Morbidelli takes his first MotoGP win

Round 5 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 11-13 September at the San Marino Circuit, Italy.

Qualifying was dominated by Yamaha who took the first four places on the grid with a second pole position of this season for Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who was just 0.3 seconds ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) starts the race in 3rd followed by Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who takes 4th spot on the grid. This is the first time in MotoGP that Yamaha have had a 1-2-3-4 qualifying.

Unfortunately Cal Crutchlow has been declared unfit for the race. Cal has not recovered from his recent operation as well as he would have hoped but does plan to be back on the track at Barcelona.

The starting grid for the race looked like this:

Row 1 : Vinales : Morbidelli : Quartararo   Row 2 : Rossi : Miller : Bagnaia

Row 3 : Rins : Mir : Dovizioso   Row 4 : Zarco : P.Espargaro : Oliveira

Row 5 : A.Espargaro : Nakagami : Petrucci  Row 6 : Binder : Rabat : Lecuona

Row 7 : Bradl : Smith : A.Marquez

With 27 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with Rossi getting off to a great start but Morbidelli getting off to an even better start and is first into Turn 1 followed by Rossi, Miller, Vinales and Quartararo.

Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi at the 2020 MotoGP Misano GP. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

By lap 2 Rins and Mir are closing in on Quartararo. Rossi is right on the tail of Morbidelli looking for his chance to slip past and the gap is building between 3rd place Miller and Vinales in 4th.

Bradley Smith crashes out at Turn 14 of lap 4 putting an early end to his race and a long lap penalty is issued to Lecuona who stalled on the grid of the warm up but instead of starting from the back of the grid he took his grid place, hence the penalty.

The pace of the front runners is good with Morbidelli still out in front followed by Rossi and Miller by lap 7. Vinales has passed Quartararo and although Quartararo tried to get the place back, Vinales made the overtake stick and kept the place but at Turn 4 of the following lap, Quartararo goes down and although he manages to pick the bike up and get back on the track, he is now down in last place.

Lap 9 sees Rins make a move on the inside of Vinales followed by Bagnaia who is now up into 5th place. The gap at the front of the grid between Morbidelli and Rossi is 0.3 seconds on lap 10 but two laps later it has increased to 0.7 seconds. Rins is on the back of Miller looking to get past and manages to take the place at the beginning of lap 14. Bagnaia is also having a look to see if he can get past Miller and goes up on the inside to cleanly take the place and is now up to 4th. Miller has lost 2 places in the space of 2 laps.

Lap 15 and the gap between Morbidelli and Rossi is now 1.1 seconds but by the following lap it is 1.7 seconds. Morbidelli seems to have this race under control and is setting a good even pace. Mir is now up into 6th place and although he has a big wobble on lap 17, he manages to hold onto the bike and place.

Bagnaia is right on the heels of Rins and lap 18 sees Mir pass Miller up on the inside into 5th place. Rins and Bagnaia are now hot on the heels of Rossi. Quartararo goes into the pits on lap 19, comes out again on the following lap and goes down at turn 6 – cold tyres perhaps?

Morbidelli has extended his lead to 2.7 seconds by lap 20 and we see Bagnaia go up the inside of Rins into 3rd place and then the following lap straight up the inside of Rossi into 2nd with Rins also having a look to see if he can get past too. Despite a late braking manoeuvre in which it looks like Rins is going to make the move past Rossi, Rossi is not giving up the place and holds onto his place for the moment.

Franco Morbidelli winner at the 2020 Misano MotoGP race. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

Turn 9 on lap 24 sees Rabat crash out and although he is walking away he does look to be in some discomfort whilst doing so. Mir is right up with Rins and now Rossi is back up with Bagnaia looking to get his 2nd place back. Bagnaia seems to be having a problem with the bike especially in the corners.

On the final lap Mir makes a move past Rins up into 4th place and now has his sights on Rossi’s 3rd place. Mir is definitely on it and moves on the inside of Rossi to take the last podium spot. Morbidelli comfortably takes the chequered flag for his first win In MotoGP followed by Bagnaia and a closely followed Mir.

What a brilliant end to an action packed race from the San Marino circuit. The action is set to return on the 18-20 September back at the San Marino circuit.

BK

A close fought battle for the lead in Race 2 at Aragon

Round 5 of the WorldSBK Race 2 took place on Sunday 6th September from MotorLand Aragon with Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in pole position followed by the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and then Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) taking the last place on the front row of the grid.

The starting grid for Race 2 looked like this:

Row 1 : Redding : Rea : Rinaldi Row 2 : Bautista : Davies : Lowes

Row 3 : Razgatlioglu : Haslam : Sykes Row 4 : Baz : Caricasulo : van der Mark

Row 5 : Scheib : Gerloff : Fores Row 6 : Laverty : Melandri : Ramos

Row 7 : Barrier : Ferrari : Takahashi

With 18 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Rea getting off to a great start and is first into Turn 1 followed by Redding, Rinaldi, Bautista, Davies and Razgatlioglu. Lowes has dropped from 6th to 9th, Redding surprises Rea on the inside and takes him. Rea is looking to get the place back but cannot get the move on Redding. Rinaldi is now homing in on Rea.

Scott Redding and Jonathan Rea at Teruel WorldSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Sykes retires on lap 2 and the following lap sees Haslam pass Razgatlioglu swiftly followed by Lowes who has now dropped two places. Scheib crashes at Turn 15 on lap 4 putting an early end to his race and Baz has dropped five places to 15th. Redding puts in the fastest lap but Rea is hot on his heels.

Lap 5 sees Bautista go down at Turn 15 and although he has managed to rejoin the track, he is now at the back of the grid. There is less than 3/10ths of second between Redding, Rea and Rinaldi and going into Turn 7 Rea slips up the inside of Redding and they are neck and neck going round the corner, Rea pulls ahead slightly but Redding pulls the lead back and manages to hold on to 1st place.

Whilst Redding and Rea are jostling, Rinaldi takes advantage and pulls down the inside of Rea up into 2nd and then continues up on the inside of Redding into Turn 12 to take the lead. Rea tries to follow Rinaldi through but doesn’t make it but then on the last corner going into lap 6, Rea passes Redding. Redding has lost 2 places in one lap. Haslam has moved up into 5th position followed by Lowes who are both putting pressure on Davies for 4th place.

Lap 9 sees a one second gap between Rinaldi and Rea with Redding dropping back slightly on the front runners. Rea closes the gap on Rinaldi on the corners but the Ducati of Rinaldi has the speed on the straights.

Lowes is hot on the heels of Haslam, van der Mark has moved up into 7th and Barrier crashes out. Rea is glued to the tail of Rinaldi but he is not backing off and is managing to hold off the reigning World Champion, defending his position perfectly.

By lap 13, Redding is just over a second behind Rea, Rea is not giving up on trying to gain first position but can Rinaldi hold him off for the remaining laps? Turn 14 sees Davies go down and out of the race with the fight for 4th position, now between Haslam, Lowes, van der Mark and Razgatlioglu.

Redding has closed the gap to just under a second on Rea by the following lap but the fight between Rinaldi and Rea continues with Rea continually having a look to see if he can make his move on Rinaldi. Going into turn 5, Rea goes down the inside of Rinaldi but then by turns 6 and 7 Rinaldi is back in front again. Rea has a huge wobble and gets totally out of shape but somehow manages to save the bike and the place but he’s now got to make up the gap between him and Rinaldi again.

On turns 6 and 7 on the following lap, Rea goes down the inside of Rinaldi again and this time he makes the pass stick and by the end of the lap has pulled out a .3 second gap. Haslam is holding off Lowes in the fight for 4th position and by the last lap the gap is now .6 seconds between Rea and Rinaldi.

Rea is looking good for the win and he passes the chequered flag first for his 96th WorldSBK win in such a closely fought battle followed by Rinaldi and Redding.

Rea now has a 36 point lead over Redding in the Championship.

The next race is at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on the 18-20 September.

BK

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 5 at MotorLand Aragon on the 5/6 September August looked like this:

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

243

1

Kawasaki

269

2

Scott Redding

207

2

Ducati

245

3

Toprak Razgatlioglu

147

3

Yamaha

185

4

Chaz Davies

141

4

Honda

116

5

Michael van der Mark

133

5

BMW

66

6

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

131

6

Aprilia

4

7

Alex Lowes

127

8

Alvaro Bautista

83

9

Loris Baz

76

10

Leon Haslam

75

11

Tom Sykes

58

12

Garrett Gerloff

39

13

Federico Caricasulo

36

14

Xavi Fores

33

15

Eugene Laverty

31

16

Marco Melandri

23

17

Sandro Cortese

14

18

Leandro Mercado

12

19

Maximillan Scheib

11

20

Sylvain Barrier

5

21

Christophe Ponsson

4

22

Roman Ramos

4

23

Matteo Ferrari

4

24

Takumi Takahashi

2

 

 

An incredible win for Rinaldi and Ducati Team Go Eleven

Round 5 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place on Saturday from MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking back to back pole positions at Aragon and beating his own lap record in the process. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) had his best ever WorldSBK Superpole race by securing 2nd on the grid followed by Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in third position.

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Rinaldi : Redding  Row 2: Haslam : Bautista : Sykes

Row 3 : Lowes : Davies : Razgatlioglu  Row 4 : van der Mark : Caricasulo : Baz

Row 5 : Fores : Gerloff : Scheib  Row 6 : Ramos : Melandri : Laverty

Row 7 : Takahashi : Ferrari : Barrier

With 18 laps of racing, Race 1 got underway with Rea getting off to a great start and is in the lead by Turn 1 followed by Redding and Rinaldi. Fores runs wide at Turn 2 and rejoins the grid in last place, Rinaldi, who is running the soft tyre, passes Redding going out of Turn 2 and Razgatlioglu has dropped from 4th to 7th place.

Just as Rea and Rinaldi are at the end of lap 1, Rinaldi makes a move on Rea on the inside and passes him, taking the lead into lap 2. Rea is on Rinaldi’s tail looking to get past but Rinaldi is not letting go of that place. Redding meanwhile is now on the tail of Rea and is waiting for the opportunity to pass. Barrier crashes out putting an abrupt end to his now very short race.

Scott Redding at Teruel round 2020 WSBK. Image courtesy of Ducati

By lap 3, Rinaldi has a half second gap on Rea, Bautista takes Razgatlioglu in a very nice move on the inside and Scheib crashes at Turn 3 coming up the hill and is out of the race. Davies is next up to attack Razgatlioglu and he goes cleanly up on the outside, Razgatlioglu is looking to get back past but so far he is not able to and Davies is holding the place.

Lowes, who has not been well all week, is all over Haslam in 8th place on lap 4 and is looking for a chance to get past and manages to do so on the following lap. This is the first race for Matteo Ferrari on the Ducati who has just passed Melandri up into 16th place.

By lap 6 the gap between Rinaldi and Rea is now 2 seconds, Redding runs wide and Bautista who is right up with him looks for a chance to get past but Redding manages to hold Bautista back but as we come out of Turn 4 on the following lap, Redding loses it and goes down sliding into the gravel and out of the race.

Rinaldi has now pulled out a lead of 4.1 seconds on Rea coming into lap 9 and the battle for 11th place is heating up between Gerloff and Baz. Lowes runs wide at Turn 1 just at the start of lap 10 and is now down in 10th place.

Bautista is closing in on Rea and the battle for 7th is between Sykes and Haslam, Lowes has passed Caricusulo into 9th but then Sykes runs wide allowing Haslam, Lowes and Caricusulo to go through and dropping from 7th to 10th place in a few short moments.

Lap 13 sees Lowes pass Haslam in a very smooth move up the inside and into 7th spot. The following lap Bautista passes Davies up into 3rd position, Davies is looking to get the place back but can’t manage it but then at Turn 14, Bautista goes down and out of the race. Judging by his body language, that is one very unhappy Bautista, his second retirement of the year having retired from Race 1 last weekend at Aragon too!

Going into lap 15, Rinaldi’s lead increases to 6.9 seconds on Rea and by lap 18 Rinaldi, Rea and Davies are all riding their own races and have a good lead against the rest of the pack. They just need to keep it steady and not make any mistakes for the next couple of laps. Lowes is in 6th position followed by Haslam and Caricusulo who are hot on his heels.

The chequered flag sees 24 year old Rinaldi first past the line making him the 78th different winner in the WorldSBK Championship. Rinaldi, riding for Ducati Team GOELEVEN, has secured the first independent team victory since 2012. Rea follows through in 2nd place followed by Davies in 3rd.

What an incredible win for Rinaldi and Ducati Team GOELEVEN, you can see his obvious elation at his victory and his team go wild in the pits.

BK

Rea rides to victory in Aragon despite pressure from Davies

Day 2 of Round 4 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 2 took place on Sunday from MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continuing his streak of victories in the Superpole races for this 2020 season followed by Championship leader Scott Redding on the (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) making up the rest of the front row.

The starting grid for Race 2 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Redding : van der Mark Row 2: Bautista : Davies : Lowes

Row 3 : Raz : Rinaldi : Baz Row 4 : Haslam : Gerloff : Scheib

Row 5 : Fores : Sykes : Caricasulo Row 6 : Ponsson : Laverty : Melandri

Row 7 : Barrier : Ramos : Takahashi Row 8 : Gabellini

With 18 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Redding getting a great start off the line but by Turn 1, Rea sweeps back round the outside to take 1st position with van der Mark keeping the third position he started with on the grid.

It’s all change further down the pack by the second lap with Davies, who started in 5th down to 6th, Razgatlioglu up to 5th and Haslam up to 8th having started in 10th place. Lowes has had a terrible start and is down in 12th having started 6th on the grid. Van der Mark is having a peek round the side of Redding but didn’t quite have the pace to get past but then Redding runs wide and van der Mark gets through, with Bautista is right on the tail of Redding. Redding runs wide again allowing Bautista to sweep past. Redding is running a different compound tyre to many of the other riders, perhaps this is having an effect when he is cornering and causing him to run wide.

Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding at Aragon Round 4 WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Honda Racing

By Lap 3 Rea has put in the fastest lap and pulled out a lead. Davies is right on the tail of his teammate and goes down the inside of Redding and although Redding is looking to get the place back, Davies makes the overtake stick and is now hot on the heels of his former teammate, Bautista and at Turn 13, Davies sweeps cleanly past and then swiftly past van der Mark and is now up in 2nd place.

At Turn 15 on the following lap, Baz hits trouble and crashes out into the gravel ending his race early. Davies is now bearing down on Rea looking to close the gap and by lap 7 the gap is down to 1.3 seconds but by the end of the lap it’s back up to 1.6 seconds. Fores and Lowes have passed Haslam and they in turn now have their sights set on Razgatlioglu.

Redding, on lap 8, finds himself in a Rinaldi and van der Mark sandwich with Rinaldi looking to get past the championship leader which he does with a clean overtake. Bautista is all over Davies desperately looking for a way to get past and by Lap 10 Lowes has lost 3 places and is down in 11th.

The following lap Rinaldi goes down the inside of van der Mark into Turn 1 and cleanly takes the place, van der Mark is immediately trying to get the place back but Rinaldi makes the overtake stick. Melandri is off the bike, he tries to rejoin the race but is unable to.

The gap is now down to 1.2 seconds between Rea and Davies on Lap 12 and although Rea runs wide he manages to gather himself and the bike but the gap has just got shorter. Fores passes Baz up into 7th place and Lowes runs really wide and is now down in 12th.

Turn 16 on the following lap, Rea runs wide again allowing Davies to go down on the inside and sweep past but by Turn 4 Rea passes Davies to take the lead but Davies is all over Rea, he is not giving up and Bautista has both Davies and Rea in his sights and is waiting for one or both of them to make a mistake so he can sweep past.

The gap between Rea and Davies is now half a second. Lowes has managed to fight his way up the grid again and passes Haslam and Razgatlioglu is up into 7th.

Although Davies is doing all he can to get past Rea on the last lap, Rea is managing to hold him off and takes the chequered flag closely followed by Davies and Bautista.

A fantastic end to another great weekend of WorldSBK racing with Rea now the championship leader again.

Looking forward to Round 5 next weekend when we are back at Aragon.

BK

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 4 at Aragon on the 29th/30th August looked like this:

 

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

189

1

Kawasaki

215

2

Scott Redding

179

2

Ducati

188

3

Toprak Razgatlioglu

124

3

Yamaha

159

4

Chaz Davies

120

4

Honda

88

5

Michael van der Mark

110

5

BMW

52

6

Alex Lowes

102

6

Aprilia

4

7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

79

8

Alvaro Bautista

77

9

Loris Baz

64

10

Leon Haslam

51

11

Tom Sykes

51

12

Garrett Gerloff

28

13

Xavi Fores

27

14

Federico Caricasulo

22

15

Marco Melandri

19

16

Eugene Laverty

18

17

Sandro Cortese

14

18

Leandro Mercado

12

19

Maximillan Scheib

11

20

Sylvain Barrier

5

21

Christophe Ponsson

4

22

Roman Ramos

3

23

Takumi Takahashi

1

Featured image courtesy of Ducati

 

 

Redding now back in the Championship lead after Race 1

Round 4 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place at MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking his 25th pole position of his WorldSBK career and smashing the lap record in doing so. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) will start second on the grid followed by Scott Redding on the (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Baz : Redding Row 2: Lowes : Rinaldi : Haslam

Row 3 : Bautista : van der Mark : Davies Row 4 : Scheib : Razgatlioglu : Gerloff

Row 5 : Fores : Sykes : Mercado Row 6 : Caricasulo : Ponsson : Laverty

Row 7 : Melandri : Barrier : Ramos Row 8 : Takahashi : Gabellini

With 18 laps of racing, Race 1 gets underway with Rea not getting off to a great start as Baz is in the lead by the first corner followed by Rea, Lowes and Redding but by the end of the first lap, Baz is down into fourth having had Rea, Lowes and Redding all pass him.

Bautista, who started off in 7th has not had a good start to the race and went backwards to 12th with Razgatlioglu and Haslam swapping places.

Rea sets the fastest lap on Lap 3 but Lowes is hot on his heels closely followed by Redding who is piling on the pressure. Redding passes on the inside of Lowes, Lowes tries to duck back past but doesn’t manage to get past and now Redding has his sights on Rea.

Exiting out of Turn 3 on Lap 4, Lowes’ bike highsides throwing him off into the middle of the track but luckily he quickly gets to his feet and off the track having thankfully been missed by the other riders behind him. An unfortunate end to his race.

Davies has passed van der Mark up into 3rd which means that at the moment both Ducati’s are in for a podium position. Rea and Redding are starting to pull out a lead but meanwhile Laverty, who is in 15th place, has received a ride through penalty as his mechanics were working on his bike on the grid before the start of the race and he has now dropped to 18th place.

Scott Redding and Jonathan Rea during Race One at Aragon WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Gerloff hits trouble on Lap 7 and is now running in last place whilst Redding is putting pressure on Rea and on the start/finish line going into lap 8, Redding neatly pulls past Rea, Rea is looking to get straight back past but can’t match the power of the Ducati on the straights. Razgatlioglu passes Bautista up into 6th place with Baz, who started 3rd on the grid, now down in 8th place.

By Lap 11, Davies, who is still in 3rd place has pulled out a gap between 4th place and has his sights set on Rea. Rea doesn’t seem to have an answer to the speed of the Ducati on the straights but is up with Redding on the corners.

Lap 13 we see Scheib rejoin the track down in 18th place, Bautista crashes out at Turn 5 ending his race and Rinaldi is up into 5th place. The following lap Rea, so very nearly gets past Redding on a left hander but he then runs wide meaning the gap between him and Davies just got a lot shorter.

Davies passes Rea on lap 16 up into 2nd place with Rea doing all he can to get the place back but to no avail, Davies makes the overtake stick and is now catching up with his teammate and is pushing to close the gap.

The last lap sees Davies reeling Redding in but he doesn’t have enough time left to catch him, Davies must be desperately hoping Redding will make a mistake but Redding keeps his cool and passes the chequered flag first closely followed by Davies and Rea in 3rd place.

A fantastic top two finish for Ducati and Redding is now at the top of the Championship leaderboard.

What will Race 2 on sunday, bring us? I can’t wait to find out.

BK

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

Thrilling Climax to WSBK Racing in Portimao

If Saturday’s Superpole and Race 1 from the Algarve International Circuit, Portimão was edge of the seat racing, what would Sunday’s racing hold in store for us? The reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a commanding lead from start to finish in both the Superpole and Race 1 – are we going to see a repeat performance?

An update on Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) following his crash at the end of Race 1: Cortese underwent surgery for a fractured vertebra and has also suffered a fracture of the right tibial bone, four fractured ribs and a suspected fracture of the right ankle. Wishing Cortese a speedy recovery.

Superpole got underway and again it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who claimed victory to start from pole position in Race 2 with Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) in second place despite the early pressure he put in on Rea having passed Rea into Turn 1 but then running wide allowing Rea to pass back into 1st and build a gap. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished the top 3 with his first podium since 2014.

Despite an early challenge from Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished 4th, Redding 5th and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in an impressive 6th place.

Michael van der Mark at Portimão WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Yamaha.

In 7th place Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) managed to finish four seconds ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) who were battling for 8th position.

Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had an incident at the Turn 5 hairpin on Lap 2 resulting in both riders managing to continue with the race but having fallen down the order in so doing and unfortunately Davies subsequently retiring from the race a few laps later.

With a few laps remaining at Turn 3 we saw Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Marco Melandri (Barni Racing Team) run off the track but fortunately for both riders they were able to continue with Superpole.

After an eventful session the starting grid looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Razgatlioglu : Baz  Row 2: Lowes : Redding : Sykes

Row 3 : van der Mark : Rinaldi : Haslam  Row 4 : Gerloff : Bautista : Caricasulo

Row 5 : Fores : Mercado : Melandri  Row 6 : Barrier : Ponsson : Gabellini

Row 7 : Takahashi : Laverty : Scheib  Row 8 : Davies

With 20 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Rea just managing to stay ahead of Razgatlioglu going into the first corner, Redding goes up into 3rd and Baz is down to 4th. At Turn 5 Laverty goes down with his bike ending up in the gravel, Haslam goes up into 7th and on the last corner at Turn 14, Baz suffers a high speed off and goes rolling into the gravel thus bringing his race to an early end.

Redding is now up into 2nd with Rea in 3rd and Lowes passes van der Mark up into 4th. By Lap 3 Rea puts in fastest lap and is just starting to pull out a bit of a gap ahead of Redding who has dropped half a second and is now feeling the heat from Razgatlioglu who is closing in. Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Lowes and Davies is looking to get past Haslam who is causing a bottleneck with Rinaldi and Fores closing in.

Razgatlioglu goes sliding into Turn 5 on Lap 6, he manages to recover the bike and rejoin the track in 14th place and now has a lot of work to do to fight his way back up the field. Turn 5 strikes again when Lowes goes down too, again he manages to rejoin the track but only to make his way to the pits and an early end to his race.

The gap between Rea and third place van der Mark is 3 seconds. Razgatlioglu is looking to get past Mercado to take 12th position and makes his move at the end of the start/finish straight into Turn 1 with a late braking move slipping up on the inside.

Scott Redding at Portimao 2020 WSbK Image courtesy of Ducati

On Lap 11 Van der Mark is closing in on Redding and Turn 5 strikes again when Haslam goes down rejoining the track back down in 13th. Bautista is challenging Rinaldi for 5th position and successfully passes and is now looking to close in on Davies who is in 4th place

Redding is starting to look like he is struggling for pace as van der Mark is all over him and then at Turn 5 Redding runs wide allowing van der Mark to cut through on the inside and claim 2nd place but then loses ground, runs wide at the next corner allowing Redding to pass by on the inside, van der Mark tries to cut back through but doesn’t make it.

By lap 14 Rea has stretched the gap to 4 seconds ahead of Redding with van der Mark hot on his heels determined to gain 2nd place back again.

Gerloff runs wide in Turn 2 on Lap 15 onto the kerb and comes back onto the track and into Fores. Fores goes down and out but Gerloff manages to keep the bike upright going through the gravel to rejoin the track in 11th place.

Van der Mark is not giving up and is trying at every available opportunity to get that 2nd place with Rea stretching his lead to a comfortable 5 seconds.

On the penultimate lap, Haslam passes Melandri up into 12th position with Laverty having a look too. Razgatlioglu has made his way up into 9th and as Caricasulo runs wide, manages to make up another place. The battle for 2nd place is so close, van der Mark is not giving up but Redding is successfully defending his position to the finish line. Rea takes a comfortable win and is now 4 points ahead of Redding in the Championship.

An absolutely thrilling nail biting race and a terrific end to a great weekend of WorldSBK racing.

Round 4 takes places at MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain on the 28th to 30th August.

BK

The Driver’s/Team Standings so far at the end of Round 3 look like this:

Riders Standings Team Standings
Pos Rider Points Pos Team Points
1 Jonathan Rea 136 1 Kawasaki 162
2 Scott Redding 132 2 Ducati 134
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu 103 3 Yamaha 131
4 Alex Lowes 91 4 Honda 60
5 Michael van der Mark 82 5 BMW 48
6 Chaz Davies 75 6 Aprilia 4
7 Alvaro Bautista 55
8 Loris Baz 54
9 Michael Ruben Rinaldi 53
10 Tom Sykes 47
11 Leon Haslam 36
12 Garrett Gerloff 22
13 Marco Melandri 17
14 Eugene Laverty 16
15 Sandro Cortese 14
16 Xavi Fores 14
17 Federico Caricasulo 12
18 Maximillan Scheib 10
19 Leandro Mercado 7
20 Christophe Ponsson 4
21 Sylvain Barrier 1

Featured image courtesy of Ducati

Edge of the Seat Racing from Portimao in Superpole and Race 1

WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place today from Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking pole position by nearly three tenths of a second with Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) taking second place and Rea’s teammate, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), slotting into third place.

Last weekend’s Race 2 winner, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT – Racing Ducati); took a tumble at Turn 5 but was able to get back on the track and to the pits for some quick repairs by his team before getting back out on the track again to finish in 8th place.

The top independent rider, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), secured a second row start with his impressive pace with the highest place Honda of Leon Haslam (Team HRC) in tenth position. Haslam’s teammate, Alvaro Bautista crashed in Sector 3 and, like Redding, he was able to get the bike back on track and to the pits.

After a tense session the starting grid looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Razgatlioglu : Lowes Row 2: Sykes : van der Mark : Baz

Row 3 : Rinaldi : Redding : Laverty Row 4 : Haslam : Gerloff : Bautista

Row 5 : Davies : Cortese : Fores Row 6 : Caricasulo : Scheib : Mercado

Row 7 : Melandri : Barrier : Takahashi Row 8 : Ponsson : Gabellini

With 20 laps of racing, Race 1 gets underway with Rea getting off to a great start with the opposite happening for Redding who, by the first corner is down two places. Sykes on his BMW has a full on wobble nearly losing it at Turn 4 but incredibly recovers and stays on track. Lowes has dropped back into 4th and Redding is now in 6th by Turn 6 and along with Lowes is now closing in on van der Mark.

Rinaldi and Haslam got off to a good start but by Lap 2 Sykes is down to 9th having started from 4th place but manages to make up a place by Lap 3. Rea has set the fastest lap and is now starting to pull away from Razgatlioglu in 2nd place.

Lap 4 sees Redding pass Lowes but then, Redding runs wide and Lowes takes the place back but Redding is all over Lowes looking to get back past. At Turn 11 Redding manages to pass Lowes and this time he makes it stick.

Scott Redding at Portimao WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Third place is now being fought over by Baz, van der Mark and Redding with some incredible racing taking place with the Ducati all over the Yamahas and at one point they are neck and neck but still holding their positions. Van der Mark has a huge wobble and how he managed to hold onto it and his place is incredible.

Lap 6 sees van der Mark running wide and losing two places allowing Redding up into 4th and Lowes into 5th.

On the start-finish straight on Lap 8 Redding passes Baz in a very smooth overtake on the inside and then on the following lap Baz runs wide allowing Lowes and van der Mark to nip past. Meanwhile Redding’s teammate, Davies, is not having a good race at all and has now dropped back to 14th.

By Lap 11 van der Mark is hot on the heels of Redding fighting for position and Baz is now down into 7th place having been passed by Lowes on Lap 12 who is closing in on van der Mark and Redding. The fight for 3rd place is edge of the seat racing.

Rea, by Lap 15, has now pulled out a 4 second lead ahead of Razgatlioglu, both of whom are having a very controlled and smooth race.

Lowes has gone up the inside of Redding and now Rinaldi is having a look. Lap 16 sees Redding run wide, Rinaldi tries to get past on the inside but doesn’t manage it. Lowes is edging away from Redding and the battle for fifth is hotting up.

On Lap 19 Rinaldi passes Redding and they both run wide with Rinaldi managing to stay ahead but Baz slips past Redding up into 6th place with Sykes now having a look to see if he can pass by too.

It’s the final lap and Redding is looking to get back past Baz but Baz is managing to hold the Ducati off for now. Rea crosses the finish line easily in 1st position followed by Razgatlioglu, van der Mark and Lowes. Baz managed to hold off Redding to finish 6th with Redding down in 7th.

Fantastic racing in Race 1, Race 2 is going to be nail biting!

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Featured image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

Ducati claimed their first 1-2 finish since 2012 in WorldSBK Race 2 @ Jerez 2nd August 2020

Race victory in the Superpole race on Day 2 of the WorldSBK championship at Jerez at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, Andalusia went to reigning Champion Jonathan Rea having taken the lead from polesitter Scott Redding at the start of the race to jump from third to first. Rea held the lead for the full 10 lap race.

Redding went down to third having also been been passed by Razgatlioglu at the start but whilst battling with Redding, Razgatlioglu suffered technical issues thus ending his race early enabling his teammate van der Mark to claim a podium place.

The top independent rider Loris Baz was up into fourth ahead of the Redding’s teammate, Chaz Davies in fifth place and despite suffering issues in Race 1, Tom Sykes was able to claim 6th place even though he did drop three places from his start position.

Lowes finished in 7th place followed by the Yamaha of Gerloff and claiming the last points paying position was Haslam on the Honda.

The starting grid looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Redding : van der Mark

Row 2: Baz : Davies : Sykes

Row 3 : Lowes : Gerloff : Haslam

Row 4 : Razgatlioglu : Bautista : Rinaldi

Row 5 : Laverty : Cortese : Caricasulu

Row 6 : Fores : Scheib :

Row 7 : Melandri : Mercado : Barrier

Row 8 : Gabellini : Takahashi : Ponsson

Race 2 : After the warm up lap, the riders line up on the start grid waiting for the lights to go green and when they do, Rea gets a good start but Razgatlioglu gets an even better start moving from tenth on the grid to 3rd. Davies has a look around the outside of Razgatlioglu but couldn’t quite make the pass and is in 4th.

On Lap 2 Redding goes alongside Rea at the right-hander of Turn 1 and passes on the inside going into the corner. The BMW of Laverty can be seen slowing down with what looks like a technical issue and is unable to finish the race.

Going into turn 3 on Lap 3 Davies goes up the inside of Razgatlioglu into 3rd place, Razgatlioglu is looking to get back past but can’t manage it. On the following lap coming into Turn 9, Davies goes on the inside of Rea pushing him wide and sliding past in a very smooth pass up into 2nd. Ducati are now 1st and 2nd.

Lap 5 sees Razgatlioglu pass Rea but Rea manages to get back past and hang onto 3rd position.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu at Jerez WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

On Lap 6, Takahashi suffered a crash at Turn 5 thus ending his race and then coming into the corner at Turn 13, we see Baz lose it and slide into the gravel. He was able to get the bike back up and out of the gravel and rejoin the track but was now down in last place.

Razgatlioglu eventually passes Rea on Lap 7 and moves up into 3rd place whilst the battle for 5th is hotting up between van der Mark and Rinaldi, In the meantime the two leading Ducati’s of Redding and Davies are pulling out a comfortable lead against the rest of the pack.

Lowes is looking to get past Rea whilst Rinaldi is looking to get past Lowes and on lap 12 Rinaldi keeps a tight line alongside Lowes going into the corner and manages to stay ahead moving up into 5th place. Lowes tries to respond but Rinaldi has firmly got his sights set on Rea and is edging closer to the reigning Champion.

On the following lap, Rinaldi shoots up on the inside of Rea coming into a corner but then runs wide allowing Rea to move back past again but on Turn 13 Rinaldi pulls out of the corner onto the start/finish line and comes back past Rea on the inside in a very smooth overtake and up into 4th place which he manages to keep hold off.

On Lap 16 Lowes passes Rea on the inside pushing Rea down into 5th and by the following lap we can see van der Mark chasing Rea down in the hopes of getting past too. Surely Rea must have an issue with his bike as he struggling to hold his position.

Sykes is now closing in on Gerloff and by the last lap you can see the riders are struggling with their tyres in the heat with many running wide.

Redding passes the chequered flag with a very comfortable lead over his teammate, Davis followed by Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi. Lowes finishes ahead of Rea who has managed to keep van der Mark behind him to finish 6th.

Another brilliant race win for Redding, his second win of this weekend and a double win for Ducati with 1st and 2nd place.

Scott Redding and Chaz Davis after Race 2 at Jerez WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

What a brilliant weekend of WorldSBK racing we have had and luckily we haven’t got long to wait until Round 3 which is next weekend, the 7th to 9th August at the Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal.

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 2 at Jerez on the 1st and 2nd August looked like this:

Pos Rider Points Pos Team Points
1 Scott Redding 98 1 Kawasaki 100
2 Jonathan Rea 74 2 Ducati 98
3 Alex Lowes 72 3 Yamaha 86
4 Toprak Razgatlioglu 66 4 Honda 41
5 Chaz Davies 57 5 BMW 27
6 Michael van der Mark 47 6 Aprilia 4
7 Loris Baz 37
8 Alvaro Bautista 37
9 Michael Ruben Rinaldi 30
10 Leon Haslam 28
11 Tom Sykes 26
12 Marco Melandri 15
13 Garrett Gerloff 15
14 Sandro Cortese 14
15 Xavi Forbes 11
16 Maximillan Scheib 10
17 Eugene Laverty 6
18 Christophe Ponsson 4
19 Federico Caricasulo 4
20 Leandro Mercado 1

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Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

WorldSBK Race 1 Gets Off to a Fantastic Start in Jerez

What a great restart to to the WorldSBK championship at Jerez this weekend (31 Jul-02 Aug) for Round 2 in Spain at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, Andalusia after a five month break.

Superpole took place earlier in the day with the Championship leader Lowes crashing at Turn 13 in the first phase of the session and was unable to set a lap time but was able to get back on the track with 15 minutes left of the session and will start the race down in 14th place.

Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado took a tumble at Turn 4. He will start the race in 20th place.

After a tense session rookie Scott Redding took pole position by just 0.034s over Rea closely followed by Sykes.

The starting grid looked like this:

Row 1 : Redding : Rea : Sykes

Row 2: van der Mark : Razgatlioglu : Baz

Row 3 : Davies : Bautista : Haslam

Row 4 : Rinaldi : Laverty : Cortese

Row 5 : Caricasulo : Lowes : Gerloff

Row 6 : Fores : Scheib : Ponsson

Row 7 : Melandri : Mercado : Barrier

Row 8 : Gabellini : Takahashi

Before the start of Race 1, a minute’s silence was held in memory of those who lost their lives to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

With 20 laps of racing and the air temperature at 36 degrees, Race 1 gets underway but Redding does not have a good start at all but manages to cling onto 3rd place by the first corner, Rea goes up into first place whilst Razgatlioglu makes an incredible start and is up into 2nd place from starting 5th.

On Lap 3 Caricasulo crashes at Turn 4 and although he manages to get the bike going again, unfortunately this is only to the pits.

Lap 4 sees firth place man Tom Sykes slowing down and pulling over to the side of the track as he approached Turn 1. It looked like some kind of technical issue as he does manage to get the bike going again and back to the pits. He was able to rejoin the race on Lap 12.

By Lap 5 Rea is pulling out a lead and Razgatlioglu and Redding are squabbling for 3rd place with Razgatlioglu managing to hold off the rookie for now.

Lap 8, a very unhappy van der Mark, suffers engine problems with lots of smoke coming from his bike. He manages to pull over and park the bike before getting a lift back to the pits on the back of a marshal’s scooter.

By Lap 9 although Rea is still holding the lead, the gap between Rea and Razgatlioglu is getting smaller and Lap 10 sees Redding having a look to get past Razgatlioglu whilst Davies, who is in fourth place is lapping half a second quicker than race leader Rea.

Chaz Davis, weaving through the pack at WSBK Jerez 2020. Image courtesy of Dudcati

On Lap 11  Redding passes Razgatlioglu in a very smooth overtake as he now sets his sights on the leader, Rea.

Mercado suffered a crash at Turn 6 on Lap 12 ending his race. Lap 14 sees Redding going down into Turn 6 getting alongside Rea before forcing him wide to claim the lead and although Rea nearly gets back past Redding on Lap 15, it wasn’t to be and Redding starts to pull out a lead.

Rinaldi puts in a fastest lap on Lap 16 and Davies is now up to 5th place but he soon passes Baz on Lap 17 into 4th place and has his sights set on Razgatlioglu. A few times on the last two laps Davies nearly gets past Razgatlioglu but then on the last lap he runs wide effectively ending his hunt for third place.

Redding crosses the finish line 1st followed by Rea in 2nd and Razgatlioglu in 3rd.

A fantastic Race 1 and restart to the season. Looking forward to Race 2 tomorrow.

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Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

The Return of World Superbikes 2020

World Superbikes returns this weekend (31 Jul-02 Aug) for Round 2 in Spain at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, Andalusia after a five month break when the 2020 battle for the title WorldSBK championship recommences.

At the moment there are 8 more rounds of this season but of course in this current situation this could change at anytime. The remaining rounds are:

Round 3 : Algarve International Circuit, Portimão, Portugal : 07-09 August

Round 4 : MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain : 28-30 August

Round 5 : MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain : 04-06 September

Round 6 : Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona : 18-20 September

Round 7 : Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours, France : 02-04 October

Round 8 : Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours, France : TBC

Round 9 : Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, Riviera Di Rimini, Italy : TBC

It has just been announced that after extensive discussions between the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Dorna WSBK Organization (DWO), that three rounds have been cancelled and these were to be held at Donington Park (the first time in WorldSBK history that there will not be a round in the UK); the Dutch Round at the TT Circuit Assen (which has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since 1992) and the Qatar Round at the Losail International Circuit.

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 1 at Philip Island on the 29 Feb-01 Mar looked like this:

Pos Rider Points Pos Team Points
1 Alex Lowes 51 1 Kawasaki 57
2 Scott Redding 39 2 Yamaha 47
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu 34 3 Ducati 39
4 Jonathan Rea 32 4 Honda 23
5 Michael van der Mark 31 5 BMW 17
6 Alvaro Bautista 20
7 Loris Baz 20
8 Chaz Davies 19
9 Leon Haslam 17
10 Tom Sykes 17
11 Maximillan Scheib 10
12 Sandro Cortese 10
13 Michael Ruben Rinaldi 7
14 Xavi Fores 5
15 Eugene Laverty 5
16 Federico Caricasulo 4
17 Garrett Gerloff 2
18 Takumi Takahashi 0

During the five months hiatus, teams were busy developing their bikes, engines and race strategies and the riders were continuing with their fitness regimes to ensure they are race fit.

Leon Haslam at MotorLand Aragon WSBK test on 16-17th of July 2020. Image courtesy of Honda racing corporation

Two days of testing took place at MotorLand Aragon on the 16th/17th July where track temperatures were pushing 50 degrees celsius during the afternoon session. Topping the board at the end of day one was Team HRC’s Leon Haslam who beat his teammate Alvaro Bautista followed by Christophe Ponsson riding for Nuova M2 Racing who are putting in five wildcard appearances this season on the Aprilia RSV4 1000. Ponsson was incredibly only about a second off Haslam’s pace.

Day two of testing still saw the scorching heat meaning the track temperature was high again leading to a few crashes and red flags with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) riding the ZX-10RR being the man to beat after setting a blistering time in the morning session with his teammate Alex Lowes in 4th.

Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was 2nd a mere 0.156s behind Rea and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 3rd with his teammate Eugene Laverty in 6th place.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) finished 5th and whilst Leon Haslam in the Honda HRC team was inside the top five after lunch, he finished the day in 9th with his teammate Alvaro Bautista down in 15th.

So after five months of waiting this is shaping up to be an exciting restart to the 2020 WorldSBK season.

Featured image courtesy of Ducati