Martin Raines

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SELL OUT RED BULL RING READY FOR MOTOGP

Last year MotoGP™ returned to the Red Bull Ring in front of a sell-out 90,000 crowd and the magnificently situated 2.684 miles circuit is ready to welcome back the championship for the NeroGiardini Grand Prix of Austria on Sunday.

Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow once again spearheads the British MotoGP challenge in the 28 lap race round the undulating track. Riding the LCR Honda he finished fifth in the Brno race after a tremendous last lap battle with Valentino Rossi. He’s ninth in the World Championship on equal points with Danilo Petrucci and two points behind Jonas Folger in seventh place.

The other three British riders arrive desperate for points after a disappointing Brno. It’s a massive race for Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith and his Austrian KTM team. It’s the first time they have raced as a full factory team at their home grand prix. It’s a big couple of weeks for Smith, who finished ninth last year, with his home race, the Octo British Grand Prix next on the calendar.

Scott Redding finished one place in front of Smith last year and is looking for a change of fortune as he fights for his grand prix future. The Gloucestershire rider looked superb in the wet on the Pramac Ducati in Brno but the track dried and he slipped to 16th.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes also needs a moral boost after finishing 18th in Brno to kick-start his MotoGP debut season on the Gresini Aprilia.

Oban – based Scotsman John McPhee bounced back to form in Brno with a hard earned Moto3™ sixth place. Riding the British Talent Team Honda he moved back to fourth place in the championship. British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie makes his Red Bull Ring debut in the Moto2™ race riding for the Kiefer Racing Suter team

 
DID YOU KNOW

• Last year Austria staged a motorcycle grand prix event for the first time since 1997.

• The first Austrian grand prix took place in 1971 at the Salzburgring circuit, which hosted grand prix racing on a total of 22 occasions.

• At that first Austrian GP in 1971 Giacomo Agostini (MV Agusta) won the 500cc race, finishing more than a lap ahead of second place finisher Keith Turner. Agostini also won the 350cc race, with the other classes being won by the following riders: 250cc – Silvio Grassetti (MZ), 125cc – Angel Nieto (Derbi), 50cc – Jan de Vries (Kreidler).

• The last occasion that a grand prix event took place at the Salzburgring circuit was in 1994, when Mick Doohan won the 500cc race with a race average speed in excess of 194 km/h (120 mph)

• Due to the high speed nature of the Salzburgring circuit, and the limited amount of run-off provided, it was considered too dangerous for continued use for grand prix racing.

• The current circuit has hosted two previous grand prix events prior to last year – in 1996 and 1997, when named the A1-Ring.

• Before last year Valentino Rossi was the only current rider to have to have raced previously at this circuit in a grand prix.

• Rossi’s third place finish in the 125cc race in Austria in 1996 was his first GP podium finish. He again finished on the podium in the 125cc race in Austria in 1997, this time in second place just 0.004 seconds behind Noboru Ueda.

• Last year in Austria Andrea Iannone won for the first time since he moved up to the MotoGP class in 2013 and gave Ducati their first win since Casey Stoner won the Australian GP in 2010.

• The Austrian GP last year gave Ducati their first one-two finish in a MotoGP™ race since the Australian GP in 2007, won by Casey Stoner from Loris Capirossi.

• The Austrian race last year was the first time that Italian riders have taken the top two places in a premier-class GP both riding Italian bikes since the Finnish 500cc GP at Imatra in 1972 won by Giacomo Agostini, on a MV Agusta, from team-mate Alberto Pagani.

• The average speed of the MotoGP™ race in Austria last year was 182.4 km/h. This is the highest average speed for a grand prix race since Mick Doohan won the 500cc German Grand Prix in 1994 at the Hockenheim circuit at an average speed of 203.8 km/h.

• All three riders who started on pole at the Austrian Grand Prix last year went on to take the race win.

 
MARQUEZ BRINGS THE FIGHT TO DUCATI AT THE RED BULL RING

Fresh from his victory in Brno, MotoGP™ Championship leader Marc Marquez takes on the might of Ducati at the Red Bull Ring in the NeroGiardini Grand Prix of Austria on Sunday. Marquez prised open a precious 14 point lead after his Brno victory as he takes on Ducati at the 2.684 miles undulating circuit. Last year Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso brought the Italian factory a one-two, at the first race for over a decade at the circuit and Dovizioso in particular will be looking to go one better as he attempts to close the 21 points deficit he has on Marquez in the title chase.

Dovizioso’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished third behind the two Ducatis last year but riding the Movistar Yamaha. His replacement Maverick Vinales was back on the podium for the first time for two months in Brno where he finished third. He is still second in the World Championship 14 points behind Marquez who was fifth in Austria last year, one place in front of Vinales. Dani Pedrosa was seventh last year but arrives in Austria in good form. His third place at Brno on the Repsol Honda pushed him just nine points behind Valentino Rossi in the championship standings. Rossi is the only current rider to have competed on the old A1 circuit and he held onto fourth place in the championship after finishing fourth in Brno. The Movistar Yamaha rider was fourth in Austria last year.

Johann Zarco won the Moto2™ race last year and returns on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha after a fantastic start to his MotoGP career. The Frenchman is sixth in the championship 11 points in front of his equally impressive team-mate Jonas Folger. Alex Rins finished third in that Moto2 race last year and he returns as a MotoGP rider. He finished 11th in Brno riding the Ecstar Suzuki after missing so much of the season with a broken wrist.

It’s a massive weekend for the Austrian KTM team who bring in test rider Mika Kallio to join Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith.

Moto2™ Championship leader Franco Morbidelli saw his championship lead slashed to just 17 points by Brno race winner Tom Luthi in the six lap dash. The EG O.O. MarcVDS rider will be hoping for no rain on Sunday and points to his second place last year. His team-mate Alex Marquez and KTM rider Miquel Oliveira are tied in third place. Brno pole setter Mattia Pasini crashed out of the race and is sixth behind Pecco Bagnaia.

Last year Spaniard Joan Mir won his very first Moto3™ grand prix in Austria last year. He returns on Sunday in the form of his life, chasing his seventh win of the season riding the Leopard Racing Honda. His Brno win gives him a 42 point lead over Romano Fenati who was second in Brno. Aron Canet was third and is third in the Championship in front of John McPhee who bounced back to form with a sixth place.
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 11 August: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 12 August: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 13 August: 7.30 – 15.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday 14 August 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | August 9th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on SELL OUT RED BULL RING READY FOR MOTOGP

CRUTCHLOW AND MCPHEE RETURN TO THEIR SCENE OF TRIUMPH

Just 12 months ago Cal Crutchlow re-wrote the sporting history books. He returns this weekend to the scene of his triumph, the legendary Brno circuit in the Czech Republic to start the second half of this extraordinary MotoGP™ season. The Isle of Man – based Midlander brought 35 years of despair to a long awaited finish when he won the MotoGP race to become the first British premier-class winner since Barry Sheene in 1981. That win came just a couple of hours after Scotsman John McPhee won the Moto3™ race to make it a very special day for British sport.

Crutchlow returns to the undulating 3.357 miles circuit situated on the wooded hillside above the City of Brno for round ten of the championship after the summer break. It’s been a mixed first half of the season for Crutchlow who lies tenth in the championship with just one podium finish in 2017 on the LCR Honda. It’s a very different story for the three other British MotoGP riders.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith is pleased with his first half of the year riding for the new KTM team. They have made progress throughout the first nine races in their debut season and both Smith and his team-mate Pol Espargaro scored points in Germany to emphasise that progress. It’s a crucial second half of the season for the new team in such a competitive arena and next week they face their biggest test at their home grand prix in Austria.

Scott Redding and Sam Lowes are fighting for their MotoGP futures after those first nine races. Gloucestershire based Redding has struggled on the Octo Pramac GP16 Ducati after a promising start to the season. He finished out of the points in Germany and needs a couple of good results to restore both his confidence and future.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes has endured a nightmare debut season in MotoGP riding for the Gresini Aprilia factory team. Crashes and mechanical problems have dogged the former Moto2™ star and he knows it can only get better, but he can take heart after finishing third in the Moto2 race last year at Brno.

Oban – based McPhee returns to Brno after his historic victory last year looking to return to the podium after crashing out of the previous Moto3™ round in Germany. He slipped to sixth in the championship riding for the British Talent Honda team. He has already finished on the podium three times this season, including second places in the opening two rounds and is only six points behind fourth placed Jorge Martin.

British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie continues his grand prix education in the highly competitive Moto2 class. Replacing Danny Kent on the Kiefer Racing Suter he will be chasing his first championship points in the 20 lap race on Sunday.

 
DID YOU KNOW

This year’s Czech Grand Prix will be the 48th to be held at Brno. Below is a brief history of grand prix racing at this famous venue:

• The only venue that has hosted more grand prix events than Brno is Assen in The Netherlands, which has hosted the Dutch TT in each of the 69 years of the motorcycling world championship.

• The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held at Brno in 1965. The 500cc race, held over thirteen laps of the original 13.94 km long road circuit, was won by Mike Hailwood (MV Agusta) in a time of 1hr 11 min 23.2 sec.

• The circuit was shortened to 10.92 km in 1975 in an effort to improve safety.

• The last premier-class race held on the road circuit at Brno was in 1977 and was won by Johnny Cecotto riding a Yamaha. The circuit was subsequently considered too dangerous for the large capacity machines.

• The smaller capacity machines continued to compete in grand prix races on the Brno road circuit until 1982 before it was removed from the grand prix calendar for safety reasons.

• The current circuit was first used for grand prix racing in 1987 and hosted the Czechoslovakian GP through until 1991. Brno did not appear on the calendar for 1992, but the event was revived in 1993 as the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic and has taken place every year since.

• This will be the 30th time that the current circuit has hosted a grand prix event, during which time the circuit has remained virtually unchanged; minor modifications were made to the circuit in 1996 which extended the length from 5.394 km to the current 5.403 km.

• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP™ class in 2002 Honda have been the most successful manufacturer with seven victories, including last year with Cal Crutchlow.

• Yamaha have taken six MotoGP victories at Brno, but only one in the last six years, which was with Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.

• Ducati have twice won the MotoGP race at Brno, with Loris Capirossi in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2007. The last podium for a Ducati rider at Brno was when Stoner finished third in 2010.

• The last win for Suzuki at Brno was in the 500cc class in 1989 with Kevin Schwantz. Loris Capirossi was the last rider to finish on the podium at Brno riding a Suzuki – 3rd in 2008.

• The best result for a Czech rider in the MotoGP class at Brno is 9th for Karel Abraham in 2012 riding a Ducati.

• There has only been one podium finish by a Czech rider at the current Brno circuit across all classes – Lukas Pesek’s third place in the 125cc race in 2007 riding a Derbi.

• The two riders with most grand prix wins at the current Brno circuit, each with seven wins, are Max Biaggi (4 x 250cc, 2 x 500cc, 1 x MotoGP) and Valentino Rossi (1x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x MotoGP).

• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place at Brno have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Toni Elias, 2011 – Andrea Iannone, 2012 – Marc Marquez, 2013 – Mika Kallio, 2014 – Tito Rabat, 2015 – Johann Zarco, 2016 – Jonas Folger. None of these riders are now competing in the Moto2 class.

• Five different riders have won the five Moto3™ races that have taken place at Brno: 2012 -Jonas Folger, 2013 – Luis Salom, 2014 – Alexis Masbou, 2015 – Niccolo Antonelli, 2016 – John McPhee.

 
BACK TO THE BUSINESS

The summer break is over – It’s back to the business as the MotoGP™ World Championship races into the second half of the season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix of the Czech Republic on Sunday. This incredible season just promises to get better and better starting at the legendary 3.357 miles Brno circuit with just ten points separating the leading four riders in the fight for the title.

World Champion Marc Marquez grabbed the championship lead with victory at the previous round in Germany. He is just five points in front of early leader Maverick Vinales who in turn holds a single point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso, with Valentino Rossi in fourth a further four points adrift.

The magnificent undulating Brno circuit is a natural stage for grand prix motorcycles. Marquez riding the Repsol Honda has only one premier class victory at Brno which was four years ago and it was Cal Crutchlow who brought Honda victory last year for the LCR team in mixed conditions. Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who has won twice at Brno, is not out of the championship hunt in fifth place, 26 points behind Marquez after finishing third in Germany.

Vinales has not tasted a Brno victory and Movistar Yamaha’s last win at this circuit came from Jorge Lorenzo a couple of years ago. Rossi who slipped to fourth in the championship after finishing fifth in Germany has five premier class wins here, although the last one came in 2009. Dovizioso lost that championship lead after a disappointing eighth place at the Sachsenring and will be chasing his third win of the season on the factory GP17 Ducati and the first win at Brno for the Italian factory since Casey Stoner ten years ago.

There are plenty of riders outside that top five who can fight for a podium or even victory in the 22 lap race and leading that particular charge will be Jonas Folger fresh from his second place in Germany riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. The German rider pushed Marquez all the way and has Brno victories in both the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes, including a Moto2 win last year. His team-mate, double Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco, won the Moto2 race a couple of years ago while Crutchlow returns to the scene of that historic first MotoGP victory.

It’s the start of a crucial second half of the season for Lorenzo who is still struggling to find consistency after his first nine races with Ducati. Andrea Iannone had a nightmare first half on his Ecstar Suzuki debut while others such as Scott Redding, Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat are fighting for their MotoGP futures.

It’s a different story in the Moto2™ World Championship. Italian Franco Morbidelli’s sixth win of the season gives the Marc VDS rider a very impressive 34 point lead in the championship over former 125cc Brno winner Tom Luthi who crashed in Germany. Miguel Oliviera must be confident of giving KTM their first Moto2 win in the second half of the season after finishing second in Germany and moving into third place in the championship, four points in front of Alex Marquez who crashed at the Sachsenring.

It’s a similar story in Moto3™ where Spaniard Joan Mir has opened up a clear advantage. The Leopard Racing Honda rider grabbed his fifth win of the season in Germany to produce a 37 point lead over Romano Fenati who was second. Two previous Brno winners start on Sunday. John McPhee secured his first grand prix win last year and returns with the British Talent team Honda looking to replicate his early season form. The 2015 winner Niccolo Antonelli is having a wretched season and missed the German race through injury.

By | July 31st, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on CRUTCHLOW AND MCPHEE RETURN TO THEIR SCENE OF TRIUMPH

REDDING RENEWS HIS VOWS IN THE CATHEDRAL

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding is hoping to renew his vows at the Cathedral of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing at the Motul TT Assen, Holland on Sunday. Last year Redding finished third in the pouring rain at the legendary 2.882 miles Assen circuit that is the only circuit remaining from the original 1949 World Championship schedule. The Pramac Ducati rider returns for the eighth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship after a tough time following a good start to the season. He is 12th in the World Championship and has a good record in Assen with a couple of Moto2™ podium finishes in addition to his podium last year. Some cooler conditions and even some rain would suit him in the 26 lap race and there is every chance in Assen that may well be the case.

Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow returned to points scoring in the previous Barcelona round with a careful 11th place in the searing heat, The LCR Honda rider has finished on the podium this season and has a good record in Assen as he seeks to improve on his ninth place in the championship. He took his first MotoGP pole at Assen four years ago and finished third in the race the same year.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith makes a welcome return on the factory KTM after missing the previous round with a badly damaged little finger on his left hand sustained in a practice crash. Not only did he miss the Barcelona grand prix but also the crucial test the next day and so it will be another tough task for the Austrian KTM Team on their first visit to Assen. Smith has previously secured Moto2 and 125 cc podiums in Holland.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes has finished third and fourth in the last two Assen Moto2 races and he certainly could do with some points scoring in the MotoGP race. It’s been tough for Lowes on his MotoGP debut on the Gresini Aprilia. Mechanical problems and crashes have eaten away at his confidence but he has finished the last four races. A couple of points scoring rides before the summer break would do him a power of good.

Scotsman Tarran Mackenzie at last competes at a circuit he knows after three races at new circuits on his Moto2™ debut. It should give him a real boost having competed in the British Supersport Championship in Assen as he continues his grand prix education on the Kiefer Racing Suter.

Another Scotsman, John McPhee, finished just over five seconds behind Moto3™ winner Joan Mir at the previous round in Barcelona but could only finish in 12th place. The amazing Moto3 races are so tight that good qualifying is vital and McPhee has struggled in the last few races on the British Talent Team Honda. After his brilliant start to the season he’s still seventh in the Championship and will be seeking the advice of his mentor Jeremy McWilliams who took his only grand prix win in Holland in the 2001 250 cc race.

 
DID YOU KNOW
Assen is the only venue that has hosted a grand prix event every year since the motorcycle World Championship Grand Prix series started back in 1949 and below are some facts and figures from the previous events at this famous circuit:

• The Dutch TT became part of the world championship series when it was first created in 1949 and Assen is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 69th Dutch TT that has counted towards the world championship classification.

• In 2016 the Dutch TT was held on Sunday for the first time; all previous Dutch TT events had taken place on Saturday

• The original Assen circuit, that was used up to 1954, measured 16.54 km. This was reduced to 7.7 km in 1955 and then in 1984 further modifications to the circuit reduced the length to 6.1 km. The current layout has been used since 2006, with a few minor adjustments.

• The 500cc race at the 1975 Dutch TT is the only premier-class grand prix race where the first two riders across the line have been credited with the same race time. Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini finished so close that the timekeepers of the day, using manual timing accurate to 0.1 sec, were unable to split them.

• Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP formula, with eight victories.

• Honda have had six MotoGP wins at the Dutch TT with six different riders: Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez and Jack Miller.

• Ducati’s single MotoGP win at the Dutch TT came in 2008 with Casey Stoner. Ducati has had just two podium finishers at Assen in the past six years: Andrea Dovizioso was second in 2014 and Scott Redding third last year.

• The last win by Suzuki at the Dutch TT was in the 500cc race in 1993 with Kevin Schwantz. The best results by Suzuki in the MotoGP era at the Dutch TT are 5th place finishes by John Hopkins in 2007 and Chris Vermeulen in 2009.

• Ben Spies took his one and only MotoGP win at the Dutch TT in 2011 riding a Yamaha.

• The last rider to win the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT in successive years is Valentino Rossi, in 2004 and 2005.

• The rider with most GP victories at Assen is Angel Nieto with 15 wins in the 125cc and 50cc classes, followed by Giacomo Agostini who had 14 wins riding 500cc and 350cc machines.

• Among the current riders, Valentino Rossi has been most successful at Assen with a total of nine victories, seven in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.

• Each of the three winners at the Dutch TT last year were first time winners in their particular class: MotoGP – Jack Miller, Moto2 – Takaaki Nakagami, Moto3 – Francesco Bagnaia

• The win in the Moto2 class by Takaaki Nakagami last year at Assen was the first GP victory for a Japanese rider in any class of grand prix racing since Yuki Takahashi won the Moto2 race at the Catalan Grand Prix in 2010. Nakagami is the only rider still competing in Moto2 who has won an intermediate-class race at Assen.

• Moto3 rookie Bo Bendsneyder finished 9th at his home grand prix last year, which was the best result for a Dutch rider in any class of grand prix racing at the Dutch TT since Jurgen van den Goorbergh finished ninth in the 500cc race in 2001.

• At the end of the 22 lap Moto3 race at the Dutch TT last year, Jules Danilo in sixth position crossed the finish line just 0.161 seconds behind race winner Pecco Bagnaia. This is the closest top six finish of all-time in grand prix racing.

• Pecco Bagnaia took his first GP win in the Moto3 race last year at Assen; this was also the first ever grand prix victory for Mahindra as a constructor.

 
SUNDAY SERVICE FOR DOVIZIOSO AT THE CATHEDRAL

Andrea Dovizioso makes the annual pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing at Assen in Holland on Sunday praying for his third successive grand prix win. The Italian Ducati rider has won the last two grands prix and arrives at the legendary 2.822 miles Assen circuit for the Motul Assen TT as a real championship contender. Following his wins in Mugello and Barcelona he is just seven points behind championship leader Maverick Vinales, but history is against him making it a hatrick of wins at this eighth round of the championship.

Ducati’s only win at Assen came in 2008 with victory for Casey Stoner, with Dovizioso second in 2014 and Scott Redding third in the rain last year. Dovizioso has had two more MotoGP™ podiums in Assen and was in pole last year. After two scorching races in Italy and Spain the Dutch weather on Sunday could play a massive part in the outcome as it did last year. Australian Jack Miller took full advantage of the pouring rain to secure a brilliant first MotoGP win for the Marc VDS team with World Champion Marc Marquez second and Redding third.

Vinales really struggled in the Barcelona heat last time out with the Movistar Yamaha finding no grip and he finally finished in a damage limitation tenth place. The team used a new chassis at a two day test in Barcelona after the race and times suggest they may have found a grip solution in the heat which will be put to the test in the 26 lap encounter on Sunday. It was a good weekend for the Repsol Honda team in Spain with Marquez second and Dani Pedrosa third closing the gap on Vinales at the front. The World Champion is 23 points behind Vinales with Pedrosa just two points behind him. Both overtook Valentino Rossi in the standings after the nine times World Champion limped home in eighth place in Barcelona experiencing the same grip problems as team-mate Vinales. Rossi has an amazing record in Assen winning seven MotoGP races, including that epic finish with Marquez two years ago and also 125 and 250 cc victories.

Rossi is just one point behind Pedrosa with Moto2 World Champion Johan Zarco in sixth place after a memorable start to his MotoGP career on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. The Frenchman won the Moto2™ race two years ago and finished second last year. Jorge Lorenzo is in seventh place to give Ducati further hope after a hard fought fourth in Spain and is getting stronger and stronger each race after his switch from Yamaha.

Alex Rins makes a welcome return to the Ecstar Suzuki team after his crash in Austin to join former Moto2 winner Andrea Iannone.

In similar style to MotoGP the Moto2™ Championship closed right up after the Barcelona race. With championship leader Franco Morbidelli only finishing sixth in the race won by Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team-mate Alex Marquez, Swiss veteran Tom Luthi closed the gap at the front to just seven points. Luthi has only finished off the podium once this season and a win on Sunday would really set him up for the second half of the season but it will not be easy. Marquez’s second win of the season put him 20 points behind Morbidelli while Takaaki Nakagami will be seeking a repeat of his one and only grand prix victory last year.

It’s not so close in Moto3™ after Joan Mir’s superb victory in Barcelona. The Spanish teenager, who joins the Marc VDS Moto2 team next season, opened up an impressive 45 point lead in the championship after his fourth win of the season for the Leopard Racing Honda team. It’s a different story behind him with just 12 points separating Romano Fenati, Aron Canet, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Andrea Migno and Jorge Martin.

 
TELIVISION TIMES

Friday 23 June: 7.00 – 15.00
Saturday 24 June: 8.00 – 16. 45
Sunday 25 June: 7.30 -15.30

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday June 26 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | June 19th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on REDDING RENEWS HIS VOWS IN THE CATHEDRAL

Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya – Preview

BRITS LOOK TO BARCELONA TO BANISH MUGELLO BLUES

After a miserable time in Mugello the British MotoGP™ stars head to the magnificent Mediterranean City of Barcelona for the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya on Sunday. The 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship has reached the one third stage going into the race, around the revised 2.891 miles Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya on the northern outskirts of the City.

Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow will particularly want to forget Mugello and being knocked off his LCR Honda by Dani Pedrosa while chasing a top ten finish on the very last lap. He slipped to tenth place in the championship and has never finished on the podium in Barcelona.

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding, riding the Octo Pramac Ducati, was 12th in Italy and is just one place behind Crutchlow in the championship. Both Sam Lowes and Bradley Smith will be seeking points scoring rides after finishing out of the points last Sunday. Both Lowe’s Aprilia and Smith’s KTM teams have tested at Barcelona and will also take part in the vital one day test at the circuit on Monday.

Moto3™ Barcelona winner Danny Kent will find out if he continues to replace Iker Lecuona in the Garage Plus Interwetten Moto2™ team. The Spanish rider is being x rayed early this week to check if he’s recovered from the injuries he sustained in Le Mans. Tarran Mackenzie continues his grand prix education at yet another new circuit while Scotsman John McPhee looks to consolidate on his sixth place in the magnificent Moto3™ race in Mugello. The 22 year old Scotsman is sixth in the Championship, riding the British Talent Team Honda but only five points behind fourth placed Romano Fenati.

DID YOU KNOW

This is the 26th successive year that the Circuit de Catalunya has hosted a grand prix; it was first included in the motorcycle grand prix series in 1992.Only three current venues have a longer ongoing sequence of hosting grand prix events: Jerez, Mugello and Assen.

• The last time that Spain did not have at least one GP winner across the three classes at the Catalan Grand Prix was 2002.

• During the four-stroke MotoGP™ era, Yamaha have taken nine victories at the Catalunya circuit, including for the last two years.

• Honda have had just four wins at the Catalunya circuit during the MotoGP era.

• Ducati have taken two MotoGP wins at the Catalunya circuit, including their very first in the class with Loris Capirossi in 2003. The last podium finish by a Ducati rider at the Catalan GP was the 3rd place finish by Casey Stoner in 2010.

• The last win by Suzuki at the Catalunya Grand Prix was in the 500cc class in 2000, with Kenny Roberts. Last year Maverick Viñales’ fourth place equalled the best result for a Suzuki rider at the Catalunya circuit since the introduction of the MotoGP formula in 2002, which had previously been achieved by John Hopkins in both 2006 and 2007.

• Maverick Viñales set the fastest lap of the race last year on his way to finishing 4th – his first in the MotoGP class.

• Aleix Espargaro started from pole two years ago in Catalunya – which was the first pole for Suzuki since Chris Vermeulen took the top qualifying spot at the Dutch TT in 2007.

• The last Yamaha rider to start from pole in Catalunya was Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, which was also the last time that the rider starting from pole won the MotoGP race at this circuit. In addition to Jorge Lorenzo, the only other rider to have won the MotoGP race at Catalunya from pole position is Valentino Rossi in 2006.

• Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all grand prix classes at the Catalunya circuit with ten victories (1 x 125cc, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 6 x MotoGP). The next most successful, with five wins is Jorge Lorenzo (1 x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP). In addition to his wins Lorenzo finished second in the MotoGP race in 2009 and 2011. He was second in the 2006 250 cc race. Tito Rabat won the Moto2™ race in 2014, was second in 2013 and third two years later. Tom Luthi scored his first podium finish when he was third in the 2003 125 cc race. He was second in the 250 and Moto2 races in 2010 and 2012 and third two years ago.

• There have been nine premier-class victories by Spanish riders at the Catalunya circuit; Alex Criville in 1995 & 1999, Carlos Checa in 1996, Dani Pedrosa in 2008, Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, 2012, 2013 & 2015, and Marc Marquez in 2014.

• There has been at least one Spanish rider on the podium in the MotoGP race at the Catalan GP for the last ten years.

• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place at the Catalunya circuit have been won by six different riders, none who are currently competing in the class: Yuki Takahashi, Stefan Bradl, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Tito Rabat, and Johann Zarco. The only rider among these who has more than a single Motro2 victory at this circuit is Johann Zarco who has won for the last two years.

• Honda riders have won the Moto3™ race at the Catalan GP for the last three years. Jorge Navarro’s win last year ended a run of 25 successive Moto3 races without a Spanish winner, since Efren Vazquez won in Malaysia in 2014.

 
HOMEWARD BOUND CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER

MotoGP™ Championship leader Maverick Vinales returns home for the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya with a healthy 26 points lead at the one third distance of the 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship. The 22 year old Spaniard, riding the Movistar Yamaha, arrives at the demanding 2.891 mile Circuit of Barcelona – Catalunya with three grands prix wins this year and a second place in the previous round in Mugello.

He has a good record at his home circuit, which has been modified at turns 13- 14 following the tragic accident of Luis Salom during Moto2™practice last year. Vinales is a Moto3™ winner at this circuit and finished sixth and fourth in the last two MotoGP races riding the Suzuki. Andrea Dovizioso moved into second place in the championship after his superb home victory at Mugello on the factory Ducati and a repeat performance at the Barcelona circuit, which both he and Ducati know well, would make the Italian rider and factory a real championship threat.

Valentino Rossi’s last grand prix win came in Barcelona 12 months ago and the 38 year old needs a repeat if he’s going to stay in the championship hunt. He hung onto third place in the championship after a brave ride into fourth place in Mugello and has a superb record at the track. Another World Champion desperately seeking a good result to keep his championship chances alive is current champion Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider is fourth, 37 points behind Vinales, after a disappointing sixth place in Mugello. He is on equal points with team-mate Dani Pedrosa who dropped from second place after crashing on the last lap in Mugello bringing down Cal Crutchlow.

Frenchman Johann Zarco has won the Moto2™ race in Barcelona for the last two years and he returns chasing his second MotoGP podium finish of the season. In his debut season riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha the double Moto2™ World Champion is seventh in the championship just four points behind Pedrosa and Marquez. Italian Danilo Petrucci took just his second MotoGP podium finish in Mugello and moved into eighth place in the championship just four points behind Lorenzo.

The Moto2™ Championship took a turn in Mugello with the victory of Mattia Pasini and the second place of Tom Luthi. With Franco Morbidelli only finishing fourth, Luthi closed the gap at the top of the title chase to 13 points. Look out also for Morbidelli’s Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team-mate Alex Marquez who returns home fresh from his third place in Mugello and his race win in Jerez.

Spaniard Joan Mir leads the Moto3™ Championship by 34 points with another Spanish teenager Aron Canet in second place. That fight for second is much closer with the Italian trio of Fabio Di Giannantonio, Romano Fenati and Andrea Migno snapping at his heels.

 
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 9 June: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 10 June: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 11 June: 7.30 – 15.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday June 12 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | June 6th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya – Preview

Oakley Grand Prix of Italy – Preview

THE JEWEL IN THE MOTORSPORT CROWN

There is only one place to be on Sunday – The Oakley Grand Prix of Italy at the Autodromo Mugello high in the rolling Tuscan hills above the magnificent City of Florence. One hundred thousand patriotic fans packing the hillsides producing a cacophony of noise and passion that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand rigid. It’s an atmosphere and venue that is what MotoGP™ is all about. Four British MotoGP warriors step into the amphitheatre on Sunday for round six of the MotoGP World Championship around the undulating 3.259 mile circuit that follows the contours of those green wooded hills.

Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow got back to points scoring ways with a hard fought fifth place at the previous round in Le Mans. The LCR Honda rider is seventh in the championship and has one podium finish at Mugello but has also suffered too many crashes there.

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding is a Mugello Moto2™ winner and pole setter but slipped to 12th in the championship after retiring at Le Mans with gear shift problems after qualifying in an impressive seventh.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith is another Mugello winner and pole setter. He won the 2009 125cc race from pole and has an excellent Mugello record. In 2011 he was third in the Moto2 race and has also fifth and seventh MotoGP finishes. He picked up more world championship points at Le Mans finishing 13th in Red Bull KTM’s fifth grand prix.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes also arrives into the cauldron with some confidence. He has been on Moto2 pole for the last two years and finished third in the race last year. He picked up his first ever MotoGP points on the Gresini Aprilia in Le Mans and has just completed a successful test with the team in Barcelona.

Former Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent returns to the Moto2 Championship after a brief return to Moto3 in Le Mans. The Wiltshire-based rider replaces the injured Iker Lecuona on the Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex. Twenty-one-year-old Tarran Mackenzie makes just his second grand prix appearance after a fall on his debut from the Kiefer Racing Suter ruined an impressive debut in Le Mans.

Twenty-two-year-old Scotsman John McPhee slipped to fifth in the Moto3™ World Championship after finishing 12th at Le Mans. The British Talent Team Honda rider will be looking to improve his qualifying to give him a proper chance of repeating those two second places in the opening two rounds.

 
DID YOU KNOW

• This is the 32st occasion that a GP has been held at the Mugello circuit, including twenty seven times in the consecutive years from 1991.

• The first time that Mugello hosted a grand prix event was in 1976. The 500cc race was won by Barry Sheene by the narrow margin of 0.1 sec from Phil Read, in a race lasting over 62 minutes. This was at a time when Suzuki riders dominated the premier-class; the first non-Suzuki rider home was Waerum Borge Nielsen in tenth place riding a Yamaha.

• The layout of the Mugello circuit has remained basically the same since 1976 with the official track length of 5.245km remaining unchanged.

• Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the four-stroke MotoGP era at Mugello with a total of ten wins; five successive victories with Valentino Rossi in the years 2004 through to 2008, in addition to the wins with Lorenzo in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

• Honda have had four wins in the MotoGP class at Mugello: Valentino Rossi in 2002 and 2003, Dani Pedrosa in 2010, and Marc Marquez in 2014.

• Since Casey Stoner gave Ducati their the single victory at the Mugello in 2009, Andrea Iannone is the only rider to finish on the podium riding for the Italian manufacturer, with second place in 2015 and third last year.

• The best results for Suzuki in the MotoGP era is 5th, which was achieved by John Hopkins in 2007 and Loris Capirossi in 2009.

• Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all the classes at Mugello, with a total of nine victories; one each in 125cc and 250cc classes to add to his seven successive MotoGP wins (2 x Honda + 5 x Yamaha), the last of which came in 2008.

• Loris Capirossi is the only Italian rider other than Rossi to win in the premier-class at Mugello, the 500cc race in 2000 after a race long battle with his countrymen Biaggi and Rossi, both of whom crashed in the closing stages.

• The MotoGP race at Mugello in 2004 is the shortest ever premier-class grand prix race. The race lasted just six laps, after the first attempt to run the race was stopped due to rain and then restarted for the remaining laps under the rain rules as they stood at that time.

• Italy, together with The Netherlands and Great Britain are the only three countries that have hosted a motorcycle grand prix event in each year since the motorcycling world championship series started in 1949.

• Spanish riders have won the MotoGP race at Mugello for the last seven years. The last non-Spanish rider to win in the MotoGP class at Mugello was Casey Stoner in 2009.

• The MotoGP race victories at Mugello in the fifteen years since it was introduced as the premier-class of Grand Prix racing are shared by just five riders: Valentino Rossi (7 wins), Jorge Lorenzo (5 wins); Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez all having a single win at Mugello.

• The winning margin for Jorge Lorenzo over Marc Marquez at Mugello last year was just 0.019 seconds, making it the seventh closest finish of all-time in the premier-class of grand prix racing.

• Last year at Mugello just 0.077 seconds covered the first five riders across the line in the Moto3 race, making it the closest grand prix top five of all-time.

• All five riders who have won in the Moto2 class at Mugello are now competing in the MotoGP class: Andrea Iannone (2010 & 2012), Marc Marquez (2011), Scott Redding (2013), Tito Rabat (2014 & 2015) and Johann Zarco (2016).

• The Moto3 race at Mugello this year will be the 100th Grand Prix race for solo motorcycles to be held at the Mugello circuit.

 

MAGIC MUGELLO SEEKS REPEAT SHOWING.

Last year just 0.019s split Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marc Marquez while just 0.077s covered the first five Moto3 riders when they flashed across the finishing line in the Grand Prix of Italy at the magnificent 3.529 miles Autodromo del Mugello – there is absolutely no reason it will not be the same on Sunday.

The time has arrived among the Tuscan hills for two riders with superb records at Mugello to press the repeat button and none more so than Italian local hero Valentino Rossi. The Movistar Yamaha rider dropped to third place in the Championship when he crashed duelling with team-mate and championship leader Maverick Vinales, on the last lap at the previous round in Le Mans. The 38-year-old has won nine times in front of his adoring fans including seven MotoGP™ victories but that last win came in 2008.

Jorge Lorenzo has won five MotoGP races at Mugello, including that epic battle with Marquez last year, and he returns with the support of the patriotic crowd for the very first time making his Italian racing Ducati debut. He was a disappointing sixth in Le Mans after problems in qualifying, after finishing on the Jerez podium two weeks earlier. He will fancy another podium in the 23 lap race on Sunday.

Twenty-two-year-old Vinales arrives with a swagger after his third win of the season gives him a 17 point advantage over the in-form Dani Pedrosa. Vinales is a Moto3™ winner and finished sixth at Mugello last year. Fellow Spanish rider Pedrosa arrives with a similar swagger after three successive podium finishes including a Jerez win on the Repsol Honda. His team-mate World Champion Marc Marquez was another Le Mans faller and slipped to fourth, 27 points behind Vinales and just three points ahead of rookie sensation Johann Zarco. Both Pedrosa and Marquez are Mugello MotoGP winners.

The Frenchman Zarco, who won the Moto2™ race last year, faces just his sixth MotoGP race on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha with a confidence which is reflected by his start in the premier class culminating in his second place in his home grand prix at Le Mans. There is no reason why he can’t be challenging for a second successive podium finish on Sunday. Just one point behind him is Andrea Dovizioso who will unleash the power of the GP17 Ducati on the one kilometre start and finish straight.

Other Italians to check out include Danilo Petrucci on the Octo Pramac Ducati and former Mugello pole setter Andrea Iannone who’s having such a wretched time on his Ecstar Suzuki debut. Zarco’s team-mate Jonas Folger has given Tech3 an amazing start to the season and is ninth while Australian Jack Miller defies all pain barriers in tenth place on the Marc VDS Honda.

Normal service was resumed in the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes at the previous round in Le Mans. Franco Morbidelli got back to winning ways with his fourth Moto2 win of the season. He returns home on the EG 0.0 Marc VDS Kalex with a 20 point lead in the championship over Tom Luthi who has Mugello podium finishes in both 125cc and Moto2. The only other Moto2 race winner this year is Morbidelli team-mate Alex Marquez who moved into third place after a brave fourth in Le Mans following a big crash in practice. The man to watch on Sunday is Italian Francesco Bagnaia who has finished second on the Sky Italia VR46 Kalex at the last two grands prix.

Spanish teenager Joan Mir grabbed his third Moto3™ win of the season in the chaotic Le Mans race. The Leopard Racing Honda rider leads the championship by an impressive 34 points over Romano Fenati, who crashed out in Le Mans, with the impressive Aron Canet in third place pushing Jorge Martin and John McPhee back to fourth and fifth respectively.
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 2 June: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 3 June: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 4 June: 7.30 – 15.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Tuesday June 6 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | May 30th, 2017|News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Oakley Grand Prix of Italy – Preview

HJC Helmets Grand Prix of France – Preview

REDDING RETURNS TO SCENE OF TRIUMPH

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding returns to a scene of triumph when he arrives at Le Mans for the HJC Helmets Grand Prix of France on Sunday. Four years ago Redding won the his first Moto2™ race at the 2.600 miles Bugatti circuit which uses the same start and finish area as the legendary 24-hour circuit.

It’s been a good circuit for British riders although there have also been too many crashes around this short demanding track that always produces close racing. Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow finished second in the MotoGP™ race the same year. Ten years ago Bradley Smith took his very first grand prix podium when he was third in the 125cc race.

Roll the clock forward to this season and Crutchlow’s crash in the previous round at Jerez spoilt what had been a great start to the season. Riding the LCR Honda, he’d finished third in Argentina and fourth in Austin before the Jerez fall which dropped him to seventh place in the championship six points behind local hero Johann Zarco who will receive massive support in the 28 lap race on Sunday.

Redding, riding the Octo Pramac GP16 Ducati, has dropped to 11th place in the championship after disappointing results in the last two races after such an impressive start to the year that saw him fourth after the opening two rounds. Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith has made good progress on the new Red Bull KTM. In just their fourth grand prix he picked up two World Championship points in 14th place.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes, who finished fourth in the Moto2 race from second on the grid two years ago, is close to his first MotoGP World Championship points. He was 16th at Jerez riding the Gresini Aprilia.

Scotsman John McPhee will be looking to bounce back after such a disappointing Moto3™ weekend at the previous round in Jerez. The British Talent Honda team rider crashed out fighting to make up places after poor qualifying. He dropped to fourth in the championship after finishing second in the opening two races.

The 2015 Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent returns to the class as a wild-card entry for the Red Bull Ajo KTM, team and is replaced by Tarran Mackenzie in the Kiefer Racing Moto2™ team.

 
MACKENZIE REPLACES KENT IN MOTO2

British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie will replace Danny Kent on the Kiefer Racing Suter for the remainder of the Moto2™ World Championship season. Twenty-one-year-old Mackenzie has won the opening six races of this year’s British Supersport Championship after winning the title last year. He is the son of former 500cc World Championship podium finisher and British Champion Neil Mackenzie and makes his debut at Le Mans on Sunday.

Kent, the 2015 Moto3™ World Champion, has struggled on his return to Moto2 and returns to the Moto3 World Championship as a wild-card entry for the championship winning Red Bull Ajo KTM team at Le Mans.

 
DID YOU KNOW

• Le Mans has hosted a grand prix event on twenty-nine previous occasions, including the Grand Prix “Vitesse du Mans” in 1991, which is the only year that two grand prix events have been held in France in the same year.

• Le Mans was first used for a grand prix event in 1969, when the 500cc race was won by Giacomo Agostini, who lapped all the other riders in the race on his MV Agusta.

• This is the 18th successive year that the Le Mans circuit has hosted a motorcycle grand prix event, starting in 2000.

• In addition to Le Mans, there have been seven other circuits that have hosted the French GP (the figure in brackets is the number of times each circuit has hosted the French Grand Prix): Paul Ricard (13), Clermont-Ferrand (10), Nogaro (2), Reims (2), Rouen (2), Albi (1), Magny-Cours (1).

• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP™ formula in 2002, Honda have had seven wins at Le Mans, the last of which was three years ago with Marc Marquez.

• Yamaha have also had seven MotoGP wins at Le Mans, including for the last two years with Jorge Lorenzo.

• Last year at Le Mans, Lorenzo crossed the line 10.654 seconds ahead of Valentino Rossi; Lorenzo’s largest margin of victory in a dry MotoGP race

• Chris Vermeulen took his single MotoGP win at Le Mans in 2007 riding a Suzuki. Prior to Maverick Viñales winning at Silverstone last year, this was the only GP victory in the four-stroke MotoGP era for Suzuki. Viñales finished third at Le Mans last year – the first MotoGP podium for Suzuki since Loris Capirossi was third at Brno in 2008.

• The best results for Ducati at the Le Mans circuit are second place finishes for Loris Capirossi in 2006 and Valentino Rossi in 2012.

• The only non-Spanish rider to win a MotoGP race at Le Mans in the past eight years is Casey Stoner in 2011.

• There have been five GP wins at the Le Mans circuit by French riders: Jean Aureal won the 125cc race in 1969, Guy Bertin the 125cc race in 1979, Patrick Fernandez the 350cc race in 1979, Mike di Meglio the 125cc race in 2008 and Louis Rossi the Moto3 race in 2012.
• The best result by a French rider at Le Mans in the MotoGP class is 4th by Olivier Jacque in 2003. French riders twice finished on the podium in the 500cc GP class at Le Mans; Raymond Roche was second in 1985 and Christian Sarron third in 1987.

• Of the fifteen MotoGP races held at Le Mans, nine have either started in wet conditions or rain has started during the race. The only years that the MotoGP race at Le Mans has been run under full dry conditions are: 2004, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place at Le Mans have been won by six different riders: Toni Elias, Marc Marquez, Tom Luthi, Scott Redding, Mika Kallio and Alex Rins. The only rider to have more than a single Moto2 win at Le Mans is Tom Luthi, who is also the only previous Moto2 winner at Le Mans still competing in the class.

• None of the seven previous Moto2 races at Le Mans has been won by the rider starting on pole position.

• The five Moto3™ races that have taken place at Le Mans have been won by five different riders: Louis Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Jack Miller, Romano Fenati and Brad Binder. The only one of these victories not on a KTM machine was the win by Louis Rossi in 2012 riding a FTR Honda.

 
IN FORM PEDROSA BLASTS INTO LE MANS

The in form Dani Pedrosa blasts into the Le Mans circuit on Sunday where he has won grand prix races in all three classes. The Repsol Honda rider totally dominated the Spanish Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago and arrives at the 2.600 miles Bugatti circuit just ten points behind MotoGP™ Championship leader Valentino Rossi. Pedrosa has won four times in Le Mans and is one of the three winners in the opening four races of 2017.

Thirty-eight-year-old Rossi may not be a winner yet this year but despite major tyre problems in the Jerez heat still leads the way by a slender two points going into the 28 lap race on Sunday. The Movistar Yamaha rider has finished second at Le Mans in the last three years and breathing down his neck is team-mate Maverick Vinales who won the opening two grands prix and his first ever grand prix at Le Mans, the 125 cc race in 2011. World Champion Marc Marquez has bounced back to form with an Austin victory and second in Jerez. The Spaniard trails Rossi by just four points but has a mixed record at Le Mans with Moto2 and MotoGP wins but also numerous crashes.

Just ten points separate the top four riders in the championship but the dark horses on Sunday will be Jorge Lorenzo riding the factory Ducati and Frenchman Johann Zarco riding for the French Monster Tech3 Yamaha team. Lorenzo, who finished third at Jerez in just his fourth grand prix for Ducati, has won five MotoGP races at Le Mans in the last eight years and has led every lap for the last two years. Double Moto2™ World Champion Zarco will receive massive support from the 100,000 crowd on Sunday after a fantastic start to his MotoGP career. After crashing out on his debut while leading in Qatar he secured two fifth places and in Jerez was fourth – what better place than Le Mans to secure that first MotoGP™ podium?

He will be joined on the grid by another Frenchman with 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvan Guintoli replacing the injured Alex Rins to join Andrea Iannone in the Ecstar Suzuki team. Watch out for Andrea Dovizioso in qualifying where he grabbed front row starts every year between 2011- 2015.

Alex Marquez, younger brother of Marc, blew the Moto2™ World Championship wide open with his first class victory in Jerez. His EG 0.0 Marc VDS team-mate Franco Mordbidelli crashed out after winning the opening three races and saw his lead slashed to 11 points by the consistent Tom Luthi. The Swiss rider loves Le Mans having won two Moto2 races and a third on Sunday would put some real pressure on Mordbidelli who appeared to be running away with the title chase. Five points behind Luthi is the impressive Miquel Oliveira on the new KTM with Marquez moving into fourth place after his Jerez win.

Romano Fenati is the man to watch in the Moto3™ class. The Italian returns to Le Mans where he won two years ago. Following his second place in Jerez behind Spanish teenager Aaron Canet, he trails championship leader Spaniard Joan Mir by nine points. The consistent Jorge Martin is third just a further six points adrift with John McPhee dropping to fourth after his Jerez crash. Keep an eye on the 2015 Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent who returns as a wild-card entry for the Red Bull Ajo KTM team after a disappointing season in Moto2.

 
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 19 May: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 20 May: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 21 May: 7.30 – 15.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday May 22 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | May 15th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on HJC Helmets Grand Prix of France – Preview

Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain – Preview

200,000 PLUS HEAD SOUTH FOR JEREZ PILGRIMAGE

All roads lead south to Jerez this weekend for the opening European round of the MotoGP™ World Championship, the Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain. Hundreds of British fans will join the 200,000 plus weekend crowd in their annual pilgrimage to the legendary 2.748 mile circuit near Cadiz after three superb opening races in Qatar, Argentina and Texas.

Heading the British MotoGP challenge will be Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow riding the LCR Honda. The 31-year-old hit great form in the last two rounds with third and fourth places and will be pushing hard for his second podium finish of the season in the 27 lap race. Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding made a good start to the year and was fourth in the Championship after the opening two rounds on the Octo Pramac Ducati. He struggled in Austin on the GP16 Ducati to finish 12th but is still only nine points adrift of Andrea Dovizioso in fourth place.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith made his grand prix debut in the 125 cc race at Jerez in 2006 and won his first grand prix there in the 125 cc race three years later. The 26-year-old is working hard with the new Red Bull KTM team to develop the RC 16 machine and picked up a point in Argentina. They have tested at Jerez last year and any points gained would be very welcome.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes had endured a tough start to his MotoGP career on the Gresini Aprilia but he returns to the scene of one his greatest triumphs last year. He qualified on pole and won the Moto2™ race at Jerez. Gearbox problems and a crash have kept him out of the points this year and he looks to a change of fortune on Sunday when the 18 round World Championship reaches Europe.

Twenty-two-year-old Oban-based Scotsman John McPhee has made a brilliant start to the Moto3™season. Two second places and then a solid seventh place in Austin last time out puts the British Talent team Honda rider third in the Championship, just nine points behind Championship leader Joan Mir.

Former Moto3 World Champion and Jerez winner Danny Kent has quit the Kiefer racing Moto2 team

DID YOU KNOW

This is the 31st successive year that a motorcycle grand prix event has been held at the Jerez circuit since 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 92 grand prix races for solo motorcycles have been held at the Jerez circuit as follows: MotoGP™ – 15, 500cc – 15, Moto2™ – 7, 250cc – 23, Moto3™ – 5, 125cc – 24, 80cc – 3.

• Since the introduction of the MotoGP™ class in 2002, Honda have had seven victories at Jerez, the last of which was three years ago with Marc Marquez.

• Yamaha has also had seven MotoGP™ wins at Jerez, including for the last two years.

• Ducati’s only win at Jerez was in 2006 when Loris Capirossi won from pole position. The last time a Ducati rider finish on the podium at Jerez was in 2011 when Nicky Hayden was third.

• Last year 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 eleven wins; Alberto Puig in 1995, Alex Criville in 1997, 98, 99, Sete Gibernau in 2004, Dani Pedrosa in 2008 & 2013, 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 thirteen 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.

• Last year was the first since 2009 that Spain did not have at least one winner across the three classes at the Jerez GP.

• There have been five different winners in the MotoGP™ class at Jerez in the last five years: Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

• For the last three years at Jerez the rider who has won the MotoGP™ race has started from pole position.

• The seven Moto2™races that have taken place at Jerez have been won by seven different riders, none of whom are competing full-time in the Moto2 class in 2017: Toni Elias, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Tito Rabata, Mika Kallio, Jonas Folger and Sam Lowes.

• Brad Binder took his first grand prix in sensational style at the Spanish Grand Prix last year, 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.

ROSSI RACES INTO JEREZ LEADING THE WAY.

Valentino Rossi races into Jerez leading the MotoGP™ World Championship, after three breath-taking rounds, to start the European season at the Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain on Sunday. The 38-year-old nine times World Champion’s three podium finishes on the Movistar Yamaha has produced a precious six point lead when the Italian returns to the legendary 2.748 mile circuit in Southern Spain. Consistency has been the key for Rossi, who won the race last year, while his great rivals the Spanish duo of team-mate Maverick Vinales and World Champion Marc Marques have both won and crashed. Vinales won the opening two rounds but fell two weeks ago in Austin, while Marquez Marquez crashed out of the lead in Argentina. It promises to be another epic encounter in the 27 lap race on Sunday between the three stand out championship contenders. It’s a particularly big race for Austin winner Marquez who still trails Rossi by 18 points.

Dani Pedrosa, Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate, took his first podium finish of the season with a third place in Austin and has a great record at Jerez with nine podium finishes in ten MotoGP appearances including two wins. Cal Crutchlow has also hit some consistency on the LCR Honda after a difficult first race and will be pushing for his second podium finish of the season. It’s been a tough start to the year for the factory Ducati team but Andrea Dovizioso is still fourth in the championship while former Jerez winner Jorge Lorenzo is slowly getting to grips with the very different Italian machine and finished ninth in Austin.

MotoGP™ rookies and Monster Tech3 Yamaha team-mates Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger have made a sensational start to their step up from Moto2™. Zarco has finishes fifth in the last two races after crashing in Qatar while leading, while Folger has been the model of consistency including a sixth place in Argentina. Riders looking to start their European campaign with a bang after a tough opening three races include the Spanish trio of Alvaro Bautista, Aleix Espargaro and Hector Barbara, while Alex Rins is missing after breaking his left wrist in Austin. He will be replaced in the Ecstar Suzuki team by Takuya Tsuda who joins Jerez Moto2™ winner Andrea Iannone.

There is a clear message in the Moto2™ World Championship – who can stop Italian Franco Mordbidelli. The EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider has dominated the opening three races to build up an impressive 19 point lead over the consistent Tom Luthi who’s been on the podium in all three. Portuguese rider Miguel Oliviera has given the new KTM team an impressive debut especially with the second place in Argentina while Takaaki Nakagami’s two third places have pushed him into fourth place just in front of the impressive young Spaniard Xavi Vierge. The one rider who has pushed Mordbidelli in those three races has been his team-mate Alex Marquez who has made mistakes at vital times. Perhaps his time will come on Sunday?

Romano Fenati’s win in Austin has blown the Moto3™ World Championship wide open. Joan Mir had won the opening two rounds in brilliant style but Fenati’s impressive win on the Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda and Mir’s eighth place means the young Spaniard’s lead has been slashed to just six points over countryman Jorge Martin who has finished on the podium every time. John McPhee, riding the British Talent Team Honda, slipped to third after a seventh place in Austin, just four points in front of the flying Fenati.

TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 5 May: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 6 May: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 7 May: 7.30 – 15.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday May 8 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | May 2nd, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain – Preview

Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas – Preview

CRUTCHLOW AND MCPHEE CHASE REPEAT OR EVEN MORE

Cal Crutchlow and John McPhee jet into Texas this weekend chasing at least a repeat of their podium finishes at the last round, in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin on Sunday. Isle of Man based Midlander Crutchlow finished third on the LCR Honda in the MotoGP™ race in Argentina and faces the third round of the Championship with renewed confidence after finishing behind the Movistar Yamaha pair of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi two weeks ago. His best result in Austin is fourth in 2013.

Twenty-two-year-old Oban – based Scotsman McPhee has hit the ground running on his debut season in the new British Talent Honda team. He’s finished second in the opening two rounds behind 19-year-old Spaniard Joan Mir and is ready to push on to his second grand prix victory in the 18 lap Moto3™ race on Sunday round the 3.426 miles Circuit of the Americas.

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding has made an equally impressive and consistent start to his MotoGP season. Riding the Octo Pramac GP16 Ducati the former 125cc and Moto2™ grand prix winner is fourth in the Championship after finishing seventh and eighth in the opening two rounds in Qatar and Argentina. Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith scored his first point of the season in Argentina and together with team-mate Pol Espargaro the KTM factory team’s first ever MotoGP points. Again they race into the unknown with the Austrian team at a circuit they have never competed at in a MotoGP race or test.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes is one of two British winners at Austin. He won the 2015 Moto2 race and needs some points on Sunday after a difficult start to his MotoGP career on the Gresini Aprilia. He was a lot happier in Argentina despite finally being side-lined with a gearbox problem. The other British winner was Danny Kent in the Moto3 race two years ago. It’s been tough start to the Moto2 season for the Wiltshire rider who crashed out a couple of weeks ago in Argentina.
DID YOU KNOW

• In total, there have been 29 previous Grand Prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 8 and Austin – 4.

• Marc Marquez has won on each of the eight occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in America; four times at Austin, three times at Indianapolis and at Laguna Seca in 2013. Only once in these eight 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.
• Ducati have had one rider finish on the podium in Austin for the last three years: Andrea Dovizioso was third in 2014 and second in 2015; Andrea Iannone was third last year.

• Jorge Lorenzo’s second place finish last year is the best result for a Yamaha rider at the Austin circuit.

• Maverick Viñales finished fourth at Austin last year, one place ahead of team-mate Aleix Espargaro. This was the first time since the San Marino Grand Prix in 2007 that Suzuki had two riders finish in the top five places.

• All twelve podium finishers in the four previous MotoGP races held at Austin have been riders from either Spain of Italy.

• The winners of the last three Moto2 races in Austin are now competing in the MotoGP class: Alex Rins, Sam Lowes and Maverick Viñales. The only other rider to win a Moto2 race in Austin is Nico Terol, at the first visit to the circuit in 2013.

• The three riders who finished on the podium in the Moto2 race last year in Austin (Rins, Lowes and Zarco) have all moved up to race in the MotoGP class in 2017.

• Last year’s Moto3 winner in Austin, Romano Fenati, is the only rider who has won at the circuit who is competing in the Moto3 class in 2017.

WINNING TRIO CHASE HATRICK IN AUSTIN

Can the three riders who have won the opening two grands prix of the season make it a hat trick of victories when the 2017 MotoGP™ World Championship flies into Texas on Sunday? Maverick Vinales, Franco Mordbidelli and Joan Mir won their respective races in Qatar and Argentina but face a very different challenge in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin.

Maverick Vinales, who has brilliantly won the opening two MotoGP rounds on his Movistar Yamaha debut, faces a head to head challenge with World Champion Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider, who has yet to secure a 2017 podium finish, has never been beaten in Austin winning all four MotoGP races at the demanding 3.426 miles Circuit of the Americas. Valentino Rossi, Vinales’ Yamaha team-mate, has finished third and second in the opening couple of rounds and would love to go one better at the circuit where he crashed last year. While Rossi trails his team-mate by 14 points in the championship Marquez knows that nothing short of a victory will suffice to close the massive 37 point gap between himself and his fellow Spaniard.

There are a number of top riders looking to get back to points scoring ways after disasters in Argentina. The factory Ducati duo of Andrea Dovizioso, who has a couple of Austin podiums and Jorge Lorenzo, who was second last year, both crashed out. Andrea Iannone, who was replaced by Lorenzo at Ducati and who finished second last year, has crashed on both his Ecstar Suzuki appearances. Dani Pedrosa was another faller in Argentina leaving the way open to the consistent points scores to climb the championship table. Scott Redding on the Octo Pramac Ducati is fourth, Jonas Folger an impressive sixth on his Monster Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP debut season and last year’s Assen winner, Australian Jack Millar seventh.

Then you have to throw into the mix in the 21 lap race the riders who crashed out in Qatar but fought back strongly in Argentina. Heading the list is Cal Crutchlow who was third riding the LCR Honda followed by Alvaro Bautista who was fourth on the Pull and Bear Aspar GP16 Ducati. Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco led on his MotoGP debut in Qatar before crashing, but fought hard for fifth in Argentina, is one place ahead of the impressive Aleix Espargaro on the Gresini Aprilia.

Italian Franco Morbidelli won his first Moto2™ grand prix and took his first pole position in Qatar and has not looked back. The EG 0.0 Marc VDS rider made it two in a row in Argentina despite the challenge of his team-mate Alex Marquez who crashed out. Portuguese star Miguel Oliveira gave the new KTM team a superb second place with Mr Consistency Tom Luthi in third. Takaaki Nakagami will chase a repeat of his Qatar podium after an Argentine crash, with Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri chasing a podium after his fourth last time out. Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder misses out after a plate came loose in his previously broken left arm.

Nineteen-year-old Spaniard Joan Mir has been in brilliant form to win the opening two Moto3™ races riding the Leopard Racing Honda. In Argentina he started from 16th on the grid to win from John McPhee who has also started his season in superb style. Riding the British Talent Honda, he’s finished second in both races with Spaniard Jorge Martin third both times on the Del Conca Gresini Honda. There are a bevy of riders ready to challenge the leading trio headed by former Austin winner Romano Fenati.
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 21 April: 15.00 – 22.00
Saturday 22 April: 15.00 – 22.15
Sunday 23 April: 15.00 – 22.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday April 24 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | April 18th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas – Preview

Motul Grand Prix of the Republic of Argentina – Preview

MCPHEE AND REDDING CHASE ARGENTINE REPEATS

John McPhee and Scott Redding chase repeat performances at the second round of the MotoGP™ World Championship in Argentina on Sunday. In the opening Qatar round Scotsman McPhee was a superb second in the Moto3™ race while Gloucestershire’s Redding’s seventh place in the MotoGP race was a tremendous morale booster before they arrive at the 2.986 miles Termas de Rio Honda circuit, which is situated 500 miles north – west of Buenos Aires.

After a difficult time in pre-season testing on the Octo Pramac Ducati, Redding hit top form in Qatar and finished under ten seconds behind race winner Maverick Vinales. In the same Qatar race, Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith made his factory debut on the new KTM. Together with team-mate Pol Espargaro he was delighted to finish the first ‘proper’ grand prix for the team and will be moving on to finish in the points at the next two races in Argentina and Austin two weeks later.

Moto2™ Grand Prix winner Sam Lowes also finished the race on his MotoGP debut. The Lincolnshire rider gained valuable experience on the Gresini Aprilia and will be encouraged by the sixth place finish of his team-mate Aleix Espargaro. Qatar was a tough weekend for double MotoGP grand prix winner Cal Crutchlow. After a big crash in practice from the LCR Honda, he crashed again in the early stages of the race. The Isle of Man based Midlander bravely remounted but fell again when the throttle stuck open. He will be seeking a change of fortune at the circuit where he finished third two years ago.

Oban – based McPhee gave the British Talent Honda team a tremendous debut in Qatar in an eight rider race for victory under the floodlights. It was his first grand prix since a serious injury sustained at the Australian Grand Prix in November last year and the 22-year-old can expect another big Moto3™ fight in the 21 lap race on Sunday. Wiltshire’s Danny Kent was 13th in the Qatar Moto2 race after impressing during practice. He returns to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit where he won the Moto3 race two years on route to the world title.
DID YOU KNOW

• This year’s event at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is the 14th 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 fourth 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 grand prix at the Buenos Aires circuit is Valentino Rossi, who won the 250cc race in 1998 & was third in 1999.

• Marc Marquez has twice won the MotoGP™ race in Argentina from pole position – in 2014 and 2016. He was also on pole in Argentina in 2015, but crashed when battling for the lead.

• The only rider other than Marquez to win a MotoGP race at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is Valentino Rossi, who won on the 2015 race after starting down in 8th place on the grid.

• 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 two years ago.

• Stefan Bradl finished seventh last year in Argentina which was the best result for Aprilia the MotoGP class since Noriyuki Haga finished seventh at the British Grand Prix at Donington in 2003.

• The three Moto2™ races that have taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit have been won by riders now competing in the MotoGP class: Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2015 & 2016. In each of the past three years the Moto2 race winner in Argentina has gone on to take the world title.

• Last year in Argentina Khairul Idham Pawi won the Moto3™ race – the first Malaysian rider to win a grand prix race in any class.
MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE

All we ask is more of the same please in Argentina on Sunday after a superb opening round of the 2017 MotoGP™ World Championship in Qatar. Twenty-two-year-old Spaniard Maverick Vinales fought off the challenge of veteran warhorses Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi in a fight to the flag in the 20 lap race. Vinales was making his Movistar Yamaha debut and can expect even more challengers around the 2.986 miles Termas de Rio Hondo circuit situated some 500 miles north- west of Buenos Aries.

Rossi, the winner two years ago and Dovizioso, second in that 2015 race will be joined by World Champion Marc Marquez who brought Repsol Honda victory in 2014 and last year, and his team-mater Dani Pedrosa. Marquez was fourth in Qatar after a wrong tyre choice but has a great record in Argentina. Dovizioso was set for another podium finish last year when he was knocked off by his Ducati team-mate Andrea Iannone two bends from the finish. Iannone left Ducati to replace Vinales at Ecstar Suzuki and crashed out in Qatar while contesting the podium. His new team-mate Alex Rins, who was an impressive ninth in Qatar on his MotoGP debut, could miss the race after breaking his ankle in a motocross training crash.

Three times MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo made a disappointing Ducati debut finishing 11th in Qatar but he returned to test in Jerez with team-mate Dovizioso and will be pushing for podium finishes and race wins by the time we reach Europe.

There were some stand out performances in Qatar and the likes of Aleix Espargaro who brought Aprilia their best ever MotoGP result in sixth, Scott Redding, Jack Miller and rookie Jonas Folger would be delighted with a repeat showing. Double Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco, Folger’s team-mate at Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, made a sensational start to his MotoGP career leading the established stars until he crashed. The Frenchman returns to the circuit where he’s won for the last two years. Other fallers looking to open their account are Cal Crutchlow, who crashed twice from the LCR Honda and Alvaro Bautista who was so impressive in pre-season testing.

Italian Franco Morbidelli stamped his mark on the Moto2™ Championship with his maiden victory in Qatar riding the Marc VDS machine. With four of the leading Moto2 riders joining MotoGP, the race gave an indication of what to expect with Tom Luthi and Takaaki Nakagami on the podium. There were impressive performances by Miquel Oliviera riding the new KTM into fourth place in front of former Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez. Last year’s surprise Moto3 winner in Argentina, Khairul Idham Pawi, makes his second Moto2 appearance after a disappointing 28th in Qatar.

Nothing changed in Moto3 with the first eight Qatar finishers separated by less than nine tenths of a second. Joan Mir pulled off a superb victory over John McPhee and Jorge Martin and the 21 lap race on Sunday could be a similar last bend shoot –out.
TELEVISION TIMES

BT SPORT 2
Friday 7 April : 13.00 – 20.00
Saturday 8 April: 13.00 – 20.15
Sunday 9 April: 13.30 – 22.00

CHANNEL FIVE
Highlights Monday April 10 19.00

talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.

By | April 4th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Motul Grand Prix of the Republic of Argentina – Preview

LIGHTS ON – THE WAIT IS OVER IN QATAR

The floodlights will light up the desert night sky when the long awaited MotoGP™ season launches into 2017 at the Losail International circuit in Qatar on Sunday. Four British riders, all who have tasted grand prix success, line up at the 3.343 miles circuit just outside Doha for the opening round of the championship that produced nine separate winners last season.

Heading the list is Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow who re-wrote the history books last year with two MotoGP victories on the LCR Honda. The 31-year-old was the first British rider to win a premier class race for 35 years and in pre-season testing has impressed and has every chance in the next 18 grands prix of winning more races and even challenging for ultimate championship success.

It’s a big season for Gloucestershires Scott Redding who came strong in the final test at Qatar last week. Riding the Octo Pramac Ducati the 24-year-old was seventh fastest at the Losail International circuit. A repeat in the 22 lap race on Sunday would be the perfect start for Redding who is still the youngest ever grand prix winner.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith faces a tough opening few races as he spearheads the new Red Bull KTM team’s maiden season in MotoGP. He has recovered from the serious knee injury sustained last August and will be looking for points scoring rides in the opening three flyaway grands prix starting on Sunday.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes makes his MotoGP debut after two grands prix wins last year in the Moto2™ class. The 26-year-old, whose twin brother Alex competes in the World Superbike Championship, has joined Aleix Espargaro in the Gresini Aprilia team.

Former Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent continues in the Moto2 class. The Wiltshire – based rider had a tough time last year after winning the Moto3 Championship the previous season. He continues with the Kiefer team but switches to a Suter frame

Twenty-two-year-old Scotsman John McPhee gives the new British Talent team their grand prix debut. McPhee returned to testing fully fit after missing the last two grands prix last season following a crash in the Australian Grand Prix, just a few weeks after a brilliant win at the wet Czech Republic Grand Prix.

 
BRIT BRIEFS

– The four British riders in the MotoGP class in 2017 are all past grand prix winners. The last time that four British riders who are grand prix winners took part in a premier-class grand prix was at Silverstone in 1979 (Barry Sheene, John Newbold, Mick Grant and Tony Rutter).

– The six British riders across the three classes are all past grand prix winners. The last time that Britain had six or more grand prix winners take part in the opening grand prix event of the year was in 1970 at the Nurburgring.

 
DID YOU KNOW?

Fifteen of the riders on the full-time Moto2™ entry list have previously won grand prix races. Between them, these fifteen riders have scored seventy-one world championship race wins. Five of the riders competing in Moto2 in 2017 have won the 125cc/Moto3 World Championship: Thomas Luthi, Sandro Cortese, Alex Marquez, Danny Kent and Brad Binder.

As usual there are lots of changes in the full-time Moto3™ entry list for 2017, with a total of seven rookies on the grid. Six of the riders in the Moto3 entry list have grand prix victories to their name: Romano Fenati (7 GP wins), Nico Antonelli (3), Enea Bastianini (2), Livio Loi (1), Joan Mir (1) and John McPhee. (1).

 
Qatar Facts and Stats

– This will be the 14th occasion that a grand prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the tenth under floodlights.

– This will be the 11th successive year that the Losail circuit has hosted the opening grand prix event of the year.

– After winning the final race of 2016 at Valencia on a Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo has switched to the Ducati factory team for 2017 and will be aiming to become just the second rider ever to win back-to-back premier-class grand prix races on machine from two different manufacturers. The only rider to have previously achieved this was Valentino Rossi who won the opening race of 2004 in South Africa on a Yamaha having won the final race of 2003 at Valencia on a Honda.

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

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

– Ducati won at Losail in 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).

– The second place finish by Marc Marquez at the final race of 2016 was the 51st time he has stood on the podium in the premier-class of grand prix racing, the same number of podium finishes as both Alex Criville and Kevin Schwantz achieved in their 500cc GP careers. If Marquez finishes in the top three in Qatar he will equal the number of premier-class podium finishes achieved by Wayne Gardner.

– Jonas Folger is the only one of the four rookie in the MotoGP class this year to have previously won at Qatar in any of the smaller classes, having taken the Moto2™ victory there in 2015.

– The last three MotoGP races of 2016 were won by three different manufacturers: Honda, Ducati, Yamaha. Not since 1975 have four successive premier-class GP races been won by four different manufacturers; on that occasion it was Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, MV Agusta.

– Having taken his first victory in the MotoGP last year at Silverstone riding a Suzuki, if Maverick Viñales wins a race at any time in 2017 on the factory Yamaha he will be the second youngest rider of all-time, after Mike Hailwood (Norton & MV Agusta), to have won in the premier-class on bikes from two different manufacturers.

– If Valentino Rossi, at the age of 38, finished in the top three during 2017 he will be the oldest rider to take a premier-class podium since Jack Findlay won the Austrian GP in 1977 – a race that was boycotted by many of the top riders due to safety concerns.

– If Maverick Viñales takes a MotoGP win in 2017 he will be only the fourth rider in the history of grand prix racing to win premier-class races on both Suzuki and Yamaha machinery, along with Barry Sheene, Randy Mamola and Jack Middelburg.

 
VINALES LEADS THE DESERT CHARGE

Can Maverick Vinales turn his dazzling testing form into race wins after he has dominated MotoGP™ pre-season testing on the Movistar Yamaha? The 22-year-old Spaniard has made a sensational start to his Yamaha career leading all three pre-season test sessions including the Losail International circuit test last week. He joins 38-year-old nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi, with the departure of last year’s Qatar winner Jorge Lorenzo to Ducati. Last year Vinales, a former Moto3™ World Champion, took his maiden MotoGP victory at the Octo British Grand Prix riding for the Ecstar Suzuki team. He is replaced at Suzuki by Austrian Grand Prix winner Andrea Iannone who has rookie Moto2™ winner Alex Rins as his team-mate.

World Champion Marc Marquez crashed five times in the Qatar test as he struggled to tame the power of the Repsol Honda and it promises to be a season long fight for glory between the three times MotoGP Champion and Vinales. Lorenzo made good progress on the GP17 Ducati in Qatar but the 22 lap race on Sunday may just come a little early for a repeat of his victory last year. His Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso has been fast and consistent throughout testing at a circuit where he has a good MotoGP form.

The surprises on Sunday could come from a fit Danny Pedrosa, a rejuvenated Alvaro Bautista on his return to the Pull and Bear Aspar Team Ducati, the Monster Tech3 Yamaha rookie duo of Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger. The grand prix also marks the proper debut of the Red Bull KTM team of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro.

With four of the leading riders stepping up to MotoGP this year’s Moto2 Championship is wide open. Pre-season favourites must include Tom Luthi, Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami but there is some big talent coming up from Moto3 including World Champion Brad Binder and grand prix winner Khairul Idham Pawi.

It’s the same story in Moto3 with the departure of the World Champion. Italian Romano Fenati returns after his problems and has looked impressive on the Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda and will face tough opposition from fellow Italian grand prix winners Enea Bastianini and Niccolo Antonelli.

 

MOTOGP HIGHLIGHTS ON CHANNEL 5

A new deal for 2017 sees the best of MotoGP™ free-to-air across the country

Dorna Sports is delighted to announce a new free-to-air home for highlights of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship in the UK, as Channel 5 get ready to fire up new coverage for 2017. With the first Grand Prix just around the corner in Qatar, fans in the UK will now be able to watch the best of MotoGP™ every Monday following the race – with a prime-time slot assured.

The announcement comes as interest in the UK hits a new peak following Cal Crutchlow’s stunning victories in 2016, when a Brit got back on the top step of the premier class podium for the first time since the legendary Barry Sheene in 1981. There is also the new Dorna-backed British Talent Team lining up John McPhee in the Moto3™ category this year, as well as the debut of the British Talent Cup in 2018, meaning the timing could not be better for a new free-to-air home for MotoGP™ in the UK.

Television Times

Thursday March 23 BT Sport 2 14.00 – 19.45
Friday March 24 BT Sport 2 14.45 – 18.45
Saturday March 25 BT Sport 2 14.30 – 18.30
Sunday March 26 BT Sport 2 13.45 -21.00

Radio – Sunday March 26 talkSport2

Monday March 27 Channel 5 19.00 Highlights.

By | March 20th, 2017|Uncategorised|1 Comment