Monthly Archives: March 2019

RIGHT FROM THE START – TRIUMPH FOR TRIUMPH

Of course it could not have been anything but a Triumph victory in the Qatar Moto2™ race but it was still such a special day for the iconic British factory. Their first ever grand prix victory in a sport in which they were pioneers right from the very start.

Many people feel that this magnificent sport actually started at 10am on the cold cloudy morning of 28 May 1907. At that moment Frank Hulbert and Jack Marshall fired up and pointed their single cylinder Triumph motorcycles up a dusty track towards Ballacraine to start the very first TT race on the Isle of Man.The two Triumphs spluttered into life to begin a 158 mile journey around the St Johns course and motor cycle racing was born. Twenty three other riders joined the pioneers and just 12 returned to the finish. The two Triumphs finished second and third respectively behind the Matchless of Charlie Collier who took four hours 8m8.02 s to complete the race at an average speed 61.47 kms. A year later Marshall reversed the result over Collier to bring Triumph their first TT win.

When the World Championship staged its first ever premier class 500 cc race in 1949 at the TT races in the Isle of Man Triumph were there once again. New Zealander Syd Jensen brought the Triumph home in fifth place in the seven lap race won by Harold Daniell riding the Norton. Triumph had to wait 20 years before their one and only grand prix podium finish which finally came at the fastest circuit of them all. The versatile Test rider and racer Percy Tait finished second on the 500 cc Triumph behind Giacomo Agostini in the 13 lap 1969 Belgium Grand Prix at the magnificent Spa Francorchamps circuit.

On Sunday the revitalised Triumph factory made a welcome return to grand prix racing with their magnificent 765 cc triples screaming below the Losail International floodlights in a superb Moto2 race. At the finish just 0.026 s separated Lorenzo Baldassari and Tom Luthi at the finish. Triumph has replaced Honda as the engine suppliers in the Moto 2 class and there will be plenty more Qatar type races in the next 18 grands prix. Sunday was just a foretaste of the battles they lay ahead.

Welcome back to the big time Triumph. All we need now to complete the picture is a British rider winning on a British Motorcycle – Sam Lowes please take note.

By | March 14th, 2019|Uncategorised|Comments Off on RIGHT FROM THE START – TRIUMPH FOR TRIUMPH

Record there to be beaten?

It was the performances of Pecco Bagnaia in the first Sepang test and then Fabio Quartararo in Qatar that got me thinking; have any riders making their debuts in the MotoGP four-stroke era won first time out or even qualified on the front row?

The simple answer is no to the first question but yes to the second. One hundred and six riders have made their debuts in the premier class during this era, yet nobody has won first time out. Two, however, have qualified on the front row and one in pole.

Three Spanish riders have come closest first time out and finished on the podium. The first was Dani Pedrosa at his home grand prix at Jerez in 2006. Dani, racing the Repsol Honda for the first time after winning the 125cc and two 250cc world titles, finished second four seconds behind Loris Capirossi on the factory Ducati.

Two years later, another double 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo made his MotoGP debut in Qatar. It was Ducati once again that won the race with Casey Stoner in the saddle. Lorenzo, on the factory Yamaha, was second five seconds down with Pedrosa third. Marc Marquez made his much-heralded debut in the premier class in 2013 with those 125cc and Moto2 world titles under his belt. Under the Losail International floodlights, he eventually finished third behind the Yamaha´s of Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Marquez did go one better than his countrymen Pedrosa and Lorenzo by winning the world title first time out, however.

I would have thought more debutants would have qualified on the front row. Perhaps taking a big risk on that one important qualifying lap but it’s not the case. Those two riders who have qualified on the front row have suffered very different fortunes since those impressive performances. Lorenzo followed up a pole position at that opening round in 2008 with a brilliant second place. He went onto to win three MotoGP world titles and fancies his chances to make it four this season riding the factory Honda.

Alongside Lorenzo on the front row at Qatar in 2008 was British rider James Toseland. The World Superbike Champion, riding the Tech 3 Yamaha, made a sensational start to his MotoGP career. He qualified in second place and finished sixth in the race and looked set to make a big impact in the premier class, but it didn’t happen. Injuries forced him to retire to pursue a new career in the music industry and as a television pundit.

Bagnaia and Quartararo step onto the big stage for the first time under the spotlights this weekend after impressing in pre-season testing. Can they re-write the history books by winning first time out? It’s a very big ask and just check out the previous 106 riders who have tried. The last rider to win on his premier class debut was Max Biaggi with victory at Suzuka in 1998 on the two-stroke Honda but records are there for the beating.

By | March 7th, 2019|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Record there to be beaten?

NEVER SAY NEVER

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MOTORCYCLE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

BY NICK HARRIS 

PUBLISHED IN HARDBACK BY VIRGIN BOOKS | 23rd MAY 2019 | £20.00 | ISBN 9780753553855 

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Motorcycle World Championships, the most dangerous and exciting sport in the world, legendary commentator Nick Harris, ‘The Voice’ of MotoGP, chronicles seventy years of drama, adrenaline, tragedy and celebration in a brand new book, Never Say Never. 

For 40 years Nick travelled the world reporting and commentating on MotoGP, and this rare privileged access has given him unparalleled insight into this incredible sport. From a motorcycle trip across Argentina the week before the Falklands war, to ignoring the apartheid travelling ban in South Africa, Nick has witnessed a changing world developing alongside the highs and lows of the greatest motorcycle races of all time. 

In a white-knuckle ride through the twists and turns of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, Nick Harris provides a new, mostly eye-witness account of the history of MotoGP, the battles and feuds both on and off the track, the remarkable personalities and the great tragedies of the sport from 1949 to present day. 

As a trusted insider, Nick got to know Valentino Rossi, Barry Sheene, Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood as individuals. He saw feuds unfold, champions made and careers ended, and in Never Say Never, he shares the real stories behind the greatest legends of the sport. This is the book the motorcycling world has been waiting for. 

ABOUT NICK: 

Nick Harris has been a respected journalist, broadcaster and author for over 40 years. He is best known as a legendary television and radio commentator and presenter, presenting and commentating on the MotoGP World Championship for much of his career, attracting over 20 million viewers worldwide to each grand prix. When he announced his retirement in 2017, over 1.2 million fans tuned into his farewell video on Facebook, filmed with Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. Nick is the author of several books, including the bestselling biography of Barry Sheene. His great passion is Oxford United Football Club, having previously served on the board of Directors. 

Twitter: @NickHarrisMedia | Website: www.nick-harris.co.uk 

Pre-order Never Say Never here

FOR ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES CONTACT PATSY O’NEILL AT EBURY PUBLISHING poneill@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk T: 020 8293 8783

 

By | March 7th, 2019|Uncategorised|Comments Off on NEVER SAY NEVER