Difficult season opener for Marc Marquez

It wasn’t the start that Marc Marquez would has liked for his 2015 MotoGP Championship campaign.

Marc starting from third, had a problematic first corner, with Marc emerging as the biggest victim. As the MotoGP riders jostled for position, Marc made a small mistake, running wide in turn one and rejoined the track in last place.

He began to make up positions with Marc up to eleventh by lap three. The Repsol rider pushed to chase race leaders Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Iannone and Rossi and passed Petrucci, Crutchlow, Smith and Hernandez and was up to sixth by lap eight.

Marc began to chase down the leading four riders but the gap of 3.8s was too great. Nevertheless, Marquez still managed to break a record with the fastest top speed recorded in the premier class of 350.5km/h, beating the previous record held by Iannone of 349.6km/h.

This is the first time since winning the German GP in 2013 that Marc has not lead the MotoGP Championship standings. He now will be looking to bounce back from this disappointing start and challenge for victory at the Red Bull Austin GP in two weeks time.

Marc Marquez: “We should be happy because we have salvaged eleven important points, when we could easily have left here with none. It was a tough race, in which I made a mistake at the first corner and dropped back to last place. This meant that I had to make a comeback, pushing hard all through the race, but in the end I saw that I could not catch the group at the front. The positive that I’ll take from today is that we rode at a similar pace to the lead group. In Austin we will continue to work hard, with an even stronger desire to do well.”

Results Session
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 42’35.717
2 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team +0.174
3 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 16 Ducati Team +2.250
4 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 13 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +2.707
5 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team +7.036
8 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 8 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +12.914
18 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE 0 Aspar MotoGP Team +46.570

Rider Standings
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team

1 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team
3 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 16 Ducati Team
4 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 13 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
5 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team
8 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 8 Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Text/Photo: PR Honda Racing Corperation

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Moto2-Podium finish for Tom Luethi in Qatar

It was the reward for a selfless work: A podium finish in his first Moto2-race of the season for Tom Luethi.

After a spectacular race – with Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat two favorites crashed, the third (Johann Zarco) fell back with technical problems – Tom Lüthi suddenly found himself in third place again with three laps to go, and the experienced Swiss could fend off all attacks from the Spaniard Alex Rins up to the finish line.

Moto2 Race Classification 2015
Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 94 Jonas FOLGER GER AGR Team Kalex 160.1 40’18.532
2 20 19 Xavier SIMEON BEL Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex 159.8 +5.051
3 16 12 Thomas LUTHI SWI Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex 159.3 +12.123
4 13 40 Alex RINS SPA Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex 159.3 +12.202
5 11 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 159.2 +14.385

Moto2 World Standing 2015
Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points

1 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 25
2 Xavier SIMEON Kalex BEL 20
3 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 16
4 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 13
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 11

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2015 season starts under the lights of Qatar

Reigning MotoGP Marc Marquez aspire to the title in the premier class. Fabio Quartararo begins first full Moto3 campaigns in Qatar.

The Losail International Circuit in Qatar once again hosts the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. Defending champion Marc Marquez will again be staking his claim for the title in MotoGP.

After the good feeling obtained during preseason, Marc Marquez arrive in Qatar with the aim of transferring all the development work from the winter into results on track.

In the lower cylinder class, the champion of the FIM CEV Repsol, Fabio Quartararo, makes his World Championship debut aged 15 years, 11 months and 6 days. The youngest rider in the series will try to maintain the level exhibited during preseason at the first of many circuits on the calendar where he has never ridden before.

In Moto3, Fabio Quartararo debut in the World Championship

As tradition dictates, the action at Losail begins on Thursday evening with the first free practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Marc Marquez: “I can’t wait for the season to begin! It’s been a long Winter and then testing was cut short in Qatar last week due to rain, which was very strange, but I’m confident going into this first race. This circuit isn’t one of my favourites but it’s still fun to ride and it marks the beginning of the Championship which is great. Let’s see how the conditions are after all the rain last week. As usual it will take a few sessions of the different classes on track to clear the racing line and then we will see how the grip level is. There are a lot of fast riders on fast bikes ‒as we saw during testing‒ so this first race weekend will be interesting for sure!”

Fabio Quartararo: “The preseason tests have gone very well and helped me relax, because you feel more comfortable when you’re at the top. Therefore, I am now very calm. I go to Qatar highly motivated and very curious about riding at night. I’m excited to start the World Championship but I want to go slowly, learn and enjoy myself.”

Text /Photos: PR Repsol Media Service

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Goncalves and Barreda back to work

The action returns once more as we bid farewell to silly season. It will be sand, dunes and competition galore as the first race of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship – the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – fires up this weekend and Team HRC will be right there in the fray.

Team HRC have now put the Dakar Rally escapade behind them and this weekend it will be all sights set on the next adventure, as the Emirate of Abu Dhabi looms on the horizon, signalling the first date of a new world championship.

Paulo Gonçalves holds particularly fond memories of the event, having had his name and that of Honda etched into the winners list for the first time in last year’s edition.

Likewise, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will serve as a crucial test to scout for promising new talent who might one day make up the Team HRC ranks. The squad will thus line up stalwarts Paulo Gonçalves and Joan Barreda alongside youngster Ricky Brabec, who gets to savour the Honda CRF450 RALLY for the first time.

The rally will consist of a short Super Special on the afternoon of Saturday March 28, to be followed by five stages out in the Liwa desert to the south of the country’s capital, made up mainly of lengthy stretches of dunes. In total, 2,091.78 kilometres and, of these, 1,306.27 km special stage.

Text/Photo: PR Honda Racing Corporation

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First Podium of 2015 for Kenan Sofuoglu

The 4.554km Chang International Circuit proved to be straightforward in layout if not in the action that unfolded on it, with Sofuoglu taking the lead for the first three laps, only to lose it to long-time leader Jules Cluzel. The Frenchman was to stop with a technical issue leaving local rider Ratthapark Wilairot to the win while Jacobsen and Sofuoglu contested second and third places into the last corner of the last lap.

Kenan Sofuoglu was to come out on top and also move himself into second place in the championship fight with 30 points after the first two rounds of the World Supersport championship have been completed.

The next round will take place on 12th April, at the impressive Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “We got the podium we wanted but I cannot say I am completely happy with it. I am pleased to score 20 points but I am not so happy with our pace in the race. Our main problem was that the temperatures went up and the track grip changed, which meant we were around a second slower than yesterday. My gearbox was set up for a faster corner speed so in the race I felt like I could not accelerate quickly out of the corners where you need full acceleration. In some parts of the track I was faster than other riders but out of the last corner and the first corner I lost too much. But we still took 20 points and the championship is still open. This was a very hard race for us but the coming races will not be like this one for me.”

1. R. Wilairot
2. K. Sofuoglu
3. P. Jacobsen

Overall – World Supersport championship
1. R. WILAIROT HONDA 36 points
3. J. CLUZEL MV AGUSTA 25 points

5. G. REA HONDA 22 points

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Simspon weathers Thai cooker for solid results

Twelfth overall and tenth place in the MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship standings was a modest achievement for the British Champion at Nakhonchaisri for the Grand Prix of Thailand. Round two of eighteen took place in temperatures that almost touched forty degrees and the strange ground and jumpy course at the Thailand Circuit required a cautious approach.

Shaun Simpson rode steadily to eleventh place in the first moto and at his own pace mindful of the other GP athletes that required medical attention for heat stroke. The same tactic for the second race was not as prosperous and he clocked a fourteenth.

“I’m kinda glad to get out of here in one piece because I never found my way with the track from the get-go,” he said. “From eighteen rounds you are going to have weekends like this and I made things hard for myself by not getting a fast lap on Saturday and then falling twice in the qualification heat. To come away from these first two races with tenth in the championship means we are slightly on plan. British Championship next and I’m looking forward to busting-out the number one plate. We can then start to think about Argentina right away.”

The first round of eight in the Maxxis British Championship will take place this weekend at Hilton Park in Wolverhampton.

A lap of Thailand GP with Shaun Simpson:

Text: PR Shaun Simpson
Photo: Juan Pablo Acevedo

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Onboard lap of Shaun Simpson @ Qatar

Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK’s Shaun Simpson sets a lap in Free Practice at the 2015 Grand Prix of Qatar. In the end he fisnished the weekend with a solid 10th place overall.

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Simpson ready for fresh MXGP charge

Victory in the LaCapelle-Marival International in France last weekend was the ideal final step of pre-season preparation for British Champion Shaun Simpson as the 26 year old Scot jets to Doha this week for the Grand Prix of Qatar and the first round of eighteen in the 2015 Motocross World Championship.

The opening salvo of MXGP under the lights of the Losail International circuit and around the vast jumps and pacey layout of the desert-based track will be the first of at least twenty-six weekends of action for ‘24’ as he attempts to defend his status not only as Britain’s No.1 on home soil but also in the premier class of Grand Prix after taking seventh place in the standings in 2014.

Over two weeks of testing and riding in Spain led to shakedown outings at Hawkstone Park (a top five finish), third place in the mud of Valence in France and the win at LaCapelle last weekend. With his new 450SX-F KTM Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo machine prepped and primed with WP Performance System equipment, Simpson enters Grand Prix in excellent shape and promising form.

“Pre-season for me is something really important in order to get some races under my belt, laps in race conditions, rattle most of the nerves out of the way and gauge where we are at speed-wise before you hit the first GP,” he says. “I think we have had a solid winter and worked on some finer points of the bike as I have stayed with the KTM 450SX-F. Physically I have been on point with my program so there has been no stone left unturned really. The speed seems to be there and in terms of fitness I feel great. Overall I’m just itching to get going and start racking up those World Championship points!”

Shaun Simpson was the top British rider both nationally and internationally in 2014 and earned acclaim and plaudits for the consistency and speed that routinely saw him hitting ruts near the front of the MXGP pack. A fantastic top five finish in the championship was within reach until he suffered a brief shoulder dislocation at round sixteen of seventeen in Brazil. Simpson’s delicate touch with the motorcycle and ability to total the maximum amount of points possible each weekend means he is gunning for top honours again among a fierce field of competition that will boast seventeen other riders with GP winning experience.

SS24 is still the UK’s last Grand Prix victor in the premier class.

The hard-pack and wide curves of the Losail layout will provide the initial GP challenge. Round two follows hard upon and the MXGP circus travels to the new venue of Nakhonchaisri in Thailand (west of Bangkok) on March 8th.

Keep track with all of Shaun’s news, moves and views via his website www.shaunsimpson.com and social media channels
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shaunsimpson24
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaun-Simpson/75370219077

Text: PR Shaun Simpson
Photo: Juan Pablo Acevedo

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Marquez back in the groove and fastest

Day two of the second Sepang test has concluded with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez back at the top of the time sheets. After a difficult first day, where he was unable to work properly due to an issue with the brakes, Marc was keen to get to work on his test programme.

It wasn’t long before the reigning World Champion was out infront, becoming the first rider in this second test to lap under 2’00 just before midday. He spent the day working on electronics amongst other items and recorded his fastest lap of 1’59.844 on lap 22 of 63. He had a small crash in the afternoon at turn four, but thankfully remained uninjured.

The three-day test will conclude tomorrow and will be followed by the first test by Factory riders on Michelin tyres in preparation for 2016.

Marc Marquez: “I’m happy because today was a positive day. After what happened yesterday, we tried to make up for lost time and tried out quite a few things. Tomorrow we have to continue testing things out, in order to continue developing and eliminating anything that is not going to be useful. Today we focused on electronics and tomorrow we will work more on the chassis. I’m happy with how things went today and with the pace that we have achieved. We’ll see if tomorrow the rain holds off all day, because we need good weather.”

Results Session
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’59.844

2 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1’59.902
3 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’00.098
4 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’00.250
5 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2’00.275
6 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2’00.308
7 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2’00.329
8 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR CWM LCR Honda Honda 2’00.333
9 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2’00.409
10 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2’00.689
11 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 2’00.713
12 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2’00.731
13 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Marc VDS Racing Team Honda 2’00.762
14 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 2’00.847
15 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing Ducati 2’01.012
16 BRADL Stefan 6 GER NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’01.131
17 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2’01.633
18 PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’01.897
19 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2’01.944
20 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 2’01.945
21 MILLER Jack 43 AUS CWM LCR Honda Honda 2’01.968
22 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 2’02.006
23 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 2’02.221
24 BAZ Loris 76 FRA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’02.426
25 DE ANGELIS Alex 15 RSM NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’02.499
26 NAKASUGA Katsuyuki T1 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 2’02.755
27 MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA Factory Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 2’04.313

Text/Photo: PR Honda Racong Corporation

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Cluzel wins WSS opening race in Australia

After an 18 lap World Supersport opener, Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) came out victorious ahead of his new team mate Lorenzo Zanetti with WSS returnee Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) joining him on the first podium of the year.

The leading duo were involved in a fight in the early laps before gradually breaking away from the 3rd place fight involving Rea, supersport rookie Kyle Smith (Pata Honda WSS Team) and Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) who completed the top 5 in that order.

For Cluzel it was the second year in succession that he has tasted the winner’s champagne in Australia after winning the shortened opening race 12 months ago.

Former champion Kenan Sofuoglu’s challenge for the win ended at the start of lap 6, the Turk running off track at speed at turn one aboard his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing machine. He was able to rejoin finishing 6th at the flag after setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 7.

Overall World Supersport Championship
Pl. Ride Bike Points

3. G. REA HONDA 16

Text/Photo: PR World SBK/PR Team Reparto Corse MV Agusta

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