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Pedrosa’s pure bad luck

Is there such a thing as pure bad luck? In Dani Pedrosa’s case I think there is. Surely the biggest question mark surrounding last week’s retirement announcement by Dani must be how a rider with such an amazing record never won the MotoGP™ World title that he so richly deserved.

Only 15 times World Champion Giacomo Agostini has matched Dani by winning a premier class race for 12 successive seasons and the Spanish Honda rider is the only rider in the 70 year history of the sport to have won a Grand Prix for 16 successive seasons. The records continue to tumble.

Only Agostini and Valentino Rossi have secured more Grand Prix podiums while only nine times World Champion Rossi has secured more premier class podiums. He is the fourth youngest premier class race winner behind Marc Marquez, Freddie Spencer and Norick Abe and won the same number of Grands Prix as five times World Champion Mick Doohan and premier class Grands Prix as four times World Champion Eddie Lawson. His 54 Grands Prix wins equal Doohan while he equals the Australian as the most successful Honda Grand Prix rider of all time.

Following his 125cc and two 250cc World titles we just waited for the MotoGP™ crown to follow, especially after that first win at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix – it never came, but why? Two never forgotten images sum up the career to me of surely one of the most underestimated and unlucky riders in the 70 year history of Grand Prix racing.

His smile as he entered the press conference at Misano two years ago after he’d left the greats including Lorenzo, Rossi and Marquez trailing in his wake by nearly three seconds on the Adriatic coast. His separate overtaking manoeuvres on the three World Champions came right out of the Marquez and Rossi textbook and merited his smile. Once again Dani had shown the world and his critics he could on his day match and beat the very best in the world.

Roll back the clock almost 13 years as the helicopter took off from Phillip Island bound for the hospital in Melbourne. Five days earlier the fresh faced teenager had clinched the first of three world titles with a 125cc victory at Sepang in Malaysia. In the first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix from the commentary box it looked a pretty standard crash as he slid off at the bottom of Lukey Heights in the cool conditions but as we learned so many times there is hardly ever a standard crash for Dani. He broke both his ankles as he slid into the barrier and his season and World Championship celebrations came to a premature end. When he crashed he hurt himself and throughout that 12 year MotoGP™ career it was so often not his fault. When it was where other walked away to fight another day Dani was on the plane back to Barcelona to mend broken bones.

His brilliant teammate Marquez was not giving anybody else a chance but I so wanted Dani to win at the Sachsenring on Sunday. He still has time in the remaining four months of an amazing career before giving that much repaired body the rest it deserves.

By | July 19th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|1 Comment

German Grand Prix 2018 – Fast Facts

  • The MotoGP podium at the Dutch TT had the youngest average age since the Dutch TT two years earlier when Jack Miller won from Marc Marquez and Scott Redding.
  • The podium at the Dutch TT: Marquez (Honda), Rins (Suzuki) and Vinales (Yamaha) was the first all-Spanish podium in the premier-class with the three riders on bikes from three different manufacturers.
  • With Andrea Dovizioso finishing fourth at the Dutch TT on a Ducati, it was the third time in MotoGP this year that four different manufacturers had filled the top four places.
  • Dani Pedrosa, the 15th place finisher at the Dutch TT, crossed the line just 16.043 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez. This is a new record for the closest top 15 finishers in a premier-class grand prix, taking the record from the opening race of this year in Qatar when 23.287 second covered the first 15 riders across the line.
  • With four different manufacturers filling the top four places at the Dutch TT and Pol Espargaro taking the first KTM across the line in 13th place just one place ahead of his brother Aleix on the first Aprilia home, there were six different manufacturers covered by less than sixteen seconds.  Never before in the previous 865 premier-class grand prix races in the 70 year history of the world championship series have six manufacturers finished within 16 seconds of the winner.
  • The rider with most victories at the new Sachsenring circuit is Marc Marquez with eight wins (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 5 x MotoGP), followed by Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa with six wins (2x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP).
  • In each of the last eight years at the Sachsenring Marc Marquez has qualified on pole and won the race; 2010 in the 125cc class, 2011 & 2012 in Moto2 and for the last four years in MotoGP.
  • Sachsenring is the only circuit on the 2017 schedule where Honda have won in the MotoGP class for each of the last eight years – three wins by Dani Pedrosa followed by five wins for Marc Marquez.
  • Valentino Rossi was the last non-Honda rider to win at the Sachsenring – in 2009 on a Yamaha.
  • With Danilo Petrucci crashing out at Assen, the only rider who has scored points at MotoGP all races so far in 2018 is Maverick Vinales who has scored points at the last 18 races.
  • Yamaha have gone 18 MotoGP races without a win, since the Dutch TT last year. This is equals their longest winless sequence in the MotoGP era that included the last two races of 2002 and the 16 races of 2003. The last time Yamaha went more than 18 races without a premier-class win was when Honda set a record 22 race winning streak which included all of the 15 races of 1997 plus the first 7 races of 1998. This streak was ended with a win by Simon Crafar on a Yamaha at Donington.
  • The second place finish by Alex Rins at the Dutch TT is the best result for a Suzuki rider since Maverick Vinales won at Silverstone in 2016.
  • All three races at the last two events have been won by the rider starting from pole position. This six race streak of winners from pole is the longest since 2010, when there was also a six race winning streak from pole. The last time that a more than six successive GP races have been won from pole was in 1991; the 500cc race in Japan, all three races in Australia the two races at Laguna Seca and first two races at Jerez.

 

By | July 13th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on German Grand Prix 2018 – Fast Facts

THE COURSE OF HISTORY

As World Championship motorcycle racing prepares to bake the cake to celebrate its 70th birthday next year nowhere reflects the history of Europe more than the Sachsenring circuit. Seven decades of conflict, divide and ultimately unification played out on and around the tarmac snaking through the forest above the town of Hohenstein – Ernsttal.

 The East German Grand that ran from behind the Iron Curtain between 1961 until 1972.The nearby MZ factory who took on the world from their humble premises to pioneer the two-stroke racing engine. The defection of their talisman Ernst Degner with the MZ secrets to Suzuki, the playing of the West German National anthem after the 1971 250 cc victory of Dieter Braun and finally the return as the German Grand Prix in 1998 tells so much. Throughout it was Motorcycle racing that provided a ray of light and hope for the millions of people caught in the web of post war conflict and divide. They have never forgotten.     

Folklore tells us every week for the last 69 years a fresh bunch of flowers is carefully laid on the simple stone memorial in the woods on the twisty undulating road near the entrance to the Sachsenring. Certainly there was a fresh bunch of locally picked flowers there last year as we drove through the forest on the old road circuit on route to the first day of practice for the German Grand Prix at the new Sachsenring.

Fifteen hundred kilometres away, across Europe and across both the North and Irish seas another memorial to the same person glints in some rare Isle of Man sunshine. On the famous mountain climb out of Ramsey looking back towards the Point of Ayre a kiln of stones is lovingly preserved to commemorate the life of a great motor cycle racer and six times TT winner.

On the eighth of August 1937 40 year old Scotsman Jimmy Guthrie was leading the German Grand Prix on the Sachsenring road circuit. Riding the Norton he was chasing his third successive victory in Germany where the rumble of war was looming fast. He’d already taken 19 grand prix victories and going into the last lap was leading comfortably. The 300,000 crowd packed around the 8.73 kms long road circuit that cut through the woods and around the hills surrounding the city of Hohenstein – Ernsttal, situated between Dresden and Leipzig prepared to celebrate.  He never arrived at the finish. Guthrie died in hospital after crashing into the woods on that fateful last lap.

 A year later World War two was declared and the Hohenstein-Ernstthal area around the Sachsenring was never going to be the same. When World War two ended they found themselves part of East Germany, a very different place to where they lived before war started. However, the people had never forgotten a Scottish gentleman who won two grands prix at their circuit before the hostilities split the world wide apart. In 1949 a memorial at the location he crashed was their own special tribute to him.

Colour, creed or nationality made no difference. He was their motorcycle racing hero.

By | July 12th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|1 Comment

German Grand Prix 2018 – facts and stats

  • The 2018 German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring will be the 80th Grand Prix event to be held on German soil
  • The first motorcycle Grand Prix to be held in Germany was the West German Grand Prix held at the Solitude circuit in 1952, when it was reported that 400,000 spectators turned up to watch.  Ireland’s Reg Armstrong won the 350cc and 500cc races riding Nortons.  The home crowd had plenty to cheer, with Rudi Felgenheier winning the 250cc race on a DKW and Werner Haas winning the 125cc race on a NSU.
  • The first East German Grand Prix was held at the Sachsenring road circuit in 1961. The original circuit used for this event was a closed road circuit 8.73km in length. The East German GP continued to be held at the Sachsenring each year until 1972, after which the original road circuit was considered too dangerous for Grand Prix racing.
  • The West German Grand Prix was held every year from 1952 through to 1990, when East and West joined to become a unified Germany. Four different circuits were used during this period 1952 to 1990: Solitude, Schotten, Nurburgring and Hockenheim.
  • There has been a German Grand Prix held every year since unification; from 1991 to 1994 at the Hockenheim circuit, followed by three years at the Nurburgring and since 1998 at the new Sachsenring circuit.
  • In addition to those mentioned above, one other Grand Prix event has been held in Germany: The Baden-Wurtemberg GP held in 1986 at the Hockenheim circuit for just the 80cc and 125cc classes.
  • The newly built Sachsenring circuit was initially just 3.508km long when first opened in 1998, with one short section of track from the old road circuit. Major modifications to the circuit in 2001 and then additional slight alterations in 2003 resulted in the current 3.671 km track layout.
  • The Sachsenring is one of just five circuits on the current grand prix schedule that run in an anti-clockwise direction, along with Austin, Aragon, Phillip Island and Valencia.
  • This will be the 21st successive year that a grand prix event has been held at the new Sachsenring circuit.
  • Since Grand Prix racing returned to the Sachsenring circuit in 1998 there have been seven podium finishes by home riders: Ralf Waldmann was third in the 250cc race in 1999, Steve Jenkner was third in the 125cc race in 2002, Stefan Bradl finished second in the 125cc category in 2008, Sandro Cortese finished third in the 125cc race in 2010, Stefan Bradl was second in 2011 in Moto2, in 2012 Sandro Cortese won the Moto3 race; Jonas Folger was 2nd in the Moto2 race in 2016 and 2nd in the MotoGP race last year.
  • Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP class in 2002, Honda have been the most successful manufacturer at the Sachsenring with twelve wins, including the last eight years.
  • Yamaha have had three wins at this circuit, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi in 2009, which was also the last MotoGP win in Germany by a non-Honda rider.
  • Ducati’s single MotoGP victory in Germany was with Casey Stoner in 2008. Andrea Doviziosos’s third place finish two years ago is the only podium for a Ducati rider at the Sachsenring circuit since Casey Stoner was third in 2010.
  • Honda riders have also qualified on pole for the German GP for the last seven years; the last non-Honda rider to start from pole for a MotoGP race at the Sachsenring was Jorge Lorenzo in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • The only podium finish for Suzuki in Germany in the MotoGP era is when Chris Vermeulen finished third in 2008.
  • The rider with most victories at the new Sachsenring circuit is Marc Marquez with eight wins (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 5 x MotoGP), followed by Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa with six wins (2x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP).
  • The eight Moto2 races at the Sachsenring have been won by seven different riders: Toni Elias (2010), Marc Marquez (2011 & 2012), Jordi Torres (2013), Dominique Aegerter (2014), Xavier Simeon (2015), Johann Zarco (2016) and Franco Morbidelli (2017). All of these eight Moto2 wins have been from the front row of the grid.
  • The six Moto3 races at the Sachsenring have been won by six different riders: Sandro Cortese, Alex Rins, Jack Miller, Danny Kent, Khairul Idham Pawi and Joan Mir. None of these rider still compete full-time in the Moto3 class.

 

By | July 11th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on German Grand Prix 2018 – facts and stats

Closest top 15 of all-time

Dani Pedrosa finished the Dutch TT in 15th place, crossing the line just 16.043 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez – the closest top fifteen of all-time in a full length premier-class grand prix. This breaks the record set at the opening race of 2018 in Qatar.

The following list shows the ten closest top fifteen finishes of all-time in the premier-class of grand prix racing, three of which are from the opening eight races of 2018 and four from 2017, showing just how competitive MotoGP is currently.  (Only races that have completed full race distance are considered for inclusion in the following table):

  Year Circuit Race winner Time covering first 15 riders across the line (sec)
1 2018 ASSEN Marc Marquez 16.043
2 2018 LOSAIL Andrea Dovizioso 23.287
3 2017 ARAGON Marc Marquez 26.082
4 2017 PHILLIP ISLAND Marc Marquez 26.168
5 2018 MUGELLO Jorge Lorenzo 26.644
6 2017 RED BULL RING Andrea Dovizioso 28.096
7 2006 BRNO Loris Capirossi 29.296
8 2001 PHILLIP ISLAND Valentino Rossi 29.738
9 2005 BRNO Valentino Rossi 29.768
10 2017 MUGELLO Andrea Dovizioso 30.779

 

By | July 6th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Closest top 15 of all-time

F1 AT ASSEN – SO MUCH TO LIVE UP TO

I don’t know if Assen will ever stage a Formula One car Grand Prix but if four wheels do ever grace the hallowed tarmac they will have one hell of a legacy to live up to. Never was that fact better illustrated than the classic Assen 26 lap encounter on Sunday – just ask the 100,00 fans who packed the Cathedral for a typical Sunday service.

While F1 struggled to keep the three leading cars on the same lap at the Austrian A1 ring just 16.4 seconds separated the first 16 riders in the 118.92 kms MotoGP Assen showdown. The closest ever first 15 finish in the 70 year history of the Premier class (more detail here :http://www.nick-harris.co.uk/closest-top-15-of-all-time/  )It was what Assen is all about. Constant overtaking, more than a few contacts at the front as eight riders fought for the lead. Four different Manufacturers filling the first four places. It was breath taking stuff around a track that still retains those corners that make it so special. No wonder it’s the only circuit remaining from that original 1949 World Championship calendar.

So a perfect day for the massive Dutch crowd in the glorious sunshine – well not quite. While the talented Max Verstappen brought out the orange flags at the A1 ring with his first Formula One win of the season there was no such celebrating at Assen. To be honest while Assen retains the rightful position as the biggest sporting event of the year in Holland it’s despite the total lack of success of Dutch riders on the World stage. The bare facts make it even more amazing how the Dutch fans have stuck with MotoGP because their last grand prix win came 28 barren years ago.

Hans Spaan won the 125 cc race at the 1990 Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno and that was that. He almost became the first Dutch World Champion since Henk van Kessel took the 50cc World for Kreidler 16 years earlier. It was close and went all the way to the wire and the final round at Phillip Island in Australia where Loris Capirossi, who clinched the title and his Italian mates, ganged up on the lone Dutchman. Nine years later Jürgen van der Goobergh at the same Brno circuit was the last Dutchman to start from pole position when he put that super quick MUZ – Weber on top in the 500 cc class. We have to look back almost two years for the last Dutch rider to finish on the podium when Bo Bendsneyder riding the KTM finished third in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. 

Lewis Hamilton racing through Veenslang just sounds wrong, Max Verstappen through Stekkenwal perhaps has a better ring about it but Marquez, Rins, Vinales, Dovizioso, Rossi, Crutchlow, Lorenzo and Zarco though Ramshoek an absolute dead cert even for those success starved Dutch fans.

 

By | July 6th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on F1 AT ASSEN – SO MUCH TO LIVE UP TO

THE FIRST TIME – NEVER FORGOTTEN

Assen is like my very first kiss – never forgotten. Perhaps not quite in the same way as that stolen kiss outside the front door with her father waiting on the other side for his daughter to return home, but still a memory to cherish.

I can thank Assen for my first ever grand prix, witnessing Barry Sheene win his first 500cc grand prix and then my first grand prix as a proper newspaper reporter and won by a Dutchman. No wonder the very mention of that strip of hallowed tarmac in the northern extremities of Holland moistens the old eyes and it’s not the dreaded hay fever.  

It all came back to me last year on a glorious Wednesday evening as we raced through the flat Dutch countryside towards Assen. The windmills, the canals, the cows, the bicycles and the June sunshine took me back 44 long years. Sitting in the back of the Tee Mill tours coach at 5am in the morning on the very same roads on route to my first grand prix – what an adventure at the 1973 Dutch TT.

In those distant dark days there was no British Grand Prix to witness the World Championship stars in action. The British round of the World Championship was still held every June at the TT races in the Isle of Man. We did get a glimpse of our heroes at the big International races on the mainland at events like the John Player International at Silverstone and the Race of the year at Mallory Park. Of course we made the annual pilgrimage to the Island but the trouble was many of the top World Championship riders had already decided the TT was too dangerous. One such rider was my ultimate hero Jarno Saarinen. We’d seen him ride at Silverstone and Mallory and after many council meetings at the local pub we made the momentous decision to give the TT a miss and go abroad, well Europe, to the Dutch TT. At least it was still a TT but we never imagined just how different it was to the Isle of Man.

Saarinen was spearheading Yamaha’s two-stroke assault on the World 500cc Championship and had already won in France and Austria. Then came the bombshell. The BBC Light Programme’s seven o clock news on Sunday May 20th announced that both Jarno Saarinen and Renzo Pasolini had been killed in a truly terrible accident at Monza in Italy. We were shattered but were even more determined to travel to Holland to pay our respects. We were in good company with around 25 packed coaches of fans meeting at Dover to cross the channel and drive to the legendary Assen.

It was a trip into a completely new world and learning about so much. We had a great courier on board our coach with Brands Hatch star Pat Mahoney keeping us amused all the way there and especially on the way back, via Amsterdam. At 6am in the morning we’d never seen so many people and bicycles at a race meeting. You could buy beer and chips covered in mayonnaise at that time in the morning and the sun never stopped shining. Six World Championship races, including sidecars around the most famous circuit in the World. The icing on the cake, Phil Read winning the 500cc race on the MV Agusta, four strokes still ruled the roost but not for much longer.

Then all back on the coach and a night in Amsterdam where we thought the barman liked us so much he didn’t charge us for each round of drinks. It was only when we were leaving the bill appeared. All part of the education that has stood me in good stead for the next 45 years.

By | June 28th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on THE FIRST TIME – NEVER FORGOTTEN

Dutch TT 2018 – Fast Facts

  • The MotoGP podium at the Catalunya Grand Prix (Lorenzo, Marquez, Ross) set new records for the accumulated number of grand prix wins (246) and the accumulated number of premier-class wins – 173.
  • At the Dutch TT Jorge Lorenzo could become just the second rider to win three successive races on a Ducati; the only rider to have achieved this previously is Casey Stoner.
  • If Jorge Lorenzo wins the Dutch TT he will be the oldest rider to win three or more successive premier-class races since Mick Doohan in 1998.
  • Following his wins at Mugello and Catalunya if Jorge Lorenzo wins the Dutch TT he will become only the third rider of the MotoGP era to win three or more successive MotoGP races for two different manufacturers, joining Valentino Rossi (Honda and Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Ducati and Honda). In addition to Rossi and Stoner the only other rider to score three or more successive premier-class grand prix races on motorcycles from two different manufacturers is Geoff Duke in the 500cc class on both Norton and Gilera.
  • The win in Catalunya was the 112th time Jorge Lorenzo has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class, the exact same number as Dani Pedrosa. Only Valentino Rossi has stood on the podium more often in the premier-class of grand prix racing.
  • Lorenzo’s win in Catalunya was the 150th time he has stood on the podium in his grand prix career. He is fourth rider ever to reach the milestone of 150 grand prix podium finishes, joining Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini and Dani Pedrosa.
  • Two years ago at the Dutch TT Jack Miller took his first win in the MotoGP class; this was the first win in MotoGP by an Independent Team rider since Toni Elias won in Portugal in 2006.
  • The last eight MotoGP poles at the Dutch TT have been taken by eight different riders: Jorge Lorenzo was on pole in 2010 followed in successive years by – Marco Simoncelli, Casey Stoner, Cal Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco.
  • In the last seven years only two riders have won the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT from pole position: Casey Stoner in 2012 and Valentino Rossi in 2015.
  • In Catalunya Jorge Lorenzo became the first rider to win in the MotoGP class having started from pole positions since Marc Marquez at Phillip Island last year.
  • Neither Dani Pedrosa nor fellow factory Honda rider Marc Marquez has started from pole in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT. The last Honda rider to start from pole in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT was Casey Stoner in 2012.
  • The last rider to win the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT in successive years is Valentino Rossi, in 2004 and 2005.
  • Last year Valentino Rossi become the oldest winner in the MotoGP era at the age of 38 years 129 days, which also made him the 7th oldest winner of all-time in the premier-class of grand prix racing.
  • If Marc Marquez finished in the top three at the Dutch TT it will be his 69th podium in the MotoGP class, equalling the number of MotoGP podiums achieved by Casey Stoner.
  • Last year at the Dutch TT, Scott Redding became just the second British rider (along with Cal Crutchlow) in the MotoGP era to set a fastest lap in a race.
  • Yamaha have gone 17 MotoGP races without a win, since the Dutch TT last year. This is their longest winless sequence since the 18 race winless streak that included the last two races of 2002 and the 16 races of 2003.
  • Only two riders have scored points at all five MotoGP races in 2018: Maverick Vinales and Danilo Petrucci.
  • Maverick Vinales has scored points in the last 17 successive races. The last time that he did not finish in a point scoring position was the Dutch TT last year when he crashed at the chicane at the end of the 12th lap.
  • This year the Dutch TT takes place in July for the first time since 1955.

 

 

 

 

By | June 28th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Dutch TT 2018 – Fast Facts

Dutch TT 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • 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 70th 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 nine victories, seven for Valentino Rossi and one each for Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.
  • 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 three podium finishers at Assen in the past seven years: Andrea Dovizioso was second in 2014, Scott Redding third in 2016 and Danilo Petrucci second 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.
  • Just 0.063 second separated Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci at the end of the Dutch TT last year; the sixth closest finish of the MotoGP era, after: 2006/Portugal (0.002 seconds), 2011/Valencia (0.015 sec), 2016/Italy (0.019 sec), 2003/Czech (0.042 sec), 2003/Germany (0.060 sec).
  • 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 ten victories, eight in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.
  • The eight Moto2 races at the Dutch TT have been won by seven different riders: Andrea Iannone (2010), Marc Marquez (2011 & 2012), Pol Espargaro (2013), Anthony West (2014), Johann Zarco (2015), Takaaki Nakagami (2016) and Franco Morbidelli (2017). Of these riders, all with the exception of West are now competing in the MotoGP class.
  • The six Moto3 races at the Dutch TT have been won by six different riders: Maverick Vinales (2012), Luis Salom (2013), Alex Marquez (2014), Miguel Oliveira (2015), Francesco Bagnaia (2016), Aron Canet (2017). Of these riders only Canet still competes in the Moto3 class.
  • Only once has the Moto3 race at Assen been won by a rider qualifying on the front row – in 2014 when Alex Marquez qualified in second place on the grid.
  • Moto3 rookie Bo Bendsneyder finished 9th at his home grand prix in 2016, which is 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.

 

By | June 26th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|1 Comment

Thank goodness for the switch, it could have got boring

After witnessing Jorge Lorenzo hammer the opposition for the second Grand Prix in succession at Barcelona on Sunday, I will be honest to admit the thought did cross my mind – thank goodness Lorenzo is making the amazing switch to Repsol Honda next year because this could get boring. It’s not a thought that would have even entered my head after watching him stomp into the Ducati garage at Le Mans after finishing in sixth place just four weeks previously. What a difference a month can make in the frenzied tangled web of the MotoGP™ paddock.

Even in the world of MotoGP, it’s an amazing turn around but one fact to shine through the fog of intrigue is once five times World Champion Jorge Lorenzo gets the bit between the teeth, he is a very difficult man to beat. The Barcelona win may have not been from start to finish – which is the Mallorcan’s great forte – but he was only one lap short, taking the lead down into Turn 1 on the second lap and never to be headed again. That was the last the opposition saw of him as he romped to his 46th MotoGP win. In 24 of those victories, including his maiden Ducati win at Mugello two weeks previously, he has led every lap of the race, which is some record. Throw in his first Ducati pole after 25 attempts and the transformation is complete, although it probably took longer than both Ducati and Lorenzo could ever have imagined.

Just to thicken the plot between those two wins for Ducati, Lorenzo announced he was leaving the Italian factory at the end of his two-year contract to join Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda next season. The timing could not have been more bizarre but the thought of the two Spaniards on the Championship winning Honda next season must send a shiver down the spine of the opposition, but not of Team Boss Alberto Puig. His two riders may have won the MotoGP world title for the last six years but his no nonsense, say it as it is approach that turned promising youngsters into World Champions has prepared him for the pit lane conflicts that are bound to occur when two of the MotoGP™ greats chase the same title. Only one of them can win it but what a great problem to have. Surely Honda have pulled off the signing of the year, or even the decade? Although Casey Stoner’s arrival from Ducati in 2011 was not such a bad move.

Ducati must be confused although a lot better off financially. After Andrea Dovizioso’s brilliant victory at that first Grand Prix of the year in Qatar they, like many of us, thought Dovi could really challenge for the title this year. Whatever the situation with Lorenzo and his struggles to adjust to Ducati they had the potential World Champion on the other side of the garage, but three crashes in the last four races have wrecked his chances of bringing Ducati that first World title since Stoner way back in 2007.

One thing that is for certain MotoGP™ is never boring, on or off the track. Prepare for the next instalment.

By | June 21st, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|3 Comments