Category Archives: Moto

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.

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.” 

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.

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.

MotoGP World Championship – Dutch Grand Prix

First points for Bezzecchi

Tenth at the finish of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, in Assen Marco Bezzecchi scored his first points in Moto2. A fair reward for the Italian rider who has never given up.

If the adaptation to the KTM chassis and the Moto2 category has been somewhat painstaking, Marco Bezzecchi has never lost courage since the opening of the championship. The Italian, who was still running after his first points, had his best race of the season in the Netherlands, finishing tenth hot on the heels of Dominique Aegerter. “I’m really happy with this result,” said the championship rookie. “Especially since the race was very difficult because of the wind. Several times I thought I was going to get blown off the bike. But I hung on and have been rewarded. I hope this result will now allow me to change gears.” Still suffering from his injury, Philipp Öttl was absent in the Netherlands. In MotoGP too, the KTM Tech 3 riders gained the spotlights by all scoring points. Miguel Oliveira ranked thirteenth and Hafizh Syahrin fifteenth. A performance that is all the more remarkable in that all the KTM riders had to struggle on one of the most physical circuits of the championship. Success was not on the side of the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS. While they were leading the race and hoping for a fourth straight victory, Alex Marquez found himself in the gravel after being hit by Baldassari’s bike two laps from the finish. “This type of incident can unfortunately happen,” commented the Spaniard.That’s racing. We have to remain positive; the fall was not due to a mistake, we have nothing to reproach ourselves. The goal for the next race in Germany will be to recover control of the championship.” Xavi Vierge, who qualified for the first row of the starting grid, also fell after snagging with Augusto Fernandez’s bike when he was on his way to a place on the podium.

The Championship

After Jerez, for the second time of the season, Álex Márquez scored no points in Assen. The Marc VDS rider has backpedalled as a result and is now in second place of the overall classification six points behind Tom Lüthi. Xavi Vierge has also lost a place and has dropped back to twelfth place. Marco Bezzecchi made his entry into the overall classification with his first six points. The Tech 3 rider is now in twenty-second position. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira is now eighteenth while Hafizh Syahrin has climbed to twenty-fourth place.

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.