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MotoGP World Championship – Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix

Márquez makes the break

By making it to the second step of the podium for the Austrian Grand Prix, Álex Márquez has considerably increased his lead in the Moto2 world championship.

Despite his worst qualifying session, and finding himself in eleventh position on the starting grid, Álex Márquez played his Austrian Grand Prix to perfection. “After the morning’s rain, we started out on a track that was still very tricky,” said the championship leader. “I managed to keep calm and wait my time for the comeback. I didn’t attack in the first three laps until I found my pace and then started to overtake.” After catching up with the top trio led by Binder, the Spaniard took advantage of the nearing finish and the falls of Marini and Bastianini to clinch the second step of the podium. “In the last two laps I was practically able to fight it out with Brad, but he was riding very fast and I was thinking about the championship,” Marquez continued. “I had to stay in second place and not take unnecessary risks.” Xavi Vierge was again forced to retire. While fighting it out with the front-runners, the Marc VDS rider crashed on the third lap, taking the Japanese Nagashima with him. At Tech 3, Philipp Oettl and Marco Bezzecchi crossed the finish line in twenty-second and twenty-third positions. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira confirmed his progress behind the handlebars of the KTM RC16. Thirteenth on the starting grid, the Portuguese rider even scored his first top ten, placing eighth just sixteen seconds behind the winner. Hafizh Syahrin fell at the start of the race.

The Championship

With his new podium, the seventh since the beginning of the year, Álex Márquez has increased his overall lead. The leader of the championship is now forty-three points ahead of Tom Lüthi. By chalking up his fourth Did Not Finish in a row, Xavi Vierge has lost another place. He is now fourteenth. The same punishment has been meted out to Marc Bezzecchi who is now placed twenty-fourth. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has won three places. The KTM Tech 3 rider has climbed to fifteenth place in the overall category, while Hafizh Syahrin remains in twenty-fifth place despite his new fall.

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of Germany

Márquez back after the break

After three weeks of summer break, Álex Márquez started racing again at top speed. The Spanish rider won in the Czech Republic after going it alone once again, and consolidated his position as leader of the Moto2 world championship.

“I wanted to attack the second half of the championship the way I finished the first.” Álex Márquez was true to his word: as in Germany last month, the rider of the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS team outclassed his opponents on the Brno circuit. Pole position, victory and lap record! “A perfect race, like in a dream,” he commented. “The key to the result was the work we did during the warm-up, focusing on worn tires. It allowed me to attack from the very first lap and then to control my lead.” His teammate was less inspired. Badly placed on the starting grid, Xavi Vierge fell at the very start of the race in his rush to make his way through the pack. The Spaniard still managed to get back in the saddle and take the checkered flag in twenty-fourth position. On the side of the KTM Tech 3 team, Marco Bezzecchi had his best race of the season after qualifying for the second row of the starting grid. “Starting in front helped me,” admitted the Italian who crossed the finish line of the Moto2 race in twelfth place. Philipp Oettl, who has been absent for three races after a concussion, finished the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic in twenty-third place. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira started racing again on the right foot. “We had a good race despite the difficult conditions,” confided the Portuguese rider, who was thirteenth. “The bad weather didn’t help us in tuning the bike, and the end of the race was complicated in terms of tyre management. So finishing by scoring points was a just reward.” Hafizh Syahrin also thought he’d score some points, but he unfortunately fell while fighting it out with Alex Espargaro when he was in thirteenth position.

The Championship

By winning his fifth victory of the season and giving the Marc VDS team the hundredth podium in its history, Álex Márquez also increased his lead over Tom Lüthi in the overall classification to thirty-three points. Xavi Vierge has slipped back to thirteenth place in the championship. Although his twenty-third position has not changed, Marco Bezzecchi now has ten points on his counter. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira remains in eighteenth position with eighteen points. Despite his fall, Hafizh Syarhin has kept his twenty-fifth place overall.

TOP SPEED BUT NO TOP RESULT FOR TEAM HANSEN MJP AT WORLD RX OF CANADA

Trois-Rivières, 04 August 2019 – Team HANSEN MJP faced its most challenging FIA World Rallycross Championship round of 2019 in Canada, wich features the fastest top speed of the calendar, as its lead in both championships were reduced and one of its two cars made the Finals.

Kevin Hansen continues to lead the World RX drivers’ championship but no longer has his older brother as his closest rival, with Timmy falling to third as two strong qualifying runs were outweighed by issues in the other two.

Starting from the outside lane twice on Saturday, Kevin struggled for track position at first, though a Q4 heat win put him ninth in qualifying on aggregate.

A brilliant semi-final performance by Kevin promoted him from fifth to third, making a great start and then pulling off an early joker strategy to leapfrog Niclas Grönholm.

He made a similarly bright start to the final, passing the GCK cars of Anton Marklund and Guerlain Chicherit at turn one. But a clash with Marklund damaged his car and forced him to pull up a lap from the end while running fifth, ending his chances of a stunning podium finish. He was later excluded from the final by stewards due to contact with Marklund’s GCK machine.

Timmy’s weekend was also stalled by contact, losing precious time on his Q2 run after hitting the tyre barrier at the exit of turn two, then being hit by other cars four times in Q4 that forced him to limp to the finish line in 15th.

Despite the tumultuous weekend Team HANSEN MJP still has a 17 point lead in the FIA World RX teams’ championship, while Kevin holds a five point lead in the drivers’ championship, Third-placed Timmy is now 14 points behind Kevin.

WORLD RX OF CANADA RESULTS 

13th – Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1   –  5th
Qualifying 2   –  14th
Qualifying 3   –  4th
Qualifying 4   –  15th
Semi-Final 
Final  

6th – Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1   –10th
Qualifying 2   –  11th
Qualifying 3   –  7th
Qualifying 4   –  5th
Semi-Final 2  –  3rd
Final – DQ

TALKING POINTS

The lead gap in both championships narrowed at Trois-Rivières: not great news for us, but good news for the fans seeking an exciting end to the season!

Turn one at Trois-Rivières lived up to its reputation as a flashpoint for trouble, with Timmy held up there on his Q4 run and Kevin pulling off a sublime full-lock drift after being tapped into a spin at the start of Q2.

This is only the second time in 2019 that a Team HANSEN MJP driver has not finished on the podium. The other instance was round three at Spa-Francorchamps, where Timmy finished fourth in the final.

The big number

6

Timmy’s qualifying position heading into Q4, demonstrating how close the FIA World RX championship has been this year.

TIMMY HANSEN

“There were two key moments: my own mistake in Q2 and being in the wrong place at the wrong time twice in Q4, which wasn’t down to me. I had a great run off the start but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s racing, I just have to accept it. It feels a lot like Abu Dhabi. There I was taken out for reasons beyond my control and it felt like the same thing here again, with cars spinning out in front of me. Grönholm was definitely fast but we were going really fast as well and things were going well, and it was all taken away quite suddenly. It felt like a big surprise. So having to watch Bakkerud go past me in the championship, without being on the track to defend my position, was tough.”

KEVIN HANSEN

“The first day was tricky. The speed was there but we had to start from the outside, which is really tricky in Hell. For the second day we adopted some of Timmy’s set-up, made some changes, and that seemed to make a difference.

“Looking at what happened when the rain came, starting from the second row for the Semi Final was a lot better than the first, so I was very happy to start there! We pulled off some amazing launches in the wet.

“I had to drive carefully in the Final as there was wiper fluid spraying everywhere inside the car! That also meant I couldn’t clear mud from the windscreen too. But we managed to cope with that well. Gronholm behind me pushed so hard but we kept our cool, did our thing and kept the grip all the way. With a good joker lap we managed to finish P2 but then got a penalty and were P3 instead. It’s not nice when you get a penalty but in the end I think it was a fair decision.”

THE BOSS – KENNETH HANSEN

“It was a bit of a mixed weekend for us. Saturday wasn’t ideal with a few mistakes from us as a team and some problems for the drivers out on the track. Sunday went much better but in the end, it wasn’t the result we wanted.

“Looking at the positives, we did learn a lot. We expected to have a little more speed here but we’ve learned a lot and there are some things we’ll do differently for the future, especially the next round at Höljes, our home event.”

NEXT ROUND: 
WORLD RX OF FRANCE

There’s only three rounds to go in this year’s FIA World RX season, and the next stop is something of a second home race for Team HANSEN MJP: France.

Thanks to running the Peugeot 208 WRX since the world championship’s inception in 2014, the team gets plenty of support from local fans.

Timmy Hansen scored his second career win at Lohéac in 2015, so hopes are high of a return to form in France.

CITROËN’S FLYING FINNS GRAB SECOND PLACE!

Runners-up at their home round after a high quality performance in their C3 WRC, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm consolidated their pedigree as “Flying Finns”, the local crews who each year add another page to the history of this legendary event! Their performance, Citroën Total World Rally Team’s eighth podium of the season, was supplemented by a fine fifth place for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia who, in spite of the French driver having suffered physically yesterday, were determined to hang in there and claim precious points for the championship.

With the final leg starting with the stage on which they went off last year, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm knew that a tough job lay ahead of them today. Their off in 2018 also meant that they had no experience of driving the second stage of the loop at full speed. Totally in control of proceedings throughout the weekend in the C3 WRC, the Finns nonetheless had to show great steel today. After limiting the time lost on the first runs, whilst also confirming their pace notes, they then moved clear of the third-placed crew on the second pass. They went on to equal their best result so far with the Red Army (runners-up in Sweden) and secured a richly deserved podium at their home round, just rewards for their undeniable improvement!

This second podium of the season for the Lappi-Ferm crew, the sixth of their short WRC career, is also the eighth in nine rounds this season for the Citroën Total World Rally Team.

Esapekka and Janne showed their intentions right from the word go, setting the second fastest time – just a tenth down on the lead time – on the first proper stage (19.34km). They then confirmed their promising start as they made it to the end of the opening leg in third position, just 2.4s off the pace. Full of confidence in the C3 WRC on these roads that leave no room for hesitation, they went even better on Saturday’s leg. Two more stage wins (SS16 & SS18) amidst the four-way battle for the lead took them up to second place, with handy lead of 12.4s over the third-placed crew. An advantage that they managed masterfully on today’s short final leg, like a couple of seasoned campaigners!

Second on the road on Friday and therefore obliged to sweep the fine layer of loose gravel off the roads, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia managed to limit the time lost, ending day in seventh position, just 12.9s off the podium. Unfortunately, Sébastien then suffered a disrupted night’s sleep after falling ill and was forced to reset his sights for Saturday’s leg. He nonetheless showed great persistence and determination to fight against the exhaustion he felt and move up to fifth overall, within striking distance of fourth place. Having enjoyed a better night’s sleep, he went back on the offensive on Sunday with the same tenacity, but missed out on fourth place by just 2.7s. The points scored at this rally, including two bonus points earned in the Power Stage thanks to setting the fourth fastest time, mean he still lies second in the drivers’ championship and in contention for a seventh consecutive world title.

REACTIONS FROM…

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver

“It was a tough weekend for us. To be honest, I had higher expectations at the start. As always, I gave it absolutely everything. For sure, Saturday’s leg – when I was really low on energy – didn’t help matters, but even today, when I felt better, unfortunately I wasn’t able to do more.”

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver

“I’m very pleased for the team – they deserve this result for having been patient and supportive during the first part of the season, when things were difficult. We worked really hard – and well – together so that the C3 WRC suited my driving style more effectively, especially on the front diffs and I really felt full of confidence driving the car this weekend. I literally felt like I could do what I liked in it! From the first run in the shakedown, I knew that things were looking good. I now hope to keep up this level of performance for the rest of the season.”

TWO QUESTIONS FOR PIERRE BUDAR, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

What can you say about Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm’s performance this weekend?

Obviously, we are delighted to see them back near the top after an up-and-down first half of the season, when they struggled to turn their undeniable potential into results.We knew that they were extremely fast and we never doubted their ability to get back to where they belong. They just needed a bit of time to adjust to the car and get the most out of it. We have also tried to support them in managing this situation as best we could, and the relaxed attitude we’ve seen in them this weekend makes me think that the hard work done is beginning to pay dividends. It’s richly deserved for the commitment and trust they have placed in the team, day in, day out. But it’s also satisfying for everyone in the team, who continue to work relentlessly, without counting the hours… I have high hopes that they can keep up the momentum at the next few rounds.

Once again showing their incredible fighting spirit, Sébastien and Julien leave Finland with precious points in the battle for the drivers’ and co-drivers’ title…

Yes, even though they were definitely hoping for a better outcome, and so were we. But they didn’t have an easy job in second position in the running order here, where there is a lot of loose gravel on the roads. And the very disrupted night between Friday and Saturday really knocked the stuffing out of Sébastien, just when he intended to try and make up lost ground. Despite all of this, they once again showed their legendary grit and tenacity, limiting the damage and remaining in with a very good chance of winning the championship. Sometimes, championships are won by making it to the end of difficult weekends like this one without suffering too much damage. In any case, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to ensure our crews have an even more competitive C3 WRC at the forthcoming rounds.

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND

Christophe Witschi, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm’s race engineer, witnessed first-hand the race craft and assurance with which the Finns built their podium finish, particularly on Sunday morning when they put paid to Jari-Matti Latvala’s hopes of snatching second. He recalls the experience…

“Esapekka was very relaxed this morning and very clear about how he intended to manage his 12.4s lead today. He clearly said that on the first run on the first stage, he was going to ease off slightly on the corner where he went off last year, in order to avoid making the same mistake and that’s obviously what he did. The second stage of the loop was changed a bit last year so his off in 2018 was quite a disadvantage, as he had not driven it at full racing speed. Latvala, on the other hand, has driven this stage many times before, given that it has been used previously as the shakedown stage. But once again, Esapekka and Janne managed to deal with this handicap perfectly, before reminding their fellow countryman that he wasn’t going to catch them on the repeat of Laukaa! It was undoubtedly at least as impressive as their performance on Saturday afternoon when they moved ahead of Latvala.”

FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

1. Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h30’40’’3

2. Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +25’’6

3. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +33’’2

4. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +53’’4

5. Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +56’’1

6. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1’32’’4

7. Breen / Nagle (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1’38’’2

8. Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2’33’’8

DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Ott Tänak – 180 points

2. Sébastien Ogier – 158 points

3. Thierry Neuville – 155 points

4. Elfyn Evans – 78 points

5. Andreas Mikkelsen – 71 points

6. Teemu Suninen – 66 points

7. Kris Meeke – 60 points

8. Esapekka Lappi – 58 points

9. Jari-Matti Latvala – 56 points

10. Dani Sordo – 50 points

MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

1. Hyundai WRT – 262 points

2. Toyota Gazoo Racing – 236 points

3. Citroën Total WRT – 198 points

4. M-Sport Ford WRT – 158 points

Endurance Suzuka 8 Hours

KRT winners, SRC Champions!

At the end of a crazy final won by Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, the Kawasaki SRC team won its first World Endurance Championship title.

All the action happened five minutes from the finish. Jonathan Rea had just taken control of the race after overtaking the official Yamaha ridden by the trio Nakasuga, Lowes and Van der Mark and the Honda with Takahashi, Kyonari and Bradl in the saddle. Stuck in thirteenth place, the SRC Kawasaki team had lost all hope of taking the title. Handicapped by tyre problems, delayed by the unfortunate entry of a pace car and a fall by Nigon, Gilles Stafler’s team had more or less accepted their fate. And then the Suzuki of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), placed ninth, broke its engine … “It was a crazy end to the race,” said the boss of the Kawasaki team. “We thought we’d lost the title for one point, and we ended up winning it with a five-point lead. It’s true we had a stroke of luck this time round, but it was so bad at the Bol d’Or that I think we deserve the crown.” It was a first for the Kawasaki SRC team, but also the first for Erwan Nigon and Jérémy Guarnoni, in tears at the arrival of this incredible Japanese final. “Everyone has done a great job this season,” said Davi Checa, the third man on the SRC. Our success is well deserved.” Shortly after Etienne Masson broke his engine, Jonathan Rea skidded on the oil left by the SERT Suzuki, forcing the race management to fly the red flag. The four minutes that remained in the race prevented the entry of the pace car, and the ranking of the Eight Hours of Suzuka was therefore based on the bike positions in the lap preceding Rea’s fall. The last time the Kawasaki team KRT won at Suzuka was 26 years ago.

STATEMENTS:

Jonathan Rea: “I cannot believe what is happening really. From being dejected and feeling that everything was out of our hands, I had already gone back to the hotel, said goodbye to all the guys, with lots of tears. I was in the restaurant already, ordering dinner, when my mechanic Uri called me and said, ‘Hey, are you sitting down?’ I thought he was going to ask me to go to another restaurant – but he then told me we had won the 8 Hours. I think common sense prevailed in that one. I have no words because I am really emotional and happy. The strategy was to work on fuel consumption and race consistency and make no mistakes. I feel we executed that quite well although I got quite tired and cramped at the end. But we prepared the best way possible with the limited time we had. I am so proud to be part of the project and what an effort from KRT, KHI, KMJ who prepared for this race in two tests. During the race it is like hell, the hardest race you can ever imagine, but getting a result like this almost makes me want to come back for more. The emotional roller coaster is unreal.”

Leon Haslam: “From everyone being in tears to getting the news sitting in a restaurant that we actually did win it, I have no words to describe how I feel. The Suzuka 8 Hours is always one of the hardest races of the year. The effort we put in to win, from us, the team and Kawasaki means it has been a big roller coaster of emotion. When the oil went down and the situation happened at the end; words cannot describe the lows we had. But when the good news came through, the highs were just as high. In the second half of each stint I really struggled physically but the bike was working well. I am so happy and I want to thank Kawasaki for this opportunity; also the whole team, Toprak and Johnny, and we pushed as hard as we could. It is a shame that we did not get to stand on the top of the podium but the result is in and we have won the Suzuka 8 Hours.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu: “Today I am very tired after watching the race for eight hours! But I am very happy for Johnny and Leon because that was an incredible job today. We are all happy and thank you to everyone. For me this was my first time here – and our team won.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team manager“This race has been outstanding and I think for the public, the fans and everyone it has been the most incredible Suzuka 8 Hours. Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki – the riders and the factories – have been amazing everybody and they all saw a great race. The best point is that we finally got the victory after Johnny made an incredible last riding stint. The strategy we planned was very good so at the end we got the victory.” 

DS TECHEETAH AND JEAN-ÉRIC VERGNE DOUBLE WORLD CHAMPIONS

After an incredible season, DS TECHEETAH has today clinched the Teams’ Title and Jean-Éric Vergne has become the first double world champion in ABB FIA Formula E history.

After two nervrecking battles in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, Jean-Éric kept it cool to cross the line as the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E champion.

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “This finale weekend couldn’t have started any worse with the incidents on track yesterday, and finished any better with the double titles today. People can call winning a championship once a flash in the pan, but to have done it twice is no mean feat and solidifies our position as front runners of the championship. I’d like to say a huge congrats to Jean-Éric and everyone in the team and back in the factory, because motorsport is truly a team sport in the end of the day. A team needs to run like a well oiled machine and ours is running like clock work.”

Xavier Mestalan Pinon, DS Performance Director: It’s been four years since we started our commitment in Formula E and we always had the goal of winning. Now it’s done, we are champions! We’re both Teams’ Champions with DS TECHEETAH and Drivers’ Champions with Jean-Éric Vergne. It’s historic and we are so proud! To achieve this level of performance you have to be in the right place at the right time and with the right people. Tonight this is done. The whole team should be very proud! We did it!”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Double Formula E World Champion: “Today has been just incredible. The weekend didn’t start in the way we expected and today wasn’t ideal but none of that matters now because we managed to get both championship titles. It’s still unreal to have become the first driver to be a double world champion and I can only thank my amazing team and everyone involved behind the scenes. This is for us!”

André Lotterer: “Huge congrats to JEV and to the whole DS TECHEETAH team. I’ve never experienced a team like this in my whole motorsport career before and everyone has deserved this double title win today. I wish I could have contributed to extending the gap even further but it wasn’t my weekend, that happens and the main thing is that we’re both Drivers’ and Teams’ champions!”

Superbike World Championship – United States

Rea takes a break

After taking control of the championship in Great Britain, Jonathan Rea accelerated on the Laguna Seca circuit to leave his contenders behind in the overall standings.

The quadruple Superbike world champion could not dream of a better scenario before the summer break. At Donington, in early July, Jonathan Rea shone by winning all three races of the weekend to overtake Alvaro Bautista, leader of the championship since the start of the season in Australia. A week later, in California, the Kawasaki rider scored more points by taking advantage of two errors made by his opponent to break away in the championship. After the start of season when he had had to bend without breaking, in recent weeks Jonathan Rea has found the recipe for success. On the Laguna Seca circuit, the Brit showed his current form by setting a new track record of 1’22″700. After winning on Saturday afternoon, he won again in the Superpole race before finishing second in the final leg behind Chaz Davies. “I’d never imagined a weekend like this in the United States,” said Rea. “I think I could have even won on Sunday afternoon if we hadn’t changed the settings of the bike before the last race. There was some floating on the front end and I preferred to keep close to Chaz who is not a rival for the title for the time being. The balance sheet for the weekend is extremely positive. We’ve regained the upper hand over our opponents. We’ll need to keep it in September when the championship starts up again.” Victim of a fall on Saturday, Leon Haslam had to continue his weekend with a painful hand and a weak arm on one of the most physical routes in the Championship calendar. The Brit showed his courage by finishing fifth in the sprint race and sixth in the last race on Sunday afternoon. “I managed to catch up with Sykes and Lowes but I didn’t have the strength to attack them,” lamented Jonathan Rea’s teammate. Toprak Razgatlioglu also confirmed his current form by crossing the finish line of both races in third place and finished fourth in the Superpole sprint.

The Championship

In two weekends, Jonathan Rea has completely change status. He’s now at the top of the championship score sheet with an 81-point lead over Alvaro Bautista. In Laguna Seca, the Kawasaki rider won his 80th victory in the Superbike World Championship and scored his 156th podium. Fifth overall, Leon Haslam is hot on the heels of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, while Toprak Razgatlioglu after his two podiums in California has consolidated his sixth place. The next event is in Portugal, on the Portimao circuit, on September 8.

Signatech Alpine Elf completes its line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season

Two weeks prior to the Barcelona Prologue, Signatech Alpine Elf reveals its full driver line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
2013 ELMS champion and LMP2 podium finisher in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alpine, Pierre Ragues rejoins the squad to team with Thomas Laurent and André Negrão.
The team thanks Pierre Thiriet for proudly defending its colours in winning another world title and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory.

Following the official announcement of up and coming French hopeful Thomas Laurent alongside André Negrão during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Elf is able to announce the return of Pierre Ragues to the team.

Pierre Thiriet has decided to focus on new personal and professional challenges and the Philippe Sinault run team has decided to call upon a driver they now particularly well to replace him.

After finishing runner-up in the 2003 Formula Campus championship, Pierre Ragues raced in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006. Two years later, he finished on the LMP2 podium before joining the Signature-Alpine team, with whom he won the first Alpine title in the 2013 European Le Mans Series season.

After setting off for other challenges in the ELMS then the FIA WEC, Pierre returned to the French squad in 2017 with a part-time programme highlighted by a fourth-place overall finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and third in the LMP2 category. Since then, he has continued to star in the ELMS with two more podium results.

The trio of Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues will aim for a third world title for Alpine as well as a third consecutive LMP2 victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team will begin its preparations on Tuesday July 23 and Wednesday July 24 at the Prologue at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“We would first like to thank Pierre Thiriet for playing an extremely important part in our latest victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and our FIA World Endurance Championship title reconquest. He made no mistakes while putting in a perfect drive at Le Mans.”

“We had the opportunity to bring Pierre Ragues back in to the team and everything fell naturally into place. We share the same sporting and human values, which represents both a time saving and a guarantee of competitiveness. In addition, his atypical and versatile profile has always made him one of the best Alpine ambassadors both on and off track. We are carrying on the continuity we have shown these past few years with a strong, coherent and complementary driver line-up. We are now very excited to return to the track in two weeks in Barcelona!”

Superbike World Championship – UK

Rea leads the championship

By winning the two weekend races at Donington plus the Superpole sprint, Jonathan Rea took all the points he needed to take the lead in the Superbike World Championship for the first time of the season. 

In front of his supporters, Jonathan Rea didn’t do things by halves. Clearly back in shape in recent weeks, the Kawasaki rider just won the three races organised on the Donington circuit. The first in the rain, the other two on a dry circuit. “I had an impeccable motorcycle this weekend,” said the four-time world champion. “Its stability allowed me to make all the difference, on both wet and dry tracks. I couldn’t dream of doing better on my home turf of Donington. Honestly, I didn’t expect to have a weekend like this. Now I’m looking forward to the next races and tracks on which we should do even better.” Leon Haslam also delighted the British public. Third on Saturday afternoon, Rea’s teammate made it to the Sprint podium before finishing fifth in the last race of the weekend. “I felt fine on eighty percent of the circuit,” said Haslam. “The last stop and go sector posed some major problems, but overall I can’t complain about the results of the weekend.” Toprak Razgatlioglu also shone in England. Finishing only thirteenth on Saturday in the rain, the Turkish rider clocked up two second places the next day on a dry circuit. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias started out in the lead on a fight from start to finish with Jules Cluzel and Federico Caricasulo. The French rider finally passed the chequered flag in third place, earning him his second podium in a row. Hikari Okubo finished the race in thirteenth position. 

The Championship

The current rider to beat, Jonathan Rea took control of the Superbike World Championship by chalking up three victories and taking advantage of Bautista’s fall on Saturday afternoon. Leader for the first time since the start of the season, the Kawasaki rider now leads even the Spaniard by 24 points. “We can be satisfied with our progress, but don’t let’s get over-excited,” said the four-time world champion. “In Jerez, we were 61 points behind: everything can change from one race to the next. We must continue to work and keep well focused.” Still fifth, Leon Haslam has reduced Alex Lowes’s lead to just five points. He is still ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu who now has 153 points. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias is fourth. The French rider is 50 points behind Jules Cluzel. Hikari Okubo has slipped to fifth place in the standings, nine points behind his teammate.

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of Germany

Márquez leader once again

Álex Márquez has quickly turned the page after his unfortunate results in the Netherlands. After winning in Germany, the former Moto3 world champion has recovered the first place in the Moto2 overall classification.

Mowed down by Baldassari’s motorcycle in Assen, Álex Márquez did not hang around before getting back in the saddle. At Sachsenring, and although the circuit that has never been one of his favourites, the Marc VDS rider began by chalking up his first pole position of the season and the next day won his fourth victory in five races, once again riding in the lead. “I did not think I had the pace to escape,” he says. “I especially wanted to save my tires for the last laps. I thought I might make it to the podium, but winning is even better. Once again the team did a good job this weekend, especially after the technical problems we had on Saturday morning. Finishing the first half of the championship on a good note makes me really happy of course.” Xavi Vierge once again had little success. While in fifth place and on his way to for the podium, the Catalan rider fell after being harried by Tom Lüthi. On the Tech 3 side with Philipp Öttl still absent, Marco Bezzecchi finished nineteenth behind Nicolo Bulega. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira compromised his chances of scoring points by falling right at the start of the race. The KTM rider still managed to start off again and recorded excellent lap times allowing him to take the chequered flag in eighteenth position, two places behind Hafizh Syahrin who once again failed to score any points. Note also Hector Garzo’s superb fourth place at the finish of the first round of the new FIM MotoE World Cup. Kenny Foray crossed the line in 14th position.

The Championship

By winning in Germany, Álex Márquez has taken control of the Moto2 world championship with an eight-point lead over Tom Lüthi. Despite having to retire, Xavi Vierge stays in twelfth place overall. Marco Bezzecchi has slipped to the twenty-third place. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira remains eighteenth while Hafizh Syahrin has lost a place. Midway through the Championship, the Malaysian rider is twenty-fifth with three points.