Results Superbike Netherlands

Sykes keeps control

Although they were held in difficult weather conditions, the two races of the Dutch World Superbike leg were less harmful to the Kawasaki riders than the previous leg in Spain. Sykes still made it to the podium while Baz bagged the points he needed to stay in the top three in the championship.

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The Races

After a cautious start, Tom Sykes might have won the first race if his attempt had not been cut short due to a trace of oil left on the track by a competitor. “I was closing in on Guintoli at the time but he was riding very fast and it is not certain I could have overtaken him,” said the championship leader humbly. “The second race was held on a wet track and unfortunately we didn’t have the best settings. Finishing fourth in those conditions is not such a bad result. I’m even fairly pleased with the outcome of the weekend.” After clocking the best time during the free practice sessions, Loris Baz hoped for better on the Dutch circuit. Fourth in the first race, he finished seventh in the second. “I had a few scares in the early laps because the track was a little wet,” said the Frenchman. “But I could have finished on the podium if there hadn’t been that red flag, because I was closing in on Rea fast when the race was stopped. The second was much more difficult, however, because I lacked a lot of grip.” A problem which was affected David Salom, who finished twelfth and fifteenth in the two legs. In Supersport, Sofugolu was forced to retire in the thirteenth lap because of a technical problem, when the podium seemed easily within his reach.

The Championship

Although he shone less brightly than in Aragon, Tom Sykes has nevertheless kept control of the Superbike Championship. The Kawasaki rider now has one hundred and eight points with Guintoli in second place, while Loris Baz has moved into third position with ninety-three points on the counter. David Salom lost the top spot in the Evo classification, but the Spaniard is only one small point behind the leader. Finally in the Supersport category, Sofugolu is not doing very well with his second DNF in three races. The Turkish rider has slipped to seventh place overall.

The Background

“I had a great feeling from the beginning of the weekend and everything went according to plan.” That’s how Loris Baz explained the great time of 1’34” 357 he clocked in on Saturday, April 26, allowed him to win the first Superpole of his Superbike career. At the same time, the Kawasaki rider improved the track record for the Assen circuit, leaving his heir Sylvain Guintoli 0″488 in his wake. Despite being the specialist in the exercise, Tom Sykes meanwhile conceded nearly a whole second to his young teammate. “In the morning the race simulation was good, but I was two-tenths of a second too slow,” said Baz. ”We caught them up before the qualifying session. Before attacking the Superpole, I felt really relaxed, which is also the key to the exercise. I felt that it might rain, so I gave it everything I had. The lap time came quite easily, all by itself. But it’s also the result of the work we’ve done since the beginning of the year to adapt the bike to my style of riding, and then my two podiums in Aragon gave me the confidence without which nothing is possible in bike racing.”

Moto: results of the Bol d’Or

Kawasaki has three Kings

For the latest edition of the legendary Bol d’Or in Nevers, the SRC Kawasaki team won after a daunting race, making it a third win in a row for Gilles Stafler’s staff.

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Next year, the Bol d’Or will return to the Paul Ricard circuit in September. It may be an opportunity for Endurance riders to taste the sweetness of a late summer in Provence. Until then, for the last outing at Magny-Cours of the crews who entered for the legendary 24-hour race of the 78th Bol d’Or, there was no sunny day. Despite the appalling weather, Grégory Leblanc, Nicolas Salchaud and Mathieu Lagrive offered Gilles Stafler his third win in a row. “It was our finest win after the first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010,” said the boss of the Kawasaki SRC team. “In any case, it was the toughest.” During the free practice sessions, Mathieu Lagrive ended up in hospital with a head injury and a broken vertebra. Against medical advice, the Kawasaki rider returned to the track to help his teammates. “Mathieu was a true fighter,” continued Stafler. “If he hadn’t been released from the hospital, I don’t know what I would have done.” Despite an injured rider and a fall in the first hour that made the team drop back to 32nd place, the Kawasaki SRC team managed to claw its way back to an unexpected success. “The technical staff worked perfectly so everything ended well,” grinned Stafler. “I expected a tough race and it was,” added Grégory Leblanc. “We were riding at a great pace and the track had been dry, we would have recovered very quickly. I fell without knowing why, and I lost the rear. Despite his broken vertebra, Mathieu succeeded in getting back to the fourteenth place in his stint. From 11 pm onwards, Nicolas and I had to double our own stints, and that was really hard. I didn’t see the relays. It was definitely the toughest race of my career.”

Results MotoGP Argentina

Heads Up for Rabat and Kallio

Thanks to an excellent start to the season with two wins and four podiums in three races, Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio ended the first round of the “overseas” Grand Prix with the first two places in the Moto2 overall classification.

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The Races

“We won’t forget our first visit to Argentina in a hurry,” confided Michael Bartholemy on the evening after the Termas de Rio Hondo event. For the boss of the Marc VDS team, the third Grand Prix of the season will be a lasting memory. Qualified for pole position, Tito Rabat made short work of his opponents. Starting in the lead, the Spaniard led from the first to the last lap to win his third victory in three races. Despite being badly placed on the grid because of grip problems during the practice test sessions, Mika Kallio nonetheless successfully clawed his way back to seventh place. The Marc VDS team also shone in Moto3 with young Livio Loi, which celebrated his seventeenth birthday on the day of the Argentina GP. Starting in ninth place on the grid, the Belgian rider fought in the leading group right round to the last corner before finishing in fourth place at the foot of the podium. In MotoGP, Stefan Bradl took a solid fifth place after a long fight with Rossi, Pedrosa, Iannone, Smith and Esparagaro. “A good result, given my heavy crash during the qualifying session and being badly placed on the grid,” commented the LCR Honda rider at the finish.

The Championship

In pocketing eleven points in Argentina, Bradl has moved up one place in the overall classification of the MotoGP championship, and now holds sixth place, only one point behind Andrea Iannone. In Moto2, Rabat now occupies the leading position with a comfortable lead of twenty-eight points over his teammate. Thanks to his fourth place, Livio Loi has jumped up the in the overall classification in the Moto3 championship: the young Belgian rider now ranks ninth, hot on the heels of Danny Kent.

The Background

Fifteen years after the last edition of the race held near Buenos Aires, this year the Argentine Grand Prix was aligned with the MotoGP season. But the South American event is now held in Termas de Rio Hondo, in the province of Santiago del Esterro. Unlike most of the new circuits designed by German architect Hermann Tilke (including Sepang, Shanghai, Istanbul Park, Yas Marina, Moscow Raceway, Buddh and Austin), primarily dedicated to motorsports with a succession of straight lines and tight curves, the Termas de Rio Hondo track was designed by the Italian Jarno Zaffelli. Or to be more accurate, was redesigned between 2011 and 2012, since the Argentine track already existed, but in a different form. Although the Argentine track was also designed for cars, Zaffelli chose to turn his back on the “stop and go” style in order to emphasize speed and fluidity with a series of fourteen turns, each of which is as interesting as the next. The result pleased most of the riders, whether in Moto3, MotoGP or Moto2. “The circuit is a mixture of Assen and Phillip Island,” they all agree. At the head of the Dromo Racetrack Design Company, Zaffelli has also distinguished himself with the redesign and overhaul of the tracks at Imola and Mugello.

Race of Silverstone

Toyota at the double in Silverstone

Toyota launched its 2014 season in style putting their two TS040 HYBRID ont top of the Silverstone Six Hours as both Audis retired early.

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The facts

Toyota found itself in a great position after champions Audi withdrew. The R18 #1, then driven by Lucas Di Grassi, in the first hour, and the #2 with Benoit Treluyer at the wheel just after halfway, none of them finished this opening race.

The TS040 HYBRID then fought Porsche. Only one of the Stuttgart cars would take the chequered flag, the #20 (Brendon Hartley-Timo Bernhard-Mark Webber) ending up third, two laps behind the Toyota #8 (Sébastien Buemi-Anthony Davidson-Nicolas Lapierre), winner by one lap over the #7 (Kazuki Nakajima-Stéphane Sarrazin, Alexander Wurz). The difference has been made when the rain started to fall and the intermediates were put on #8, the full wets on #7.

The number

5 – Toyota #7 (Wurz, Sarrazin, Nakajima) claimed pole on Saturday for five thousandths of seconds in front of Audi #1 (Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval, Tim Kristensen).

The story

Heavy rains forced the race direction to bring a premature end to the race over safety reasons in the middle of the final hour.

The quote

“It was really tricky at the end; I think the race director made the correct decision to stop the race.” Buemi was driving when the race went to an end, an appropriate call for the Swiss.

Next Up

Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, 3 May

Castellet race

Citroen shines at home

Only a week after a stunning Marrakech weekend Citroen team carried on in France at the Paul Ricard with two wins and two doubles in both races.

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The facts

Reigning champion Yvan Muller took his first 2014 win in Race 1 in spite of a poor start from pole position. He dropped to third spot to Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz but he only needed three laps to retake the lead. Behind him, Sebastien Loeb made a fantastic return from the back of the grid, he overtook Tarquini two laps from the end. Citroën repeated its 1-2 as in the Race 2. Two Safety Car periods didn’t prevent Jose Maria López, who started last to take a stunning success. Argentinian tops the Drivers standings with 85 points, in front of Loeb (73), sixth in Race 2, and Muller (65).

The number

5 – France was back in WTCC’s calendar, five years after their last visit, on Pau-Ville track. At home, Citroen did not miss the rendezvous. Neither Alsace natives Yvan Muller (one win and one podium) and Sebastien Loeb (one podium).

The quote

“That makes obviously more satisfying than when you win from pole”, López said after his Race 2 success from the back of the grid.

The story

After the qualy, the FIA Technical Delegate tested the automatic fuel cut-off system on Citroen C-Elysees. Both Loeb, who claimed his first WTCC pole, and López cars were found in breach with regulations, they were demoted from first row to the back of the grid for both races. Muller, third, moved on to Race 1 pole.

Next up

Hungary (Hungaroring) 3-4 May

GP of China

Red Bull off the podium

After single-handedly leading the charge around the Shanghai circuit, Lewis Hamilton won his third victory this season ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg, and Fernando Alonso

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The facts

Following a clean start, Hamilton, who had driven to his 34th pole position the day before in pouring rain in front of Ricciardo and Vettel, held on to his lead at the first turn, maintained it throughout, and is now within four points of his team mate in the Championship. Behind him, there was a long, hard fight for the other places on the podium.

 Nico Rosberg got off to a poor start and found himself in the midst of traffic, but eventually made his comeback, his W05 outclassing the competition, to give Mercedes a third double in four races this season. Third, Fernando Alonso crafted a strategic race to finish ahead of the Red Bulls driven by Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. Still no points for the Lotus team, although they demonstrated progress.

The figure

3 – This weekend’s figure! Three, the number of times Lewis Hamilton has won in China, and his third consecutive victory following Malaysia and Bahrain to boot. It’s also Mercedes’ third double in these early stages of the 2014 Championship.

The quote

“If we look at the whole weekend, it was 85% positive, 15% negative,” remarked Romain Grosjean, who qualified in the top ten, but had to retire from a position in the points due to gearbox issues.

 The anecdote

Sebastian Vettel, slower than Daniel Ricciardo, wasn’t letting his team mate past, although the latter was looming large in his rear-view mirrors. An uncanny reminder of a Malaysian episode in 2013, when the German didn’t comply with team orders and barged past a subsequently furious Mark Webber. This Sunday, Daniel Ricciardo did eventually overtake.

Next GP

Spain (9th–11th May)

Peugeot in the 2015 Dakar

Team Peugeot Total presents the 2008 DKR who will face of the 2015 Dakar

The muscular, thoroughbred yet beastlike forms of the Peugeot 2008 DKR provide a vivid indication of the new car’s serious desire for success. It is behind the wheel of this purpose-designed machine that Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres will defend the colours of Team Peugeot Total on next January’s Dakar.

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Three weeks after the exciting news that Peugeot, Red Bull and Total have decided to join forces to contest the 2015 Dakar, the car that will spearhead the team’s challenge has finally broken cover. The 2008 DKR shares an unmistakable family resemblance with Peugeot’s road-going crossover, albeit with more muscular forms and more imposing overall proportions that have been honed to meet the challenge that lays ahead. Its spectacular lines are the fruit of close cooperation between the experts at Peugeot’s Style Centre and their colleagues at Peugeot Sport’s Design Department.

Results Superbike Aragon

Success in Spain

The Kawasaki’s swept the podium on the Aragon circuit. With a twin-win in the Superbike category by Sykes and Baz, and victory for Sofuoglu in the Supersport world championship, it was a historic day for the green bike brand.

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The Races

On a circuit that was far from being successful last year, and in the wake of the disappointing first event in Australia, Tom Sykes set the record straight in Spain by signing his first twin win of the season. The current world champion didn’t mess around, taking the chequered flag four seconds ahead of Loris Baz, his young teammate. Sykes repeated his success in the second race, but this time had his work cut out to keep Baz behind him. The French rider finished only 0.3 seconds behind the Brit. David Salom meanwhile confirmed his status as a favourite for the place as best Evo rider. Finishing thirteenth in the first race, the Spaniard was back in the top ten in the second. In the Supersport world championship, Kenan Sofuoglu had his first win of the season despite a modest sixth place on the starting grid.

The Championship

With two solid victories on Spanish soil, Tom Sykes has taken control of the championship with a four-point lead over Loris Baz. In so doing, the title holder has confirmed he’s still the best contender for his own succession. In Evo, David Salom also consolidated his leading position in the category. The Spaniard is now in eleventh position in the world championship. After returning from Australia with zero points on his counter, Kenan Sofuoglu recovered well in Spain. With the win, the Kawasaki rider has moved back up to fourth place in the Supersport World Championship six points behind the leader, Britain’s Kevin Coghlan.

The Background

Right on target! The Kawasaki team had a field day on the Motorland track in Aragon. In the Superbike category, Tom Sykes began by winning his twentieth pole position, making him the fourth best “performer” in the history of the discipline. The Brit is now only one pole position from his compatriot and legend Carl Fogarty. Sykes drove the nail home the next day with two wins in the second round of the season, taking command of the championship. During the during the practice test sessions and the race, the reigning world title holder stayed ahead of his young teammate, who confirmed his own excellent start to the season. With two second places, Loris Baz has also reinforced his second position in the world championship. And as if that was not enough, Kenan Sofuoglu swept away his opponents in the Supersport category, riding to his first win of the season. The official Kawasaki team won’t forget a memorable April 13, 2013 for a long, long time.

 

Results MotoGP Americas

Bradl Back on Track

Unlucky in Qatar for the opening of the championship, Stefan Bradl recovered well in Texas. Finishing fourth in the Grand Prix of the Americas, the LCR Honda rider got back on the right track.

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The Races

Stefan Bradl does well in the United States. Last year, the Elf rider showed his skill at Laguna Seca. This time he shone on the circuit of the Americas. After qualifying for the front row alongside Marquez and Pedrosa, Bradl finished the race at the foot of the podium by winning a fight to the finish with the two Yamaha Tech 3 riders. In Moto2, Tito Rabat confirmed his good start to the season. Despite transmission problems, the rider of the Marc VDS Racing team managed to make it to the second step of the podium. His teammate had to deal with a nasty shoulder pain. Although handicapped at the end of the race, Kallio still managed to take fourth place. In Moto3, the young Livio Loi scored his first points of the season by crossing the finishing line in twelfth position. Miguel Oliveira finished fifth but his teammate Arthur Sissis has yet to cross the finish line. After being hit by Antonelli, the Mahindra driver had to throw in the towel on the first lap of the race.

The Championship

With the thirteen points he scored in Texas, Bradl wiped clear the bad memories of his fall in Losail to return to the MotoGP championship classification in seventh position. In Moto2, Rabat reinforced his leadership. The winner of the Grand Prix of Qatar is now seven points ahead of Maverick Viñales. Mika Kallio has kept his third position. In Moto3, Miguel Oliveira has slipped to thirteenth position while Livio Loi has edged his fairing into the thirteenth place overall.

The Background

This season, Bridgestone has offered the MotoGP riders a new generation of tires, with specially treated casings to prevent them from over-heating. “The Japanese refer to rider safety to explain the introduction of these new tyres,” explains Christophe Bourguignon, the technical director of the LCR Honda team. “We already know the specifications because we used them last year on demanding circuits such as Sachsenring and Phillip Island. Having protection against over-heating means less grip, especially on the maximum lean. We worked on adapting to the new specification last winter. The objective was to find settings so that the new tires could heat up but keep an acceptable level of performance.” The riders also have to modify the way they handle their bikes. “With less grip at maximum lean, the tire accepts less torque,” says Bourguignon. “You have to wait a little longer before opening the throttle and straightening the bike.” Surprisingly, in Texas the MotoGP teams had to use an old-generation medium tire. “We had some production problems,” explained the Japanese manufacturer. Unfortunately it penalized the teams who have been working since the beginning of the year to adapt their bikes to the 2013 casings.

 

Morocco race

Loeb already a winner

Debutant Citroen stole the show with pole, fastest laps, wins and five podiums out of six at Moulay El Hassan circuit in Marrakesh, as 2014 WTCC kicked off in Morocco. Sebastien Loeb was quick off the mark winning Race 2 in style.

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Facts

Since its outstanding lap times at last month official tests in Valencia, Spain, the Citroen C-Elysées was labelled as favourite this season as the Chevrons marque is involved for the first time in a circuit World championship. However the extent of the success exceeded expectations. After Citroen lead the free practice sessions, Jose-Maria Lopez showed the path to follow clinching the pole position ahead of Loeb. Argentinian then took the first race, commanding a Citroen’s 1-2-3. Nine-time WRC champion Loeb, a WTCC beginner, took the second race.

Number

11. – Citroen’s previous treble came eleven years ago, in 2003 at Monte Carlo rally when Loeb headed Carlos Sainz and the late Colin McRae.

Quote

“We would never have dared dream about the result we achieved.” Citroen Racing’s Team Principal was himself stunned by his team’s results for their debuts in the series.

Story

World champion Yvan Muller had a bit less to celebrate compared to his team mates. Third in the first race he couldn’t’t avoid contact with Tom Coronel’s Chevrolet in the second and had to retire early. “We’re going to prepare a great car for him for next weekend,” Matton said.

Next-up

France (Le Castellet), 19-20 April