Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race was won by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), followed by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With the extreme heat conditions persisting, it was decided by the race organization to shorten the length of race 2, to 15 laps.

Lights out then for race 2, and after initially getting a great drive off the line, Bautista tipped into the right handed turn 2 and went straight down, he had no chance to save it, and the bike somersaulted into the gravel. A rare mistake from the reigning champion.

Toprak took over the lead, followed by his team mate Locatelli in 2nd, and Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 3rd. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) then dived through on Bassani and took 3rd. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th, and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 6th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Locatelli 3. Rea 4. Bassani 5. Lowes 6. Redding 7. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 8. Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW).

With 13 laps of 15 left, Bassani aggressive as always from the start, dived up the inside of Locatelli to take 2nd, Rea seized the opportunity and likewise did the same to the Italian who dropped down to 4th. Out in the lead, Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.9s.

With 11 laps remaining Rinaldi took Redding into the chicane to take 6th. Meanwhile further back it was Petrucci 10th, Vierge (Honda HRC) 11th, Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) 12th. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) then crashed out, his race over.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With 10 laps to go Toprak had pulled the gap out to 0.3s. Bassani put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.4. Rea was in 3rd. The leading trio had pulled away from the rest, with Locatelli now 1.7s behind Rea.

With 8 laps to go, Bassani had been steadily gaining on Toprak, and cut under him to take over the lead. Toprak now in 2nd, Rea 3rd. Further back it was Locatelli 4th, Lowes 5th, and Rinaldi 6th.

Just over half race distance and Bassani only held a gap of 0.1s to Toprak. Meanwhile it was Toprak who put in the new fastest lap with a 1:47.7. Drama further back for Isaac Vinales (Team Pedercini) who crashed out, his race over.

With only 4 laps remaining Rea was now struggling to remain in contact with the two ahead of him, and had a gap of 1.0s to overcome to 2nd. Drama for the other factory Kawasaki, Alex Lowes crashed out from a comfortable 5th place, losing the front end, his race over. Meanwhile up ahead Toprak had caught back up to Bassani, and cut up the inside of the Italian into turn 16, to retake the lead. Bassani, however, snapped straight back although Toprak was able to defend the lead.

Last 3 laps and the win would surely be decided between Toprak, and Bassani. Rea now too far back to be in contention.

Penultimate lap and Toprak had put the hammer down, obviously with more tyre grip, and broken the ability of Bassani to remain in contact. Great race for Brad Ray who was now up to 6th, in contention for his best ever WorldSBK result. Behind was Baz 7th, Redding 8th, and Petrucci 9th.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 2 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak took the win to make it a double across the weekend. Bassani 2nd, Rea 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Ray 6th, Baz 7th, Redding 8th, Petrucci 9th, Lecuona 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  2. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 391
  2. Razgatlioglu – 321
  3. Locatelli – 208

 

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) claim top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:45.959, followed by team mate Andrea Locatelli, and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Scorching temperatures were already taking hold across Southern Europe, and the mercury was hitting 34 degrees Celsius for race 1, with a track temperature of nearly 60 degrees.

Lights out then for race 1 and it was Andrea Locatelli with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bassani 2nd, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 3rd, Toprak 4th, and Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 5th.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1 – Picture courtesy of KRT WorldSBK

Next lap of the 19 lap race and positions were as follows: 1. Locatelli 2. Bassani 3. Bautista 4. Toprak 5. Rea 6. Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK)  7. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 8. Brad Ray (MotoxRacing Yamaha) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW)

With 18 laps to go, Bassani who had been looking aggressive from the off, dived up the inside of Locatelli to take the lead. Further back Rea held a gap of 0.7s to Redding, while Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was up to 10th. At the front Locatelli responded to retake the lead, Bautista moved into 2nd, while Bassani dropped down into 3rd. Drama then for Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) who crashed out, his race over.

Next lap and Toprak got through on Bautista up into 2nd. Pata Prometeon Yamahas were now 1 and 2.

With 16 laps of 19 remaining, Bassani continued to fall back and this time Rea got through and into 4th.

Next lap and Toprak got through on his team mate and took the lead. Meanwhile further back it was Redding 7th, Petrucci 8th, Baz 9th, Lowes 10th, and Ray 11th. Bautista then got through on Locatelli and up into 2nd, Rea too seized the opportunity and dived up the Italian into 3rd. Locatelli had now dropped to 4th.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista was slowly ratcheting up the pressure on Toprak. Rea put in a new fastest lap a 1:47.554 and was right on the back of Bautista. The leading trio were edging away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile further back Petrucci was up to 7th, Redding 8th. The factory Hondas were struggling again with Vierge 14th, and Lecuona 15th, although Vierge had to start from the back of the grid due to a last minute issue, so his position was well deserved. Leon Haslam (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) was in 13th and riding for the injured Tom Sykes.

Next lap and it was Locatelli with the new fastest lap a 1:48.353, he had clearly not given up and was trying to make contact with the leading trio. Bautista then had a massive tank slapper down the back straight and it allowed Rea to come through. Bautista was lucky to get away with what could have been a nasty crash. It didn’t deter Alvaro however, and he snapped back to take 2nd.

With 11 laps remaining Locatelli held a gap of 1.6s to Bassani in 5th, Rinaldi 6th.

Next lap and it was Petrucci who got through on Bassani up into 6th, Rinaldi was ahead of him in 5th, and Bassani had now dropped down to 7th.

Just over half race distance and Bautista had shrugged off his earlier moment, and was now right on Toprak. Rea was struggling to keep contact with the pace being set by the leading duo, and was falling behind.

With 8 laps to go Bautista had been lining up a pass and used the power of the Ducati to once again blast past Toprak down the back straight, and into the lead. It was a perfectly clean pass and Toprak could not respond. The 250 revs docked from the Ducati by the organisers, seemingly making no difference to the performance what so ever.

And if to reiterate the point, Bautista put in a new fastest lap a 1:47.065 with now only 6 laps remaining. Drama for Eric Granado (Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team) who crashed out.

With only 5 laps remaining the positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rea 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi.

Next lap and drama for Lecuona who had to retire due to a mechanical issue. Meanwhile further back Bassani continued to slide down the positions, and was now getting reeled in by Loris Baz. Lowes was 9th, Redding 10th, Haslam 11th. Vierge then got through on Leon to take 11th. Meanwhile drama for the Swiss rider Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who retired back to the pits due to a mechanical.

Penultimate lap and Bautista now held a gap of 3.4s over Toprak, while Toprak held a similar gap over Rea in 3rd.

Round 7 WorldSBK, Imola, Race 1 – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Bautista secured yet another win followed by Toprak 2nd, Rea 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Petrucci 6th, Bassani 7th, Baz 8th, Lowes 9th, and Redding 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Prometeon WorldSBK)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 382
  2. Razgatlioglu – 284
  3. Locatelli – 188

 

Round 1 WorldSBK, Phillip Island, Australia, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim his second win of the weekend, followed by team mate Rinaldi, and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team).

WorldSBK Philip Island Round 1 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Conditions were thankfully dry for the start of race 2, with an air temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, and track temperatures in the mid 30’s,  with the sun shining down on the track.

Lights out then for race 2 and it was Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by team mate Rinaldi, and the Yamahas of Locatelli and Toprak, with Bassani in 5th. Rea was again looking to make early in roads from his disappointing 7th place grid position, knowing that allowing Bautista any distance at the front would surely spell danger.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team) 4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 5. Rea 6. Toprak 7. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 8. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Ducati) 10. Oettl (Team GoEleven Ducati).

With 19 laps of 22 remaining, Bautista wasn’t in the mood to hang around, and was already working on extending his lead at the front. He now held a gap of 0.7s, with a group of 8 riders forming behind, the racing was much closer in the dry conditions.

Next lap, and it was first Rea to move through on Bassani into Doohan’s, followed by Toprak, the racing was heating up. Meanwhile out in front the two Ducatis were looking quick. Locatelli, 3rd, held a gap of 1.6s to Rea behind in 4th, while Lecuona, 8th, held a gap of 1.6s to Petrucci in 9th.

Next lap and rookie Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who had been looking aggressive all weekend, tried to force a move up the inside of Petrucci into MG corner. However the Italian snapped back to hold his position.

With 15 laps remaining, Lowes got good drive down the straight and blasted past Toprak to take 5th. The Kawasaki team mates were now 4th and 5th. However disappointment again on the other Kawasaki for Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who initially went into the pits, and then returned on track only to crash a few moments later. Not the return to racing that Sykes would have wanted.

Next lap and things were heating up with a 5 way battle for 4th between Rea, Lowes, Toprak, Bassani and Lecuona. Bassani in particular was looking aggressive, and made contact with Lecuona, tearing his wing off the fairing in the process.

With 13 laps to go, Lowes decided to make a move on his team mate, and dived through on Rea, holding the position. Meanwhile it was getting spicy between Bassani and Lecuona who once again collided, and this time gave Oetll the opportunity to come through into 7th, which he took with open arms.

Next lap, and at the front Bautista held a gap of 1.9s, and as he had all weekend, was looking comfortable. Meanwhile Toprak had come through on Lowes briefly, and Lowes returned the favour to retake 5th. Positions were now changing almost every corner, and it was reminiscent of a Moto3 race. Current positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Locatelli 4. Rea 5. Lowes 6. Toprak 7. Bassani 8. Oetll 9. Lecuona 10. Petrucci.

WorldSBK Philip Island Round 1 Race 2 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

With just over half race distance covered, Lowes again made a move on Rea into turn 1, powering up the inside and making the move stick. Meanwhile the constant battling of riders behind, had allowed the leading three riders to pull clear of the rest. Locatelli now held a gap of 3.4s to Lowes behind in 4th.

With 9 laps to go, Bassani used the top end speed of his Ducati to blast past Toprak down the straight and into turn 1 to take 6th. Meanwhile Rea had fought back to retake 4th ahead of his team mate, Lowes who dropped back into 5th. Further back, Aegerter again tried the same move on Petrucci into MG corner, and again the experienced Italian was able to defend his position. Further ahead Lowes wouldn’t be put off, and again passed Rea to retake 4th.

With 7 laps remaining it was quickly becoming a blow for blow scrap between Kawasaki team mates, Lowes and Rea and it was the former who would retake 4th, with Lowes back in 5th. Meanwhile further back there was a 3 way battle for 13th between Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) and Redding (BMW Motorrad).

Next lap and Bassani was showing good late race pace, and had got past both Kawasakis to end up 4th, Rea was in 5th. Then huge drama as Lowes lost the front end of his bike braking into turn 4, collecting an unsuspecting Toprak in the process, and sending them both down and out of the race. Toprak was clearly upset about that incident, which he obviously had no control of.

With 4 laps of 22 remaining, the three at the front would not be caught unless there was some incident. Positions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Rinaldi 3. Locatelli 4. Bassani 5. Rea 6. Oettl 7. Lecuona 8. Aegerter 9. Petrucci.

Next lap and Oetll had now passed Rea to take 5th, the German was having a fantastic weekend. Rea however was suffering from rear tyre grip, and was trying to hold off Lecuona who was now right behind him. The Honda has better drive out of turn 12, and it allowed Lecuona to blast past Rea into 6th. In front Bassani held a gap of 0.2s to Oettl in 5th. Meanwhile further back Gardner moved up into 11th, holding off the BMW factory team mates of Redding, and Vd Mark.

Last lap and Bautista made no mistake, crossing the line to take his 3rd win of the weekend, a clean sweep of wins. Rinaldi 2nd, Locatelli 3rd, Bassani 4th, Oettl 5th, Lecuona 6th, Aegerter 7th, Rea 8th, Petrucci 9th, Vierge 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  3. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  5. Oettl (Team GoEleven Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 62 pts
  2. Locatelli – 34
  3. Rea – 31

Moto GP season update

The massive five week gap is finally at it’s end. Moto GP is soon to return to our TV screens this Friday 6th August, with the qualifying on Saturday 7th and race on Sunday 8th.

Even though racing was on a break, news stories kept on coming in.

Since the fantastic Assen weekend with the two Yamaha teammates finishing first and second, one of them decided to pull out of his contract with Yamaha earlier than expected. Maverick Vinales will be parting ways with the factory team at the end of the 2021 season. Unfortunately, this may not come as much of a surprise as Vinales has been quite open about his feelings within the team recently and has been seen to be dejected many times in interviews. It has been rumoured that he will be joining Aprilia in 2022, as of yet, nothing has been confirmed or denied.

Vinales (courtesy of Moto GP website).

More news from Yamaha, but this time from Petronas Yamaha. It was announced that Franco Morbidelli will not be competing in the next three rounds due to a knee injury, sustained in a training accident, prior to the Assen race. Morbidelli has had knee trouble in the past, hopefully this time the injury can be corrected for good. Wishing him all the best of luck in his recovery.

Morbidelli is not expected to return to racing until September at Aragon

With Morbidelli out for three races, Petronas Yamaha have recruited British racer Cal Crutchlow. Having retired from Moto GP last year in 2020, Cal has been a test rider for Yamaha, so it did seem like the obvious choice. Crutchlow is a massive fan favourite and an all-round good guy and rider. He will be racing in Styria, Austria and his home track at Silverstone. So be sure to show your support for him.

When Franko returns to the paddock there will be some changes to the 2021 calendar:

For the second time in a row Australia and Thailand will not feature in the Moto GP season. Due to the on-going Covid 19 pandemic and travel restrictions, creating difficult decisions to be made. As a result of this the Malaysian Grand Prix has been brought forward a week, Portimao replaces Phillip Island and the Algarve GP has been added in November, for a second year in a row.

Updated 2021 Season Calendar (courtesy of Moto GP website).

This weekend though also sees the return of the Spaniard Dani Pedrosa. After, retiring back in 2018 from Repsol Honda, Dani has been a test rider for KTM ever since. He has been hailed as a massive part of their recent success in 2020 and 2021. He will be stepping in as a wildcard rider for the one-off race. Could this be the first of many appearances from the number 26?

From retirements to returns there has been one consistent in the whole of Moto GP for the past 25 years. The nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi will be celebrating this amazing anniversary.

Young Rossi on the podium in 1996 (courtesy of Gazetta).

Sunday 15th August will be the Austrian GP and in 1996 Rossi took his first ever podium, in third place, competing in the 125 class. His 200th podium is still eluding him though, will we finally witness history being made in the second part of this season?

Reminder of the current championship standings as of the last race weekend at Assen:

First

Quartararo

156 Points

Second

Zarco

122 Points

Third

Bagnaia

109 Points

Fourth

Mir (Current Champion)

101 Points

All information is current and correct on date of publication – 04-08-21

 

Featured imaged (courtesy of Moto GP website).

A twist in the tale at Catalunya

Qualifying:

It is a home track for many of the riders but it was a Frenchman that claimed pole.

During Q1 Marc Marquez (Honda) decided to follow and gain a tow from Jack Miller (Ducati). Unfortunately, given his best efforts, this didn’t help Marquez and he couldn’t manage better than 13th  place.

Marquez follows Miller. Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Miller on the other-hand made it all the way through and finished on the front row. Even a crash didn’t interfere with his result.

Viewers may have noticed that Alex Rins (Suzuki) wasn’t out on track, this was due to a cycling accident that occurred off-track where he went into a Dorna vehicle and hurt his wrist. He would also not participate in the race.

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) would start from pole (his fifth pole in a row this year). Miller second and Zarco third – finishing the front row.

Race:

The Catalan circuit always produces some entertaining races and this one was no exception. But there was a twist in the script book, which saw it  be thrown completely out of the window.

Prior to the race, Jorge Martin (Ducati) had an accident and was made to start from the pit-lane, from 15th slot on the grid.

Once the lights turned green it was all go – Miller and Miguel Oliveira (KTM) managed to get past Quartararo on the straight. Knowing they had to make a break for it and disrupt Fabio’s rhythm.

All riders were so close together, quickly creating battles between: Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and Brad Binder (KTM). Miller and Quartararo. Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).

Mir got a fantastic start and went from tenth to fourth by turn seven, lap one.

All within the first three laps Quartararo and Miller tussled for second place but Quartararo came out worse and made a mistake causing the other riders to take full advantage, pushing him down to fifth. Mir passed Espargaro. Oliveira got fastest lap. Zarco passed Quartararo. Bagnaia then took fastest lap. Quartararo re-took fourth position back from Zarco and Binder went into the rear of Vinales – both riders remained on the track and un-hurt and finally fastest lap went back to Oliveira.

Quartararo soon gained his composure back and started to hunt down the riders in front. He passed A. Espargaro and Mir was next on the radar. On the same lap, Pol Espargaro (Honda) crashed out of the race, turn 5, lap 5.

Courtesy of: Moto GP website

All the riders knew they had to conserve their tyres as much as possible but it was hard to think this was in the fore-front of their minds as all top 6 racers (bar Oliveira) were constantly battling for positions. By lap 7, Quartararo re-gained second place, managed to get fastest lap in the process and was soon hot-on-the-heels of the KTM.

Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci (KTM) crashed turn 9.

Riding well was Marc Marquez, with 17 laps left in 7th position chasing A. Espargaro and Zarco down. But then disaster struck and he crashed out (for the third time in a row) on the infamous turn 10. With Pol, his team-mate already out, neither factory Honda riders gained any points at their home race.

It went from bad to worse for Honda, with Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) receiving a long lap penalty for taking a shortcut through turns one and two. Alex Marquez (Honda) would take the best finish result for the manufacturer in 11th.

With 15 laps to the chequered flag Oliveira still led Quartararo, Mir, Miller and Zarco.

The next local boy to have a DNF was A. Espargaro, same turn as Marquez a few laps earlier.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack positions were being swapped again. Quartararo passed Oliveira on turn 5, half-way through the race. But the Portuguese rider had other plans and soon re-took the lead. Zarco passed Miller for fourth and Miller and Mir had a mini battle which saw Miller win.

Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Turn 10 soon took out yet another rider, this time it was the nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who took to the dirt, with 8 laps until the end.

Iker Lecuona (KTM) then tumbled, turn 13, lap 18.

Six laps until the race finish gapping had started to appear between the racers. Oliveira and Quartararo were out on their own in 1st and 2nd. Zarco, Miller, Mir and Vinales were in another group fighting for the last podium position.

The number 88 (Oliveira) started to pull away from 20 (Quartararo) and Zarco was soon on his rear. Lap 22 Zarco passed his fellow Frenchman on the start-finish straight. Moments later Fabio lost the front of his bike a-little and he went off track but rejoined in-front of Miller. Slotting into third.

Then a very unusual thing happened, Quartararo’s leathers were suddenly open and he had pulled out his chest protector. Both things had become a safety issue but the race officials did not bring out a black flag for the rider. Instead he was allowed to carry on racing. The rules clearly state that “…equipment must be worn, correctly fastened, at all times during on-track activity”. This has caused controversy already. When asked at the end of the race Fabio was hesitant to give an explanation and said that enquiries were already being held on the matter and that the incident wasn’t his fault.

Courtesy of: Moto GP

However, on the last lap he received a three-second penalty for a different rule-break – a shortcut on turns one and two, just like Nakagami earlier on in the race. Meaning that his position in third was given to Miller.

Oliveira went on to win his third ever race in Moto GP, from Zarco and Miller.

Oliveira consistently putting in the laps. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

As there were only 15 riders to finish the race, everyone got at least one point towards their championship positions.

Championship results:

First

Quartararo

121 points

Second

Zarco

101 points

Third

Bagnaia

88 points

Fourth

Miller

87 points

Race results:

First

Oliveira

Second

Zarco

Third

Miller

Fourth

Quartararo

Fifth

Mir

Sixth

Vinales

Seventh

Bagnaia

Eighth

Binder

Ninth

Morbidelli

Tenth

Bastianini

Sachsenring (Germany) is next on the calendar – Sunday 20th June – Marc Marquez has never been beaten there. Will we see a miraculous win from the Spaniard or will there be a new King of the track?

 

 

Wishing all the best to Alex Rins and Suzi Perry in their recovery.

 

 

(Featured image: Celebrating with the fans – Courtesy of Moto GP)

©2017 The Pitcrewonline