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

Loris Baz returns to WorldSBK alongside Althea BMW

It has been announced that Loris Baz will take part in the 2018 Superbike World Championship alongside Althea BMW Racing Team. This will mark his return in the World SBK after a three year break, period during which the Frenchman competed in MotoGP. 

Loris Baz made his debut in the WorldSBK back in 2008, in the European Superstock 600 class, winning the championship at the very first attempt.

He debuted in the premier class in 2012. Only 19 years old at that time, he impressed by winning the first race of the British round held at Silverstone.

Having demonstrated his talent right from his debut in the Superbike class, Baz did not disappoint in the following year, 2013, as he was a constant presence in the top 7, also adding a second career win, again on the Silverstone Circuit. Unfortunately, he missed the last 10 races of the season and finished 8th.

2014 was even better for the Frenchman, as he scored 9 podium finishes throughout the season and ended 5th overall.

His performances did not go unnoticed in the MotoGP paddock and Baz was offered a chance to perform on the World s biggest stage in 2015 alongside Forward Racing. He did well for a rookie, finishing the season as the 2nd best rookie (behind Maverick Vinales), with a best result of 4th.

2016 brought a change for Loris Baz as he moved to Avintia Racing, where he rode a Ducati Desmosedici GP14. He managed to race in only 14 races, missing the other 4 due to injuries. However, he mantained his reputation as a wet weather specialist as he finished 4th in Brno and 5th in Malaysia.

He remained with Avintia Racing in 2017 and rode a Ducati Desmosedici GP15. His teammate, Hector Barbera, was offered the GP16 model. However, Baz managed to end the championship ahead of Barbera (Baz finished 18th overall, while Barbera was 20th), but the team considered his results unsatisfying. As a result, he was not offered a contract for the 2018 season.

With the MotoGP grid completed, Baz started looking for a spot on the WorldSBK grid and he has now found it. The Althea BMW Racing Team has lined up on the SBK grid in 2017 with Jordi Torres and Raffaele de Rosa. Torres was a constant point scorer and finished the season 9th overall, having gathered 158 points.

photo credit – asphaltandrubber.com

Jonathan Rea wins Race 2 at Laguna Seca

Jonathan Rea dominated the second race of the weekend at Laguna Seca and managed to win another race.

The second race day at Laguna Seca started with Marco Melandri on pole position. Given the new race 2 pole position format, the italian rider started from P1. Soon after the start, Tom Sykes took quickly the lead and he was soon followed by his team mate and championship leader, Jonathan Rea.

Jonathan Rea closed the gap and finally made his move into the lead. Behind the Kawasaki duo, Leon Camier confronted with technical problems and had to retire after the magnificent result he did yesterday. Jordi Torres fell and Althea BMW was left without a rider in Race 2.

Marco Melandri made a mistake and lost several places, but as the race progressed he recovered and at the half way point he was already fourth. The Yamaha duo battled hard in the last part of the race, but they were only 9th (Alex Lowes) and 10th (Michael van der Mark).

With five laps left, Jonathan Rea was heading to another race win. Chaz Davies was closing the gap towards the second place held by Tom Sykes. Melandri was once again on a solitary mission in fourth and Fores was doing well once again in fifth.

Jonathan Rea went on to win a race he dominated from the very first lap. Behind him, Tom Sykes completed the 1-2 for Kawasaki. Once again, Chaz Davies had to finish behind the Kawasaki’s in third. Marco Melandri finished fourth, while Xavi Fores completed the top five. Laverty, Mercado, Savadori, Lowes and van der Mark completed the top ten, while Bradl, Ramos, De Angelis, Krummenacher and Gagne went on to score points.

In the championship standings, Jonathan Rea continues to lead with 341 points. Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies are following Rea in the standings with 282 points and 226 points.

The next race weekend will be held next month at Lausitz, the host of the ninth round of the 2017 World Superbike Championship.

 

photo – Road Racing World

Jonathan Rea rezistă presiunii și se impune în prima manșă din Aragon

Jonathan Rea a câștigat prima manșă a clasei Superbike din Aragon.

Sesiunea de calificări de dimineață l-a adus pe Chaz Davies în premieră în postura de a pleca din pole position. La startul primei manșe, galezul și-a păstrat poziția în fața lui Jonathan Rea.

Tur după tur, cei doi britanici s-au desprins în frunte și duelul dintre ei doi era în centrul atenției. În spatele lor, la mare distanță, Tom Sykes și Marco Melandri se luptau pentru ultima treaptă a podiumului.

A doua jumătate a întrecerii clasei Superbike a fost mult mai animată. Marco Melandri a făcut o depășire superbă asupra lui Tom Sykes și a urcat pe locul al treilea. În frunte, depășiri succesive între Davies și Rea aruncau atmosfera în aer.

Într-un scenariu clasic deja, Ducati-ul lui Chaz Davies se distanța pe liniile drepte, în timp ce motocicleta campionului en titre, recupera pe viraje. Această luptă a ținut capul de afiș vreme de 19 tururi.

Cu puțin timp înainte de intrarea în ultimul tur, Chaz Davies a comis-o. El a pierdut fața motocicletei Ducati și a căzut. Abandonul a fost iminent pentru galez. Greșeala sa i-a deschis drumul către victorie lui Jonathan Rea.

Nord-irlandezul a fost imediat avertizat de către echipa sa și a redus ritmul. Ultimul tur a fost o plimbare pentru Rea, iar victoria obținută la finalul unei curse dificile, îl ajută pe campionul mondial să-și consolideze avansul în clasamentul general al piloților.

Pe locul al doilea a încheiat Marco Melandri. Italianul a fost urmat de Tom Sykes, în timp ce topul primilor cinci a fost completat de tandemul de la Yamaha, în ordinea, Alex Lowes-Michael van der Mark.

Jordi Torres a adus un excelent loc șase echipei Althea BMW. Spaniolul a fost urmat de Leandro Mercado, de la Ioda Racing și Eugene Laverty.

Echipa Honda continuă forma dezolantă și în Europa. Dovada elocventă a fost clasarea modestă din prima manșă a celor doi piloți. Stefan Bradl a încheiat pe nouă, în timp ce Nicky Hayden a încheiat pe zece.

Ceilalți piloți care au obținut puncte astăzi au fost Leon Camier, Markus Reiterberger, Julian Simon, Randy Krummenacher și Alex de Angelis.

În clasamentul general, Jonathan Rea are 125 de puncte din 125 posibile. El este urmat de coechipierul său, Tom Sykes, cu 78 de puncte. Podiumul provizoriu este completat de Chaz Davies, cu 70 de puncte.

Manșa a doua a clasei Superbike va avea loc mâine, 2 aprilie, la ora 14.

 

 

credit foto: mxlarge.com