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RANDY MAMOLA – WHERE DO YOU START?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Randy Mamola a true friend and MotoGP legend.

By | April 20th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|0 Comments

Austin 2018 – Fast Facts

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

 

By | April 19th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|0 Comments

Grand Prix racing at Austin

  • This is the sixth successive year that a MotoGP event has been held at the Austin circuit.
  • In total, there have been 30 previous Grand Prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 8 and Austin – 5.
  • Marc Marquez has won on each of the nine occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in America; five times at Austin, three times at Indianapolis and at Laguna Seca in 2013.  Only once in these nine appearances in MotoGP in America has Marquez not been on pole; at Laguna Seca in 2013 when he qualified in second place on the grid behind Stefan Bradl.
  • The only riders currently competing in the MotoGP class who have won in the class at any of the American circuits are: Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
  • Honda riders have won the last fourteen MotoGP races in the USA; the last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010 on a Yamaha.
  • Honda riders have qualified on pole for the last ten MotoGP races in the USA. The last non-Honda rider to start from pole at any of the US circuits is Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca in 2012.
  • Prior to last year Ducati had one rider finish on the podium in Austin for three successive years: Andrea Dovizioso was third in 2014 and second in 2015; Andrea Iannone was third in 2016. Last year the first Ducati rider across the line was Dovizioso in sixth place.
  • The second place finishes of Jorge Lorenzo in 2016 and Valentino Rossi last year are the best results for Yamaha at the Austin circuit.
  • After his second place finish in Austin last year Valentino Rossi headed the championship classification for the first time since he arrived at the final race of 2015 at Valencia with a seven point lead over Jorge Lorenzo.
  • Maverick Viñales fourth place finish two years ago is the best result for Suzuki at the Austin circuit.
  • All fifteen podium finishers in the five previous MotoGP races held at Austin have been riders from either Spain of Italy.
  • Eleventh place finisher in Austin last year, Jonas Folger, crossed the line just 18.903 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez – this is the closest top eleven of the MotoGP era.
  • The three riders who finished on the podium in the Moto2 race last year in Austin (Morbidelli, Luthi and Nakagami) have all moved up to race in the MotoGP class in 2018.
  • Three of the five Moto2 race winners in Austin are now competing in the MotoGP class: Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli. Sam Lowes, who won in Austin in 2015, is the only rider currently competing in Moto2 who has won in the class at this circuit.
By | April 18th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, Uncategorised|0 Comments

Cal Crutchlow re-writes the record books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARGENTINA PRICKED THE MOTOGP BUBBLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For once that MotoGP bubble had been burst.

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

Fast Facts – Argentina 2018

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

Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This year’s event at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is the 15th 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 fifth 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 a grand prix at the Buenos Aires circuit is Valentino Rossi, who won the 250cc race in 1998 & was third in 1999.
  • Marc Marquez has been on pole on all four occasions MotoGP has visited the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit
  • Termas de Rio Hondo is the only circuit on the 2018 schedule where Valentino Rossi still holds the MotoGP lap record.
  • Marc Marquez and Honda have twice won the MotoGP race in Argentina – in 2014 and 2016.
  • The other two MotoGP wins in Argentina have both been by Yamaha riders –  Valentino Rossi in 2015 race after starting down in 8th place on the grid, and Maverick Viñales last year. Yamaha riders filled four of the top six places in the MotoGP race in Argentina last year.
  • Last year in Argentina Viñales made it two wins from the opening two races of the season – the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the opening two premier-class grand prix races of the year.
  • 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 three years ago.
  • The four Moto2 races that have taken place at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit have all been won by riders now competing in the MotoGP class: Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2015 & 2016, and Franco Morbidelli last year. In each of the past four years the Moto2 race winner in Argentina has gone on to take the world title.
  • Last year in Argentina Miguel Oliveira qualified on pole position for the first time since moving up to the Moto2 class – the first Portuguese rider to start from pole position in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing.
By | March 29th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Argentina 2018 – Facts and Stats

MR STEADY IS READY

I’m finding it hard to type with one hand because I’m being honest and have the other hand above my head. Come on; keep your hand down if at the start of the MotoGP season last year you expected Andrea Dovizioso to be challenging for the Championship going into that last Valencia round.

Like me you expected the charming Mr Steady Italian to be picking up a few podiums even poles plus at the best a win or two on the factory Desmosedici Ducati. After all some people thought he was lucky to even keep that Ducati ride ahead of his very different team-mate Andrea Iannone and his new team-mate, amid a blaze of publicity. was Jorge Lorenzo. There had been no real hint of the truly extraordinary 18 round adventure that lay ahead.

Of course Dovi has always been quick, growing up mini-bike racing on those infamous kart tracks that dot the Adriatic coast of Italy. You don’t win the 125 cc World title while still a teenager and finish runner-up in the 250 cc title chase before switching to MotoGP without oozing racing talent but was he good enough to join the great at the very pinnacle of the sport.

Early indications pointed to an impressive MotoGP career but a world title challenger, perhaps not. He won that damp British Grand Prix at Donington Park in 2009 for the Repsol Honda team but it was not until the penultimate 2016 round in the pouring Malaysian rain he secured that second win. In between he had done a great job for the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team before joining the ailing Ducati outfit in 2013. He was the ideal person to start restoring the fortunes for that passionate Italian factory that had really lost their way after the halcyon days of Casey Stoner. They were ready to challenge for the world title once again at the start of 2017 when three times MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo arrived to spearhead their challenge- well that’s what we all thought.

So what happened to a rider that was always going to be remembered as the really nice guy? Off the track, friendly, honest and accommodating. Perhaps that was the view we also had of him on the track. We could not have been more mistaken. While Lorenzo struggled Dovi just grabbed the opportunity to show a level of raw aggression and sheer confidence his rivals and Marc Marquez in particular had never witnessed before. He was quite happy to meet the World Champion head to head in epic final bend confrontations. Those wins over the Spaniard in Austria and Japan showcased the fact he had taken that giant step from grand prix winner to serious Championship contender. It’s a step that few make.

Typing is getting easier with both hands on the keyboard after witnessing Dovi destroy Marquez once again in Qatar last week. I will not make the same mistake again.

Mr Steady – I don’t think so.

Dovi is ready and more than capable.

By | March 23rd, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|4 Comments

Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats

  • The only win in the MotoGP class for Marc Marquez in the opening race of the year was in 2014, which was also his only pole at the Losail circuit since moving up to the MotoGP class. His third place finish two years ago is his only podium in the last three years at Qatar.
  • Andrea Dovizioso has finished second in Qatar for the last three years and also started from pole in 2015.
  • In Qatar last year Viñales started from pole for the first time since moving up to the MotoGP class, adding to his previous poles in Moto2 and Moto3, to become the first rider to start from pole across all three current classes.
  • Yamaha riders have won in Qatar for the las three years: Rossi in 2015, Lorenzo in 2016 and Viñales last year.
  • Following his win in Qatar last year, Viñales will be aiming to become the first rider to win the opening race of the season in successive years since Jorge Lorenzo in 2012 and 2013.
  • After winning the final race of 2017, Dani Pedrosa will be aiming to take back to back wins for the first time since he won at Jerez and Le Mans in 2013. Pedrosa has never won the opening race of the year in his twelve years in the MotoGP class.
  • Pedrosa’s victory at Valencia was the 54th time he has stood on the top step of a grand prix podium, and on every occasion he has been riding a Honda. This is the same number of GP win on a Honda as Mick Doohan. No rider has had more victories than these two riders on Honda machinery.
  • Bradley Smith is scheduled to become just the third British rider to reach the milestone of 200 grand prix starts across all class, joining Chas Mortimer (234 GP starts) and Phil Read (212 GP starts).
  • Jorge Lorenzo is the rider who has had most GP wins at the Losail circuit, with six victories (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc). He has also started from pole at Qatar on eight occasions (1 x 125cc, 3 x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP).
  • Johann Zarco crashed in Qatar last year when leading the race on his debut in the MotoGP class. He best result in Qatar is 6th in the 125cc race back in 2011. Only one French rider has ever won the opening premier-class GP of the year – Pierre Monneret on a Gilera at Reims in 1954; following this win is also the only time that a French rider has topped the premier-class world championship classification.
  • At the Qatar Grand Prix Dani Pedrosa is scheduled to become just the fifth rider to reach the milestone of 200 starts in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing, and the first Spanish rider to do this. At the age if 32 years 170 days Pedrosa is the youngest ever rider to reach this milestone, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 33 years 73 days old when making his 200th premier-class GP start at Jerez in 2012.
  • Tom Luthi joins the MotoGP class for 2018 and is the first Swiss rider to compete in the premier-class since Eskil Suter rode a 500cc MuZ in 1998.
  • Takaaki Nakagami is the first Japanese rider to race full-time in the MotoGP class since Hiroshi Aoyama in 2014.
  • Xavier Simeon is the first Belgium rider to compete in the premier-class since Sebastien Legrelle in the 500cc class in 2000.
  • Hafizh Syahrin is the first ever Malaysian rider to compete in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
By | March 16th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Qatar 2018 – Riders Facts and Stats