First World Championship podium for Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo took a well deserved second place at the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday. The 15 year-old Frenchman kept up with the lead group for the entirety of the race, up against the more experienced likes of Kent, Vazquez, Bastianini, Oliveira and Bagnaia.

Kent took advantage of his superior pace to escape from the group, whilst behind a half-dozen riders battled for the remaining podium spots. On the final two laps, Fabio Quartararo‘s tactics paid off and he earned his first World Championship podium –in only his second Grand Prix.

Round 3 of the 2015 Moto3 World Championship season takes place next weekend in Argentina.

Fabio Quartararo:“I’m very happy. It has been a difficult weekend, because we started out riding in wet conditions and it was only yesterday that we were able to look for a good dry setup. The race was tough, because there were some damp patches on the track. I made a good start and on the opening laps another rider clipped me, but I was able to stay upright and gradually catch Masbou. I am really happy and want to thank my team and my family.”

Results Moto3  -  GP of The Americas
1    Danny Kent         Honda         41:32.287
2    Fabio Quartararo         Honda         +8.532
3    Efren Vazquez         Honda         +8.652
4    Enea Bastianini         Honda         +8.811
5    Brad Binder         KTM         +9.556

Championship Standings
1 Danny Kent Honda 41 points
2 Enea Bastianini Honda 33 points
3 Fabio Quartararo Honda 29 points
4 Efrén Vázquez Honda 29 points
5 Alexis Masbou Honda 25 points

Text/Photos: Repsol Media Service

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Sofuoglu takes first 2015 win

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) carried on his continual improvement this year to secure his first WSS win for almost a year and in doing so give his team their first victory at this level of racing.

The action was tough and intense at the 5.077km Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, with Jules Cluzel joining front row qualifiers Kenan Sofuoglu and Jacobsen in a fight for the podium positions, ahead of the chasing riders.

Cluzel was to stop with a technical issue, which allowed Sofuoglu to make the decisive break on Jacobsen, running out the winner by 3.224 seconds. Jacobsen leaves with the new lap record, 1’54.605, set on lap two of the 16-lap contest.

In the championship itself Sofuoglu leads with 55 points, Jacobsen has 42, and Schmitter sits in 10th place with 16 points.

The fourth round will take place at Assen in the Netherlands, on 19th April, just one week from today.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “This is the place I want to be. I have been so tired of being down in the championship positions, now we are leading and this race win is what we needed. I told myself I had to go for the win in Aragon and we did it. It is almost one year since I was in first pace but I have to say a big thanks to my team. They deserve it – more than me – because they have done a very good job. I am so happy to have brought it home at the front for them.”

Aragón Round 12/Apr – Race – 1
1. K. Sofuoglu

2. P. Jacobsen
3. K. Smith

Text/Photo: PR Kawasaki Motors Europe

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Great stage for Paulo Goncalves

Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves grabbed the third stage victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, climbing up one place into second spot in the general rankings. Noteworthy specials too from Barreda – home in fourth.

The Honda CRF450 RALLY was back in a starring role in the dunes of the Liwa Desert where the third of a five-stage Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge played out. After Joan Barreda’s win yesterday, today it was team-mate Paulo Goncalves‘ turn to stamp his authority on a 400 kilometre stage, which included a 272.8 km timed special.

Joan Barreda took advantage of a new rule that allows the first three finishers to choose their starting positions among the first six starters. The Spanish rider set out from sixth place, put pedal to metal and was soon forging ahead of the pack, opening the way for a long stretch of the special stage. The adversaries did finally catch up and Barreda had to content himself with a fourth final place.

Paulo Gonçalves, on the other hand, took full advantage of the day, pushing hard from the start, before going on to take his first triumph so far in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The win permits him to move up one spot on the overall leaderboard. The Portuguese supremo now lies in second in the general some five minutes off the leader.

Paulo Goncalves:“Today was a really good special. I had a great starting position, I won the stage and I’m in second place in the general standings. Tomorrow will be more difficult but there are still two days ahead. I’m pleased because I’m still in the running for the victory. The bike is working perfectly in the hardest conditions of the year so far. We will keep pushing.”

Results Stage 3
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap

1 GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC 3:38’49
2 COMA Marc SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 0’29
3 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team + 3’04
4 BARREDA Joan SPA Team HRC + 6’16
5 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 10’30

STANDINGS STAGE 3
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap

1 COMA Marc SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory 11:04’41
2 GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC + 5’04
3 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 6’31
4 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team + 18’21
5 FARIA Ruben POR KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 23’49

Text/Photo: PR Honda Racing Corperation

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First career GP-podium for Seewer in Argentina

The Grand Prix of Argentina throbbed and heaved with 30,000 spectators excitedly packed into the confines of the new racing circuit near Villa La Angostura and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Jeremy Seewer scored a memorable third position overall in the MX2 class for what was the third round of 18 in the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship.

In just his second GP season, and first as a full-time professional, Jeremy Seewer took the RM-Z250 to fifth position in both today’s motos to walk the final step of the podium and spray GP champagne for the first time.

Dark, sandy volcanic earth provided a difficult test at the freshly-built track. While the layout was quick and jumpy, the ground was a mix of shifting bumps and a solid base that meant traction varied. The course was hard to judge through the various sections but the facility was undoubtedly world championship-class and fans lined the fences and packed into the enclosures that flanked the corners for the best view.

Seewer was on the pace of the top-five in MX2 from Saturday and ran to a solid sixth position in the qualification heat. Adapting to the irregular ground but enjoying a course that provided line choice and passing opportunities, the Swiss chased Julien Lieber for most of the first moto on Sunday and equalled his best GP finish with fifth place by the time of the chequered flag. In the second race he was set for a top-four result after trailing eventual winner Dylan Ferrandis for many laps but just could not withhold the challenge from Tim Gajser in the final two circulations and again ranked fifth. The points’ tally of 32 from both sprints was enough for Seewer and the team to start celebrating. After his disappointment with illness and heat exhaustion in Thailand three weeks ago this was a positive re-entry to the upper section of the standings for ‘#91’.

Jeremy Seewer:“This is not such a big surprise to me because I have worked my whole life to be at the top of this sport. I knew at the beginning of the season that my speed is good, but I just had some bad luck in Thailand. I put that event ‘into the past’ and focused on my practice…and now I am on the podium. It is an amazing feeling to be up here for the first time. I did two solid races and two fifth positions are not normally enough for the podium, but on tracks like this it is important to be consistent and not make mistakes because a few guys had some big crashes here today.”

Text/Photo: PR Suzuki Racing

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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.”

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

Overall – World Supersport championship
1. R. WILAIROT HONDA 36 points
2. K. SOFUOGLU KAWASAKI 30 points
3. J. CLUZEL MV AGUSTA 25 points

4. P. JACOBSEN KAWASAKI 22 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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