Alberto Puig announced as new Team Manager for Repsol Honda

In a press statement released this afternoon, Alberto Puig was the new Team Manager at Repsol Honda. The spanish former rider will fill the job left at the of 2017 by Livio Suppo.

Aged 51, Alberto Puig has a long standing relationship with Honda and his joy was obvious in his own words:

I’m very grateful to HRC for this opportunity they have given me with the Repsol Honda Team. I’ve been with Honda for the last 25 years of my professional career, first as a rider, then as a team manager in the smaller classes, and lately as a coach for many of the Asian riders Honda have around the world. To have the chance to be in this position in one of the most successful teams in the MotoGP championship is a very big honour for me, so I can only focus on giving my best back to Honda and on trying to help them to achieve their goals. I’m sure our riders will be ready when the time comes, and we as a team will also be ready to once again fight for the title, with humility but also with great determination.

Puig will start his new job at the first winter test which will take place between January 24-26 at Sepang, in Malaysia.

 

Photo – Motorpasion Moto

Marvin Musquin wins season opener at Anaheim

The inaugural round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross World Championship took place in front of a sell out Angel Stadium at Anaheim. The race day started with a huge surprise.

Coming back a year long absence, Ken Roczen set the fastest lap in the practice session. The two heat races were very disputed. In the end, Jason Anderson and Justin Barcia won the two races. On the other hand, Dean Wilson had to retire from the whole event after a heavy crash and a shoulder injury.

The Main Event started pretty well for Eli Tomac. Firstly, he took the holeshot and then he managed to open up a confortable gap ahead of Justin Barcia and the others.

Unfortunately, his fairy tale season start was to be soon forgotten. In  a dramatic scenario, Eli Tomac lost the control of the bike and fell hard and injured his shoulder. As a consequence, he had to abandon the race.

Following Tomac’s misfortune, Justin Barcia was unexpectedly leading the Main Event. Sadly for him, his joy was short lived as he was passed by both Marvin Musquin and Jason Anderson.

After Musquin and Anderson made their move on Barcia, the race tempo slowed down. In the end, Musquin made his famous win move as he crossed the finish line first. Jason Anderson did well in the season and finished second, while Justin Barcia completed an unexpected podium for the Yamaha factory team.

Comeback kid, Ken Roczen, had an uneventful night and finished fourth ahead of the likes of Weiston Peick, Cole Seely, Jeremy Martin, Blake Baggett or Broc Tickle.

On the other hand, Chad Reed’s night was awful. With his new CR22 private team, he managed to finish only 15th. The 2004 and 2008 champion declared before the race that this was first serious outing with his new Husqvarna bike.

Given the fact that this was the first round of the season, the championship standings is the same as the Anaheim standings. Therefore, Marvin Musquin leads the championship with 26 points and is followed by Jason Anderson, 23 points, and Justin Barcia, with 20.

The next round will take place next Saturday at Houston.

 

Photo – Supercross

Jeremy Martin to begin 2018 in 450SX

A major announcement was made yesterday by the Honda Racing Corporation team. Jeremy Martin will begin 2018 alongside Geico Honda in the 450 class.

Aged 24, Martin is on his last contractual season with Honda. He made his debut in the premier category at Daytona last year, where he replaced injured Ken Roczen. He impressed very much the assistance by leading the Main Event until he was passed by Eli Tomac. In the end, he settled for second.

His 450 appearances will be limited, as he will mainly focus on winning the 250 East championship. Therefore, he will race in the 450 SX only in the first three rounds: Anaheim 1, Houston and Anaheim 2.

Unlike 2017, he will ride this year in the 450 SX with his team, Geico Honda and he will not replace any injured Honda rider. In a brief statement, Jeremy Martin expressed his excitement stating that he will try to do well before fully concentrating for the 250 East championship.

 

Photo – Honda Racing Corporation

Tim Gajser extends his deal with Honda

After a difficult first season with Honda, Tim Gajser decided to quiet the rumors of him moving to the States and signed a new deal with the japanese manufacturer.

Gajser, aged 21, finished fifth in the MXGP standings in 2017 in his first full season with the factory team. Before signing with HRC at the end of 2016, he won both MX2 and MXGP world championships with Gariboldi Honda, a private team which merged with the factory team at the beginning of this season.

With this signing, Honda completed the line-up for the 2018 MXGP season. Therefore, Tim Gajser will pair up with Michael Bogers, who was brought in the team alongside his sponsor,  HSF Logistics.

Following the press statement, Tim Gajser had his own say regarding the new deal:

I’m really happy to be in MXGP for another two years. We have unfinished business from this year and I want to be World Champion again, so we will continue to fight with that as the priority. HRC have been working hard on the bike and there are quite a few changes they’ve made which are very good, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next year and I think we have a very strong package to fight for the title. The whole team are hungrier than ever for next year, and I’ve said it before but we just get on really like a family where everything works so really I have everything I need there and feel very happy.

The 2018 MXGP season will start on March 4 with the MXGP of Argentina at Neuquen.

 

Photo – Honda Racing Corporation

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

Marc Marquez wins Phillip Island thriller

After a dominating performance in the Saturday’s qualifying session, Marc Marquez seemed to be the main rider to watch today in the race. Although he did manage to get a confortable pole position, at the start, the main star was Jack Miller.

The local hero took a marvellous start and took everyone by surprise. His joy was short lived as Marquez who progressed through the field, came back and took back the lead.

When everything seemed to go on Marquez favour, three Yamaha riders chased him down. Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco took the lead at one point in the race. There were at least 20 lead exchanges in the race.

Behind them, Andrea Dovizioso, was in deep trouble. After a bad start, the italian lost several places and while battling his way through the field, he lost the contact with the main group, which was made up by eight riders.

With several laps left, Marquez regained his first place. Behind him, seven other riders had chances to win the GP. Rossi, Zarco, Vinales, Crutchlow, Iannone, Miller and Rins were still in the contention for the three podium places and subsequently for the race win.

In the end, Marquez won the race, with Rossi and Vinales finishing second and third. Zarco missed the podium in the last few meters of the race. The frenchman was passed by Vinales. For the fifth place, Cal Crutchlow had an intense battle with Andrea Iannone, which ended with the Brit finishing in front of the Suzuki rider.

Local hero Jack Miller finished seventh, while Alex Rins and the KTM boys, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith completed the top ten. Scott Redding and Dani Pedrosa finished 11th and 12th, while Andrea Dovizioso managed to finish only 13th in a disastrous weekend for him and for Ducati. Behind him, Karel Abraham and Jorge Lorenzo were the other two riders who managed to get some points today.

Marc Marquez extended his gap in the championship standings. Honda’s main star has now an advantage of 33 points in front of Andrea Dovizioso and he can mathematically grab his fourth MotoGP championship next week at Sepang. Maverick Vinales is third, but he lost every mathematical chance to win his maiden MotoGP world championship.

MotoGP will return back to action next week at Sepang for the penultimate round of the 2017 season.

 

Photo – Honda Racing Corporation

 

 

Marc Marquez flies ahead in FP1 at Misano

Unlike the FP1 for the Moto3 class, MotoGP had a perfect track and sunny weather. This conditions suited very well the RC213V of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. The Honda duo dominated the first part of FP1.

FP1 was marred by many accidents. Karel Abraham, Sam Lowes, Bradley Smith, Johann Zarco, Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins all had crashes, but, fortunately enough nobody was severely injured.

Marc Marquez set the fastest lap early in the session. With an excellent 1:33.556, the current world champion set the pace at Misano. Michele Pirro, who will once again will ride for Ducati as a wild card, took everyone by surprise and managed to finish second.

Championship leader, Andrea Dovizioso ended up in third, more than a half a second behind his main rival, Marc Marquez. Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci complete the top five, while Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Maverick Vinales, Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger were the others riders inside the top ten in FP1.

The second free practice will be hold later on today, starting at 14:05 CET.

 

photo – Honda Racing Corporation

Cairoli and Seewer triumph in Portugal

Tony Cairoli won the MXGP of Portugal. Jeremy won the MX2 GP of Portugal.

MXGP

The second race of the day was dominated by Tony Cairoli. The italian started very well and took immediately the holeshot and a commanding lead. He was followed by Max Nagl, Arminas Jasikonis, Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings.

The Bullet won Race 1 but he had to fight through the field in order to get up to second place. As soon as he was second, he pushed very hard in order to catch up with Tony Cairoli, but he failed to do so.

Tony Cairoli won Race 2 and the GP even though he finished with the same number of points with Jeffrey Herlings. Arminas Jasikonis scored his first career podium in the MXGP category. The lithuanian scored 40 points in the MXGP of Portugal.

Romain Febvre and Max Nagl finished Race 2 fourth and fifth, while Tim Gajser managed only sixth. The world champion finished the GP in sixth, with 28 points, 19 fewer than Cairoli and Herlings.

In the standings, Tony Cairoli continues to lead the series. The italian rider has 478 points. Clement Desalle and Gautier Paulin are now following him, with 387 points and 383.

MX2

The MX2 race was once again a battle between Pauls Jonass and Jeremy Seewer. This time, Seewer won and he also took the GP win. Jonass finished in the second place while the podium was completed by Thomas Covington, who doubled his third place effort from Race 1.

Benoit Paturel finished Race 2 in fourth place, while the top five was completed by Thomas Kjaer Olsen. In the GP, the order was reversed, with Olsen fourth and Paturel fifth.

MXGP will take a short three week break before returning to action at Loket, for the MXGP of Czech Republic in 22-23 July.

 

foto – Ray Archer/ KTM Media Library

Marc Marquez storms to another pole position at Sachsenring

Marc Marquez will start from pole position at Sachsenring for the eigth consecutive time.

After FP4, rain stormed the field at Sachsenring. As a consequence, the first qualifying session, Q1, was held under heavy rain. Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro went through to Q2, while Jack Miller and Loris Baz missed Q2 in the last second.

The starting grid was completed, in order, by Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone, Mika Kallio, Hector Barbera, Johann Zarco, Karel Abraham, Sam Lowes, Alex Rins, Scott Redding and Tito Rabat.

Q2 had a dramatic start. In the very first minute of the decisive qualifying session, championship contenders, Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales touched. Fortunately, no major damage were done and both continued to fight for the pole position.

In the end, Marc Marquez did a tremendous job and went on to score his eigth consecutive pole position at Sachsenring. With an amazing lap, Danilo Petrucci made a big surprise and finished just behind the pole man. Dani Pedrosa finished third and completed the first row.

Cal Crutchlow, Jonas Folger and Jorge Lorenzo completed the second row of the starting, while the top ten was completed, in order, by Pol Espargaro, Aleix Espargaro, Valentino Rossi and the championship leader, Andrea Dovizioso. The last two places in Q2 were held by Maverick Vinales and Alvaro Bautista.

The MotoGP race will take place tomorrow at 14 CET.

 

foto – Honda Racing Corporation

MotoGP Preview – Al Mugello non si dorme!

The MotoGP Paddock arrives this weekend in the hills of Tuscany, near Florence, for one of the most spectacular GPs of the calendar. The stunning Mugello circuit will host the Italian Grand Prix, a GP that gathers hundreds of thousands of spectators every year, making from this event a wonder of the sport.

As it is already well-known, this is the home GP of Valentino Rossi. Even though the Yamaha Movistar rider can consider himself ”home” in any venue, due to the incredible support from his fans around the world, Mugello is particularly special.

The devotion of the italians to their hero is something rare in the world of sports. The seven time premier class champion has an enviable speed here, so the home GP comes perfectly after the heartbreak suffered in Le Mans, when he lost the back of his bike while riding in second place with just three corners to go. First of all, a victory would compensate the disaster from last year, when, after starting from pole, technical issues forced him to retire. Of course, a win would close the point gap between him and the standings leader, his teammate, Maverick Vinales. His mission will be more hard after the motocross accident suffered last week, but we never now what unexpected powers ”the doctor” may catch.

Maverick Vinales comes in Italy with high morale, having won three of the first five races of the season and leading the championship. Mugello is a perfect chance for him to grow his lead at the front. He enjoys riding here a lot, having a record of three podiums, includin a win in 2012. One of his closest rivals comes here injured, so Maverick can take advantage.

Dani Pedrosa is currently the main rival of Vinales, the ”Baby Samurai” being behind his countryman for 17 points. His form is good as he succeeded the stunning win in Jerez with another podium in Le Mans, climbing all the way up from P13 to P3. It will be interesting to see if Dani can continue his podium run on a circuit on which he last won in 2010.

Marc Marquez will definitely be looking for a win after the retirement in Le Mans. The 2016 champion is currently 4th in the standings, 27 points behind Vinales. Another disappointment here would highly reduce his title chances, so the Spaniard will be searching again for glory on the track on which he won his first GP in the 125cc class back in 2010.

Another man we should keep our eyes on is Johann Zarco. The Frenchman comes here after taking his maidden podium finish in Le Mans. The Moto2 champion battled it hard at the beginning of the race with the Yamaha Movistar riders, but had to settle down in 3rd place until the last moments of the race. With 3 corners to go, Valentino Rossi offered him the second position after crashing out. Since the retirement from the Qatar GP, Zarco has always finished inside the top 5, and he will be looking for more of this in Mugello.

Jorge Lorenzo has a glorious past on this track. Since 2009, every race saw him crossing the finish line in either first or second place. This season such a finish will be much more challenging, as he is riding on the Ducati. In spite of the poor performances of the Bolognese team in the last years, Mugello is a track where the italians have always showed good pace. Andrea Iannone finished second in 2015, after starting from pole, and third last year. So, with good memories here for both man and machine, Lorenzo will be interesting  to watch through this weekend.

The first practice session will kick off on Friday, at local time 09:55. The race is scheduled, as usual, on Sunday, at 14:00.

 

foto: Yamaha Racing