MotoGP and WSBK stay on Australian TV

Dorna Sports is delighted to announce the details of MotoGP™ and WorldSBK coverage on Australian television for the next two years, following contract renewals with both Network Ten and Fox Sports. The FIM MotoGP™ World Championship will continue to be shown on both channels, with WorldSBK remaining at home on Fox Sports.

On Network Ten’s Channel ONE, every MotoGP™ race of the 18 round MotoGP™ season will continue to be shown live and free-to-air – as well as streamed online – including additional further live coverage of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island. Pre- and post-race programming on the channel will also continue to give MotoGP™ fans expert analysis and reporting on what is sure to be another stunning year in MotoGP™ after a record-breaking 2016 – before and after every race.

With Fox Sports, MotoGP™ fans will enjoy a further two seasons of unrivalled coverage, with live, ad-break free and HD broadcasts of every race, qualifying and practice session of the Championship – including use of the MotoGP™ multi-screen service to get even closer to the action, from every angle on every lap. Fans will also be able to watch every Moto2™ and Moto3™ session as part of Fox Sports’ complete coverage.

Both ONE and Fox Sports will also provide localized content specially tailored to an Australian audience – with particular focus on Jack Miller as the Queenslander makes waves in MotoGP™ and pens his name on the illustrious list of premier class race winners.

In even more good news for Australian fans of two wheels, World Superbike will also remain on Fox Sports in 2017 and 2018. WorldSBK and WorldSSP races will continue being shown live and ad-break free across the country, as will the WorldSBK Tissot-Superpole qualifying shootout. Fox Sports will also promote both MotoGP™ and WorldSBK on their website and through social media channels, providing fans with a full and in-depth repertoire of reportage on the world’s premier motorcycle racing Championships.

Network Ten Sport Manager, Adam Cush: “We are delighted to extend our broadcast deal with Dorna Sports to ensure that Australian motorsport fans can watch all MotoGP races live and free. This deal further demonstrates Network Ten’s commitment to premium motorsport.

“Network Ten has a long history of broadcasting MotoGP and we are pleased that their expert commentary and presenter team will continue to bring this high-profile World Championship to all the Australian fans.”

FOX SPORTS CEO, Patrick Delany: “This year’s MotoGP and World Superbikes have delivered plenty of the thrills, spills and heart-stopping action we have come to expect from the world’s premier two-wheel racing categories.

“Today’s announcement means fans will be able to continue to watch every event from both championships – all around the world – with live, HD and ad-break free racing on FOX SPORTS.

“Add to this line-up, the most comprehensive live coverage of the Supercars Championship and Formula 1 and there has never been a better time to be a motorsport fan.”

Manel Arroyo, Dorna Sports Managing Director, Media & TV Area: “We’re thrilled that MotoGP™ and World Superbike will remain with Fox Sports in Australia, and that Network Ten are onboard with MotoGP™ once again. It is fantastic news for Australian fans of motorcycle racing to see such incredible coverage of both Championships for two more seasons. With a new Australian race winner on the MotoGP™ grid and the future of MotoGP™ and WorldSBK at Phillip Island confirmed, these renewals are the perfect final piece in the puzzle as passion for motorcycle racing continues to reach new heights in Australia.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Maria Herrera remains in Moto3, AGR make Lightweight debut

The Moto3 rider María Herrera will wear the Argiñano & Ginés Racing Team livery in 2017 in a collaboration that will mean the continuity of the one started this season for the last 5 races. With this agreement, the rider from Oropesa (Toledo-España) in the businessman and chef Karlos Argiñano’s team, and it also means the debut in the smallest category of the World Championship. A new challenge for the team with headquarters in Granollers (Barcelona), which this year achieved the Moto2 European Championship title.

The agreement is valid for one season, 2017, in which María Herrera will have the new material from the Austrian brand KTM to try and improve her times and keep gaining the respect of her male rivals.

María will not compete this weekend in Valencia, as she is recovering from a fracture in her right clavicula she suffered in an unfortunate accident last October 30th at the Sepang circuit when she was fighting to get her best ever result in the World Championship; she run up to 7th. It was the second injury Herrera suffered this year, as she could not compete in Germany due to a wrist fracture she had during the Practice at the Sachsenring.

The Argiñano & Ginés Racing Team will change then its shape for 2017. The team will have one rider in Moto2 (Colombian Yonny Hernández, with Kalex) and a Moto3 rider (Spanish María Herrera, with KTM), and will also continue with the Moto2 Team at the European Championship.

María Herrera: “First, I want to thank Karlos Argiñano for this opportunity. I had quite a lot of trouble this year, as everyone knows, and this chance gives me a lot of motivation. It makes me look forward to 2017, because I know I’ll have the best in the garage. The atmosphere at the AGR is amazing and we’ll do our best to achieve the good results we want “.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Lowes’ Fly Away Disaster ends with Gravel in Malaysia

The Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit marked the end of the long flyaway triple header of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship: for the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2, just back from the disappointment of the two races in Japan and Australia, was another bitter race, with Sam Lowes forced to retire after just two laps due to a crash.

Started from thirteenth on the grid in a wet race, the 26-year-old British rider was in tenth position when he went down at Turn 9. The team now flies back to Europe, where November 13 in Valencia is scheduled the final race of the season.

Sam Lowes: I’m very sorry

“I started the race slowly to avoid risks, but suddenly crashed and I don’t know why. After two disappointing races we wanted to redeem us here in Malaysia, but conditions have certainly not helped us during the weekend. I’m very sorry”.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

RW Racing up to Moto2, Axel Pons Appointed

After many years in the Moto3 World Championship, RW Racing GP will take the next step by entering the Moto2 class. It is with proud RW Racing GP can announce the signing of top Spanish rider Axel Pons for the 2017 season.

RW Racing GP and Axel Pons are looking forward to ride the Moto2 bike in 2017. The first tests will take place in Spain next month and testing will be continued in February and March during the 2017 Moto2 preseason tests.

Axel Pons began his Grand Prix career in 2008 in 125cc. With seven top 10 finishes this year, the 25 year old is having his best season in Moto2 so far.

Jarno Janssen (RW Racing GP team manager): We are ready for a new challenge

“We are really excited to start this new project in the Moto2 World Championship. It feels like an enormous boost and we will be ready for this new challenge. At 25 years of age Axel is both an experienced and a very talented rider and we are very happy to join forces with him. I would like to take this opportunity as well to thank our current rider Livio Loi for his fighting spirit over the past two years and we wish him a lot of success in his future.”

Axel Pons: I’m sure next year will be really good!

“I’m really happy to take part of this project in 2017. Thanks to all the RW Racing GP partners for giving me this opportunity. I’m sure next year can be a really good one if we continue the progress we are making at this moment. I would like to thank Arguinano Team and all my partners for their support during this last seasons.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Vinales loses grip on 3rd in Championship, Aleix out of Top 10

Team Suzuki Ecstar riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró scored sixth and 13th places under difficult weather and track conditions during the Shell Malaysian MotoGP™ at Sepang today.

Following a 20-minute delay on the start because of a heavy tropical storm, making racing too dangerous, Viñales – who was fastest in the morning’s ‘dry’ warm-up – and Espargaró both had good jumps on the start, moving up into the leading places. Espargaró was in the fight for fourth position until running wide and dropping down to 13th, so spent the race trying to catch-up, while Viñales lost some places at third-race distance before gaining some after a couple of riders slipped-off.

Maverick Viñales: I didn’t want to high-side!
“Although sixth place is not so bad, I’m disappointed with the race result. We had a very positive weekend and I performed very fast in the dry, I really had hopes for a podium and also for a victory, but unfortunately in wet conditions we are not competitive yet. We struggle to find a good configuration with the electronics, which makes my riding very hard, in particular when it comes to acceleration. I can’t feel confident with the traction control, therefore resulting in me riding very carefully as I didn’t want to incur a high-side that could prevent me finishing the race. We have made many improvements on the machine and now we have reached a positive competitiveness in dry conditions, but the progress we’ve made in the wet is not enough. This result also proved the positives of the last three races; they were at three completely different circuits and we’ve proved we can adapt and be strongly-competitive in any kind of layout. Now the objective is to have the same competitiveness no matter what the weather conditions.”

Aleix Espargaró: I felt competitive in the dry
“I’m disappointed with the final result because the weekend overall had been positive, but then in the race I couldn’t feel competitive. I decided to go with a soft rear tyre, hoping the conditions of the track would stay wetter, but at the end this proved to be the wrong choice. From the very beginning I realised that my performance was not good and I lost the feeling with the grip right after four-or-five laps. I also made a couple of mistakes, and doing them at the very beginning of the race, when all the riders were still packed together, meant I lost many positions and then it was really hard to recover. It’s a pity, we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few races and I felt very competitive in dry conditions, but we still need to improve our capability to have the same performance also in the wet.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Sepang proves pointless for AGR Team

The morning warm up at the Sepang Circuit was held without rain, but with still some water patches on the track due to the night rain and the fact that the new tarmac does not dry as quickly as expected here. The Argiñano & Ginés Racing Team riders could do 9 laps to try and fine-tune their Kalex for the race, that was declared wet, as it started to rain 20 minutes before beginning.

The race finished early for Áxel Pons, as before the end of the second lap his bike threw him out and he was force to retire, luckily with no injuries. Meanwhile, Marcel Schrötter started from 22nd and 4 laps later he was already 17th. The German rider led a group of 5 that had a space of 2 and half seconds in front of them. He lost the position and 7 laps before the end he was 20th. He could not improve. By mid-race the rain stopped and was drying, but not completely.

Our congratulations to the World Champion Johann Zarco, who mathematically secured the title today, but also to his main rivals this season, Álex Rins and Tom Luthi. The three of them made the fans enjoy a lot. And good luck to Rins to secure the runner-up spot in Valencia.

The AGR finished a tour of 3 tough weeks, where we did our best, and now we need to rest a few days. It will not be many, as the World Championship will finish in Cheste next November 13th and we will also finish the Moto2 European Championship a week later in the same venue.

Marcel Schrötter: I can’t ride in the wet

“A huge disaster. I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand what’s happening. We weren’t able to find the way for me to be comfortable on this bike. I can’t ride this bike on wet tarmac, that’s all”.

Áxel Pons: We need a secure result

“I’m disappointed. When I saw that it rained I knew it would be more complicated. I tried to keep the pace of the leaders and I lost the rear. The positive thing is that we were there the whole weekend, but in the race, we need to secure a result. We keep our motivation to do a good race in Valencia”.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Davies: I Saw it Coming

After winning Race 1 in a dominant fashion, Chaz Davies did the double under the floodlights in Qatar, home of the last round of the 2016 WorldSBK championship. The Welshman’s sixth consecutive race win and eleventh overall crowned him as the rider with the most wins this season. To further highlight his form, Davies also finished the season with the highest number of fastest laps (10).

Second at the start, Davies took the lead in lap 1 to progressively pull away from his rivals, led by Sykes. During lap 8, the race was red-flagged due to oil on track, resetting the gap. At the restart, Davies imposed his pace once again and neutralized Rea’s comeback before the 2016 champion ceded second position in both the race and the championship to his teammate Sykes.

After regularly taking part to the WUP session, finished in 14th position, Davide Giugliano was declared unfit for the race due to the worsening conditions of his injured right shoulder, which was further damaged by a contact during Race 1.

Chaz Davies: I wasn’t good enough for 2nd

“To do the double here, a circuit where we struggled last year, is a sign of much we turned things around. In the first half of the race I was just managing the gap, but after the restart it was a fast, short race. It was difficult to see the pit-board and I wasn’t looking at the big screens, so I didn’t really know how to manage the race, but then I saw Rea was coming back so I pushed a bit more in the last laps and did all I could to bring home the win. It’s bittersweet, because it wasn’t enough to secure second place in the championship, but I saw that coming. We’ve been the fastest out there since the summer break, and we’ll try to keep improving everyday, take it into next year and be as consistent as possible to get the big trophy in the end. Thanks everyone for all the support!”

Davide Giugliano: There couldn’t be a sadder way to say goodbye

“As my shoulder was still healing, I knew that any kind of blow could intensify the pain, but I still wanted to try to finish the season on a high note. Unfortunately, the contact in Race 1 strained the tendons and aggravated the situation. There couldn’t have been a sadder way to say goodbye to the team and Ducati, but I carry many beautiful memories within me. I think that both me as a rider and the bike grew a lot together in all these years. I learned many lessons, and it’s been an intense journey because I believe that having me as a rider elicits a lot of emotions, for better and for worse. I want to give my special thanks to my crew, as they always worked until late night to give me the best tools to race. Also thanks to the whole team and Ducati, which have always made me feel appreciated and worked so hard. I wish them all the best!”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Rea Champion, Sykes 2nd as Kawasaki Employ Team Orders

In 2016 Kawasaki and its official KRT squad won all the major titles on offer – for riders, manufacturers and team. The championship 1-2 for Rea and Sykes was the final part of the overall winning package for the Ninja ZX-10R. Remarkably, all this on-track success came in the first year of a new model, which was only launched a year ago.

The final race of the year got underway on schedule at 21.00 local time in Qatar and was planned for 17-laps. After an oil spill the red flags came out and the track had to be cleaned. A shorter 10-lap restart began almost 45 minutes after the first, and with full championship points issued.

Rea had run-on early in the first red-flagged race and was down in ninth on the grid for the restart instead of the pole position he had earned on Saturday. Sykes was second off the grid in the restart and harried eventual winner Chaz Davies, the only rider who could catch and pass Tom to take second in the points.

As Rea improved his pace and looked to win the final race of his second back-to-back championship season, he overtook Tom and closed in on the lead of Davies. Unable to catch and pass before the final flag he eased up and Sykes secured second place to maintain his overall second in the championship.

With both KRT riders on the podium their 2016 statistics grew again and made happy reading for rider and manufacturer alike. Rea, the 2015 and 2016 champion, has scored nine race wins this year, taken 23 podiums in 26 races, two pole positions and six fastest laps – including the new Losail lap record of 1’56.974, which he set on lap three today.

Sykes’ latest podium gives him 20 for the season, including five wins. He has earned eight more Superpole wins in 2016 and six fastest laps.

In the final Manufacturers’ Championship standings, Kawasaki has 582, 65 more than the nearest rival.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I was trying to get to Chaz to win the first attempted race. When I started the bike felt good but when I approached turn one I could not shift gears as a sensor had failed so I ran-on. I lost places so the red flag saved me when it came out. The crew changed it really quickly for the restart and we made a step forward. Today I rode with my heart; rode like I can. In a ten-lap race, starting from ninth place, the maths did not stack up well! I got beaten-up in the first two corners and spent too long behind Leon Haslam and Tom. Chaz had a bit of a gap on me but I closed it right down. When I saw it was not possible to win I decided to work for the team and Kawasaki. We rode a really, really fast race here. A lap record, a pole position and a world championship came our way this weekend, so Qatar has been pretty good to me.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “To finish runner up has a better ring to it than third and Kawasaki has gone 1-2 in the Riders’ Championship this year. It was a strange weekend in some ways but finally in the first part of race two, which eventually got red-flagged, I was preparing for a longer race. I think our pace at the end could have also been quite good over 17-laps. In the restart to finally do some 1’57 laps was something unexpected. After Jonathan passed me he was closing in on Chaz but obviously when he looked at Chaz’s lap time he would have had to do something special to win. Jonathan has had two great seasons and he has been the man to beat. It was a very good gesture from the other side of the team and this is something that I appreciate so much.”

Guim Roda, Team Manager, stated: “This is the first year of the current model Ninja ZX-10R’s introduction and it has taken the Manufacturers’ title, plus first and second in the championship. Sometimes, there are in life bigger things than your own interests, and that makes life magic and exciting. Today it was possible, for the first time ever, for Kawasaki to finish first and second in the Riders’ Championship. Be sure next year the competition will be there again and Rea and Sykes will provide a big show to the world again. Congratulations to Tom and congratulations to Johnny – you give the team something we lost in the past.”

Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Europe Racing Manager, stated: “We won the Manufacturers’ Championship, the Team Championship and had first and second places in the Riders’ Championship. I am absolutely delighted and the guys did a fantastic job this year again. They have stepped it up another level with the new Ninja ZX-10R.”

Leon Haslam (Pedercini Racing Team) made a remarkable charge in the final running of the ten lap second race, finishing fifth in his return to WorldSBK as a one-off rider. Roman Ramos (GoEleven Kawasaki) finished 14th in the race and in doing so also finished 14th in the final championship rankings.

Local rider Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was out of race two with a technical issue but Grillini Racing Kawasaki riders Gianluca Vizziello and Dominic Schmitter finished the ten-lap race 17th and 18th respectively.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Tech 3 achieve double points from ‘complicated’ Sepang

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro concluded the Malaysian Grand Prix in 9th position after powering through the treacherous conditions today at the Sepang International circuit. The beginning of the race was delayed due to a sudden downpour at the scheduled start time. However, once the GP commenced, Espargaro bolted forward from 11th on the grid and he completed the opening lap in 9th. During the next few laps, the 25-year-old slipped back to 13th, yet the Spaniard remained resolute and after running a strong and consistent rhythm, he moved into 10th on the 13th lap. Espargaro maintained his solid pace as he continued to run at speed at the physically demanding circuit and he closely monitored his times in order to keep a comfortable gap to the pursuing riders. After pushing relentlessly, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion shot across the finish line in 9th place, which marks a positive close to the penultimate round of the championship. Now, Espargaro confidently eyes up the next GP in Valencia where he will seek to seize the top independent honours in what will be his final appearance on the Yamaha YZR-M1.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Bradley Smith bravely battled through to 14th to conclude the triple back to back GP’s with another determined performance. Smith began the 20-lap sprint from the head of the fifth row of the grid and he expertly navigated his way around the opening lap, whilst impressively climbing four positions, before concluding it in 11th. From here, the British star stuck into a solid rhythm, yet despite giving his all, he was shuffled back to 16th after one-third of the race distance. However, the determined 25-year-old remained focused and pushed through the challenging conditions all the way to the chequered flag, which he met in 14th. This result marks a third successive point scoring finish since his comeback at the Japanese GP, from his knee injury, with Smith’s displays highly exceeding expectations in the flyaway races despite not riding at full fitness. Now, the British star aims to conclude his six-year partnership with Tech3 on a high note in his final appearance at the next round in Valencia.

Pol Espargaro: It’s been complicated

“It was a very hard race today and especially at the beginning where there was a lot of water on the track but I am glad to walk away with a top ten finish and some valuable championship points. Because of the rainwater on the asphalt, the visibility was limited and the more behind you were, the more time you lost in the first few laps as there weren’t any reference points regarding where to brake or accelerate, so it’s been really complicated. In addition, I didn’t want to risk making any mistakes, therefore we have to be content with this 9th position. However, this result has ensured my 8th place in the Championship standings, plus I am classified ahead of a couple of the factory MotoGP riders so it is pleasing to have ended the oversea races in this way. Now, we’ll head back to Europe for the final round of the 2016 season, which will also be my last event with Tech3 so I’m highly motivated to do the best job that I can.”

Bradley Smith: We have to look at the positives

“I have to start by saying that the three back to back races have been fantastic and I am more than satisfied with the results. To come back from my injury and score three point scoring finishes is much better than what I was expecting. If we look at the bigger picture, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a superb job as well as the Clinica Mobile medical staff who made sure that I could compete in every session. In terms of the race, it certainly was tough due to the conditions but we have to be content with another finish in the points, even if we were hoping for more. I decided to risk using the hard rear tyre but it is not a compound that I have liked in the past, even though my feeling with it in FP4 was OK on the whole. Unfortunately, with the amount of water that was on the track today, I wasn’t able to generate the right temperature into the rear tyre so it was tricky but I did my best and I don’t think that I could have given any more. It’s a pity to end up in 14th because we’ve had really good pace throughout the weekend, yet we have to look at the positives and take them onboard. Now, we will have a weekend off and then I will head to Valencia, ready for my final appearance with the Tech3 team, where I will do my absolute best.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Rossi: I was very optimistic

Heavy rain saw the start of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix delayed and the race distance reduced to 19 laps, but the more than 95,000 attendees still got plenty of thrilling racing action. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo fought hard during the race to take second and third, their fifth double podium of the season.

Rossi had dropped two places from his position on the starting grid as the 21 MotoGP riders stormed out of the gates. As a result he went into the first corner in fourth, but quickly worked his way to the front over the next couple of turns. Rossi swiftly gained the lead and tried to break away but he was soon joined by Andrea Iannone. The following 11 laps were a consistent tug of war for the lead in the race between the two Italians.

The Doctor used the nimble character of the Yamaha to the fullest in the twisty sections of the Sepang circuit. With 12 laps remaining Iannone made his first attempt to take off at the front, but Rossi didn’t let him escape and upped his pace further to close the gap within two laps, with Andrea Dovizioso in tow.

Studying his rival’s riding, Rossi timed his attack to perfection. He wrestled his way past Iannone, followed by Dovizioso, and set a provisional fastest lap while the rivals behind him lost time battling each other. With five laps to go, as the track started to dry, Rossi suffered a problem on the right side of his front tyre. As a result he went wide in turn one, allowing Dovizioso through and after having experienced two moments the Doctor decided to bring his YZR-M1 over the line in second place, 3.115s behind the leader.

Teammate Lorenzo took the holeshot from pole on the wet track, but wasn’t able to hold off an aggressive move from Marc Marquez and Iannone a few corners later, that saw him being relegated to sixth at the end of the first lap. The Mallorcan moved up one place at the start of lap three when Aleix Espargaró went wide and then took up the pursuit of Marquez who was a little more than a second ahead of him.

Lorenzo set a provisional fastest lap, but lost time and a place due to a scrap with Cal Crutchlow. Lorenzo decided to follow the Briton to the leading group and then found an impressive race pace but was unable to match the front runners. He had a lonely ride to the podium as Crutchlow, Marquez and Iannone all crashed in the later stages of the race, allowing him to grab a solid third place, finishing 11.924s from the front.

Rossi’s second place earns him 20 points and leaves him second in the championship standings with 236 points. Lorenzo’s performance sees him take 16 points and places him third in the rankings on 208 points, trailing by 28 points, making Rossi the 2016 MotoGP Vice Champion.

The MotoGP paddock heads back to Spain now for the last round of the season in Valencia in two weeks’ time.

Valentino Rossi: In the end it has been a good season

“My main target for today was to arrive in front of Jorge for second place in the championship, but I also wanted to win because I felt very good with the bike in the beginning. I had to fight a lot with Iannone and he was fast. After, when I went in front, I was very optimistic but when the water on the track became less the temperature went up, I was a bit in trouble with the tyres, especially with the front. I had two moments, I risked too much and I made a mistake and in that moment Dovizioso was too fast and he went. Securing second place in the championship is important, the battle with Lorenzo is always very intense and we always arrive at the last race. When you beat a rider that’s very strong, like Jorge, it’s great and in the end it has been a good season. I wanted to win, but it wasn’t possible.”

Jorge Lorenzo: I had a bit more confidence

“Being honest, today I’ve been lucky, because without the crashes I would have finished fifth or sixth. Crutchlow, Iannone and Marquez crashed and finally I got this podium and that’s OK. In the past I have been competitive in wet races, when I felt great. Especially with pit stops I have won races, I have secured podiums and got pole positions in the rain. In the wet, with the Michelin tyres this year, especially at the beginning, I had trouble getting confidence in the front tyre. It has been hard for me but after Brno we made some modifications to the setting and also this tarmac helps. At this track I had more grip than normal, so I had a bit more confidence and I was able to be more competitive. Maybe in the race a bit less than in qualifying, but finally because of some luck it was enough to get to the podium. We now go to Valencia with the aim to confirm the third place in the championship.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

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