverty visited the Medical Centre for precautionary checks but has been deemed fit to race on Sunday.