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

Ryan Villopoto signs for Yamaha

After an entire career spent with Kawasaki, Ryan Villopoto has decided to part his ways with the green team. In a press announcement made this morning at Anaheim, Villopoto was announced as the new member of the Yamaha team.

Aged 29, Ryan Villopoto, raced his entire pro career for Kawasaki. Alongside the green team, he won ten professional titles and three MXoN wins for USA. In 2015, he also participated in MXGP, where he won one round before announcing his retirement following an injury.

It is unknown yet whether Villopoto will make a full comeback with Yamaha. Most likely he will race in demonstrative events like he did in October with Kawasaki in the two stroke event at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm.

The new Supercross season will start tonight at Anaheim.

 

Photo – Pro Motocross

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

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

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

Michael van der Mark will replace Jonas Folger at Sepang

After being absent in the last two rounds, Jonas Folger will also miss the Malaysian GP. Unfortunately, the german rider didn’t manage to cure his Epstein-Barr virus so far and he will most likely miss the last round of the season in Valencia as well.

Given this problem, Tech3 announced that Michael van der Mark will replace Folger at Sepang. van der Mark, aged 24, will finally make his MotoGP debut after being snubbed by Valentino Rossi’s return to action at MotorLand Aragon.

Initially, van der Mark was announced as the replacement rider for Rossi, but, given the italian’s sudden comeback, he was ruled out for the third spanish week of the season.

Michael van der Mark will make his MotoGP debut next week. The young dutch rider is currently riding for Yamaha in the Superbike series, where he is currently sixth in the standings.

 

Photo – Yamaha Racing

 

Federico Caricasulo wins in dramatic fashion at Jerez

The Supersport class had an amazing showdown at Jerez. After obtaining a well deserved pole position on the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, Federico Caricasulo seemed to be the main favorite to win the race today.

Right from the start, Federico Caricasulo and Jules Cluzel battled for the lead. Behind them, Lucas Mahias needed a second place to clinch his first Supersport championship. Without Kenan Sofuoglu, who is injured, only Mahias and Sheridan Morais had mathematical chances to win the championship this season.

Caricasulo and Cluzel had a very dramatic fight throughout the race and in the end, Caricasulo came out victorious. The italian held the frenchman up until the last corner and took his second win of the season. Anthony West had another magnificent race and finished third.

Championship contenders, Lucas Mahias and Sheridan Morais finished finished fifth and sixth and the championship battle will go to Losail in two weeks time.

In the championship standings, Lucas Mahias extended his gap in front of Kenan Sofuoglu. To win his first world championship must finish the last round inside the top ten regardless of Sofuoglu’s result.

 

Photo – Yamaha Racing

Davi Millsaps signs with Yamaha for 2018

After two seasons spent at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM Team, Davi Millsaps announced in a brief press statement that he will race alongside Cooper Webb in 2018 at the Yamaha Factory Team.

Aged 29, Millsaps, has finished fifth in the 450 SX standings this season. Prior to 2017, he was the Canadian Motocross champion in 2016 and twice runner up to Ryan Villopoto in 2012 and 2013.

By signing with Yamaha, Millsaps will replace Chad Reed, who announced already that he is going to leave the Japanese team at the end of the Supercross season.

Davi Millsaps will make his debut with his new team next week at the Monster Energy Cup, which will be held at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

 

photo – Yamaha

Michael van der Mark to replace Valentino Rossi at Aragon

Following Valentino Rossi’s injury, Yamaha decided not to bring another rider at Misano. Unfortunately, the legendary italian rider will not be able to participate at MotorLand Aragon as well.

In a brief press statement, Michael van der Mark was announced as the replacement for Valentino Rossi for the third spanish round of the season.

Aged 24, Michael van der Mark is set to make his debut in the MotoGP. He is currently riding for Yamaha in the World Superbike Championship. The dutchman is currently 7th in the standings, with 135 points.

Michael van der Mark has won many titles throughout his career. He won the European Superstock Championship in 2012, two Suzuka 8H wins and the prestigious World Supersport Championship in 2014.

 

photo – Yamaha Racing

Valentino Rossi will not be replaced by Yamaha at Misano

After his recent right foot injury, Valentino Rossi was officially ruled out from the San Marino GP. Yamaha announced today that the legendary italian rider will not be replaced.

Aged 38, Valentino Rossi got injured last week after suffering a heavy crash on a motocross training session. He was operated in the same day and the doctors advised him to rest for the next 30 to 40 days.

Initially, a few names were rumoured as potential replacements for Rossi, but given the little time from the incident he had to the GP, no one was available to replace him in time.

Valentino Rossi will miss the Aragon GP as well. It is yet unknown if Yamaha will race there only with Maverick Vinales or they will find a replacement for Rossi.

Rossi is currently fourth in the MotoGP standings, 26 points behind the surprise leader, Andrea Dovizioso.

 

photo – Yamaha Racing