Jonathan Rea wins first race of the French SBK weekend and clinches 2017 title 


Jonathan Rea dominated the first race on the Magny Cours Circuit and matematically sealed his 3rd consecutive title in the World SBK.

Rea started from pole and easily pulled away from the rest of the pack. The tricky wet-drying conditions were not a challenge for the Kawasaki rider, who crossed the line more than 16 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Marco Melandri. Rea’s teammate, Tom Sykes, completed the podium.

Leon Camier raced a solitary race, finishing 4th, more than 5 seconds behind the rostrum positions and 19 seconds ahead of Alex Lowes, who locked out the top 5.

Eugen Laverty, Leandro Mercado and Davide Giugliano were 6th, 7th and 8th, respectively, while Dutchman Michael van der Mark made a great comeback and finished 9th after having crashed in the early stages of the race. Chaz Davies completed the top 10.

This was the 12th win of the current season for Rea, who now has the title in his pocket. The Brit is the first ever rider to win 3 WSBK titles in a row. #R3PEAT

photo credit – Ultimate Motorcycling 

Another wildcard for Kallio – The Finn will take part in the season finale

KTM test rider Mika Kallio has been given another opportunity to race in MotoGP in 2017 as he will represent the Austrian manufacturer at the final race of the season in Valencia.

The 34-year old veteran has already raced in 3 GPs in the current season. After barely missing out on the points zone in Sachsenring, where he finished 16th, the Finnish rider took a sensational 10th on home turf for his manufacturer in Austria.

Kallio also impressed last time out at the Aragon GP, where he finished 11th, after running in the top 10 for the most of the race.

Throughout his long and fruitful career, Kallio has raced as a full-time rider in the premier class only in 2009 and 2010. If he mantains his great form, KTM might consider offering him a full ride next year, thus relegating Bradley Smith, whose results are going from bad to worse, to the status of test rider.

Apart from Mika Kallio, Michelle Pirro will also be present at the Valencian GP as an wildcard for the Ducati Team. This way, the field size for the season finale is enlarged to 25 bikes.

photo credit – KTM PRESS CENTER

New manufacturer in Moto2 – NTS to line up in 2018


NTS, a Japanese manufacturer headquartered in Fukushima, will line up on the Moto2 grid in 2018 alongside Kalex, Suter, Speed Up and KTM.

NTS will be supplying the RW Racing team with the chassis produced and designed fully inhouse by them. RW Racing signed a three year deal with the manufacturer. NTS will colaborate with Swiss engineering specialist Geo Technology. 

Steven Odendaal and Joe Roberts will be the riders to represent RW Racing in 2018.

South African Odendaal is the current European Moto2 Champion and it is not an unknown face in the paddock of the World Championship. He raced as a full time rider in the 2013 Moto2 season for AGR Team. Unfortunately, he failed scoring any points.

American Joe Roberts made his debut in the Moto2 World Championship after the summer break of the current season, also for AGR Team, and finished in an impressive 10th place at his first GP, in Brno. Unfortunately, AGR Team recently announced its retirement from the competition, so Roberts will not take part in the last 4 races of 2017.

The NTS bike has been raced in the Moto2 European Championship over the last 2 seasons by Alan Techer in 2016 and by Steven Odendaal in 2017. Techer finished 3rd overall in the competition in 2016, achieving 1 win and 7 other podium finishes. With 3 races to go of the 2017 season, Odendaal is also 3rd, with 4 podium finishes, but is yet to take a win.

photo credit – NTS. Co, LTD. 

AGR Team retires from the World Championship


After the end of the Aragon GP, the AGR Team announced that they would not take part in the last 4 races of the season. Also, they will not come back in the 2018 season.

This decision leaves Moto3 rider Maria Herrera and Moto2 rider Joe Roberts without a ride for the remaining races of the current season.

Bad luck continues to pursuit Maria Herrera. Before the start of the 2016 season, Team Laglisse, who had signed Maria Herrera as their rider, announced it’s retirement from the championship. However, Herrera took over the operations of Team Laglisse and competed in the championship as an owner-rider of the team. We will see if a similar situation occurs for the last 4 races of 2017.

Joe Roberts raced in only 5 races this season, as he came in the team as a replacement for Yonny Hernandez after the summer break, who was fired due to lack of results. However, Roberts’ future in the class is assured as he signed a contract with RW Racing for 2018.

The AGR Team has competed in the Moto2 World Championship since 2012. Their most succesful year was 2015, when they clinched 2 GP wins, in Qatar and Jerez, and 2 other podium finishes (2nd place in Japan and 3rd in Malaysia). All these results were accomplished by German rider Jonas Folger, who finished 6th in the championship standings in that year.

photo – Folger, racing for AGR Team, crossing the line 1st at the 2015 Spanish GP

photo credit – Motores a Pleno

And another one – Marquez stamps his authority on MotorLand Aragon

Marc Marquez took a resounding win on home turf in Aragon after a hard fought race. Dani Pedrosa completed a Repsol Honda one-two, while Jorge Lorenzo made it an 100% Spanish podium. 

The scenario of the start was one with whom we got used to, as Jorge Lorenzo stormed into the lead after Turn 1. Valentino Rossi also went past poleman Vinales.

As Lorenzo was pulling a gap at the front, Vinales made a mistake and went wide, losing 2 more positions in favour of Dovizioso and Marquez.

Rossi, with Dovi and Marquez behind him, managed to catch up with Lorenzo, but ”the Doctor” was not able to overtake.

As the laps were passing, Marquez decided to make a move on Dovizioso. There was nothing the Ducati rider could do. Marquez quickly went past Rossi, too.

Lorenzo s soft rear tyre started to show signs of weakness and ”the Spartan” s pace dropped. He was overtaken by Marquez and, in spite of having fought back, he had to recognize himself defeated.

The dying laps were approaching and they brought with them an amazing Dani Pedrosa. ”The Baby Samurai” made his way through Vinales, Rossi and Dovizioso and settled in 3rd. He seemed capable of engaging in the battle for victory, but he was only able to go past Lorenzo in P2.

Just like his teammate, Dovizioso also lost the rhytm in the final part of the race and was overtaken by Aleix Espargaro, falling down in 7th.

Marc Marquez crossed the line in 1st place for the second race in a row and for the fifth time this season, showing once again why the MotorLand is his favourite track in the calendar. Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo came back on the podium ways, while Maverick Vinales managed to get past Valentino Rossi and finish 4th.

Rossi completed the top 5 on his comeback race, only 24 days after sustaining tibia and fibula fracture. Impressive indeed, even though his championship chances have most probably been check-mated.

Aleix Espargaro was another home hero who impressed, taking his Aprilia up to P6. Andrea Dovizioso resisted Alvaro Bautista s efforts to secure P7, while the best rookie was Johann Zarco in P9. Positions 10-11 were taken by KTM, with Pol Espargaro ahead of wildcard Mika Kallio.

Andrea Iannone finished 12th and finally scored some points after two consecutive retirements. Jack Miller and Scott Redding were 13th and 14th, respectively, while the last point was grabbed by Tito Rabat.

Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham were the only crashers – riders ok.

In the championship standings, Marc Marquez reaches 224 points. Andrea Dovizioso remains second, with 208 points, while Maverick Vinales suffers a blow to his championship chances as he sits 3rd with 196 points. Dani Pedrosa goes in 4th with 170 points, 2 more than Valentino Rossi.

photo credit – Repsol Honda Team

 

Morbidelli comes back to winning ways in Aragon and extends championship lead

Franco Morbidelli got his 8th win of the current season after a magnificent duel with compatriot Mattia Pasini. Poleman Miguel Oliveira completed the podium.

Morbidelli had a great start and went up in 2nd place after few turns. Quick after, he took the lead from poleman Oliveira.

Mattia Pasini fell in 5th after starting from 2nd but quickly climbed back, overtaking Marquez, Luthi and Oliveira.

Morbidelli managed to get away from his rivals and so did veteran Pasini, who started chasing down the championship leader.

While battling with Oliveira and Luthi for the last spot on the podium, Alex Marquez encountered some technical problems which forced him to retire.

Pasini managed to catch up with Morbidelli and took the lead from his compatriot. ”Il Paso” also pulled a gap, but he could not conserve the difference as his rear tyre was almost done.

With 4 laps to go, Morbidelli came back in P1. He remained in the lead until Pasini fought back with 2 laps remaining. The Marc VDS EG 0,0 rider responded right away and entered the last lap as the leader.

Once again, Pasini went past him in Turn 5 with an amazing overtake, but that was not enough. Morbidelli once again responded few turns later and there was nothing more the ItalTrans rider could do.

Franco Morbidelli crossed the line 1st for the eighth time this season, with Mattia Pasini completing an Italian double. Miguel Oliveira tried to take advantage of the fierce battle in front of him and engage in the fight for the win, but in the end he had to settle in 3rd.

Thomas Luthi limited the damages after a difficult week-end and finished 4th, ahead of an impressive rookie duo consisting of Brad Binder and Jorge Navarro. Simone Corsi was 7th, with future premier class rider Taka Nakagami in 8th. Sandro Cortese and Francesco Bagnaia lockedout the top 10.

In the championship standings, Morbidelli now has 248 points. Luthi stays close, with 227 points. Oliveira is now 3rd, with 157 points, 2 more than Alex Marquez.

photo credit – Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS

Miracle Mir – Home hero cruises to the 8th win of the season

Joan Mir won the Aragon GP in the Moto3 class after an amazing battle with Fabio DiGiannantonio and Enea Bastianini.

It was a lovely morning in Alcaniz, but the Motorland was covered in fog. The WUPs sessions were delayed and that also caused a delay of the Moto3 race. The lightweight class began 40 minutes later than initially scheduled and it was shortened to only 13 laps.

Poleman Jorge Martin had a great start and kept his lead after Turn 1, but was then overtook by Enea Bastianini.

The duo tried to pull a gap between themselves and the rest of the pack, but Aron Canet made sure that this would not happen.

The leading group consisted of more than 10 riders, with Jorge Martin, Bastianini, Canet, Mir, wildcard Denis Foggia, Oettl, Rodrigo, DiGiannantonio, Bulega, Tatsuki Suzuki, Romano Fenati and John McPhee among them.

However, only 4 of these riders (Martin, Bastianini, Canet and Mir) swapped P1 between them throughout the race, until Fabio DiGiannantonio overtook them all with 3 laps to go. The Italian tried to getaway, but he failed.

Mir took the lead going into the last lap, with Bastianini and Diggia closely following. Canet and Martin lost important time battling for 4th and could not remount the difference in order to engage again in the podium fight.

A very determined DiGiannantonio went easily past Bastianini and tried to pass Mir on the long straight ahead of the last corner. The championship leader defended perfectly with some S moves (which where eventually contested by both Italians) and remained in P1.

None of the Italians were able to take advantage of the slipstream on the last straight and Joan Mir took the win. DiGiannantonio came in P2, securing his 2nd straight podium finish, while Bastianini finished 3rd for the second time in a row here in Aragon.

Martin defeated Canet for 4th, while John McPhee made his way up to 6th place after staying outside of the top 10 for a big part of the race. Marcos Ramirez was 7th, just ahead of impressive wildcard Denis Foggia.

Phillip Oettl crossed the line in 9th, with title challenger Romano Fenati completing the top 10 after one of his most difficult weekends of the season.

This win is one for the history books. Joan Mir got his 8th win of the season, breaking the record for the most wins in a Moto3 season, which was previously shared by Luis Salom and Brad Binder, both with seven wins.

In the championship standings, Mir now has 271 points, 80 more than Romano Fenati and 98 more than Aron Canet, with only 100 up for the grabs. Fabio DiGiannantonio goes up in 4th, with 137 points, 3 more than teammate Jorge Martin.

If Joan Mir finishes first or second in the next race in Motegi, he will officially be crowned the 2017 Moto3 World Champion, no matter what Fenati s or Canet s results will be.

photo credit – Leopard Natural

Pedrosa the man to beat after wet Day 1 at Aragon

Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider of the premier class on a rain affected Day 1 of the Aragon GP.

FP1 was fully wet, while in FP2 the track had some damp patches, more than enough however for the riders to go out again with the rain tyres.

The combined standings of the day were the same with the FP2 standings and it was Dani Pedrosa who finished on top after freezing the clock at 1:59.858. Jorge Lorenzo ended in P2, 0.214 behind his compatriot and 0.248 ahead of rookie Johann Zarco, who was 3rd.

Marc Marquez won the fully-wet FP1, but could not manage better than 4th overall after FP2. The rain brought the best out of Karel Abraham and Sam Lowes, who finished the day in P5 and P7, respectively. Cal Crutchlow ended between them.

Championship contender Andrea Dovizioso followed in 8th, with the Espargaro brothers completing the top 10, with Aleix in front of Pol.

It was a tough day for the Yamaha Movistar riders. Maverick Vinales could not manage better than 17th, while Valentino Rossi locked out the top 20 on his comeback day.

photo credit – motorsport.com

 

Italians dominate Day 1 in Aragon with Pasini ahead of Morbidelli

The morning session of the intermmediate class was hit by rain, so the times of the riders were seriously affected. Tom Luthi was unstoppable in the wet conditions, securing P1 for more than 4 tenths of a second ahead of Mattia Pasini.

Unlike FP1, FP2 was held in dry conditions. Obviously, every rider managed to improve on their FP1 time, so the combined standings of the day is given by the FP2 classification.

Mattia Pasini was the fastest man, showing again that he is going to be a serious contender in the pole position battle. He freezed the clock at 1:54.439, 0.194 ahead of compatriot and championship leader Franco Morbidelli. Takaaki Nakagami was third overall, more than half a second behind Pasini.

Sandro Cortese and Simone Corsi showed good pace and locked out the top 5. Miguel Oliveira was pushed in P6 in the dying moments of the session, with Jorge Navarro in 7th as the best rookie.

Having dominated in the wet, Thomas Luthi could not mantain his supremacy on the dry and finished the day 8th overall, more than a second behind Pasini, ahead of Xavi Vierge and Fabio Quartararo.

photo credit – motoblog.it

Canet and Mir lead the Moto3 pack after Day 1 at the Aragon GP

Aron Canet topped the combined timesheets of Day 1 in the lightweight class at the Aragon GP as his time from FP1 remained the quickest after some rain hit the track in FP2. 

FP2 was wet only at the start and then dried out, but the vast majority of the riders was not able to improve on their previous times. Aron Canet freezed the clock at 1:59.114 in FP1, only 0.009 ahead of championship leader Joan Mir. The duo was also on top in FP2, but with Mir ahead this time. However, as we mentioned above, the times did not improve in the afternoon session, so Canet remained the fastest rider on Day 1.

Third overall was Niccolo Antonelli, who is looking to save what can still be saved out of this disastrous season. Compatriot Enea Bastianini was right behind in P4.

Another one looking to impress on home turf is Del Conca Gresini s Jorge Martin, who comes in Aragon after crashing out of the previous GP while in P2. The Spaniard finished the day in 5th, ahead of Nicolo Bulega.

Tatsuki Suzuki and Bo Bendsneyder were 7th and 8th, respectively, while title contender Romano Fenati came 9th. Marcos Ramirez locked out the top 10.

photo credit – motogp.com