Monthly Archives: October 2018

Malaysian Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the 28thmotorcycle grand prix event to be held in Malaysia
  • The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1991 and has taken place every year since, with three different venues having been used; Shah Alam, Johor and Sepang.
  • The first Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 saw a debut win in the premier-class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha.  Italian riders dominated the smaller classes with Luca Cadalora (Honda) winning the 250cc race and Loris Capirossi (Honda) in the 125cc class.
  • The Shah Alam circuit hosted the event for a total of seven years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998.  The first Malaysian GP to be held at Sepang was in 1999 and this will be the 20thtime that Sepang has hosted the event.
  • Honda have had five victories at the Sepang circuit in the MotoGP era, including for four successive years from 2012 to 2015 – three wins for Dani Pedrosa and one for Marc Marquez. Dani Pedrosa’s win in 2015 was the last time that a Honda rider has stood on the podium at Sepang.
  • Yamaha have also had five MotoGP wins at Sepang, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi in 2010.
  • Ducati have taken five MotoGP victories in Sepang, including last two years with Andrea Dovizioso. The win by Dovizioso in 2016 was the first podium at Sepang for Ducati since Casey Stoner won the race in 2009.
  • Sepang is Ducati’s equal most successful circuit, with the five wins prior to 2018 equalling the number of victories for Ducati at Motegi.
  • Andrea Dovizioso won in Malaysia last year by less than a second from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo; the only time in 2017 that Ducati riders filled the first two places.
  • The best result for Suzuki at Sepang in the MotoGP era is fifth in 2010 with Alvaro Bautista. Suzuki with Kenny Roberts won the 500cc race at Sepang in both 1999 and 2000.
  • The most successful rider at the Sepang circuit is Valentino Rossi with six GP wins (1 x 500cc, 5 x MotoGP).  The next most successful, with five wins is Dani Pedrosa (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 3 x MotoGP).
  • The MotoGP title has been decided at Sepang on four occasions: Valentino Rossi (2003, 2005 & 2009) and Jorge Lorenzo (2010).
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place at Sepang have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Roberto Rolfo, 2011 – Tom Luthi, 2012 – Alex de Angelis, 2013 – Tito Rabat, 2014 – Maverick Viñales, 2015 & 2016 – Johann Zarco and 2017 – Miguel Oliveira.
  • The Moto2 World Title has been decided at Sepang on four occasions: for Toni Elias in 2010, Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2016 and Franco Morbidelli last year.
  • The six Moto3 races that have taken place at Sepang have been won by six different riders: 2012 – Sandro Cortese, 2013 – Luis Salom, 2014 – Efren Vazquez, 2015 – Miguel Oliveira, 2016 – Francesco Bagnaia and 2017 – Joan Mir.

 

By | October 31st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Malaysian Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

Should Ago and Vale start looking over their shoulders?

When Marc Marquez intimated at the weekend he has every intention of carrying on racing for at least ten years or more I reached for the MotoGP™ bible, the red book of statistics. The new Champion has a long way to go but should Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi start to get worried? We can’t predict what is going to happen to any of us in the next decade but if you follow the bible’s statistics the 25-year-old Spaniard could become a real threat to a couple of record breakers we never expected to be eclipsed.

When Marquez clinched his seventh World title with another masterclass at Motegi on Sunday those records continued tumbling. It was the third time he’d clinched the MotoGP™ title for his Repsol Honda team at Motegi; the home of Honda. The other two were in 2014 and two years ago.

Only Agostini and Rossi have won more premier class titles. It was Marquez’s fifth on Sunday to equal Mick Doohan’s record from the nineties. He’s closing in on Ago with eight and Vale on seven. It’s the next two statistics that show just what he has achieved and what he could go on to completely rewrite those history books we always thought were cast in stone.

Marquez is the youngest-ever rider to win five premier class World Championship titles, at the age of 25 years 246 days, taking the record from Rossi who was 26 years 221 days when he won his fifth successive premier-class title in 2005.

He is also the youngest rider of all-time to reach the milestone of seven World Championship titles across all classes, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 26 years 140 days old when he won his seventh title – the 1966 350cc world championship.

This is his seventh World title across all classes, five MotoGP™ and one apiece in Moto2™ and 125; the only Spanish rider with more world titles than Marquez is Angel Nieto who won thirteen World Championship titles, seven 125cc, six 50cc. He equalled the record of Doohan by winning the premier class title five times for Honda.

Will anybody ever eclipse Ago’s seemingly untouchable record of 122 Grand Prix wins with even Vale admitting it’s going to be tough because he’s still seven behind. Marquez is still way back on 69 but with 43 wins in just six years in the premier class another ten in the saddle could reap its rewards’.

A long way to go and Ago and Vale achieved those records riding two separate makes of machinery with both two–stroke and four stroke power. Agostini on MV Agusta and Yamaha and Rossi on Honda and Yamaha. Would Marquez also have to change machinery at some point to push the two legends?  Of course, it’s far too early for Ago and Vale to start looking over their shoulders but after witnessing the first 25 years of Marquez’s life, never say never.

By | October 26th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on Should Ago and Vale start looking over their shoulders?

Marc Marquez wins fifth MotoGP title

– It is the third time he has taken the MotoGP title at Motegi, along with 2014 and 2016.

– It is the fifth MotoGP world title for Marquez, the same number of premier-class titles as Mick Doohan. Only Giacomo Agostini with 8 and Valentino Rossi with 7 have won the premier-class title on more occasions.

– Marquez is the youngest-ever rider to win five premier-class World Championship titles, at the age of 25 years 246 days, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 26 years 221 days when he won his fifth successive premier-class title in 2005.

– Marquez is also be the youngest rider of all-time to reach the milestone of seven world championship titles across all classes, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 26 years 140 days old when he won his seventh title – the 1966 350cc world championship.

– This is his seventh world title across all classes for Marc Marquez (5 x MotoGP, 1 x Moto2, 1 x 125cc); the only Spanish rider with more world titles than Marquez is Angel Nieto who won thirteen world championship titles (7 x 125cc, 6 x 50cc).

 – This is his fifth premier-class title riding for Honda, equalling the record of Mick Doohan.

By | October 21st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Marc Marquez wins fifth MotoGP title

Home sweet home

He may say Barcelona, but the race is too early in the season and so there can be no better place for Marc Marquez to clinch his seventh World title on Sunday than at the home of Honda, the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan.

Motegi is an amazing place. A sprawling complex high in the wooded hills and virtually in the middle of nowhere some 100kms north east of Tokyo. A racing circuit surrounded by an Indy Style oval with a massive towering grandstand overlooking the proceedings from both. Two tunnels to let the road circuit wind beneath the oval are a unique feature but there is so much more to celebrate the success of Honda in all forms of world motorsport. A small speedway track, a trials course that has staged World Championship rounds and of course the Honda Hall of fame.

It was in 1954 a certain Soichiro Honda arrived at the TT races in the Isle of Man without so much as a sideways glance from anybody in the paddock. He announced that Honda would one day return because his dream was to take on and beat the finest motorcycles on the most famous venue in the world. Few took much notice at the time, but he returned five years later with the birth of that dream. Mr Honda was shocked at the speed and engineering prowess of the manufactures and especially the German NSU 125 and 250 cc superbly built bikes that were dominating the World Championships that year. He flew home knowing he had a mountain to climb and with a suitcase full of chains, carburettors and tyres.

A year later Honda started competing at the Mount Asama Volcano race located in a village at the foot of an active volcano. Like the TT riders started in pairs to race round the 19 km circuit track on a surface of compressed volcanic ash. Their main challenge, especially in the smaller classes, came from Yamaha and Suzuki. Nothing changed a decade later with the only difference it was now for a World title. In 1959 Honda returned to the TT but this time to compete in the 125 cc race. They went home to Japan with the Manufacturers trophy – the rest is history.

Over 750 Grands Prix wins in all five classes since their arrival in the 1959 125 cc World Championship says it all. Marquez has won five of his world titles on Honda powered machinery and with four rounds of the Championship remaining, he is 77 points in front of Andrea Dovizioso after that superb last couple of laps in Thailand. There is nothing more Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki like more than beating Honda on their home ground. Last year Dovi brought Ducati success, Lorenzo and Rossi have won for Yamaha.

Who knows on Sunday and it’s that level of competition that inspired Soichiro Honda to embark on his dream nearly six decades ago. You can feel his very presence among those wooded hillsides every time you go to Motegi.

By | October 19th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on Home sweet home

Marquez targets title in Motegi

Marc Marquez arrives at Motegi with a chance of clinching the MotoGP title at the Japanese circuit for the third time, along with 2014 and 2016. 

So what does Marc Marquez need to do at Motegi to win the title? Below is a detailed list of scenarios that could see Marquez win the title this weekend:

  • In the most likely scenario Marquez will need to finish ahead of Dovizioso to take the world title in Motegi.

But in more detail:

– If he finishes anywhere in the top four and in front of Dovizioso, then Marquez will be the world champion

– If he finishes 5th then Marquez will be world champion as long as Dovizioso does not finish on the podium.

– If he finishes 6th then Marquez will be world champion as long as Dovizioso does not finish in the top four.

 – If Marquez finishes in any position from 7th to 15th he will be world champion as long as Dovizioso finishes no more than two places ahead of him.

– If Marquez fails to score any points then he will be world champion if Dovizioso finishes no higher than 14th and Rossi does not win the race.

 

It would be the fifth MotoGP world title for Marquez, the same number of premier-class titles as Mick Doohan. Only Giacomo Agostini with 8 and Valentino Rossi with 7 have won the premier-class title on more occasions. If Marquez takes the MotoGP title in 2018 he would be the youngest-ever rider to win five premier-class World Championship titles, taking the record from Valentino Rossi.

By | October 17th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Marquez targets title in Motegi

Contrasting fortunes

After witnessing yet another stunning performance by Marc Marquez just days after reading of Scott Redding’s departure to the British Superbike Championship I thought back to that youngest ever podium in the history of Grand Prix racing. It was the 125cc race at the 2008 British Grand Prix staged at Donington Park. It’s a story of contrasting fortunes.

It was a historic podium in so many ways. Redding won the race to become the youngster ever Grand Prix winner at the tender age of 15 years 170 days. Frenchman Mike Di Meglio was second on route to the 125 cc World title while in third place and looking even younger than Redding was a certain Marquez. It was the first time the Spanish teenager had stood on a Grand Prix podium and little did we realise what lay ahead. The average age of the three riders was just 17 years 29 days and it would have been considerably lower with Di Meglio pushing it up. He was the old man at that considerable age of over 20 years old.

Marquez went on to do what Marquez does and there will be even more after the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend. Di Meglio stepped up to the 250cc and Moto2™ classes before a couple of years in MotoGP™ while Redding broke plenty of records but just missed out on a world title after an eventful 11 years in the Grand Prix paddock.

Redding and Marco Melandri are the only two 15-year-old riders to win a Grand Prix race. The Donington Park win was the first British 125 cc winner since Chas Mortimer in 1973 and the first British solo class winner at the British round of the World Championship for 22 years. Redding is the only British Grand Prix winner in any class at Donington Park. Moving up to the Moto2™ class he continued to break the record and came so close to clinching the title in 2013, eventually finishing runner-up after a battle royal with Pol Espargaro.

His first Moto2™ win came at Le Mans in that Championship chasing year, making him the first British intermediate class winner since Jeremy McWilliams 12 years earlier. That win meant that he pipped a certain Barry Sheene to become the youngest British rider to win in two classes of Grand Prix racing and the first in 40 long years. He also won the British Grand Prix to become the first British winner at Silverstone since the return of the Grand Prix from Donington.

Redding’s much anticipated MotoGP™ career never quite took off despite two podium finishes in difficult conditions at Misano and Assen. In the end, it was inevitable he would move on.

MotoGP™ will miss so much about Scott Redding both on and off the track. He gave us success-starved British fans some real hope and great fun after such a barren time in the Grand Prix wilderness. He should be proud of that achievement as the youngest ever Grand Prix winner. A record that will surely remain with him forever.

By | October 11th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on Contrasting fortunes

Fresh pastures

Don’t get me wrong. I still loved going to the likes of Mugello, Jerez and Phillip Island but I’d been there so many times that when a new circuit, and especially new country, appeared on the schedule it made life more interesting and in many case, a little bit more exciting.

I’m sure that’s just how everybody feels as they make their way to Thailand this week. Not only a new venue at the Chang International Circuit, but a new country in Thailand to stage a MotoGP™ race. ™

Thailand is the first new country to stage a MotoGP™ race since Turkey in 2005. Remember the week before we were in Australia and flew back over the Istanbul circuit from Melbourne, then flew back to Istanbul from London followed by a three hour drive to find first the circuit and then the hotel (that was a polite word for where we were staying).The Istanbul circuit was magnificent, especially watching the race winner Marco Melandri slide the Honda round the fast fifth gear right hander. The rest of the trip was more than a little scary but we survived.

Thailand is the 30th country to stage a World Championship event since the Championship started in 1949. We went to Malaysia for the first time in 1991 at the Sham Alam circuit which was close to the old Kuala Lumpur airport. I really did not know what to expect. Immediately we all loved KL. The food, the nightlife and the friendly people but Shah Alam offered a few worries for us westerners. They told me; although I assure you I never went in and checked that a python was asleep in the rafters when they opened the press office. Our office was an old shipping container, the lack of flushing loos was a major problem for anybody who’d overloaded on that spicy food while it was rumoured that the marshals would not help riders at a certain corner because the undergrowth was full of poisonous snakes. We survived but only just, especially with the spicy food problem.

Sometimes the problems going to a new country are a lot more serious and played on my conscious before our first trip to South Africa in 1983. I remember coming through the arrival gate at Jan Smits airport in Johannesburg recalling the television pictures of the rebel England cricket team arriving amid so much controversy the previous year and wondering if I’d done the right thing. I left five days later knowing we had all done the right thing by totally ignoring all the restrictions that had been imposed on the black population. I received some pretty scary letters after pictures appeared of me sitting on a motorbike surrounded by the black workers at the Kylami circuit.

The Chang International Circuit is the 28th different venue to stage a Grand Prix event since the four-stroke MotoGP™ era started in 2002. With the addition of Thailand to the schedule, the 19 event 2018 season is the longest in the 70 year history of the sport. I’m sure it will come as no great surprise it will be the 37th different circuit where Valentino Rossi has competed at a Grand Prix event – he’s never had time to be bored.

By | October 5th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on Fresh pastures

Thailand 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the first time Thailand has hosted a motorcycle grand prix event.
  • Thailand is the first new country to hold a grand prix event since Turkey in 2005.
  • Thailand is the 30th country to host a grand prix event since the world championship series began in 1949.
  • The Chang International Circuit was opened in 2014 and has hosted the World Superbike Championship for the last three years.
  • The Chang circuit is the 28th different venue to host a grand prix event since the four-stroke MotoGP class was introduced in 2002.
  • The Thailand circuit is one of only two on this year’s schedule where Marc Marquez has not had a MotoGP victory – the other is the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
  • Marc Marquez can clinch the 2018 world title by winning the races in Thailand and Japan, even if closest challenger Andrea Dovizioso finishes second on each occasion.
  • Andrea Dovizioso has finished on the podium at the last four races – his longest run of successive podium finishes since moving up to the MotoGP class in 2008.
  • This will be the 37th different circuit where Valentino Rossi has competed at a grand prix event.
  • Jorge Lorenzo has failed to score any points in the last two races. He has never gone three successive races without scoring points during his time in the MotoGP class.
  • No Yamaha rider has finished in the top three at the last four races, equalling the longest barren podium sequence for Yamaha since 2007. The last time that Yamaha went five premier-class races without a podium was in 2003.
  • Last year Danilo Petrucci scored 124 points, which was the highest single season total for a Ducati rider in an Independent Team. If he finishes 10th or better in Thailand he was surpass this total with four races of the season remaining.
  • Suzuki have already had five top three finishes in 2018 – their best haul of podium finishes since 2007.
  • Bradley Smith is scheduled to make his 100th start in the MotoGP class in Thailand. He is just the fifth British rider in the 70-year history of motorcycle grand prix racing to reach the milestone of 100 premier-class starts, joining: Cal Crutchlow, Jeremy McWilliams, Ron Haslam and Niall Mackenzie. He is the youngest British rider to reach the milestone of 100 premier-class starts.

 

By | October 3rd, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|1 Comment