Victory of a champion

Reigning Champion Marc Marquez battled with Rossi to a brilliant victory in Qatar, giving Honda their 250th win in the premier class.

In a stunning start of the MotoGP 2014 season, the reigning World Champion returned to wow his fans at the helm of his Honda to take the 250th victory for the brand in the premier class. Neither his injury of six weeks ago that forced Marquez to miss lost two-thirds of the preseason, nor strong rides by Valentino Rossi –who finished second– and team mate Dani Pedrosa –third– held the young star back from a magnificent ride to victory at the inaugural race of the season.

The race began with Jorge Lorenzo starting strong to take the lead in the first corner. But the Spaniard fell in turn 15 before the end of the first lap, as did Stefan Bradl, who also started well, on lap 9. That left Marquez in the lead followed by Rossi and Pedrosa, with Alvaro Bautista close behind.

The race came down to the final lap, with 21 year old Marquez battling with veteran Rossi for the first victory of the year with Marquez coming out on top. In the battle for third, Pedrosa took advantage of a crash suffered by Bautista to take the final podium position.

On the heels of this victory, Marquez will head to Austin in less than three weeks, the site of his first victory in the MotoGP class.

Marc Marquez: “I’m very happy with the result today. The 25 points are important but it’s also been an important race, because I was coming back from an injury that caused me to miss most of the pre-season. Also, this weekend there were a lot of riders up at the front, all with a great pace, and seeing how the race went, this win is a big one. The battle with Valentino was the best part of the race besides the win, I really enjoyed it!”

Results
1 Marc Marquez 42:40.561 Repsol Honda

2 Valentino Rossi +0.259 Yamaha
3 Dani Pedrosa +3.370 Repsol Honda
4 Aleix Espargaro +11.623 Yamaha
5 Andrea Dovizioso +12.159 Ducati

World Championship
1 Marc Marquez 25 points Repsol Honda

2 Valentino Rossi 20 points Yamaha
3 Dani Pedrosa 16 points Repsol Honda
4 Aleix Espargaro 13 points Yamaha
5 Andrea Dovizioso 11 points Ducati

Text/Photos: PR REPSOL MEDIA SERVICE

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Marquez places second in exciting opening Moto3 race

The first Moto3 race of the 2014 season provided plenty of surprises from start to finish. Alex Marquez got a good start and was second behind Jack Miller, as the duo escaped from the rest of the pack.

Whilst Miller and Marquez broke free, enjoying an advantage of up to two seconds at one point, Rins became involved in a battle with Kornfeil, Vazquez and Oliveira. Lap by lap, the chasing pack cut the gap to the leaders and, on the final lap, Marquez made a mistake at the front. That set up a final tussle for victory, which was won by Miller with Marquez second and Vazquez third.

Alex Marquez: “I made a rookie mistake tonight; I hit a false neutral when cornering on the final lap. Despite that, I am pleased to have taken second place and claimed 20 points, because it is a very good result with which to start the World Championship season. I think that throughout the race I had a good pace when on my own at the front. When Jack [Miller] took the lead, however, we went slower and the chasing pack managed to close in on us. That is why I tried to push as hard as I could on every lap. We have to continue as we have been doing and I am very happy with this first race with Honda.”

Results
1 Jack Miller 38:05.810 KTM
2 Alex Marquez +0.233 Honda
3 Efren Vazquez +0.280 Honda
4 Miguel Oliveira +0.295 Mahindra
5 Alex Rins +0.369 Honda

World Championship
1 Jack Miller 25 points KTM
2 Alex Marquez 20 points Honda
3 Efren Vazquez 16 points Honda
4 Miguel Oliveira 13 points Mahindra
5 Alex Rins 11 points Honda

TEXT/PHOTO: PR REPSOL MEDIA SERVICE

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Jules Cluzel writes history

Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) has written a new page in the history of motorcycle racing, winning the first world championship race for the iconic Italian brand MV Agusta since Giacomo Agostini’s victory at the Nurburgring in 1976.

The race was red flagged during the eighth lap due to the technical problem suffered by Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) and the oil laid on track by his CBR 600 RR. A bitter end of a difficult round for the Irishman, who took part in the race despite a fractured right talus bone.

A new 5-lap race startedafter the track cleaning procedures were completed, with Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) immediately taking the lead at turn 1. The three time World Supersport Champion, along with Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport), crashed during the second lap out of five, with only the Dutchman able to rejoin the race, although at the back of the field.

With two of the favourites out of the race, a spectacular 5-way battle for the win took place up to the finish line, with Jules Cluzel edging Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and Raffaele De Rosa (Core PTR Honda), second and third respectively. Just outside the top-3 were Florian Marino (IntermotoPonyexpres Kawasaki), fourth, and Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki), fifth.

Supersport FIM World Championship Standings after Round 1
1. J. CLUZEL MV AGUSTA 25 points
2. K. COGHLAN YAMAHA 20 points
3. R. DE ROSA HONDA 16 points
4. F. MARINO KAWASAKI 13 points
5. R. TAMBURINI KAWASAKI 11 points

Text/Photo: PR WSBK/Yakhnich Motorsport

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Laverty claims first WSB win on Suzuki

Eugene Laverty stormed to victory on his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki debut in race one at Phillip Island in Australia today, securing the first World Championship win for the Japanese manufacturer since 2010.

Laverty fought back from a difficult start and made his way through from seventh to hunt down the leading pack of Giugliano, Melandri and Guintoli from lap seven. The Irishman advanced on the leaders, making his break for the lead on lap 17 and didn’t look back. The Yoshimura-powered GSX-R firmly controlled the pace for the remaining five laps bringing the first victory for Crescent Suzuki on the world stage.

Race two again saw Laverty challenging for the lead; a brief battle in the opening laps resulted in the Suzuki GSX-R again dominating the mid-race before a motor damage brought about an early end to the weekend’s activities.

Sunshine, blue skies and a pleasant 22°C greeted the crowd as the track temperature fluctuated by more than 10 degrees between the two races, peaking at 48°C for the afternoon’s event.

As the championship prepares to travel back to Europe, Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli heads the standings with 41 points, Laverty’s win positions him in fifth.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will now use the month-long break to re-evaluate the data from this weekend’s racing before preparing for the first European leg of the World Championship with a private test at Jerez on March 31st ahead of the second round of series at Aragon in Spain on April 13th.

Eugene Laverty:“A day of highs and lows! The first race was incredible! To be so far back on the first lap and come through to win; it was the perfect race for us and a nice way to pay back the whole team for the belief they’ve shown in me. Paul Denning worked hard to get me on board and he delivered everything I needed. He brought in my Crew Chief Phil Marron, Davide Gentile to work on the electronics and Stan; who I’ve worked with before. All the rest of the boys have welcomed me, so it was nice to be able to reward them with the win right away, and it’s a win that means more to me than any so far in my WSBK career. The second race was a disappointment for everyone. We didn’t deserve that – that’s for sure – but that’s racing and unfortunately that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Superbike FIM World Championship Standings after Round 1
1. S. GUINTOLI APRILIA 41 points
2. L. BAZ KAWASAKI 31 points
3. M. MELANDRI APRILIA 28 points
4. D. GIUGLIANO DUCATI 26 points
5. T. SYKES KAWASAKI 25 points
6. E. LAVERTY SUZUKI 25 points

Text/Photo: PR Suzuki Racing

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2014 WSBK-Preview with Eugene Laverty

Pre-race interview with SHOEI’s Eugene Laverty for the opening round of the 2014 Superbike World championship where he tells us how he’s feeling about the up-and-coming race at Phillip Island in Australia.

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Barcia Scores a Podium Finish in Texas

Nearly 54,500 fans filled AT&T Stadium—home of the Dallas Cowboys—Saturday night in Arlington, TX to watch not only the seventh round of the Supercross series, but also the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX class. It was an exciting night for Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia who landed on the podium with a solid third-place finish.

Barcia had a strong showing all day, finishing fourth overall in timed qualifying practice and battling his way to a second-place finish in his heat race. In the main event, Barcia didn’t get the greatest jump off the line but was able to slip to the inside of the first turn and come out in the top five. By the conclusion of the opening lap, Barcia had moved into third. At one point in the 20-lap race he was briefly passed, but countered back to reclaim third position.

“It was a good night of racing. Obviously I always want to win but third is great for me, especially since I haven’t had the best results so far,” explained Barcia. “Mentally this season has been a challenge so it feels really awesome to be back up on the podium. I wish I rode in the main how I did in the heat race. I felt really solid and think I could have caught James [Stewart] if there were a few more laps, but in the main I got pretty tight towards the end and was just trying not to make any mistakes. I am really looking forward to next weekend. I love Atlanta. It’s kind of like a home race for me, so I have a lot of friends and family coming, which is exciting. Hopefully I can get on the podium again.”


450 Supercross Class Overall Results Rank

1 James Stewart
2 Ryan Dungey
3 Justin Barcia

450 Supercross Class Championship Points (after 7 of 17 rounds)
1 Ryan Villopoto 144 points
2 Ken Roczen 132 points
3 James Stewart 130 points
4 Ryan Dungey 116 points
5 Justin Brayton 114 points
6 Chad Reed 111 points
7 Justin Barcia 109 points

Text/Photo: PR Honda Worldwide

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Interview Marc Marquez

 

Repsol Honda’s reigning World Champion, Marc Marquez, has started 2014 as he ended 2013: On top in MotoGP.

Marc Marquez began his preseason in the best possible fashion, preparing for his second season in MotoGP and his title defence. The Repsol Honda rider dominated all three days of the Sepang test, breaking the circuit record on the final day. His time of 1:59.533 bested Casey Stoner’s previous record, set in 2012.

You haven’t stopped this winter. Can you not stay away from racing?
“This has been a winter of two parts. The first was dedicated to events and press, and the second part to a bit more fun and things like Dirt Track racing, driving cars or karting. It is always good to keep active.”

It was supposed to be a break, but you kept on racing.
“There was time for everything. I also had some holiday time over Christmas. In January I began training and had some fun –as I hadn’t really had the chance before then.”

In December you spent a day training Trials with Dani Pedrosa, Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami. How was that experience?
“Very good. I had tried it once before, a long time ago, but this was the first time that I’d really trained Trials. We had a lot of fun and plenty of laughs, which is important. Now that I have had that experience, I have a taste for it and a Trials bike in my garage to practice occasionally.”

Have you trained Trials since then?
“Once -because I haven’t had more time. To have fun, my brother and I will do it again from time to time.

How is your body holding up after an intense three days? We can see that your hand is torn up.
“I’m doing pretty good. It’s normal that my hand is like this after a first test, but the truth is that I felt rather good. Every day I felt better. The first day I was a little weak, because I was recovering from the flu and was a little tired. I wasn’t in my best shape, but the test saw me feel better with every day. We also did a race simulation which went well. I just have to keep preparing and improving, but in the end the best training comes on the bike.”

What conclusions did you draw from the race simulation?
“We saw that we can improve our cornering and exiting, and also trying out the new Bridgestone tyre was very positive; they worked very well and I like them. They are similar to the previous ones, but the new ones have good grip and are very consistent from start to finish.”

Does the Honda seem just as competitive this year with the fuel limit being lowered by a litre?
“Yes, at the moment we haven’t had any problems with fuel consumption. Maybe we will have at some circuits, but right now we are ok in this regard. This change also means that we have to balance the bike, because it isn’t exactly like before and there are some small differences.”

“Last year at this test I was more nervous and had more doubts. Now I feel more relaxed”

How is Marc Marquez different today to this time last year?
“I have more experience and you can tell this a lot –both on and off the track. I remember that last year I was on the limit on every lap, and this year it is different. I am finding the best way forward more quickly when it comes to trying things out. That is important for Honda.”

How do you face the 2014 season?
“This year the first thing to do is focus on preseason. When the season starts, of course we are going to fight for the title again and try to be competitive from the start.”

Did you make any big changes in the test to find out what works?
“It depends. At the moment we have checked that our base setup is good, with the information that we had from the 2013 bike. But yes, sometimes it is good to make big changes to see if they work better or worse, because with smaller changes you always have a little doubt.”

One of the things to improve this year are your starts. Have you been practicing them?
“Yes, I made some practice starts and I have improved a little, but one thing is to do it here with no noise, and another is doing it in a race.”

This year you have some old Moto2 rivals on track with you. How are they looking?
“Pretty good. Depending on how someone does in Moto2, you can set out your expectations for them. I expected Pol to be fast and he did well on his first time here in Malaysia with the MotoGP bike. Redding looks big onboard the Honda. MotoGP is all about how you finish, not how you start, and I’m sure that during preseason and the season they will both progress. Pol, with a MotoGP factory bike, will be up at the front this year.”

Do you feel more pressure, having won the championship?
“It is different. For example, last year at this test I was more nervous and had more doubts. Now I feel more relaxed, but this is only the first test, in February. When we go racing it will be different, because there will be that pressure, although I work well under those conditions. If I place fourth, fifth, sixth… people will say that it’s a disaster, and likewise if I finish second, they will say that I could have done better. Last year I had the advantage of every result being good.”

Text/Photo: Respol Media Service

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Video: Marquez’ pre-season testing

 

The opening MotoGP preseason test, held in Sepang, Malaysia, concluded with the Repsol Honda team delighted with the information gathered –and with a new circuit record set by Marc Marquez.

Marquez undertook a total of 167 laps (927 km) at the Malaysian circuit.
Marquez will return to Sepang on February 26th, continuing with the 2014 preseason.

Please find a video of the Maylasia testing below:

Text/Photo/Video: Repsol Media Service

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Marquez remains fastest in Sepang

 

The first test of 2014 has concluded with the World Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, remaining the quickest man on track throughout the three days. Today −the final day of the three-day test− Marc broke the Sepang lap record with a time of 1’59.533 (beating Casey Stoner’s time from 2012 of 1’59.607) on lap 10 of 40.

Marc spent his final day in Sepang working on electronics and running a 20 lap race simulation. In total, he completed 167 laps over the three days of this first test.

This has been a positive start for the Repsol Honda Team and the HRC engineers, who will now return to Japan with plenty of data to prepare for the next test, scheduled in Sepang from the 26-28 February.

Marc Marquez: “I’m pretty happy with how the three days here in Sepang have gone and we have started the pre-season well. It’s true that this is only the first test and we still have work to do, but we’ve already been able to do a race simulation and it has all gone well. We have tried many setups and we have gathered a lot of data, so we will be well prepared for the next test here. We still have some things to try out, so we must make the most of the days we have remaining here this preseason.

Physically I feel good, I haven’t stopped over this past month and have had a packed schedule, but I have been able to continue training. I was a little weak here when I arrived, because I had the flu last week, but in the end I felt fine which is the most important thing. We can always improve and this test will help me to up my fitness.”

Classification
1. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 1:59.533

2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:59.727 +0.194
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:59.866 +0.333
4. Aleix Espargaro FTR Yamaha 1:59.998 +0.465
5. Stefan Bradl Honda 2:00.112 +0.579

Text/Photo: Repsol Media Service

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Marquez tops the time sheets at Sepang test

 

Marc Marquez was once again the fastest man on track today in Sepang and the only rider to record a sub-two minute lap time with 1’59.926 on lap 38 of 65.

It was a gruelling second day at the Sepang International Circuit for both riders. Marc worked on geometry settings, improving his braking stability, some general set up work and a chassis comparison which produced valuable feedback for the HRC engineers. He also spoke positively about the new hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre.

This first three-day test of 2014 will conclude on Thursday, February 6th.

Marc Marquez: “We continued with our work schedule today, with a focus on trying out parts. We carried out various tests, including a chassis comparison, and found some positive points and some negative. As for the setup, we have improved stability under braking, which is something that I have been finding a little difficult, but in the end we have found a good compromise. I hope that tomorrow we can continue in the same way, because we are consistent and fast -which is important.”

Classification
1. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 1:59.926

2. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 2:00.336 +0.410
3. Stefan Bradl Honda 2:00.339 +0.413
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2:00.464 +0.538
5. Aleix Espargaro FTR Yamaha 2:00.547 +0.621
6. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:00.573 +0.647

Text/Photo: Repsol Media Service

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