BSB Title Race Blown Wide Open At Oulton Park

It was a dramatic weekend of action in the Cheshire countryside as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visited Oulton Park. Here’s how the action unfolded over the course of a pulsating weekend. 

Polesitter Jason O’Halloran became the eighth different rider to claim a BSB victory in 2020 with his victory in Saturday’s race one. The Australian McAms Yamaha man took the victory at the end of a pulsating contest that saw the lead change hands on a number of occasions. Championship leader Glenn Irwin and VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon both led the pack on separate occasions during the race but O’Halloran (who had also earlier led) fought back and claimed the victory after successfully making his move by breaking down Iddon’s stern defence on the final lap and crossing the finish line just 0.358s ahead of the Mancunian rider. FS-3 Racing’s Danny Buchan rounded out the podium with his first top three finish of the season.

Jason O’Halloran winner at BSB Oulton Park 2020. Image courtesy of Impact Images/Mcams Yamaha

Andrew Irwin finished fourth ahead of brother Glenn with Lee Jackson on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki ending in sixth. Synetiq BMW’s Brad Ray came seventh ahead of Iddon’s team-mate Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie (McAms Yamaha) and Gino Rea on the Buildbase Suzuki rounding out the top 10. Rea’s Suzuki team-mate Kyle Ryde, a double winner during the previous round at Silverstone, crashed out of the race on the first lap.

It was more of the same for O’Halloran in Sunday’s first race as he claimed his second win of the season with a near-perfect display aboard the R1 to lead the race from the opening lap, holding off the challenges of Christian Iddon and Danny Buchan.

Thirty-five year old O’Halloran’s victory eventually held more gravitas than anyone would have expected prior to the race when Glenn Irwin was forced to withdraw from the race following technical problems with his Honda FireBlade. The win for O’Halloran combined with Irwin’s DNF catapulted the Australian Yamaha rider well and truly into the title race, slashing Irwin’s lead to just five points.

A determined ride from Josh Brookes saw him finish fourth after being as low as seventh at one point while a fine move from Lincolnshire rider Lee Jackson on Andrew Irwin saw him nab fifth place. Tarran Mackenzie finished in sixth ahead of Irwin. Luke Mossey, aboard the Rich Energy OMG Kawasaki finished in ninth place as the filling in a BMW sandwich with Brad Ray in eighth and TT winner Peter Hickman on the Global Robots Smith’s BMW closing out the top 10.

The result of race three made it Australia Day in Cheshire as VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes reminded the championship leaders that he was still well and truly in the hunt for the prize by taking the victory. 2015 BSB champion Brookes was made to work hard for his second win of the season as his team-mate Christian Iddon provided a spirited challenge. Iddon had a number of chances to make a move on his PBM partner but Brookes’ experience came to the fore as he continually held Iddon at bay.

Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon at BSB Oulton Park 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Lee Jackson capped off a fine weekend for FS-3 Racing as he pinched a spot on the podium at the expense of Jason O’Halloran after making his move at Lodge and cross the line 0.096s ahead of the Yamaha rider. Jackson’s team-mate Danny Buchan ended the race in fifth position ahead of Glenn Irwin, the Honda man’s sixth place result means he ends the weekend still on top of the standings but only by a tight margin of two points from man of the weekend O’Halloran. Peter Hickman enjoyed his best finish of the season in eighth place behind Brad Ray. Tarran Mackenzie and Luke Mossey rounded out the top 10.

As previously mentioned, the events of the thrilling weekend at Oulton leaves Glenn Irwin just two points clear of Jason O’Halloran at the top of the standings with Josh Brookes in third, himself just ten points behind Honda Racing’s irwin. Christian Iddon can still harbour designs on the title just two points behind VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Brookes on 166. There’s then a gap of 32 points between Iddon and nearest challenger, Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell.

It may be an over-used clichè in sports but it really is all to play for now as there are just six races remaining of the 2020 BSB season with the attention shifting to the Grand Prix layout of Donington Park over the weekend of 2-4 October.

Featured Image courtesy of Impact Images/McAMS Yamaha.

BSB 2020: The Story So Far

As the Bennetts British Superbike Championship heads to the Cheshire countryside for it’s fourth meeting of the season at Oulton Park, let’s recall what took place during the first half of the truncated 2020 season. 

Tarran Mackenzie winner of Race 1 at Silverstone BSB 2020. Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

The action got underway at Donington Park with Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin making the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.

Northern Irishman Irwin took the first two races of the season ahead of brother Glenn before controversy reigned in the final race of the weekend when Andrew collided with VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes, which led to the Australian rider crashing out of the race at Hollywood.

While replays showed that there was a gap that many believed Irwin was right to attempt to exploit, the BSB officials took a rather dim view on the incident, claiming that the Honda rider had made ‘unfair and avoidable’ contact and disqualified Irwin from the race and ordered him to start the next race from the back of the grid. The incident had no effect on the race winner as Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell took the spoils.

After a decade of trying, Christian Iddon finally claimed his maiden BSB in race one of the second meetings at Snetterton. The Mancunian rider was embroiled in a tough battle with VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Josh Brookes before taking the lead with five laps remaining and then sprinting clear of the Australian to claim a comfortable victory.

Brookes took his first victory of 2020 in the second Snetterton race after an intriguing tussle with championship leader Glenn Irwin. The two men battled hard and traded the lead until a mistake by Irwin allowed Brookes to build a decisive lead. The Honda rider attempted to snatch the lead back at Agostini’s but ran wide thus shutting the door on his hopes of victory.

Irwin responded with a win of his own in the third race of the meeting to prevent a Ducati hat-trick and extend his lead in the standings by 23 points. Despite being as low as seventh at the end of the first lap, Irwin showed great determination to fight his way through the pack and eventually take the lead during lap 10. The Honda man wouldn’t surrender his position and finished 1.138s ahead of nearest challenger Tommy Bridewell.

The championship front runners had their noses bloodied at the third meeting of the season at Silverstone as two more riders took the spoils to take the tally of BSB competitors taking victories in 2020 to a magnificent seven.

Tarran Mackenzie on the McAms Yamaha took an emotional win one tenth of a second ahead of Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde with Yamaha team-mate Jason O’Halloran taking third place. Mackenzie showed tremendous pace to fight his way through the pack from twelfth position to take the second victory of his BSB career, his first coming at the same venue in 2019.

Buoyed by his maiden BSB podium in the first Silverstone race, reigning British GP2 Champion Kyle Ryde backed up his impressive form in the early rounds to claim victory in races two and three in Northamptonshire. In the second race, Ryde perched himself behind long-time race leader Josh Brookes before opening up the taps and making his move on the Australian on lap 27. Ryde soon pulled the pin and scorched clear, eventually coming home a comfortable 1.686s ahead of the Ducati rider.

Kyle Ryde, winner; Tarran Mackenzie, second place and Jason O’Halloran third in Race 2 at the 2020 BSB Silverstone round. Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

In the third race of the weekend, Ryde put in a dominant performance and controlled the pace of the race to romp home 1.549s ahead of race one winner Mackenzie.

Going into the Oulton Park round, it’s Glenn Irwin who heads the championship some 35 points clear of VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes and Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell. Ryde’s brace of victories at Silverstone catapulted him into fourth place ahead of McAms Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran (the only rider in the top seven to have not yet won a race in 2020). Christian Iddon sits in sixth place, five points clear of Tarran Mackenzie.

It’s all to play for now as we enter the business end of the season with race one of the weekend at Oulton Park getting underway at 16.15 on Saturday (September 18th).

 

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

The BSB Winner’s Enclosure Welcomes Two New Members At Silverstone

Two more riders entered the winner’s enclosure in the Bennett’s British Superbike Championship at Silverstone as McAms Yamaha’s Tarran Mackenzie and Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde took the spoils in Northamptonshire over the weekend.

It was Mackenzie who took race one on Saturday at the end of an exciting final lap that saw the Yamaha cross the line just 0.105 seconds clear of an improving Ryde who took his first BSB podium. McAms team-mate Jason O’Halloran rounded out the podium in third.

A fourth placed finish for Glenn Irwin allowed the Northern Irish Honda rider to extend his lead at the top of the championship with brother Andrew coming home in fifth, Josh Brookes finished sixth ahead of Lee Jackson. Brookes’ VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Christian Iddon finished eighth with Tommy Bridewell claiming a points finish to hold on to second place in the championship.

Mackenzie, son of triple BSB Champion Niall, replicated his heroics from Silverstone in 2019 and truly catapulted himself into contention for the 2020 title.

If Saturday belonged to Mackenzie, then there is no doubt who should have joined him in the headlines on Sunday as Kyle Ryde earned his first British top-flight wins with a pair of fine victories.

Ryde was clearly brimming with confidence after securing his maiden BSB podium on Saturday and bided his time and held his position behind Josh Brookes before making his move on the Australian on lap 27. After pulling in front of the Ducati rider, Ryde put the hammer down and opened up a healthy lead to cross the line 1.686 seconds clear of Brookes and recording the fastest lap of the race in the process. Jason O’Halloran once again came home in third with Glenn Irwin replicating his result from race one in fourth.

Bradley Ray came out on top of an exciting battle for fifth place ahead of a chasing pack that included Tommy Bridewell, Lee Jackson and Danny Buchan, although FS3 Kawasaki rider Buchan was docked a grid place for exceeding track limits out of the final corner. Honda’s Andrew Irwin came home in ninth with OMG Racing’s Hector Barbera rounding out the top 10.

Kyle Ryde, winner; Tarran Mackenzie, second place and Jason O’Halloran third in Race 2 at the 2020 BSB Silverstone round.
Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

It was more of the same for Ryde in the final race of the weekend as he led from lights to flag to secure a dominant win, coming home 1.549 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Tarran Mackenzie. Jason O’Halloran finished on the bottom step of the podium for the third time this weekend with Glenn Irwin also recording a hat-trick of fourth placed finishes which allowed the Honda rider to extend his lead at the top of the championship to 35 points.

Tommy Bridewell prevailed after a three-way Ducati battle for fifth place, getting the better of Brookes and Iddon who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Lee Jackson finished in eighth position ahead of Andrew Irwin and Luke Mossey (ninth and tenth respectively) who just edged Danny Buchan out of the top 10 on the final lap of the weekend.

Ryde’s double wins puts him into fourth place in the standings with 114 points behind Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell who are both locked on 122 behind Glenn Irwin on 157.

All eyes will be on the Cheshire countryside on the weekend of 18-20 September when BSB heads to Oulton Park for round four.

Featured image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

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

Austria GP

This weekend’s MotoGP action came to us from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

The track temperature were set to be HOT and indeed they were which resulted in an absolute cracker of a race. Ever since Marc Marquez suffered an injury and is currently recuperating, anyone can win this.

The riders have lined up on the grid ready to go and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) had a good start leading at the first corner.

Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is going back down the field on the first lap and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is moving up the field.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) has lost 5 places on the first lap and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) has gone down to 3rd place. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had a cracking start to the race .

Andrea Dovizioso at the 2020 Austrian MotoGP race. Image courtesy of Ducati

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has been racing well in the first couple of laps and staying up there with everyone.

This circuit has 7 right and 3 left hand corners and although it is a shorter track than most circuits, by the end of the race they will have covered 75 miles.

You can see that the Ducati’s are finding the windy part of the track hard to keep the bikes under control.

Rins is in 12th place now and it is like the Suzuki on rails going around this track , it is an absolute pleasure to watch.

Rossi’s front end went down then but he managed to keep it upright, the Championship leader is dead last right now after making a mistake on Turn 4 so it’s going to be a slow race for him now.

A chaos strewn incident causes a Red Flag

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) were side by on the straight coming down into Turn 3 and as they braked they made contact with each other and both bikes and riders went down.

In what can only be described as an absolutely terrifying few moments, both bikes hurtled towards Turn 4 at a tremendous rate of knots, both hitting the air-fence which slowed them down but then headed straight into the path of Vinales and Rossi with Morbidelli’s bike going through the gap between Vinales and Rossi and Zarco’s bike narrowly missing Vinales.

Thankfully Morbidelli and Zarco both got to their feet and after going to the medical centre for a check-up, both were declared fit.

This is the second red flagged race of the day, the first being in the Moto2 race.

The riders have been in the pits after the red flag whilst the marshals did a great job clearing up the debris and fixing the air-fence. After looking at a replay you can see Rossi’s bike was clipped in the incident.

Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) is getting instructions in the pit and Zarco is now out the race.

Rossi still looks in shock, we thought Rossi had seen everything except a bike coming though the air inches from his face. Now he has to get back on the bike and ride (there’s a song there somewhere).

Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales during the Austrian 2020 Race in which both riders avoided bikes re-entering the track. Image courtesy of Yamaha Motor Racing

All bikes that are in race condition are back out on track ready for a restart. The starting grid was decided on countback to the previous completed lap which meant that Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was on pole.

The Race Restart

Crutchlow starts near the back and it’s been a steady restart, Miller has a good start although he does go wide on the second corner but managed to keep the lead.

Rossi does not look on it right now since the red flag incident but Miller is pulling out a good lead of a second and everyone is behind him picking up the laps.

Dovizioso and Mir are closing in on Miller then Dovizioso carved past Miller into Turn 1 and at Turn 9 later in the lap, Rins followed Dovizioso through. Rins really was on a charge but then his race prematurely ended at Turn 6 when he went down and out. Barring a mistake on the part of Dovizioso, the win was his now.

The top three at at the chequered flag were as follows:

1st Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team)
2nd Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar)
3rd Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)

Great race today, and luckily we don’t have to wait long until the next race which is on the 21st to 24th of August,  back at the Red Bull Ring.

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