Posts Tagged ‘yamaha’
On a race weekend at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang that saw all three classes affected by the elements in one way or another it was Moto3 rider Sandro Cortese that stole the headlines by grabbing his maiden GP title, whilst Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa stunned all with a masterful display in a drenched premier-class race. In a dramatic MotoGP race hit by torrential rain and a raft of crashes, Pedrosa took the win ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, bringing his title aspirations firmly within reach. It was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got the holeshot ahead of Pedrosa, while Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi got a good start from 11th to move into fourth within the first lap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who had a bad start, was carving his way through the pack and soon got past Rossi into fourth to chase down Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner in third. Lorenzo, having opted for the softer option wet rear tyre, had a small margin over Pedrosa with 18 laps to go, who had the harder rear tyre. All Yamahas on the grid as well as Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham had opted for the soft-rear, hard-front combination, with all others running with hards front and rear. A lap later however and Pedrosa was breathing down Lorenzo’s neck having closed the gap to a fraction of a second. Further afield Stoner was leading a group, about five seconds off the leading duo, with Dovizioso, Rossi, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. With 12 laps remaining, Pedrosa was continuing to stick to Lorenzo’s rear wheel as the pair looked locked in a stalemate out on track. Further back on the same lap, Yamaha’s Bes Spies suffered a heavy crash out of tenth place, putting a premature end to his race. He was taken to the medical centre to check on a shoulder injury, and was later declared ok. Rossi also dropped from behind Dovizioso back into ninth, as his teammate Hayden fought his way up to fifth. A lap further on and it was drama for Dovizioso as he also slid out of the race, which continued to be pummelled with rain. It was in the final turn of this lap that Pedrosa made a move stick on Lorenzo to take the lead just over the halfway point, and the Repsol rider instantly looked more comfortable in front, pulling a small gap. In the meantime, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards retired with a mechanical option. As the grid headed into lap nine there were further crashes in the final turn as Crutchlow slid off, followed almost directly in the same place by Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet. It was a crash strewn lap, with Bradl also losing the front of his satellite Honda, and Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva also crashing out. Back on track Rossi looked in his element as he squeezed past Bautista into fifth. Things were also getting interesting at the front as Lorenzo was being not only dropped off by Pedrosa, but also being closed down by Stoner at a very quick rate. The rain was coming down heavily with 15 laps left, and Lorenzo suffered a very scary moment, where he saved a near crash just seconds before the Red Flag was shown due to safety concerns. After much deliberating as to whether a re-start would be possible, conditions deteriorated, and the win was awarded to Pedrosa, with Lorenzo and Stoner completing the rostrum. This now puts Pedrosa within 23-points, less than one race-win, of title rival Lorenzo, with 50-points still up for grabs in the final two races. Hayden recorded a fantastic fourth, ahead of Rossi, Bautista, Barberá, De Puniet’s teammate Espargaró, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison and Abraham.
In an enthralling MotoGP race at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who closed the gap in the title fight further with a strong win ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Álvaro Bautista. It was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got away best, yet had to be bold in turn one to hold off Pedrosa. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet crashed on the first lap but re-joined, while Yamaha’s Ben Spies crashed out going into lap two, citing afterwards that he suffered a brake failure. It was a crash-laden early stage as Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez also dropped his bike in the gravel, suffering a left top-shoulder-joint dislocation and a contusion to the left foot. Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner had made a good start running fourth behind Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow in third. Yet three laps in Stoner was taken by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was stalking Stoner closely, whilst fending off Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso in seventh. With 17 laps remaining Lorenzo and Pedrosa had pulled out a lead at the front with Crutchlow running a lonely third. Stoner was desperately looking for a way past Bautista, yet the Spaniard was battling hard to keep the Australian at bay. Meanwhile Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi was in eighth struggling to keep up with Dovizioso’s pace in front. It was then two laps later that Dovizioso forced his way past Bradl, who was suffering with arm-pump, to hunt down Stoner in fifth. With 13 laps remaining Pedrosa got better drive out of turn four and made his way past Lorenzo on the straight into the lead, looking instantly quicker on the Honda. As Lorenzo tried to keep up, it was Bautista who was slowly closing in on Crutchlow, who did well to save a near fall. Five laps on, De Puniet was forced to retire, as was Hernandez’s teammate Iván Silva. The same lap also saw Dovizioso make his way past Stoner into fifth. With six laps left Pedrosa had built up a commanding lead over Lorenzo, whilst as a lap later Bautista muscled his way past Crutchlow into the final podium spot, and the pair provided a thrilling battle on track. The Brit fought almost straight back with a move up the inside, yet Bautista retook him in the next turn where the two touched. And it was heartbreak for Crutchlow on the last lap as he pulled over having run out of fuel, whilst looking to fight to the line. It was ultimately Pedrosa who kept his nerve to take the chequered flag, with Lorenzo and Bautista completing the rostrum, making it the second ever premier-class podium for the San Carlo rider. This now cuts Pedrosa’s deficit to Lorenzo to 28 points with three races remaining. The first non-podium finisher in fourth was Dovizioso followed by Stoner, Bradl, Rossi, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, Yamaha YSP Racing Team’s wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá. Top CRT spot went to De Puniet’s teammate Aleix Espargaró, whilst Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci had to retire on the last lap.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was joined by title-rival Dani Pedrosa, the returning Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden at the press conference on Thursday marking the start of the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi, which kicks off the busy MotoGP triple-header. Lorenzo, who’s championship lead was cut to 33-points last time out in Aragón, cited the importance of racing with his head as the season nears its finale. “These three races are going to be really important for the championship and for the points, and our goal is to keep in the same line as the whole championship; always trying to fight for pole positions, and for podiums and victories. This is my goal, and if it is possible to win the races I am going to try, and if not then podiums will be OK in the last four races.” Repsol Honda Team’s number one rider, Casey Stoner is returning from injury and will possibly take valuable points away from the front runners. “This is something that you cannot control. If Casey is fast enough he can win, and can take points off both Dani and me,” Lorenzo continued. “One thing we can control is our performance and this is what we will try to control over these races.” “Normally here for Yamaha it is not so simple because we have some difficulties in acceleration, but we have good braking and corner entry, which are our strong points. Last year we made second place and finished not so far from Dani, and this year with the 1000cc we are a bit more competitive so we will try to be even closer.” Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa, who has looked in scorching form recently, knows that he needs to continue this to stake a title claim. “As I have said, it’s important to have fun and enjoy. We are doing good races and it’s good also for the team because we have been doing progressively better during the championship. We are just trying to do the same, to keep focused and to ride well.”
A beach dash along the Indian Ocean from Kalbarri to Geraldton in Western Australia was the final leg of Australia’s toughest motor sport event, the 2012 Australasian Safari. Every competitor who crossed the finish line is a winner for completing a gruelling eight days of competition covering approximately 3500 competitive kilometres off-road, on beaches, through sand dunes, over creeks, rocky riverbeds, claypans and cattle stations. Jake Smith, 24, from NSW won the Australasian Safari moto division as he did in 2009. He held the lead for the entire event on his Honda CRF450X and finished with a comfortable 31 minutes to spare. With brother Todd Smith, last year’s Safari moto winner, they have a combined seven podiums in seven events in WA on three different marques – Honda, Yamaha and KTM. Jake said he was still feeling really good after the eight days of racing and was relieved it was all over. “It’s never over ‘til it’s over so I was taking it easy to get through the cool beach stages and cross the finish line. Having won last in 2009 it’s a really good feeling to win again,” he said. WA’s Warren Strange, 47, is no stranger to Safari and he rode his Dakar-built Honda CRF450X to finish convincingly in second place, one hour 39 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. “I’m really happy that an old guy like me can do this! I gave up motocross riding when these guys around me were kids. “I’ve tried to do quite a lot of events this year in my preparation for Dakar so I’m really pleased it has paid off.” Warren’s second place win was also a huge personal achievement for him, having had leukemia for 20 years. “I’ve been able to take time off work to train and now I’m following my passion, life’s too short,” he said. Ryan Inghram, 33, also from WA, achieved a third place podium finish on a KTM450 despite this being his first attempt at the Australasian Safari. “I’m feeling pretty good with this being my first Safari, it’s the longest event I’ve contested. It was harder than I thought, a tough week. The stages were good, the longer the better for me. The bike’s been great to me too.” David Schwarz, 42, from South Australia, on Husaberg FE450, has finished in the top ten of the last ten Australasian Safaris. This is a huge achievement for this marathon event. No other competitor has managed more than four and in 2012 he finished seventh outright. “Ten years of racing is a long time. I’m tired but happy. This year’s stages were great, I really enjoyed it, it ranks right up there with the other Safaris I’ve done. The variation in the terrain and the styles of riding were great and there were some true Safari stages. It was great to go somewhere new.” The winners of five of the last six Australasian Safaris have won on Honda bikes. John Hederics (NSW) and Kees Weel (Qld) in the Holden Colorado finished a comfortable one hour 24 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals and drove a steady race over the past eight days. Hederics holds the record for most Australasian Safari wins on a moto and in an auto. Hederics is arguably the event’s most experienced competitor. He has won six out of seven Safari attempts on a moto and four out of seven attempts in an auto. It is Weel’s second win as a navigator and the fourth win for the car. Hederics said he was happy, relieved and glad to be back. “I had to rush back for the footy to watch Sydney,” said Henderics. “We held the lead for three days and had it to lose. Driving conservatively is sometimes harder than going fast. “I’ve been on loads of Safaris as a competitor and as support, this is by far the best course. The difference in terrain and the variances have been really good. The organisation is good and there are experienced guys running the show and they know what’s required.” The second place win for West Australians Rob Herridge and Sam Hill was a huge achievement. Their Subaru Forester was entered in the Production Class, meaning the car had very few modifications. They finished an impressive one hour and 39 minutes ahead of third place holders and with their service crew managed to keep the car on track for the eight days. “I’m feeling pumped,” said Herridge. “We’ve been trying not to celebrate for three days because it’s not over ‘til it’s over. It went well beyond our expectations, not only did we win a few stages, we came second outright. It’s a testament to Subaru cars. We’re wrapped.” Veteran off-road racers of more than 40 years, Victorians Reg Owen and Russel Cairns, placed third in the autos, a well-deserved position after competing in an impressive 15 Australasian Safaris. “We had to work for it,” Reg said. “We were pushing quite hard today but 122 (Park/Newbon) made the bigger mistake. They were pushing as well. This event has been tops. They have got it 100 percent right. The tracks were great, they were marked well and it has made a big difference.” Victorian Paul Smith, 35, won the Australasian Safari convincingly from start to finish on his Honda TRX700XX. He has contested each Australasian Safari since quads were introduced five years ago and won in 2010. He said he was relieved and stoked. “Especially after last year’s stuff up and the helicopter ride to hospital with a broken leg, I’m really glad to be on top. In true Safari form, the event had to throw something at me, and in the last three kilometers I hit a sheep. It was OK and ran away. “I loved the Gascoyne region for Safari, the stages were awesome – pure evil! It’s the least troubles I’ve ever had on the event and it’s a credit to the guys who built the bike. I’m really happy, next stop Dakar!” Smith said. South African rider Brett Cummings, 29, won the Dakar Challenge in his first marathon event. “I’m feeling happy to get through it. It was unknown pressure for me especially yesterday getting a 45-minute penalty. I made some stupid mistakes today, I went too slow in the sand and had a big crash in the second stage – my only crashes of the event were the last day. “I’ve liked the organisation of Australasian Safari and the routes. I’ve learnt so much coming out of this race. I’ve had some great pointers from Jake and Todd (Smith) and I’m looking forward to next time. “Winning the Dakar Challenge means it will be easier for us to get sponsors, it lightens the load on the pockets. I was uncertain of how I would go on a multi day event and I’m so happy I’ve managed to maintain pace over the seven days.” 115 competitors started the Australasian Safari last Saturday (21 September) and after a Prologue and seven legs there were 92 competitors who crossed the finish line.
In a weekend that produced three enthralling races at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who took a dominant victory under sunny skies at his home race in the premier-class ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo got the hole shot ahead of Pedrosa, with Yamaha’s Ben Spies in tow. The first two laps were not good for the Ducati team, as Valentino Rossi almost touched the rear wheel of Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea, with the Italian forced to run off. This was followed by a big crash form Nicky Hayden, who was violently thrown over the advertising boards in Turn 16, after failing to slow down in time. He received instant medical attention and was later declared okay by the medical centre, yet has been given a neck brace and is undergoing more precautionary checks. Lap four saw Pedrosa close in on Lorenzo’s rear wheel, as Avintia Blusens’ David Salom had to retire from the race. Meanwhile LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl took Spies for third, yet crashed out a few turns later as he lost the front pushing too hard. This left the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to hunt down the American for a spot on the podium. It took Pedrosa until lap seven to make his move on Lorenzo, taking the lead for the first time. On lap nine Lorenzo had a big wobble giving Pedrosa a bigger gap at the front, as Rossi was making his way up through the pack. With 13 laps left, Crutchlow ran wide coming onto the home straight, letting Dovizioso into fourth. Six laps later Pedrosa had pulled out a gap of over four seconds at the front, as Dovizioso made his way past Spies, with Crutchlow probing the inside line of the American, but to no avail. The Tech 3 pair provided a thrilling last couple of laps fighting for the final podium spot, with the Brit desperately looking for a way past. In some hard passing where the two went fairing-to-fairing, Crutchlow was altering his line in numerous corners to get past the Italian who was defending aggressively. In the end it was Pedrosa who crossed the finish line first over six seconds ahead of second placed Lorenzo, with Dovizioso taking his sixth podium this year. Pedrosa has now cut the championship gap to Lorenzo to 33 points. Crutchlow came in a close fourth, with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, Rea, Rossi, and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham completing the top nine. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró came in tenth as top CRT.