It’s a first for Top Gun

After not being able to race at Qatar in 2020, audiences were eagerly awaiting the first Moto GP race of 2021.

But, did it live up to everyone’s expectations? Under those amazing bright lights, we got to see the new glistening colours of the teams, the glittering helmets of the riders and one intriguing race.

All teams chose to start with both front and rear soft tyres, which would always be an interesting factor as the laps progressed.

The Ducati’s, who had dominated Qatar in 2019 and 2018, got an amazing start with four of their bikes leading the pack from the beginning. Bagnaia was out in front from Miller, who was participating in his 100th Moto GP start, following him were Zarco and Martin. Martin managed to make up an impressive 10 places from the grid and Zarco made up four. The Ducati power was definitely something to witness, three Yamahas then followed suit.

Sand being blown over the track due to the high winds caused Petrucci to be the first to fall on lap one.

By lap two Zarco had passed Miller to take second place. However it was Bagnaia that managed to clinch fastest lap by lap 3. Quartararo was also pushing hard and managed to get fourth place in the same lap. Last year’s champion Mir, was now pushing through the pack and was behind Rossi in ninth.

Fastest lap went to Quartararo on lap 4, who was behind his teammate at the time.

Martin in his first race in Moto GP, battled hard to keep his position but the Yamahas proved to much for him and he went to sixth place on lap 5. Vinales then took fastest lap from his teammate, whilst taking his new position past Martin.

Bagnaia, Miller, Quartararo and Vinales managed to break- away from the pack and create their own race. With Aleix Espargaro slowly hunting Valentino down, who was on the next Yamaha along, in his new team Petronas. Espargaro managed to pass him on lap 7. In the meantime Rossi’s new team mate, Morbidelli had fell to position twentieth.

Unfortunately for last year’s pole man and Honda’s top qualifier this year – Nakagami crashed out on the same lap. Meanwhile, Rins and Mir, on the two Suzuki’s, carried on tracking down the front five.

By lap 12, Vinales had made it to second place and was showing Bagnaia that he meant business. His teammate (20) went backwards to sixth place.

Martin had gone backwards as well to thirteenth place on lap 13. Zarco was remaining steady in third.

By lap 14, Vinales was pushing Bagnaia, but neither one was willing to give in. Alex Marquez then finished LCR’s hope to get any points during the race by also crashing out. Both riders were un-hurt.

A new contender for the front was appearing, Rins seemed to be the one to watch. With 8 laps until the end he and Miller were battling on the track.

Lap 15, Vinales took the opportunity and passed Bagnaia for prime position. He pushed straight away and managed to make a gap from the super-quick Ducati’s.

Reigning champion Mir, was still slowly progressing and took fifth place from Miller on lap 16.

On the first corner of lap 17, Zarco on the satellite Ducati passed the full factory Ducati rider Bagnaia, whose tyres may have been degrading faster then others by this point, having lead for most of the race.

Vinales now lead Zarco, Bagnaia and the two Suzuki’s. Had the Suzuki’s qualified better, they may have been further up the pack quicker and would have been fighting for the all important podium positions.

With five laps to go Rins looked menacing behind his teammate Mir. But it was Mir that lined up to pass Bagnaia and finally took third place on lap 20. But Bagnaia didn’t want to give up the place easily. Mir who had been steadily chipping away, coming from 10th on the grid was now in third place, with Zarco still in second and Vinales leading.

Into the final lap, Mir passed Zarco on turn 15, for second place. Fighting constantly against the raging winds, the two Ducati’s were now following as he tried to get away, but he missed the apex into turn 16 and went slightly wide. Mir held firm but as the Dukes shifted into third gear, the speed proved to be too much again for the Suzuki and they passed the number 36 on the final straight. A crest-fallen Suzuki team and many fans had their hearts in their mouths while witnessing yet again the might of the Red Devils.

Top Gun, who proved to be super smooth, won the opening race with Zarco (who had not left the top three from lap one – remaining constant throughout) and Bagnaia taking third on the podium.

Last points scorer went to Martin.

Bagnaia commented at the end of the race “…my bike saved my podium…” with Vinales saying that the “…Ducati’s are unbelievable…”. Is this the first glimpse of Ducati’s come-back?

Qatar will once again host the Moto GP race next weekend at the same time. Will we see the same people battling it out at the front? Or have people shown their hands? And how will others respond?


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Lastly, it was with great sadness to hear that recently Moto GP lost someone very special – Fausto Gresini. He will be greatly missed within Moto GP, Moto 2 and 3.







Featured image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

Racing Legends: Marc Marquez

There are talented racers in Moto GP and then there are those who seem to be born to race. Ones that stand out from the crowd. Marc Marquez is one of those riders. With his natural ability, his intelligence, understanding of racing and his wonderful family support behind him, culminate to an unstoppable force.

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Born February 1993, in Cerevera, Spain. Marquez has always gravitated towards a career in Motorcycle racing. Thriving from his family’s love and encouragement, Marc has gone on to be a phenomenon in his own right. He has shown audiences worldwide that he has the passion, courage and correct character that all great champions need.

Starting off racing competitively in the Catalan and Spanish National Championships Marquez went on to race in the 125’s. Only six races into his first season he scored his first podium. Learning how to use the bike to his full advantage, he carried on this momentum into his second season in 2009. Finishing in the top 10.

2010 became the first actual taste of Marquez’s true talent. Winning the 125 championship, just 17 years and 263 days old. The second youngest 125 champion after Loris Capirossi, who was just 17 years and 165 days old.

Progressing into the Moto 2 class in 2011, Marquez only took one season to learn, conquering in 2012, becoming the new world champion.

Not wishing to carry on in Moto 2, Marquez then progressed again, this time to the Premier Class. Showing his determination to be a Moto GP champion, he won his first race on the Honda, in only the second race of the season in Texas, a new track for Moto GP. It was here that he also became the youngest ever pole setter, the youngest ever race winner of the top class at just 20 years and 62 days and he completed the full set with the fastest lap, a superb achievement.

He was soon breaking all the youngest ever records and setting new ones. In only his first year he managed the impossible – winning the entire championship, by only 4 points, over Jorge Lorenzo. The first time a rookie had won since 1978 (Kenny Roberts Snr). Becoming the youngest ever World Champion at 20 years and 266 days and the youngest rider to win back-to-back Grand Prix races in the Premier Class at Laguna Seca and Sachsenring.

Putting any doubters to rest, saying that he would only be a one-time champion, he won back-to-back seasons in 2014, securing victory with three races to spare. Setting new records for the most wins in a season as well as most pole positions in a year and beating Mick Doohan’s record of twelve race wins in one season. The same year saw his younger brother Alex also win a title, in Moto 3.

Winning five races and retiring in six, Marquez found himself finishing third overall in 2015, having not been able to match the consistency of Yamaha team-mates Rossi and Lorenzo. Having three collisions on-track with Rossi, controversy about his “aggressive riding style” drew criticism, yet again, from his fellow riders, namely Rossi with whom he had battled numerous times for the championship. Some racing fans turned against Marquez, even booing him on the podium, but things soon settled down again when Rossi and Marquez embraced in parc ferme after the race which followed the tragic death of Moto 2 rider Luis Salom.

Despite not winning the 2015 title, Marquez was still putting himself firmly in the history books. Becoming the first rider to win six consecutive races at one track – Sachsenring – his most successful track.

Courtesy of: A seemingly impossible save

However, having this set back in 2015 spurred him on to win in 2016 and once again be crowned Moto GP World Champion, in Japan. The culmination of new Michelin tyres and new bike restriction rules saw audiences witness nine race winners during this season.

Struggling at the start of the 2017 championship, Honda decided they needed to find a suitable set-up for Marc’s personal riding style. They soon found it and he went on to win the races at Germany, Czech Republic, Misano and Australia. Dovizioso, who was his closest rival that year, kept the championship alive up to the final round, but ultimately Marquez held onto his title.

Courtesy of: Asphalt & Soaking up the championship win.

With history repeating itself the following year, Dovizioso seemed to be Marquez’s main on-track rival in 2018, but several crashes ruled out his contention to be Moto GP Champion and Marquez once again won the title. This same year Dani Pedrosa, Marc’s team mate decided to retire, he was replaced by fellow countryman Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez won eleven races in 2019, sealing victory with an impressive four rounds left until the end of the season. This was now his sixth Premier Class Championship title, having only been in the top-class for the past seven years. He has become the youngest rider in the history of Moto GP to win seven World Championships and the youngest rider to have won five premier-class titles. At the end of 2019 Lorenzo also retired, leading the way for Marquez’s younger brother Alex to partner up with him at Honda.

Courtesy of: Celebrating the 2019 win with brother Alex.

This team looked to be the perfect match, with the brothers being so close, they would share everything and hopefully bring both sides of the Honda garage together.

However, this was not to be. Having done so many impossible saves, Marc was unable to save his bike and had a very heavy crash in just the first race of the new season, in Qatar on lap 20 and broke a bone in his arm. This resulted in him having to miss the entire year. Having gone under numerous surgeries since the accident, he is determined to come back strong and fighting again in 2021.

Hopefully we will witness the same Marc Marquez we have grown to admire. With his unique racing style and positive attitude, there surely will be more records set and broken.

Project CARS 2 Review

 Slightly Mad, Beautifully Authentic
Project CARS 2 is a sequel to the original game released in May 2015. Once more developed and published by Slightly Mad Studios, the game doubles in car size, now boasting 182 cars from 38 different manufacturers with additions from Ferrari and Porsche. Electronic Arts lost their exclusive contract with Porsche recently, the manufacturer now appearing on all new driving releases, Slightly Mad used RUF in 2015.
It now holds the record, taking it from the first edition for most tracks, 46 locations and 121 different formats, Knockhill in Scotland, Long Beach in America and historic tracks such as the high speed Hockenheim in Germany which you can see above.
It is the first game in recent years to have secured a contract with Verizon who own Indycar, boasting the full 2016 car roster and liveries with the Indy 500 as an official event. This is a tier 1 category in career mode. All cars and tracks are available on single player and online from the start so no need to do any unlocking if you are a casual gamer.
The weather/physics system they use, Livetrack, is in its third form a truly dynamic approach to rain, and especially to dirt and snow taking a leaf from Codemasters’ critically acclaimed DiRT series with Rallycross entering the fray.
Because of such unique situations, where puddles form and dry out individually, the track never seems static, always evolving in the process throughout the race. A true challenge especially in the lower categories. As you can see below the spray in the Formula rookie series around Watkins Glen. You can also see from this the lovely graphics the game has and graphical interface of position on track, track map and speedometer.
The career mode which was such a success on the first game is just polished further, having the tiers of category, starting low down in tier 6 with Go-Karts or Formula Rookie, heading towards the heights of Indycar and the World Endurance series.
Depending on your success, you will be invited to a series of invitationals, so much so you might do a Nico Hulkenburg or Fernando Alonso and attempt the historic events of the Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500, of which if you fancy can be the full duration, but shortened down to a smaller time if you wish.
The most fine tuned cars on the gaming market. The noise and handing of them are so realistic, the way you could tune the setups for the cars is amazing. There are probably thousands of different setups, where a 0.1psi change on a tyre makes a huge difference.
They have also got eSport interest and will be streaming events on the internet. Qualification for these events will begin shortly. For all you gamer nerds the achievements on Xbox and trophies on Playstation are a slight challenge, but doing these give you the full appreciation of the game.
Project CARS 2 is everything you wish for a sequel to be, bigger, better and amazing. One of, if not the best driving simulator I have ever driven on! Further DLC is announced, so more tracks and cars to get aswell! Gaming at its highest level.
Chris Lord
Pictures are captures on a Playstation 4, from @C_Lordy91 twitter.  This game is out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One from 22/09/2017.

Formula Hollywood

“I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races, or a racer who acts.”

Steve McQueen

Hollywood and Racing. The two things should go hand in hand for action and entertainment, but sometimes the films don’t do the sport of motor racing full justice.

Fortunately, there are those actors who decide that they don’t want the safety of a film set, the inclusion of a stuntman to take their place in dangerous scenes or a scripted way of life in a movie.

These thrill seekers step away from the cameras and they decide to go racing.


There is not much cross-over these days for famous actors to move into motor racing, the exception to that rule is Patrick Dempsey. He has managed to carve out a very successful career in motor racing. The Grey’s Anatomy star first started racing in the Panoz Racing Series in the GT Class back in 2004.

It was in 2007 that he moved to the Rolex Sports Car Series and made seventeen appearances until 2009 when he entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a Ferrari. It was from here that Dempsey would over the years grace sports car championships both in America and Europe. He has entered Le Mans four times with the following results:

2009 – Ferrari F430 GT2 – GT2 Class – 30th overall – 9th in class

2013 – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – GTE Am Class – 29th overall – 4th in class

2014 – Porsche 911 RSR – GTE Am Class – 24th overall – 5th in class

2015 – Porsche 911 RSR – GTE Am Class – 22nd overall – 2nd in class

An accomplished racer who owns Dempsey Racing, he is a racing driver without any hesitation or shadow of a doubt. Before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013 he told Eurosport, “I would like to make that (motorsports) a complete priority and just focus on this full-time. If I could just walk away from acting, I think I could do that very easily, and just focus on the driving. I would love that more than anything else.”  Last season he competed in seven races in the World Endurance Championship, showing how much he is dedicated to motor racing.

But before Patrick Dempsey there were a host of famous actors who were bitten by the motor racing bug.


French Connection actor Gene Hackman took part in the 1983 24 Hours of Daytona, he was co-driver of the a front engine Toyota Celica for the All American Racers team with Japanese drivers Masanori Sekiya and Kaoru Hoshino. They were classified with a 57th placing but did not finish the race due to a gearbox problem which caused a transmission failure.

Former American F1 driver Bob Bondurant said that Hackman was one of the most talented celebrity racers he had ever taught. Hackman also raced at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1984, driving a Mazda RX-7 for Preston & Son with his co-driver Whitney Ganz.


In 1954, James Dean decided he wanted to race cars.  Just before he began filming Rebel Without A Cause, Dean competed in his first event, the Palm Springs Road Races between 26th and 27th March.


He achieved first place in the novice class and second place in the main event.  It was a month later when he made his way to Bakersfield and finished first in class and third overall. James Dean had been bitten by the racing bug. There were plans put in place for him to compete in the Indy 500, but his acting contracts and schedule made this impossible. He entered his final race in Santa Barbara on 30th May 1955, but had to retire due to a blown piston. Whilst filming Giant he was barred from racing by Warner Brothers. When filming had finished, Dean had already put in motion plans to race.

He had purchased a race ready Porsche 550 Spyder “Little Bastard” car and it was en route to a racing event in Salinas, California that James Dean was tragically killed in an accident after a collision with another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. There was no doubt James Dean’s hunger for racing would have seen him compete further and higher, but this sadly never happened.


Eric Bana made his motor racing debut in 1996, competing in the Targa Tasmania, a week long race around the island state of Tasmania.

In 2004 he purchased a Porsche 944 and competed in the Australia Porsche Challenge, regularly finishing in the top ten and finished a creditable fourth in the Sandown 500. In 2007 he again entered the Targa Tasmania, but this time he crashed his 1974 XB Falcon Coupe. He and his co-driver escaped uninjured.

He is also among the many top stars to have appeared on Top Gear’s A Star In A Reasonably Priced Car.


It was during the filming of his movie Grand Prix that Garner was told by British motor racing legend Graham Hill that he could possibly driver professionally.

Garner took this advice to heart and set about getting involved in racing. He co-owned AIR (American International Racers) and made a documentary called The Racing Scene.

His racing team entered Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring endurance races with Garner himself competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona between 1969 and 1971.  James Garner drove the safety car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1975, 1977 and 1985.


McQueen achieved a second place and first in his class at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1970 with co-driver Peter Revson driving a Porsche 908. They only missed out on first place overall by twenty-three seconds behind a Ferrari driven by Mario Andretti, Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella. McQueen was also driving with a cast on his foot from a motorcycle accident two weeks earlier.

He is famed for the movie Le Mans and the famous quote that came out of that film, “Racing is life. Anything before or after, is just waiting.”  In 1961 BMC competition manager, Marcus Chambers, received a call from an American racing driver who was going to be in Britain and wanted to borrow a car to race in the British Touring Car Championship. That driver was Steve McQueen. He warmed up in an Austin A40 at Oulton Park and went on to drive a BMC Mini in the BTCC at Brands Hatch, finishing third. He wanted to drive professionally, cars or bikes.

He may have owned an array of sports cars, did his own car driving stunts in Bullitt and Le Mans, but the truth is, Steve McQueen’s first love was bikes.He competed regularly in off-road motorcycle racing, normally on a BSA Hornet. He also competed in the International Six Day Trial for the USA. McQueen was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports hall of fame in 1978. McQueen also features in the bike documentary On Any Sunday.

During the motorcycle chase scene in The Great Escape, McQueen not only played the part of Hilts, trying to escape from the Germans, he was also the chasing German soldiers (clever editing) because the film company could not find anybody to match McQueen’s bike skills. Contrary to what is said, McQueen did not perform the fence jump in the film, due to insurance purposes this role was taken by his friend and motorcycle partner Bud Elkins.

He raced bikes and cars, he was an actor, he was handsome and he was ‘The King Of Cool’. Steve McQueen was remembered as much for his racing as he was for his acting.  The list of cars owned by McQueen are legendary, Porsche 917, Porsche 908, Ferrari 512 (all race cars from Le Mans film), a 1963 Ferrari 250 Lusso Berlinetta, Jaguar D-Type XKSS, Porsche 356 Speedster, 1962 Cobra and a Ford GT40.


Paul Newman was colour blind, but this did not stop him forging a career in motorsport. He was once quoted as saying about motor racing, “The first thing that I ever found I had any grace in.”

His interest in racing came about whilst he was training at Watkins Glen for the 1969 film Winning. In 1971 he hosted his first TV special called Once Upon A Wheel which was a history of motor racing. His first professional event came in 1972 at Thompson International Speedway, when he entered quietly under the name of P.L. Newman. He competed regularly in Sports Car Club of America events during that decade and went on to win four national championships. He competed at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Porsche 935 for Dick Barbour Racing along with his co-drivers Rolf Stommelen and Dick Barbour. They achieved a memorable second place and first in their class. In 2000 he entered the Petit Le Mans. From the mid-1970’s to the early 1990’s, he drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team. He raced Datsun’s (which were later to be re-badged Nissan’s) in the Trans Am Series. Newman had a close connection with the car manufacturer and even had a Nissan Skyline named after him.

Aged 70, Newman became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned event winning in his class at the 24 Hours of Daytona. He went on to compete in the Baja 1000 in 2004 and again at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2005.

Paul Newman is famed for his ownership of a racing team. It was during 1976 he thought about forming his own team and contacted Bill Freeman. Newman Freeman Racing competed in the North American Can-Am series in a Budweiser sponsored Chevrolet (with a Spyker engine). They won the Can-Am Championship in 1979. In 1983 Newman co-founded Newman/Haas Racing with Carl Haas and entered the Champ Car Series. The team went on to win eight drivers championships, Mario Andretti (1984), Michael Andretti (1991), Nigel Mansell (1993), Cristiano da Matta (2002 and Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2007).

He competed into his 80’s, winning at Lime Rock in a Corvette displaying the number 81, his age and took pole in his last race in 2007 at Watkins Glen. Paul Newman was posthumously inducted into the SCCA Hall Of Fame in February 2009.

Because of the involvement in racing, these actors aren’t just cool, they are just simply ice-cold epic.

See You At The Chequered Flag.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

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