Category Archives: Season 2016

MotoGP: San Marino Grand Prix (Misano) – September 2016

Two in the Top Ten

Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez finished the Grand Prix of San Marino in the top ten, consolidating their positions in the Moto2 championship.

The Races

After the rain of Silverstone, the heat of Misano. A change of scenery for the thirteenth round of the 2013 season.

And a lot of grip problems for our riders. In the end, we can be satisfied with their overall performance.

Michael Bartholemy, the manager of the Team Estrella
Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

Fifth on the starting grid, Franco Morbidelli crossed the finish line of the Grand Prix of San Marino in the same position. A result obtained through sheer hard work, the Italian having to fight it out with Zarco, Nakagami, Lüthi and Lowes. With no feeling from his front axle, Alex Marquez wisely made it to tenth place in a race won by Lorenzo Baldassari. The only representative of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in MotoGP, Tito Rabat fell in the second lap after a very good start. Forced to return to the pits to repair his Honda RC213V and its broken footrest, the former Moto2 World Champion returned to the track to take the checkered flag in seventeenth position.

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The Championship

In finishing fifth at Misano, Morbidelli stays in sixth place in the standings, but has reduced Folger’s lead to two points. Marquez is now in the top fifteen. In MotoGP, Miller has slipped back to seventeenth position while Rabat is now twentieth.

The Background

Since winning the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Jack Miller has sorely missed success. His fall during the warm-up on the Spielberg circuit had a certain effect on the rider of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, who has had trouble overcoming the injury. One of the results being he decided not to take the start on the Grand Prix of San Marino. The Australian had obtained seventeenth best time in the free practice sessions. A sharp pain in the wrist, however, called him to order.

Unlike at Silverstone, this Misano circuit is very physical and I found it hard to control the bike.

Jack Miller

Miller still not having recovered from the fractures to his vertebrae, Michael Bartholemy might have to replace Tito Rabat’s teammate for the next two Grands Prix.

MotoGP: British Grand Prix, September 2016

Morbidelli makes it to the podium

Franco Morbidelli made it to the podium after the twelfth leg of the Moto2 World Championship. Second to take the checkered flag, the Italian equalled his best performance of the season.

The Races

Once again, the weather significantly disrupted the weekend of the British Grand Prix. If, unlike in Assen, Sachsenring and Brno, the rain spared the circuit on the race day, it nevertheless played tricks on the riders during the practice test sessions, giving them insufficient time to tune their bikes. Under these conditions, Franco Morbidelli played his cards right. Absent at Silverstone last year due to injury, the rider of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS brilliantly got the upper hand over Takaaki Nakagami to finish in second place. Among the front-runners from the start of the race, Alex Marquez unfortunately fell when he was in third place. The Spaniard managed to get back on his bike to finish twenty-fifth. In MotoGP, Tito Rabat and Jack Miller finished respectively in fifteenth and sixteenth place. The first managed to keep up the pace despite very complicated trials, while the second overcame the sharp pain in his right wrist after his fall in Austria.

 

FRANCO MORBIDELLI ITA  ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS  KALEX Moto2  GP Great Britain 2016 (Circuit Silverstone) 02-04/09.2016   PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek  www.photoPSP.com

The Championship

Although he did not score any points on his return to competition, Jack Miller still managed to keep his fifteenth place in the championship. Tito Rabat scored one point and remains nineteenth in the provisional standings. In Moto2, Franco Morbidelli consolidated his sixth place and reduced Jonas Folger’s lead by five points. Alex Marquez lost one place, and is now sixteenth.

The Background

This year, the Total group is the official supplier of fuel for the Moto2 and Moto3 line-ups. In charge of distributing Elf products in the field, Jacky Hutteau delivers nearly five thousand litres of the competition fuel at each Grand Prix, conditioned in fifty-litre drums.

“In Europe we take the fuel to the circuits with a specially equipped truck for the transport of hazardous materials. On Thursday, on the eve of the first day of testing, we deliver the fuel to the teams according to the number of their resident riders: a hundred litres for one, a hundred and seventy-five to two.”

Jacky Hutteau
In charge of distributing Elf products in the field

And at the end of the weekend, Jacky recovers all of the empty drums before bringing them back to France where they are reconditioned. A good way of limiting the impact of the competition on the environment.

Endurance Moto, The Oschersleben 8 hours, August 2016

Fifth Place Finish

Winners of the 24 Hours Motorcycles when the Endurance World Championship opened, the Kawasaki SRC Team didn’t end the 2016 season as well as hoped: Gilles Stafler’s team had to settle for fifth place overall.

Everything started off well for the Kawasaki SRC team and the ZX-10RR of the trio formed by Grégory Leblanc, Matthew Lagrive and Fabien Foret. In April, Gilles Stafler’s team outclassed their opponents on the Le Mans circuit. With the bonus included in the win, the #11 left the 24 Hours Motorcycles having chalked up sixty points, with good reason to hope for a world title later in the season. Unfortunately, the last race of the championship held in Germany on the Oschersleben circuit was no more successful for Gilles Stafler’s crew than the previous two.

In Portugal in June, the Kawasaki SRC team was forced to retire due to a mechanical problem caused by an overheating engine. In Japan, a month later, it was a rear axle that forced the Greens to give up. In Germany last weekend, it was a piston rod that destroyed Grégory Leblanc’s last hopes just as he began his first stint. Although fifth on the starting grid, the #11 Kawasaki didn’t make it to the finish of the last race of the season. As a result, the Kawasaki SRC team had to settle for fifth place in a championship finally won by the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) managed by Dominique Méliand.

Fortunately Gilles Stafler’s team will not have to wait long to turn the page, since the first race of the 2016/2017 season, the Bol d’Or, will be held on September 17 and 18 next on the Paul Ricard circuit.

MotoGP World Championship, Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, August 2016

Marquez ringing in the rain

Álex Márquez chalked up his best result of the season by finishing fifth in the Czech Republic leg of the Moto2 World Championship. Franco Morbidelli and Tito Rabat also made it back to the top ten while Jack Miller was forced to withdraw after arriving in Brno.

The Races

Although he was pleased to have withstood the deluge that the heavens had reserved for the Czech Grand Prix to score his best result of the season, Álex Márquez had to admit he was a little disappointed at the finish. The day before, the Spanish rider had managed to make it to the front row of the starting grid.

“If it hadn’t rained, I could have hoped to finish on the podium,” he felt. “But I don’t have quite the same feeling on a wet track with my bike.”

After his sixth place in Spielberg, however, Márquez confirmed his return to form. Struggling during the practice test sessions with the settings of his Kalex chassis, Franco Morbidelli finished eighth, hot on the heels of Danny Kent. In MotoGP, Tito Rabat was the only representative of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS on the track last weekend. Miller having withdrawn, the Spaniard had trouble in tuning his Honda RC213. Twentieth on the starting grid, however, the former Moto2 world champion made the best of a good choice of tyres to earn a well-deserved tenth place.

Total Competition Moto GP Grand Prix de la République Tchèque
PSP / Mateusz Jagielski www.photoPSP.com

The Championship

Forced to rest, Jack Miller has slipped back to fourteenth place in the MotoGP championship. With the six points he scored on Brno, Rabat has moved up a place, and is now nineteenth. In Moto2, Márquez is continuing to rise in the standings. He has gained another four places and is now fifteenth. No change in contrast  for Morbidelli who remains in sixth position.

The Background

Jack Miller has hit a streak of bad luck. Injured in January while training in motocross, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider has ridden almost the entire first half of the championship with an injured ankle. After a return to form in June, the young Australian rider shone in Assen, scoring his first MotoGP win. Hoping to surf the season on that promising result, a new injury stopped him in his tracks. Hurting his back and wrist in Austria, Jack had to give up racing in the Czech Republic.

“He would have liked to ride and even the doctors gave the green light,”

said Michael Bartholemy, his team manager.

“But in agreement with Honda we preferred to force him to take a rest. With three vertebrae fractured, even slightly, he would have been taking a big risk if he fell again. We preferred to give his fractures time to set before the next race in England in early September.”

 

MotoGP World Championship, Austrian Grand Prix, August 2016

Morbidelli Rings In

Franco Morbidelli obtained the best result of his career in Spielberg by finishing second in the Austrian Moto2 Grand Prix. Jack Miller was less lucky, being injured in the warm-up and not being able to make it to the start of the MotoGP race.

The Races

After a month-long summer break, the time has come for the riders in the MotoGP championship to get back in the saddle. With the Austrian Grand Prix, the teams began the second half of the season. In Moto2, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS got off to a flying start. Franco Morbidelli obtained the best result of his Grand Prix career by finishing second behind the reigning world champion Johann Zarco. In the lead for sixteen laps, Morbidelli had to fight it out against Lüthi and Rins in the last lap to win that second place. Starting on the second line, Álex Márquez also made a good start to the race by following the lead of his teammate. The Spaniard eventually finished sixth in less than ten seconds behind the winner. In MotoGP, Jack Miller was injured in the warm-up and had to abandon the race. Injuring a wrist and one of his vertebrae in the fall, the Australian will be given a new medical in Brno on Wednesday to decide whether he can take part in the next Grand Prix in the Czech Republic. Tito Rabat bagged two new points by finishing fourteenth, hot on the heels of Loris Baz. After a good start of the race, the Spaniard suffered in the last laps because of the loss of grip of his rear tyre.

The Championship

Although he had to abandon the race in Austria, Jack Miller remains in thirteenth position in the MotoGP championship standings. Despite the two points he pocketed in Spielberg, Tito Rabat stays in twentieth place. In Moto2, with his new place on the podium Morbidelli has moved up to sixth. The Italian is only six points behind the fifth-placed rider, Takaaki Nakagami. Marquez has moved up three places, and is now nineteenth.

The Background

A leg of the MotoGP championship was held in Austria again year. Renamed Red Bull Ring, the former A1-Ring in Zeltweg has been given a completely new look. Although the track has not changed, the infrastructures have been successfully modernized, and the surrounding countryside has lost none of its majesty. The home turf of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had not been on the calendar of the motorcycle speed championship for the last nineteen years. The first Austrian Grand Prix was held on the Salzburg circuit in 1971. The 500 race was won by Giacomo Agostini. In 1994, Mick Doohan, then riding for the Elf brand, won the last Grand Prix to be held on the Salzburg circuit. Deemed too dangerous, the Austrian track was then deregistered. As a result, the event disappeared from the Grand Prix calendar before returning in 1996 and 1997, this time on the A1-Ring.

Endurance Moto – Suzuka 8 Hours, July 2016

Podiums and Problems

If the SRC team did not achieve the success it hoped for in Japan, the Green team flew the Kawasaki flag high in the Suzuka Eight Hours, scoring a superb second place at the finish in the legendary race of the Endurance world championship.

No Kawasaki had made it to the podium of the Suzuka Eight Hours for the previous seven years. Ridden by Leon Haslam, Akira Yanagawa and Kazuki Watanabe, the ZX-10RR put an end to the Green team’s drought of wins in the best way possible. Staying for many hours in contact with the winning Yamaha factory bike, the Japanese team on their Kawasaki fought it out with the Yoshimura Suzuki ridden by the trio of Haga, Tsuda and Brookes right up until the chequered flag. Taking advantage of the endurance of the Bridgestone tires which always perform well on the tarmac at Suzuka, the Green team chalked up twenty points in the World Championship standings. And although they are only participating in their home event, the Japanese team is now placed in twelfth position.
After qualifying for 21st  position, the Kawasaki team also made a very good start to the race. Despite the Pirelli tyres degrading too quickly as always on the Japanese asphalt, the Kawasaki team that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans were hoping to pocket valuable points and retrieve their first place in the overall standings. Replacing Fabien Foret, suffering from phlebitis and absent at Suzuka, Jérémy Guarnoni proved himself to be on a par with his team mates. Fate unfortunately decided to put a premature end to the race of the team from the Var region of France. In Portimao in June, Grégory Leblanc, Fabien Foret and Matthieu Lagrive had to throw in the towel after a broken engine. At Suzuka it was a rear axle which had the better of the Kawasaki SRC, two hours from the finish. The withdrawal tasted even worse in that the ZX-RR 10 11 was in the top ten.

“It hit us even harder in that we’d managed the race very well, given our means. The only positive thing is that our rivals in the championship did no better. Our chances for the title remain intact.”

Gilles Stafler

Second overall, the Kawasaki SRC Team is now only eight points behind the Team April Moto Motors Events. With only seventeen points separating the top seven in the championship, the last race of the season held on August 27 in Germany will be crucial in deciding who wins the world champion title.

Superbike World Championship USA (Laguna Seca), July 2016

Sykes comes back

In scoring his fifth win of the season at Laguna Seca after taking second place on the podium the previous day, Tom Sykes also took advantage of Jonathan Rea’s first Did Not Finish to catch up with the Championship leader.

The Races

Happy to win in front of the Californian public, Tom Sykes had reason to be satisfied with his trip to America. After scoring his seventh pole position of the season, the thirty-seventh of his career in World Superbike, the Kawasaki rider had two very good races. After fighting it out to the finish on Saturday afternoon, the Brit finally lost to his teammate. But the next day Sykes took his revenge by dominating the two official Ducatis of Davies and Giugliano.

“The wind troubled me a bit during Saturday’s race,” said the former world champion. “Jonathan rode a little better than me in the last part of the circuit. I felt much better the next day.”

With this new success, Sykes has joined Colin Edwards in the World Superbike record tables. Like the American, the Kawasaki rider now has thirty-one victories to his tally. Although he won the first race in America, Jonathan Rea was less happy on Sunday. For the first time, the Championship leader was forced to retire for technical problems in the sixth lap.

The Championship

With his first DNF of the season, Jonathan Rea saw his lead over teammate drop to forty-six points. Still in the race for the title of 2016 World Champion, Tom Sykes used his victory and his second place in the US to increase his lead over Chaz Davies. Sixty-two points now separate the two men. The next World Superbike race will be held in September in Austria on the Lausitzring circuit.

The riders in the Supersport World Championship will also start competing again at the event.

The Background

After hesitating to ride for another colour, Tom Sykes has finally decided to stay green and prolong his contract with the Kawasaki factory for two seasons. Arriving in the KRT team in 2010, the Brit has scored his 31 wins in the Superbike World Championship riding the ZX-10RR. World champion in 2013, Tom has also given Steve Gudridge (Kawasaki Racing Manager for Europe) and Guim Roda (Kawasaki Team Manager) 78 podiums and 37 pole positions.

“I am very happy to continue with this team,” commented Jonathan Rea’s teammate. “Marcel, Danilo, Mattia, Raul, Tambu, Ruben and I form a genuine family in which I feel surrounded and supported. Our new ZX-10RR has already proven just how well it can perform and we are still far from exploiting its full potential. Suffice to say that we still have plenty of things to do together”

Superbike World Championship Donington, June 2016

All lights are green

After enduring the domination of Tom Sykes in Donington, Jonathan Rea set things right again in Italy by winning ahead of his teammate both of the races held at Misano. Kenan Sofuoglu completed the Kawasaki triumph by winning in Supersport.

The Races

After being deprived of victory in England, the reigning world champion had promised to put the record straight in Italy. Jonathan Rea kept his word. The Kawasaki rider won the two races held at Misano. If he won on Saturday a breath ahead of Sykes, he clearly dominated his teammate the next day by a judicious choice of tyres.

“It was cooler on Sunday and I opted for a softer compound,”

said Rea.

“We also modified the bike settings accordingly and everything went well for us. I’m really happy to win here because I love this circuit and I also won my first Superbike race in Misano. Having a twin-win is great. There’s only one race before the summer break, it’s important to consolidate our overall lead.” Finishing twice in second place, Tom Sykes had to make the best of a bad job. “I’m obviously disappointed to lose ground in the overall standings,”

said the Kawasaki rider.

“Nevertheless, finish second twice after winning the pole, is not too bad a result. There are still five races to go, the title is not over yet.”

Tom Sykes GBR  Kawasaki ZX-10R   WSBK Misano 2016  PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek
Tom Sykes GBR/Kawasaki ZX-10R/WSBK Misano 2016
PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek

In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu also used his choice of rear tyre to take the lead two laps before the finish. Troubled by a shoulder that is to be operated on in the coming days, Randy Krummenacher had to settle for fifth place.

The Championship

With his bag full of points, Jonathan Rea has again increased his lead in the Championship. There are now sixty-six points between the two Kawasaki riders. Tom Sykes has a thirty-three point lead over Chaz Davies, who fell in the second race. With only five races left to go, the two Brits continue to lead the Championship. In the Supersport category, Kenan Sofuoglu also consolidated his leadership. The Turkish rider now has a forty-point lead over Randy Krummenacher who retains second place overall despite the difficulties encountered in Italy.

 

The Background

Jonathan Rea GBR   WSBK Misano 2016  PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek
Jonathan Rea GBR/WSBK Misano 2016/PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek

Although his teammate still laid down the law on the Misano circuit, Tom Sykes wrote a new page of history in Italy. For his 200th start in WSBK, the former world champion made it twice to the podium, but on the shores of the Adriatic also and especially scored his 36th pole position, the fifth in a row on the transalpine circuit. Sykes has thus become the first rider to string together five consecutive pole positions on the same circuit! Always at the forefront since his debut in the world championship in 2008, in Misano the Kawasaki rider also started from the first line for the 53rd time in his career. Only three riders have done better in the history of the discipline: Troy Corser (99), Carl Fogarty (60) and Troy Bayliss (55).

MotoGP World Championship-Italian Grand Prix (Mugello) May 2016

The Cruel Mugello Circuit

Success was not in store this weekend for the riders of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team on the Mugello circuit. The best result was obtained by Franco Morbidelli with an eighth place in Moto2.

The Races

Eighth to take the chequered flag, Franco Morbidelli didn’t make the podium he dearly wanted on his home turf. After scoring two fourth places in a row in Jerez and Le Mans, the Italian was unable to move up gear during the Moto2 race which was reduced to ten laps after a fall forced the directors to stop the race.

Victim of a collision with Luca Marini before the red flag was flown, Alex Marquez had to take the second start from the back of the grid, and despite a great recovery the Spaniard finished in sixteenth position, just outside the points.

In MotoGP, the streak of bad luck was even worse for Michael Bartholemy’s riders. Tito Rabat broke a collarbone  during the practice test sessions and Jack Miller ended up in the gravel trap at the first bend after colliding with Alvaro Bautista. The clumsiness of the Spanish rider who risked too much in the braking section and lost the front end also cost Loris Baz a fractured foot.

The Championship

Having missed the event at Mugello, Tito Rabat has slipped back to eighteenth place in the overall MotoGP standings. Jack Miller remains in twenty-second position with the two points he clocked up in Qatar.

In Moto2, Franco Morbidelli retains his ninth place while Alex Marquez has dropped down to twenty-second position. The Spaniard is now counting on the next race in Catalunya to get his season back on track.

The Background

Planted between two green hills of the Tuscan town of Scarperia, the riders and public are unanimous about the unique Mugello circuit. It is true that the track, now owned by Ferrari, offers an incredible array of difficulties with a hilly terrain, a series of corners to take your breath away and a long, long straight at the end of which the riders are close to 350 km/h. Mugello hosted its first Grand Prix in 1976. That year, Barry Sheene won the race with his Suzuki 500 ahead of Phil Read. The Brit was en route to his first world championship title. Note that in forty years, the 5.245-kilometre Italian track has undergone virtually no change at all.

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.