Monthly Archives: March 2018

Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This year’s event at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is the 15th motorcycle grand prix to be held in Argentina.
  • The first Argentinean GP took place in 1961 and was held in Buenos Aires; the first time that a grand prix had taken place outside of Europe. Not all of the top riders attended the event and the 52 lap, 203 km, 500cc race was won by home rider Jorge Kissling (Matchless) from fellow countryman Juan Carlos Salatino (Norton).
  • This is the fifth year that the Argentinean GP has taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. All of the ten previous grand prix in Argentina had taken place in Buenos Aires, the last of which was in 1999.
  • Three riders from Argentina have won grand prix races; Sebastian Porto (seven wins in the 250cc class), Benedicto Caldarella and Jorge Kissling who both had single victories in the 500cc class.
  • The last GP win by an Argentinean rider was in the 250cc class at the Dutch TT in 2005, when Sebastian Porto won the race from Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
  • The only current full-time grand prix rider who has raced in a grand prix at the Buenos Aires circuit is Valentino Rossi, who won the 250cc race in 1998 & was third in 1999.
  • Marc Marquez has been on pole on all four occasions MotoGP has visited the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit
  • Termas de Rio Hondo is the only circuit on the 2018 schedule where Valentino Rossi still holds the MotoGP lap record.
  • Marc Marquez and Honda have twice won the MotoGP race in Argentina – in 2014 and 2016.
  • The other two MotoGP wins in Argentina have both been by Yamaha riders –  Valentino Rossi in 2015 race after starting down in 8th place on the grid, and Maverick Viñales last year. Yamaha riders filled four of the top six places in the MotoGP race in Argentina last year.
  • Last year in Argentina Viñales made it two wins from the opening two races of the season – the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the opening two premier-class grand prix races of the year.
  • Andrea Dovizioso’s second place finish in 2015 is the only podium finish for a Ducati rider in Argentina.
  • The best result for a Suzuki rider at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is seventh with Aleix Espargaro three years ago.
  • The four Moto2 races that have taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit have all been won by riders now competing in the MotoGP class: Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2015 & 2016, and Franco Morbidelli last year. In each of the past four years the Moto2 race winner in Argentina has gone on to take the world title.
  • Last year in Argentina Miguel Oliveira qualified on pole position for the first time since moving up to the Moto2 class – the first Portuguese rider to start from pole position in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing.
By | March 29th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

MR STEADY IS READY

I’m finding it hard to type with one hand because I’m being honest and have the other hand above my head. Come on; keep your hand down if at the start of the MotoGP season last year you expected Andrea Dovizioso to be challenging for the Championship going into that last Valencia round.

Like me you expected the charming Mr Steady Italian to be picking up a few podiums even poles plus at the best a win or two on the factory Desmosedici Ducati. After all some people thought he was lucky to even keep that Ducati ride ahead of his very different team-mate Andrea Iannone and his new team-mate, amid a blaze of publicity. was Jorge Lorenzo. There had been no real hint of the truly extraordinary 18 round adventure that lay ahead.

Of course Dovi has always been quick, growing up mini-bike racing on those infamous kart tracks that dot the Adriatic coast of Italy. You don’t win the 125 cc World title while still a teenager and finish runner-up in the 250 cc title chase before switching to MotoGP without oozing racing talent but was he good enough to join the great at the very pinnacle of the sport.

Early indications pointed to an impressive MotoGP career but a world title challenger, perhaps not. He won that damp British Grand Prix at Donington Park in 2009 for the Repsol Honda team but it was not until the penultimate 2016 round in the pouring Malaysian rain he secured that second win. In between he had done a great job for the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team before joining the ailing Ducati outfit in 2013. He was the ideal person to start restoring the fortunes for that passionate Italian factory that had really lost their way after the halcyon days of Casey Stoner. They were ready to challenge for the world title once again at the start of 2017 when three times MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo arrived to spearhead their challenge- well that’s what we all thought.

So what happened to a rider that was always going to be remembered as the really nice guy? Off the track, friendly, honest and accommodating. Perhaps that was the view we also had of him on the track. We could not have been more mistaken. While Lorenzo struggled Dovi just grabbed the opportunity to show a level of raw aggression and sheer confidence his rivals and Marc Marquez in particular had never witnessed before. He was quite happy to meet the World Champion head to head in epic final bend confrontations. Those wins over the Spaniard in Austria and Japan showcased the fact he had taken that giant step from grand prix winner to serious Championship contender. It’s a step that few make.

Typing is getting easier with both hands on the keyboard after witnessing Dovi destroy Marquez once again in Qatar last week. I will not make the same mistake again.

Mr Steady – I don’t think so.

Dovi is ready and more than capable.

By | March 23rd, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|4 Comments

Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats

  • The only win in the MotoGP class for Marc Marquez in the opening race of the year was in 2014, which was also his only pole at the Losail circuit since moving up to the MotoGP class. His third place finish two years ago is his only podium in the last three years at Qatar.
  • Andrea Dovizioso has finished second in Qatar for the last three years and also started from pole in 2015.
  • In Qatar last year Viñales started from pole for the first time since moving up to the MotoGP class, adding to his previous poles in Moto2 and Moto3, to become the first rider to start from pole across all three current classes.
  • Yamaha riders have won in Qatar for the las three years: Rossi in 2015, Lorenzo in 2016 and Viñales last year.
  • Following his win in Qatar last year, Viñales will be aiming to become the first rider to win the opening race of the season in successive years since Jorge Lorenzo in 2012 and 2013.
  • After winning the final race of 2017, Dani Pedrosa will be aiming to take back to back wins for the first time since he won at Jerez and Le Mans in 2013. Pedrosa has never won the opening race of the year in his twelve years in the MotoGP class.
  • Pedrosa’s victory at Valencia was the 54th time he has stood on the top step of a grand prix podium, and on every occasion he has been riding a Honda. This is the same number of GP win on a Honda as Mick Doohan. No rider has had more victories than these two riders on Honda machinery.
  • Bradley Smith is scheduled to become just the third British rider to reach the milestone of 200 grand prix starts across all class, joining Chas Mortimer (234 GP starts) and Phil Read (212 GP starts).
  • Jorge Lorenzo is the rider who has had most GP wins at the Losail circuit, with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc). He has also started from pole at Qatar on eight occasions (1 x 125cc, 3 x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP).
  • Johann Zarco crashed in Qatar last year when leading the race on his debut in the MotoGP class. He best result in Qatar is 6th in the 125cc race back in 2011. Only one French rider has ever won the opening premier-class GP of the year – Pierre Monneret on a Gilera at Reims in 1954; following this win is also the only time that a French rider has topped the premier-class world championship classification.
  • At the Qatar Grand Prix Dani Pedrosa is scheduled to become just the fifth rider to reach the milestone of 200 starts in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing, and the first Spanish rider to do this. At the age if 32 years 170 days Pedrosa is the youngest ever rider to reach this milestone, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 33 years 73 days old when making his 200th premier-class GP start at Jerez in 2012.
  • Tom Luthi joins the MotoGP class for 2018 and is the first Swiss rider to compete in the premier-class since Eskil Suter rode a 500cc MuZ in 1998.
  • Takaaki Nakagami is the first Japanese rider to race full-time in the MotoGP class since Hiroshi Aoyama in 2014.
  • Xavier Simeon is the first Belgium rider to compete in the premier-class since Sebastien Legrelle in the 500cc class in 2000.
  • Hafizh Syahrin is the first ever Malaysian rider to compete in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
By | March 16th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats

CAMELS – NEVER

You will not believe me but I promise you we did see camels on the way to the circuit. OK it may have been over a decade ago but camels were definitely out there in the Qatar desert. Today it’s a very different story.

We assembled in the hotel lobby for our first day back at school. The new shoes still a little tight, the new trousers as always too long and the crisp white MotoGP shirts still hiding a couple of painful pins, after only being unpacked from their cellophane wrapping 15 minutes earlier.

Anything more different to a trip down the A43 to Silverstone or the road between Cowes and Phillip Island could not be imagined. No Green Man pub on the left or signs to the Penguin parade as the circuit signs give notice we are getting close. Central Doha and the road to Al Khor was more like a trip to Mars.

Massive and I mean massive glass towers filled the sky. You imagined you are in New York, Hong Kong or Dubai but no this was Doha and it’s growing before our very eyes. Extra floors seemed to be added every day and in some cases overnight, to the plethora of new skyscrapers that filled the skyline. It was windy, it was dusty with giant cranes swaying in the desert winds and then there was the traffic.

In addition to those extra floors, new roads, roundabouts and routes appeared overnight. The army of four wheel drive monsters that fight you for pole position at every traffic light, junction and particularly roundabouts lapped up the challenge. It was a nightmare just surviving.

We passed a massive railway station that no doubt will feed tens of thousands who will flock to the concrete fortress like stadiums that will host the World Cup in four years’ time. Again they just appeared overnight where there used to be sand and more sand. We passed the Pearl, a millionaire’s playground of luxury apartments before at last a diversion sign pointed to the Al Khor road and the Losail International circuit. No sign anymore of the petrol station that used to fill our hire cars for less than a fiver and the café and mosque.

Fourteen years ago when MotoGP made its first visit to Qatar on a sweltering hot 40’ Saturday afternoon this was the desert road to Losail. Today the landscape was un recognisable. The new Losail city loomed on the right, cement lorries queued to be loaded from giant mountains of white sand while the obligatory new football stadium was under construction, surrounded by clouds of dust.

I will never forget my first glimpse of the magnificent Losail circuit glimmering in the piercing sunshine surrounded by a sea of white sand 14 years ago. Once again it has all changed. Not only do the hundreds of floodlight poles signal its appearance a lot earlier but a few years ago a space ship style stadium appeared out of nowhere during the winter. It’s like a scene from Star Wars with this enormous space ship landing in the desert. I’m told it’s no such thing but actually a handball stadium but you can only dream.

Over the redundant cattle/camel grid and turn right. The entrance beckoned and the MotoGP season was about to start – Bring it on but shame about the camels.

 

By | March 14th, 2018|Nick's Blog|1 Comment

Qatar MotoGP Facts and Stats – 2018

– This will be the 15th occasion that a grand prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the 11th under floodlights.

– This will be the 12th successive year that the Losail circuit has hosted the opening grand prix event of the year. No circuit has hosted the opening grand prix of the year on more occasions than Losail.

– Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the MotoGP class at the Losail circuit with eight wins, including five times in the last six years.

– Honda have had three MotoGP wins in Qatar, the last of which was in 2014 with Marc Marquez.

– Ducati won at Losail for three consecutive years, 2007 to 2009, with Casey Stoner riding.

– The best result for a Suzuki rider at the Losail circuit is the fourth place finish by John Hopkins in 2007.

– The riders with most GP victories at Losail is Jorge Lorenzo with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc).

– Aleix Espargaro’s sixth place finish in Qatar last year equalled the best ever result for Aprilia in the MotoGP class achieved by Colin Edwards at the opening race of the 2003 season at Suzuka in Japan.

– Since ±MotoGP was introduced as the premier-class of grand prix racing in 2002, six different riders have won the opening race of the year: Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales.

– In Qatar last year Sam Lowes, who recorded the slowest “fastest lap” in the MotoGP race posted a lap just 1.891 seconds slower than the fastest lap of the race set by Johann Zarco. Never previously in the MotoGP class have 23 riders posted a lap time within two seconds of the fastest lap set during a race.

– The only four current riders who have won in the MotoGP class in Qatar are; Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales.

– None of the previous winners of the Moto2 race in Qatar are competing in the class in 2018, although two riders who have won in the 250cc class at the Losail circuit are entered in the Moto2 class in 2018: Mattia Pasini (2008) and Hector Barbera (2009).

– The only previous Qatar GP winner competing in the Moto3 class in 2018 is Niccolo Antonelli who won the Moto3 race in 2016.

 

By | March 8th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Qatar MotoGP Facts and Stats – 2018

Record breaking entry list in the MotoGP class in 2018

The record breaking MotoGP grid for 2018 consist of nineteen riders who have previously competed in the class, together with the addition of five ‘rookies’. The full time entry list for this year has following changes from last year:

  • Out from last year are: Jonas Folger, Loris Baz, Sam Lowes and Hector Barbera
  • The following five riders are joining the MotoGP grid for 2018: Franco Morbidelli, Tom Luthi, Xavier Simeon, Takaaki Nakagami and Hafizh Syahrin.

The following table shows the grand prix wins and world championships achieved by the riders on the 2018 MotoGP entry list.

 

Titles Race wins
Total MotoGP/500cc Moto2/250cc Moto3/125cc Total MotoGP/500cc Moto2/250cc Moto3/125cc
Valentino Rossi 9 7 1 1 115 89 14 12
Marc Marquez 6 4 1 1 61 35 16 10
Jorge Lorenzo 5 3 2 65 44 17 4
Dani Pedrosa 3 2 1 54 31 15 8
Johann Zarco 2 2 16 15 1
Maverick Viñales 1 1 20 4 4 12
Andrea Dovizioso 1 1 17 8 4 5
Alvaro Bautista 1 1 16 8 8
Tom Luthi 1 1 16 11 5
Pol Espargaro 1 1 15 10 5
Tito Rabat 1 1 13 13
Franco Morbidelli 1 1 8 8
Andrea Iannone 0 13 1 8 4
Alex Rins 0 12 4 8
Jack Miller 0 7 1 6
Scott Redding 0 4 3 1
Bradley Smith 0 3 3
Cal Crutchlow 0 2 2
Takaaki Nakagami 0 2 2
Karel Abraham 0 1 1
Xavier Simeon 0 1 1
Total 32 14 11 7 461 215 154 92

 

The strength of the MotoGP grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders lining up:

  • There are twelve Grand Prix World Champions on the full-time MotoGP entry list in 2018.
  • These twelve riders have won a total of thirty-two World Championships titles between them; a new record for the full-time MotoGP entry list.
  • Nine of the riders on the list have won races in the premier-class. These nine riders have between them won a total of 215 premier-class GP races – the highest ever number of accumulated premier-class GP wins for the riders on a MotoGP grid.
  • Twenty-one riders on the MotoGP entry list have had race victories in at least one of the three classes of Grand Prix racing, with a combined total of Grand Prix victories of 461. The only three riders on the MotoGP entry list who have not stood on the top step of a grand prix podium are: Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and Hafizh Syahrin.

The oldest rider on the MotoGP full-time entry list is Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 39th birthday in February. For the second successive year the youngest rider on the full-time MotoGP entry list is Alex Rins who will be 22 years 100 days old when he lines up on the grid in Qatar.

With an entry list like this, whoever takes the MotoGP world title in 2018 will definitely have to earn it!

 

By | March 1st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Record breaking entry list in the MotoGP class in 2018