Podium finish for Taka Higashino in Pretoria

Taka Higashino of Japan earned third in front of 17,000 wild fans at the return of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour to Pretoria, South Africa.

With a strong run that included the exceptionally difficult Rock-Solid Backflip as well as a superb Flair he’s recently mastered. Maikel Melero and Rémi Bizouard finished 7th and 8th in a strong field.

Final Result Red Bull X-Fighters Pretoria 2015
1. Tom Pages (FRA)
2. Clinton Moore (AUS)
3. Taka Higashino (JPN)
4. Josh Sheehan (AUS)
5. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
7. Maikel Melero (ESP)
8. Remi Bizouard (FRA)

Text/Photo: PR Red Bull X-Fighters – Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

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Second overall for Simpson in Mexico

2-2 and yet more confidence and silverware for Shaun Simpson in Mexico last Sunday. The British Champion rallied through two damp but stuffy motos at Leon in spite of mediocre launches from the gate and further affirmed his best ever season in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship.

A lonely ride to second behind eventual winner Romain Febvre was the consequence of a small early race crash in the first moto but the new world champion was on a different level to his peers at over 1800m of elevation. On a drying, challenging and curious surface in the second moto Shaun Simpson was able to excel. Again his gate-exit left a lot to be desired and he quickly latched onto the back of a six-rider group tussling for second spot behind the disappearing Febvre.

Choosing some inventive lines he passed Max Nagl, Glenn Coldenhoff, Evgeny Bobryshev, Jeremy Van Horebeek and then executed a measured move on Gautier Paulin to head the gaggle. “I had that corner dialled all weekend where I passed Gautier,” he said. “It was just about thinking ahead. Motocross is about using your brain and not just about riding wide-open over waves and jumps. As a rider you should be able to select the lines you want and that’s what I was doing. I was looking for the best grip on the track. I really enjoyed it.”

Three podiums with two wins and a second from the last four rounds of the Grand Prix series means the 27 year old is on the threshold of confirming a career-best fourth position in MXGP. He heads Nagl by 39 points with just fifty left to win next weekend at Glen Helen for the U.S. GP.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the KTM guys in the U.S. as they were really supportive of me over there when I went to Unadilla,” ’24’ said. “Tony and Tommy will be back and KTM should be full force. I think Glen Helen will be a really nice way to wrap-up the year. Nice track and hopefully a few more fans than there were last time. I’m hoping to tie-up this fourth place in the championship and then roll onto the Nations.”

MXGP of Leon at Leon, Mexico – Round 17
1. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha, (1 – 1)
2. Shaun Simpson (GBR), KTM, (2 -
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS), Honda, (3 – 3)
4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL), Yamaha, (7 – 4)
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), Suzuki, (5 – 5)

MXGP Standings
1. Febvre, 688
2. Paulin, 566
3. Bobryshev, 539
4. Simpson, 481
5. Nagl, 442

Text/Photo: PR Shaun Simpson/Ray Archer-KTM Images

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Expert Smith blazes to second place in Misano

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith delivered an exceptional performance in front of 92,315 people to clinch the second MotoGP rostrum of his career after conquering the Misano race in 2nd.

The young Briton started from the second row after a successful qualifying campaign yesterday. However, moments before the beginning of the 28 lap sprint rain began to fall at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and shortly after the lights went out, the weather deteriorated which prompted riders to change bikes in the first quarter of the GP. Yet, after finishing the opening lap in 6th place, Smith took the brave decision to remain out on the track with slick tyres in the wet whilst every other rider pitted.

As the race progressed he dropped back to 21st on the 11th lap, but his choice to remain out on the track paid dividends when the rain stopped falling and the circuit began to dry quickly. Here, the young British rider rocketed through the field and back into 9th position with ten laps remaining as the rest of the riders changed back to their dry bikes. Smith continued to improve his speed consistently and furthered his ascent before expertly moving into a podium position on lap 20. Shortly afterwards, he moved up one position and eventually sped across the finish line in this placement after having made the climb from 21st to 2nd. The result closes a hugely successful weekend for Smith who now moves back up to 5th in the world championship standings after the expertly calculated ride.

Bradley Smith:“I am thrilled with this finish as I feel that I earned it today even though it was a big gamble! It was very difficult to make the right decisions in the race and I tried to make a few calculations in my head. I looked at the sky before it started and I said to myself that if it rains, it will only be for a short while and I hoped it would dry quickly. However, I still didn’t know how the new surface would be in the wet. My decision to stay out was initially because I missed the lap when Jorge and Vale pitted so I carried on and I believed that the rain had slowed down slightly. At this point, I already had lost a lot of time, therefore I thought it would be best to wait a few laps and see what happens and when it stopped I knew the gamble could work as I realised that they might have to pit twice. Furthermore, I kept saying to myself that luck favours the brave which motivated me even further and here I am! My race position kept going up and to finally come home in 2nd is very special. This result is one of my greatest and it’s a truly emotional moment. In Phillip Island I just finished the race and got the podium but here I had to ride really smoothly and with skill as well as talent in these conditions. We have to take opportunities like these because as a satellite team we work really hard for 5th or 6th every race, but the rostrum is just out of reach. So, I’m even more delighted to give this finish to the team and the sponsors and I can’t wait to get back out on track at the next round.”

Text/Photos: PR Team Tech3/Nico Schneider

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Marc Marquez wins amidst chaos

The San Marino Grand Prix offered a totally unpredictable MotoGP race, in which Marc Marquez took advantage of opportunity to achieve his fourth win of the season, following victories at Austin, Sachsenring and Indianapolis. The current MotoGP World Champion managed the situation flawlessly when required to make two bike changes during the Misano round.

As it happened two weeks ago in England, rain appeared at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli just moments before the start of the MotoGP race. It did so timidly and all riders took the start on slicks, with Jorge Lorenzo, Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa in the first four positions. However, only a few laps later the riders decided to come into the pits to change bikes –returning to the track with their machines for wet conditions.

On completely wet asphalt, the protagonists were the same, with Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Marquez at the front and Pedrosa losing ground after the bike change. However, the rain died down, the asphalt dried up quickly and several riders decided to change their bikes again.

Marquez was the first of the trio to do so and achieved an advantage that proved definitive. Rossi and Lorenzo decided to wait two more laps to change bikes, with Lorenzo crashing out and Rossi placing fifth. Bradley Smith and Scott Redding joined Marquez on the podium.

With this victory, Marc Marquez has now only failed to win at Phillip Island and Motegi in the premier class. He remains third in the World Championship with 184 points. Next up, the series heads to Spain for the third time this season, to celebrate the fourteenth round of the year: The Aragon Grand Prix.

MarcMarquez: “It was a very strange race but I’m happy with the end result. It is difficult to explain everything that happened during the race but I think the key was the second tyre change – from wets to slicks. That was where we made a difference and – believe it or not – it was not me who decided everything! The team informed me of the situation with the pit board and helped me decide when to come in to change bikes, and I have to thank them! Also Honda, because we keep working and doing our best, even though our title chances are slim, so our target to the end of the year remains; The more wins, the better!”

1    Marc Marquez         Repsol Honda         48:23.819
2    Bradley Smith         Yamaha         +7.288

3    Scott Redding         Honda         +18.793
4    Loris Baz         Yamaha Forward         +26.427
5    Valentino Rossi         Yamaha         +33.196

1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 247 points
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 224 points
3 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 184 points
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 159 points
5 Bradley Smith Yamaha 135 points

Text/Photos: PR Repsol Media Service

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Simpson wins packed Dutch Grand Prix at Assen

37,000 fans were given another sand riding demonstration of excellence and confidence at MotoGP-venue Assen for round sixteen of eighteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship as Shaun blasted to a 1-3 scorecard for his second Grand Prix win of the season and the third of his career.

Riding the factory 450SX-F ‘24’ delivered more bumper manufacturer’s points for the Austrians and also posted more honours for his Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM crew from which he has been racing as a privateer but has now reached fourth position in the MXGP standings.

“I’ve been gathering momentum all year and I didn’t feel that great in Mantova last week but kept solid and came back here strong,” he said. “I spent a lot of energy in the first moto. I spun out on the third corner. I was fourth, I think, and dropped down to about eleventh. I managed to come up through for the win but maybe used a bit too much energy. The track seemed to be a lot faster in the second moto and Bobryshev set a quick pace and Romain tracked him down. I held a good pace to finish third that handed me the overall quite comfortably.”

The temporary Assen layout had been constructed from four days work and 1500 trucks of imported sand to cover sections of the asphalt. The fans packed the vast grandstand section to create a wall of sand and a special atmosphere at the last European round of MXGP this year as the series heads to Mexico and the USA in September.

“Everyone was wondering how this race would be and everything felt just a bit different, even the sand but overall I think the guys have done a great job,” he added. “You could really hear the crowd echoing around and it was a great atmosphere. I’m happy to take the top step again.”

Shaun will cross the channel later this week and head to Preston for the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Championship where he is in a great position to wrap up a successful title defence.

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 34:06.986; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:07.820; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:17.408; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:21.124; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:27.726

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 33:54.650; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:08.684; 3. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:15.773; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:20.569; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:24.983

MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 45 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 41 p.; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 40 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 40 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON)

MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 638 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 536 p.; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 499 p.; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 437 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 416 p

Text/Photo: PR Shaun Simpson/PR Youthstream

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Runner-up finish for Marquez in Brno

The Czech Grand Prix was a tough test for Marc Marquez. As the red lights went out, Jorge Lorenzo took the lead at Brno and Marquez slotted in behind him, trying to prevent his rival from escaping. However, as the tires picked up heat, the Repsol Honda Team rider began to lose ground and focused on controlling his advantage over Valentino Rossi, who was third.

Behind him, Dani Pedrosa had a more difficult race, hampered by a sore left ankle. Starting from ninth, he dropped down to twelfth on the opening corners, but before the first lap was completed overtook two rival riders. He rapidly gained places to go sixth on Lap 7. He had Andrea Dovizioso 2.5 seconds ahead, and caught and passed him definitively on the final lap after an entertaining duel.

With this result, Marquez cuts 4 points in the overall standings and remains third with 159 points, 52 behind racewinner Lorenzo and Rossi –who are tied in the lead. Pedrosa is seventh with 91 points.

Marc Marquez: “Today Jorge rode a very good race. We knew we were not far off him, but we were not close enough and we tried to stick with him, at least at the beginning of the race. After six or seven laps I began to lose performance and he was able maintain his pace. That’s where the difference was made. We achieved the goal we had for today: to try and open a gap to Valentino and the others from the start so I’m happy about that. When we have difficulties, as we did this weekend, we still have to score points. I think that this second position is good.”

1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 42:53.042
2 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda +4.462
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +10.397
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati +13.071
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +15.650
7 Bradley Smith Monster Yamah Tech 3 +21.821

Championship Standings
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 211 points
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 211 points
3 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 159 points
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 142 points
5 Bradley Smith Yamaha 106 points

Text/Photo: Repsol Media Service

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Marc Marquez shines again at Indy

Third victory of the season for reigning World Champion, who now holds five wins at Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis Grand Prix was an exciting race until the final lap, with Marc Marquez taking his third win of the year –a second consecutive victory after his triumph in Germany before the summer break. Marquez now has five wins at Indianapolis in the last five years.

Marc Marquez extended his excellent record in the United States, where he now has nine wins in the last five years. In today’s race he put on an exciting show until the last lap, after escaping from the start alongside Jorge Lorenzo. Matching his rival’s pace throughout the race and beating the circuit record with a few laps to go, Marquez took the lead with three laps remaining and held his position until the checkered flag.

5th win in a row for Marquez in Indianapolis


With little time to rest, the MotoGP riders fly to the Czech Republic this week, where Sunday sees the eleventh round of the 2015 season.

Marc Marquez:“The race went very well, but we were pretty much on the limit. The truth is that Jorge improved a lot during the race, and I didn’t think there would be so many laps in the 1’32s. Even towards the end of the race we did a 1’32.6, which is very fast! We used the strategy of attacking at the end, when there were three laps remaining, and I think it was ideal for taking victory at this circuit. I’m also very proud to have taken Honda’s 700th victory! This is a very special moment for all the team and I dedicate it to all of Honda.”

1    Marc Marquez         Repsol Honda         41:51.371
2    Jorge Lorenzo         Yamaha         +0.688
3    Valentino Rossi         Yamaha         +5.966
4    Dani Pedrosa         Repsol Honda         +6.147
5    Andrea Iannone         Ducati         +21.528
6 Bradley Smith Yamaha +21.751

1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 195 points
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 186 points
3 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 139 points
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 129 points
5 Bradley Smith Yamaha 97 points

Text/Photo: Repsol Media Service

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Simpson in stunning AMA debut to fourth overall

What a week. The Grand Prix of Belgium winner had barely twenty-four hours to celebrate his conquest of the Lommel sand before he was traversing the Atlantic and to the famed circuit of Unadilla to make his debut in the 2015 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Pro National Championship as a wild-card at round ten of twelve.

For Shaun Simpson it was realisation of a small career dream just one week after taking his first 1-1 GP victory.

In good racing conditions in the state of New York it was a fantastic outing for the 27 year old Scot who could count on some excellent backing from personal sponsors – as well as the direct support of the KTM factory who supplied a works spec 2016 450SX-F – to capture a remarkable fourth overall. Simpson was the first Grand Prix rider to attempt a ‘National’ since 2013 and rode to finishes of 4-8 in the two motos while exercising caution with fifth place in the MXGP World Championship standings in sight as well as the 2015 Maxxis British Championship (in which he is currently undefeated and can wrap-up at round seven of eight).

Shaun returns home on Monday and will next look to the Grand Prix of Lombardia at Mantova and the fifteenth round of eighteen of MXGP on August 22-23.

“What a day! I’m absolutely blown away by the experience and taking fourth place in the first moto kinda blew my expectations out of the window,” he said. “To take fourth overall really puts a little bit extra on the trip. I really have to thank Dyce Carriers and TWMA for making it all possible along with the freedom that my Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM team allowed for me to come and do the race.”

“I also have to say a massive thanks to KTM and everyone at KTM USA. I was made to feel so welcome and it was a like another part of the dream to meet and work with Roger De Coster. The track was so, so good and it refreshing to ride somewhere that was so well prepared, that had lines everywhere and was rough and technical. It was a lot of fun.”

“It has been a week to remember. We have been busy with race dates this year and have barely stopped every weekend….but that’s how we like it. After Unadilla and Lommel I just wanna thank my Dad for all the spannering, my Mum for backing us all the way and my better half Rachel for sticking by me and letting me chase my goals. It is because of these people I get to do something I love but also pursue the ambitions I have. I don’t think we have done ourselves any harm over the last couple of weeks with the results and now lets just finish the season strong in MXGP, the British and then the Nations.”

Text: PR Shaun Simpson
Photo: GuyB www.vitalmx.com

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Simpson utterly emphatic to sweep Belgian MXGP

Shaun Simpson came, saw, kicked up roost and conquered the Grand Prix of Belgium at Lommel yesterday. In a weekend of firsts – overall position, Pole Position and a maiden 1-1 scorecard – the Scot ruled MXGP at the hardest and toughest track on the calendar.

It was a milestone achievement after eleven years in Grand Prix. The 27 year old steered his 450SX-F to a first moto win by pulling away from Romain Febvre and then Gautier Paulin and repeated the feat in front of 24,200 fans (with many Brits in the crowd) by stalking Paulin and overtaking the factory HRC rider at mid-race distance in the second sprint.

There were moments of drama however. Shaun did not complete a lap of morning warm-up due to an engine problem that sent his Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM crew – and father/mechanic Willie – into a busy stretch of checks and troubleshooting. Then with three laps remaining in the second race and with a clear lead Shaun landed awkwardly from the hefty quad jump (he was one of just two people to consistently do the leap) and crashed. He remounted quickly and was able to ride at good speed again to the finish despite the closer proximity of Paulin.

The perfect 50 point tally was a landmark in the Scot’s career but the haul also helped push him into sixth position in the world championship standings and with his eye on the top five as he now prepares for his wild-card outing at Unadilla, NY for the tenth round of twelve in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Nationals next weekend.

Round fifteen of eighteen in MXGP will be at Mantova in Italy on August 22nd-23rd.

On the win…
This has been a long time coming. I got close back in 2009 in the sand in Valkenswaard and I burned out in the second moto. I had a small injury before and it cost me a lot. I think about that day when it should have been perfect…and I don’t get them very often. I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands. There was no way I was going to let it slip today. The first moto went to plan. The second one – I maybe wasn’t the fastest guy out there but I definitely planned it well – I knew I could last the distance. What wasn’t in the script was the crash; I just landed in some soft sand and high-sided. I don’t think I have ever got off the ground and on the bike so quickly. I did the last two laps with my peak in front of my goggles so I felt like a right goon but managed to get it done.

On the Lommel sand…
This one probably takes the biscuit and is the roughest I have seen Lommel. They had prepared the sand by raising the level of the track and it meant it was a lot softer than when we train and practice here. I would call this ‘real’ motocross; plenty of bumps and places to pass. Guys tiring out, guys going fast, sprint laps, on-and-off and it is not something we see too often. Most of the time we are within fractions of a second of each other. I think it is such a great contrast to what we are used to and totally enjoyable for me.

On his rivals…
Romain was fast in both races and Gautier surprised me a little bit. He wasn’t on it so much yesterday but today he pulled a few things out of the bag. I’ve seen these guys practicing here so I know they have done their homework too and it is not a surprise to see them next to me and it is a pleasure to be between them.

On doing the quad…
The quad jump was harder this year but as the race developed it was actually easier to do it because you were landing where everybody wasn’t and you could double-double out. I think it was worth a second and a half a lap; at least that’s how it looked to me. After I crashed I just kept on doing it.

On what this means for the AMA…
Going to Unadilla next week is something that a lot of people seem excited about. There is no way to make a long journey better than with a good result on your back.

On Willie saving the day…
The old boy works his socks off. There is nobody here that tightens a bolt more than him. He is quite cool and calm on the outside but I definitely stressed him out this weekend. We had a bit of a problem after the qualification race and he went back to the workshop and stripped the engine and finished at about 1am. I was well in my bed by then. Something then happened this morning that shouldn’t have. I wasn’t stressed, he was but we got it fixed and we got the job done. I have to give him a big pat on the back because this is his win as much as it is mine.

Text: PR Shaun Simpson, Photo by JP Acevedo

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Marquez triumphs at German Grand Prix

Marc Marquez took first place, respectively, in the ninth race of the season, maintaining his position from qualifying. As happened a year ago, the Repsol Honda rider occupied the top step of the podium at the German Grand Prix, as Marquez broke away at the start.

When the red lights went out, Marquez made good starts but were surprised by Lorenzo, who took the lead on the first corner. After five laps, Marquez got past Lorenzo again – one corner before Rossi relegated Pedrosa to fourth. The Italian moved up to second on Lap 8.
With this result, the World Championship reaches its midway point with Marquez in fourth place. He has 114 points and is 65 off leader Rossi. This week, the Repsol Honda team will return to work at Misano to complete a three-day test, which should allow them to face the second half of the season in even better shape.

Marc Marquez: “I am very happy with this victory. I’ve been chasing it hard over the last few races. In Assen we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel; after Barcelona which was very hard, I felt good on the bike again thanks to the changes we made. We have confirmed that they worked here at this circuit, but I want to be cautious because I am aware that this circuit has always been very good for me and also for the Honda. We have to keep working, because on the laps that I did behind Lorenzo I saw that in some aspects the they were stronger than us. Let’s see if we can continue improving at the Misano test next week.”

1    Marc Marquez         Repsol Honda         41:01.087
2    Dani Pedrosa         Repsol Honda         +2.226
3    Valentino Rossi         Yamaha         +5.608
4    Jorge Lorenzo         Yamaha         +9.928
5    Andrea Iannone         Ducati         +20.785

1    Valentino Rossi         Yamaha         179 points
2    Jorge Lorenzo         Yamaha         166 points
3    Andrea Iannone         Ducati         118 points
4    Marc Márquez         Repsol Honda         114 points
5    Andrea Dovizioso         Ducati         87 points

Text/Photo: PR Repsol Media Service

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