MotoGP World Championship – Spain (Jerez) 2016

Morbidelli back in form

After two difficult Grands Prix, Franco Morbidelli regained some if his form at the Jerez circuit. The Italian crossed the finish line at the foot of the Moto2 podium.

The Races

With the return of the world championship to Europe, Franco Morbidelli had promised himself he’d get back in the right direction. The Italian kept his word on the Jerez circuit which hosted this weekend the fourth race of the season. Fourth on the starting line, Franco took the chequered flag in the same position.

“I thought I could make it to the podium but I couldn’t keep up with the pace of the leaders,”

he honestly commented.

“It was hotter than during the free practice sessions, the track was slippery and there were lots of falls. I didn’t want to push my luck, preferring to make sure I took fourth place. After two difficult races, it was important to have a good result for the team.”

Alex Marquez was less fortunate. The Spaniard, who celebrated his twentieth birthday this weekend, fell in the third lap of the race when he was in the top five. In MotoGP neither Miller nor Rabat finished the race with points to take home. The Australian suffered from his ankle and bit the bullet to reach the finish line while his teammate struggled with grip problems.

The Championship

While Rabat stays at the seventeenth place in the MotoGP standings, Miller slipped back to twenty-first position with only two points on his scorecard since the opening of the season. In Moto2, Morbidelli climbed to tenth place. Marquez is in twentieth position.

TITO RABAT GP Espagne Jerez
TITO RABAT SPA
PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek

The Background

The Jerez circuit hosted its thirtieth Grand Prix in a row this year. That’s a good track record of its own, since only the Assen circuit can claim a longer series. The Dutch hall of speed has been in the Grand Prix calendar since the creation of the world championships in 1949. In 1987, when Jerez hosted its first Spanish Grand Prix, getting to Andalusia was not a barrel of laughs for the teams involved.

“There was no highway and you had to take your time,”

recalls one of the mechanics of the VDS team. Things have changed. Evidently, it’s the Spanish riders who’ve chalked up the most wins on the Andalusian track: 7 in MotoGP, 4 in 500 3 in Moto2, 6 in 250, 1 in Moto3, 6 in 125 and 3 in 80. As far as Valentino Rossi is concerned, he’s the rider with the most wins in Jerez. The Italian nine-time world champion has taken the chequered flag eight times.

Superbike World Championship Netherlands (Assen) 2016

Rea, King of the Netherlands

Beaten in Spain, Jonathan Rea put the record straight on the Assen circuit by winning both races. With this new twin-win the Kawasaki rider brings the number of his victories in the Netherlands to nine.

The Races

Only Fogarty has done better with twelve wins. Assen seems to be Jonathan Rea’s home turf… The Brit has now clocked up nine wins on the Dutch track. No one has ever beaten him on it since he joined the Kawasaki team.

“I don’t know why this circuit suits me so well,”

said the world champion.

“As in Australia earlier this year, I was just riding faster than my opponents this weekend. Our aim was to consolidate our lead in the championship and that’s what we did. So I’m be satisfied.”

Whether the circuit was dry or wet, Rea had the difficult conditions perfectly under control and pocketed fifty new points. Victim of a fall on Saturday afternoon, Tom Sykes meanwhile recorded his first Did Not Finish before making up for it on Sunday by taking second place on the podium.

In Supersport, during a race reduced to six laps because of the rain, Krummenacher led for few kilometres before giving ground after going off the track. In the lead as he approached the final lap, Kenan Sofuoglu also made a small mistake on a very slippery track. Although he managed to avoid a fall, the world champion crossed the finish line in third position, just ahead of his teammate.

The Championship

With two new victories, Jonathan Rea has broken away in the overall standings. The reigning world champion now has a forty-five point lead over Chaz Davies. Third in the championship, Tom Sykes is thirty-two points ahead of Michael van der Mark. In Supersport, Randy Krummenacher keeps his first place, but Kenan Sofuoglu is now only ten points away from his teammate.

The Background

Leader of the Supersport World Championship since his victory in the opening race in Australia, Randy Krummenacher has no regrets about leaving the Grand Prix and Moto2 Championships.

“I love my new life,”

said the Kawasaki rider.

“I’m really happy to finally be able to show what I can do. It’s great, it’s given me a whole new motivation. I learned a lot in the Grands Prix, but today it’s very complicated to show what you can do in Moto2 in a team that doesn’t have the financial means needed. Last year I had a chief engineer who had to handle everything. Today, with Kawasaki, I have a team where everyone does the job they’re supposed to do. And I love my bike and the Pirelli tires. The overall result is less rigid and better suited to my style of riding. I feel good, I’m confident.”

Obviously, Randy Krummenacher would like to win the Supersport title before earning himself a place in the Superbike Championship.

Superbike World Championship – Spain, 2/3 April, 2016

Podium Performance

If Chaz Davies deprived Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes of straight-out wins, the two Kawasaki riders did their best by making it to the two podiums of the weekend. Kenan Sofuoglu and Randy Krummenacher scored full marks in the Supersport event.

Superbike Aragon Espagne
PSP / Mateusz Jagielski

The Races

Following in the slipstream of Chaz Davies in particularly fine mettle on the Aragon track, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea did their best by both taking places on the podiums in both of the weekend’s races in Spain. Sykes, who began by obtaining the 32nd Superpole of his career, finished third on Saturday before finishing second on Sunday. The Brit has now chalked up six podiums in Aragon, three less than at Donington and one less than at Imola. “Overall the weekend’s results were satisfactory because we lacked that little something extra to take Chaz on this circuit,” said the Kawasaki rider. Rea was also satisfied in finishing second on Saturday and third on Sunday. The reigning world champion now has seventy-one podiums to his credit, i.e. as many as a certain Max Biaggi. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu and Randy Krummenacher were in uncompromising mood, finishing first and second respectively in the third race of the season.

The Championship

The only rider to make it to the podium in each race since the season opened in Australia, Jonathan Rea continues to keep his lead in the Championship. The reigning world champion is now twenty-six points ahead of Chaz Davies. Still twenty-nine points from his teammate, Tom Sykes holds third place overall. In Supersport, Randy Krummenacher stays in the lead of the Championship, but Kenan Sofuoglu, second overall, has closed the gap to thirteen points.

The Background

Although it is the historic location for the Superbike World Championship calendar, Monza will not host the tenth round of the 2016 season as originally planned. The officials of the Italian circuit have not been able to finish the work required last winter by the WorldSBK promoter to ensure the safety of the riders: the work seems to pose problems for holding the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix. The race in Monza will not be transferred to Vallelunga, as had been thought for a while: neither is the Roman circuit ready to host a World Championship race. So while the WorldSBK calendar has currently been reduced to thirteen events, the sponsors of the Championship have nonetheless stated they are seeking a solution to replace Monza. It may be held in Portugal on the Estoril circuit.

MotoGP – Grand Prix of Argentina, 3 April, 2016

First Top Ten for Rabat

Tito Rabat took advantage of a Grand Prix held under difficult conditions to gain experience and reach the top ten for the first time in MotoGP. In Moto2, Franco Morbidelli once again nearly made it to the podium.

Moto Gp Argentine
PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek

 

The Races

For his second Grand Prix in the premier class, Tito Rabat got more than he asked for, with difficult conditions during the practice test sessions as well in the race, a Grand Prix held in two phases with the riders being forced to change bikes mid-way … “It allowed me to learn and garner a lot of experience,” noted with satisfaction the former Moto2 champion world, who managed to stay on his wheels to finish ninth. “I fought it out with Crutchlow and Smith and I experienced my first Grand Prix “flag to flag”. The result makes me feel more confident about the next race in Texas.” Hunger for a place on the podium getting the best of him, Jack Miller made a mistake in the third lap when he tried to escape the clutches of Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning world champion. In Moto2, Franco Morbidelli once again fought for the podium from start to finish, but just after taking second place, the Italian fell on the last lap. Alex Márquez also took a tumble in the first lap.

The Championship

Scoring seven points in Argentina, Tito Rabat remains at the fourteenth place in the MotoGP standings. Jack Miller has moved down to seventeenth position. In Moto2, Morbidelli has slipped back to eleventh place, and Alex Marquez has yet to add a point to his counter.

The Background

As was the case on the Phillip Island circuit in Australia in 2013, the Argentine Grand Prix was raced this year in two phases. Instead of twenty-three laps, the race was reduced to two times ten laps, the riders being forced to stop between the ninth and eleventh lap to change bikes. The decision was taken for safety reasons after the rear tyre problem encountered by Scott Redding during the practice test sessions. Normally, the riders should have run the entire race using the spare tyre that the manufacturer is obliged to provide under such circumstances, but the rain on Sunday morning preventing them from testing it and a makeshift solution had to be found.

“It helped save the Grand Prix in acceptable conditions, for both the teams and the public,”

noted Nicolas Goubert, Technical Director of Michelin Racing.