Archive for September, 2016

Marquez, Pedrosa complete productive one-day test at Aragon

28 Sep

Two days after Marc Marquez’s dominant victory at Aragon (which, following Dani Pedrosa’s Misano success, made it back-to-back wins for the Repsol Honda Team), the pair was back on track at Aragon for a one-day test.


Today’s testing session, blessed by a sunny weather with air and ground maximum temperatures of 24° C and 35°, respectively, represented the last of the five days available to Marc and Dani over the year, the Repsol Honda Team having used three at Jerez in November 2015 and one at Misano two weeks ago.

Marc and Dani worked both on HRC’s testing program to define next season’s machine and on the settings of their 2016 RC213V race bikes in view of the challenging upcoming triple-header schedule, which will begin with Honda’s home Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi on October 16.


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Marc Marquez Wins Aragon MotoGP Race, Lorenzo 2nd and Rossi 3rd

25 Sep


Photos courtesy of Repsol Honda

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has taken a stunning win at MotorLand Aragon to extend his championship lead ahead of the flyways, with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi dueling it out to complete the podium. After re-taking his teammate and defending P2, the Mallorcan held off Rossi before the Italian ran wide, forced to settle for P3 in an expensive day in the title fight.

After a scuffle off the line through Turns 1 and 2 at a dry but cool MotorLand Aragon, it was Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Viñales who emerged from the melee to turn his front row start into the early lead in the race. With the front group close all the way down to P8, Marquez soon struck to take the lead, before a wobble through Turn 7 saw the championship leader drop back into the group slightly, down to P5. Lorenzo was the man on the chase behind new leader Viñales, with teammate Valentino Rossi in very close company.


The lead began to stretch for the Silverstone winner, before it was Rossi tagged onto the back of the Suzuki rider and looking for a way past, finally making a clever but aggressive move to take the lead with 15 to go and sit the younger Spaniard up. Viñales, pushing to find a way back through, then ran wide at Turn 1 and let Marquez through to hunt down his championship rival. With Lorenzo then on the scene, the front group divided into two duels.


Once with rider from Tavullia, former apprentice Marquez moved quickly to overtake the master, through on the inside on the ‘Aragon Corkscrew’ and making it stick. The championship leader then had the pressure of 9 world titles close behind and trying to hang on, but Marquez kept his head down and the pace up to slowly begin to get the better of the Italian and create a gap. The pace shown by the 2013 and 2014 MotoGP™ World Champion throughout the weekend on home turf proved to have survived the trip to Sunday, as the number 93 bike started to get smaller and smaller in front of the 46 plated Yamaha – with Rossi then forced to start looking over his shoulder instead as Lorenzo and Viñales threatened.

As the laps ticked on, Lorenzo left Viñales and caught Rossi, with the Movistar Yamahas then locked together in a fight for P2 and the ‘Spartan’ holding off the ‘Doctor’ – until the Italian ran wide into Turn 11 on the penultimate lap. For Rossi, the missed opportunity is a big one as he fights to close on title leader Marquez – dropping 9 points with the championship leader taking the win. Lorenzo, after a difficult weekend until a last minute front row, recovered well from a crash in morning Warm Up to cross the line in an impressive P2.

Viñales kept his Suzuki in fourth after dropping back in the latter stages of the race, earning another top five for the impressive Spaniard in only his second season. Cal Crutchlow had a solid ride to prove top Independent Team rider in fifth, just ahead of Misano winner Dani Pedrosa  – who had a more difficult race at MotorLand but crossed the line in sixth to beat Aleix Espargaro in the final stages, with brother Pol Espargaro behind him in P8.


Pedrosa struggled the entire race with lack of both front and rear tyre grip. In particular, he suffered an unusual degradation of the front tyre, which Michelin will promptly investigate. It was a pity Dani was not able to exploit the great potential he had displayed in the practice sessions, but his determination to fight hard allowed him to gain the 10 points that come with sixth place and to maintain his fourth place in the Championship standings.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso had a tough race despite being a frontrunner in the early stages, and was one of the only bikes in the initial group of frontrunners to have chosen both medium compound tyres. With six laps to go the Italian veteran was under fire from Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista, with Bautista taking the Ducati to finish in an impressive P9. ‘DesmoDovi’ then found himself taken by the second Aprilia of Stefan Bradl, and ended the race just outside the top ten in P11.


Nicky Hayden’s one off return from WorldSBK to sub for injured Jack Miller was a success for the ‘Kentucky Kid’, as the American scored points in P15 despite never having ridden the bike, tyres or electronics.

The land of the rising sun is the next stop for the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, as the Twin Ring Motegi beckons Marquez back to the scene of his 2014 title win – now 52 points clear at the top.


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Team Ecstar Suzuki to lose privilleges with Maverick Vinales’ British MotoGP win

04 Sep

Photos courtesy of Team Ecstar Suzuki


Maverick Viñales  has taken a historic first win for Suzuki since their return to the championship, as the 2013 Moto3 world champion was in a class of his own at the Octo British Grand Prix to become the seventh winner so far in 2016. Viñales, who got his first podium in Le Mans in the French GP, got a front row start and simply pulled away once clear at the front – putting in an incredible performance to cross the line over 3 seconds clear. After an almighty battle behind, it was home hero and pole sitter Cal Crutchlow  and Valentino Rossi  who completed the podium.

However, the win would take away the advantages Suzuki currently enjoys – extra engines for a full season and no freeze on engine development, which are put in place for teams which have yet to win a dry race or regular podium finishes. Ducati has its privileges removed at end of the 2015 season for being a regular podium finishers and scored the elusive win recently with Andrea Iannone at the Austrian MotoGP race held in Red Bull Ring in Austria.

There was Lap 1 drama as the Octo British Grand Prix got underway, with rain threatening the grid and bike swaps practiced in morning Warm Up, but the weather remained dry for the length of the race. With the initial lights out it was Maverick Viñales at the front, before an incident between Loris Baz and Pol Espargaro brought out the red flag and the two riders went to the medical center. On the restart, the front row of the grid of Crutchlow, Rossi and Viñales fought for the lead, with Crutchlow taking the position early before Viñales got through to lead and pull away.


With Viñales away at the front once again, Marc Marquez led a five bike train of Rossi, Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone  and Marquez’ teammate Dani Pedrosa in the chase, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo having a difficult race as he circulated in P8 despite his stunning record at the British venue. With Rossi then taking over in P2, Viñales was still over two seconds clear and the chase was on.

Iannone, after making his way to the front of the chasing group, then lost his Ducati with 6 laps to go and suffered a DNF, leaving Crutchlow in P2 and Rossi and Marquez to duel it out. With the Italian and the Spaniard the two men at the top of the championship – although Marquez 53 points clear – it was a battle royale for points, pride and supremacy as the two fought it out. With characteristic hard racing and some incredible moves from each, Marquez eventually broke away from his Italian title rival to close on Crutchlow – before running deep and dropping back behind teammate Pedrosa into P5, into another battle that he just won to come home P4. Pedrosa had a calmer ride than his teammate to the top five, but looked to have made an incredible leap forward in the setup of his Repsol Honda as he got back to the front.

Andrea Dovizioso came home P6 in a solid ride despite having twisted his knee in a testing crash ahead of the event, with Aleix Espargaro on the second Team Suzuki Ecstar similarly riding after a recent injury to come home P7. Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line eighth after struggling for grip, with Danilo Petrucci and Alvaro Bautista completing the top ten. Home hero Scott Redding was the last to cross the line after a crash, with compatriot and replacement rider Alex Lowes coming home in P13 on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in a solid first MotoGP performance.


The grid now head for Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the next race, with Marquez still clear at the front despite Rossi taking a small amount of points back from the Spaniard’s lead.

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