#DP26 #MalaysianGP #RepsolHondaTeam
Source: Dani Pedrosa on Facebook
#DP26 #MalaysianGP #RepsolHondaTeam
Source: Dani Pedrosa on Facebook
FP2 – P.2
Source: Marc Márquez on Facebook
The man that has won here in Malaysia for the past two years has started where he left off by lapping the 5.54 km Sepang Circuit in an FP1 topping 1m59.697 this aftneroon.
Valentino Rossi put in a late lap to come from outside the top ten into second place on the timesheets with a 1m59.767. The #46 particularly fast in the second half of the circuit to push Phillip Island winning teammate Maverick Vinales back to third place.
The only other rider to get in the 1m59s in FP1 was Jack Miller. Like fellow Ducati rider Dovizioso it was the first half of the lap where Miller really shone, the Australian second only to the #4 Ducati through those first two splits.
Miller’s teammate Danilo Petrucci was fifth quickest and recorded the highest top speed through the traps at 326.1 km/h.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro were next in sixth and seventh respectively just aheaed of Alvaro Bautista and Johann Zarco.
Marc Marquez rounded out the top ten as the leading Honda but obviously did not bother putting in a time attack lap in the session, his best a 2m00.801.
Jorge Lorenzo did put in 12 laps during the session and slowly built his pace but was still last on the timesheets at session end. It will be interesting to see if Lorenzo participates in FP2 and to whether he will stay on the bike for the rest of the weekend or be replaced by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro.
|1.||Dovizioso A.||Ducati Team||1:59.697|
|2.||Rossi V.||Movistar Yamaha||+0.070|
|3.||Vinales M.||Movistar Yamaha||+0.231|
|4.||Miller J.||Alma Pramac Racing||+0.244|
|5.||Petrucci D.||Alma Pramac Racing||+0.485|
|6.||Rins A.||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+0.544|
|7.||Espargaro A.||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+0.855|
|8.||Bautista A.||Angel Nieto Team||+0.967|
|9.||Zarco J.||Monster Tech 3||+1.029|
|10.||Marquez M.||Repsol Honda||+1.104|
|11.||Iannone A.||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+1.276|
|12.||Nakagami T.||LCR Honda||+1.502|
|13.||Morbidelli F.||Marc VDS Racing Team||+1.512|
|14.||Smith B.||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+1.533|
|15.||Bradl S.||LCR Honda||+1.616|
|16.||Pedrosa D.||Repsol Honda||+1.623|
|17.||Syahrin H.||Monster Tech 3||+1.722|
|18.||Redding S.||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+1.993|
|19.||Espargaro P.||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+2.128|
|20.||Luthi T.||Marc VDS Racing Team||+2.225|
|21.||Abraham K.||Angel Nieto Team||+2.400|
|22.||Simeon X.||Reale Avintia Racing||+2.404|
|23.||Torres J.||Reale Avintia Racing||+2.754|
|24.||Lorenzo J.||Ducati Team||+3.507|
With Phil Aynsley
At the end of the 1983 season Suzuki officially retired from the 500cc GP championship as their venerable square four design (first seen in 1973) was no longer competitive.
However the factory continued to support the Heron team in the UK and the Galina Team in Italy – Roberto Galina HB Suzuki Team TGA1 | 500GP (link).
Heron decided to invest in a new, light weight chassis made from Ciba-Geigy Bonded Aeroweb (a honeycomb/composite) material, constructed by Nigel Leaper. The first two prototypes were made with an aluminium cladding (painted white) but the following six frames just used the (black) honeycomb material.
Records show that this bike (TSR08) was the last one constructed, in 1986, and was ridden at Spa by Kevin Schwantz to 10th place (in Rizla colours) – his first points in Grand Prix.
Later in the season it was ridden by Niall MacKenzie in the Skoal Bandit colours seen here. He scored three top ten places and was on the front row of the grid for the last race of the year, at Misano.
The motor was the final version of the square four, the reed-valve XR70RV which produced 148hp at 12,500rpm (with UK developed exhausts, heads & air-boxes). Dry weight was 115kg. Top speed 295kph.
The first bike (TSR1-0) can be seen at the Barber Museum in the US.
Shoei have announced a new iteration of the popular and versatile GT-Air helmet, the Japanese manufacturer claims that the GT-Air II again raises the bar for high-end helmet comfort, style and safety.
Shoei GT-Air II in Deviation TC-9An aggressive and compact shell design has been verified by wind tunnel tests for relaxed rides and less turbulence. The GT-Air II is also prepared for SENA SRL2* (Shoei Rider Link2) Intercom System, which is integrated into the helmet shell with no protruding operating unit.
The 3D-molded visor (CNS-1) with optimised visor base offers extra wide vision and a unique shape for optimum sealing. The modified QSV-2 internal sun visor used on the GT-Air II has been lengthened by 5mm in order to reduce the amount of light coming through the gap between the lower edge and the eye port.
A stainless steel micro ratchet retention system and a fully removable and washable interior ensures maximum rider comfort. The six size options are XS-XXL and will be produced out of three different outer shell constructions cover XS-M, L and XL-XXL) for perfect fit and compact dimensions.
A new developed ventilation system with two inlets at the upper head and chin area as well as four outlet vents at the top back makes for an ideal sports touring and everyday choice for motorcyling enthusiasts!
In terms of helmet graphics, there’s a variety of options available, while also a number of solid options available.
The Shoei GT-Air II is expected to be launched worldwide in March next year. In Australia it is expected to sell alongside the current GT-Air model, with the new intercom ready unit priced slightly higher than the much loved regulart GT-Air.
Alpinestars is expanding its line of urban riding jackets with its new Warhorse. Touring riders haven’t been neglected either, as two new offerings – the Streetwise Drystar Pants and T-SP W Drystar Glove – also make their debut in the US lineup.
Begin press release:
An aggressively-styled urban sport riding jacket constructed from a durable premium leather for comfort, the Warhorse Leather Jacket incorporates a removable heavy thermal liner, making it ideal for city riding in a variety of weather climates. With CE-certified protection on the shoulder and elbows, plus the ability to upgrade with Alpinestars Nucleon chest and back inserts, the Warhorse offers class-leading protection.
The Streetwise DRYSTAR® Pant has a multi-fabric main shell construction incorporating strategic ballistic nylon reinforcements and CE-certified protection, as well stretch inserts on the crotch and knee. A laminated DRYSTAR® membrane, for guaranteed levels of waterproofing and breathability without excessive material bulk, and a removable thermal liner mean this pant can be worn in a wide range of weather conditions.
A sport riding glove constructed from advanced stretch textile and softshell, the CE-certified T-SP W DRYSTAR® Glove is waterproof and breathable. With class-leading knuckle protection and a leather palm for comfort and control, this glove is ideal for performance riding.
Double hook and loop grip wrist closure system for greater ease of use and comfort.
The post Alpinestars Announces New Urban Riding Jacket And Drystar Pants/Gloves appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.
Here at MO, we’re always happy to learn of the availability of new helmet brands in the US market. NEXX Helmets and Rev’It! joining forces is good news!
Begin Press Release:
NEXX Helmets announces exclusive distribution partnership with REV’IT! USA for North American market.
Amoreira da Gândara, Portugal / Brooklyn, NY (November 1, 2018) – NEXX Helmets andREV’IT! USA have formed a partnership that gives REV’IT! USA exclusive North American distribution rights for the Portuguese brand, one of the most trusted, last-standing European manufacturers of motorcycle helmets. The partnership is effective as of December 1, 2018.
REV’IT!, a global leader in protective motorcycle apparel, will migrate all NEXX USA sales and marketing operations to its US East Coast headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. The alliance will create a position for NEXX Helmets to more deeply penetrate the US and Canadian markets, and to deliver the highest level of service and support to its dealers.
For Pedro Gonçalves, Director for Business Development of NEXX Helmets, the appointment represents a significant step forward for the company: “With REV’IT! USA, we have established a valuable partnership with a company that has a solid, strategic approach in the product lines they represent, as well as a proven track record of responsive service and support. We certainly share REV’IT! USA’s corporate values and commitment to product quality and customer support, and we have everything in place to take NEXX Helmets to a wider audience in North America.”
“NEXX Helmets is a trusted name and has delivered relevant and high-quality products to the market for years,” said Paolo Bacchiarello, Vice President of Operations at REVIT! Sport USA. “We’re excited that NEXX’s premium helmets are now part of the REVIT! USA product portfolio and we look forward to delivering more great content in the coming years.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, REV’IT USA will ensure a seamless transition and smooth continuation of dealer- and consumer-facing customer service, including distribution channel logistics and after-sales service.
Or Rev’it USA at: email@example.com
Dealers looking for more information on NEXX Helmets retail opportunities may contact the NEXX USA office at:
The post NEXX Helmets Joins With Rev’It! For North American Distribution appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.
After a final dinner with the McWilliams family it was time to head for the Belfast docks and join the long queue for the late overnight ferry to the port of Douglas on the Isle of Man.
Luckily, the night was not too cold and there was only a very slight bit of occasional drizzle to dampen the spirits of the hundreds of riders as they waited patiently with their motorcycles in the open air of the Belfast Ferry Terminal at Albert Quay.
As far as docks go these are quite pleasant. From the waiting area you look across the inlet to the blue lights of the Titanic Belfast building. Its leading edge designed to resemble the prow of the infamous ship itself. The Titanic was built in Belfast and launched in front of over 100,000 spectators on May 31, 1911, thus the homage to the ill-fated passenger liner.
While a lot less grand, I was hoping our Steam Packet Ferry across to the Isle of Man would perhaps prove a little more successful in being able to reach its destination.
Ferry tickets to the Isle of Man generally book out over 12 months ahead of each TT. Thus Dave Milligan, founder and proprietor of Get Routed, a company that specialises in travel packages to the Isle of Man TT, along with other bike shipment destinations (Felixstowe, UK, Athens, Greece and Barcelona, Spain) in Europe, had sourced our precious spots on the ferry.
Get Routed generally book dozens of tickets to ensure his clients have space for both themselves and their motorcycles. Dave also books a few houses on the Isle of Man to put his clients up during the TT fortnight. Some prefer to take tents and camp out in one of the many campsites which spring up for the TT. It’s a cheaper option.
Get Routed had organised our unique package to my requirements. I didn’t want to do the straight-up regular ferry from Liverpool and back from the mainland like most TT goers. I had come a long way and desired a much more diverse itinerary to make the best of our few weeks away.
I wanted to tour the southern climes of Great Britain and Wales before the TT. I was also keen to do some riding in Ireland, including a dirtbike tour up in Donegal, before then catching up with the McWilliams family in Belfast for a good craic.
To cater for this Dave had advised us to book a ferry from the Welsh port of Holyhead across the Irish Sea to Dublin. Then our ferry to the Isle of Man from Belfast for the TT fortnight, and also sourced us ferry tickets that after race week would take us from the IOM across to Liverpool. Where we would then continue our motorcycle touring to take in England’s Peak and Lake Districts before returning our Explorers back to Triumph’s Hinckley HQ. It was a somewhat complicated plan of attack, but Dave had sourced the required tickets and just made it all happen. Obviously he did this over 12 months in advance.
As we waited in line for the ferry from Belfast we realised that we were probably the only first timers onboard for the trip across to the 572 square-kilometre island that has been made famous around the globe due to the 37.73-miles of tarmac that snakes its way up and down and around the central parts of the Isle of Man, the fabled ‘Mountain Course’ IOM TT.
The ferry was jam packed, seats were at a premium. Predictably, there was a little argy-bargy involved in order to try and get a reasonably comfortable spot. The trip itself is around a three-hour affair, and you also spend a good few hours standing around with your bike at the terminal waiting to board. In fact you spend almost as much time dicking around at the terminal as you do on the bloody ferry! Check in closed at midnight but you are advised to get there well before that, despite the ferry not departing until 0200. It is a bit tedious, but the excitement in the air is palpable and makes up for it, we’re going to the TT!
I got to talking to a group of Irish fellas who were long time TT goers. A couple of them clad in full leathers complete with knee-sliders, eager to lap the mountain course themselves when ever the roads are open during TT Practice week and to a lesser extent race week. The roads are generally open most of the time, you can cut a dozen laps or more during TT week without too much bother if you are keen. Doing laps of the TT circuit also affords the time to seek out good viewing spots for when the real speed demons hit the circuit.
These Irish fellas I had got talking to, likely in their early 30s, so ten years or so younger than myself, were seasoned punters and knew the score. They had lost mates themselves at the TT. However, they were all proper Irish motorcycle nutters that had grown up around road racing, it was in their blood.
Their childhood heroes the likes of Joey Dunlop, 24-time winner of the Ulster GP and 26-time winner at the TT. Joey ‘Yer Maun’ Dunlop was a national treasure, awarded both an MBE and OBE before his tragic death while racing a 125 in Estonia in 2000. Conversely enough, Joey died on a closed course rather than ‘on the roads’.
Death is a part of the TT. It always has been, and unfortunately, most likely always will be. You always hear about the deaths of the famous riders losing their lives on road courses, Joey’s brother Robert lost his life on a 250 at the Northwest 200, Robert’s son William passed away this year after an accident at Skerries.
Scores more lives have been lost that never made any headlines. Almost every year a number of racegoers lose their own lives, crashing their motorcycles while on the Isle of Man to enjoy the TT fortnight. These crashes rarely make the news, its just part and parcel of what happens on this pretty patch of dirt in the middle of the Irish Sea.
I don’t wish to be morbid, but it is a simple fact of life, the Isle of Man TT also quite often involves death. It is what it is….
Changing tack somewhat… It was a glorious morning in Douglas as our Triumph steeds turned their wheels for the first time on the Isle of Man tarmac. Dave from Get Routed was there to meet us as we rode off the ferry. We followed him out of town and down towards our digs at the southern end of the Isle, the picturesque Port Erin. That first morning though we were not up for seeing much of anything other than bed!
The next day saw almost perfect weather unfold after a crisp and clear morning over the delightful sheltered harbour of Port Erin. This trend of sun and warmth continued for our entire time on the Island.
We were lucky enough to enjoy what was possibly the most glorious weather ever encountered over an entire TT fortnight. Later in the year Classic TT goers were not quite so lucky…
I was taken aback at the beauty of the Island. I guess my thoughts surrounding the Isle of Man had never gone beyond the tarmac of the Mountain Course, and the men that lay black lines of rubber on it. But now my eyes were opened to its beauty and I was keen to drink it all in.
Dave had situated us down on the southern coast of what proved to be a much larger island than I had imagined. We had motorcycles to explore it on, and better still our motorcycles were adventure bikes, thus we could also venture off-road when it suited us.
The beautiful landscapes and myriad walking trails got me to thinking that it would not be a mistake for someone to bring their family to the TT.
There were days where we never even ventured near the mountain course to take in practice sessions, instead hiking our way along the picturesque southern cliffs, which at some points look across to the Calf of Man.
The much needed exercise also made me a feel a little less guilty for indulging in the fantastic ales and awesome pub food that we encountered pretty much everywhere we toured throughout the UK. I am salivating at the memory!
And of course the first pub I visited on the Isle of Man I bump into a group of Aussies, some of which I had crossed paths with before.
We had got so lucky with the weather, the lush rolling green hills were picture perfect and the surprisingly brilliant clear blue of the Irish Sea sparkled in contrast, a backdrop good enough to paint.
The visibility in the water was remarkable and allowed us to spot plenty of sealife from afar. Basking Sharks the most common sight visible from the Port Erin Harbour or the clifftops above.
Clearly, there is a lot more to enjoy on the Isle of Man than just the racing.
It was once a favoured holiday destination for much of the UK, but with these days of cheap flights to the warmer climes of Spain and the Greek Islands, it has fallen out of favour as a mainstream holiday destination for Brits.
The island comes alive for the TT though, and the TT (and farmers exporting rare breed bull semen), is now what keeps the island alive.
Race week saw new records set. Peter Hickman’s final lap to win the Senior TT was epic, his speed across the mountain section in particular was breathtaking and an outright lap record.
Racers that specialise on the ‘real roads’ circuits such as the IOM and the North West call traditional career motorcycle racers ‘car park racers’. Reflecting on the fact that they race on circuits with only a dozen turns, as compared to the hundreds found on the mountain course. The speed of Hickman and Harrison at this year’s TT though showed just what a dedicated season of speed on a Superbike or Superstock bike in BSB now brings to the table as speeds continuously rise and new records are set at the TT. This pair regularly race in the tight cut and thrust of the British Superbike Championship, and look set to dominate TT proceedings for the foreseeable future.
I got a couple of laps of the Mountain Course in myself onboard the Triumph Explorer 1200. One of the days I was stuck near the top of the mountain section with hundreds of others riders, the road had been closed due to a rider making a fatal mistake that would prove his last. Strangely, there was still more excitement than sadness in the air, riders were keen to press on again as soon as the carnage had been cleared and the roads were open again. This is the TT, this is how it is.
I shot down a skinny side-road back towards town before turning my way back up towards the course along another farm lane that eventually met the course again only a few hundred metres from where the other hundreds of riders awaited the road to open again. Here though I was amongst only a few dozen waiting at the police manned barriers. I quizzed the officers as to which barrier would get lifted first, ours or the one I could see just a little further back up the road, they said likely ours. I was keen to get the holeshot, keeping my helmet on as I wanted to get out ahead of the pack.
It turned out just how I had planned, the barrier lifted and I launched that 1200 Explorer hard out of the hole to beat everyone else on to the circuit. This was it. I had a clear run over the final few miles of the mountain section and if I went fast enough, I would keep the hundreds of sportsbike riders behind me at bay due to their delay in getting away. I did not want to get mixed up in that bunch of nutters so I had a crack.
It was glorious, two lanes of perfect blacktop to myself as I sped past landmarks that I had only seen before on TV. Flying past Kate’s Cottage and then flat out down towards the tight right hand bend in front of Creg-ny-Baa. I was still leading and could not see anyone in my mirrors as I sat up to brake for Creg-ny-Baa. Hundreds of onlookers out the front of the pub let out their cheers of congratulation as I lofted the front wheel past them on exit.
Of course that last bit about the crowd was all just in my head, I think the people drinking at Creg-ny-Baa were really just thinking, ‘look at this fat bastard on an adventure bike reckoning he is John McGuinness’. Of course, when the real racers got at it later in the day I would have looked like I was at walking pace in comparison.
I didn’t care, I was on the Isle of Man, I was riding a motorcycle pretty fast, passing milestones and landmarks that I had only before seen a thousand times on TV, and it was glorious. It will stay with me for a long time. Hell, I think I might go again next year, care to join me?
If you want the chance to enjoy riding the Isle of Man then get the low down from Dave Milligan as to the ins and outs of how you can go about it. The old bugger can seem a bit ornery at first but once you get to know him he has a heart of gold. Get Routed have been taking people to the TT for over 20 years. Dave is a font of knowledge and if he can’t help you, he will no doubt put you on to someone who can. Give him a bell on 03 5625 9080 to find out more.
Mick Doohan was as popular as ever at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, where Marc Márquez honoured him by wearing tribute boots and gloves.
Winning the World Championship in Japan allowed Marc Márquez to move level in premier class titles with one of the legends of motorcycle racing, Mick Doohan. Both have five premier class crowns with Repsol Honda team.
Did you give many interviews during the Australian Grand Prix?
“I always do at Phillip Island, especially this year with the fifth title for Marc [Márquez]; everyone wants to make the comparison between his titles and mine, because of the number. We’ve both won five titles, all with Repsol and all with Honda; There are many similarities. Mine were won many years ago, but it’s nice to be remembered in this way, even if it means a lot of interview requests in addition to other commitments that I already have. I’m very happy to be able to do everything. It’s not a bother for me, and it’s simply a matter of finding the time and way to do everything.”
What did you think when you saw that Marc was going to wear your boots and gloves?
“It was fantastic. He actually asked me for permission to use them, and of course I said that he could. It’s an honour that he thought of me like that for the race in Australia.”
What does it mean for you to see Marc win five titles with Honda, like you did?
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s good for the sport and it’s good for the factory. Working for Honda was fantastic for me. They gave me a platform that allowed me to win. I didn’t need any extra motivation to continue riding year after year, as long as they guaranteed me their commitment to continue testing the bike, improving it and bringing me what I wanted. If I had needed a motivation to change the colour of my bike, maybe it would have been time to retire. Not everyone will like that, but it’s how I was and I think it’s good for both parties to have a solid association with a single manufacturer.”
“I think the two things go hand in hand. His riding is impressive, there is no doubt about that; he makes it exciting for everyone watching, including me. But if he didn’t ride like that, he wouldn’t have won those titles. At the same time, it’s what gets the fans glued to the television. This year we have seen a great season of racing, with many riders at the front and a lot of fighting for wins, which has given us races like Assen. I always try to watch the races, including qualifying, and luckily I can follow it wherever I am – even on my mobile phone. There has been a lot of excitement and Márquez has been part of that. He’s an attraction to get you watching MotoGP to see what will happen, because you don’t know what will happen right until the last corner.”
What is the best quality that Marc possesses?
“I think his determination. His commitment to never give up, his will to compete. Some say he is too aggressive, but every rider is. When you are always on the limit, sometimes there is not much room for error and unfortunately there will be contact. There has always been contact, elbows, and moves that are a little aggressive. But before now, not everything was recorded by the television cameras. Now it’s like a football game; you can’t do anything. If you aren’t aggressive, you won’t win. It seems that Marc has a determination and a desire to win that is greater than that of the others riders.”
Can you imagine him on a 500cc bike?
“I’m sure he would have had no problem on a 500cc bike. The great riders like him, which we saw with Valentino and others, are able to adapt to the bike that they have. That was already the case in my time; there were riders who changed manufacturers, but their results were the same. The rider, the organic part of the bike, is the thing that usually makes the biggest difference. Marc could win for practically all of the factories.”
Do you see yourself reflected in any of the things that Marc does?
“I would be crazy if I said that! No, these are different times and the only thing that we could say is similar would be the will to win and to never to give up. I think that Marc and other riders, like Valentino, go into the race wanting to win no matter where they qualify. It’s the only similarity you can find between someone like me and Marc. I never went into a race thinking “I hope I can finish second.” The aim was always to win, and if that was not possible, then the next best position, but I was always thinking about winning.
“Marc is only 25 years old and, if he doesn’t get injured and maintains the desire to ride, he could win two, three, four or five more World Championships.”
Can you imagine competing against him?
“Yes, but if he were competing in my time, he would think ‘Who is Mick Doohan? Just a rider against whom I compete,’ just as he treats the rest of the riders today. It’s the same with me. When you go out there to compete and to win, the mentality is the same. Even though my time was 20 years before his, just as Agostini came before me and I would get asked about him.”
You rode against Alberto Puig. How do you see his role as Team Manager for Repsol Honda ?
“Alberto is a rider, and that’s what you need in a team. You need someone intelligent, with a good knowledge of the competition, even if he isn’t a rider. I remember that when I competed, he was a fast rider, strong and determined, but he was always very calculating. We have seen him working with young riders for many years, like Dani Pedrosa, and I think he has brought that experience to the team in what is a great step forward. Now he will have to handle Márquez and Lorenzo, and I think he will do well because he knows what each one will be asking for. At least they will not have the language barrier, as happened with me.”
Marc is still only 25 years old. What can we expect from him in the future?
“That depends on him. He is only 25 years old and if, touch wood, he doesn’t get injured, stays fit, strong and healthy, and maintains the desire to ride, then even if he retires at 30 he could win two, three, four or five more World Championships. Statistics are something you don’t think about while competing, although it is important to the media. If everything continues as it has done throughout his career, then if he competes he will do so to win. So if he competes for another five years, he could potentially win another five titles. But if he continues until the age of 35, then who knows?”
What do you think about MotoGP now, with the same tyres, electronics, etc?
“I think it’s fantastic. I think Dorna have done a great job, especially Carmelo Ezpeleta. I love talking to him, because he’s always one step ahead with his vision. I think he has managed the sport very well; If you look at the fans that come to the circuits and the television audiences, it is working out very well. The good riders would be able to ride without any electronics, but they have managed to make the crashes happen through losing grip on the front end, by forcing the limit of the tyre, instead of highsides when opening the throttle. It is safer and at the same time, with the same electronics, it is easier for everyone to manage the power.”
Do you think your son will get to Formula 1?
“He’s like a 15 year old rider in the Spanish Championship who wants to get to MotoGP. I think you need to have a dream. He’s winning races and he’s fast, but he’s only 15. I guess I’m the one who has been putting some ideas that he has into his head and he has the same mentality of never giving up. He is not happy when he finishes second, but I think that comes from him. There is a bit of that and he gets angry when he doesn’t win, and he tries hard when it comes to training and motivating himself, but at the end of the day he’s only a 15-year-old kid.”
What is it like to be the father of a driver?
“For me it’s nice, because I like motorsports. Being my son, you feel a bit of that adrenalin when he is on the track, but I try not to crowd him too much. Obviously you are a little worried about this or that, just like you see with Marc’s father and other paddock parents. He seems quite sensible and, hasn’t had many accidents for the moment. However, as happens in the Spanish Championship, the level rises exponentially and the competitiveness is much greater as you advance through the various series.”
MotoGP heads to Malaysia this weekend as the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour concludes with a visit to the Sepang International Circuit, before returning to Europe for the season finale at Valencia.
The melting pot of Malaysian culture is perfectly reflected in the layout of the 5,543m circuit, a track where extremely high-temperatures can heat the surface to highs above 50°C, while the abrasive asphalt can quickly be soaked by heavy downpours.
All of this is mixed with a technical layout over the five left and ten right corners, interlinked by two long straights. This provides alternating challenges to riders, bikes, and especially tyres, so much so that Sepang has become a regular test venue and one that is synonymous with preparing a MotoGP bike and all of its components for the season ahead, during the winter tests.
Viñales looked unstoppable in Australia and was back on the top step for the first time since Le Mans in 2017, boosting his confidence and adding a spring to his step on the way to Malaysia so he’ll be one to watch for sure.
“After the victory in Australia, sincerely, I’m very happy. The team has worked very hard to overcome the crisis that we were going through. I’m feeling comfortable and I’ve regained my confidence. But we have to think about the next race in Sepang. We are highly motivated. It’s a circuit with very different climate conditions to those we’ve had in Phillip Island and in Japan – it’s always really hot and that makes it a very physically demanding race. I thought we made an important step in Phillip Island and actually I felt really good on my M1. We are on the right path and if we continue like this, hopefully we can finish the season with more victories.”
For teammate Valentino Rossi it wasn’t quite the same weekend, however, as the ‘Doctor’ fought for second before then getting relegated to sixth by the flag.
“Unfortunately in Australia I lost important points for the championship and I’m very disappointed about that, but I’m happy for Maverick and for Yamaha. Now we have to concentrate on the third and last race overseas at Sepang and it will be important to have a good weekend. We must continue to work hard because we have to be competitive at every race. Sepang is not one of our favourite tracks, but we will always try our hardest to get the best results possible.”
Viñales has reversed the trend of late and that means the two are now separated by only 15 points in the Championship – will he continue to turn the screw? Or will the vastly different venue turn the tables once again?
15 points is now also the gap between Rossi and second overall Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – so it’s all in play behind newly-crowned Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
Ducati took a 1-2 at the venue last year, too – and Dovizioso won that and the 2016 race. Will the Italian be able to do the hattrick and win in 2018 too? He said Phillip Island was important to see how they’d improved this season, given it had always been a more difficult venue – and he took third, and fought for second. That’s a big leap forward so back on ground with a stunning track record, can anyone bet against ‘DesmoDovi’?
“Our main aim now is to try and win in Malaysia and for sure we can be competitive at Sepang, even though things are different than last year for many reasons. The fight for second place in the championship is now becoming interesting, because Rossi is still not far behind me, even though in Australia I gained a few points on him, so we must remain focussed because this is a track where he has always gone well.”
His teammate last time out, Alvaro Bautista, also had great pace at the Island on the GP18 so it wasn’t a one-pony trick for the Borgo Panigale factory. But he now returns to the Angel Nieto Team as, in turn, Jorge Lorenzo returns from injury.
Keyhole surgery undertaken and on the mend, the five-time World Champion should be fit to race – so what can he do? Second last year was a good showing but even more pivotal was Lorenzo’s form in testing earlier in the season: he was at his poetry-in-motion best to put in the fastest ever lap of Sepang International Circuit.
“Only eight days have passed since I had an operation on the ligament of my left wrist, but I’m feeling a bit better. For sure the operation was quite recent and so we’ll have to wait until I get on the bike to see how the wrist responds and if I still have a lot of pain when I ride. On Thursday I’ll go to the circuit medical staff for a check-up on my condition and I hope to be able to race even though I won’t be at 100%. I haven’t been able to train for the past few days and the Sepang circuit is very challenging, so this is not exactly an ideal scenario to return to the track.”
Not so fast, however – at least on paper. The fastest official lap, from a race weekend, remains Dani Pedrosa’s 2015 1:59.053 and the ‘Little Samurai’ has some serious form at Sepang: five poles and three premier class wins. Higher temperatures raise expectations too, so what can Pedrosa do coming back from a DNF?
“The Malaysian Grand Prix is a demanding venue due to both the extreme weather conditions and the track itself, which isn’t an easy one, being wide and requiring precise lines and a good setup. That said, I like it very much, so I hope we can do good work and find a setting that allows me to feel good on the bike and to try to have a good weekend.”
His teammate Marquez, meanwhile, also ended up with a 0 in Australia. Hit from behind by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and sustaining too much damage, he agreed it was a racing incident but both didn’t manage to finish – leaving a few usual suspects out of the mix at the front. Marquez has only one win at Sepang in the premier class, taken in 2014, but he’s been showing similar signs to that season’s domination a few times in 2018 – and the title is already done. Will he be straight back on top?
“We had quite an eventful race in Australia and it was a pity we couldn’t fight until the end, but that’s gone now and we look forward to the next round in Malaysia with our usual spirit and positive mentality. We still have our target of two more titles to achieve, and we also want to try and win again if we have the chance to do so. Malaysia is a demanding round from a physical point of view but that’s something we’re prepared to deal with, so we’ll keep our concentration high and try to start strong beginning on Friday morning.”
Andrea Iannone is fresh from his second place only a few days ago in Phillip Island and he will be taking this momentum as a further push to try and end the season in the best possible way. He feels that the competitiveness of his GSX-RR and his riding is very close to that of the best contenders, thus giving him high hopes for a positive race in Sepang, despite the hot and humid weather expected there.
“Last year’s Malaysian GP was a strange race because it was wet, but we showed good performance when the conditions were dry. We arrive after a positive weekend and good moments, I hope we can continue to be as competitive as we expect. Overall Sepang is never to be considered an easy one because it’s always very hot, so we struggle both with the physical condition and the tyre management and choice. We will need to manage everything in the best possible way. The last race in Australia of course gave us positive confidence and I also trust in the work they are doing in Japan, we have the important awareness that we are now very close to the best contenders.”
Alex Rins got a result below his expectations in Australia, but he could take important lessons from his solid 5th place. His performance in Japan was good, taking third place in the race, thus his confidence with the bike is getting better and better and he now has a well deserved place among the fastest riders.
“In Malaysia I will try to do my best, as always. We will try the maximum and hope to keep the momentum we’ve had in the recent races where we’ve always been in the Top 5. It is true that after the Motegi podium I expected a bit more in Australia, but the race was like that and we have to take the positive points. Sepang is a good track for us, a track we know really well because we usually test there in the pre-season, so we will work hard again to stay in the front positions. Suzuki is working very well in those matters, we need to improve a little more but we are feeling very positive for the coming races.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin can’t wait to arrive in Malaysia for the second last round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, with Zarco’s Australian GP ending with a high speed crash that also took Marquez out of the running, leaving him tied with Andrea Iannone on 133 championship points and ranked seventh, with Lorenzo three points behind, and Danilo Petrucci just four points ahead, ensuring the last two rounds will be interesting ones.
“The Sepang International Circuit is a track I like and one, I can be fast on. I hope my Yamaha will give me a good feeling again. It’s going to be like in Thailand with very hot temperatures and difficult conditions to race, but I feel fit for this round, even after the crash in Australia. Therefore, I look forward to have a good race and catch as many points as possible to be the first independent rider.”
Syahrin will be on home ground meanwhile and sure to be the crowd favourite, with Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager Hervé Poncharal explaining that there’ll be plenty going on for the local.
“The next round only in a few days’ time is going to be Malaysia – a very important race for the Championship, great event, great circuit, where we do a lot of testing during the winter, where we have a lot of data and where MotoGP is big like it was big in Thailand. This year it will be even bigger, especially for us, because we have the home hero, the MotoGP star in Malaysia, which is Hafizh Syahrin. He will arrive there as a rock star. There are quite a few things organized around him by the media for the marketing of the Malaysian Grand Prix, so we will be very busy there, helping everyone. In terms of results, this has always been a circuit where we have had interesting races. Hafizh should be fast, we hope, although he has never rode a MotoGP bike on that circuit, but it’s his home country, which is always a very special boost. Especially after the nightmare day we experienced in Australia on Sunday, we can’t wait to be on track for FP1 just to forget about this and to be focussed on Malaysia. I hope there will be many, many fans for Monster Yamaha Tech3 with Johann and of course the local boy Hafizh. See you all there!”
Hafizh Syahrin currently sits ranked 18th in the championship with 34 points to his name, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to convert the home ground advantage into results, but he’ll have the crowd’s support nevertheless. Heading into his first home Grand Prix in the premier class, the Malaysian crashed out in Australia but took a top ten in Japan and is on form in terms of pace.
“I’m looking forward to arrive in Sepang after the good sensations we got in Phillip Island. Although the result was not great in the end, two thirds of the race were fantastic and I learned from the top riders in front of me, plus I was able to stay close to them. Unfortunately, we lost the front in turn four and also in the straight we were missing some power from the engine. I just can’t wait for my home race, which gives me some extra motivation. We keep working hard and believing in ourselves. For sure, we’ll try to do our best there.”
Aleix Espargaró arrives in Malaysia on the back of a good race at Phillip Island, finishing ninth after a comeback ride with a convincing pace. The Spanish rider, who has apparently suffered no injury after taking a blow to the hand on Sunday, will continue working on an evolution of the RS-GP in Malaysia.
“In Malaysia it will be important to test the new advanced bike. Phillip Island is a particular track and we raced there in decidedly difficult conditions, so I want to put the new solutions to the test on a different circuit. My hand shouldn’t give me any problems. The pain has gone down and I don’t think it will condition me for the next race.”
Getting back into the points will be extra motivation for Scott Redding who has been steadily improving his feeling over the last few races.
“At Sepang I’ll be expecting a physically demanding race, in some ways similar to Thailand. We’ll need to work on grip and tyre life. I want to take on my last to MotoGP races with peace of mind, trying to have fun and achieve the best possible result.”
The Ángel Nieto Team head to Malaysia with two riders bang in form after best results of the season in Australia for both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham.
The Spaniard took fourth at Phillip Island, riding the factory Ducati GP18 in place of Jorge Lorenzo, and he is looking to fight at the front again at Sepang to round off a strong run of flyaway races.
“We go to Malaysia in even higher spirits if that were possible because this trip is turning out to be really positive. We are on an upward curve, constantly improving. Sepang is one of my favourite tracks, it has a bit of everything and the objective as always will be to have some good practice sessions, work well with the bike and look for a place in Q2. We have seen that if we can start with the front guys we can run with them, so qualifying is very important. Then we can aim for a top ten, which is what we can achieve with the material we have.”
His teammate Karel Abraham took eleventh place at Phillip Island to double his points tally for the season. This weekend the Czech rider shifts back to his Ducati GP16, the race-winning bike at Sepang in 2016, and he is hoping it can power him to another points finish.
“I am going to Malaysia looking forward to racing again and fighting for more points, even though I don’t like the weather conditions there. At Sepang I won’t be riding the Ducati GP17, which I had my best result of the season on in Australia, but I will be back on my usual bike to give my best as always.”
The heat is on at Sepang and another piece of the puzzle will be played out at 300 km/h around the fast and challenging circuit – so who can tame the Malaysian masterpiece? Find out on Sunday 4th November.
|2018 MotoGP Championship Standings
|1.||Marquez Marc||Repsol Honda Team||296|
|2.||Dovizioso Andrea||Ducati Team||210|
|3.||Rossi Valentino||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||195|
|4.||Vinales Maverick||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||180|
|5.||Crutchlow Cal||LCR Honda||148|
|6.||Petrucci Danilo||Alma Pramac Racing||137|
|7.||Zarco Johann||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||133|
|8.||Iannone Andrea||Team Suzuki Ecstar||133|
|9.||Lorenzo Jorge||Ducati Team||130|
|10.||Rins Alex||Team Suzuki Ecstar||129|
|11.||Bautista Alvaro||Angel Nieto Team||96|
|12.||Pedrosa Dani||Repsol Honda Team||95|
|13.||Miller Jack||Alma Pramac Racing||83|
|14.||Morbidelli Franco||Marc VDS Racing Team||46|
|15.||Espargaro Aleix||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||39|
|16.||Rabat Tito||Reale Avintia Racing||35|
|17.||Espargaro Pol||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||35|
|18.||Syahrin Hafizh||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||34|
|19.||Smith Bradley||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||29|
|20.||Nakagami Takaaki||LCR Honda||21|
|21.||Redding Scott||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||15|
|22.||Abraham Karel||Angel Nieto Team||10|
|23.||Kallio Mika||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||6|
|24.||Nakasuga Katsuyuki||Yamaha Factory Team||2|
|25.||Simeon Xavier||Reale Avintia Racing||1|
|26.||Pirro Michele||Ducati Team||1|
|27.||Luthi Thomas||Marc VDS Racing Team||0|
|28.||Bradl Stefan||Honda Racing Corporation||0|
|29.||Torres Jordi||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||0|
|30.||Jones Mike||Reale Avintia Racing||0|
|31.||Guintoli Sylvain||Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team||0|
|32.||Ponsson Christophe||Ponsson C.||0|