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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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
Instagram:
https://instagram.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
1. J. CLUZEL MV AGUSTA 25

2. L. ZANETTI MV AGUSTA 20
3. G. REA HONDA 16
4. K. SMITH HONDA 13
5. R. WILAIROT HONDA 11
6. K. SOFUOGLU KAWASAKI 10
8. R. ROLFO HONDA 8

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

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“Riding in the 1:58s at Sepang was a special moment”

Reigning MotoGP World Champion starts 2015 from where he left off in 2014: At the top of the timesheets.

 

Marc Marquez has begun the 2015 preseason in excellent form, preparing to defend his MotoGP title for the second consecutive year. After three days of intense work, the Repsol Honda rider concluded the final day with the fastest lap ever set at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. The Spaniard once again demonstrated that he and the Honda RC213V will be hard to beat this season.

How was the first race simulation of the year?
“The truth is that it went very well. I chose to go out when the temperatures were higher, at 2:30pm, because that’s when the conditions are most similar to a Grand Prix. It is difficult to compare with other riders, because everyone chooses a different time to go out, but it went very well. We were able to collect a lot of data for the engineers from Honda and tried different engine mapping that helped me to understand many things. Doing a race simulation by yourself is a little more boring than a race; it’s tough, but you are still not riding at the limit. We will try to further improve the new bike, because we believe that there is still room for improvement, but we are very happy with the base that we have and I think that there is the potential to have another good year.”

The fastest lap you set early on Friday is the quickest ever here with a bike. Have you found a shortcut on the track?
“I really just had a very good lap. When I saw that I had gone round in the 1:58s it was a special moment. It was not a perfect lap, because I think that such a thing does not exist, and I even had a new tyre ready to go back out again. But when I saw the lap time I did not even try again, because you don’t get more information by going faster at these tests.”

Marquez demonstrated once again that he will be hard to beat this season

Last year you missed the second test through injury. Is the goal this year to arrive at the first race with more calm?
“Yes, it is clear that this is the goal. Last year, after the first test, I had finished off well and everything was looking perfect ‒like this year, in which I have felt very comfortable. But you never know, you can hurt yourself at any time, so my plan remains the same: Keep training and try to be even more prepared when we get to the second test.”

This year the team presentation was in Indonesia, something different for you since you have joined the team. How was the welcome from the Asian fans?
“The truth is that I’ve been to that region a few times, both to Indonesia and Thailand, and right from the first time it surprises you the great love for MotoGP there. You cannot imagine how much people love it, how they support the riders and how they live for motorcycle racing. I think they deserve a circuit in that country.”

Do you have a lot of soreness after this first test?
“The first three days of testing are the hardest, but I felt very good. In the race simulation I held up well physically. I saw a few points in which I’m lacking a little, fitness-wise, so we will work to improve this.”

Text/Photos: PR Honda Racing Corporation

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Marquez fastest on day one in Sepang

2014 World Champion Marc Marquez has begun 2015 as he ended 2014, on the top of the time sheets. Teammate Dani Pedrosa finished less than half a second behind Marc after suffering a small crash when he lost the front in turn nine on his last exit but fortunately remained uninjured and the bike had very little damage.

It was a frantic start to the day as the riders were evidently eager to get out on track after the long winter break. The Repsol Honda riders were fast from the beginning of the session as they set to work comparing the various bikes HRC have brought for this test. Both spent the day evaluating the different versions of the RC213V and it was Marc who finished this first day on top with his time of 2’00.262 on lap 62 of 63. Dani was just 0.483 behind Marc with his fastest time of 2’00.745 (lap 25 of 45).

The test resumes tomorrow at 10am local time.

Marc Marquez: “I’m glad to finally get back on the bike. It’s been a hard day and at the same time very positive, because on the first day after the winter break you have to regain confidence with the bike and adapt to the feeling of the MotoGP machine again. We tried three different bikes today, and this has been very important. I focused on testing them thoroughly and deciding which bike was the ideal one to continue working with at this test, and then this afternoon we focused more on one of the machines. I was able to start riding better and feel more comfortable on the bike. There are still many things to try at this test, so we have to remain calm like we did today and keep working.”

Results Session

Sunny
Humidity 51%
Track Temp 48°C
Air Temp 33°C

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2’00.262

2 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2’00.380
3 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2’00.521
4 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’00.617
5 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2’00.745
6 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2’00.930
7 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’01.424
8 BRADL Stefan 6 GER NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’01.556
9 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2’01.707
10 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR CWM LCR Honda Honda 2’01.713
11 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Marc VDS Racing Team Honda 2’01.917
12 PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2’01.951
13 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 2’02.136
14 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2’02.225
15 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 2’02.285
16 AOYAMA Hiroshi 7 JPN HRC Test Team Honda 2’02.560
17 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2’02.699
18 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 2’02.700
19 MILLER Jack 43 AUS CWM LCR Honda Honda 2’02.807
20 NAKASUGA Katsuyuki T1 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 2’03.092
21 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2’03.164
22 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Drive M7 Aspar Honda 2’03.295
23 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 2’03.878
24 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 2’03.879
25 BAZ Loris 76 FRA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’04.163
26 MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA Factory Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 2’04.502
27 DE ANGELIS Alex 15 RSM NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2’04.673
28 TAKAHASHI Takumi 72 JPN HRC Test Team Honda 2’04.719
29 TSUDA Takuya 12 JPN Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2’05.478
30 LAVERTY Michael T3 GBR Aprilia Test Team Aprilia 2’06.190

Text/Photo: PR Honda Racing Corperation

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MM93: Motocross fun time

Check out MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez having fun in Motocross during his off-season.

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Paulo Gonçalves runner-up in the Dakar 2015

The Dakar 2015 ends after circling the loop and ending up back in Buenos Aires a fortnight later, bringing new successes for Team HRC. Paulo Goncalves finishes the world’s toughest rally in second place.

After picking up the world championship runner-up prize last October at the Morocco Rally, Portuguese ace Paulo Goncalves has once again pulled off another achievement for Team HRC. It was a display of grit, tireless effort, consistency and teamwork, which finally brought the rider’s Rally Dakar 2015 adventure to a close as runner-up in the final rankings.

Paulo Goncalves very nearly pulled it off in the world’s greatest rally challenge too. The rider had collected a total of 17 minutes of penalties, and eventually finished just 16’53” behind the eventual race winner Marc Coma.

Noteworthy too, was the overall performance of Joan Barreda, with four stage victories, and always the man to beat at this Dakar 2015. The Castellon rider was unstoppable at the head of the race until stage eight, when extreme weather conditions at the Uyuni salt flats put an end to his chances of a win in the campaign. Barreda’s final overall ranking was an unjust 17th.

Helder Rodrigues has, likewise, been a cornerstone of the Team. In addition to two stage victories, Hélder finished in 12th place on the final leaderboard.

The rally came to an end in Baradero, with what had been planned as a 174 kilometre special, reduced by 73 kilometres due to the conditions, before the final connection phase brought the entourage into Buenos Aires, where the final ceremonial podium was held in Tecnopolis.

Paulo Goncalves: “I think the whole team deserves this result, especially after all the hard work that they have done. All that’s needed now is to go one small step further and win the rally. We are well-prepared and on the right track. I’m pleased with the result, and I want to thank the whole team, but most especially my team-mates Joan, Hélder and Jere, who were there to help me out in the most delicate moments. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be on the podium here in Dakar.”

Results Stage 13
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap

1 JAKES Ivan SLO Microstep Industry Team KTM 52’06
2 SVITKO Stefan SLO Slovnaft Team KTM + 0’45
3 PRICE Toby AUS KTM AUS Rally Factory KTM + 1’07
4 GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC Honda + 1’15
5 COMA Marc SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory KTM + 3’11
19 BARREDA Joan SPA Team HRC Honda + 42’44

Final standings Dakar Rally 2015
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap

1 COMA Marc SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory KTM 46:03’49
2 GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC Honda + 16’53
3 PRICE Toby AUS KTM AUS Rally Factory KTM + 23’14
4 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI KTM KTM + 38’38
5 SVITKO Stefan SLO Slovnaft Team KTM + 44’17
17 BARREDA Joan SPA Team HRC Honda + 5:54’35

 

Text/Photo/Video: Honda Racing Corporation

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