International Racing News

MotoGP Brno: Marquez wins by 12s after tyre masterstroke

Picture: Repsol Media

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez took victory in today’s Brno race after a tyre strategy masterstroke saw him change from wets to slicks a lap ahead of everyone else and take the lead from Johann Zarco on lap six, crossing the line with a 12 second lead after opening a gap of 22.

The Repsol Honda man opted for a soft wet rear on the grid even though the track had been drying and sat in second place behind Jorge Lorenzo until the second lap when it started to chew itself to bits. He then pitted for medium slicks all round at the end of lap two, coming out in 20th.

Marquez was then able to lap ten seconds faster than the rest of the pack as all but Valentino Rossi, Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso came in.

When the pitstops settled down, Marquez led Scott Redding, Aleix Espargaro, Karel Abraham and Dani Pedrosa by some 20s, and it didn’t take Pedrosa long to carve his way through to second, lapping at the same pace as team-mate Marquez.

Rossi, who was again out-foxed by Honda in the pits, came out from his stop in 13th place and slowly worked his way forward, catching the fight for fourth place as Movistar Yamaha Maverick Vinales pushed on to the podium.

Rossi got on to the back of fourth-placed Cal Crutchlow on the penultimate lap, putting in his personal best of the race with three to go, but The Doctor proved too much, passing the LCR Honda man halfway through the lap.

Dovizioso passed Danilo Petrucci on the penultimate lap for fifth place while Espargaro stayed ahead of his brother Pol for eighth. Jonas Folger completed the top ten with Zarco, who pitted a lap after everyone else, lost out to Alex Rins for 11th.

Abraham dropped down to 13th, one ahead of Jack Miller while Lorenzo, whose second bike wasn’t ready when he came in, ended in 15th. Scott Redding went backwards to 16th with Sam Lowes 18th.

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WorldSBK summer break gossip, intrigue and rumour

Picture: Bonnie Lane

MotoGP star Scott Redding has fanned the rumour flames surrounding a move to WorldSBK in 2018 by complimenting on Twitter Suzuki and Yamaha about how their bikes look. Although Redding merely said that Suzukis look nice and Yamahas look comfortable, social media keyboard warriors went into meltdown, predicting a switch to the ‘production’ based championship.

What it could mean, however, is he is about to switch places with Jack Miller and go back to his old Marc VDS team – still run by personal manager Michael Bartholemy – who are looking at options outside Honda should the deal for 2018 and forwards not be what they want. Suzuki could be wheeling out a satellite GSX-RR. Redding, of course, will be in talks with Aprilia and Avintia but don’t rule out a WorldSBK switch – Ducati could bring in another works Panigale in the Barni team for him – or put together a new team entirely…

It would appear that Dorna big cheese Carmelo Ezpeleta may have been a little premature – amazing for a man of his age – in his assertions that WorldSBK would go to a Superstock 1000 engine rule and control ECU in 2018 as Daniel Carrera, the man that is in day-to-day charge, thinks it is a bridge too far in such a short time and that should be the longer goal.

Reigning champion Jonathan Rea is ambivalent about such a rule change as he is so confident in the Kawasaki team around him but does think it is a little unfair to drop such a bombshell with only about seven months to the start of the 2018 season. He believes the best riders on the best bikes in the best teams shouldn’t be punished, but added that it’s not his job to make the rules…

Red Bull Honda will make two important decisions in the coming weeks. The first will be whether they switch to Magneti Marelli electronics for 2018 and the second is what engine spec to use. Stefan Bradl has been using those electronics on the Suzuka bike during testing and is apparently keen, so Honda will take a bike and rider Michele Magnoni to the Lausitzring test to make some judgements.

Honda boss Marco Chini – who looks like someone you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley – says the summer break will be non-existent for the team as they have what looks like a year’s worth of development to do in a month. We must remember that if we decide to switch to Magneti Marelli, we have to have the material at our disposal. And then the system has to be adapted to our engines,” he said.

“This can not be achieved by switching the light on or off. It’s complicated. The first step will be to build a test motorcycle and bring the system with a test driver so far that the World Championship pilots can work with it. It’s only when everything is working properly.”

Former MotoGP star Toni Elias has declared the new GSX-R1000 is ready to compete in WorldSBK after claiming eight race wins for Yoshimura Suzuki so far this year. The little Spaniard, who rode for Red Devils Aprilia in WorldSBK, reckons that now a lot of the donkey work has been done, it is ready to race at the front, presumably with him at the helm.

Problems is Suzuki don’t seem that keen to run even a factory-backed project in the championship, so it might be left to Yoshimura USA to enter with backing from Japan. This could see Elias back in the series next season and could mark a return for Australian Josh Brookes, who is loved by the Yoshimura family in Japan…

Laguna WorldSBK: Rea dominates for race-two win

Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea put in masterclass to equal Laguna Seca race one winner Chaz Davies to bag the second race victory today, clipping his way from eighth on the grid to the lead on the third lap before pulling away from Tom Sykes to cross the line with a four-second lead.Rea’s second place behind Davies yesterday meant the pair, and Sykes, formed the third row of the grid and Sykes got the best start, hitting the front on lap one while Aruba Ducati’s Davies got caught up behind Xavi Fores and by the time he got past, Rea had left the building, saying a change to the front end of his ZX-10RR had made the difference.

Davies was left to try and reel in Sykes and had to bridge a one-second gap with four laps left. The Welshman was pushed the front of his Panigale hard and had the gap down to eight-tenths with three left but it looked like the front Pirelli was crying enough while Sykes was just doing enough to keep his lead.

Sykes had a one-second advantage over Davies when the took the chequered flag and loses a further five points to his Kawasaki team-mate while pulling away from Davies in third place. Davies said in parc ferme he just didn’t have the pace to live with Rea even after the traffic, but some issues needed to be looked into.

Fourth-placed Marco Melandri had a big moment on lap two, almost getting pinged out of the seat of his Panigale at turn six and had to fight his way back from ninth but did it with not too much fuss, moving through the pack to finish 17s behind the leader.

Xavi Fores lost out to Melandri as well but had a four-second advantage over Eugene Laverty in sixth place, bouncing back from his crash yesterday. Tati Mercado was another place further back with Lorenzo Savadori in eighth.

Alex Lowes won a race-long scrap with Pata Yamaha team-mate Michael Van Der Mark, scratching home with half a second in hand while Stefan Bradl, who had the pace of the R1s early on, slipped back to 11th. Leon Camier suffered a technical problem at turn six and didn’t finish.

Rea also set a new lap record of 1’23.275.

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by Bliss Drive Review