Category Archives: Moto

Superbike World Championship – Kawasaki Hat-Trick

Kawasaki Hat-Trick

The weekend in Misano was a sunny one for the Kawasaki riders, especially Jonathan Rea, who won two races on the Italian track. The four-time world champion has thus considerably reduced Alvaro Bautista’s lead in the overall standings.

On Sunday afternoon, the Kawasaki brand wrote a page of history thanks to Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam. The two Brits and the Turk were all together on the last podium of the Superbike World Championship weekend organized on the Misano circuit. A magnificent hat trick, something the Japanese manufacturer had not achieved since 1993 on the Sugo circuit, ending a very productive weekend, especially for the reigning quadruple world champion. On Saturday, Jonathan Rea had already started to shine by signing his third Superpole of the season before winning on the finish line of the first race of the weekend more than three seconds ahead of Tom Sykes, his former teammate. A difficult race, run in the rain. “It was the first time of the season that I was riding on a wet track,” says Rea. “The track was tricky because the water level varied from one lap to another. I fought it out for a long time with Alex Lowes, until his fall that made my job easier. The bike was very stable, which helped me a lot in such difficult conditions.” Fifth in the Sunday Sprint after a small crash that robbed him of the podium, Rea won again in the last race, this time ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam. “A great weekend for Kawasaki,” summed up the Brit. Leon Haslam was already on the podium at the finish of the Sprint, and he could have done the same the day before if he had not fallen after thirteen laps. Before finishing second on Sunday afternoon, Razgatlioglu also fell on Saturday when he was seventh. The Turk redeemed himself the next day by chalking up a fourth place and a well-earned second place. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias also clinched his first podium with Kawasaki by placing third after an encouraging pole position. Hikari Okubo crossed the finish line in fifth position.

The Championship

Thanks to his first twin-win of the season, Jonathan Rea has considerably reduced the gap with the championship leader. The Brit is now only sixteen points from Alvaro Bautista. Still fifth, Leon Haslam is only eleven points away from Alex Lowes. Toprak Razgatlioglu has climbed to sixth place overall. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has kept his fourth place while Lucas Mahias has dropped back back to fifth position, four points behind his Japanese teammate.

MotoGP World Championship – Catalunya Grand Prix

Marquez wins and leads

By clocking up his third victory in a row, Álex Márquez took control of the Moto2 world championship on his Catalan home turf. An excellent operation for the Spanish rider.

Since the 2014 season, after which Tito Rabat was crowned Moto2 World Champion, no other Spanish rider has managed to win three races in a row. Can Álex Márquez see a sign? “It’s way too early to think about the title,” he replies. “Let’s continue to work as we have done since the start of the season, and stay focused. The season is still long.” He may be cautious in his statements, but Álex Márquez has nonetheless strung together three remarkable victories in Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona. In front of the Catalan public, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider fought it out with Tom Lüthi before breaking away from his opponent five laps from the finish. “The race was difficult to control because the track was very slippery,” says Márquez. “But I did it and I’m as happy as I can be because I find myself at the top of the overall standings.” Twentieth on the starting grid, Xavi Virgo rode a very good comeback to finish in eighth place. “We got lost in the settings on Saturday afternoon,” says the Catalan. “But we were back on the right track on Sunday morning and that allowed me to make the comeback.” On the side of the Tech 3 KTM team, Marco Bezzecchi was ranked 23rd while Philipp Oettl was unable to take the start because of a crash in the during the practice test sessions that caused a concussion. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira crossed the checkered flag in twelfth position despite the fact that he rode off the track at the beginning of the race to avoid the collision between the Aprilias of Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro. Hafyzh Syahrin fell foul to an engine failure that forced him to retire.

The Championship

Thanks to his third victory in a row, Álex Márquez has made it to the first place in the Moto2 overall standings. The Spaniard now leads Tom Lüthi by seven points. No change for Xavi Vierge, still eleventh now with thirty-nine points. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has moved up two places. He is now seventeenth with twelve points, only four away from Johann Zarco. Hafizh Syarhin has dropped back to twenty-fifth place.

Endurance Oschersleben Eight Hours

New leader

Second in the Eight Hours of Oschersleben, the Kawasaki team has recovered first place in the overall classification of the Endurance World Championship. The fight for the title will be in one month on the Suzuka circuit.

Forced to retire after less than two hours of racing in Slovakia, Gilles Stafler’s team-mates were eager to redeem themselves for the Eight Hours of Oschersleben, penultimate round of the World Endurance Championship. The Kawasaki riders were up to the task. In the free practice sessions, Jeremy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa already stood out by taking pole position. “Even if it is not decisive for an endurance race, the first place on the starting grid now includes five points for the team who win it,” recalled Gilles Stafler. And when you’re ten points behind the new leader, namely the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), since the last race in Slovakia, it’s worth making the effort during the qualifying session. Then they had to transform the test results into race results. Which Guarnoni and Nigon did brilliantly. The two Frenchmen rode the stints one after the other. A strategy that paid off as they managed to get the Kawasaki # 11 onto the second step of the podium. “This weekend David was as fast as Jeremy and Erwan, but his riding style is unfortunately more fuel-hungry,” explained the boss of the SRC. “If had rode the race it would have cost us an extra refueling break and we couldn’t afford it.” In Germany, the goal of the Kawasaki team was to try to recover the lead in the championship from the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT). “When Gregg Black fell, we didn’t take any chances, we copied Suzuki’s style of racing,” Stafler continued. Only tenth under the checkered flag, the crew of SERT handed over the first place in the overall classification to the SRC Kawasaki team. The boss of the Greens is now hoping to take part in the final of the championship at Suzuka to win the world title, backed by his five-point lead.

Superbike World Championship – Spain

No rest for Rea

Making it to the podium by taking advantage of Alvaro Bautista’s fall during the last race of the weekend, Jonathan Rea has reduced the gap in points between him and the championship leader.

If everything was not perfect in Jerez for the quadruple world superbike champion, Jonathan Rea still managed to use his trip to Andalusia to reduce Alvaro Bautista’s lead by two points. Fourth in the first race of the weekend, twenty seconds behind the Ducati rider, fourth in the Superpole sprint, Jonathan Rea was able to increase the pace on Sunday afternoon to reach the second step of the podium behind Dutchman Michael Van der Mark . “A real podium after a difficult Saturday,” commented the Kawasaki rider. “I had no feeling with the front end of the bike but the team worked hard to find solutions and I felt much better on Sunday despite the increase in the temperature of the track. We’ll now do some tests in Misano where I hope we will continue to progress with the tuning of our bike.” Also penalized by a lack of grip on his front tire, Leon Haslam finished ninth on Saturday before taking sixth and a fifth places on Sunday. On his side, Toprak Razgatlioglu managed to make it back to the podium a month after having tasted triumph in Imola. The Kawasaki rider finished fifth in the first race, seventh in the sprint, and third on Sunday, hot on the heels of Jonathan Rea. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo took the checkered flag in sixth and seventh positions.

The Championship

By making it to the second step of the last podium of the Spanish weekend, Jonathan Rea reduced the gap with the leader in the overall classification to 41 points. Second in the championship, the Kawasaki rider has no intention of abandoning his world title despite Alvaro Bautista’s domination on the first part of the championship. Leon Haslam stays in fifth place while Toprak Razgatlioglu has now moved up to seventh place. No change however on the side of the Supersport riders. Hikari Okubo remains in fourth place with 59 points while Lucas Mahias had not moved from his seventh place.

MotoGP World Championship – Italian Grand Prix

Márquez makes it

In the wake of his victory at Le Mans, Álex Márquez won a second race in a row, this time in Italy. A series that has allowed the Spaniard to return to second place in the overall standings, two points behind the leader.

Álex Márquez is definitely back on track. No matter he had not won since the Japanese Grand Prix 2017, in France and Italy the former Moto3 world champion chalked up two wins in a row. In 2014, then on the road to his title, he achieved the same performance by winning in Barcelona and Assen. “I rode the race I needed,” said the Marc VDS rider. “I was smart enough to wait, and managed the situation by letting Lüthi and Schrotter ride in front at the start of the race. And when I overtook them I got back into the pace I had this morning in the warm-up. The strategy worked. Little by little I consolidated my lead. I am very pleased because the team has done a great job again. Last year we had trouble adjusting the bike to this circuit. This year we’ve had two wins in a row, but we must not slacken. Let’s continue to work like we’re doing because the championship is still very long.” Victim of a collision at the start of the race with Lecuona and Di Giananntonio, Vierge managed to climb back from from sixteenth to twelfth place. “I lost my pace in the second part of the race,” lamented Márquez’ teammate. Tech 3 side, Philipp Oettl and Marco Bezzecchi had dribbling problems and had to settle for 21e and 23th positions on the finish line. In MotoGP, Oliveira and Syahrin were no happier. The Portuguese rider suffered from a lack of power control and finished sixteenth, while the Malaysian, who showed encouraging signs of progress during the practice test sessions, had to give up after several heavy slides forward that put an end to his ambitions for this race.

The Championship

With two wins in a row, Álex Márquez returns to second place in the overall Moto2 standings just two points behind leader Lorenzo Baldassari. Xavi Vierge remains in eleventh position. For Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl, the points counter still reads zero. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has lost a place, slipping from eighteenth to nineteenth. Hafizh Syarhin has lost two and is now twenty-third.

MotoGP World Championship – French Grand Prix

Márquez wins in Le Mans

Deprived of victory since October 2017, Álex Márquez found the road back to success at the Grand Prix de France held on the Bugatti circuit.

“I’m so happy! It tastes wonderful to win again after waiting so long.”

At the finish of the fifth race of the season, Álex Márquez was thrilled. Not having won since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2017, the former Moto3 world champion returned to Le Mans and got right back on the right track thanks to a judicious choice of rear tire on the starting grid.

“A team victory that rewards the work we’ve all been doing since the winter tests,” said Márquez.

Qualified on the first row of the starting grid, the Catalan took control of the race in the fourth lap. And then never let go.

“I had seven good first laps and from then on I managed to stay focused. I tried not to think too much, just to ride well. “

Fifth under the checkered flag, Xavi Vierge was also satisfied with his Grand Prix de France. “We’re making progress each time,” grinned the Spaniard.

“I hope I’ll be riding to win very soon.”

On the Tech 3 side, Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl were eighteenth and nineteenth, just ahead of Jorge Martin, another KTM rider. Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira, Hervé Poncharal’s two MotoGP riders, both scored points, finishing in fourteenth and fifteenth positions. A first this season for the French team.

The Championship

Thanks to his victory in the Sarthe region, Álex Márquez has climbed back to fourth place in the overall standings, just fourteen points behind leader Lorenzo Baldassari, who fell in Le Mans. Xavi Vierge has moved up from fourteenth to eleventh place. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has slipped to eighteenth place while Hafizh Syahrin, who pocketed his first two points of the season, has entered the standings in twenty-first place.

Endurance – Eight Hours of Slovakia Ring

Tough retirement

Three weeks after winning the 24 Heures Motos on the Le Mans circuit, the Kawasaki SRC team was forced to retire in Slovakia. David Checa, Jeremy Guarnoni and Erwan Nigon are now in second place in the EWC Championship.

For the team of Gilles Stafler, the races follow on from each other but they don’t look like. Super winners in the Sarthe region of France, David Checa, Jeremy Guarnoni and Erwan Nigon had to throw in the towel after less than two hours of racing on the Slovakia Ring. In practice, the Kawasaki # 11 qualified for fifth place on the starting grid. “The conditions were very difficult,” explained David Checa. “With rain, cold, and a blacktop that constantly changed from one minute to the next… You had to be on the track with the right tires at the right time.” Starting in the leading group, Jeremy Guarnoni rode a good first relay. “The weather was a lot warmer at the start of the race,” said the Kawasaki rider. “I quickly understood that the first hours would be harder for us than for our direct opponents. So I finished my first relay on a regular pace but without taking any risks. We were determined to bide our time, knowing that we would be much better at mid-race.” That was the plan. Unfortunately, the Kawasaki SRC team never had the time to carry it out. Shortly after taking over the handlebars of number 11 from Jérémy Guarnoni, David Checa had to return to his team’s garage. “We had a problem with the engine that we’ll have to analyze when we return to the workshop,” commented Gilles Stafler. “But that’s racing; you have to know how to accept this kind of setback.” Despite the retirement, the Kawasaki team retains second place in the overall standings just ten points behind the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT). Before the final of the EWC Championship in Japan at the end of July, the next race in Germany will be decisive for Gilles Stafler’s staff.

Superbike World Championship – Italy

Rea rides to victory

Regularly beaten by Alvaro Bautista since the start of the season, Jonathan Rea road back to victory in Italy, clocking up his first two wins of the season on the Imola circuit.

Not quite deliverance, but Jonathan Rea made no attempt to hide his joy on the Imola circuit. Tired of finishing behind Alvaro Bautista’s Ducati since the opening of the championship in Australia, the four-time world champion was eager to react in Italy. He did it by brilliantly riding his way to victory, with a first success on Saturday and another on Sunday morning in the ten-lap sprint. “I feel better and better on the bike and we were really on the ball this weekend,” commented Jonathan Rea. “I only regret the third race had to be cancelled, but the weather conditions hardly left any choice to the organizers. I am very happy to have won in Italy.”
As in the Netherlands, the schedule for the weekend had to been shortened, this time because of the rain. Whatever, Imola is definitely a good track for Kawasaki.
In 2010, Tom Sykes won the Japanese brand’s first pole position on this circuit. And since 2013, Kawasaki have chalked up nine victories on their kill count. This year, Toprak Razgatlioglu added his touch by making to the podium on Saturday afternoon before finishing seventh on Sunday morning. Leon Haslam came in fifth and sixth, while in Supersport, Hikari Okubo posted the best result of his career with a well-earned fourth-place finish. In the fight for the podium, Lucas Mahias unfortunately fell after hitting an opponent who had just missed a gear in front of him. The former world champion was nevertheless able to start off again, making it to the finish in eighth place.

The Championship

Regularly present on the podium since the first race at Phillip Island, Jonathan Rea is still in second place overall and has even benefited from his first two wins of the season to reduce Alvaro Bautista’s lead to forty-three points. Leon Haslam stays in fifth place while Toprak Razgatlioglu has moved up to eighth place. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has also wins a place, and is now fourth with fifty points while Lucas Mahias remains seventh with forty points.

MotoGP World Championship – Spanish Grand Prix

Vierge in the top six

Unlucky since the beginning of the season, in Jerez, Xavi Vierge clocked up his best result since joining the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS. Sixth to take the checkered flag, the Spaniard was delighted to have finally started his season.

Victim of a mechanical problem during the warm-up lap in Argentina, snared at the start of the Grand Prix of the Americas by a competitor, until this weekend Xavi Vierge had only completed the first race held in Qatar. “The lack of track time has made us fall behind on the development and understanding of the bike,” laments the Catalan. In Jerez, Vierge finally managed to finish a race on a second weekend without any hitches. Twelfth on the grid, he made a nice comeback in the race to finish sixth. “It’s not the kind of result we’re riding for, but given what we’ve been through in the last two GPs, I’m pretty happy with that result. We’re moving in the right direction, we just have to keep on working as we are doing now to make up for lost time.” While he was hoping to win after qualifying in second place, Álex Márquez fell coming out of the first bend when Remy Gardner fell in front of him. Although he had time to bring his motorcycle back to the garage for the mechanics to get it back into working order before the second start, the Spaniard had to leave from the pit lane with no hope of success. “I rode to the finish for the team and the fans,” he confided after finishing twenty-fourth. “I am very disappointed because we deserved a lot better. But that’s part of racing, we just have to accept it.” Marco Bezzecchi was also one of the collateral victims of Gardner’s downfall. The Italian, however, was able to restart from the grid and finished twenty-second ahead of teammate Philipp Oettl. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin in Jerez had new chassis parts provided by the KTM factory. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough time to measure their impact and finished eighteenth and nineteenth, respectively.

The Championship

Unable to make it to the points, Álex Márquez slipped to sixth place in the Moto2 championship on the evening of the Spanish Grand Prix and is now thirty-nine points behind the leader Lorenzo Baldassari. Xavi Vierge has moved up four places. He is now fourteenth with sixteen points on the scoreboard. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has dropped back to seventeenth place.

Endurance – 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorcycle Race

A Flying Start

For the sixth time in its history, the SRC Kawasaki team finished 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race in the lead. A hard-won success over the crew of the Honda Endurance Racing team.

 

Until five minutes from the chequered flag, the outcome of the race remained uncertain. A last lap by the safety car even completely confused the issue fifteen minutes from the finish … And then the Honda 111 rushed into the pits for a last refuel, releasing Jeremy Guarnoni with a last shot of pressure. Leading from the fourth hour onwards, Gilles Stafler’s riders managed to keep their first place until the end of the 24-hour race. “This is our sixth win at Le Mans, perhaps one of the toughest,” said the Kawasaki SRC team boss. The three Safety Cars that we had at the start of the race made us lose a half lap each time, but the fighters did not give up.” Despite Randy de Puniet’s replacement by Erwan Nigon since the last Bol d’Or event, the Kawasaki SRC team has not lost any of its effectiveness. “We welded together like a block during the winter test sessions,” noted the French rider from Auvergne now back in green. The race went on an incredible pace, but we didn’t make a mistake and the bike held up.” Under pressure from the Honda 111 in the last two hours of the race, the Kawasaki 11 team did better than resist. “We had a plan for the end of the race,” explains Gilles Stafler. “Jeremy was very tired, but he was the fastest. So the physiotherapist got him back on his feet and he was able to take over forty minutes from the finish to catch up with the Honda, even if we knew it was going to have to refuel before the chequered flag. I didn’t want to lose this victory.” Mission accomplished for the Kawasaki SRC team, which has also taken over the world championship with sixteen points ahead of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.