Category Archives: Moto

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.

MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of the Americas

New points for Oliveira

By finishing fourteenth on the Americas circuit, Miguel Oliveira has scored two new points that now make him sixteenth in the MotoGP standings.

After finishing on the heels of Pol Espargaro in Argentina, Miguel Oliveira completed the Grand Prix of the Americas in the wake of Johann Zarco, the other official KTM rider. An encouraging performance for the Portuguese. “This weekend was complicated,” he says. “In addition to the fact that the circuit is very difficult, the weather hasn’t helped us. The cancellation of the third free practice session reduced our time on the track and our ability to better adjust the bike. The track being very bumpy, we didn’t start in the best conditions.” That did not stop the KTM Tech 3 rider from finishing a skilful race and hold off the two Ducatis ridden by Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham to the finish. Hafizh Syahrin has a little more difficulty, the Malaysian rider finishing eighteenth, more than twenty seconds behind his teammate. In Moto2, Álex Márquez managed to take the lead early in the race. Starting from the front row, the former Moto2 world champion rode the first laps at a good pace before making a few small mistakes that made him lose contact with the leaders. He finally ranked fifth. Xavi Vierge was less successful on the other hand. Badly placed on the grid, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider found himself on the ground just after the start by being hit at the entry to the first bend by Fabio Di Giannantonio. Marco Bezzecchi also fell at the start of the race while Philipp Oettl took the chequered flag in eighteenth position.

The Championship

If he has slipped back to fifth place in the Moto2 overall standings after the Grand Prix of the Americas, Álex Márquez is still only fourteen points behind the leader, Lorenzo Baldassari, who fell in Texas. Unfortunate since the start of the season, Xavi Vierge finds himself in eighteenth place on the evening of the third race of the season. Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Oettl are still running after their first points. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has lost a place despite the two points scored in Austin. The Portuguese rider is sixteenth, tying on points with Jorge Lorenzo.

Superbike World Championship – Netherlands

Kawasaki leads Honda

Thanks to second and third place finishes by Jonathan Rea in the Netherlands, Kawasaki has passed Honda in the number of rostrums recorded in the Superbike World Championship.

The vagaries of the weather somewhat disrupted the fourth round of the Superbike World Championship at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands. The snow and a chill wind forced the organizers to postpone the first race scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The Sprint of the Superpole was cancelled and the starts of both races were given on Sunday, the grid for both heats being based on the classification after the free practice sessions. Qualified in eighth place, Jonathan Rea only took two laps to climb back to third place in the first race. He kept it until the chequered flag by fighting it out with Michael Van der Mark. In the second race, the Kawasaki rider completed five laps in the lead before being overtaken by Alvaro Bautista. Second at the finish, Rea gave Kawasaki their 393th rostrum, allowing the Japanese brand to pass in front of Honda and climb to the second place in the manufacturers’ championship having recorded the greatest number of rostrums in the Superbike World Championship. “With both races organized on Sunday, we had an old-fashioned weekend,” grinned the quadruple world champion.I had a good bike and I was able to fight on to the end of both races. I had a good grip despite the cold; it was only in the last laps that the bike became a little more difficult to ride.” Fifth in the free practice sessions, Leon Haslam was fifth in the first race after a grand fight with Alex Lowes. A tire problem in the second race then forced him to settle for eighth place. Despite a heavy fall during the practice test sessions, Toprak Razgatlioglu managed to finish ninth in both races. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias was fifth and Hikari Okubo seventh.

The Championship

Of the eleven races since the start of the season, Jonathan Rea has finished ten in second place and one in third place. Well anchored in second place in the MotoGP Championship, the Kawasaki rider is now fifty-five points behind leader Alvaro Bautista. Fifth overall, Leon Haslam has so far scored 93 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu has gained a position, climbing to eleventh place overall. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has slipped into fifth place while Lucas Mahias has climbed to seventh place.

Superbike World Championship – Spain

No Rest for Rea

As in Australia and Thailand, Jonathan Rea was unable to beat Alvaro Bautista as the championship returned to Europe. The Kawasaki rider nevertheless won three second places, keeping in touch with the leader in the standings.

The races link up and look alike for the two strongmen in this start of the season, the transfer from MotoGP Alavaro Bautista, and Jonathan Rea the quadruple Superbike world champion and titleholder. Behind the handlebars of a Kawasaki currently under-performing compared with the brand-new Ducati Panigale V4, the Brit still has hopes for the future. For the first event held on European soil, he also clocked up three second places despite some complications in the free practice sessions and a start on Saturday afternoon from the fourth row of the grid. Although he never crossed swords with Bautista, the Kawasaki rider battled hard with Chaz Davies on the other Ducati and Alex Lowes on his Yamaha. “Once again we couldn’t hope for more this weekend,” sighed Rea. “Apart from the small mistake I made during the practice test sessions that forced me to start way back, we did the best we could with the bike. On Saturday afternoon, I even managed to come back to second place after only four laps.” For the record, that day, the Brit became the fifth rider in World Superbike history to reach the milestone of two hundred and fifty starts. “On Sunday morning the sprint was not easy because it was cool and we missed grip in the last few laps,” he continued. “That’s what made me cautious for Sunday afternoon’s race. I spared my tires in the first kilometres to be able to attack in the last laps.” And once again take the lead over Chaz Davies and Alex Lowes. Leon Haslam had trouble in Spain adjusting his bike for the braking phases. Ninth on Saturday, the Kawasaki rider set the record straight the next day with a seventh and fourth place finish. Toprak Razgatlioglu was seventh and tenth before being forced to retire on Sunday afternoon. In Supersport, Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo scored a hat trick taking seventh and eighth places.

The Championship

With three second places, Jonathan Rea scored another 49 points in Spain. Now in solid second place in the championship, the four-time world champion is only 39 points behind Alvaro Bautista. Behind them, Leon Haslam has moved up a place. The English rider is now fifth with 74 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu has slipped back to twelfth place. No change in Supersport: Lucas Mahias and Hikari Okubo are in fifth and ninth place respectively.

MotoGP World Championship – Argentine Grand Prix

First podium for Márquez

In finishing third in the Argentine Grand Prix, Álex Márquez gave the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS team their first podium of the season. On his side, Miguel Oliveira scored his first points in MotoGP.

With experience, Álex Márquez has learned not to be too greedy.
“Not so long ago, I might have tried to do too much,” said the former Moto3 world champion. “This time, when I saw that Baldassari was getting away at the end of the race, I didn’t try to catch him, I preferred to make sure we scored the points for third place. I know that I still have to change the way I ride to properly use our new bike. With the Triumph engine, the trajectories and tire management are different from what they were last year. We’ll build up power from race to race.”

For his team-mate Xavi Virgo, the race at Termas de Rio Honda unfortunately ended before it started. Just when he had made pole position, the second of his career in Grand Prix, Xavi Virgin was the victim of an electrical problem in the warm-up lap that prevented him from taking the start. On the side of the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team, Miguel Oliveira caused a sensation by scoring his first points in MotoGP with a well-earned eleventh place finish, on the heels of Pol Espargaro, the official rider of the Austrian brand. Hafizh Syahrin finished 16th just short of the points, as did Marc Bezzecchi in Moto2. Phillip Oettl passed the finish line in nineteenth place.

The Championship

With sixteen points on the third step of the podium, Álex Márquez is fourth in the Moto2 world championship. Xavi Virgin has dropped back to fourteenth position. In MotoGP, with his first five points Miguel Oliveira is in the standings in fifteenth place, just two points behind Jorge Lorenzo.

Superbike World Championship – Thailand

Rea stays in reach

Facing a Bautista/Ducati tandem in great shape, Jonathan Rea managed to clock up three second places on the Buriram circuit. Results that allow the Kawasaki rider to keep the championship leader within reach.

Four-time world champion Jonathan Rea wasn’t born yesterday. With the arrival this year of the new Ducati Panigale and that of Alvaro Bautista behind the handlebars of the Italian bike, the Kawasaki rider knew he would have to grin and bear it at the start of the season. While waiting for the performance of the different machines to be rebalanced, Rea has had to limit the damage. That’s just what he did very well in Thailand, making it three times to the second step of the podium.

“It’s the best I could hope for this weekend,” said the Brit. “I stayed in Alvaro’s wake as long as I could, but as soon as I lost his slipstream I could do nothing else but let him go. Aside from a small stability problem on braking, I had a very good bike this weekend. The team, once again, did a great job.”

Suffering from a pinched nerve in his back, and lacking feeling with the big brake discs that the riders had to use this weekend in Buriram, Leon Haslam had to settle for three fifth places.

Toprak Razgatlioglu finished tenth on Saturday, thirteenth and ninth on Sunday. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo finished sixth, as he had done at Phillip Island for the opening of the championship.

“The difference is that this time I fought it out for a long time in the top three and I finished within five seconds from the winner,” said the Japanese. Having to start from the back of the grid because of low tire pressure during the practice test sessions, Lucas Mahias managed to take the checkered flag in eighth place.

The Championship

No change in the overall Superbike ranking for the two Kawasaki official riders. As in Australia, Jonathan Rea scored 49 points in Thailand, consolidating his second place, now 26 points behind Alvaro Bautista. Leon Haslam keeps his sixth position with 51 points on the clock. Toprak Razgatlioglu has gained two places, and is now ninth with 24 points. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has climbed to fifth place with 20 points while Lucas Mahias is in ninth place with 12 points.