Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) takes the last win of the season

The last round of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 21-22 November at Portimao.

In the last race of the season, saw  the 7th new polesitter of the year as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) beating Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) by 0.044 seconds with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) completing the line up for the front row. World Champion, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), had a disastrous qualifying and starts from 20th position. Will we see a 10th new winner of the season? Let’s find out.

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Oliveira : Morbidelli : Miller Row 2 : Crutchlow : Quartararo : Bradl

Row 3 : Zarco : Vinales : P.Espargaro Row 4 : Rins : Nakagami : Dovisiozo

Row 5 : Binder : A.Espargaro Bagnaia Row 6 : A.Marquez : Rossi : Petrucci

Row 7 : Savadori : Mir : Rabat

The start of the 2020 MotoGP Portugal race. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

With 25 laps of racing, the last race of the season gets under way with Oliveira getting off to a great start and going first into Turn 1 followed by Morbidelli, Miller, Crutchlow, P.Espargaro and Rins. Miller takes Morbidelli into 2nd but two turns later Morbidelli takes the place back. Mir has an incident with Bagnaia where there seemed to be touching of the wheels on lap 2 and loses a lot of time and drops right back.

By lap 3 Oliveira has pulled out a 1.3 second lead and Binder crashes at Turn 1 putting a very early end to his race. The battle for 7th place is with Zarco, Quartararo and Vinales and all three riders are on it. Nakagami takes Rins and moves up to 10th place.

Lap 5 and Oliveira has now a 2.4 second lead, Miller is staying hot on the heels of Morbidelli biding his time for his opportunity to get past. By the following lap the World Champion has moved up to 16th place with Rossi in 15th, A.Espargaro in 14th, Vinales in 13th and A.Marquez in 12th.

P.Espargaro takes Crutchlow into 4th place on lap 7 but Crutchlow, Bradl and Zarco all have eyes on that 4th place and they are all on it with good clean racing taking place. On lap 9 Crutchlow takes 4th but a few turns later loses it again to P.Espargaro.

Nakagami takes Quartararo into 9th place on lap 10, Quartararo fights back and gets the place back but then Nakagami goes underneath and past, this time he manages to keep the place.

Lap 11 and Oliveira has a comfortable 3.7 lead over Morbidelli and Miller. Dovizioso takes A.Marquez and Quartararo and goes into 9th place and the following lap A.Marquez passes Quartararo pushing him down to 12th. P.Espargaro has a huge moment allowing Crutchlow to slide past but two turns later he gains the place back.

By Lap 14 Mir is still in 16th place and is a second a lap off the pace of the front runners. Nakagami takes Rins on the following lap and the battle for 13th place between Quartararo, Vinales and Rossi is hotting up with all three riders absolutely on it.

With a 4 second lead, can Oliveira keep up this pace for the remaining 10 laps of the race? Mir slows on the track and heads into the pits and retires from the race with what looks like mechanical issues. Zarco passes Crutchlow into 5th place.

On the start/finish straight on lap 19 Vinales gets a wobble on the bike but he manages to hold it and his 12th place.

Lap 21 sees Crutchlow run really wide allowing Dovizioso, Nakagami, Zarco and Bradl to pass and he is now down in 9th. Miller is hunting down Morbidelli, can he catch him and make a pass in the remaining 4 laps?

A.Espargaro passes Crutchlow into 9th on lap 22 and the following lap Nakagami passes Dovizioso up into 5th place. Turn 4 Savadori crashes out of the race.

Valentino Rossi’s last ride for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

On the start/finish straight going into the final lap, A.Marquez and Zarco are battling for 9th and are side by side, A.Marquez just manages to out brake Zarco and grab the place. Miller is still trying to get past Morbidelli and on Turn 13 he goes underneath and past into 2nd place but Morbidelli comes straight back and snatches the place back but Miller pulls back past and starts to ease away.

Oliveira takes the chequered flag with a comfortable win and his second of the season with Miller taking 2nd and just behind is Morbidelli in 3rd.

An absolutely nail biting last race of the season with some incredible racing taking place. Huge congratulations to KTM and Oliveira on a brilliant win and to Ducati for taking the Manufacturers Championship.

Karen Bristow

Featured image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Moto2 Pre-race Briefing by Triumph Motorcycles

Moto2 Pre-race Briefing 
2020 Round 15AlgarvePortugal20-22 November
 

A look back to the last race – Valencia Grand Prix

  • Jorge Martin took his second Moto2 victory of the season (and his second ever using Triumph power) last weekend in the closest race of the season, decided by just 0.07 seconds 
  • With erstwhile series leader Sam Lowes crashing early in the weekend and rescuing just two points, Enea Bastianini extended his title lead to 14 points with only 25 remaining 
  • Further demonstrating the closeness of competition, during the race four riders set exactly the same fastest top speed of 279.5km/h 

Winner: JMartin #88 Pole position: 1m 34.418SManzi #62 

Fastest lap: 1m 35.291, H. Garzo #40 Top speed: 279.5km/h, M. Ramirez (Race) 

Race lap record1m 34.820, T. Luthi (2019) Circuit best: 1m 34.418SManzi (2020) 

 

Enea Bastianini, Moto2 race, Valencia MotoGP, 15 November 2020. Picture courtesy of Triumph

A look to this coming race – Grand Prix of Portugal 

  • The final round of the 2020 championship will be the first ever Moto2 grand prix powered by Triumph to be held at the Algarve International Circuit, also known as Portimao 
  • With a lack of previous data, the final race could throw some surprises up, not least because mathematically the top four riders all have a chance of sealing the title 
  • The 4.6km circuit features a 969m straight which is the third longest of the season and drops downhill into turn one, and with the long sweeping final corner could we see another 300+ km/h top speed? The current record starts at 301.8km/h, set at Australia’s Phillip Island in 2019 

Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph 

  • Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) is the first winner of the Triumph Triple Trophy! 
  • He’s scored points at nine races this season, including the doubles of top speed and pole in Jerez and top speed and fastest lap in Austria 
  • On Thursday in Portugal, he will be presented with his prize of a custom Triumph Triple Trophy-liveried Street Triple RS, which boasts the 765cc triple from which the Moto2 engine is derived 

About the Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph 

  • The Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph runs alongside the Moto2 World Championship in 2020recognising that there are more stories of success from a GP than simply the race win, and will award one rider with a Street Triple RS at the end of the season 
  • Points will be awarded to the one rider at the top of each of these categories (or multiple riders in the case of a tie): fastest top speed of the weekend, pole position, and fastest race lap 
  • Fastest top speed: 7 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie
  • Pole position: 6 points for the rider on pole
  • Fastest race lap: 5 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie 

The Triumph Moto2™ 765cc race engine is a development of the class-leading Street Triple RS 765cc road motorcycle and produces more than 140PS and the same visceral soundtrack.

Jorge Martin, Moto2 race, Valencia MotoGP, 15 November 2020. Picture courtesy of Triumph

2020 Moto2 World Championship top ten: 

Pos  Race #  Rider  Chassis  Engine  Nation  Points 
1  33  E. Bastianini  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  194 
2  22  S. Lowes  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  GBR  180 
3  10  L. Marini  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  176 
4  72  M. Bezzecchi  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  171 
5  88  J. Martin  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  SPA  150 
6  87  R. Gardner  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  AUS  110 
7  45  T. Nagashima  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  JPN  89 
8  16  J. Roberts  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  USA  85 
9  23  MSchrotter  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  GER  77 
10  97  X. Vierge  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  SPA  73 

 

2020 standings – Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph: 

Pos  Race #  Rider  Nation  Points  Team 
 1  72   M. Bezzecchi  ITA  74   Sky Racing Team VR46 
 2  10   L. Marini  ITA  30   Sky Racing Team VR46 
 3  22   S. Lowes  GBR  27   EG 0,0 Marc VDS 
 4  33   E. Bastianini  ITA  24   Italtrans Racing Team 
 5  88   J. Martin  SPA  23   Red Bull KTM Ajo 
 6  42   M. Ramirez  SPA  21   American Racing 
 7  16   J. Roberts  USA  18   American Racing 
 8  12   T. Luthi  SWI  14   Liqui Moly Intact GP 
 –  99   K. Daniel  MAL  14   Onexox TKKR SAG Team 
 10  97   X. Vierge  SPA  13   PETRONAS Sprinta Racing 
 –  62   S. Manzi  ITA  13   MV Agusta Forward Racing 
 12  87   R. Gardner  AUS  12   Onexox TKKR SAG 
 13  45   T. Nagashima  JPN  10   Red Bull KTM Ajo 
 –  40   H. Garzo  SPA  10   Flexbox HP40 
 15  23   M. Schrotter  GER  7   Liqui Moly Intact GP 

Joan Mir takes the 2020 MotoGP Championship

Round 13 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 14-15 November at the Ricardo Circuit, Spain.

This race could see a new World Champion – Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has a 45 point lead in the Championship ahead of joint second place riders Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).

Qualifying was action packed including a huge highside by A.Marquez but thankfully he was able to walk away. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was fastest once again and took pole position followed by Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) making up the front row.

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Morbidelli : Miller : Nakagami Row 2 : Zarco : P.Espargaro : Vinales

Row 3 : A.Espargaro: Bagnaia : Binder Row 4 : Oliveria : Quartararo : Mir

Row 5 : Crutchlow : Rins : Petrucci Row 6 : Rossi : Dovisiozo : Bradl

Row 7 : Rabat : A.Marquez : Rabat

With 27 laps of racing ahead, the penultimate race of the season got under way with Miller off to a great start and is first into Turn 1 but then runs wide allowing

Franco Morbidelli taking an early lead at the 2020 Valencia GP MotoGP race. Image courtesy of Yamaha Corporation

and P.Espargaro to sweep past knocking him back to 3rd position. Turn 2 sees Quartararo nearly coming together with Vinales causing Quartararo to run really wide off the track and he re joins at the back of the grid. The Championship leader, Mir, has made up two places and is in 10th position and Miller has passed P.Espargaro into 2nd place.

Going into lap 2 the top six are Morbidelli; Miller; P.Espargaro; Nakagami; Oliveria and Zarco. By lap 3 Quartararo has made up five places and is now in 17th.

Oliveria passes Nakagami on lap 5 and moves up to 4th place with Zarco now hot on the heels of Nakagami looking for an opportunity to get past which he finds on Turn 1 on the following lap and he goes on the inside to take the place but then goes down and slides into the gravel having been narrowly missed by Nakagami on his slide!

By lap 7 Morbidelli has a 0.7 second lead over Miller and lap 9 Nakagami receives a track limits warning for going onto the green on the track too often! Quartararo goes down at Turn 6 into the gravel along with his Championship hopes.

Nakagami took his place back from Oliveria on the last turn coming into lap 11 quickly followed by Rins pushing Oliveria down to 6th. On the last turn coming into lap 12 Mir passes A.Espargaro and moves up to 8th. Morbidelli has a 1 second lead over Miller but Nakagami puts in the fastest lap and is chasing in on P.Espargaro.

It looks like Miller has found some extra race pace on lap 17 and closes the gap on Morbidelli by 0.3 seconds. Into Lap 19, Nakagami has also closed the gap on P.Espargaro and goes for the inside coming into Turn 14 but he has a wobble, loses it, goes down and slides into the gravel and out of the race with P.Espargaro narrowly missing him.

Franco Morbidelli and Jack Miller fighting for first place at the 2020 MotoGP Valencia GP race. Image courtesy of Yamaha corporation

By lap 22 Miller has reduced the gap on Morbidelli to just 0.4 seconds, Miller is on it, but can he get past the leader in the next 5 laps?

The Championship leader, Mir, is keeping it steady down in 7th place and just has to keep doing what he’s doing to win the title.

By the penultimate lap the gap between Miller and Morbidelli is just 0.2 seconds – can Morbidelli hold the lead for the next two laps??

On the last lap at Turn 1 Miller takes the lead, by Turn 2 Morbidelli has taken it back, Turn 3 Miller goes back past but by the next turn he’s back in second. The two riders are absolutely on it, at every opportunity Miller is looking to get past and coming out of the last turn down to the start finish line it is a horsepower race to the chequered flag. Morbidelli just manages to hold off Miller and take the win. P.Espargaro, Rins, Binder and Oliveria complete the top six.

Absolutely fantastic racing, nail biting to the very end.

Mir passes the chequered flag in 7th place and seals the 2020 MotoGP Championship. Absolutely fantastic result for both Joan Mir and Suzuki (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the first time in 20 years Suzuki has taken the driver’s Championship, the last winner being Kenny Roberts Jnr.

The last race of the season takes place next weekend, 21-22 November, in Portimao – don’t forget to set your alarms – it’s going to be a great weekend of racing.

Karen Bristow

Featured Image courtesy of Suzuki Racin

Joan Mir takes his first MotoGP Win at the European GP

Round 13 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 7-8 November at the Ricardo Circuit, Spain.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took his 2nd pole position of 2020 in what can only be described as wet conditions just 0.041 seconds ahead of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) followed by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in a truly thrilling qualifying shoot out.

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : P.Espargaro : Rins : Nakagami Row 2 : Zarco : Mir : A.Espargaro

Row 3 : Miller : Oliveira : Morbidelli Row 4 : Binder : Quartararo : Dovizioso

Row 5 : Bradl : A.Marquez : Crutchlow Row 6 : Bagnaia : Rossi : Petrucci

Row 7 : Savadori : Rabat :

Maverick Vinales started from the pit lane as a result of penalties issued to Yamaha for engine valve issues.

With 27 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with the pole sitter, P.Espargaro getting off to a great start going first into Turn 1 followed by Rins and Nakagami. By Turn 3 Mir has taken Nakagami into 3rd place and at Turn 8 A.Espargaro and Quartararo both have a synchronised crash into the gravel. Quartararo manages to re-join the race but A.Espargaro was not so lucky.

Alex Rins, Pol Espargaró and Joan Mir, in the European GP 2020 MotoGP race. Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

Oliveira passes Nakagami on lap 2 pushing him up to 4th place and Rins took P.Espargaro on the inside in a smooth pass taking the lead. Mir is having a sneaky peak too but was not able to make a pass. Savadori crashes on Turn 14 on the following lap but manages to re-join the track.

Lap 4 and we see Mir pass P.Espargaro on the inside into 2nd place with Suzuki now in first and second place. The following lap Rossi comes to a stop on the track with what looks like engine issues and an early end to his return after being absent for the last two races (due to testing positive for Covid-19).

By lap 6 Vinales is up into 16th place from his pit lane start, Bagnaia goes down at Turn 2 and then Crutchlow at Turn 8, not a good season for either of them so far. A.Marquez takes Dovizioso into 9th place on lap 7 and Mir is right on the heels of Rins – can the Championship leader win his first race of the season today?

By lap 11 the gap between P.Espargaro and Mir is just 0.4 seconds, the KTM rider is not letting Mir out of his clutches. Morbidelli passes Dovizioso on the following lap into 9th place and now has his sights set on 8th place A.Marquez.

On lap 14 Vinales is now up into 14th place and Rabat heads into the pits and retires from the race. Nakagami has passed Olivieria into 4th place and is starting to close the gap on P.Espargaro.

Lap 17 sees Rins goes wide and Mir take full advantage of this and passes him on the inside taking the lead and by the following lap the gap between the two is 0.3 seconds.

Miller passes Zarco on lap 20 into 6th position. Mir is now pulling out a lead ahead of Rins of 0.6 seconds by the following lap and Nakagami has closed the gap on P.Espargaro to 1.8 seconds.

Andrea Dovizioso and Franco Morbidelli at the 2020 European GP, MotoGP race.. Image courtesy of Ducati

By lap 23 P.Espargaro is closing the gap on Rins and Dovizioso is all over A.Marquez looking to pass and on the start/finish straight on lap 24, Dovizioso makes the pass going into Turn 1 but leaves nowhere for A.Marquez to go except into a wet patch on the track and he goes down slides off into the gravel.

Mir now has a 1.3 second lead over Rins and Nakagami is closing the gap on P.Espargaro but with only two laps to go can he close the gap enough to make a pass? Dovizioso has moved up into 7th place having taken Zarco and Vinales has moved up to 13th place.

By the last lap Mir has a comfortable lead over Rins and takes his first MotoGP win ahead of Rins in 2nd place, P.Espargaro in 3rd and Nakagami in 4th place.

Mir now has a 37 point lead in the Championship ahead of Dovizioso followed by Rins in 3rd place and Vinales in 4th. There are 50 points up for grabs at the next two races – can Mir secure the Championship next weekend at Valencia or will it go down to the wire in Portimao the following weekend?????

Featured Image Courtesy of Suzuki Racing

Morbidelli takes his 2nd win of the Season in Aragon

Round 12 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 24-25 October at Aragon, Spain.

Takaaki Nakagami’s (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claimed a stunning first MotoGP pole, the first time since Makoto Tamada in the 2004 Valencia GP a Japanese rider has started from pole position. Nakagami was quicker than 2nd place rider Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) by just 0.063 seconds and claiming his first front row of the season in 3rd place is Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Nakagami : Morbidelli : Rins Row 2 : Vinales : Zarco : Quartararo

Row 3 : Crutchlow : Oliveira : P.Espargaro Row 4 : A.Marquez : Lecuona : Mir

Row 5 : A.Espargaro: Miller : Binder Row 6 : Bradl : Dovizioso : Bagnaia

Row 7 : Petrucci : Rabat : Smith

With 23 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with the pole sitter, Nakagami getting off to a great start going first into Turn 1 followed by Morbidelli, Rins and Zarco. Turn 2 sees Binder and Miller touch with both riders going down and out into the gravel putting a very early end to their races. Nakagami then runs wide at Turn 5 and goes off into the gravel, ending his race and hopes of a podium finish.

Morbidelli is up in front ahead of Rins and Zarco. By lap 2 Mir is up to 5th, Quartararo 6th, Crutchlow 7th and A.Marquez is in 8th place. Lap 3, and Morbidelli has put in the fastest lap but Rins is right on his tail.

The following lap A.Marquez has passed both Crutchlow and Quartararo up into 6th position and is now closing the gap on Mir. Morbidelli is holding a steady lead and both he and Rins are pulling out ahead of third place rider Zarco. On lap 6, Mir passes Vinales and then two turns later A.Marquez follows by too and is now up to 5th place.

The gap between Rins in 2nd place and Zarco in 3rd is now 1.8 seconds and by lap 8 both Mir and A.Marquez are closing in on the 3rd place rider. Coming into Lap 10 sees P.Espargaro pass Quartararo very quickly followed by Oliveira but by the end of the lap Quartararo has claimed the place back from Oliveira.

Alex Marquez and Fabio Quartararo at the 2020 Teruel GP MotoGp Race. Image courtesy of Honda Racing

Mir passes Zarco to take 3rd placed on lap 11 with A.Marquez also having a look too. By the end of the lap A.Marquez manages the pass but in Turn 1 on lap 12, Zarco takes the place back and three turns later A.Marquez passes again but this time he makes it stick and is now chasing down on Mir. Unfortunaely, two laps later at Turn 2, A.Marquez crashes out thus ending his race.

For the last few laps Quartararo and Oliveira have been having a great scrap in 7th and 8th and have swapped places several times with some brilliant racing going on between the two riders.

Lap 17 sees Dovizioso getting it very wrong in the corkscrew and dropping from 10th to 12th place. Morbidelli is still holding a steady lead by lap 18 with a 0.8 second lead, can he hold off the pressures from Rins for the last six laps?

On lap 20 P.Espargaro has passed Zarco up into 4th and Petrucci has passed Dovizioso up into 12th. Morbidelli has now pulled out a 1.3 second lead on Rins and the following lap sees A.Espargaro coming to a stop at the side of the track with what looks like mechanical issues.

Going into lap 23, Morbidelli now has a 1.3 second lead over Rins and is looking good to take the win having ridden a superb smooth and consistent race from the start and indeed takes the chequered flag to take his second win of the season followed by Rins in 2nd place and Mir in 3rd.

There are three rounds left of the MotoGP season, 1 in Portimao and 2 from Valencia with the Championship standings looking like this:

Mir : 137 points

Quartararo : 123 points

Vin : 118 points

Morbidelli : 112 points

Dovizioso : 109 points

Rins : 105 points

What a brilliant weekend of racing from Aragon. Don’t forget to set your alarms for the next round on the 7/8 November.

Karen Bristow

Featured Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

Rins claims his first MotoGP Win at Aragon

Round 6 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 17-18 October at Aragon, Spain.

The Championship leader, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed his 10th pole position for Sunday’s race ahead by just 0.046 seconds of second fastest Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and claiming his first front row position since the 2019 Americas GP, is Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Quartararo : Vinales : Crutchlow Row 2 : Morbidelli : Miller : Mir

Row 3 : Nakagami : Petrucci : A.Espargaro Row 4 : Rins : A.Marquez : P.Espargaro

Row 5 : Dovizioso : Binder : Lecuona Row 6 : Zarco : Bagnaia : Oliveira

Row 7 : Smith : Rabat : Bradl

An empty Valentino Rossi garage due to him testing positive for covid-19 and will miss the Aragon GP and the Teruel GP (Aragon Circuit). Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing
Start of the AragonGP MotoGP 2020 Race. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

With 23 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with the pole sitter, Quartararo not getting off to a great start and is beaten to Turn 1 by Vinales with Morbidelli in 3rd place. Rins had a fantastic start and moved from 10th place up to 4th whilst Crutchlow had a terrible start and moved down 8 places to 12th on the grid.

By lap 3 Vinales has pulled out a 0.5 second lead. Bagnaia’s race ends early after he enters the gravel and A.Marquez moves up into 7th place. By the following lap, Rins has passed Morbidelli up into 3rd and is now pushing Quartararo and manages to take the championship leader on lap 6 up the inside.

The battle for 6th place is hotting up as Miller is looking to pass A.Marquez and by lap 8, Quartararo is passed by both Morbidelli and Mir and pushed down to 5th place.

Lap 9, Rins passes the leader, Vinales, on the inside into Turn 1 and now A.Marquez overtakes Quartararo and has his sights set on Mir. Surely Quartararo has an issue with his bike as Nakagami takes him on lap 11 and two laps later its the turn of Morbidelli and Miller and a lap later by Crutchlow pushing him down to 14th on the grid and nearly out of the points.

Lap 14,  A.Marquez brakes very late to pass Vinales, and he is now up to 3rd place with his sights very firmly set on Mir. With 8 laps to go, is Rins going to be able to hold off Mir and A.Marquez who have pulled out a 2.1 second gap ahead of 4th place Vinales.

A.Marquez is looking to pass Mir and has a couple of attempts at passing and at the start of lap 19 he takes Mir on the inside and now has his sights set on Rins. Will A.Marquez be able to get his first MotoGP win at Aragon?

Battle of the Alexes, with Rins beating Marquez in the 2020 Aragon GP MotoGP race. Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

By lap 20 A.Marquez has closed the gap on Rins to 0.17 seconds, is Rins going to be able to hold off the rookie for the last couple of laps? Lap 22 A.Marquez is right on the heels of Rins but suffers a huge wobble and thus losing valuable time allowing Rins to take a very well deserved first MotoGP win very closely followed by A.Marquez and then Mir in 3rd place.

What a brilliant weekend of racing from Aragon. Don’t forget to set your alarms for the next round at Aragon on the 24/25 October.

Featured image courtesy of Suzuki racing

Jonathan Rea wins his 6th Consecutive WorldSBK Title

Round 8 of the WorldSBK took place at Estoril and in order to keep the championship alive and stop Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) from claiming his 6th consecutive World Title, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) needs to win here this weekend.

It was an incident packed Superpole where we saw both Rea and Redding crash out with both bikes badly damaged. Fortunately for Rea, he had set a lap time before his crash which meant that although he was unable to get back out on track to set any further lap times, he started from 15th on the grid unlike Redding who started at the back of the grid having not set a time.

Claiming his first ever pole was Toprak Razgatlioglu for the (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) ahead of Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).

Race One

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Haslam : Gerloff Row 2 : Davies : Rinaldi : van der Mark

Row 3 : Lowes : Bautista : Fores Row 4 : Sykes : Folgar : Baz

Row 5 : Caricasulo : Laverty : Rea Row 6 : Mercado : Ferrari : Morais

Row 7 : Takahashi : Granado : Cresson Row 8 : Redding

With 21 laps of racing, Race 1 got underway with Razgatlioglu getting off to a great start and in the lead at the first corner with Rinaldi up to 2nd and Gerloff in 3rd. Rea had moved from 15th place to 7th and Redding into 15th.

By Lap 2 Rea has moved up to 5th place having taken Lowes and van der Mark and passing Haslam into 4th place the following lap. Turns 9 and 10 sees Rea pass Rinaldi up into 3rd.

Razgatlioglu is pulling out a lead on 2nd place Gerloff by lap 4, van der Mark and Davies both take Haslam pushing the Honda rider down to 7th. Redding is now up into 12th place but unfortunately on the next lap we see him slow and pull over at the side with what looks like mechanical issues. Rea just needs to finish the race now in a points position to become world champion.

Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Rea but lap 8 sees van der Mark go down into the gravel at turn 7 and out of the race. Rea takes Gerloff on lap 9 and now has his sights firmly set on the leader. Haslam takes Lowes on the inside closely followed by Bautista and Davies passes Gerloff and starts to chase down Rea.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu winner of Race One Estoril, WSBK 2020, Chaz Davis second, and Garrett Gerloff Third. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The start of lap 12 sees Davies pass Rea up into 2nd place and a few corners later Rea runs wide allowing Gerloff to slide past on the inside. Lap 14, Razgatlioglu has a 4.3 second lead over Davies in 2nd place and at Turn 1 Rea takes 3rd place back from Gerloff but Gerloff is not giving up and is glued to Rea’s rear and the following lap takes the place back.

On lap 17 Haslam takes Lowes at Turn 1 but a few corners later runs wide allowing Lowes to take the place back. Razgatlioglu has the race under control and is riding a superb race. Bautista goes down and into the gravel at Turn 6 on the following lap thus putting an early end to his race for the 5th time this year.

We see Haslam and Lowes switch places on the next two laps in their fight for 5th place but it is Razgatlioglu who is the comfortable winner today with over a 4 second lead ahead of 2nd place Davies, Gerloff in 3rd and Rea in 4th.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has now secured his 6th consecutive WorldSBK World Title and is a very deserved Champion indeed.

Race Two

After a brilliant race one, Race 2 is set to be as nail biting too and with 21 laps to go the starting grid looks like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Gerloff : van der Mark Row 2 : Davies : Rea : Redding

Row 3 : Bautista : Haslam : Rinaldi Row 4 : Lowes : Fores : Sykes

Row 5 : Folgar : Baz : Caricasulo Row 6 : Laverty : Mercadi : Ferrari

Row 7 : Morais : Takahashi : Granado Row 8 : Cresson

A fantastic start by Razgatlioglu who is first into Turn 1 with Davies up into 2nd and van der Mark in 3rd. 4th place Rea makes contact with van der Mark going into Turn 10 but both riders manage to keep hold of their bikes. By the end of the lap Davies has taken the lead from Razgatlioglu.

Lowes is on the heels of van der Mark on the following lap and Redding is looking to get past Rea. At Turn 4 on lap 3, 3rd place Gerloff goes into the gravel at Turn 4 putting an early end to his race.

By lap 7 Davies is pulling out a comfortable lead. Rea is now closing down Razgatlioglu and lap 8 sees Rea take the place on the start/finish line only for Razgatlioglu to take it back again. Lap 9 we see Rea repeat the overtake on the start/finish line but going into Turn 1 he loses it going up the inside of Razgatlioglu and sliding across the track. Rea manages to rejoin the race but is now in 16th place.

Van der Mark is up into 4th place by lap 10 with Lowes 5th. Bautista and his teammate, Haslam, are fighting for 6th position. Lap 13 is unlucky for Baz and Folgar who both clearly have mechanical issues and are both slowing down and then pull off the track.

Redding is reducing the gap on Razgatlioglu and Turn 7 on lap 14 Lowes goes into the gravel, he tries to rejoin the race but is unable to. What is this going to mean for the manufacturers championship now that both Rea and Lowes are out of the race? Fores has to finish the race in order for Kawasaki to win.

Lap 17 sees Redding take 2nd place from Razgatlioglu, Razgatlioglu is in fighting form and nearly gets the place back but in the end is unable to. With two laps to go, Ducati are 1st and 2nd and the battle for 6th place is hotting up between Rinaldi, Haslam, Fores and Caricasulo.

Chaz Davis, Winner of Race Two, Scott Redding second and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu third at the 2020 Estoril WSBK round. Image courtesy of Ducati

The final lap finally comes and Davies has a 3 second lead over 2nd place Redding and he takes a very comfortable and well deserved win.

Kawasaki win the manufacturers title over Ducati by 1 point. An extremely close and well fought championship battle.

Another brilliant race and a fantastic final weekend of racing to end the 2020 WorldSBK Championship.

Standings

The Driver’s / Team Standings at the end of Round 8 at Estoril on the 17/18 October looked like this:

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

360

1

Kawasaki

392

2

Scott Redding

305

2

Ducati

391

3

Chaz Davies

273

3

Yamaha

330

4

Toprak Razgatlioglu

228

4

Honda

166

5

Michael van der Mark

223

5

BMW

101

6

Alex Lowes

189

6

Aprilia

4

7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

186

8

Loris Baz

142

9

Alvaro Bautista

113

10

Leon Haslam

113

11

Garrett Gerloff

103

12

Tom Sykes

88

13

Xavi Fores

61

14

Federico Caricasulo

58

15

Eugene Laverty

55

16

Leandro Mercado

24

17

Marco Melandri

14

18

Jonas Folgar

19

19

Sandro Cortese

14

20

Sylvain Barrier

12

21

Maximillan Scheib

11

22

Takumi Takahashi

6

23

Matteo Ferrari

5

24

Christophe Ponsson

4

25

Roman Ramos

4

26

Lorenzo Zanetti

3

27

Valentin Debise

2

28

Eric Granado

1

29

Xavier Pinsach

1

Featured Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The WorldSBK Season Finale heads to Estoril

The end of an exciting, albeit very strange, MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season is upon us with one round left in Estoril, Portugal on the 16-18 October.

Chaz Davis at Magny-Cours, WSbK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Round 7 held at Magny-Cours, France on the 2-4 October proved to be full of thrills and spills with Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) winning the Superpole Race and Race 1 on the Saturday further extending his championship lead and then Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) winning Race 2 on the Sunday bringing him back into contention for this year’s title.

The conditions were wet on the Saturday and after a tense Superpole Race it was Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who topped the charts with Jonathan Rea in third position.

Both the BMW’s riders got off to a great start in Race 1 but unfortunately at Turn 1 Laverty was taken out by a falling Sykes after being hit by Garrett Gerloff thus ending what could have been a fantastic race for the BMW riders. Gerloff was able to continue riding but crashed a few laps later thus ending his race also.

Jonathan Rea went on to win the race followed by Loris Baz in second, Alex Lowes third, Chaz Davies fourth, Scott Redding fifth and Toprak Razgatlioglu in sixth.

Race 2 saw Scott Redding fight back to claim a superb victory after an exciting race with Loris Baz claiming his second 2nd place podium of the weekend and after a nail biting duel to the end of the race, Chaz Davies claimed the last podium place just ahead of Jonathan Rea.

Redding is still in contention for the championship title but he will need to win all three races at Estoril in order to stop Jonathan Rea claiming his 6th consecutive world championship title.

With Loris Baz’s double podium, it means that he is still in with a shout of the title in the Independent Riders’ Championship. Baz is 31 points behind Michael Ruben Rinaldi and with three races to gain points from at Estoril, the title could go either way.

As we head to Estoril for what will arguably be a thrilling end to a fantastic season of racing, changes are afoot in the paddock.

After four years at PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team, Michael van der Mark is heading to the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team alongside existing rider Tom Sykes. As yet no replacement for van der Mark’s seat has been announced by the Yamaha team.

Michael van der Mark at the 2020 WSBK Magny-Cours round. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

There is also the potential of an independent BMW Team making it’s way onto the grid which could open up the opportunity for new riders to enter the World Superbike paddock.

Replacing Xavi Fores in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team is Lucas Mahias who is moving from WorldSSP where he won the Championship in 2017 and finishes 2nd in this year’s championship for the Kawasaki team.

Making his debut appearance at Estoril, a circuit he has not competed at before, will be Belgian rider Loris Cresson for the (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) team riding a Kawasaki ZX-10RR. The 22 year has competed in WorldSSP for the last three years.

Make sure you set your alarms for next weekend’s racing at Estoril.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

The BSB Championship is heading to Brands Hatch for the finale

The end is near for what has arguably been a fantastic, although highly unusual, 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season which still has three rounds remaining to be held at Brands Hatch on 17/18 October.

Andrew Irwin at Donington Park BSB 2020. Image courtesy of Honda Racing UK

In what was a decidedly wet weekend at Donnington Park on the 3 /4 October, Saturday’s racing turned out to be a washout. After the second aborted start, racing was cancelled for the day with all three rounds of the BSB racing scheduled to take place on the Sunday.

Round 13 saw Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) take victory after riding a near perfect race with both the VisionTrack Ducati’s of Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes coming in behind in second and third place respectively.

Losing the lead in the championship standings for the first time this season, was Glenn Irwin after crashing out on the opening lap at Goddards, thankfully he was unhurt. Irwin is now on equal points with Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) who did not fair well in this race, finishing in 14th place ahead of Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati).

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) took fourth place in the closing stages of the race from Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) who had his best result of the season with 5th place. Teammate, Jack Kennedy, moved up to 7th position in the closing stages of the race and will start on pole position for Round 14.

Round 14 saw Josh Brookes on the top step of the podium having worked his way from 6th to the front of the grid by lap 5 thus taking the championship lead. Despite his best efforts to close in on Brookes, Jason O’Halloran finished a very respectable second place taking him up to 2nd in the championship standings. Teammate, Tarran Mackenzie, finished third putting both the McAMS Yamaha’s on the podium.

The race ended early for Ryan Vickers and Andrew Irwin after crashing together at the Melbourne Loop swiftly followed by Peter Hickman and Danny Buchan.

Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati #25) winner of Race Two at Donington Park 2020 BSB. Image courtesy of Ducati

Claiming his best result of the season for the Buildbase Suzuki team, Gino Rea finished in 4th place ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Christian Iddon. The race was not going well for Glenn Irwin either and we saw him drop down to 7th position ahead of Jack Kennedy and Luke Mossey. Finishing the top ten line up was Joe Francis for the (Lloyd & Bowker BMW Motorrad) team.

Round 15 saw a third different rider to top the championship charts with Tarran Mackenzie taking the race lead with four laps to to for the McAMS Yamaha team.

Josh Brookes had a great start by taking the lead followed by Jason O’Halloran and Tommy Bridewell, with Bridewell quickly moving up to 2nd. Glenn Irwin was moving up the order and it was not long before he grabbed 2nd place from Bridewell. Unfortunately Lap 7 saw a technical problem put an early end to Bridewell’s race.

Lap 9 saw O’Halloran collide with Iddon during a battle for fourth place causing O’Halloran’s brake lever guard to jam ultimately dropping him down to 8th place by the end of the race.

Glenn Irwin was in the lead by lap 10 with Mackenzie behind him and Brookes in third. The McAMS rider made his move on Glenn Irwin at the Fogarty Esses and was able to hold onto the lead and claim victory. Christian Iddon came in fourth moving him into 2nd place in the championship standings going into the final round at Brands Hatch.

Gino Rea finished 5th place with his best result for the Buildbase Suzuki team followed by Lee Jackson for the Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki team.

Round 13 winner, Andrew Irwin, came in 7th place followed by O’Halloran with Luke Mossey and Joe Francis completing the top ten.

Make sure you don’t miss any action that will be coming our way from Brands Hatch on the 17/18 October.

Featured image courtesy of Ducati

 

Petrucci Takes a Fabulous Win at Le Mans

Round 10 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 9-11 October at Le Mans, France.

The Championship leader, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed pole position for Sunday’s race having snatched the lead on the final lap of qualifying from Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) making up the front row of the grid.

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Quartararo : Miller : Petrucci Row 2 : Crutchlow : Vinales : Dovizioso

Row 3 : Bagnaia : P.Espargaro : Zarco Row 4 : Rossi : Morbidelli : Oliveira

Row 5 : Nakagami : Mir : A.Espargaro Row 6 : Rins : Binder : A.Marquez

Row 7 : Smith : Lecuona : Bradl Row 8 : Rabat

With 26 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with the pole sitter, Quartararo not getting off to a great start and by Turn 1 he is in third place behind the Ducati’s of Miller and Dovizioso with Petrucci in 4th place but then Petrucci takes Quartararo pushing him down into 5th place. At Turn 3 Rossi goes down and that is the end of what was an extremely short race for him.

A drizzly chaotic start to the 2020 Le Mans MotoGP round. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

By the end of a very busy lap 1, three Ducati’s are leading the race with Petrucci now in the lead. As we go into lap 2, P.Espargaro takes Quartararo but he manages to grab the place straight back.

Lap 3 sees Rins take Crutchlow and P.Espargaro has another go at taking Quartararo and this time he manages to make the place stick despite nearly taking Quartararo out in the process. Rins follows P.Esparagaro too and the following lap Crutchlow passes and another place is lost for Quartararo with Smith now having a look to get past and he makes his move down the inside and the pole sitter is now down in 8th position.

Just at the end of lap 4, Marquez goes down the outside of both Quartararo and Oliveira taking him up to 8th place and he is hunting down Smith and on lap 6 he makes a smooth pass up into 7th place.

Rins has put in the fastest lap and is closing the gap on the Ducati’s. Smith goes down in the gravel on lap 10 and we can see him crawling away from his bike.

By lap 12 the gap between Rins and third place Miller is now down to 0.5 seconds and the following lap Rins goes up the inside of Miller into 3rd but Miller fights back and takes the place back but Rins is not giving up and is right on the heels of Miller.

The following lap we see Rabat crash out thus ending his race and Marquez zips past Crutchlow into 6th place. On lap 15 Rins has another go at passing Miller and this time he makes the place stick but not for long as by the end of the lap Miller has the place back again. Marquez has put in the fastest lap and is closing the gap on P.Espargaro and by lap 17 he is right on his tail. Morbidelli crashes into the dirt at turn 4.

At the end of the start/finish straight on lap 18 Dovizioso makes his move on Petrucci and takes the lead and Rins takes Miller but Miller fights straight back and keeps hold of his 3rd place. Crutchlow crashes out ending his race. Just before the end of the lap, Dovizioso, Miller, Rins and Petrucci enter the corner pretty much all together, Dovizioso runs wide allowing Petrucci into 1st place with Rins 2nd and Miller 3rd.

Lap 19 Miller passes Rins into 2nd place but then something lets go on his bike and he pulls over to the side and retires from the race. Marquez has now taken P.Espargaro and is up in 4th place but the following lap Rins crashes at Turn 3 and Marquez is now up to 3rd place.

Alex Marquez at the 2020 Le Mans MotoGP round. Image courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation

By lap 22 Petrucci has a 1.6 second lead over the Dovizioso in 2nd place and seems to have the race under control. Rins has managed to rejoin the race with the help of the marshals but he appears to have a marshals strap caught on the tail of his bike. He is flagged to pull over, he removes the strap and rejoins the race again.

On lap 24 Dovizioso runs wide allowing Marquez to go through into 2nd place, Dovizioso is desperately looking to regain the place but Marquez is holding him off for now. The penultimate lap P.Espargaro takes Dovizioso into 3rd place and Oliveria is having a look too and manages to get past but doesn’t keep the place and goes back down to 5th.

The final lap sees P.Espargaro closing the gap on Marquez but Marquez just needs to hold him for the remainder of the lap. Petrucci has control of the race and takes the chequered flag followed by a very jubilant Marquez in 2nd and P.Espargaro in 3rd.

Phew! That was an exciting and very busy race which unfortunately saw race retirements from Miller, Morbidelli, Crutchlow, Rabat, Smith and Rossi.

Makes sure you set your alarms for the next race which takes place in Aragon on the 16-18 October.

BK

Featured image courtesy of Ducati