Luthi to miss the Valencian GP

After missing the Malaysian GP and having his title chances destroyed in the worst way possible, Thomas Luthi will not come back on the grid for the last GP of the year.

During the qualifying session of the Malaysian GP, Luthi suffered a heavy highside. He was taken to hospital, where a fracture of the ankle was revealed. As a result, he did not start in the race and Franco Morbidelli was crowned as the new Moto2 World Champion.

The Swiss rider announced on a social media platform that he would undergo surgery during this week to fix the fracture and that this will force him to miss his last Moto2 race.

In 2018, Thomas Luthi will line up on the MotoGP grid alongside EG 0,0 Marc VDS. He will share the garage with his rival in the Moto2 title fight from this year, Franco Morbidelli.

Thomas Luthi is a former 125cc World Champion in 2005. In both 2016 and 2017, he finished in Moto2 as a runner-up.

photo credit – vincentguignet_photography

Johann Zarco in 2017 – Rookie of the Year and Top Independent Team rider

After having matematically clinched the Rookie of the Year title in Australia, Johann Zarco offered another magnificent performance last Sunday at the Malaysian GP. The Frenchman finished 3rd, scoring his second podium finish in the premier class, thus securing the top Independent Team rider title. We will now make a short recap of Zarco s 2017 season.

Johann Zarco lined up 4th on the grid under the lights of the stunning Losail International Circuit for the first round of the 2017 season and his first GP as a premier class rider. The two-time Moto2 World Champion shocked the audience by taking the lead in the very first lap. The Yamaha Tech3 rider managed to slowly but surely get away from the other competitors, but, during the 7th lap of the race, disaster struck – the Frenchman slided out of the race.

This mistake could have seriously damaged his morale, as he threw away a great chance of winning his first ever MotoGP race – but this was not the case for Zarco. The 2015&2016 Moto2 World Champion impressed again in both Argentina and Austin, as he rounded up the top 5 on each occasion.

The first European round of the year, held at Jerez, brought another magnificent performance from the rookie, who finished as the best Yamaha rider and scored a new personal best in the class, a 4th place. This was a warining for the rest of the MotoGP pack that his first podium finish is approaching quickly.

And that was the case indeed, as Zarco scored his first ever podium finish in MotoGP in the very next round – his home GP in Le Mans. Starting from 3rd (his first front row start in the category), Zarco managed to defend his starting position thoughout the whole race, and, in the final lap, he was rewarded for his efforts, as he went up in P2 after the crash of Valentino Rossi. After this excellent result, Zarco increased his lead to 17 points ahead of teammate Jonas Folger, his main rival in the Rookie of the Year battle.

Zarco managed to increase this difference again in the next 2 races. A much more difficult Italian GP brought a 7th place finish for Zarco, but the Frenchman came back to the Top 5 in the next race. The Catalan GP brought a first one-on-one duel between Zarco and Folger. The German held 5th place for the main part of the race, but Zarco made a decisive move on him in the last lap and took P5 away from him.

Up next was the Dutch GP at the historic Assen circuit. Johann Zarco managed to achieve another milestone in that week-end, as he scored his first ever pole position. Unfortunately, race day was pretty much filled with disappointment. The race was a wet one and, after a few laps, Zarco entered the pits to put on the slicks, in the hope that the track might dry out. That was not the case and the Frenchman ended the race in P14.

The following GP at the Sachsenring was another tough one for Zarco, who qualified only 19th. However, he was at his best on race day and made his way through the pack to cross the line in P9. With Jonas Folger scoring an impressive 2nd place finish, Zarco entered the summer break with a slight 13 point lead over his teammate in the Rookie of the Year battle.

Another disappointing race followed in Brno, with Zarco finishing only 12th, but the rookie came back much stronger in Austria and Silverstone, where he finished 5th and 6th, respectively. Jonas Folger did not gather any points in these rounds, so the difference between the two Yamaha Tech3 riders increased considerably – 32 points.

A wet San Marino GP caused Zarco to struggle again, as the Frenchman finished 15th, clinching the last point available. The Aragon GP was a different story, with Zarco coming back in the top 10. He crossed the line in P9, with Folger outside the point zone in P16.

Zarco entered the Asia-Pacific triple header with a 33 point lead over Folger, when the sad news of the German s health problems were revealed. The German had been infected in the past with the Epstein-Barr virus and it seemed like it came back to him. He was taken to Germany for further check-ups, missing the Japanese, Australian and Malaysian GPs.

Zarco took advantage of this and scored his second pole position of the year in Motegi, converting it into an 8th place in the race.

The Australian GP was probably the most exciting race of 2017, with no less than 7 riders battling for the podium positions; and Zarco was one of them. The Frenchman was close to his second podium finish of the year, but he was pipped on the last straight by Maverick Vinales. However, the 4th place was enough to secure the Rookie of the Year title, as the difference between him and Folger increased to 54 points with only 50 up for grabs.

With no pressure on his shoulders at the Malaysian GP, Zarco cruised to his second podium finish of the year. He led the race for some laps, but he was then overtook by the Ducati Team duo. Nonetheless, he took 3rd and also secured the top Independent Team rider title. In this battle, which had not been a main objective for Zarco at the start of the season, he led Danilo Petrucci by 27 points before the Malaysian GP. With Petrucci crossing the line in P6, the difference became insurmountable before the last race of the year.

Irrespective of the result of the Valencian GP, Johann Zarco s rookie season remains a very successful one, filled with performances that no one thought Zarco would be capable of. If Zarco manages to keep himself at the same high level in 2018, he might become favourite to take over the place of Valentino Rossi in the Yamaha Movistar team after ”The Doctor” decides to retire.

photo credit – Moto Revue

 

Title fight goes down to the wire in the final round as Dovizioso wins in Sepang

Andrea Dovizioso got his 6th win of the current season on the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. Jorge Lorenzo and Johann Zarco completed the podium. 

Rain made its appearance in the dying moments of the Moto2 race and persisted for some time, so the premier class race was declared wet.

Johann Zarco made an impressive start from 2nd on the grid and took the lead from Pedrosa after Turn 1. The poleman was also overtaken by Lorenzo, Marquez and Dovizioso.

The Frenchman managed to pull a gap between him and his followers, as a battle for 3rd emerged between the title contenders – Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Having shown on both Friday and Saturday an impressive rhytm at the venue in both dry and wet conditions, the Ducati rider rosed to the expectations and went past Marquez, leaving the championship leader uncapable of fighting back.

Now in 2nd and 3rd, the Ducati duo started chasing down the race leader. Zarco s tyre started to show signs of weakness and his pace dropped considerably. As a result, he was overtaken by both Lorenzo and Dovizioso.

Lorenzo managed to put a gap of more than one second between him and his teammate, but ”SuperDovi” was able to recover it. His mission was eased by a mistake made by Lorenzo in the final corner – the Spaniard ran wide and almost crashed.

From then on, Lorenzo did not cause any headaches to Dovizioso and the Italian got his 6th win of 2017. Jorge Lorenzo scored his third podium finish of the year and a new career best on the Ducati, while Johann Zarco impressed once again in his debut season and clinched the last step on the podium.

Marquez rode a solitary race in 4th, with teammate and poleman Dani Pedrosa completing the Top 5. Danilo Petrucci had an impressive comeback from the last place on the grid. The Italian climbed all the way up to P6, crossing the line ahead of Valentino Rossi. Maverick Vinales crossed the line only in P9, completing another terrible performance for the Yamaha Movistar team, who once again proved that they do not stand any chance in wet conditions. In P8, separating the Yamaha duo, was Jack Miller, while the Top 10 was rounded up by KTM rider Pol Espargaro.

After two difficult GPs in Japan and Australia, Alvaro Bautista came back to point ways with a P11 finish. Bradley Smith followed him in P12, completing another double point finish for KTM. The last points were snatched by Scott Redding, Hector Barbera and Cal Crutchlow.

Riders to have crashed during the race were Loris Baz, Karel Abraham, Sam Lowes and Alex Rins. All riders ok.

In the championship standings, with Marquez only fourth in the Malaysian GP, the difference between him and Dovizioso has been chopped to 21 points (282-261), with 25 still up for grabs. So, the fight goes right down to the wire in Valencia. Maverick Vinales has now secured 3rd, as he has 226 points, 29 more than Valentino Rossi, who will have to defend 4th against Dani Pedrosa, as the Spaniard sits only 12 points behind ”The Doctor”.

photo credit – www.andreadovizioso.com

Oliveira dominates Moto2 again as Morbidelli becomes World Champion

Miguel Oliveira repetead the magnificent performance from Phillip Island and won the Moto2 race after leading from start to finish. Brad Binder completed the second straight KTM double, while Franco Morbidelli completed the podium and became the 2017 Moto2 World Champion.

Unfortunately, the championship equation was solved before the race start, as Thomas Luthi was declared unfit to start after a fracture of the ankle was revealed following his crash during the qualifying session. With an advantage of more than 25 points, Franco Morbidelli was sure that he would be crowned World Champion at the end of the race irrespective of his result in it.

Miguel Oliveira took the lead in Turn 1 after starting from P2 and started to put distance between him and the EG 0,0 Marc VDS riders slowly but surely. Francesco Bagnaia and Brad Binder were closely following the VDS duo, aspiring to the 2nd place.

A first incident occured when Takaaki Nakagami and Sandro Cortese slided out of the race. Some turns later, a multiple incident ended the race of Luca Marini, Axel Pons, Khairul Idham Pawi, Remy Gardner and local wildcard Ekky Patrama. Also, Alex Marquez crashed while in 2nd, throwing away his chances at the 3rd place in the championship. The Spaniard got up and rejoined the race, only to crash again in the following lap. This time it was game over.

As Oliveira was cruising to a new victory, Bagnaia lost the rhytm of Morbidelli and Binder and dropped out of the battle for the second place. Binder stayed close to Morbdelli, but he did not show any overtake intentions until the closing stages of the race.

With 5 laps to go, rain made its appearance and the red flag with red diagonals was brought out by the track marshalls. Brad Binder realised that this might be followed by a red flag if the conditions were to worsen, so he made his move on Morbidelli.

The championship leader did not fight back, settling on the last step of the podium till the end of the race.

Miguel Oliveira crossed the line in 1st place for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, with Brad Binder completing once again a superb Red Bull KTM Ajo double. Morbidelli finished 3rd and the party kicked-off in the pits, as the Brazilian-Italian is the new World Champion.

An interesting battle emerged for the 4th place, with Mattia Pasini walking away victorious after defeating Pecco Bagnaia. Fabio Quartaro was in charge of the 5th place for some time, but his pace dropped and he was overtaken by Pasini, who eventually also went past Bagnaia. Local hero Hafizh Syahrin took advantage of Quartararo s struggles and went past the Frenchman to clinch P6. Xavi Vierge offered another solid prestation, crossing the line in P8, ahead of former teammate Isaac Vinales and Tetsuta Nagashima, who locked out the top 10.

The difference in the championship standings between Morbidelli and Luthi was increased to 45 points (288-243) with only 25 up for grabs, so we have our new Moto2 World Champion. Miguel Oliveira secured the bronze medal, as he is now 26 points ahead of rival Alex Marquez (216-190). An all-Italian battle will emerge in Valencia for the 5th place, as the difference between Bagnaia and Pasini consists of only 13 points in the favour of the rookie (161-148).

Franco Morbidelli became the first Italian World Champion since Valentino Rossi, who won MotoGP World Championship in 2009. The last Italian World Champion in the intermmediate class was Marco Simoncelli, who was crowned 250cc World Champion in 2008. What is interesting is that all these 3 Italian riders were crowned World Champions at the Sepang Circuit.

photo credit – Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Mir wins three-way battle in Sepang and clinches 10th win of the season

Joan Mir entertained the Malaysian fans with another masterclass win on the Sepang International Circuit, the 10th of the current season. Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini completed the podium.

Jorge Martin started like a rocket from P2 on the grid and took the lead after Turn 1. At the end of the first lap, he had already put a gap of more than 1 second between him and the rest of the pack.

Enea Bastianini, Gabriel Rodrigo, Joan Mir, John McPhee and Livio Loi tried to catch up with him, but, eventually, only Mir and Bastianini managed to do that. Livio Loi ran all alone in P4 in the second part of the race, as the 5th place was disputed by a group of 10 riders.

Joan Mir was the first one to make a move on Martin. There was nothing the Del Conca Gresini rider could do, but he managed to stay close to the World Champion, not letting him go away. Once he got near the two Spaniards, Bastianini managed to overtake both and take the lead, but, just like Mir, he was not able to pull a gap.

With 4 laps remaining, Joan Mir took the lead from Jorge Martin, who was also overtaken by Bastianini. Some turns later, Martin fought back against Bastianini, nearly touching the Italian and pushing him outside the track limits. This duel slowed down both men, allowing Mir to pull a gap of more than half a second.

Martin was not able to melt the difference to Mir, and, in the last lap, he was again caught by Bastianini and overtaken by the Italian. However, in the last turn, Martin made a decisive move and secured 2nd place.

Joan Mir crossed the line in P1, clinching his 10 win of 2017. Now, he is 1 win away from Valentino Rossi s record for the most wins in the lightweight class (11 – established in 1999 in the former 125cc class). Jorge Martin once again missed a good chance to score his first ever career win, but this 2nd place brings him important points in the battle for 4th in the championship. Enea Bastianini had to be satisfied with 3rd, while Livio Loi came in P4 after a solid and solitary race.

Andrea Migno won the hard fought battle for P5, with John McPhee and Romano Fenati closely following in 6th and 7th, respectively.

Aron Canet came behind Fenati in 8th, with Fabio DiGiannantonio and Bo Bendsneyder completing the top 10.

In the championship standings, Joan Mir, already World Champion, extends his lead to 86 points ahead of Romano Fenati (321-235). The Italian veteran secured the runner-up spot as he is now 43 points ahead of Aron Canet, with only 25 still up for grabs. Jorge Martin consolidates 4th, as he is now 18 points ahead of teammate Fabio DiGiannantonio (171-153). Martin goes into the final round with a slight chance of finishing 3rd, as he sits 19 points behind Canet.

photo credit – Leopard Natural

#21 vs #12 – All the scenarios that would make Morbidelli a World Champion on Sunday

Franco Morbidelli left Australia with a 29 point advantage over Thomas Luthi. Thus, the Brazilian-Italian has the first chance to matematically clinch the title this Sunday on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Below you can check all the scenarios from which would result the coronation of Morbidelli as the 2017 Moto2 World Champion.

— If Morbidelli wins the race, he will win the championship no matter on which place Luthi crosses the line.

— If Morbidelli finishes 2nd or 3rd, he will win the championship if Luthi does not win the race.

— If Morbidelli finishes 4th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish 1st or 2nd.

— If Morbidelli finishes 5th, 6th ot 7th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish on the podium.

— If Morbidelli finishes 8th or 9th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 4.

— If Morbidelli finishes 10th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 5.

— If Morbidelli finishes 11th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 6.

— If Morbidelli finishes 12th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 7.

— If Morbidelli finishes 13th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 8.

— If Morbidelli finishes 14th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 9.

— If Morbidelli finishes 15th, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 10.

— If Morbidelli fails to score points, he will win the championship if Luthi does not finish inside the Top 11.

In tomorrow s race, Morbidelli will start from pole position, while Luthi will start from the 5th place on the grid. The Moto2 battle will commence at 13:20 local time (7:20 Romanian time).

photo credit – The Checkered Flag

Robert Mureșan se impune la Serres și își adjudeca titlul est european

Penultima etapă a campionatului est european a coincis cu penultima șansă a rivalilor de a spera la coroana lui Robert Mureșan. Înaintea etapei din Grecia, pilotul arădean avea un avans confortabil atât în clasamentul campionatului național, dar și în cel est european.

Dacă ieri a rulat prudent, Robi a avut o manșă impecabilă și și-a adjudecat victoria. Grație acestui triumf, Robert Mureșan a devenit campionul național al clasei Superbike, dar și noul deținător al titlului est european al aceleiași categorii.

Podiumul a fost completat de Angel Karanyotov și de Cătălin Cazacu, cel care, se mulțumește din nou cu statutul de vicecampion național. Bogdan Vrăjitoru, celălalt conațional prezent în cursa clasei Superbike a încheiat pe cinci.

Pentru Robert Mureșan acest triumf semnifică cel de-al patrulea național consecutiv la clasa Superbike, după cele adjudecate în 2013, 2015 și 2016. Totodată, Robert își adjudecă primul titlu est european la clasa regină.

 

Foto – Motorsport Race Management

The rise of Joan Mir – from Replacement rider in 2015 to World Champion in 2017

Last Sunday in Australia, Leopard Racing rider Joan Mir scored a magnificent 9th win of the current Moto3 season at the Phillip Island circuit, thus becoming the new Moto3 World Champion. We will now make a short review of his season and of his performances prior to 2017. 

Before making his debut in the Moto3 World Championship, Joan Mir competed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was a constant point scorer in 2013, also notching a maiden podium finish at Silverstone (2nd place). He finished the season 9th overall. Already with one year of experience behind him, Mir was a contender for the championship in 2014. In spite of having scored 3 victories and 3 other podium finishes, Mir finished the season as a runner-up to Jorge Martin.

For 2015, Mir moved to the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship alongside Machado Leopard Junior Team. He managed to win 4 of the first 6 races of the season, but his lack of consistency (Mir failed to score points in no less than 4 races) put him in only 4th place in the final standings of the season.

Also, in 2015 Mir was given the first chance to shine on the World Stage. He took part in the Australian GP as a replacement for Leopard Racing rider Hiroki Ono. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he had to retire after an incident with John McPhee while battling inside the top 10.

However, his talent did not go unnoticed inside the Leopard Racing garage and he was offered a full ride with the team in 2016. He was a constant top 10 finisher in the first half of the season, with a best result of 6th on home turf in Jerez. Right after the summer break, Mir exploded on the then newly introduced in the calendar RedBull Ring, and took the win from eventual World Champion Brad Binder after starting from pole position. A second podium finish was scored in Misano, where he crossed the line in 3rd. After two consecutive retirements in Phillip Island and Sepang, Mir arrived at the season finale in Valencia with mathematical chances to clinch the Rookie of the Year title. The Valencian GP was Part Two of the Binder-Mir battle, with the Southafrican walking away victorious. However, with Bulega outside of the point zone, Mir finished 5th overall in the championship and clinched the Rookie of the Year title for five points.

Joan Mir remained in the lightweight class in 2017 and, with Brad Binder, Jorge Navarro and Francesco Bagnaia moving up to Moto2, he was considered a championship contender before the start of the season.

He rosed to the expectations and kicked-off the year with a stunning win under the lights of the Losail Circuit in Qatar, defeating John McPhee, Jorge Martin and Aron Canet after a hard-fought battle. He doubled up in Argentina, with the same 2 rivals alongside him on the podium, but in a more impressive manner, as he made his way up from P16 on the starting grid.

The American race held at COTA in Austin, Texas was a tough one for the championship leader, who crossed the line in 8th after qualifying 2nd on Saturday. However, the Spaniard did not let this result affect his morale and came back to podium ways in the next GP. In front of the home crowd at Jerez, Mir crossed the line in 3rd, losing out to winner Canet for only 0.155.

Only 9 points ahead of Romano Fenati before the French GP, the first place in the championship seemed in jeopardy as the Italian veteran took a flying start and got away at the front. However, Fenati crashed, throwing away crucial points in the championship. Mir took advantage and won the race for more than 4 seconds ahead of Aron Canet.

Leading the championship comfortably after Le Mans, Mir finished 7th in an insane Italian GP, before taking a magnificent 4th win of the season on home turf on Circuit de Catalunya.

A wrong strategy in the last lap of the Dutch GP caused an only 9th place finish for Mir on the TT Assen, but this motivated the Majorcan even more, as he went on to win the following 3 GPs (Germany, Brno and Austria). The pure domination of the Leopard Racing rider on the RedBull Ring, corroborated with Fenati s 13th place finish, increased the lead of Mir to 64 points with 7 races to go.

A red-flagged shortened British GP brought a 5th place for Mir, who still managed to finish ahead of key rival Fenati, who was 7th. In a rain soaked race at Misano Mir ran in safe mode, securing the 2nd place after the crash of Jorge Martin. In Aragon Joan Mir came back to the beast mode and clinched a record 8th win of the season, thus giving himself a first match point in Motegi.

Unfortunately, the Japanese GP was wet from start to finish and Mir was not able to repeat the performance from Misano. He crossed the line in 17th, which was his first race finished outside the point zone in 2017.

There was no reason to dispare for Mir as he came in Australia still with an impressing lead in the championship. In need of an at least 2nd place to wrap up the championship, Joan Mir took another resounding win in another race stopped by the red flag. Thus, he officially became the 2017 Moto3 World Champion, on the track on which he made his debut in the championship 2 years before.

Altough not so strong in qualifying sessions (Mir still lacks a pole position in 2017), most of the race days belonged entirely to Joan Mir, who now holds an absolute record in the Moto3 class – 9 wins in a single season. With 2 races to go, the Leopard Racing rider has the chance to equal the record for the most wins in a season in the lightweight class, which was established by Valentino Rossi in 1999 in the 125cc (11 wins).

Next year we will see the World Champion racing in the Moto2 class alongside powerhouse team EG 0,0 Marc VDS. Will he follow the steps of Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins and move to MotoGP with some wins in the class to his name? Or will he add his name to the list of lightweight class World Champions who turn from hero to zero after progressing to the intermmediate category? Time will give us the answer to this question, but, until then, we must leave in the present. And, in the present, Joan Mir is the new Moto3 World Champion.

#MiracleM1R

photo credit – motogp.com

 

SIC Racing Team announces roster for 2018

Malaysian team Sepang International Circuit Racing Team (SIC Racing Team) has announced its plans for the upcoming season.

A collaboration between SIC and Petronas will see the team expanding to Moto2 next year, with 2017 podium finisher Hafizh Syahrin as their solo rider.

In Moto3, the team will continue to run 2 riders. Actually, there will be the same duo as in 2017, with Adam Norrodin and Ayumu Sasaki.

With 2 rounds remaining in the 2017 season, Hafizh Syahrin sits 11th in the Moto2 World Championship, the Malaysian having achieved two podium finishes. His home round at Sepang is up next, so he might celebrate in style his new contract.

Adam Norrodin is currently 17th in the Moto3 World Championship, having gathered 37 points across 16 races. His teammate, Ayumu Sasaki, is 22nd, with 25 points. The Japanese rider currently leads the battle for the Rookie of the Year title, as he has 5 more points than Marco Bezzecchi and 9 more than Nakarin Atiratphuvapat.

photo credit – gpmalaysia.com

Suzuki Factory Team retires from MXGP

In a press statement issued today, Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced the MXGP effort will be suspended for 2018. The Japanese factory team had four riders signed for the upcoming season.

In the same statement, Suzuki announced that it will deliver the bikes for the privateers. For 2018, Suzuki had signed Arminas Jasikonis and Jeremy Seewer for the MXGP class, while Zachary Pichon and Bas Vaessen were supposed to ride in the MX2.

We will keep you updated with the transfer market.

 

Photo – www.suzuki-racing.com