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.” 

DS TECHEETAH AND JEAN-ÉRIC VERGNE DOUBLE WORLD CHAMPIONS

After an incredible season, DS TECHEETAH has today clinched the Teams’ Title and Jean-Éric Vergne has become the first double world champion in ABB FIA Formula E history.

After two nervrecking battles in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, Jean-Éric kept it cool to cross the line as the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E champion.

Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal: “This finale weekend couldn’t have started any worse with the incidents on track yesterday, and finished any better with the double titles today. People can call winning a championship once a flash in the pan, but to have done it twice is no mean feat and solidifies our position as front runners of the championship. I’d like to say a huge congrats to Jean-Éric and everyone in the team and back in the factory, because motorsport is truly a team sport in the end of the day. A team needs to run like a well oiled machine and ours is running like clock work.”

Xavier Mestalan Pinon, DS Performance Director: It’s been four years since we started our commitment in Formula E and we always had the goal of winning. Now it’s done, we are champions! We’re both Teams’ Champions with DS TECHEETAH and Drivers’ Champions with Jean-Éric Vergne. It’s historic and we are so proud! To achieve this level of performance you have to be in the right place at the right time and with the right people. Tonight this is done. The whole team should be very proud! We did it!”

Jean-Éric Vergne, Double Formula E World Champion: “Today has been just incredible. The weekend didn’t start in the way we expected and today wasn’t ideal but none of that matters now because we managed to get both championship titles. It’s still unreal to have become the first driver to be a double world champion and I can only thank my amazing team and everyone involved behind the scenes. This is for us!”

André Lotterer: “Huge congrats to JEV and to the whole DS TECHEETAH team. I’ve never experienced a team like this in my whole motorsport career before and everyone has deserved this double title win today. I wish I could have contributed to extending the gap even further but it wasn’t my weekend, that happens and the main thing is that we’re both Drivers’ and Teams’ champions!”

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.

Signatech Alpine Elf completes its line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season

Two weeks prior to the Barcelona Prologue, Signatech Alpine Elf reveals its full driver line-up for the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
2013 ELMS champion and LMP2 podium finisher in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alpine, Pierre Ragues rejoins the squad to team with Thomas Laurent and André Negrão.
The team thanks Pierre Thiriet for proudly defending its colours in winning another world title and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory.

Following the official announcement of up and coming French hopeful Thomas Laurent alongside André Negrão during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Elf is able to announce the return of Pierre Ragues to the team.

Pierre Thiriet has decided to focus on new personal and professional challenges and the Philippe Sinault run team has decided to call upon a driver they now particularly well to replace him.

After finishing runner-up in the 2003 Formula Campus championship, Pierre Ragues raced in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006. Two years later, he finished on the LMP2 podium before joining the Signature-Alpine team, with whom he won the first Alpine title in the 2013 European Le Mans Series season.

After setting off for other challenges in the ELMS then the FIA WEC, Pierre returned to the French squad in 2017 with a part-time programme highlighted by a fourth-place overall finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and third in the LMP2 category. Since then, he has continued to star in the ELMS with two more podium results.

The trio of Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues will aim for a third world title for Alpine as well as a third consecutive LMP2 victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team will begin its preparations on Tuesday July 23 and Wednesday July 24 at the Prologue at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

Philippe Sinault, Team principal Signatech Alpine Matmut

“We would first like to thank Pierre Thiriet for playing an extremely important part in our latest victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and our FIA World Endurance Championship title reconquest. He made no mistakes while putting in a perfect drive at Le Mans.”

“We had the opportunity to bring Pierre Ragues back in to the team and everything fell naturally into place. We share the same sporting and human values, which represents both a time saving and a guarantee of competitiveness. In addition, his atypical and versatile profile has always made him one of the best Alpine ambassadors both on and off track. We are carrying on the continuity we have shown these past few years with a strong, coherent and complementary driver line-up. We are now very excited to return to the track in two weeks in Barcelona!”

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.

KEVIN HANSEN SCORES HOME WORLD RX PODIUM IN SWEDEN

Höljes, 07 July 2019 – Team HANSEN MJP strengthened its lead in both the FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers’ and teams’ classifications, with Kevin Hansen scoring a second place and both cars making the Final.

A challenging start to the weekend on Saturday left Kevin and Timmy Hansen P9 and P16 after Qualifying 2 respectively: Timmy had picked up a puncture in Q1 that left him P21, while Kevin faced the worst track conditions of all five heats in Q2 and lost time.

But a brilliant comeback in Q3 and Q4 put them both back into the fight, lining up second and third for Semi Final 1 on Sunday. Timmy went for the lap one joker strategy, while Kevin then took the lead a couple of laps in, ending up in a door-to-door duel as Kevin exited from his joker lap.

There were no orders from team boss and 14-time European RX champion Kenneth, with both free to race for position. A great fight ensued, with Kevin keeping the inside line for the Velodrome to take the lead back after losing it momentarily, leading his brother home in second.

The final was a mix of joy and sadness, as a potential double podium disappeared. A great overtaking move into the joker on lap one put Timmy third, which became second when Kevin took his joker. But a puncture on lap three ended his hopes, finishing sixth.

A determined Kevin locked his sights on compatriot Sebastian Eriksson after his joker, closing in during the final laps. A last corner move nearly worked, deftly trying to squeeze down the inside, though not quite enough to take the win.

Kevin has now retaken the lead of the FIA World RX drivers’ championship, six points ahead of his brother Timmy. Team HANSEN MJP’s lead in the teams’ championship is now up to 43 points, with four championship rounds remaining.

WORLD RX OF SWEDEN: RESULTS

Timmy Hansen

Qualifying 1 20th
Qualifying 2 4th
Qualifying 3 2nd
Qualifying 4 6th
Semi-Final 2 2nd
Final 6th

Kevin Hansen

Qualifying 1 4th
Qualifying 2 17th
Qualifying 3 3rd
Qualifying 4 3rd
Semi-Final 2 1st
Final 2nd

TALKING POINTS


There was no home victory for Team HANSEN MJP but it was still a great weekend all around, with points gained on key rivals in both championships.

Höljes lived up to its reputation as one of the best rallycross tracks in the world, providing breathtaking action for the fans from start to finish.

Timmy and Kevin, who are still 1-2 in the title race, were competing head-to-head for position more than once this weekend. Both showed their class, racing hard but fair in their semi-final battle.

THE BIG NUMBER

48,300

The number of spectators that came to Höljes for the ‘Magic Weekend’ of World RX action, a new record.

21 – TIMMY HANSEN

“It was a good day today, recovering to fifth position from 16th in qualifying. We saved a lot of points with a good result.

“The Finals were completely dry, which is how I prefer Höljes. The Semi Final was brilliant – it was a very interesting race and battle all the way through with Kevin. We came out side by side after the joker; the racing was very fair and we were still fighting very hard on the track, but in the right way. I did everything I could to overtake him but still gave him space. That’s how we race and this time he won the battle and the Semi Final, which was great for Kevin.

“The final was a good race. I made a nice pass on Grönholm into the joker on the opening lap, which put me in a good position to chase Eriksson for the lead. I was close but I tried too hard, pushed too much and went over the limit and got a puncture. I wanted to win too much, but that’s me, I need to try! If I’m in a position to win I will always try and give it everything. This time it didn’t pay off but it will another time.”

71 – KEVIN HANSEN

“It was really a tough afternoon. The whole weekend has been completely crazy! Having such different weather during the weekend makes it hard, but we managed to stay in the front, and that was really important for the Semi Final. When I came out of the joker, I saw someone on the inside. I almost spun and didn’t notice it was Timmy until I came back the right way! It was a big shock but we managed it well.

“In the final, when I took my joker and saw Timmy ahead, I thought we would work together to catch the leader but unfortunately he had a puncture, so I had to get past him quickly. It worked and I managed to catch Eriksson, thinking that he had a puncture. So I though he’d run wide at the final corner and I’d stick my nose up on the inside, but he didn’t have a puncture after all! So I had to back out.

“Second place at home feels amazing and in the end and we scored a lot of points for the championship, both for me and the team. It was a really cool event and a good weekend.”

THE BOSS KENNETH HANSEN

“I’m the spotter for Timmy, with Graham Rodemark as Kevin’s spotter, so we get the best out of both of them and try to beat each other. That’s how we have done things and will continue that way. It looked hard, and of course we can have trouble sometimes like getting a puncture, but we don’t want to give up racing and have them queuing up; we want to fight and that’s our spirit.

“We want to push Timmy and Kevin, so during the final I tried to push Timmy to catch Eriksson and we were on the way there. Then unfortunately he was a little tight in one place and broke the wheel rim and got a puncture. We could have played the cards safe and just stayed in position to secure second place but that’s not how we are. We want to fight to the end, we want to give the maximum and sometimes you lose but it’s worth it; I said that to Timmy. We gave it our all. Kevin did the same and in the end he was catching Eriksson and was right on his bumper. That was a thrilling fight and it also shows that both drivers gave everything to try to win.”

NEXT ROUND: WORLD RX OF CANADA

Round seven of the FIA World RX tour takes place in Canada, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. It’s a unique challenge as the only street circuit on the 2019 calendar, which also features the longest straight of the season. The track’s long history is as a circuit racing venue but when rallycross comes to town, it becomes 40% gravel, where the wide start/finish straight narrows down and features a few twists, plus the joker. Team HANSEN MJP won this event in 2015 and 2016, so hopes are high for a repeat in 2019!

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.