After a first lap collision between Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty, the first attempted run of the Jerez race was red flagged and restarted over 19 laps. The result was a clear win for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who scored his 14th race victory of the season and the 52nd of his career.
This 52nd win makes him the equal second best WorldSBK rider, a status he shares with fellow three times champion Troy Bayliss.
Kawasaki also became the Manufacturers’ champions today, for the third straight season.
Rea also set a new lap record, of 1:40.640, on lap three, as he made his escape from the chasing pack.
Second on Sunday was Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), and third Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Davies now takes over second place in the championship fight, which will go to the final round at Losail.
The second start saw the Pata Yamaha pairing of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) lead until Rea went past on lap two. Lowes would finish fourth, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fifth and VDM drop places to sixth, as he first got engaged in a fight with Melandri, and then dropped back after he ran wide again.
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) was seventh, just ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Leandro Mercado (IodaRacing Team Aprilia). Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) headed up his own three-rider group for tenth.
With one round and two races to go the points scores read 506 for Rea and Davies and Sykes tied on 363. Davies is ranked above Sykes by right of scoring more race wins.WorldSSP: Caricasulo The Race WInner, Mahias Nearly Champion Caricasulo (64) had to fight hard for the WorldSSP win.
A tremendous battle for the race and the championship itself unfolded over 19 laps of the Jerez circuit, with the win being secured by Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) from Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda).
The last lap action between the two, especially around the final succession of right-handers, almost ended in tears but the Italian rider held on to maximum points by 0.065 seconds to help Yamaha win the WorldSSP Manufacturers’ and GRT Yamaha win the Teams’ title today.
In the riders’ championship fight, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) finished fifth today and in being 20 points ahead of the still injured Kenan Sofuoglu now he is still – technically—not quite the new world champion.
Barring a miracle intervention for Sofuoglu to be able to ride in two weeks at Losail, and also win or finish second with a no score from Mahias, the Frenchman is already the champion. The next nearest rider in the points, Cluzel, is 30 points behind with a maximum of 25 to play for.
Third place in the race today, after a fight through in the first few laps, went to Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), from longtime third place rider Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).
Mahias cruised home in fifth place after he realized he could not get to Jacobsen.
In sixth place, Sheridan Morais (Kallio Race System Yamaha) was 11 seconds back and Magny Cours race winner Niki Tuuli (Kallio Race System Yamaha) was seventh.
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog-Jenik-Against Cancer Kawasaki) placed eighth, Gino Rea (Team GO ELEVEN Kawasaki) ninth and Christian Gamarino (BARDHAL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) tenth.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took his sixth win of the year in a scintillating Phillip Island showdown, breaking away from an eight-rider fight for the win in the latter stages to take to the top step. After a tough race for title rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) as the Italian suffered an early run off and was only able to fight back to 13th, it leaves the rider from Cervera now 33 points clear in the standings. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second as he came out on top of a three-way fight for the podium, with teammate Maverick Viñales taking third. Viñales is now out of the Championship fight, 50 points back with two rounds to go.
It was Marquez who got the holeshot but he couldn’t hold it into Turn 2 as a stunner from Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) saw the Queenslander slice through into the lead – and then start pulling away. Viñales was the man in third on the chase, as an incredible first lap then took another twist next time round into Turn 1, when Dovizioso went wide and dropped down to P20.
Then the race was on for the Italian, as a seven-rider train at the front closed in on Miller in the lead. Rossi and Viñales were the first to get through, and a lead group of Marquez, Viñales, Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Zarco began to fight it out.The Phillip Island MotoGP podium for 2017. (Courtesy MotoGP)
Marquez vs Rossi, Zarco vs Rossi, Viñales vs Marquez, Iannone vs Zarco…in one of the most aggressive and hard-fought battles of the season, decade or more, the passes came thick and fast – including a move for Zarco around the outside of Doohan corner – as rubber was left on the road; a little on opponents’ leathers and a little paint was swapped in one of the most incredible fights in history.
Once Marquez was ahead, however, the reigning Champion was able to begin pulling a gap with five laps to go. Pulling the pin as the battle raged on behind him, the number 93 began to sprint away – and the fight to complete the podium was down to three by the final laps: Rossi vs Viñales vs Zarco.
With some of the tightest lines ever ridden around the Island at times on that final lap, Rossi was able to take it – but all three were almost neck and neck over the line. And over that line behind the nine-time World Champion, it was Viñales just edging ahead of the Tech 3 of the Frenchman – taking third for a return to the rostrum but a definite end to his chance at the title. Zarco’s fourth, however, confirmed him as Rookie of the Year.
After Iannone getting pushed back in the latter stages, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) took fifth ahead of the Italian, with Miller, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and another double delight for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing completing the top ten; Espargaro just pipping Smith. Dovizioso suffered late heartbreak after losing out on the drag to the line to both Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and coming home 13th, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) completing the top fifteen.
Sepang is now ready for business, with the next round soon on the horizon and 33 points swinging the pendulum in Marquez’ favour. But not everything goes to script, as Dovizioso found out at the Island – and the Italian won at Sepang last season. It’s time for a final stand.Moto2 Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in a class of his own in the Australian GP, taking the Moto2 victory by three seconds . (Courtesy MotoGP)
Stunning first win for the Austrian factory, and a first win for Portugal in the intermediate class
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in a class of his own in the Australian GP, taking victory by three seconds – the gap having been as high as six – and crossing the line to take KTM’s first win in Moto2™. The history making continued in second, as teammate Brad Binder took his first ever podium in the intermediate class as his rookie year gains traction following a tough, injury-hit start to the season. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took third and protected his title hopes, making good gains in the standings on key rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten), who had a tough day to come home tenth.
Off the line it was Oliveira who took the holeshot, with polesitter Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) losing out and Binder moving up into second. Morbidelli slotted into third, with Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) moving into fourth. Lüthi got a good start and shot up into sixth, moving around the outside as he attempted to get in the fight at the front.
The pack then started to shuffle, and a crash for Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) collected Pasini and sent Aegerter wide – as Oliveira started pulling away at the front. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) suffered a big moment, and Lüthi began to struggle – as the top trio of Oliveira, Binder and Morbidelli found themselves in clear air. Oliveira had an advantage of six seconds with seven laps to go.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was the rider on the charge mid-race, moving up and then into podium contention before passing both Binder and Morbidelli. The South African and the Italian exchanged some tough passes and spectacular moves, before then the rain flag came out near the end of the race and Nakagami slid out ahead of the duo. Oliveira crossed the line almost three seconds clear, with Binder setting the fastest lap on the penultimate lap to take second and Morbidelli a safe third.
Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Interwetten) put in an impressive performance for fourth, ahead of another top ride from Motegi podium finisher Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing). Alex Marquez recovered from his moment early in the race to pull clear of a number of riders and take sixth, ahead of Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), Aegerter, a solid ride from Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Lüthi.
Axel Pons (RW Racing GP), Francesco Bagnaia and teammate Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) – despite dislocating his shoulder on Saturday – and home hero Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) completed the points.
The advantage is now 29 points for Morbidelli at the top, giving him his first shot at the title at Sepang International Circuit, which is up next.Moto3 Phillip Island Moto3 winner Joan Mir is the new Moto3 champ. (Courtesy MotoGP)
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) is the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion after winning his ninth race of the season in the Australian GP, equaling another record on the way to taking the crown in a closely fought race that was Red Flagged as the weather came in. Teammate Livio Loi followed him over the line in second as he took an impressive podium on the comeback from injury, with polesitter Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the top three.
Off the line it was Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) who got through Turn 1 first, before Jorge Martin fought back – and the battle began. With a long freight train at the front, the racing was hard but fair, and the slipstream down the Gardner Straight created some spectacular side-by-side action into Turn 1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was the first to fall out of contention from the leaders, before Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) and Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) had different incidents to lose out – leaving a group of eight riders fighting it out: Rodrigo, Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate), Loi, Mir, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) and teammate Adam Norrodin.
Fenati – fighting to keep his title hopes alive – took his turn at the front for a number of laps, before key rival Mir began to make his move. Shuffling into Turn 1 then saw another name fall from the fight at the front, with Martin and Ramirez getting a little too close for comfort and the Platinum Bay Real Estate rider forced wide – and then going down.
Back at the front, Mir was pushing on. Making it to the front and then pushing to try and break free of the slipstream, the Majorcan was able to keep just ahead of the game for a number of laps – until some spots of rain started to appear. Suddenly, the heavens opened – and with 2/3 race distance done, the Red Flag that came out marked the end of the race.
The result was counted back to the last full lap completed by the entirety of the field – and across the line, it was the Championship leader who had been in first. Initially unaware as the grid slowed and the Majorcan looked to the screens around the track for confirmation, Mir then realised he’d gone from World Champion elect to 2017 Moto3™ World Champion in taking the tenth win of his career and once more becoming the Moto3™ rider with the most wins – equal with Fenati.
The good news didn’t stop there for Leopard Racing, as the new World Champion’s teammate Livio Loi crossed the line in second for his second ever rostrum finish – and from outside the top twenty on the grid, with Martin completing the podium. Gabriel Rodrigo equaled his best ever result in P4, ahead of Enea Bastianini and Romano Fenati.
Seventh was a stunning best yet from Japanese rookie Ayumu Sasaki as the former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and Asia Talent Cup winner had a stealthy ride within the front group, coming home ahead of teammate Adam Norrodin. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took ninth, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Aspar Mahindra Moto3) completing the top ten.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) had an impressive comeback from far down the field to come over the line in eleventh and only 0.031 off Dalla Porta, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Manuel Pagliani (CIP).
Two races remain for Mir to break more records before he moves up to Moto2™ for 2018 – with the next stop Malaysia.
MICHELIN® AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX
MotoGP Race Classification 2017
Phillip Island, Sunday, October 22, 20171 25 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 176.4 40’49.772 2 20 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 176.3 +1.799 3 16 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 176.3 +1.826 4 13 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 176.3 +1.842 5 11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 176.2 +3.845 6 10 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 176.2 +3.871 7 9 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 176.0 +5.619 8 8 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 175.6 +12.208 9 7 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 175.3 +16.251 10 6 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 175.3 +16.262 11 5 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 174.9 +21.652 12 4 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 174.9 +21.668 13 3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 174.9 +21.692 14 2 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 174.6 +26.110 15 1 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 174.6 +26.168 16 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 174.6 +26.252 17 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 173.9 +36.377 18 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 173.6 +39.654 19 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 173.6 +40.400 20 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 173.2 +45.901 21 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 173.0 +48.768 22 23 Broc PARKES AUS Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 172.4 +57.711 Not Classified 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 174.9 20 Laps
Moto21 25 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 169.2 39’25.920 2 20 41 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 168.9 +2.974 3 16 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 168.9 +3.846 4 13 2 Jesko RAFFIN SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 168.6 +7.348 5 11 97 Xavi VIERGE SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 168.6 +7.403 6 10 73 Alex MARQUEZ SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 168.3 +12.125 7 9 24 Simone CORSI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up 168.3 +12.217 8 8 77 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Kiefer Racing Suter 168.3 +12.244 9 7 11 Sandro CORTESE GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter 168.3 +12.475 10 6 12 Thomas LUTHI SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex 168.3 +12.605 11 5 49 Axel PONS SPA RW Racing GP Kalex 168.2 +12.971 12 4 42 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 167.7 +20.887 13 3 62 Stefano MANZI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 167.1 +28.821 14 2 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex 166.9 +31.214 15 1 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 166.7 +34.678 16 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex 166.7 +34.911 17 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ SPA Speed Up Racing Speed Up 166.6 +35.694 18 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Teluru SAG Team Kalex 165.2 +56.487 19 32 Isaac VIÑALES SPA BE-A-VIP SAG Team Kalex 165.2 +56.528 20 27 Iker LECUONA SPA Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 165.2 +56.550 21 89 Khairul Idham PAWI MAL IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 165.1 +57.548 22 6 Tarran MACKENZIE GBR Kiefer Racing Suter 164.9 +1’01.191 23 10 Luca MARINI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex 162.3 +1’39.824 Not Classified 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 168.9 2 Laps 57 Edgar PONS SPA Pons HP40 Kalex 162.4 2 Laps 40 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Pons HP40 Kalex 164.1 20 Laps 5 Andrea LOCATELLI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 161.2 23 Laps 9 Jorge NAVARRO SPA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex 158.9 23 Laps 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter 157.5 24 Laps 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 157.3 24 Laps
Moto31 25 36 Joan MIR SPA Leopard Racing Honda 161.0 24’51.490 2 20 11 Livio LOI BEL Leopard Racing Honda 161.0 +0.351 3 16 88 Jorge MARTIN SPA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda 161.0 +0.359 4 13 19 Gabriel RODRIGO ARG RBA BOE Racing Team KTM 160.9 +0.388 5 11 33 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 160.9 +0.408 6 10 5 Romano FENATI ITA Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda 160.9 +0.808 7 9 71 Ayumu SASAKI JPN SIC Racing Team Honda 160.9 +0.834 8 8 7 Adam NORRODIN MAL SIC Racing Team Honda 160.9 +1.291 9 7 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI JPN SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 160.6 +3.648 10 6 48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Aspar Mahindra Moto3 Mahindra 160.6 +4.005 11 5 8 Nicolo BULEGA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 160.6 +4.036 12 4 84 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot 160.6 +4.085 13 3 65 Philipp OETTL GER Südmetall Schedl GP Racing KTM 160.5 +4.251 14 2 16 Andrea MIGNO ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 160.3 +6.004 15 1 96 Manuel PAGLIANI ITA CIP Mahindra 160.3 +6.540 16 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER NED Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 158.9 +19.418 17 41 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT THA Honda Team Asia Honda 158.3 +25.293 18 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 156.7 +40.800 19 6 Maria HERRERA SPA Aspar Mahindra Moto3 Mahindra 156.7 +40.858 20 27 Kaito TOBA JPN Honda Team Asia Honda 156.4 +43.698 21 42 Marcos RAMIREZ SPA Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM 151.0 +1’38.853 22 70 Tom TOPARIS AUS Cube Racing KTM 149.4 1 Lap 23 58 Juanfran GUEVARA SPA RBA BOE Racing Team KTM 148.6 1 Lap 24 40 Darryn BINDER RSA Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM 122.2 3 Laps 44 Aron CANET SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 105.6 5 Laps Not Classified 4 Patrik PULKKINEN FIN Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot 157.6 6 Laps 12 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA CIP Mahindra 159.6 8 Laps 95 Jules DANILO FRA Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda 158.5 10 Laps 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda 158.4 11 Laps 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 150.0 14 Laps Not Finished 1st Lap 17 John MCPHEE GBR British Talent Team Honda 0 Lap
2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Results: LEAD2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Results Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin is holding a hot hand right now. He won a million dollars last weekend at the Monster Cup, and then tonight he scored the Red Bull Straight Rhythm for the second year in a row. He’s got to be the favorite going into 2018 at this point. At the Straight Rhythm, Musquin topped Josh Hansen to win the gold. Musquin’s teammate Broc Tickle scored third on the night after beating Kyle Chisholm, who was riding really well, too. PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE COX 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Results TLD/Red Bull KTM’s Shane McElrath scored the 250cc win for the second year in a row, defeating his teammate Sean Cantrell in the final round. Alex Martin led a TLD sweep of the podium by defeating two-stroke-mounted Ryan Sipes in the third-place round. PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE COX 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Results Gared Steinke has been racing a two-stroke at the professional level for years, so the superstars who showed up probably didn’t have much hope of beating him, in hindsight. Here, Steinke takes down Ryan Villopoto. Steinke beat Ronnie Mac in the final round to take the win. Mac had a big crash in the first race of the final round, but still kept race two close. Ryan Sipes ended up third in the two-stroke class after beating Ryan Villopoto in the third-place round. PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE COX 2017 Red Bull Straight Rhythm Results The three winners on the night, Marvin Musquin (middle), Shane McElrath (left) and Gared Steinke (right). PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE COX
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Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) looked like he had race one at Jerez all boxed off but his one second lead over eventual winner Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) disappeared, with just a handful of laps to go, as his bike quit shortly after he had set a new lap record of 1:40.938.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was second and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) third.
The race had been shortened to 19 laps after a double crash for Badovini and De Rosa in the first attempted start, with Rea on pole this time after Melandri had won Superpole earlier in the afternoon.
Melandri swept through to the lead on lap seven, and then Davies was soon past Rea for second place.
The leading six had been scrunching up for a few laps but as the race approached half race distance Melandri made a break, as Rea and Davies battled along behind.
Melandri’s pace was such that he set a first new lap record of 1:41.067 on lap nine.
Rea, having overcome the advances of Davies after a block pass on the Ducati rider into the final corner, set about clearing away from the chasing pack, with Davies third and Sykes fourth – two Yamaha riders right behind him.
Rea got his pace up again in the clean air and set a 1:41.035 for another new lap record on lap 11. It would not last as Melandri re-took the final record on lap 15.
Behind Rea, Davies pegged back some points on Sykes in the championship battle for overall second.
A strong ride from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) saw him fourth, and just 3.6 seconds from the winner Rea, who was jubilant at his latest success, stopping his bike trackside to greet the fans.
Fifth was Michael van der Mark’s Yamaha.
The return of the 2014 king saw Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) put in a classy performance, albeit 11 seconds from Rea’s factory bike, finishing four seconds ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Eighth place went to Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), ninth to Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) and tenth Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki).WorldSSP: Caricasulo Takes Jerez Pole Federico Caricasulo will start from pole for tomorrow’s race.
A narrow Superpole win for Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) gave him the best possible start for Sunday’s 19-lap race at Jerez.
He was only 0.049 seconds ahead of French rider Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in second place but the next rider, Sheridan Morais (Kallio Race System Yamaha), was 0.356 seconds behind Caricasulo.
MV Agusta rider Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) flew to fourth quickest time and in an important race for championship leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) fifth place in qualifying makes him ready to try and win the championship itself on Sunday from the second row.
Anthony West (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) found pace just when it mattered and he secured sixth place and the last second-row grid placing.
His neo-team-mate, Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) was seventh and returning WorldSSP star of recent times, Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag MV Agusta) was eighth.
In an increasingly competitive WorldSSP field Christian Gamarino (BARDHAL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) was ninth and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Race System Yamaha) tenth.
Kyle Smith (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini Honda) was 11th and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing Triumph) 12th, the first Triumph rider home.
Michelin, title sponsors of the Australian GP, will be the MotoGP class’s control tyres until 2023, extending their current three-year contract by a further five years.
The agreement was announced at Phillip Island on race eve by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couagnon, at a press conference which was interrupted by the thunderous noise of an Australian air force jet fighter display.
It was a warts-and-all occasion, with Ezpeleta saying that aside from the prospect of stability, the most important thing he was demanding was “equal quality of tyres with the same specification.” He had praise for Michelin as well, for the positive way they had responded to problems, in contrast to other tyre suppliers.
Michelin’s technical director Nicolas Goubert confirmed that some teams and riders had flagged up of unexpected variations of tyre performance. “We have had some complaints. Sometimes they are not true, but sometimes they are true. We still have some work to do.”
Improving quality control was a major target, he continued. “There are many components and processes in a tyre, and we are working very hard at putting them all under control,” he said.
Michelin returned to MotoGP last season in place of former control tyre suppliers Bridgestone, and discovered there was a lot of catching up to do. “The bikes had evolved, and there was a lot more stress on the front tyre.”
This had been the most difficult area of development. “We made progress in 2916 … but not enough.” But since the latest generation of front tyres had arrived at Mugello this year, the position was much improved. “We have had requests from riders to keep these same [front] tyres for 2018,” said Goubert.
Pascal spoke of the value of racing, both commercial and technical. The reason they had required a change from the previous 16.5-inch wheel size to 17-inch was to forge a direct link with production tyres for street bikes. For the same reason, Michelin would not consider including qualifying tyres in the three front and rear options at each race.
Technically, said Goubert, a range of compounds developed in racing would be used in a range of production slick tyres to be launched in the near future; while they had also made progress in developing manufacturing processes that would have future relevance.Possible Start Time Change at Phillip Island
The MotoGP race at next year’s Australian GP could take place an hour earlier, if a repeat of an already standing request via the Safety Commission does not again fall on deaf ears.
The race now starts at 4pm, in order to make it at least slightly more friendly to European TV schedules. The drawback is that soon after that there is frequently a sharp temperature drop, which has been blamed for a number of race-changing accidents over recent years as the surface grip falls away.
One victim: Marc Marquez, who has twice fallen out of the lead … but many others have suffered similarly.
Speaking at the post-qualifying press conference, Marquez said: “It should be a minimum of one hour earlier, because the temperature is dropping a lot.”
Compatriot Maverick Vinales concurred, saying: “All the riders agreed. It would be better for safety.”
But their front-row companion Johann Zarco, who as a class rookie has yet to have the experience, was less sure. Already expecting to use the softer tyres, he said: “If I am on the podium, the four o’clock is alright with me.”Schrotter happy with Suter
Moto2 rider Marcel Schrotter credited a new Suter chassis for his career-best second-place qualification, because of better stability in corner entry. But the German was battling another problem – persistent pain from the wrist fracture that ruled him out of several races after the summer break.
Schrotter broke the scaphoid bone while on a training ride with Jack Miller in Australia during the summer break; and while he didn’t let it stop him riding in the Suzuka 8 Hours, that was enough to leave him in more serious trouble.
“The pain won’t go away,” he said in Australia, where he was riding with a lightweight cast to protect it; and needing painkillers to cope with heaving the bike back and forth through the fast direction changes.
The sun came out for qualifying after an iffy start to Saturday – and shone on Marc Marquez, as the Repsol Honda rider surged back to the top at the close of a lively Q2 session for the premier class.
His title rival Andrea Dovizioso was left lurking in the shadows. The only Ducati rider to make it into the top qualifying session after his factory team-mate Jorge Lorenzo hurt himself in the morning, Dovi’s end-of-session bid was ruined by a mistake midway round the sweeping 4,448-km Phillip Island circuit, and he qualified 11th, in the middle of the fourth row of the grid.
It was the defending champion’s seventh pole of the year, the 72nd in his career, and a boost to his hopes of recovering ground in the championship over his Motegi victor Dovizioso. Having towed round Iannone and Miller on his first run, then being consigned by Zarco and Vinales, “I knew I could be faster with my second tyre, and I tried to find a chance without traffic.”
Maverick Vinales overcame persistent wheelspin problems with his Movistar Yamaha to claim second, crediting the softest rear Michelin for the improvements. However it is a doubtful choice for the race. “We are still a little bit away. For tomorrow we have to develop,” he said.
Johann Zarco was pleased with a second successive front row after his Motegi pole, at a track that didn’t favour him in Moto2. He credited Michelin tyres and his Yamaha’s good front feeling for giving him new-found confidence to attack the fast corners.
Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and returned injury victim Jack Miller (VDS Honda) lead row two, thanks to the early tow round by Marquez; and on-form Pol Espargaro will start alongside: sixth the best yet qualifying for the new Red Bull KTM. His team-mate Bradley Smith had also managed to join him in Q2 after placing second in Q1, and qualified ninth.
Valentino Rossi had also been obliged to make his way through Q1, and his Movistar Yamaha leads row three from yesterday’s leader Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Smith.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crashed on his fast lap, and will lead row four, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).
But in between them, title hopeful Dovizioso, third-fastest yesterday, but crashing in FP4 – only his fifth fall this year. He left his fast run to the end, and it went wrong.
Second factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo was even worse off, mired in Q1 and 16th on the grid. He was hampered by a heavy fall in FP3 that left him with a sprained left ankle, with further medical investigation scheduled.
Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) just missed the Q1 cut, ahead of Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham.
Moto2’s rain trouble came just as the field left pit lane on slick tyres, but the shower didn’t last and the track soon dried – leaving the way open for Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Kalex) to return to the qualifying form that has earned him five pole starts in the last seven races.
His success came at the expense of FP3 leader Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), who was third after his best hopes were thwarted by heavy traffic.
In between, yet another different chassis, with Marcel Schrotter putting the upgraded Suter chassis in second place for the Dynavolt team. He was just 0.006 of a second away from a career-first pole.
Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (VDS Honda) was fifth, in the middle of row two, flanked by Moto3 champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) and his own team-mate Alex Marquez, fresh from victory in Japan.
But it was a disappointing session for Tom Luthi, Morbidelli’s closest title rival and narrow winner from the Italian here last year. The CarXpert Kalex rider qualified tenth on row four. Ahead of him on row three: free practice leader Nakagami, dispossessed ex-Misano winner Aegerter and his own team-mate Jesko Raffin.
Moto3 qualifying was cut short by a few minutes by an end-of-session shower. By then, Jorge Martin had pushed through to take his eighth pole of the season, the Del Conca Honda rider displacing another regular fastest qualifier Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA KTM).
The rain denied Joan Mir (Leopard Honda) a chance of pole, but the points leader was third and on the front row anyway. After eight wins this year, Mir can become the first champion of the year if he finishes first or second.
If he is lower than that and Romano Fenati (Rivacold Honda) wins, then the contest will stay open for one more race.
Fenati was all over Mir in qualifying, ending up fifth in the middle of row two, between Guevara’s KTM and his own team-mate Danilo.
Threats of punishment including disqualification by Race Direction appeared to have worked. Moto3 qualifying was free of riders dawdling, trying to pick up a tow from a faster rider.
MICHELIN® AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX
MotoGP Qualifying Nr. 2 Classification 2017
Phillip Island, Saturday, October 21, 20171 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.5 1’28.386 2 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 337.0 1’28.719 0.333 / 0.333 3 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 336.9 1’28.744 0.358 / 0.025 4 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 337.8 1’28.937 0.551 / 0.193 5 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 336.2 1’28.964 0.578 / 0.027 6 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 340.4 1’29.030 0.644 / 0.066 7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 336.1 1’29.203 0.817 / 0.173 8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 335.9 1’29.271 0.885 / 0.068 9 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 338.0 1’29.321 0.935 / 0.050 10 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 336.3 1’29.429 1.043 / 0.108 11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 336.8 1’29.496 1.110 / 0.067 12 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 327.9 1’29.546 1.160 / 0.050 13 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 335.0 1’29.824 0.478 / 0.119 14 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 333.6 1’29.847 0.501 / 0.023 15 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 341.9 1’29.961 0.615 / 0.114 16 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 333.2 1’30.085 0.739 / 0.124 17 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 333.9 1’30.224 0.878 / 0.139 18 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 338.0 1’30.471 1.125 / 0.247 19 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 342.0 1’30.543 1.197 / 0.072 20 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 329.6 1’30.806 1.460 / 0.263 21 23 Broc PARKES AUS Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 329.5 1’30.889 1.543 / 0.083 22 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 340.6 1’30.900 1.554 / 0.011 23 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 328.3 1’31.158 1.812 / 0.258
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) relied on his morning lap time to outpace his nearest rival by 0.597 seconds on the opening day of action at Jerez, after falling just a few minutes into the FP2 session at Jerez this afternoon.
He was largely unhurt and took to the track later in the day to go faster than any of his rivals could manage, but still not reach or beat his morning personal best time.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was second fastest on Friday after setting his personal best time this afternoon, with the Pata Yamaha pairing of Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes only fractions of a second behind the second KRT machine.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was fifth – although he also was to fall late in the second session, on a day when many of the leading lights would have some kind of off. The Top V-four rider was Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in sixth place.
From Sykes to Laverty, five riders were covered by only 0.008 seconds.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) placed seventh today, local rider
Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) eighth.
Two big names just made it onto Superpole 2 on Sunday after the two practice sessions today, with 2014 world champion Sylvain Guintoli (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) ninth and crasher Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) tenth.
Davies lost a lot of time in the pits and had to wait nervously as Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) just missed out on automatic SP2 qualification in 11th place, with Leandro Mercado (IodaRacing Team Aprilia) 12th.
Australian Jack Miller shaved two days off Rossi’s crash-to-race broken leg record, getting back out on his VDS Honda RC213V exactly 21 days after breaking his right tibia in a low-speed trials accident at his European base in Andorra.
The fracture was promptly plated and screwed, and Miller (22) opted out of the Japanese GP last weekend to give himself more time to recuperate for his home GP.
Miller, walking with no visible limp, admitted “I even surprised myself with the speed of the turnaround. I probably could have made it to Japan, but it wouldn’t have been good for this race and Malaysia, with the swelling.”
Unlike Rossi, he hadn’t ridden a bike before the race, except for a cheesy Dorna pre-race publicity stunt in Melbourne the day before; but he had tested his leg at home in Townsville on a quad bike, with no problems beyond “losing my phone”.
On the first day of free practice, he was on the charge and placed a strong sixth. His best qualifying hitherto this year was tenth.
German Jonas Folger is expected to be out for the rest of the season, after succumbing to a suspected virus that left him progressively weakened until he was forced to withdraw on the eve of last weekend’s Japanese GP.
The Monster Yamaha rider, who was second in his home GP before the summer break, had been suffering increasingly from fatigue, which reached such a pitch by the time he arrived in Japan that circuit medical staff sent him home to Germany for medical tests.
Folger is thought to be inflicted by a repeat infection by the Epstein-Barr virus, for which the main treatment is simply prolonged rest. As a result, he is likely to be out until the first tests next year.
Experienced Australian veteran Broc Parkes took his place at Phillip Island; while Dutch Superbike rider Michael van der Mark is expected to take the seat in Malaysia next week, and Valencia for the final round in November.
Further restrictions in MotoGP testing – aimed at cutting the advantage of big-budget factory teams – were announced on the eve of the Australian GP, with the number of tests and their timing restricted more than at present from the 2019 season.
The news came after a Motegi meeting of the GP Commission.
Although next season’s testing schedule is similar to this year’s, with two days at Valencia after the final round, three three-day tests out of Europe after the winter test ban, and five days of private testing for each team; new rules prevent tests at any GP circuit for two weeks either side of the event.
This year Ducati pre-tested at Misano, and Honda at Brno, shortly before the race.
For the 2019 season, which begins in November 2018, more cuts come into effect. There will be only two official three-day pre-season tests; while teams must use two of their five days before the winter test ban at the start of December.
The commission also ruled that from next season leathers fitted with approved air-bag systems will be compulsory for all classes; laid down rules restricting Moto2 chassis manufacturers to ten days of testing with the Triumph engines that will take over from Honda in 2019; and restricted factory teams to three wild card entries per annum.
Joan Mir could become the first crowned champion of 2017 on Sunday, with only Romano Fenati left with a slender mathematical chance of stopping him.
Fenati won in Japan while Mir was mired in 17th and out of the points. Should Fenati win again, Mir must finish second, or the title fight will remain at least numerically open for one more race. But if Mir simply finishes ahead of Fenati, his advantage of more than 50 points will make him invulnerable.
Unlike Motegi, aero bodywork remained mainly in abeyance at Phillip Island, with cornering fidelity more important than wheelie control at the flowing circuit with only two slow corners.
Jorge Lorenzo flew his usual big box kites on the flanks of his Ducati, and Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone used their latest loop-scoop fairings on their Aprilia and Suzuki respectively.
For the rest, the downforce bodywork stayed in the freight boxes.
In the past at this windy track, fairings have been drilled to reduce resistance in direction changes, but so far this year there’s been no sign of that.
Dorna’s quest for Cheesemonger of the Year award took a big step forward in Australia, with the cheesiest pre-race stunt yet.
Once confined to filming riders making pizzas in Italy or meeting sumo wrestlers in Japan, the promotional push has broken free from conventional cliché to create new ones all of their own.
This week’s contrivance paid (possibly inadvertent) tribute to Australia’s foundation as a penal colony for British convicts.
MotoGP riders Jack Miller and Alex Rins were dressed in prison gear and filmed in a deserted Melbourne prison, from which they “escaped” by hiding in a laundry basket.
This even outranked previous groan-fests, such as casting and awkward-looking Dani Pedrosa as a diminutive James Bond-alike.
Along with the introduction of frequently fatuous social media questions at press conferences, this is another important step in trivialising the World Championships.
The sole girl grand prix racer Maria Herrera, whose AGR team folded after the last European race at Aragon, was back in Australia. The 21-year-old Spanish Moto3 rider was thrown a lifeline by the Aspar Mahindra team, to take the place of injured team regular Albert Arenas, who suffered a hand fracture in a crash in practice at Motegi.
Herrera claimed her best-yet result at Phillip Island, finishing 11th in 2015. She finished in the points once this year, with 15th in Argentina.
Phillip Island’s reputation as a track that favours riding skill over mechanical strength got a fillip on the first day of free practice for Sunday’s Australian GP, when Aleix Espargaro put the Aprilia in a surprise top spot.
Dry though windy weather favoured close times, and the Spaniard was only 0.005 of a second ahead of race favourite Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), with his title rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) just another 0.09 of a second slower, and the top 16 riders all within one second, round the scenic and rhythmic 4.448-km seaside circuit south of Melbourne.
“It is just the first day, but we are clearly doing a great job. I am proud to be part of this project,” said Espargaro, who had qualified a best-yet fourth at Motegi, and finished a best-yet sixth at the previous round at Aragon.
Marquez was happy enough, saying: “We started with a good base set-up;” while Dovizioso – winner of a titanic last-lap battle with the Honda rider last weekend in Motegi – said “it was important to start the weekend in this way”.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was a close fifth; while Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) bounced back from a high-speed crash to take fifth.
As impressive as anybody, Jack Miller (VDS Honda) slotted into a close sixth, in his second day back on a motorcycle since breaking his leg on September 29 (see News story).
As ever, but possibly more acutely given the island’s reputation for fickle weather and frequent sudden squalls, today’s time might easily determine which riders will go directly to Q2 in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) completed the crucial top ten.
This left Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi – 11th and 12th – facing the prospect of having to go through Q1 in a quest to make the front four rows of the grid. Last weekend’s podium finisher Danilo Petrucci (Octo Ducati) was in the same boat, placed 17t, one behind team-mate Scott Redding.
As well as Vinales, Bautista and Rabat both fell unhurt; as well as Australian Broc Parkes, subbing for the absent Monster Yamaha rider Jonas Folger.
Uncertain weather is forecast for tomorrow, and rain for race day on Sunday.
Positions are less crucial for the smaller classes, with a conventional qualifying session tomorrow open to all, and Moto2 timing had another surprise, with Taka Nakagami (Idemitsu Kalex) almost seven tenths clear of a tightly packed field.
The Japanese rider had led the morning session as well.
Times were close thereafter, with one second covering from Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Kalex) in second to Tech 3 rider Remy Gardner in 21st.
Title leader Franco Morbidelli (VDS Kalex) was fifth, with both Domi Aegerter (Kiefer Suter) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) faster.
With top rookie Pecco Bagnaia (SKY VR46 Kalex) and Alex Marquez (VDS Honda) in sixth and seventh; the last remaining title challenger, Tom Luthi (CarXpert Kalex) was eighth.
- The session was strewn with crashes, with Luthi just one victim. Simone Corsi also fall, as did Jorge Navarro, Fabio Quartararo, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Luca Marini and Tarran Mackenzie (twice), his first tumble shedding bodywork on the track and bringing out the red flags.
Moto3 champion elect Joan Mir came back from his pointless run in the rain at Motegi to head the practice sheets on day one, with his last remaining rival Romano Fenati placed sixth, some eight tenths of a second slower.
But Fenati (Rivacold Honda) had a difficult start to the day, missing most of the morning session after being lucky to escape unhurt from a fast looping high-side crash; while Mir (Leopard Honda) had a calm and smooth day.
Aron Canet (EG Honda) also crashed in the morning, but moved to second overall in the afternoon, with the KTMs of Bo Bendsneyder and Gabriel Rodrigo next, before the Hondas of Jorge Martin and Fenati.
Channeling My Inner 16-Year-Old On KTM’s RC390Get down fatty! Despite his size, Rennie eventually found a bit of speed on the RC.
For my weekend at the Barber Vintage Festival, I was given the key to one of the KTM RC Cup 390 bikes to race in the Sound of Singles 3 class. For the past two years, the KTM RC Cup has been the breeding ground for the fastest kids in America, all honing their skills on bikes with little horsepower but massive corner speed.
Well, that’s with 100-pound whippets on board, not 200-pound fatties that make the little black-and-white bike look like it’s quickly disappearing up the crevice where the sun doesn’t shine. Not to mention my extra weight compared to what this bike is used to carrying meant top speed was somewhat hindered and I had to seriously raise my corner-speed game.
At one point in my life I was actually rather good at riding little bikes, using the corner speed inherent with bikes like the Suzuki RGV250 and 450GP to my advantage. But that was a long time ago, and after one day riding the 390, I was vastly out of my depth.
I couldn’t for the life of me crack the 1:46s bracket as the little KTM struggled to haul my butt up the various hills of Barber Motorsports Park, and with zero spares that might help me like a heavier rear-shock spring, it had to come down to improving my riding.It sure makes life easy to have someone take off your tire warmers!
One of the reasons Moto3 is always the best race of a MotoGP race weekend is because it’s contested on bikes with tiny horsepower numbers that require the riders to get off the brakes and roll through the corner at maximum velocity, and using the draft as much as possible to gain an advantage. Riding the RC is exactly the same—you hold the gas open until the very, very last second, downshift immediately to get that part of the turning equation out of the way and roll your way through the turn, opening the gas wide open as soon as humanly possible. The RC brutalizes you if you’re lazy, expecting it to do the work for you. You have to pay absolute attention to your lines, picking them as precisely as possible to allow ultimate drive to be achieved. The brakes, by modern sportbike standards, feel wooden. The combination of a single Bybre caliper and traditional (read: cheap) master-cylinder makes for a distinct lack of feel at the lever, so you must be careful not to extract the maximum braking power without overloading the front end, which, on my bike, was seriously under-damped.
I did, however, have a set of excellent Pirelli Supercorsa SP SC1 tires underneath me. These are not the tires that were used in the MotoAmerica series, the last of which was the Dunlop Sportmax Q3+ that debuted at New Jersey’s penultimate MotoAmerica round. Having ridden both the Pirelli and those Dunlops back to back at Barber, I have no doubt that if the kids had the Pirellis this year, they’d be at least 1-2 seconds faster and lap records would be smashed across the country.Rennie tries to figure out just how the hell he’s going to knock two seconds off his time. Turns out he just needed someone to chase.
I finished in fifth overall on the practice timesheets, but, as I and my teammate Chris Fillmore had accumulated no points this season, the AHRMA regulations stipulate that you must start at the back of the grid. It’s an archaic way of racing, as it makes the first few laps a touch on the dangerous side when the quicker guys come charging through the field–methinks it wouldn’t hurt to make one of the eight practice sessions count toward qualifying.
Starting in wave two, 38th place, one ahead of Chris who was on an experimental RC390 that will be used as the basis for the new MotoAmerica Junior Cup in 2018, I was quietly confident I could get a top five in Sound of Singles 3. I knew Chris would win, he always does (he even won the damn darts game later that night), so I figured if I tagged onto the back of him, he’d bulldoze everyone out of the way and it’d be plain sailing.
Not quite. I got boxed in when coming through the pack and within two laps Chris was gone. I finished the first lap in eighth place, and worked my way up to fourth with Dale Quarterly about three seconds up the road. Over the next three laps I reeled him in and finally got out of the ’47s and into the ’45s as the KTM and I finally gelled, passing Dale with three laps to go.What a cute little thing! Imagine being 16 and having one of those…
I thought that would be the end of it, a safe third. Wrong. Quarterly did a 2008 Laguna Seca Rossi on me, passing me back immediately and slowing the pace enough for Isle of Man TT rider Mark Purslow to catch up and ultimately pass both of us on the final lap on his little 125GP bike.
But I had a great time racing with Dale, we must have passed each other seven or eight times in the last two laps, and he got me on the line by running around the outside of me when I wasn’t forceful enough on the last corner block pass, relegating me to fifth place.
The event gave me a reminder of just how physical little bikes are to ride. To make one of these things really go requires you to be so, so precise, a skill I must have blunted a touch over the years.Scaysbrook (33s) eventually caught up to Quarterly (32) but both got done on the last lap by Mark Purslow (40).
It’s no surprise guys like Anthony Mazziotto III and Brandon Pasch turned out to be such good riders because these little RCs really teach you how to ride. Even though the RC Cup is now gone and will be forever known as the Junior Cup in MotoAmerica, a 2017/2016 RC390 is an excellent club racer, as it doesn’t chew tires and won’t scare you like a big bike. There were about 15 of them in attendance at Barber, proving the worth of the machine.
For now, if I’m ever to get another race on one, I’d like to know about six months in advance so I can get my butt to the gym. CN
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