Iannone Waltzes to Austrian GP Glory After “Incredible Race”

The Ducati Team put in an outstanding performance today at the Austrian Grand Prix, round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship, held at Zeltweg’s Red Bull Ring.

Andrea Iannone took the chequered flag to notch up his first-ever MotoGP victory, ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished runner-up nine-tenths of a second behind, in his 250th grand prix race.

The two Ducati riders dominated the 28-lap race, holding off attacks from Rossi and Lorenzo in the early stages: Iannone moved into the lead on lap 2 and was then passed by Dovizioso on the tenth lap. Dovi kept the lead until lap 20, but next time around was passed by Iannone who held onto first place until the flag.

Ducati returned to the winner’s podium for the first time in six years, since Casey Stoner’s victory in the 2010 Australian GP. The last Ducati 1-2 in MotoGP dates back once again to Australia, at Phillip Island in 2007 when Stoner won the race ahead of Loris Capirossi.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1st

“I am really very happy, because in my opinion we did an incredible race. I started off quite slowly and tried to stay up front without ever pushing too hard, because I knew that in the final stages I could have had a bit less pace than everyone else, having opted to start with the soft rear tyre, while all the others made a different choice. I ran the whole race keeping a bit of margin and my bike was really perfect. I think that we did a great job over the entire weekend and I’d like to thank my team, all of Ducati and my crew chief Marco Rigamonti who have helped me improve so much in these last four years” .

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd

“It’s a very important day for Ducati because we managed to obtain the win, a 1-2 even, that we have been chasing for such a long time. We’ve been working hard for four years and I am very happy to be a part of this project. I’m disappointed that I was unable to win however, because today I had a really good feeling with the bike and I was really good under braking. We didn’t take the risk of opting for the soft rear tyre, which in the end proved to be the winning move. Iannone on the other hand decided to use it and as he was the only one to do so, towards the end of the race he was at an advantage. In the last few laps, especially in the right-hand corners, I was losing too much time and I wasn’t able to stay close enough to make an attack on him. It’s a pity, but we must look at the positive side of the race because today we obtained a great team result”.

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 12th

“Irrespective of my result, I am really happy because finally Ducati have succeeded in taking a win in MotoGP after such a long time. We scored the result we had expected and I feel it to be a bit mine and the Test Team’s as well, because in the last few years we have worked so hard to improve the bike. As for my race, I did everything possible to move up and get into the top 10, but in the end I had to settle for twelfth place.”

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)

“I am really happy, it’s an enormous satisfaction! I want to thank all the guys in Ducati Corse who over the years have done an incredible job and I hope that this fantastic result repays them for all their efforts. I would like to have each and every one of them here with us to celebrate this 1-2 win together and give them all a big hug. My sincerest thanks to everyone!”

Johann Zarco: The Gentleman of MotoGP

Johann Zarco has shown an incredible amount of determination to come back from being fourth in the Moto2 championship standings and 21 points off, to leading by 34 after the recent Austrian Grand Prix. However, it’s Zarco’s celebrations and off-track persona that is winning him fans all over the world.

Back in 2011, Johann Zarco took his first win in the 125cc class, but the season itself was full of aggressive moves and a lot of crashing, despite being at the sharp end for so much of the year. Notably, his ambitious final corner move on eventual champion Nico Terol in Catalunya, which saw him demoted to 5th and in Misano, when he tried to grab Nico Terol’s front brake on the run to the line on the final lap.

However, Zarco has come from petulant child to sophisticated champion over the course of the last 18 months. His domination in last year’s Moto2 championship was absolutely remarkable, especially considering the competition, with reigning champion Esteve Rabat and rookie Alex Rins. Eight wins meant that he wrapped the title up before the final round in incredible style.

His celebrations are something a little bit remarkable too! The Frenchman’s backflips have become a fixture and expectation alone with a win. And even his variations of them have been something a little bit special too. At Assen last year, he did one in clogs and in Austria this year, he did it in lederhosen to mix in with locals.

And it’s not just his celebrations, determination, resilience and success that everyone likes about him. It’s the fact that he has time for his fans; he’s really happy to do the selfies and sign the photos, caps and shirts. He always makes time for as many people as possible and is always the first to congratulate another rider on a win or pole.

And it is for those reason why I believe that Johann Zarco is the Gentleman of MotoGP.

For more bike racing news and features from MotoGP, World Superbikes and British Superbikes you can follow @PitCrew_Online and also follow me personally @MotoGPKiko. We are also on Instagram; CrewOnTwo is where to find us!

Lorenzo Baldassarri: The Unsung Hero of the German GP

In warm up, he had a crash, dislocating a shoulder. In Qatar, he dislocated both shoulders, returning two weeks later. Lorenzo Baldassarri is something out of the ordinary and after all ready picking up my ride of the day across all classes, he also goes as the unsung hero of the German GP in 2016.

He may have only come in to consistent form this year but we all know that Lorenzo Baldassarri will be taking his first win of his MotoGP career very, very shortly. But his ride today underlines just how dedicated these riders are to making it out on the track.

A crash in warm up looked fairly innocuous for the Italian and it looked a tad kinder than other crashes we had seen over the weekend at that corner. However, it was clear for all to see that Lorenzo was injured as he tentatively walked away. The result proved to be one that we had already seen from the Forward Racing rider; a dislocated shoulder. There was little news on whether or not he would race and I already assumed that he would just sit it out. Then, the number 7 lines up on the grid. A truly astonishing site. Baldassarri went to 5th at turn one before slipping back to 13th. Crashes happened and the Italian benefited from the departures, picking up a remarkable 5th place with what I will say now, was ride of the season so far in Moto2.

He has been one of the top six riders this year and had an unbelievable battle with reigning champion Johann Zarco at Mugello, where the two exchanged positions six times on the penultimate lap. Although his first win is still eluding him, I have absolutely no doubt that the podium finisher has what it takes to make it to the top step of the rostrum before the end of the season.

You can keep up with Lorenzo Baldassarri on Twitter @lorybalda7 and you can also keep up with the Forward Racing Team on Twitter @ForwardRacingGP. You can follow us on Twitter @PitCrew_Online and you can follow me @MotoGPKiko for all things bike related, whether it be opinions on riders or the pictures!

Aprilia Boss Slams “Distracted” Bradl and Bautista

The Austrian GP for Bautista and Bradl’s Aprilias was decided when the lights went out.
Both penalised by an early start, Alvaro and Stefan had to do a ride through in the initial phases that compromised the outcome of the race. Incorrect communication on the RS-GP bikes’ instrument panels also led the German rider to make another pit stop.

Based on performance in warm up and, especially based on the pace demonstrated after the ride through, the RS-GP machines had the potential to achieve the best performance of the season on the Red Bull Ring. Bautista, who lapped consistently with a top ten pace, finished sixteenth in the end, in any case on the threshold of the points zone, whereas Bradl was a bit farther back in nineteenth place. At the end of the race, Roberto Colaninno – Piaggio Group CEO and MD – made a statement.

ROBERTO COLANINNO – PIAGGIO GROUP MD AND CEO

“Today Aprilia had everything needed to demonstrate the progress the RS-GP has made. From the first race of the season, the new bike has gradually improved and we cannot accept the fact that human error – whether having to do with technical management or how the race is conducted – keeps us from demonstrating our true value and achieving the results that Aprilia and this bike deserve. The MotoGP calendar gives us the opportunity to redeem ourselves straight away with the Brno race. I have complete confidence in Romano Albesiano and in the new bike, but we need to roll up our sleeves and continue working every day in order to be prepared for the next race and to resume that growth trend that we had shown up to now”.

ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER

“I am the first to be furious with the outcome of today’s race. Even on a circuit that does not favour us, we had the best RS-GP of the season prepared, a bike that has shown tangible improvement, both in terms of the engine and race pace, and the times are indisputable proof of this. If he had not had any problems, Alvaro would have easily finished in the top ten. We cannot accept that, after all this work, our potential is squandered because our riders are distracted at the start and because of trivial mistakes on our part in managing the messages on the dashboard. As professionals like Alvaro and Stefan, I expect concentration and maximum commitment until the end of the year, but I want to call the entire team to put in extra effort that will lead us to working nonstop, even over the August holiday, in order to prepare for the race at Brno. We have a chance to redeem ourselves straight away and we absolutely cannot fall short of achieving the results that are within our potential”.

 

Lowes Crashes Out of San Marino Moto2 Race

Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 rider Sam Lowes was forced to retire in today’s Grand Prix of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini at Misano following a crash during the 13th of the 26 laps of the race: the 25-year-old British racer was in fourth position, fighting for a podium finish, when he lost the front at turn 15.

In the previous laps Lowes engaged a good fight for the third step of the podium, overtaking Johann Zarco and Thomas Luthi, then he battled with Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami before the crash that put him out of action exactly midway through the race.

Lowes: I was still faster than the others

“We struggled over the weekend and also today the race was not easy. Apart from Nakagami, who had a good pace, I was still faster than the other riders involved in the fight for third place, so I was determined to pass them to try to pull away. Then I had some problems with the bike, I lost the front and I crashed. It’s a real shame. However, now we look forward to the tests we will carry out in Valencia in the coming days, before facing the Aragon Grand Prix, where we will keep working to improve”.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Marquez Quick, Pedrosa Struck Down by Fever

Marc Marquez is proving why he is world champion, with a solid 2nd place accomplished on day 2 of testing at Phillip Island. The Repsol Honda man couldn’t overcome the pace of Maverick Vinales, Marquez worked on set-up of the bike and race pace.

The reigning champion worked solidly, completing a total of 107 laps, and rounded off the session with two long runs of 15 laps each, gaining valuable data in order for the team to work on improving the machine before the season opener at Losail, Qatar.

“It’s been a day of really hard work, and I’m a little bit tired, but it was the plan we had for today with the team and we did it! Together with my engineers we decided to do many laps to try a few things, and we focused on riding as consistently as possible, trying to avoid any mistakes”. He went on, saying the importance of the two long runs, but also said that he isn’t where he wants to be.

“I also did two long runs at the end of the day, to try different configurations of the electronics, and that allowed us to gather a lot of information. Anyway, as I said yesterday, we’re still missing something, because I’m not 100% comfortable, but we’re working in a good way. Hopefully these two long runs will allow us to find the areas where we can take a step forward.

The Repsol Honda man also tried a new tyre, with the vision of trying another one for the rear tomorrow. “I also tried a new Michelin front tire and tomorrow we’ll try the rear one, as today we had no time to do it.”

Dani Pedrosa struggled throughout the day with a fever. Completing 40 laps, the Spaniard set his best on lap 38, before calling it a day. The winner of the San Marinese Grand Prix at Misano last year has struggled throughout winter testing, but also struggles at this circuit, as his weight hinders him from getting any significant heat in the tyres.

“Unfortunately, near the end of yesterday’s session I started feeling a bit strange and things got worse overnight, he began. This morning I couldn’t have breakfast as I wasn’t feeling good in my stomach and I had a bit of a fever and no strength.

“I could eat absolutely nothing until around 2 o’clock, so I just waited. I tried to do some laps in the afternoon, starting slowly, and although I improved a little lap by lap, I didn’t push hard.

Despite the hardships, Pedrosa is wishing for a healthier and faster final day at The Island: “Anyway, now I’m feeling better and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be in better shape for the final day of the test.”

Both Repsol Honda riders will be back out on track tomorrow for the final day of testing.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko