Monthly Archives: April 2018

Spanish Grand Prix facts and stats

  • This is the 32nd successive year that a motorcycle grand prix event has been held at the Jerez circuit; it was first used in 1987.
  • Assen is the only current venue that has been used consecutively for a longer period than Jerez.
  • A total of 95 grand prix races for solo motorcycles have been held at the Jerez circuit as follows: MotoGP – 16, 500cc – 15, Moto2 – 8, 250cc – 23, Moto3 – 6, 125cc – 24, 80cc – 3.
  • Since the introduction of the MotoGP class in 2002, Honda have had eight victories at Jerez, including last year with Dani Pedrosa.
  • Yamaha have had seven MotoGP wins at Jerez, the last of which was two years ago with Valentino Rossi.
  • Ducati’s only win at Jerez was in 2006 when Loris Capirossi won from pole position. Jorge Lorenzo’s third place finish last year was the first podium for Ducati at Jerez since 2011 when Nicky Hayden was third.
  • Two years ago Aleix Espargaro finished fifth at Jerez to equal the best ever MotoGP result for Suzuki at the circuit. Suzuki’s last victory at Jerez was in 2000, when Kenny Roberts won the 500cc race on his way to taking the world title.
  • Jerez has been the most successful circuit for the Spanish riders as regards premier-class victories, with a total of twelve wins; Alberto Puig in 1995, Alex Criville in 1997, 98, 99, Sete Gibernau in 2004, Dani Pedrosa in 2008, 2013 and 2017, Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, 2011 & 2015, and Marc Marquez in 2014.
  • There has been at least one Spanish rider on the podium in the MotoGP race at Jerez for the last fourteen years, a sequence that started in 2004.
  • Alberto Puig’s victory at Jerez on 7th May 1995 was the first win for a Spanish rider in the premier-class on home soil.
  • Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider at the Jerez circuit with nine grand prix victories to his name; a single victory in both the 125cc and 250cc classes to add to his seven in the premier-class.
  • There have been four different winners in the MotoGP class at Jerez in the last four years: Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa.
  • For the last four years at Jerez the rider who has won the MotoGP race has started from pole position.
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place at Jerez have been won by eight different riders: Toni Elias, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Tito Rabat, Mika Kallio, Jonas Folger, Sam Lowes and Alex Marquez. Of these only Lowes and Marquez are competing in the Moto2 class in 2018.
  • Brad Binder took his first grand prix in sensational style at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016, starting from the last place on the grid as a penalty for a technical infringement, and riding his way through the field to win by over three seconds. This was the first ever win the lightweight-class of Grand Prix racing for a South African rider.
  • No rider has won the Moto3 GP race at Jerez after starting on pole position.

 

By | April 30th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Spanish Grand Prix facts and stats

A TRUE WARRIOR

It only seems like yesterday all you had to do was whistle and they would arrive in their droves from across the Atlantic. Those halcyon days of Kenny Roberts Senior and Junior, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and Nicky Hayden are a distant memory. So what are they going to do about it? Ask Wayne Rainey.

 Some people are just born warriors. While most of us turn our backs and walk away when the going gets tough ,warriors whatever the circumstances, face and then act on whatever lies ahead.  A different breed to usual human beings.

Nobody who was at Misano on September 5th 1993 will ever forget the day. The afternoon a supreme athlete and World Champion was at the very pinnacle of his talent. The terrifying fall in the Misano gravel trap that brought a devastating end to a career and life as Wayne Rainey knew it. Television pictures of the fall still haunt the grand prix paddock. Rainey the three times World 500cc Champion chasing his fourth successive World title after 24 grands prix wins that started at the British Grand Prix five years earlier, confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. 

Roll the calendar forward 25 long years to the Circuit of the Americas in Texas this weekend and the third round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship. It’s been a tough barren time for American racing on the world stage. It’s unbelievable that there is just one American rider Moto2 competitor Joe Roberts in the entry list in all three MotoGP classes, even for a grand prix on home soil

Wayne was there in Texas supervising the second round of the fourth MotoAmerica series that surely will re-start that production line that brought some many Americans to enlighten the world stage. Six years ago American national racing was on its knees. The usual problems of money and politics had engulfed a series that was once the envy of the World. Rainey, who already given so much to a sport that had thrown at him the very pinnacle and lowest pit of despair, decided it was time to do something about it. Together with the likes of Paul Carruthers, son of former 250 cc World Champion Kel and mentor to Kenny Roberts when he led the American charge into Europe, they planned the MotoAmerica project. It’s been tough and Wayne admitted at the weekend that they were still a few years away but an American rider back into the entry list had been achieved. They are moving forward and who better to be at the helm.

After the Misano accident Wayne returned to the paddock a couple of years later to run the 250 cc Yamaha team. Despite being paralysed from the waist down he raced karts with his old mate and adversity Eddie Lawson. He was heavily involved with MotoGP returning to the magnificent Laguna Seca circuit near his home in California and with American racing on its knees he decided he would not let it die.

It’s been a long hard road for Wayne with life changing circumstances none of us could ever imagine but when you are a warrior that is what you do. He will turn American round and without a doubt there will be another American World Champion even if takes a bit longer than Wayne would want. 

Wayne Rainey has faced the ultimate test and came out a true warrior. He will do it again.

By | April 27th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on A TRUE WARRIOR

RANDY MAMOLA – WHERE DO YOU START?

Never has anybody deserved that ultimate accolade of being inducted a MotoGP Legend than Randy. The problem is finding enough space to tell you why because he ticks every box apart from one.

Randy will not thank me for reminding you he is the first non World Champion to join the exclusive club but in so many ways this makes his election even more special and richly deserved. His passionate dedication to the sport, rider’s safety and the Riders for Health charity, his ability to fight back from adversity, loyalty, stubbornness, a true family man and for being one of the funniest men I’ve ever met will do for a start.

The record books can’t tell the real story. Thirteen 500cc grands prix wins, more than World Champions Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini and Kenny Roberts Junior, brought him a heart-breaking runner – spot in the World Championship on four separate occasions. He was a brilliant grand prix rider who certainly ran out of luck at the wrong time and found himself racing in a golden era of rich talent especially from his very own homeland. From the moment the brash freckled faced Californian teenager arrived in Europe we knew we were in for fun and games on and off the track.

On the track I remember that first grand prix victory on a rare visit to Zolder in 1980 followed with a victory at the British Grand Prix. The much televised save of the Rothmans Honda in Italy and two brilliant wins in Assen. Off the track Randy was the undisputed World Champion leading the way in an era of paddock parties, wrecked hire cars and  wild Sunday night celebrations before moving on to place your life and body on the line at the next race.

In 1987 we arrived at the party town of Goiania in Brazil where the outcome of the World Championship was to be decided. Randy had won in Japan, France and San Marino and still had a slim chances preventing Wayne Gardner taking the title. It was the first ever grand prix in Goiania and the night before the first day of practice the riders, sitting round the swimming pool, were asked to judge the Miss Brazilian Grand Prix competition. We were surprised not to see Randy on the judging panel but when a freckled faced ‘lady’ appeared on the catwalk dressed to the nines with a full face of make –up we realised why.

 It was especially tough for Randy when he retired. No World Championship to celebrate and no rich rewards for his glittering career after some disastrous investments by others. He fought back in the same way he had ridden those awesome 500 cc two-strokes. Randy spearheaded the Riders for Health campaign to combat disease in Africa with the same passion and single minded approach that had made him such a great rider. He is worthy ambassador for companies involved in MotoGP, an inspirational riders mentor and does a superb job riding the two-seater providing the ride of a life time for those lucky Ducati guests. Most of all his love of the sport that has brought him such a roller coaster of emotions has never once wavered and that wicked sense of humour and fun is never far away. 

 Randy Mamola a true friend and MotoGP legend.

By | April 20th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on RANDY MAMOLA – WHERE DO YOU START?

Austin 2018 – Fast Facts

  • Six different riders have finished on the podium in the first two races of the year – the first time this has occurred since 1977 when the second race of the year in Austria was boycotted by the leading factory riders for safety reasons.
  • The first two riders across the line in in Argentina were both Independent Team riders; the last time this occurred was at the Grand Prix of Turkey in 2006, when Marco Melandri won from Casey Stoner.
  • Championship leader Cal Crutchlow best results in Austin have been 4th place finishes in both 2013 and 2017. He will be aiming to be the first British rider to win back-to-back premier-class GP races since Barry Sheene in 1977. The last Independent Team rider to win back-to-back MotoGP races was Marco Melandri at the final two races of 2005.
  • Marc Marquez riding a Honda has qualified on pole and won all five MotoGP races that have taken place in Austin.
  • The last fourteen MotoGP races in the USA have all been won by Honda riders. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • Honda riders have qualified on pole for the last ten MotoGP races held in the USA. The last non-Honda rider to start from pole at any of the US circuits is Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca in 2012.
  • Honda have won seventeen of the twenty-two premier-class grand prix races that have taken place in the USA in the MotoGP era.
  • After his second place finish in Austin last year Valentino Rossi headed the championship classification for the first time since he arrived at the final race of 2015 at Valencia with a seven-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo.
  • In Argentina Jack Miller became the first Independent Team Ducati rider to start from pole in the MotoGP class. His 4th place finish in Argentina is his best result since his win at the Dutch TT in 2016. Miller won the Moto3 race in Austin in 2014.
  • Andrea Dovizioso’s second place finish in 2015 is the best result for a Ducati at the Austin circuit. Dovizioso was the first Ducati rider across the line last year in Austin in 6th place.
  • At the Argentinian GP Alex Rins took his first podium finish since moving up to the MotoGP class at the start of last year, in just his 15th MotoGP start. Rins has a great record at the Austin circuit, winning the Moto3 race in 2013 and the Moto2 race in 2016. He missed the race in Austin last year due to injury.
  • The first four riders across the line in Argentina rode bikes from four different manufacturers; the last time this happened was at the Australian GP in 2016.
  • Seventeen different rider has finished on the podium across the three classes in the first two GP events of the year. Only Aron Canet in Moto3 has been on the podium at both events.
  • Hafizh Syahrin was the first Rookie across the line in Argentina in ninth place and now heads the Rookie of the Year classification with 9 points from Franco Morbidelli who has 6 points.
  • Yamaha have gone 12 MotoGP races without a win, their longest winless sequence since Honda won the opening 12 races of 2014. The last time that Yamaha went longer than 12 races without a win was the 18 races that included the last two races of 2002 and the 16 races of 2003.

 

By | April 19th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Austin 2018 – Fast Facts

Grand Prix racing at Austin

  • This is the sixth successive year that a MotoGP event has been held at the Austin circuit.
  • In total, there have been 30 previous Grand Prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 8 and Austin – 5.
  • Marc Marquez has won on each of the nine occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in America; five times at Austin, three times at Indianapolis and at Laguna Seca in 2013.  Only once in these nine appearances in MotoGP in America has Marquez not been on pole; at Laguna Seca in 2013 when he qualified in second place on the grid behind Stefan Bradl.
  • The only riders currently competing in the MotoGP class who have won in the class at any of the American circuits are: Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
  • Honda riders have won the last fourteen MotoGP races in the USA; the last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • Honda riders have qualified on pole for the last ten MotoGP races in the USA. The last non-Honda rider to start from pole at any of the US circuits is Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca in 2012.
  • Prior to last year Ducati had one rider finish on the podium in Austin for three successive years: Andrea Dovizioso was third in 2014 and second in 2015; Andrea Iannone was third in 2016. Last year the first Ducati rider across the line was Dovizioso in sixth place.
  • The second place finishes of Jorge Lorenzo in 2016 and Valentino Rossi last year are the best results for Yamaha at the Austin circuit.
  • After his second place finish in Austin last year Valentino Rossi headed the championship classification for the first time since he arrived at the final race of 2015 at Valencia with a seven point lead over Jorge Lorenzo.
  • Maverick Viñales fourth place finish two years ago is the best result for Suzuki at the Austin circuit.
  • All fifteen podium finishers in the five previous MotoGP races held at Austin have been riders from either Spain of Italy.
  • Eleventh place finisher in Austin last year, Jonas Folger, crossed the line just 18.903 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez – this is the closest top eleven of the MotoGP era.
  • The three riders who finished on the podium in the Moto2 race last year in Austin (Morbidelli, Luthi and Nakagami) have all moved up to race in the MotoGP class in 2018.
  • Three of the five Moto2 race winners in Austin are now competing in the MotoGP class: Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli. Sam Lowes, who won in Austin in 2015, is the only rider currently competing in Moto2 who has won in the class at this circuit.
By | April 18th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Grand Prix racing at Austin

Cal Crutchlow re-writes the record books

Cal Crutchlow’s win in Argentina, that took him to the head of the championship standings, will go down in the record books for many reasons, including:

– Last time a British rider led the premier-class championship was Barry Sheene riding a Suzuki after opening race of 1979 in Venezuela.

– Barry Sheene lost the lead of the championship after next race in Austria on 29th April – so time between Sheene losing the title lead and Cal Crutchlow heading it after Argentina is 38 years 344 days.

– Number of premier-class races without a British rider leading the championship is 589.

– Crutchlow is the first Independent Team rider to head the MotoGP championship classifications since Sete Gibernau in 2004.

– This was Crutchlow’s third MotoGP win, the same number of victories as 2006 world champions Nicky Hayden, both who did not compete in any of the smaller classes of GP racing. All the riders who have taken more MotoGP wins than Hayden and Crutchlow had progressed to the MotoGP class after competing in one of the smaller GP classes.

– Only two riders have taken more MotoGP wins than Crutchlow as Independent Team riders: Sete Gibernau with 8, and Marco Melandri with 5.

– He is the sixth oldest rider to win a MotoGP race, after: Valentino Rossi, Troy Bayliss, Alex Barros, Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi.

– Crutchlow is the oldest British rider to win a premier-class grand prix since Phil Read won the 500cc Czech Grand Prix in 1975.

– The British riders who have more premier-class GP wins than Crutchlow are: Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Geoff Duke, Barry Sheene, Phil Read and Les Graham. All of these riders have at least one premier-class world title to their name.

– The win Cal Crutchlow in Argentina means he has now finished on the podium at least once for seven successive seasons in the MotoGP class. Only two other British riders have had premier-class podium finishes in seven or more successive seasons: Mike Hailwood and Geoff Duke.

– He is the first rider who has not come through from the smaller classes of GP racing to lead the MotoGP championship classification since Nicky Hayden at the final race of 2006.

 

By | April 16th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|2 Comments

IT’S A LONG WAIT – 38 YEARS 344 DAYS TO BE PRECISE

My long black hair rested on my shoulders and was supplemented by an equally thick beard and the compulsory flared jeans. If you’d foreseen the technical revolution of Mobile phones and the internet you would have probably been led away to a quiet room. Nottingham Forest won the European Cup (Champions League) and Art Garfunkel’s song Bright Eyes was the bestselling record in Britain.

It seems like a long time ago and it was. To be precise 38 years and 344 days. Little did we imagine we would have to wait well over half a life time to witness another British rider leading the Premier class in World Championship racing. Once again it was Cal Crutchlow that put the previous 589 grands prix of misery for British fans to bed with his brilliant victory on the LCR Honda in Argentina on Sunday. Cal has this wonderful habit of destroying records set by the legendary late Barry Sheene. Seventeen months ago he won the MotoGP race at Brno in the Czech Republic to become the first British premier class winner since Sheene’s 1981 victory at Anderstorp in Sweden.

Sheene led the old 500cc Championship after winning the opening round on the Suzuki at a scorching hot San Carlos in Venezuela at the opening grand prix of 1979. That lead lasted for just 43 days with Italian Virginio Ferrari taking over at the front after finishing second at the second round at the Salzburgring in Austria. That was that until last Sunday.

There is now only one place for Cal to go. The Isle of Man –based Midlander has just and it’s a very big just, to win the premier class Championship to finally eclipse that desperately barren period of drought for British racing. Of course it was Barry Sheene who was the last premier class World Champion. Forty one, yes 41, years ago he retained the 500cc in 1977 after clinching the title for the first time the previous year.

It’s a mighty big ask for Cal Crutchlow but he arrives at Austin next week with a precious three points     lead over Andrea Dovizioso. He is brimming with confidence as he mixes it with the factory bikes and Cal knows that consistency is going to be the key while others both crash and win. There are 17 grands prix to go before that final round at Valencia in November.

Sheene eventually finished third in the 1979 Championship behind Kenny Roberts and Ferrari. Yes it’s a big ask but I think us British fans deserve a bit of a dream which Crutchlow ignited back in Brno 17 months ago.

I would have to grow a beard and look out those flares if that dream is fulfilled.

By | April 13th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|3 Comments

ARGENTINA PRICKED THE MOTOGP BUBBLE

The MotoGP bubble takes over your life when you are on the road. Practice, qualifying times and tyre choice plus any gossip about take potential rider moves fill your brain and conversations for three days and nights. Then it’s on to the race itself. The outside world rarely gets a look in. It has to be something pretty big and special to break in as I discovered on my first trip to Argentina.

I’d never heard of the Falkland Islands when we flew into Buenos Aires on a sunny spring morning in 1982. By the time we landed back home in Gatwick ten days later I certainly knew exactly where they were. Who can blame me and my colleague Peter Clifford for knowing nothing about a group of isolated Islands that were about to grab the headlines for many months to come.

After all we were on the trip of a lifetime. Somehow and I still don’t know how, we’d persuaded our editor that a Chez Guevara ride across Argentina into the Andes and the Chilean border was the perfect prelude to the Argentine Grand Prix. Honda provided the machines and Peter with a scoop with three RS 500s lying naked in the workshop when we went to pick up our bikes and everybody was at lunch. Freddie Spencer was due to make his Honda grand prix debut on the one of the new three cylinder two-strokes. The expected battle between the young American and the old warhorses Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts turned into a classic.

We returned from a memorable 1000 mile road trip to Buenos Aires and the grand prix which was the opening round of the 1982 Championship. We’d seen a newspaper headline in Mendoza about the Falkland Islands but thought nothing more. Even when Barry Sheene lent me his hire car to take some colour films to the airport in order to have pictures on the front page next Wednesday I didn’t notice the presence of military transport aircraft on the runway. We were having such a great time in an amazing city although there were a few worry aspects. One evening when seeking a shop that sold cheap leather jackets we found ourselves in the middle of a demonstration. Thousands of women with placards demanding to find out what had happened to their lost sons and a large contingent of riot police armed with water cannons was a grim sight.

Away from demonstration Buenos Aires was buzzing. Great restaurants, night life and to us Brit’s not a mention of the Falkland’s. We rode our Honda road bikes to the circuit on the morning of the race. New Zealander Graeme Crosby, who had just signed a massive deal to ride for Giacomo Agostini’s factory Yamaha team, insisted on a lift with Peter before his much publicised debut. A pair of flip flops and shorts was not the ideal clothes for the occasion but this was Croz. Of course being the TT and Daytona winner it was not going to be an easy ride and on the approach roads to the parkland circuit he started standing on the rear footrests. It was obvious to me riding behind what was going to happen and of course it did. Croz lying in the middle of the road with a Honda road bike on top of him a couple of hours before his factory Yamaha debut with blood pouring from his knee.

A little bit of instant first aid and a grazed Croz arrived on time for his debut and Yamaha and Ago were none the wiser. The 32 lap 500cc race round the Autodromo was a classic. At the finish Roberts beat Sheene by just 0.67 s with Spencer an impressive third.

Racing over we rushed to the airport to catch the British Caledonian Sunday night flight to Gatwick. Good job because it was one of the last flights to fly out of Argentina to England for many a long year but still we were oblivious to what was happening. Arrival at Gatwick changed all that with the morning newspaper headlines screaming about the invasion of the Falkland’s by Argentina. We had escaped by the skin of our teeth and war was declared two days later.

For once that MotoGP bubble had been burst.

By | April 6th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|4 Comments

Fast Facts – Argentina 2018

  • In Qatar Andrea Dovizioso became the first Ducati rider to win the opening MotoGP race of the year since Casey Stoner in 2009. If he should win in Argentina it will be Ducati’s first ever victory at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and the first time that a Ducati rider has won both of the opening two MotoGP races of the year.
  • Dovizioso’s win in Qatar was the 9th time he has stood on the top step of the podium in the MotoGP class – the same number of premier-class victories as Loris Capirossi. Only three Italian riders have had more premier-class GP wins than Dovizioso – Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini and Max Biaggi.
  • A win in Argentina for Dovizioso would make him just the third rider in the MotoGP era to win the opening two races of the year; the only other riders to have achieved this is Marc Marquez in 2014 and Maverick Viñales last year.
  • Marc Marquez has started on pole on each of the four occasions that MotoGP has visited Argentina. He has won the race in both 2014 and 2016, and crashed out in both 2015 and 2017.
  • The 2nd place finish by Marc Marquez in Qatar was the 64th time he has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class, the same number of premier-class podiums as Wayne Rainey. Only seven riders have stood on the podium more often than Marquez in the premier-class: Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Doohan, Agostini, Lawson and Stoner.
  • With his third place finish in Qatar Rossi extended his record of finishing on the podium every season for twenty-three successive years. The second longest run of successive years with grand prix podium finishes is twenty by Angel Nieto.
  • Rossi has finished on the podium at least once in all nineteen seasons competing in the premier-class – also a record. His closest challenger in this record is Giacomo Agostini with thirteen successive years in the premier-class with at least one podium finish.
  • Cal Crutchlow was the first of the Independent Team riders across the line in Qatar in 4th place, equalling his best ever result at the opening race of the year from 2012. Crutchlow finished 3rd last year in Argentina – his only podium of 2017.
  • Johann Zarco won the Moto2 race in Argentina in both 2015 and 2016, and finished 5th last year in just his second race in the MotoGP class.
  • Hafizh Syahrin finished 14th on his MotoGP debut in Qatar to become the first Malaysian rider ever to score points in the premier-class of grand prix racing.
  • Just 0.027 seconds separated Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez in Qatar – the 8th closest finish of all-time in the premier-class.
  • Fifteenth place finisher in Qatar, Karel Abraham, finished just 23.287 second behind race winner Dovizioso – the closest ever top 15 finish in the 70-year history of premier-class grand prix racing. The previous record was 26.082 second covering the first 15 riders across the line at Aragon last year.
  • Another indication of how competitive the MotoGP field is in 2018 – in Qatar another nineteen riders lapped within 1 second of the fastest lap of the race set by Dovizioso.
  • The cumulative wining time for the three races in Qatar added up to just 0.162 seconds, which is smallest cumulative time across the three classes in the 70-year history of motorcycle grand prix racing when all three races have run for full distance. The previous record was 0.213 seconds at the German GP in 2006. (The cumulative winning time across the three classes at the Italian GP in 2016 was just 0.087 seconds, but the length of the Moto2 race was reduced to just 10 laps).
  • Honda need just one more victory to become the first manufacturer to reach the milestone of 750 grand prix wins across all classes. The breakdown by class following the opening race in Qatar is as follows: MotoGP – 131, 500cc – 156, 350cc – 35, 250cc – 207, Moto3 – 43, 125cc – 164, 50cc – 13.
By | April 4th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|2 Comments