WSBK

WSBK – Davies takes Race Two win at Aragon

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After finishing on the podium with a second place in Race One, Chaz Davies took a stunning win in Race Two at Aragon.

Starting from third row, Davies bided his time early on, then took the lead with five laps to go and never looked back.

Kawasaki’s Jonny Rea pushed Davies all the way, running wide into the entry of the chicane at turn 12 and losing his chance to attack Davies on the long final corner. Rea was just 1.184 seconds back at the flag, for his fourth podium finish of the 2018 season.

Davies took the 7th win of his career at Aragon and second of the season.

Davies said: “I had to really work hard for this win, coming from 8th place on the grid. I knew we could pull through, but in the first few laps I didn’t have the feeling I was hoping for.

“We opted for a softer rear tire and I was expecting to have more stability, but the rear kept spinning a bit so I stayed patient without trying to force my way through. Then, I made some passes and found myself in a good position to ride my own race.

“I’m really, really happy to have sealed my seventh win here at Aragon. Thanks to the whole team and Ducati. I can’t wait to race again next weekend in Assen.”

Adding to an already memorable Sunday, rookie Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished in seventh position, first among the independent riders, with the Aruba Racing – Junior Team.

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WSBK – Rea wins scintillating Race One at Aragon

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Kawasaki’s Jonny Rea had mixed feelings about his bike throughout Friday and the Saturday Superpole, but in Race One of the third WSBK round of the season he put to bed any worries he or his team may have had with a dominant performance at MotorLand Aragon.

The reigning champion increases his lead to 14 points now, after Ducati’s Marco Melandri could only come in fourth.

The race was red flagged after three laps, after a horrible collision involving Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda), Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Honda rider appeared to slip on Turn 10, with the other two riders just behind and unable to avoid contact. The Brit was immediately taken to the medical centre for evaluation, while Torres and Savadori exited the track on their own feet, although the Spaniard could not make the restart in time.

Before the incident, a wild start had completely turned over the starting grid for Race One. Poleman Marco Melandri moved down to fifth in Lap 1, with Rea taking the lead ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes, up from fifth.

Behind them, Ducati’s Chaz Davies had made an extraordinary start, coming through from 11th to 4th in just one lap, and beating Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes on the next lap to move into provisional podium positions.

After the restart, it was Rea again at the top, leading the first half of the new race bar one lap from Lowes. The champion later found himself under pressure from Xavi Fores on the Barni Racing Ducati, who made his move over the Northern Irishman with just nine laps to go, taking the lead in front of his home fans. But, ultimately, Rea found his moment a couple of laps later, racing away from the Spaniard and taking his second win of the season.

The final laps displayed an extraordinary three-way Ducati fight for the podium, between Fores, Melandri, and Davies, up the field again. With Melandri going wide with two laps to go, it was a fantastic race to the finish between Davies and Fores, exchanging places throughout the final lap and with the Welshman just squeezing ahead at the checkered flag.

Behind them, Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark came in fifth, leaving him in a promising position for Race Two.

The British pair of Sykes and Lowes followed in sixth and seventh, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Racing – Junior Team) taking a good eighth position on his WSBK debut.

At the back, a thrilling battle emerged for ninth, and thus a privileged starting position in tomorrow’s Race Two. At the end, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu on the Puccetti Racing Kawasaki who came in ahead of the pack, with three more riders less than a second away.

After the race Rea, stated: “These track conditions suited us perfectly today. The tyres worked well in these weather conditions. I managed to find a good rhythm and I was confident, especially at the end of the race, when I knew we would be strong. I saw this race as our chance from the start. I thought that all the cards were on our side, so I just tried to be clean. I made a couple of little mistakes, and when Xavi Fores came past me it more about trying to understand where he was strong, and then improve. Mid corner, I feel like our bike is a little bit stronger. So all that first section of the track, where it is more flowing, I felt really strong. I am enjoying riding the bike.”

WSBK – Laverty breaks pelvis in horror crash in Thailand

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Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty has had a lucky escape after being run over by Jordi Torres during Lap 5 of Race Two from Thailand.

The Irishman sustained a broken pubic ramus in the racing incident. He was taken to Buriram Hospital where scans have revealed a small pelvis fracture which is not weight-bearing when standing.The news means the rider does not require surgery.

Speaking about the incident, Mv Agusta’s Torres said: “On turn six, I saw Eugene crash and unfortunately, instead of sliding to the outside, the bike came back on the track and I found Laverty right on my line. I was unable to do anything to avoid him, since he was just a few centimetres away.”

Laverty is expected to return to action soon, but he is likely to miss the next WSBK round at Aragon on April 14-15.

WSBK – Davies takes first 2018 win at Thailand

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Welshman Chaz Davies took his first win of the season – his first victory at the Chang International Circuit – in Race Two from Thailand after charging through the field to take the lead on lap eight.

Davies said: ”It was a fantastic race, something special. To come away with a win here makes me so happy. At Buriram we’ve always struggled in the past, it’s been a long process to get into a race winning position. I want to thank the whole team because they’ve given me such a great bike today. The Panigale R was working really well, we found a little bit more consistency and I could be more adaptable with the bike. It was quite hectic out there but, if you can get through it OK, it’s so much fun. Our package is competitive and in Europe it will be like starting from zero. I’m looking forward to Aragon.”

Yamaha riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes finished second and third respectively, with reigning champion Jonathan Rea finishing outside the rostrum places in Thailand for the first time since the event was added to the calendar in 2015, coming home almost three seconds behind Lowes in fourth.

Rea, who claimed his maiden win of the season in Race One, has now taken over the lead of the championship by two points from Phillip Island double winner Marco Melandri, who followed up his eighth place on Saturday with a seventh place finish in race two. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda) rounded out the top six.

WSBK – Rea takes first race win of the season in Thailand

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Jonathan Rea has slashed Marco Melandri’s advantage in the World Superbike Championship to two points after claiming his maiden victory of 2018 in race one in Thailand on Saturday.

Rea controlled the race after securing pole position ahead of his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes, and while Sykes was first over the line in the first two laps, Rea quickly took the lead.

Controlling the race from the front, Rea won by 1.550 seconds – his 40th race win in WSBK for Kawasaki, and the first since new regulations came in to limit Kawasaki to a lower maximum rev ceiling than any of their four-cylinder rivals. The win cements his unprecedented record at the Chang International Circuit, where he has won six of the seven races held since 2015.

The Ulsterman said: “I tried to manage the gap and I didn’t want to make any mistakes because the pace was really hot.

“It feels amazing to win and we have worked really hard with the bike all weekend towards the end goal and we did, so I’m happy.”

Xavi Fores finished as the runner-up on satellite Barni Ducati, 1.5 seconds behind Rea, while Ducati factory rider Chaz Davies edged out Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier in a scintillating scrap to snatch the final place on the rostrum.

Alex Lowes on the Yamaha and Sykes completed the top six.

WSBK – double joy for Melandri at season opener at Phillip Island

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The Ducati WSBK factory team enjoyed a memorable first round performance at Phillip Island as Marco Melandri took two extraordinary race victories.

Race One saw Melandri fight with the leading group of Rea and Sykes before the Italian closed the gap from Sykes at the top, eventually taking the lead with five laps to go and defending his position until the checkered flag.

His team-mate Chaz Davies also enjoyed a strong race, coming back from sixth to third position in the second half of the race to take a deserved podium.

Race Two was shaped by a mandatory tyre change, a decision taken by Race Direction for safety reasons, which prompted the riders to pit-in from lap 10 to 12.

At the end of lap 11, Melandri enjoyed a near perfect pit-stop and rejoined the race in second position, behind team-name Davies. While trying to build a gap at the front, however, the Welshman crashed out, leaving Melandri to fight it out with Rea for the win. The duel went down to the wire and was decided by just 0.021 seconds, with Melandri taking the photo finish.

The win was Melandri’s 22nd win in WSBK, making him the most successful Italian in the production-based series.

Melandri said: “Race One was fantastic. Sykes got off to a strong start and it wasn’t easy to follow him and Rea early on. As the race went on, I managed to cut the gap. Once in the lead, it wasn’t easy anyway because the wind gusts were even stronger. The last lap seemed to last forever, but we hung on and brought home the victory.

“Race Two was a crazy race. The tire change made it impossible to come up with a strategy, as many riders could be fast for 10 laps. It was a big fight, with many aggressive moves. We still tried to look after the tyres after the pit-stop, and in the last five laps we found our rhythm. Towards the end, it was difficult to pass Rea under braking so I decided to focus on the final sprint and catch the slipstream out of the last corner, in which we were particularly fast, and the plan worked.”

WSBK – racing coming to Northern Ireland in 2019

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WSBK is coming to Northern Ireland and will join the racing calendar in 2019.

The news comes today in a joint press release from Dorna (the media rights holder to WSBK) and Manna Developments (the circuit developer), where a three-year contract was announced today to race at the yet-to-be-built Lake Torrent Circuit.

Once completed, the Lake Torrent Circuit will have 12 corners over its 2.4-mile length, while the elevation change is said to be +/- 100 feet (30m).

David Henderson of Manna Developments, said: “Having finally identified the perfect location and achieved planning permission last year, today sees the completion of that dream and is a day that will only be topped when we see up to 30,000 spectators converge in Coalisland for the first WSBK racing event in Northern Ireland.”

What this means for the 2019 season is unsure – will the Lake Torrent race replace the current British round? Or will it join it? Watch this space…

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.”

 

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.