Wheelies 30 – 28. Valentino Rossi (-20)

Our annual Wheelies 30 continues with a legendary figure.

If anyone said that Valentino Rossi will finish fifth this season, they would have been called mad. The sad reality of Rossi’s underperformance is far more complex than what we saw on our TV screens.

Though he had a reasonable first part of the season, with a gigantic win at Assen, he never was in a real position to fight for the world championship. Much more than that, Maverick Vinales dominated him throughout the whole year.

Definitely his bad performances were also technically related, as the Yamaha bike was underperforming, but he cannot blame entirely the team. Without his training crash prior to Misano, he would have had theoretical chances to win the championship.

Most likely, 2018 will be his last season. If the bike doesn’t deliver and if he doesn’t step up his game to fight against the young guns, Valentino Rossi will have no chance to win his desired tenth world championship. If he does, he will be once again a title contender as he was in 2015 when he deserved the big trophy.

 

Photo – Yamaha Racing

Taddy Blazusiak returns with a win

With a large audience of 12.000, Tauron Arena from Krakow expected the return to racing of Tadeusz Blazusiak, the local hero and multiple times world champion.

Everything went for the Poles and in the end Taddy won the first round of the season. Three second places in the three finals were more than enough for Blasuziak to take the win in the end.

Alongside him on the podium, Cody Webb and Billy Bolt completed the podium, while Jonny Walker finished the polish event only eight, far behind his team mate from KTM.

As this was the first round of the 2018 Super Enduro championship, the general classification is identifical with the race standings. Therefore, Blazusiak leads the championship, while Webb and Bolt are second and third.

The next round will take in Riesa, Germany at the beginning of 2018.

 

Photo – superenduro.org

Wheelies 30 – 29. Michael van der Mark (-7)

We continue our second edition of Wheelies 30 with a young and promising rider. Michael van der Mark had the courage to risk everything and moved from Honda to Yamaha.

Given how bad Yamaha performed in 2016, this move could have been a career ending for Michael. Not only that is wasn’t the case, but the Flying Dutchman of the Superbikes has done a tremendous job throughout the whole outpacing Alex Lowes, his more experienced team mate.

While he performed extremely well in the Superbikes, his two appearances in the GPs with Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha were lacklustre, but given the short time to accomodate with the M1, it is quite understandable.

If Yamaha raises the challenge next year in World SBK, Michael can be a good challenger for the unrivalled crown of Jonathan Rea. Who knows, maybe it’s about time to have another king in SBK.

 

Photo – Yamaha Racing

Jake Gagne to race for Red Bull Honda in 2018

After a disappointing 2017, marred by the tragic death of Nicky Hayden, Ronald Ten Kate, announced today the line-up for 2018. Therefore, Leon Camier and Jake Gagne will race for Red Bull Honda next year.

With Camier already announced from November, Jake Gagne is the big surprise. While everyone else expected Stefan Bradl to be named as the second rider, the young american won the contest and will make his first full season in the World Superbike series.

Gagne made the official debut at Laguna Seca having the unfortunate role to replace the late Nicky Hayden, who died in a tragic road accident in May.

Jake Gagne raced in three Superbike round. His best finish was a 11th place at Lausitzring in August. His overall consistency played an important in the decision making of Red Bull Honda.

The new Superbike championship will start in the last weekend of February. The inaugural round will take place at Phillip Island, in Australia.

 

Photo – Honda Racing Corporation

Wheelies 30 – 30. Alex Rins (New Entry)

Today we start the second edition of Wheelies 30, an annual top 30 which comprises the best riders of 2017 from all the motorcycling competitions throughout the world.

A rookie starts Wheelies 30. As a new entry in this top, Alex Rins seems a very good prospect for the future in MotoGP. The spanish rider had a difficult rookie year in the premier class.

He started the year on a high with a ninth place finish in Qatar, but after an injury, he missed several races. At mid point in the championship, he only had those seven points obtained at Losail.

The second half of the championship was much, much better for Rins. Several top five finishes and the unreal chance to fight for the win in Australia raised several eye brows. His best finish came in the last round, in Valencia, where he ended fourth.

We should not be mistaken by his championship place, as he managed to finished only 16th. In some of the races, he was a main eventer and he’ll definitely be a top gun in the years to come.

 

Photo – www.suzuki-racing.com

 

Valentino Rossi wins his sixth Monza Rally Show

Valentino Rossi won the Monza Rally Show for the sixth time in his career. The MotoGP legend drove a Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2016 spec. After a difficult first day, Rossi came back stronger and won the race.

Marco Bonanomi, a former Audi LMP1 driver, led before the last stage, but, after two off-track adventures, lost the rally by a very narrow margin, six seconds.

The podium was completed by the WRC duo, Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville. They took a dominant lead in the first day, but after a slow puncture, they lost every chance win the rally.

Another notable presence was Tony Cairoli. The MXGP world champion finished fourth and secured his best ever finish at the Monza Rally Show.

Rossi’s win was put in doubts after his car was found to be underweight. He received a ten seconds penalty, but he managed to keep his win.

 

Photo – Autosport

Wheelies 2017 – World Superbike Top 10

The World Superbike Championship had another thrilling season in 2017. Here’s our Top 10 Superbike racers.

1. Jonathan Rea

The wisest choice for #1 by a mile. The northern irish rider has demonstrated once again that he is probably the greatest rider to throw a leg over a bike in World SBK. His total domination combined with his nearly flawless season makes the rightful man to be placed at no. 1 in this top.

2. Kenan Sofuoglu

He may have lost the titles, but he definitely won a lot of hearts. With his never say die attitude, the turkish rider went on to fight for the world championship until the very last corner in Qatar. Sadly for him, he lost the battle against Mahias, but he definitely could have been the Superbike racer of the year if there was no Johnny Rea around.

3. Chaz Davies

After the amazing end of the 2016 season, Chaz Davies had the opportunity to fight for the first time in his career for the championship. In the early stages of this season, he was up there with Rea, but marred by inconsistency, his results dropped and his championship chance ran away. Maybe next year, Chaz!

4. Michael van der Mark

The Dutchman was by far the best rider out of the Ducati-Kawasaki quartet. Therefore, we can actually give him at least the honorific title of best the rest. At some points, he was outpaced by his more experienced team mate, Alex Lowes, but, overall he was the main rider of the Yamaha team. Definitely a champion in the making!

5. Lucas Mahias

Lucky champ or a well deserved one? Hard to say. Overall, 2017 was marked by consistent top three results. Although he unnecessarily crashed in several races, he kept his calm in Qatar and grabbed his first championship. It is yet unknow if he stays in the Supersport class to defend his title. If he chooses so, it’ll be very hard against a hungry for revenge Sofuoglu.

6. Alex Lowes

In football, Arsenal is the eternal fourth placed team in the Premier League. In the first part of the Superbike championship, Alex Lowes seemed to be destined to be the eternal fourth placed rider. All in all, his season was very good, even though, in the second half of the championship he was severely outpaced by his team mate, Michael van der Mark.

7. Leon Camier

Though he had many opportunities to show his skill and talent throughout the years with better machineries, Leon Camier demonstrated that he deserves to ride a very competitive bike. For 2018, he has an agreement with a falling Honda. In 2017, he was up there with the Kawasaki and Ducati riders in some races and he scored very well round after round. It’ll be interesting to see a mature Camier on a Honda. A championship combination? Why not!

8. Tom Sykes

His days at Kawasaki seem to be numbered. The results are not on his days and having Jonathan Rea as a team mate is not a good option if he ever wants to become a world champion again. Anyway, he won several races in a season where he was completely dominated by Rea.

9. Marco Melandri

His comeback in Superbike was not as good as he expected, but it wasn’t a very bad one either. A race win and some good racing action. Not an enormous collection for this season, but it might be a good start for 2018. An italian champion on an italian bike? The perfect dream for the team based in Bologna.

10. Nicky Hayden

Sadly, he is not among us anymore. Anyway, while he was alive, he had some good results given his bike. Unfortunately, Nicky Hayden’s career ended suddenly when he was killed in a tragic road accident in Italy. To never get yourself seriously injured while racing at 300 kmh+ and to die while riding your bicycle in your spare time. Life has its own ironic twists sometimes.

 

Photo – Motorcycle News

 

Marvin Musquin wins Supercross de Paris

In front of more than 20000 people, Marvin Musquin won the Supercross de Paris. After a tight battle, the frenchman defeated both Cole Seely and Dean Wilson to retain the King of Paris crown for another year.

Aged 27, Musquin won this year the Monster Energy Cup, Red Bull Straight Rhythm and now the Supercross de Paris. The KTM rider also finished third in the overall standings of the Supercross world championship and runner up in the US national championships in the 450 category.

Marvin Musquin will take a well deserved break until the first weekend of January, when the Supercross world championship will start at Anaheim.

 

Photo – Ray Archer/ KTM Media Library

Justin Barcia to replace injured Millsaps at Yamaha

After a heavy accident in a training session just right after he signed with Yamaha, Davi Millsaps will now miss the first six rounds of the World Supercross Championship.

In no time, Yamaha searched for a replacement rider so the Japanese team. After a short scrutiny they have decided to go on with Justin Barcia. Aged 25, Barcia will fill-in for Davi Millsaps in the first six rounds of the Supercross series.

Barcia was left without a bike for 2018 after he announced earlier this year that he will end his contract with his former team, JGR Suzuki at the end of this season,  In the first six races of the next season he will race alongside Cooper Webb at the Yamaha Factory Team.

 

photo – Yamaha Motor USA

Livio Suppo leaves Repsol Honda

In a major announcement made today, Livio Suppo announced his departure from Repsol Honda. Suppo, who was the Team Principal, has left the team after a successful eight years stint.

In this time, he helped the team to win six constructors championship and five riders championship (four with Marquez, one with Stoner). Before his time with Honda, he worked for Ducati, where he was a main factor in their 2007 success.

Suppo, aged 53, signed with Honda in 2010 and worked as Marketing Director for three seasons. From 2013 onwards he was the Team Principal, a position he held until his resignation.

It is yet unknown who will replace Livio Suppo. Also, there is no information about his future appointments.

 

Photo – Motorcycle News