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Spies Shines in Wet

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, Motorcycle News, News

On a wet opening first day at the Aragón Moto GP it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies who laid down the benchmark in the MotoGP class by setting the fastest time of the day in the afternoon practice session ahead of championship front runners Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. After a near-wasted morning session with a part-wet surface, riders were greeted with rain for their second run out where Spies’ time of just over two minutes relegated Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa into second, who left it late to post his best time. Third place went to Yamaha’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, although the Spaniard was almost half a second off the front. He did however claim that he did not push for a fast lap at the end. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden finished the day fourth fastest, with the American benefiting from the wet condition as his right hand continues to heal from injury. In fifth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso led the satellite machines, yet was over a second off Spies’ best time. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl ended the day in sixth, after looking strong all session on his RC213V machine. Seventh place went to Dovizioso’s teammate Cal Crutchlow, who had his fastest time cancelled at the end due to cutting the track. In eighth, Ducati’s Valentino Rossi couldn’t capitalise on his prowess in the wet, as a gearbox problem saw him heading out on his second bike, using a less than ideal set-up. He finished ahead of Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham in ninth, who will be pleased at having finished narrowly behind his factory counterpart. The top ten was completed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, with the Spaniard hoping to try out some new Showa suspension before qualifying. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet put in a solid performance to finish as top CRT machine in 12th, ahead of his teammate Aleix Espargaró. Turn 1 turned out to be a tricky spot for many of the riders, with numerous running off at the end of the straight as they pushed to improve their lap times. The morning session saw only nine riders head out on track as the mixed damp-dry conditions once again made it near impossible to find out anything about bike set-up.

Racing Trumps Points

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, Motorcycle News, News

As the MotoGP grid descends on Spain once more for this weekend’s 14th round of the world championship, Yamaha Factory Racing’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was joined by Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Álvaro Bautista at the Thursday press-conference kicking off the event. Lorenzo, who is currently 38-points ahead of Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa, is cautious not to get carried away and highlighted that racing is not just about points. “There are five more races until the end and 125 points to take, and yes, the situation is much better than before Misano. “But there is still a lot of pressure, so we have to be concentrated in every practice and every session. For me it’s not very comfortable [thinking about points]; I don’t like to think about the points and mathematics. I like to go fast.” The Spaniard, who undertook a private test at Aragón before the Misano round with Yamaha and the Repsol Honda team, said that it was important to gain further information on the track. “It’s quite new [the circuit], so we don’t have a lot of information like we do at other tracks. The test was a big help, for getting the right setting for the bike.” Pedrosa, whose race in Misano was cut short due to being taken out in the first set of corners is keen to put those thoughts behind him, and like Lorenzo, does not want to dwell on points alone. “The past is in the past. If you stick in the past, you can’t move forward. I’m trying to keep focussed on every session, every lap. We hope the bike is working well. I like to enjoy my riding, but obviously the championship is there. It is not such a good feeling when you only think about the points.” Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow is also looking to put his Misano weekend behind him, and get back to the good run of form that saw him take the podium in Brno. “I don’t think Misano could have gone any worse. The next race will be crucial. If I do well here we’ll head into the next races [triple header] with confidence. We’re trying to take positives from the last race.” And speaking about the Aragón track, the British rider said it seems a difficult circuit and he doesn’t know why. “I could have done with a test here, but we were unable to come [when the Yamaha and Honda factories tested here].” Ducati Team’s Rossi, fresh from his second place finish in Misano, is keen to verify the team’s progress once he heads out on track. “It is a big test for us this weekend to understand our level a bit better. We have to see here, and in the next four races, if it was a step forward. I like this track, but it’s difficult to go fast. I need to improve my line and my style.” With regards to the post-Misano test he carried out with the team the Italian commented. “We found something that I didn’t like, but also something that is better.” Earlier in the day, Spanish Dakar truck driver Pep Vila gave some of the riders a somewhat different racing experience at the Aragón track, as he took them around the track’s AutoCross Circuit in his Petronas De Rooy Iveco Trakker race truck. Crutchlow, Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom and Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati were each strapped into the race-ready passenger seat before Vila commenced the 900hp fuelled off-road ride. A couple of laps a piece proved enough as the truck was sliding around corners and tackling the track with ease – with Fenati being the only one who was treated to the truck briefly going up on two wheels on its side. Vila is himself a ten times Dakar veteran, boasting nine finishes and a best finish of sixth, only once being robbed of fourth due to a technical fault. His Iveco Trakker, part of the five vehicle-strong Dutch De Rooy team, features a 13-litre diesel engine putting out 900hp to propel the ten tonne machine.   It has a top speed of 205km/h, yet Vila explained that this is limited to 150km/h during the rally. The team’s owner, Gerard de Rooy, took victory in last year’s Dakar, with other Dutch teammate Hans Stacey coming in second

Waters Wins Second Australian Superbike Championship

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, Motorcycle News, News

Team Suzuki’s Josh Waters has clinched his second QBE Australian Superbike Championship with a measured and mature ride at Queensland Raceway on Sunday. The 25-year-old becomes just the sixth rider in the sport’s history to record multiple Championship wins, both coming with Suzuki. The Victorian rider was dominant early in the season, winning four races in quick succession and making his mark with a string of consistent podiums. He came to Queensland Raceway with a 19.5-point lead and chose to maintain the necessary advantage rather than attempt to race wheel-to-wheel with outright pacesetter and round winner Jamie Stauffer. Waters finished the morning race in fourth and was a comfortable sixth in the afternoon to seal the title by 13.5 points over Team Honda’s Wayne Maxwell. The elation was evident for Waters who has not campaigned a full season since his rookie year in 2009. “It’s just great to make it official, I can’t thank the team enough for everything they’ve done and preparing a bike that I love to ride,” said Waters. “It’s not been my best track and I knew I would have to be careful, I couldn’t match it with Jamie (Stauffer) today but for me it was more about just getting two consistent race finishes. “It’s a great feeling and good to win my second title as it’s only my second full season on the Superbike. “Wayne (Maxwell) was massively competitive all year and he did a really good job to cut back my lead – he had some bad luck early on and if it weren’t for that then it would have been neck and neck today (Queensland Raceways event).” Maxwell acknowledged Waters’ exemplary season and said he’d done everything possible to bridge the gap. “We’ve been up against it since the early DNF,” said Maxwell. “We’ve been able to make up a lot of ground but in the end Josh was just too consistent. “The team was obviously very quick this weekend and I’m happy with the progress we made but it was more of a case of something having to go wrong with Josh rather than us having to win. “It’s been a really strong season for Team Honda and the whole team can hold their heads up at the end of the day.” Stauffer’s clean sweep over the weekend has him finishing a clear third in the Championship. He added a new race lap record to his barn-storming run of results on Saturday’s race and said he couldn’t have asked for much more from the weekend. “The bike has been good from Friday and been getting faster and faster each session,” said Stauffer. “I seem to get my best results here and the conditions were good enough this weekend to be able to get out and run at the front. “It’s a good finish to the season for myself and for Honda to get the 1-2.” Stauffer has won 6 of the 8 races held at Queensland Raceway over the last two years. Outgoing Superbike Champion Glenn Allerton was third overall for the round on the back of a strong second place. The Procon Maxima BMW rider has been unable to match the form he showed when he carried the manufacturer to its first title in 2011, but has offered strong opposition to the frontrunners throughout every race. He rounds out the year in fourth place, ahead of Suzuki’s Ben Attard, who was fifth. A clean sweep of qualifying and Sunday’s races secured Allerton’s teammate Linden Magee the Prostock Championship honours. Magee took over the lead from Chas Hern who fought back gallantly from mishaps in both races. Mitchell Carr claimed Triumph’s first-ever Motul Australian Supersport Championship crown in a drama-filled day for the class. The 24-year-old entered the event with a half-point lead, but lost the advantage by a point on Saturday when Team Suzuki’s Brodie Waters trumped him for pole position. The day’s opening race saw Carr, Waters and Honda rider Josh Hook engage in a spirited battle, with the lead swapping on a lap-by-lap basis. Carr’s strengths were in the straights, with his Triumph 675 pulling away from the factory Suzuki and factory Honda out of the corners. In a sudden the title hopes of Hook and Waters were dashed, suffering separate issues within seconds of each other at the end of lap 13. Hook ran on at turn 6, a gearbox problem ending his race, while Waters lasted just a few hundred metres more before a cloud of smoke began trailing from his Suzuki on the front straight. Neither were classified finishers, and Carr, the race winner by over 5 seconds, found himself back in charge of the Championship by a considerable margin. The Triumph rider stayed clear of a ferocious four-rider battle in the second race which went the way of a resurgent Hook. It moved the Honda rider to second and turned the spotlight to the arm wrestle between Waters and Glenn Scott. Waters slipped underneath Scott in the final corner of the race to steal back second for the race and third for the Championship in what has been a testing day. Finishing a solid sixth in race 2, Carr signed off his season 18.5 points clear of the runner-up. The Triumph 675’s victory is a significant achievement for the manufacturer which was far outnumbered in the Supersport field. Carr said he was proud to be able to deliver victory on the machine which he has ridden for the past two seasons. “We’ve had our ups and downs this season and worked really hard to bounce back from a DNF earlier in the year,” said Carr. “Unfortunately it was Josh and Brodie’s turn, it was bad luck for them to end the season the way that they did. “The bike has been amazing, I’ve really enjoyed racing it and developing it with the team. “Consistency kept us right in the hunt there and we had the pace this morning to get the win, it’s an amazing result and testament to the team’s hard work.” Carr took round 7 honours, with Chris Quinn a competitive second and Glenn Scott third. Class Champions were crowned across the board in an exciting day of racing today. Suzuki Australian Superstock Championship honours went to Daniel Falzon, the Bargain Bike Gear 250 Production class was won by Luke Burgess, Lachlan Hill wrapped up the Dunlop Australian Superlites and Lincoln Gilding held on for Moto3 spoils. Akrapovic Supermoto S1 victory went to Luke Traill, and the S2 class to Ben Nicolson. AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE C’SHIP at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich. Rd 7:  Superbike: Race 1: J Stauffer (Honda) 19m44.730s 1, G Allerton (BMW) 19m46.204s 2, W Maxwell (Honda) 19m48.424s 3, J Waters (Suzuki) 19m51.740s 4, B Attard (Suzuki) 19m52.485s 5, R Bugden (Suzuki) 20m14.700s 6, L Magee (BMW) 20m17.145s 7, N Waters (Honda) 20m19.921s 8, B Beaton (Suzuki) 20m22.762s 9, C Quinn (Yamaha) 20m28.687s 10. Race 2: J Stauffer (Honda) 19m47.499s 1, W Maxwell (Honda) 19m48.880s 2, B Attard (Suzuki) 19m54.678s 3, G Allerton (BMW) 19m54.872s 4, R Bugden (Suzuki) 20m05.657s 5, J Waters (Suzuki) 20m08.758s 6, B Henry (Suzuki) 20m13.863s 7, B Beaton (Suzuki) 20m15.281s 8, L Magee (BMW) 20m16.989s 9, C Quinn (Yamaha) 20m30.037s 10. Round: J Stauffer (Honda) 51pts 1, W Maxwell (Honda) 38pts 2, G Allerton (BMW) 37pts 3, B Attard (Suzuki) 34pts 4, J Waters (Suzuki) 32pts 5, R Bugden (Suzuki) 31pts 6, B Henry (Suzuki) 27pts 7, B Beaton (Suzuki) 27pts 8. Championship: J Waters (Suzuki) 279.5pts 1, W Maxwell (Honda) 266pts 2, J Stauffer (Honda) 251.5pts 3, G Allerton (BMW) 235pts 4, B Attard (Suzuki) 212.5pts 5, R Bugden (Suzuki) 211pts 6, B Henry (Suzuki) 174.5pts 7, S Charlton (Suzuki) 159pts 8, B Waters (Suzuki) 45pts 9, B Beaton (Suzuki) 40pts 10.  

Lorenzo Charges as Field Falls

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, Motorcycle News, News

At the weekend’s Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who charged to a dominant victory in a dramatic race ahead of Valentino Rossi and Álvaro Bautista.   It was a problematic start as a partially aborted race-start due to issues with Karel Abraham’s Cardion AB Racing Ducati prompted a re-start. The race was then shortened to 27 laps due to the additional sighting lap, yet in another twist, pole-sitter Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa then also had to start from the back of the grid after wheeling his bike into pit-lane to re-start it, after his team could not resolve a locked front-wheel in the given time.   The story unfolded further and the championship battle took yet another blow, as Pedrosa was taken out in the first few bends by the front wheel of Pramac Racings’ Héctor Barberá, as the Repsol rider was making his way up the field.   Afterwards, an apologetic Barberá cited missing his braking marker as the reason he locked up his front wheel, causing him to slide into Pedrosa. At the front it was Lorenzo who had made the best start, followed by a valiant Valentino Rossi on board his Ducati, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.   It was a crash-strewn affair from the beginning as Abraham, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow all tumbled out in the opening laps. Crutchlow’s teammate Dovizioso was sticking to Bradl, as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took Yamaha’s Ben Spies for fifth. With 19 laps remaining Lorenzo had pulled out a lead over Rossi, who was working tirelessly to keep Bradl at bay.   With 12 laps to go Bautista had caught up to the rear wheel of Dovizioso and was looking for a way through. After stalking him for over half the lap he made his way through into fourth to chase Bradl, whom he caught up with two laps later. Bautista looked like a man possessed as he then pushed his way past the German into the final podium spot. Behind the Spaniard, Bradl, Dovizioso and Spies were all closing in with seven laps to go to battle it out for third spot.   With three laps to go Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was forced to retire from the race, as Dovizioso and Spies had made their way past Bradl. And it was Dovizioso who provided the nail-biting finish, tussling with Bautista until the bitter end.   Yet it was Lorenzo who finally took the chequered flag with an ecstatic Rossi in second and Bautista recording his first ever MotoGP podium in third after a photo finish with Dovizioso. Lorenzo’s sixth victory leaves him 38-points clear at the top of the championship, while Rossi’s podium was his best finish on a Ducati in the dry. Behind Dovizioso in fifth was Spies, ahead of Bradl and Ducati’s Nicky Hayden. Repsol Honda’s Rea did well to finish eighth in his first GP race, ahead of Espargaró’s teammate Randy De Puniet and San Carlo’s Michele Pirro.

Aussie’s Dream Victory

Written by Lee McKenzie McKinnon on . Posted in Motor Sport, Motorcycle News, News

Aussie young gun Josh Hook has taken victory in race two at round four of the Asia Dream Cup earlier this month at Autopolis Circuit in Japan. The ASBK Supersport rider started the weekend well, ranking first and then second in the two free practice sessions respectively. Qualifying in fourth, it wasn’t until race two when Hook was able to really shine, racing an almost perfect race to take the victory. “The race was really tough with a lot of slipstreaming and jostling”, said Hook from Japan. “I tried to stay out of the heavy battling up in front and I just concentrated trying to stay in the lead. Victory had eluded me all season long so far, with a bit of bad luck here and there, so I am really excited about this win today.” Fellow Australian Josh Pickering rode consistently over the weekend taking an 8th and a 12th place finish in race one and two respectively. For Pickering the Asia Dream Cup is his first foray into road racing. The Asia Dream Cup is held in conjunction with the PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championships and sees all riders competing on Honda’s CBR250R. Round five will take place at Penbay International Circuit, Taiwan in mid-October.

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