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Kenny Lucas enjoys retirement parade after 70 years of racing

Sunday the 23rd of May 2021 saw the retirement of a true racing living legend

Kenny (Luke) Lucas OAM decided to hang up his racing boots and trusty Tiger Angel’s calling the end of an extremely long and memorable racing career that spanned seven decades.

Sadly, his 90-year-old body decided that enough was enough and amongst other problems, couldn’t get his feet remotely close to the foot pegs of any of his sizable racing bike collection. As one of his faithful following quite aptly put it ‘when the novelty wears off it’s just plain painful.’ 

Luke was honoured with being the lead rider in the Historic Winton 4×2 Lunchtime Parade astride his old 1948 Triumph road-outfit with a handful of his honoured friends and family. They completed their assigned parade laps to the waves, cheers and applause from the adoring local crowd for a truly miraculous  man accompanied by a handful of his machines.

Kenny led the parade lap on his 1948 Triumph outfit – Image Colin Rosewarne

Luke has been an attraction of his own at racetracks all over Australia, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom heralded by his cheeky and sometimes inadvertent, old school irreverent banter leaving nobody safe from a light-hearted verbal spray. 

Kenny led the parade lap on his 1948 Triumph outfit – Image RbMotoLens

Literally thousands of the young and the not so young, the famous and the infamous were all rewarded with a sit on whatever machines Luke had on hand at the time and they were always complemented with a jovial and, of late, fragmented life story.

Ken Lucas Manx Norton
Kenny and his extremely rare 250 Manx Norton racing in 2019

His expansive and expensive collection of two and three wheeled racing machines are a tribute to a man that was and still is, totally dedicated to his sport. He has been awarded life memberships from many of the clubs that matter together with being honoured with races that carry his name Australia wide – old Luke won’t be forgotten easily.

Ken Lucas Rick Begg Craig Longhurst kneeling
Never afraid to hold court Kenny is seen here with Rick Begg left and Craig Longhurst

The legacy given to our sport from his 70 years of racing is nothing less than monumental – one example being that he was The Man that did all the earth works to construct the original Broadford Road Racing track.

Ken Lucas (#371) leading Charlie Palmer on Ken's Dougie (#37) at Winton
Ken Lucas (#371) leading Charlie Palmer on Ken’s Dougie (#37) at Winton in 2017

Luke’s generosity often saw him supplying quality two and three wheeled rides for the famous including the late, great racing legends of Sir John Surtees and Barry Sheene and more recently, catering to the new wave of local ground-breaking lionesses in Chrissie Clancy-Ingpen and Stacey Heaney and lions including Cam Donald, Peter Guest and Garth Francis.

Ken Lucas in 2016 at Mac Park on his 1928 Douglas

Old Luke will still participate riding a few of his historic road outfits and his 1914 JAP Invincible at demonstration events such as the Broadford Bonanza and the International Festival of Speed so if you spot him make sure that you come up and loudly say g’day, thank you and tune in to this living legend’s encyclopaedic memories of yesterday’s racing.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott With Douglas Ken Lucas
Kenny with his Douglas at the 2019 Island Classic – Image RbMotoLens

Source: MCNews.com.au

WorldSBK hits Misano this weekend

2021 FIM Superbike World Championship
Round Three – Misano


WorldSBK returns to the hallowed ground that is Misano this weekend for the third round of the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.

Along with circuits such as Phillip Island, Assen and Donington this is one of the ‘classic’ WorldSBK venues with the championship having visited the Italian track very consistently over the decades. The first time WorldSBK raced at Misano was in 1991 with Doug Polen winning both races from pole on his Ducati en route to the first of his two World titles. Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards also had some of their titanic battles at the Italian venue.

WorldSBK Rnd Misano Misano Bayliss Edwards p
Bayliss leading Edwards at Misano – 2002

The late Marco Simoncelli was from the nearby town of Cattolica and the local region has produced a number of the sport’s top names, including Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Melandri.

The 2021 Championship fight is only just beginning with 36-points between the top three, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK). Misano was the scene of their first final lap showdown for victory back in Race 2 in 2019, so will we see more of the same again?

WSBK Rnd Misano Sun Rea Razgatlioglu
Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu at Misano in 2019

The Northern Irishman is a maestro of Misano, it’s the scene of his first win; Jonathan Rea’s relentless records tend to be evident at most of the circuits which are a staple feature on the calendar, but Misano has an air of magic around it. Countless victories and a strong circuit for the ZX-10RR, Rea could well be on to create more Misano memories and extend his Championship advantage.

Jonathan Rea

I am excited to go to Misano especially after we missed the race there last year. It is a track that I really enjoy riding at; both for the circuit itself and the Italian hospitality. The area is incredible and I always enjoy spending time there with my family, by the beach and the sea. The food, the fans, it has got absolutely everything, especially this weekend as we got some fans back trackside which is going to make it even more special. The first few races have been good. We have been able to change the characteristics of our Ninja ZX-10RR at Estoril and it really improved the size of the ‘window’ and we will continue to try these ideas. We are right into the thick of the summer months now and I think all the work we have been doing last season and during the off-season, focusing on the hot temperatures and being easy on the tyre, is really coming into its own. Misano is a quite flat track and with it being resurfaced a few years ago it gave me a strange feeling when we tested there last year. But, we were still able to be fast. I’m looking forward to the challenge this weekend and seeing all our great fans back trackside again.

WSBK Rnd Misano Sat Rea Wins
2019 WSBK – Round Seven – Misano – Race One – Jonathan Rea wins

On the other side of the KRT garage is team-mate Alex Lowes, who suffered a difficult Estoril Round, blighted by bad luck. He’s got a good record at Misano, but it’ll be his first experience of the track on the Kawasaki in racing terms.

Alex Lowes

With not having a normal calendar last year I have not raced for Kawasaki at all the tracks coming up this year but I know Misano really well and I know that Kawasakis have gone well there in the past. I am actually excited to challenge myself by racing at Misano on the green machine. We have a good set-up on the bike, which we have arrived at in the winter tests. It has worked at quite a lot of tracks so I am quite confident that it will also work at Misano. I am looking forward to getting back into action. It is going to be important to work hard and well on Friday. I know the track was resurfaced last year so we need to check tyre life and which tyres we like, especially on the front because that can be critical at Misano. It is just great to be going back to Italy. Misano is always a fantastic round and one we missed last year so I am really looking forward to going back and getting stuck in this weekend.

It was the setting for one of his first attacks on WorldSBK victory and he gave it everything, although you get the feeling in 2021 that Toprak Razgatlıoğlu is going to live no stone unturned in his quest for a first win of 2021. Razgatlioglu’s podium from Race 2 in 2019 may seem a distant memory, but the last time WorldSBK raced at Misano, it was the headlining duel with Rea that stole the show and got the fans on their feet. After three podiums at Estoril and nothing but top six finishes so far this year, Toprak wants to taste victory.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu

For me it will be the first time racing with the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK at Misano and I am looking forward to it. In the past I had some good battles with Jonathan for the win and I like this track, but we will see where we stand on Saturday afternoon. We are quite strong this year so far and we also had two days testing at Misano in the winter, which felt really good with the new bike. It is not easy to say now where we can be, the race is the important part so we will see on Saturday. The goal is always for the podium and to fight for the win, and I think the R1 will be a good race bike at this track.”

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu

Local hero Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) heads for his first home event in the WorldSBK paddock after a best race finish of fifth in Race 2 at Estoril and is top Italian in the standings – could he be a strong outside bet of a good result?

Andrea Locatelli

It’s very nice for me to return on track at Misano in Italy – it’s the home race for me and it’s always nice because we can also have some fun during the weekend. It’s important to have some balance! I am feeling good because we had a really good Race 2 at Estoril, I understand more about the bike and the setup that helped me to make another step. I am sure that with this we can do very well at Misano because we have been improving every race. Also Superpole qualifying will be important and I want to improve and to understand the best way to get maximum performance on the Q tyre. Of course the aim is to try to be in the front group and try for a good result because our way now is to improve every race and I know the Misano track very well. We will see, but we’re ready.

Heading home and eager to strike back after bitter disappointment in Estoril’s Race 2, the factory Ducati team of Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi will aim to utilise all of their pre-season testing at Misano to make it count come race action. Redding, who crashed out in the heat of the battle with title rival with seven laps to go at Estoril in Race 2, has never raced a WorldSBK bike at Misano, so it will be a voyage of discovery this weekend; team-mate Rinaldi has WorldSBK experience and the warmth of the home fans cheering him on. After a mixed Estoril, will it be a Misano masterclass?

Scott Redding

The mistake in Race-2 in Estoril was a serious one. But there is still time to recover. It’s clear that we can’t make any more mistakes, in fact, it will be necessary to be perfect in order to recover the disadvantage. I’m curious to see what will happen in Misano because I’ve never ridden on this circuit with temperatures as high as the ones we will find. It’s an important event, the home race for the team and for Ducati and for this reason I’m determined and sure I can do well”.

Michael Rinaldi

We arrive in Misano with high morale: despite the incident in Race-2, the Estoril weekend was a very positive one, with a constantly growing feeling. It’s clear that this is a very special weekend for me. I’m really happy that the circuit will be open to a good number of fans and it will be great to feel their warmth after so many months of races without a public. I like the circuit very much, the sensations were positive during the pre-season tests. There are the basis to obtain important results“.

Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has been in the thick of the action so far this year and inside the top six on occasion. Continuing his adaptation to the bike from his Yamaha of previous years, he has so far had the racing edge over his team-mate Tom Sykes. Sykes himself returns to Misano, a happy territory for BMW, after he gave them their first podium in 2019 when they returned as a factory effort to the Championship. Both van der Mark and Sykes have good records in the Adriatic, something that they’ll hope to strengthen in the coming races.

Michael van der Mark

Misano is one of my favourite tracks. I really missed going there last year. I love the circuit, I love the layout and I am looking forward to it. It’s a completely different track again compared to Aragón and Estoril but I think it will suit the BMW very well and especially the way the bike is working now. After some good results at Aragón and Estoril a very different track and I think we can do really well there. Regarding goals for the weekend, I think it is still difficult to say where we expect to be but I think we should be close to the top five. We had some good results, the gap is still a little bit too big but I think the way the Misano track is we can do really well.”

Michael van der Mark
Tom Sykes

I am obviously looking very much forward to the Misano round of the WorldSBK calendar. It’s a circuit I really enjoy. It will certainly be tight in terms of lap times as it is quite small and twisty so we’re really looking to be competitive. We’ve had some strong results there in the past with the BMW S 1000 RR so hopefully with the updated M RR we can improve on those. That’s certainly my target and it would be fantastic. We’ve had a podium success there so if we could do something similar this weekend it’s what we need. Overall, it’s a fantastic location and I am looking forward to getting out there.”

It’s another new experience for Team HRC and the Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R SP, with it being the first time that the bike and the factory team have visited Misano. After a disastrous start to his weekend at Estoril with three crashes on Friday, Alvaro Bautista managed to rekindle good feelings with the bike throughout the races as he came through from 18th on the grid for a hat-trick of top ten finishes. He took his first premier-class MotoGP podium at Misano in a final lap showdown back in 2012 and was a race winner in WorldSBK for Ducati in 2019.

Alvaro Bautista

The last race weekend left us with mixed feelings, a tough Friday followed by improved performance and confidence throughout the weekend, despite the extra challenge of having our qualifying time cancelled on Saturday. Still, we feel we left some of our potential untapped there and are looking forward to improving this weekend. We approach Misano with a strong mentality and will work to find the feeling that we had at Aragón. Our main target is to have a bike that is well balanced to suit all conditions and every track. I’m so happy to return to Misano after missing it last season. It’s a track that I really enjoy, and it’s definitely very different to both Aragón and Estoril so we will try to find a good set-up with the electronics, the chassis and everything in order to get closer to the front. One thing that makes me really happy is that we will finally have some fans back in the grandstands. A limited number, sure, but it’s a first step and one we have been looking forward during this long closed-door period”.

For Leon Haslam (Team HRC), he’ll hope for a return to being a firm fixture inside the top ten after a relatively unassuming first two rounds.

Leon Haslam

Misano is always a special race. I’ve heard we are going to have some fans watching and that will be fantastic because the atmosphere is always great in Italy. In the past, we always used to spend some days at the beach with Frankie Chili and everyone there, so I have some very good memories of the place. I really like the track of course and was on the podium last time we raced there in 2019. I’m now looking forward to riding the Fireblade there and working to try and find the good feeling we had this winter”.

Always thriving off the support of the Ducatisti and the Italian passion, Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) returns to Misano aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R, with the aim of building on his first podium of 2021 from last time out at Misano. He’s locked in combat however, with Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) taking it to him as they fight it out to be top Independent. Although Gerloff’s looked like he’s had a stronger pace, mistakes have cost him dearly. They’re also not just battling for top Independent but for the title overall, with Gerloff in particular showing a sparkling pace in the opening two rounds. One rider who is in some sort of form is Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse), who really showed good potential at Estoril. Having never taken the BMW to Misano, it’ll be a new experience and a new learning curve this weekend in Italy.

Eugene Laverty

I’m heading to Misano feeling very optimistic. I set modest goals for myself last time out due to the fact that Estoril was the toughest track on the calendar for us last year. However, I far exceeded my expectations so my confidence is high going to a track that I really enjoy. The new BMW M 1000 RR has made a huge step forward this year and I’m very thankful for the hard work done by everybody at BMW Motorrad Motorsport during the winter months. I have gelled very well with my new team RC Squadra Corse and we’re ready to begin moving up the order. The first two rounds were like pre-season testing for us. I feel that our season begins properly at round three at Misano.”

Leading the rest of the battles for the Independents and mainly the rookies, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) aims high and wants to shine at home, whilst off the back of two top ten finishes, Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) also hopes to continue to figure it out in WorldSBK at a circuit he knows well.

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) put in a stunning Gaerne Estoril Round and will hope to emulate this at Misano, a circuit he has a good record at with podiums in WorldSSP.

Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) has tested at Misano and has been quietly impressive in the opening two rounds, whilst behind him are the likes of Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing), Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha).

In 2015 Misano was completely resurfaced with a specific asphalt formulation aimed at counteracting the effects of salt and humidity. The rather abrasive asphalt and the high temperatures typical of that area can compromise the precision of the trajectories (holding a line) making it a fairly demanding track for the tyres, especially in the long right-hand corners which require a high mechanical and thermal stress for tyres when the bike is on the tyre’s shoulder. Pirelli have brought two new tyres to Misano. A development SCX rear in A0557 specification and the front development SC1 in A0508 specification.

WorldSBK Championship Points

Pos Rider Points
 1  Jonathan Rea  110
 2  Toprak Razgatlioglu  75
 3  Scott Redding  74
 4  Alex Lowes  62
 5  Chaz Davies  48
 6  Garrett Gerloff  42
 7  Michael Van Der Mark  40
 8  Tom Sykes  36
 9  Andrea Locatelli  30
 10  Michael Ruben Rinaldi  25
 11  Alvaro Bautista  25
 12  Leon Haslam  16
 13  Axel Bassani  16
 14  Tito Rabat  13
 15  Lucas Mahias  11
 16  Kohta Nozane  11
 17  Eugene Laverty  9
 18  Jonas Folger  8
 19  Isaac Vinales  6
 20  Christophe Ponsson  1

WorldSSP

There is an intense battle developing at the top of the standings between Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team) and Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), the only two riders to have won in the four races ran so far in 2021, with just six points separating the pair despite Odendaal taking three wins to Aegerter’s one. A retirement for Odendaal last time out in Estoril coupled with Aegerter’s emotional victory meant the Swiss rider was able to close in at the top of the standings.

Both Odendaal and Aegerter have experience of the Italian circuit from their respective Moto2 days, with Odendaal taking a best result of 17th in 2018 while Aegerter has a best result of fifth, in 2013, but three other top-ten finishes between 2010 and 2014. It will be both their first races at the circuit on WorldSSP machinery, with Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) hoping he can take advantage of their inexperience on their Yamaha YZF-R6 machines at Misano to close the gap; the French rider claimed two victories in 2014 and 2015, when WorldSSP ran to one race per weekend, and a double victory for Cluzel in 2021 would mean he becomes the most successful rider at Misano in terms of wins in WorldSSP, going ahead of five-time Champion Kenan Sofuoglu.

There are two other winners of a WorldSSP race at Misano on the 2021 grid with Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) the winner last time the Championship visited Misano in 2019 and then-teammate Federico Caricasulo (GMT94 Yamaha) who won in 2018. Both have had ups-and-downs to their return to the Championship and will be hoping a previous happy hunting ground will mean they can step back on the podium.

Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) currently sits third in the Championship after a double podium at the Circuito Estoril but has experience of Misano from Moto3 where he took a best of fourth in 2017 although he still chasing his first WorldSSP victory. He sits just ahead of Luca Bernardi (CM Racing) with the Sammarinese rider getting to enjoy a home round on the world stage; the town of Misano Adriatico is around an hour away from San Marino. Bernardi has been one of the surprises of 2021 so far, including a podium last time out, while he also experienced this circuit in the Italian championship last year, picking up a race win here.

Just behind Bernardi in the Championship standings is Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing), who has raced at Misano in WorldSSP before with a best result of seventh, Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGo Team) who has stood on the podium at the Italian venue in WorldSSP300 on two occasions, with a best result of second, and heads into the third round of the season on the back of his best-ever WorldSSP result at Estoril, and Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) with the Italian still searching for his first WorldSSP victory and looking to bounce back after crashing out from the lead at Estoril. De Rosa has stood on the podium at Misano, in 2018, and will be hoping he can repeat that feat and claim his first victory at the Italian venue.

In the WorldSSP Challenge, Leonardo Taccini (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team), Luigi Montella (Chiodo Moto Racing) will all have their home race with Maria Herrera (Biblion Iberica Yamaha Motoxracing), Shogo Kawasaki (G.A.P. MOTOZOO Racing by Puccetti) and Stephane Frossard (Moto Team Jura Vitesse) all racing.

There will be two wildcard riders taking to the circuit during the Made In Italy Emilia-Romagna Round with Massimo Roccoli (Promodriver Organization) taking to the field for the first time since 2019 and Roberto Mercandelli (Team Rosso e Nero) on the grid for the first time since 2018; Roccoli already having made 110 starts in WorldSSP.

Five One Event riders will also join the Championship at Misano with Armando Pontone (Bike e Motor Racing Team) and team-mate Matteo Patacca, Filippo Fuligni (D34G Racing), Davide Stirpe (Extreme Racing Service) and Luca Ottaviani (RM Racing) on the grid, bringing the total number of competitors to 35. All but two of the seven additional riders will ride on Yamaha machinery, with Stirpe on the MV Agusta F3 675 and Ottaviani competing on a Kawasaki ZX-6R.

WorldSSP Standings

Pos Rider Points
 1  Steven Odendaal  75
 2  Dominique Aegerter  69
 3  Philipp Oettl  52
 4  Luca Bernardi  42
 5  Hannes Soomer  41
 6  Manuel Gonzalez  40
 7  Raffaele De Rosa  37
 8  Jules Cluzel  36
 9  Christoffer Bergman  29
 10  Randy Krummenacher  26
 11  Federico Caricasulo  24
 12  Marc Alcoba  18
 13  Can Alexander Oncu  17
 14  Niki Tuuli  13
 15  Vertti Takala  11
 16  Kevin Manfredi  9
 17  Galang Hendra Pratama  7
 18  Maria Herrera  7
 19  Stephane Frossard  3
 20  Michel Fabrizio  2
 21  Davide Pizzoli  1
 22  Pawel Szkopek  1

WorldSSP300

Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) comes into the second event of 2021 with a four-point lead at the top of the Championship but faces his first event on WorldSSP300 machinery at Misano although the British rider has taken part in the Italian championship at Misano, claiming two victories. He will be hoping to use his recent experience and success to maintain his Championship lead.

Spanish rider Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) has made a strong start since moving to his new team with 41 points out of a possible 50 so far in 2021. Huertas gives up some experience at Misano compared to his rivals but will be hoping his quick adaptation to the MTM Kawasaki outfit will keep him in good stead for the weekend.

Unai Orradre (Yamaha MS Racing) is another rider who has not raced at Misano in WorldSSP300, with the 17-year-old not yet having raced in an Italian championship. Orradre will be looking to continue his strong start to the season after he challenged for victory at MotorLand Aragon as he builds a title challenge.

MTM Kawasaki have two riders in the top six with Japanese star Yuta Okaya on 29 points, four behind Orradre, after he was able to challenge for victory at MotorLand Aragon. Okaya raced at Misano when WorldSSP300 last visited the Italian circuit and came home in 19th place. Will his experience on WorldSSP300 machinery at the Italian venue pay dividends for the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round?

Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) currently is fifth in the Championship with 19 points, level with Ton Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing). Frenchman di Sora has claimed a points finish at Misano in WorldSSP300 before, in 2019 when he finished 13th, while Aragon polesitter Kawakami finished outside the points in the same race when he finished 16th. Kawakami has proven his one-lap pace on a few occasions throughout his WorldSSP300 career, and di Sora has shown he can claim podium finishes, so both will be hoping they can use these to their advantage as WorldSSP300 returns to Misano.

2018 Champion Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) will continue her comeback from seventh in the Championship at a venue she won at last time out in 2019 and will be looking to close the gap at the top of the Championship by repeating that success. Carrasco sits two points clear of reigning Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) but, unlike Carrasco, this is a circuit that Buis is yet to secure a top-ten finish at, having finished 15th in 2019.

There will be one wildcard rider for the 2021 event with Chilean Isis Joylin Dellanira Carreño Avila (Gp3 By Pa.Sa.Ma) joining the grid for Misano. Alejandro Carrion (Kawasaki GP Project) was declared unfit at MotorLand Aragon and will need to undergo a medical check before his participation is confirmed, while Alfonso Coppola (Team Trasimeno) was declared unfit following a crash in the Italian championship; the Italian missed the Aragon Round following that crash.

WorldSSP300 Standings

Pos Rider Points
 1  Tom Booth-Amos  45
 2  Adrian Huertas  41
 3  Unai Orradre  33
 4  Yuta Okaya  29
 5  Samuel Di Sora  19
 6  Ton Kawakami  19
 7  Ana Carrasco  16
 8  Jeffrey Buis  14
 9  Hugo De Cancellis  13
 10  Bruno Ieraci  13
 11  Koen Meuffels  8
 12  Harry Khouri  7
 13  Meikon Kawakami  6
 14  Dorren Loureiro  6
 15  Marc Garcia  4
 16  Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez  3
 17  Alex Millan Gomez  2
 18  Inigo Iglesias  2

2021 WSBK – Estoril Round 2 Schedule

Time Class Session
1745 WorldSSP300 FP1
1830 WorldSBK FP1
1925 WorldSSP FP1
2215 WorldSSP300 FP2
2300 WorldSBK FP2
0000(Sat) WorldSSP FP2
Time Class Session
1700 WorldSBK FP3
1745 WorldSSP300 Superpole
1825 WorldSSP Superpole
1910 WorldSBK Superpole
2045 WorldSSP300 Race 1
2200 WorldSBK Race 1
2315 WorldSSP Race
Time Class Session
1700 WorldSBK WUP
1725 WorldSSP WUP
1750 WorldSSP300 WUP
1900 WorldSBK Superpole Race
2030 WorldSSP Race 2
2200 WorldSBK Race 2
2315 WorldSSP300 Race 2

2021 WorldSBK Calendar

Date Track SBK SS600 SS300
21-23 May Aragón (Spain) X X
28-30 May Estoril (Portugal) X X
11-13 Jun Misano (Italy) X X X
2-4 Jul Donington Park (UK) X
23-25 Jul Assen (Netherlands) X X X
06-08 Aug Autodrom Most (Czech) X X X
20-22 Aug Navarra (Spain) X X
3-5 Sep Magny-Cours (France) X X X
17-19 Sep Catalunya (Spain) X X X
24-26 Sep Jerez (Spain) X X X
1-3 Oct Portimao (Portugal) X X X
15-17 Oct San Juan Villicum (Argentina) X X
12-14 Nov Mandalika*** (Indonesia) X X

*** = Subject to homologation

Source: MCNews.com.au

Maxxis next-gen off-road Maxxcross MX-SI & MX-IH arrive

Maxxis Maxxcross MX-SI & MX-IH tyres


The Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST (Soft) and Maxxcross MX-SM (Sand/Mud) tyres are now joined by the all-new Maxxcross MX-SI (Soft/Int) and MX-IH (Int/Hard) range to further bolster Maxxis’ next-generation off-road line-up. Featuring next-generation tyre technology developed with Australian MX1 champion Todd Waters for Aussie conditions!

Maxxcross MX-SI tyres

Maxxis Maxxcross MX-SI tyres

The all-new Maxxcross MX-SI is the go-to tyre for riders searching for a durable, lightweight race tyre that delivers excellent traction in Australia’s soft – intermediate terrains. You’ll be equally impressed by the MX-SI’s performance and longevity in looseover-hard conditions and prepared race track conditions alike!

Maxxcross MX-SI tyres
  • NEW tread pattern and race-proven rubber compound delivers excellent traction in softintermediate riding conditions.
  • NEW rubber compound delivers increased performance and durability in intermediate conditions.
  • NEW anti-flex bridges on side knobs offer solid straight-line stability and enhanced grip for aggressive cornering.
  • NEW lightweight pliable carcass design improves ride comfort, impact absorption and rider feel.
Maxxis Maxxcross MX-SI
Part # Tyre Size Load / Speed Radial / Bias RRP
Fronts
T16-17-70100 70/100-17 40M TT Bias $54.95
T16-21-80100 80/100-21 51M TT Bias $94.95
Rears
T16-14-90100 90/100-14 49M TT Bias $65.95
T16-18-110100 110/100-18 64M TT Bias $115.95
T16-19-11090 110/90-19 62M TT Bias $119.95
T16-19-12080 120/80-19 63M TT Bias Arriving 2021

Maxxis Maxxcross MX-IH tyres

The all-new Maxxcross MX-IH offers Motocross and Enduro rider’s increased cornering control and rider feel in Australia’s intermediate – hard conditions. The lightweight carcass construction and strong sidewall virtually eliminates any edgy tyre roll sensation. You’ll be impressed by the traction and durability the MX-IH provides when the dirt turns slick and blue groove.

Maxxcross MX-IH tyres
  • NEW tread and compound designed specifically for intermediate – hard conditions.
  • NEW rubber compound delivers increased performance and durability in hard conditions.
  • NEW Lightweight carcass construction and a strong sidewall virtually eliminates tyre roll sensation through corners.
  • The pentagon knob design and half-shoulder knobs with stagger grooves increase cornering control and rider feel in intermediate – hard conditions
Maxxis Maxxcross MX IH
Part # Tyre Size Load / Speed Radial / Bias RRP
Fronts
T20-19-70100 70/100-19 40M TT Bias $69.95
T20-21-80100 80/100-21 51M TT Bias $94.95
Rears
T20-16-90100 90/100-16 51M TT Bias $84.95
T20-18-110100 110/100-18 64M TT Bias Arriving 2021
T20-19-11090 110/90-19 62M TT Bias $119.95
T20-19-12090 120/80-19 66M TT Bias Arriving 2021

Next-generation Maxxis motocross tyres are available nation-wide. Ask for Maxxis tyres at your local dealer! Or visit the website at www.maxxismoto.com.au

Source: MCNews.com.au

‘The Living End’ lead Chris Cheney gets motorcycle licence at 46

The Living End rocking on a Royal Enfield

Co-Founder, Guitarist, Songwriter and Lead Vocalist of one of “The Living End”, Melbourne’s Chris Cheney recently took up motorcycling and gained his licence at the ripe young age of 46.

Having lived in Los Angeles for the past few years, Chris and family recently moved back to Melbourne where he just celebrated his 46th Birthday and wife Emma surprised him with a voucher to attain a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit, a long time dream of Chris’. We asked him a few questions about his motorcycle and motorcycling and here’s what he had to say:

What was your first Motorcycling experience?

As far back as I can remember I always had an awareness and love for motorcycles. When My dad was in his 20’s he raced a 500 Manx Norton and travelled around Australia as well as Europe and Spain. He had given up racing long before he had kids but remained an enthusiast. We would travel to Mt Panorama every Easter to watch the motorbike races and they were some of the best memories growing up. The smell and deafening sound of the bikes hurtling around that mountain was incredibly exciting to watch. My hero was Roger Freeth and we always stayed at the same motel he did so I remember meeting him each year and we used to give him Easter eggs.”

Why did you choose the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650?

I’ve always liked the look and sound of old motorcycles, particularly the British 50’s and 60’s style. Motorbikes that actually look and sound like motorbikes, not all plastic and polite. Once I decided to actually get a bike I test rode a couple of Enfields at Mid Life Cycles in Richmond and loved them. The interceptor and GT were right up my alley. I’m a big fan of vintage guitars and Amplifiers and the Enfields just have that same style and feel to me as an an old 1950’s Gretsch guitar. They’re beautifully made but they growl when they need to.”

The Living End rocking on a Royal Enfield

Why did you decide to get your Motorcycle licence at 46?

Better late than never! I think because my dad had raced bikes and had seen first hand the danger attached he never encouraged me! I’ve always been interested in them though but I guess I just never got around to it until now. My wife bought me the 2 day license course and gave me the hand book and was like here you go, go and tick this off the bucket list.

What are the plans for your Motorcycling future?

It’s just a hobby really. I don’t plan on doing long distance travel trips. I like the idea that there’s a whole scene and lifestyle that goes with these bikes, particularly the Royal Enfields. There’s a really great community of like minded people who enjoy the craftsmanship and aesthetics of the cafe racer style.”

What is next for Chris Cheney and The Living End?

The band is going great! We’re lucky to still be doing it and it blows me away that Scott and I started this band when we’re about 14 years old!! Despite not being able to play as much as we’d like due to restrictions etc We just started working on some new material when the pandemic hit so looking forward to getting back into that ASAP. I have a solo album that is getting geared up for release and I’ve been doing some touring with that which has been a blast.

The Living End rocking on a Royal Enfield

This strike a chord with you?
Tell us how you got into motorcycling in later life and what made you choose your first motorcycle

Source: MCNews.com.au

Troy Bayliss seriously injured in bicycle crash

Troy Bayliss Confirms Injuries After Bicycle Crash

DesmoSport Ducati Team co-owner Troy Bayliss has confirmed that a bicycle crash last Friday has left the three-time World Superbike champion with a fractured C4 vertebra and corresponding spinal damage that will see the active 52-year-old on the sidelines for several months.

Troy Bayliss

I’m OK and I’m home, but the crash means I won’t be riding a motorcycle until I regain full movement in my arms and hands. I really just wanted to let everyone know what’s happened, that I’m OK and that I’ll be back in leathers as soon as I can. It’s been an intense weekend for me and my family, but luckily I’m OK and I will recover. My doctors have been really positive, but there’s no firm indication of how long it will be until I can regain enough control to get back on a bike – maybe a few months, maybe longer; it just depends on how the recovery goes once the bones heal up.”

With Troy having no exact recollection of the incident, it appears that another bicycle was exiting between two parked cars and he has collided head first into it. Most of the impact was transferred through his head to his neck, and he lost consciousness. He was immediately treated and taken to hospital.

While the injuries are serious, Troy’s condition is stable. He returned to his Gold Coast home on Monday to begin his recovery.

With Darwin’s Hidden Valley the next round of the 2021 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), on June 18-20, DesmoSport Ducati will forge ahead with their preparations, beginning with a private test for Mike Jones and Oli Bayliss early next week as they continue to chase the 2021 ASBK title.

Oli Bayliss with his Superbike legend dad, Troy

Source: MCNews.com.au

WSBK 2021 to finally get underway at Aragon this weekend

2021 FIM Superbike World Championship
Pirelli Aragon Round 1


216 days will have passed since the last round of WorldSBK action, but now it’s game on at Aragon

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship fires back into life this weekend for the opening round of the season, coming from the MotorLand Aragon venue in Alcañiz, Spain. For the first time since 2004, the Championship starts in Europe and with new names, new bikes and refreshed team line-ups all playing a part, we could be in for one of the most unpredictable seasons yet.

Who will step up to take the battle up to the reigning six-time World Champion?

Jonathan Rea
2020 WorldSBK Champion

Jonathan Rea has a sparkling record at MotorLand Aragon. He’s never missed the podium since joining Kawasaki in 2015, a run of 17 a record on its own. He’s also aiming for a 100th win in WorldSBK, which would make him the first motorcycle racer in an FIM Road Racing World Championship to win 100 races in one class. He took three wins at Aragon in 2020 and aims to start his quest for a seventh title strongly. His teammate is Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who, despite a preseason testing injury, is ready to make a step in 2021. Rea and Lowes have the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR at their disposal, which features a new fairing and more powerful engine.

Scott Redding

The charge to toppling Kawasaki comes from Ducati and they’ve got a strong line-up in 2021. 2020 runner-up Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) remains for a second season, with charismatic Italian sensation Michael Ruben Rinaldi alongside him. Redding took two wins at MotorLand Aragon last year, whilst Rinaldi took a first of his career before going on to take two more podiums throughout the rest of the Teruel Round. Both have tested extensively in preseason, including at Aragon, and with Ducati being the most successful manufacturer at the venue in terms of victories, it may add a different dynamic and complexion to the start of 2021.

Toprak Razgatlioglu

The next-best manufacturer in 2020 was Yamaha, with Turkish-ace Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) taking fourth overall last year with three wins. Toprak struggled at Aragon in 2020, breaking into the top five only once from six races at the track, a venue which has been tricky for Yamaha in recent years. Razgatlioglu will have a new teammate for 2021 with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) stepping up, having dominated World Supersport last year, taking 12 wins – of which four were at Aragon. He’s been chipping away in testing, whilst Yamaha have a modified front fairing for 2021 and an evolved engine, as well the new Brembo front brake calipers. Are these steps enough to start the year in competitive fashion?

Leon Haslam

Whilst Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) and teammate Leon Haslam remain with Honda for 2021 and achieved an identical points tally in 2020, there’s still plenty of big talking points at HRC for 2021. The first is ex-WorldSBK star Leon Camier is the new team manager, having retired from racing after an injury-hit 2020. The other major change is the technological advances with the motorcycle, such as an upgraded engine, new exhaust system and seat unit, not to mention a swingarm that had been trialled in testing. The HRC engineers back in Japan have invested a lot of time into making the Fireblade CBR1000RR-R SP a constant front-running contender and with Aragon being the scene of the bike’s first podium in 2020 and the scene of plenty of preseason testing, it could be a strong start. After all, Bautista did win three races at the venue back in 2019, when he was a rookie…

Michael van der Mark

The last of the five factories is BMW, who come out fighting in 2021 with an all-new M 1000 RR, the first Superbike derived from their M-series department. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) starts a third season with the German manufacturer and the season starts where he achieved the first front row for the manufacturer on their return in 2019. Sykes has more poles than anyone else at Aragon, whilst new teammate Michael van der Mark was a consistent front-runner in 2020 across both Aragon weekends. Still adapting to the new bike, which features winglets, a new engine and a whole host of other advances, van der Mark hopes to start 2021 in solid fashion.
The excitement’s building: the 2021 season starts NOW at Aragon!

Chaz Davies – 2021 Aragon WSBK Test

Now to the Independent stars: the undisputed King of Aragon is Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven), who gets started with his new team. Seven wins and eight other podiums, Davies – the highest point-scorer of all riders from the final three rounds of 2020 – may be in the fight this weekend. Another top Independent threat comes from Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team), who took two podiums at the final round of 2020 and has the 2021-spec Yamaha for this year. Lots of testing, including at MotorLand Aragon, Gerloff should be at the front. Three other familiar names with Independent teams in 2021 are Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse), who debuts with the new team, Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team), with the Argentinean-ace starting a new challenge and Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha), who brings the iconic Alstare name back to WorldSBK.

Jonas Folger

There’s lots of rookies in Independent teams in 2021, with Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) being the fastest coming into the season, whilst ex Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) joins the grid from MotoGP. 2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) graduates and Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) brings his radical riding style to WorldSBK to fly the flag for Japan. Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) steps up to the class, whilst one of the youngest teams on the grid is the TPR Team Pedercini Racing squad, with 22-year-old Belgian Loris Cresson and 23-year-old Italian Samuele Cavalieri. Finally, the youngest rider on the grid is Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who has made a solid first impression during testing.

Axel Bassani – 2021 Aragon WSBK Test

2021 WSBK – Aragon Round 1 Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au

500cc GP Motorcycle Tribute book on Kickstarter

500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era


Phil Aynsley is raising funds for his next project on Kickstarter, aiming to release ‘500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era‘ a photographic tribute book on the machines acknowledged as being the most aggressive, wildest and untameable to ever be seen on a racetrack.

500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era (Limited Edition Box Set)

Nicknamed ‘the Unrideables’, from 1969 to 2003, these simple, yet wildly powerful engines dominated the senior GP class. Being extremely lightweight and powerful, two-strokes accelerated rapidly and violently, with performance that was scarcely believable… and rendering them incredibly difficult to control.

Renowned as a unique era in the annuals of racing, with unforgettable sights and sounds. Seeking to capture some of the mystique of the period, 500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era will include Phil Aynsley’s world renowned photography, with motorcycle journalist, Hamish Cooper offering insight and context to the many machines featured.

500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era

Measuring 265 x 300 mm, 500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era, A Photographic Tribute will be a limited-edition, 228-page art book celebrating the never-to-be-seen-again 500cc two-stroke motorbike era and incredible riders and teams that mastered those dangerous and exciting races.

The production and print will be funded through pledges on the Kickstarter page. It will ship out in December 2021 – first to backers and supporters. 500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era is a collaborative effort produced to the highest ethical standards and that does justice to the incredible machines contained within.

500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era

The first run will be 925 books, and the first 100 backers also receive one signed limited edition print. The cost for these unboxed books will be $195 plus postage. The RRP of the book is $260 plus postage, so you are saving 25 per cent off the retail price.

For a limited time, there’s also 75 Boxed Limited Edition books. These books will include a signed certificate of authenticity, by Phil Aynsley and arrive in a special collector’s box, along with three signed limited edition prints. The cost for these special Collector’s Boxed Limited Editions is $650 plus postage.

Check out the 500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era kickstarter project here (link).

500cc Grand Prix Motorcycles: The 2-Stroke Era

Source: MCNews.com.au

MotoGP riders reflect on crazy qualifying at Le Mans

2021 MotoGP Round Five Le Mans Qualifying

Rain, shine, or something in between? Saturday at the SHARK Grand Prix de France presented quite a challenge for the MotoGP grid, but the final few minutes of Q2 eventually delivered a stunning shootout for pole on a dry track. And who came out on top? Home hero Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), the Frenchman taking back-to-back poles at Le Mans to pip teammate Maverick Viñales to the top and make it a factory Yamaha team 1-2 on the grid for the first time since 2017. Third went to Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), the Jerez winner just a tenth off pole.

Fabio Quartararo has qualified on pole for the first time in three successive races since he did it four times in a row from Malaysia 2019 to Andalucia 2020. This is his 13th overall premier class pole, equalling Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi.

MotoGP Rider Quotes Qualifying

2021 French GP Qualifying MotoGP front row
1 Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – 1:32.600
2 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +0.081
3 Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – +0.104

Fabio Quartararo – P1

“I think this was the qualifying I was the most nervous for. Not because it’s in France, but I was supposed to go out with a soft front and medium rear wet tyre combination, and I never tried the medium. In mixed conditions we are bad, but I saw it was dry and said, ’It’s time for slicks.‘ And then on the last lap I was like, ’Okay, now is my time to send it and do my best. I either get front row or I crash.‘ There were some wet patches in the last sector. I was sideways everywhere, but we made it. The goal was front row, but pole position is even better.”

This is the second successive premier class pole for a French rider at Le Mans and the fourth overall: Fabio Quartararo (2020/2021), Johann Zarco (2018), and Christian Sarron (1987) (since 1974 when pole started to be officially recorded).

Maverick Vinales – P2

“It went quite well today. We’ve secured a good starting position, and this is important. But I made many mistakes during the lap, and this cost us the pole position. Anyway, I have a good rhythm, which is good for tomorrow, and in FP4 I just kept running with used tyres to see how that would work for us, and it actually went quite well. So, I’m very happy, and let’s see if we can improve to be faster for the race.”

Maverick Viñales, who won the MotoGP race at Le Mans in 2017, has qualified second for his best qualifying result since he was also second in Aragon last year. This is the first Yamaha factory team 1-2 in qualifying since Mugello in 2017.

Jack Miller – P3

“Just before Q2, the sun came out, so we decided to keep one of the bikes in full dry configuration. I went out first on wet tyres, but I soon realized that the track was almost dry, so I came back in as quickly as possible to change my bike. The conditions here are really unpredictable, and you have to try and make the most of all the opportunities. In fact, just before I set my fastest lap, it started raining again! Starting from the front row is really important, considering that it will probably rain tomorrow. Anyway, we’re ready to face the race in whatever weather conditions”.

Winner at the Spanish GP, Jack Miller has qualified third for his third successive front row start at Le Mans. He will be aiming to become the first Australian to win back-to-back MotoGP races since Casey Stoner in 2012 (Jerez and Estoril).

Franco Morbidelli – P4

“I’m happy with this fourth position. It has been a difficult day with tricky conditions, but we were able to overcome them and had a good strategy in qualifying. We were rewarded with this place at the head of the second row, so I’m happy about that. My knee is okay and Clinica Mobile has been helping with some treatment for it. It feels alright while I am riding. It’s going to be a tough race and we know that it will be important to start it from the front two rows. Let’s see what we can do, we’re ready to fight for the podium tomorrow.”

Franco Morbidelli has qualified fourth which is his best qualifying over his four visits to Le Mans in the premier class. He will be aiming to stand on the podium for the first time in back-to-back races since Valencia and Portugal last year.

Johann Zarco – P5

“I am happy, I cannot complain. The track conditions were strange, so we started out with rain tyres with the aim to test them in case of wet conditions tomorrow. As soon as we set up the dry tires, I was able to play the game my way. I set a good time and I feel I am ready for tomorrow.”

Johann Zarco has qualified fifth as the second Ducati rider, which is the fifth successive time he starts from the front two rows of the grid. He will be aiming to become the fifth different French rider to win in the premier class so far.

Marc Marquez – P6

“This morning in the wet I was feeling more ‘normal’, because it’s less demanding on the physical side. I was riding well in FP4 and also in Qualifying, but the conditions weren’t perfect and the grip was low which meant slower lap times. When it’s like this I am riding better but when you have to really push to the limit, that’s when it is harder with my physical condition. It was a bit of a shame in Qualifying as I was the first rider to take the flag and it looks like one more lap could have been a big help. But I am pleased with what we have accomplished today.”

A crash for Marquez on Saturday

 

And a save…

Takaaki Nakagami – P7

“Qualifying was very tricky as we always had to keep checking the track condition. There was some wet, some rain and some sunshine. It went really quickly from wet to dry and our strategy was really good as we waited at the start of the session and then realised we could go with slick tyres. Lap by lap we tried to develop the lap time and I felt really good on the bike. In the last minutes I slightly misread the conditions as I felt some rain drops and slowed down and missed the opportunity to improve the lap time. Anyway, P7 is good and we are ready for the race and have good confidence, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Takaaki Nakagami

Pol Espargaro – P8

“I’m disappointed with myself. After some hard races, we had a chance to fight for the top three or even pole. I was taking it easy two laps from the end because it started to rain but these two laps cooled the tyre a bit too much, then when I asked more from the tyre it couldn’t take it and I went down. I was two tenths faster than Fabio and Jack through the first sector and they ended on the front row. We showed the potential we have, which is good, but it’s also a shame because there was a lot on offer today. Tomorrow is a new day and a lot can happen in the race.”

Third last year at the French GP, Pol Espargaro, who crashed at the end of Q2, has qualified in eighth place, which is his best qualifying result since he joined Honda this season.

Valentino Rossi – P9

“We did the right strategy, going with the slick tyre, in qualifying and it gave us a small advantage. Unfortunately I had a moment in the second lap because I touched a damp patch, and I could not be at 100% in the final two corners without taking too much risk and I did not have complete confidence after this. This weekend though we have improved the pace, compared to the first few races, and the feeling. We will see tomorrow what happens because the weather is really unpredictable. The race is about 42 minutes long and in that time today it changed from wet to dry three times, this will make it very difficult. Personally I would prefer it to be a dry race, because this is where I feel more comfortable. Starting from the third row we have to try to have the best race possible.”

Valentino Rossi has qualified ninth which is his best qualifying result since he was fourth at the opening race of the season in Qatar (this was also the last time he scored points). He has qualified ninth twice at Le Mans in the premier class (2011 and 2018) and both times he went on to finish third.

Miguel Oliveira – P10

“It was a good day overall and I was competitive in every condition. It was a bit chaotic and strange day for the weather but we could be competitive. In qualification it was a shame to crash but I got to the first sector to find it was raining there! The marshals were not showing the rain flags and by the time I realised it was fully wet it was too late. It was unfortunate because I think I could have done much better than I did but we have good pace for tomorrow and I’m confident. I’m having fun on the bike and everything is coming easy. For sure we are optimistic for the race.”

Miguel Oliveira

Lorenzo Savadori – P11

“I am incredibly happy with these qualifiers, especially because it honours Aprilia’s hard work and the trust this team has always placed in me. In these conditions, with the bike moving around a lot, I am able to find a good feeling because the sensations come close to the ones I’m used to coming from the factory derivative categories. In fact, in the dry, where it takes a lot of precision and stability, I am still lacking the experience to ride the way I’d like to. As for tomorrow, above all, we need to be ready and reactive to the changing weather. Managing the race will be fundamental.”

After passing through Q1, Lorenzo Savadori joined Q2 for the first time and qualified 11th as the first Aprilia rider for his best qualifying result in MotoGP.

Luca Marini – P12

“With the whole team we did a great job to better manage the mixed conditions on the track. It was important to make the right decisions and not make mistakes. We reached Q2 and I must say that I have a good feeling in the wet. It is a kind of condition in which to continue working because it opens up more possibilities. In the dry it would have been impossible to think about getting into Q2, but on wet asphalt the bikes are more similar and the slopes are different. In the dry, we fight more, I lack confidence, experience, we only rode a little here, but the difference from the beginning is not bad at all. For tomorrow I don’t think we will change much on the bike even if we are not at 100%, but the Warm Up is very early in the morning and probably in the wet. We continue to work on the data to take a step forward in the race”

Luca Marini

Aleix Espargaro – P13

“A pity about the qualifiers. Unfortunately, I made a mistake not boxing to put on the medium rain tyre. With the track drying out, the soft tyres got too hot and the bike moved around a lot, especially at the front. I tried to do a slow lap to let them cool, but it wasn’t enough. The position definitely does not reflect the feeling I had. If it’s a dry race tomorrow, I think we’ll be fast, despite not having much data. In the eventuality of a wet track, things will be less predictable but I’m comforted by the fact that the 2021 RS-GP works well in any conditions.”

Joan Mir – P14

“Overall it hasn’t been a bad day, but this isn’t the best track for us, and I feel that 14th place on the grid is not showing my real potential – I felt quite strong in both conditions, in wet and dry, and my pace was quite nice. I lost a couple of laps at the end of qualifying, I think maybe I overcooked the tyres or something because the track dried out quickly. But anyway, it’s all useful experience and lessons that I will use in the future, and I am pleased because I’ve already improved my performance in the wet compared with last year. The team have done a really great job with the bike. Starting 14th on the grid is manageable as long as I stay focused; it’s not so different to other recent grid slots, so I’m optimistic.”

Suzuki riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins are P14 and P15

Alex Rins – P15

“It’s been a difficult day ‘at the office’ and I have quite a bad grid position for tomorrow. I made a mistake with my strategy; I chose the medium front and soft rear tyres to start, and I think with the medium rear I would’ve been able to push more and then maybe my grid place would have been better, but there was no time to stop. Let’s see what the weather is like tomorrow, we could have wet, dry, or mixed conditions and for sure it will be a big show. If the race is dry I think I have a chance for the podium because I feel good in the dry and my base settings and confidence are good. If it’s wet or mixed I will flow with the bike, work with a good strategy – prepared for all scenarios – and give my best.”

Francesco Bagnaia – P16

“After a good session in the wet this morning, I wasn’t able to repeat myself in Q1 this afternoon. In qualifying, we made a wrong tyre choice and unfortunately, I didn’t have time to come back in and change it. Today it went like this and, as always, tomorrow we will try to fight for the best possible result in the race”.

Francesco Bagnaia

Danilo Petrucci – P17

“It was a crazy Qualifying and I needed to recover from a difficult setup from yesterday. To be honest, with the weather today we couldn’t really do anything, but at least we managed to close the gap to the front. For sure, it’s not the place we want, but at least we understood the way to follow. We need to continue like this. Tomorrow it would be very, very good to score some points and be in the mix. It won’t be easy, but I’m happy about the work the team did today.”

Danilo Petrucci

Iker Lecuona – P18

“It was a difficult day. This morning in wet conditions I felt really good and very fast. In dry FP4 I was well inside the top 10, so I felt pretty good and strong to make it to Q2, but it started to rain a few minutes ahead of Q1 and that made our life difficult. Finally, I was struggling a lot and it’s definitely not the position we wanted and we deserved because we have been working very well throughout the weekend. Tomorrow we try to push!”

Iker Lecuona

Álex Márquez – P19

“In the morning in the wet we were not bad; we had a good shape and I was happy with that as I had a good feeling. Then in FP4 it was half and half conditions, but I felt we took a step in the dry compared to yesterday and I was feeling ok with the lap time. Then in Q1 it started raining and it was a good opportunity for us to go to Q2, but it seems that whatever I try this year, goes wrong. I’m sad for me and sad for the team, but tomorrow we have another chance and I will try again.”

Álex Márquez

Tito Rabat – P20

“The track conditions are not easy, I am trying to do everything possible and tomorrow I will give my all. I would like to have a good race tomorrow. I slipped in turn six, but I didn’t hurt myself. There were not any consequences.”

Tito Rabat

Brad Binder – P21

“Difficult, difficult day. I haven’t had the speed this weekend. I haven’t been uncomfortable…but I haven’t been fast! I need to translate the good feeling tomorrow into speed. Qualifying was a bit of a disaster because there were yellow flags for two laps and I had to sit up and not cook the rear tyre and then just ran out of time. Not the best scenario. Tomorrow we’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure we can do a far better job.”

Brad Binder

Enea Bastianini – P22

“It was a great chaos and I wasn’t lucky, because they gave me the checkered flag and I couldn’t finish the last lap well because there were yellow flags and I would have done 1’44.5 that they canceled me. It would be a better starting position but in the end we started on the 22nd. For tomorrow I would like it to be the dry race because already in FP4 I had a good rhythm that has positioned me 12 and only improve T4 which is where I lose a bit. In case it has to rain tomorrow that I’m not yet comfortable with this bike, I prefer the Warm Up to also be in the wet to pick up the pace and ride the bike better in these conditions.”

Enea Bastianini

French GP Qualifying Report

In Q1, a drying track made it anyone’s game and there were a few spills, some thrills and definitely a couple of surprises. Crashing early on despite his impressive pace in a damp FP3, Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was jogging back to the pits as the rest got down to really testing out the conditions… but there was a real phoenix moment on the way.

As the track improved more and more, so did the laptimes at the top. But none more than Savadori. The Italian was back out and flexing his wet weather prowess once again as the clock ticked down, and crossing the line the Italian topped the session by a whopping eight tenths of a second. From whom? Fellow rookie Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia). Tagged on to the back of Championship leader and compatriot Francesco Bagnaia, Marini improved and then improved again on his final push to top the session, just before Savadori’s final wonder.

Fabio Quartararo has qualified on pole for the first time in three successive races since he did it four times in a row from Malaysia 2019 to Andalucia 2020. This is his 13th overall premier class pole, equalling Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi.

The two rookies moved through then, leaving Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) just knocked out by his teammate, as well as reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) next up and his teammate Alex Rins. Championship leader Bagnaia? He’ll be 16th on the grid…

And so Q2 began, with no more rain having come down. Decisions needed to be made for the Q2 runners at the beginning of the pole position fight, and we witnessed Valentino Rossi and Petronas Yamaha SRT teammate Franco Morbidelli gamble on slick tyres.

It looked like the Petronas Yamaha SRT squad had made the right call as Miller, Quartararo and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) pulled straight back in to switch. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Savadori were also all on slicks, but Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) wasn’t and was soon on his way back to pitlane for a tyre change – as was Viñales.

Rossi was on a good lap before visiting the gravel trap

By then, the riders on slick tyres were lighting up the timing screens. Rossi was out of the seat at the final corner; his lap was ruined and Morbidelli eclipsed Zarco’s best wet tyre lap, but then Miller demolished them all to go 1.2s quicker than anyone. Pol Espargaro slotted into an early P2 as Quartararo and Savadori clocked into P3 and P4, Morbidelli next to improve to move back up to second. Incredibly though, Miller then cut his best by a second again, and Pol Espargaro once more came through as the Aussie’s closest challenger.

It was far from over. Everyone was constantly improving, and Zarco briefly went provisional pole, Miller beat him by nine tenths and then Pol Espargaro finally demoted Miller to second by 0.157s. Marc Marquez then joined his teammate on the front row with four minutes to go, and Nakagami made it three Hondas in the top four for the time being.

Winner at the Spanish GP, Jack Miller has qualified third for his third successive front row start at Le Mans. He will be aiming to become the first Australian to win back-to-back MotoGP races since Casey Stoner in 2012 (Jerez and Estoril).

Morbidelli hit back next for second, but not for long. Marc Marquez beat teammate Pol Espargaro by 0.113s, before Nakagami split the two to make it a Honda 1-2-3… and rain then started to fall at Turn 1. It looked like the three HRC men had timed their laps to perfection, but no. Suddenly, Viñales and Zarco set red sectors, before Quartararo did too.

Viñales was the first to cross the line and break Repsol Honda hearts to grab provisional pole position off Marc Marquez, Zarco then took second and Morbidelli also got the better of the number 93’s time.

Quartararo was the rider to watch though and, laying it all on the line in the final sector, it was going down to Yamaha vs Yamaha for pole. Could he hold on? he could. El Diablo beat his teammate’s time by 0.081s, and a shadowing Miller came through to snatched a late front row as well.

Yamaha 1-2 on the grid

The first factory Yamaha 1-2 since 2017, when a certain Viñales went on to win, joined by the most recent race winner? Another stellar Saturday that – for the third time in a row – belonged to Quartararo. Arm pump surgery to home GP pole is the story of his last couple of weeks, that’s two in a row for Quartararo at Le Mans to boot.

Morbidelli and Zarco’s final flying laps ensure they have solid grid positions for the French GP, in fourth and fifth, with Marc Marquez left down on the outside of the second row by the end of the shuffle. Nakagami and Pol Espargaro – who suffered a late crash at Turn 7 – will also have to settle for les than it seemed had been promised, taking P7 and P8 respectively.

Rossi was able to better his time on the last lap to earn P9 and his best grid position since the season opener with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top 10, despite a crash, ahead of Q1 graduates Savadori and Marini. With Bagnaia and the Suzukis looking for quick progress too… Sunday promises plenty.

Marc Marquez, who has won three times in MotoGP at Le Mans, has qualified in sixth equalling his best result since he came back from injury in Portugal earlier this season. This is, however, his worst qualifying in the class at the track.

MotoGP Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Fabio QUARTARARO YAMAHA Q2 1m32.600
2 Maverick VIÑALES YAMAHA Q2 +0.081
3 Jack MILLER DUCATI Q2 +0.104
4 Franco MORBIDELLI YAMAHA Q2 +0.166
5 Johann ZARCO DUCATI Q2 +0.277
6 Marc MARQUEZ HONDA Q2 +0.437
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA Q2 +0.520
8 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA Q2 +0.550
9 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA Q2 +0.791
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM Q2 +1.267
11 Lorenzo SAVADORI APRILIA Q2 +1.658
12 Luca MARINI DUCATI Q2 +1.665
13 Aleix ESPARGARO APRILIA Q1 (*) 0.868
14 Joan MIR SUZUKI Q1 (*) 0.872
15 Alex RINS SUZUKI Q1 (*) 0.973
16 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI Q1 (*) 0.980
17 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM Q1 (*) 1.307
18 Iker LECUONA KTM Q1 (*) 1.774
19 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA Q1 (*) 2.596
20 Tito RABAT DUCATI Q1 (*) 3.040
21 Brad BINDER KTM Q1 (*) 3.361
22 Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI Q1 (*) 3.573

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 66
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 64
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 50
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati 48
6 Jack MILLER Ducati 39
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 35
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 33
9 Alex RINS Suzuki 23
10 Brad BINDER KTM 21
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 19
12 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 18
13 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 17
14 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 17
15 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 16
16 Stefan BRADL Honda 11
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 9
18 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 8
19 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 5
20 Luca MARINI Ducati 4
21 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2
23 Iker LECUONA KTM 2
24 Tito RABAT Ducati 0

Moto2

There’s something about Red Bull KTM Ajo rookies in 2021! Moto2’s Raul Fernandez clinched his maiden intermediate class pole position thanks to a 1:50.135 in a damp Q2 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, beating Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) to the top by over two tenths. Q1 graduate Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) completes the front row, the American pulling some pace out of the bag on Saturday after a difficult Day 1.

2021 French GP Qualifying Moto2 front row
1 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 1:50.135
2 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.240
3 Joe Roberts – Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex – +0.379

A dry Q1 saw Roberts, Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Simone Corsi and MV Agusta Forward Racing teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri earn themselves a shot at pole position in Q2, but a spanner was thrown in the works before the green light. Rain once again started to fall at Le Mans, but once more, it didn’t stay around for long. It was in the air and the surface was damp but tyre choice was far from cemented.

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) was out on slick tyres at first and his closest Free Practice challenger Raul Fernandez initially went out on wet tyres, then got a box call, but the Spaniard went straight back out on the wets. Roberts ran straight into the gravel at Turn 8 in some early drama too, as then Lowes pulled into pitlane for… wets.

On track meanwhile, Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the early pacesetter from Ogura, but there was plenty of drama to come. Ogura crashed unhurt on the exit of Turn 7, Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) went down at Turn 14 shortly afterwards and then Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) was the next to crash at Turn 8. Raul Fernandez was just behind his compatriot and ran straight on too. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Corsi were the next riders to crash as the field tried to find the limit.

All that while at the top, Roberts was provisional pole, but it didn’t last too long. Raul Fernandez pulled out 1.2s on the American with four and a half minutes to go, but the number 16 soon returned the favour to go back to P1 by 0.6s. Roberts improved his lap again thereafter to go a second clear of the competition, but Gardner was on a charge and was next to take over. Lowes, back out on the wets, moved himself into third in the meantime… but Raul Fernandez was lighting up the timing screens. This time round, it was seventh tenths in his pocket at the top.

With conditions continually improving, Roberts then slotted back into P2 as Gardner made a mistake in the third sector to end his hopes of a pole position. No such mistake came from his teammate. Raul Fernandez pulled out even more time to take over at the top once more, with Bezzecchi then shooting up the timesheets to slot into second. Roberts was demoted to third, but holds on to an impressive front row after a tougher Friday. And Raul Fernandez? No one had an answer for the Moto2 rookie sensation and the young Spaniard claimed his first intermediate class pole position.

Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) left it late to claim P4 in qualifying, his best of the year, and the Spaniard is joined by compatriot Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) on the second row. Gardner slipped down to P7 in the closing stages and was over a second adrift of his teammate after running wide at Turn 8 on his last lap.

Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) recovered from his big Friday crash to pick up a best Saturday result of the season in eighth, just ahead of his teammate Stefano Manzi. And Lowes? There’s work to do for the man second in the Championship after his worst Q2 of the season, the Brit starting down in 10th.

That’s it from a tricky Saturday at Le Mans, with the weather likely to change again on Sunday! Can the rookie hold on, or will it be another shuffle come race day?

Raul Fernandez has qualified on pole position for the first time in Moto2, becoming the first rookie to do so in the class since Aron Canet at the Styrian GP last year. Only one rider has won a Moto2 race from pole at Le Mans, however: Francesco Bagnaia in 2018.

Moto2 Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Raul FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 1m50.135
2 Marco BEZZECCHI KALEX Q2 +0.240
3 Joe ROBERTS KALEX Q2 +0.379
4 Aron CANET BOSCOSCURO Q2 +0.647
5 Augusto FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 +0.661
6 Bo BENDSNEYDER KALEX Q2 +0.997
7 Remy GARDNER KALEX Q2 +1.011
8 Hector GARZO KALEX Q2 +1.080
9 Stefano MANZI KALEX Q2 +1.225
10 Sam LOWES KALEX Q2 +1.896
11 Nicolò BULEGA KALEX Q2 +2.088
12 Xavi VIERGE KALEX Q2 +2.138
13 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI   ITA MV AGUSTA Q2 +2.452
14 Marcel SCHROTTER KALEX Q2 +2.618
15 Fabio DI GIANNANTONI   ITA KALEX Q2 +3.263
16 Ai OGURA KALEX Q2 +4.301
17 Simone CORSI MV AGUSTA Q2 +5.274
18 Jorge NAVARRO BOSCOSCURO Q2 +6.571
19 Tony ARBOLINO KALEX Q1 (*) 0.483
20 Somkiat CHANTRA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.520
21 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA   ITA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.560
22 Marcos RAMIREZ KALEX Q1 (*) 0.567
23 Thomas LUTHI KALEX Q1 (*) 0.615
24 Cameron BEAUBIER KALEX Q1 (*) 0.840
25 Albert ARENAS BOSCOSCURO Q1 (*) 0.885
26 Jake DIXON KALEX Q1 (*) 0.893
27 Hafizh SYAHRIN NTS Q1 (*) 1.005
28 Celestino VIETTI KALEX Q1 (*) 1.287
29 Barry BALTUS NTS Q1 (*) 1.479
30 Tommaso MARCON MV AGUSTA Q1 (*) 1.818
31 Alonso LOPEZ BOSCOSCURO Q1 (*) 2.483

Moto2 Championship Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Remy GARDNER Kalex 69
2 Sam LOWES Kalex 66
3 Raul FERNANDEZ Kalex 63
4 Marco BEZZECCHI Kalex 56
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Kalex 52

Moto3

Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) pulled out an incredible two seconds on the field in a damp qualifying session at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, the Italian getting into the groove on slicks and the clock proving his only rival by the end of the session. 2.001 is the gap back to a career best qualifying for Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) in second, with Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the front row. The gap from Migno back to Rossi is the largest margin for the rider on pole in Moto3 history.

2021 French GP Qualifying Moto3 top three
1 Andrea Migno – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda – 1:47.407
2 Riccardo Rossi – BOE Owlride – Honda – +2.001
3 Jaume Masia – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – +2.204

All eyes were on Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in Q1, with the Championship leader not moving through on Friday – and FP3 then dawning wet. The bad news continued as well, with the number 37 not quite able to make it happen and left a little out of position on the grid outside the top 20. Polesitter in Jerez, it was Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who topped the session from Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) to move through, the two joined by Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3). And then the rain came down…

A few drops at first saw many head out early, but they soon scuttled back into pitlane as it became a very real, although brief, downpour. Suzuki was the first to set a real time once riders headed back on track, before Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) took over. Early drama struck for Rossi and Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) as they both tumbled out at Turn 11, but riders ok and able to get back out. The rain wasn’t coming back either, so it seemed like whoever went last could well be first..

Masia took to the top three minutes later, but the Spaniard was soon deposed by Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3). And then came Migno. Fastest and then improving a couple of minutes later to go even faster as he got the slicks in the zone, the Italian was on a roll. So too was compatriot Rossi, however, and the BOE Owlride man was able to take over on provisional pole in an impressive bounce back from his earlier crash. But Migno remained on track, and the red sectors were lighting up the timing screens…

Incredibly, as he rounded the final corner and gunned it to the line, the Italian had over two seconds in hand, taking his second pole position of the season in stunning, if damp, style to start the SHARK Grand Prix de France from the front with the largest margin ever. Rossi retains second for his best ever qualifying, with Masia locking out the front row.

Former Le Mans winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) heads up Row 2, joined by Rodrigo and Antonelli despite the crash for the latter early in the session. Salač, despite a highside at the final corner, is another whose damage control was on point as he takes seventh, up and back on track right after the incident. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar Moto3) and Suzuki complete Row 3.

Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) and Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP) lock out the fourth row, ahead of Öncü, Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) after a crash for the latter dented his Q2.

That leaves Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) down in P16 and the South African will be joining Pedro Acosta on the charge forward on race day. Will it be wet, will it be dry? Will there be yet more drama waiting in the wings?

Andrea Migno has qualified on pole position for the third time in his GP career along with Valencia in 2019 and Portugal earlier this year. Over his last two poles, he went on to finish on the podium, second in Valencia and third in Portugal.

Moto3 Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Andrea MIGNO HONDA Q2 1m47.407
2 Riccardo ROSSI KTM Q2 +2.001
3 Jaume MASIA KTM Q2 +2.204
4 John MCPHEE HONDA Q2 +2.233
5 Gabriel RODRIGO HONDA Q2 +2.277
6 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM Q2 +2.487
7 Filip SALAC HONDA Q2 +3.187
8 Sergio GARCIA GASGAS Q2 +3.379
9 Tatsuki SUZUKI HONDA Q2 +3.520
10 Romano FENATI HUSQVARNA Q2 +3.555
11 Stefano NEPA KTM Q2 +3.738
12 Ryusei YAMANAKA KTM Q2 +3.896
13 Deniz ÖNCÜ KTM Q2 +3.968
14 Jason DUPASQUIER KTM Q2 +4.103
15 Ayumu SASAKI KTM Q2 +4.925
16 Darryn BINDER HONDA Q2 +5.104
17 Jeremy ALCOBA HONDA Q2 +6.627
18 Dennis FOGGIA HONDA Q2 +6.938
19 Kaito TOBA KTM Q1 (*) 0.270
20 Carlos TATAY KTM Q1 (*) 0.283
21 Pedro ACOSTA KTM Q1 (*) 0.356
22 Maximilian KOFLER KTM Q1 (*) 0.373
23 Yuki KUNII HONDA Q1 (*) 0.616
24 Andi Farid IZDIHAR HONDA Q1 (*) 0.643
25 Takuma MATSUYAMA HONDA Q1 (*) 1.264
26 Izan GUEVARA GASGAS Q1 (*) 1.415
27 Lorenzo FELLON HONDA Q1 (*) 1.764
28 Adrian FERNANDEZ HUSQVARNA Q1 (*) 4.061
29 Xavier ARTIGAS HONDA

Moto3 Championship Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Pedro ACOSTA KTM 95
2 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM 44
3 Andrea MIGNO Honda 42
4 Romano FENATI Husqvarna 40
5 Jaume MASIA KTM 39

MotoE

Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) is two from two on Saturdays so far in 2021, the Brazilian ultimately coming out on top in a wet, delayed and difficult E-Pole at Le Mans. If the session is declared wet it’s a maximum of six laps each, including in and out laps, with all riders on track in a shortened session. So after a delay, a number of crashes and then plenty Yellow Flag infringements, the number 51 takes it… and that despite his first MotoE highside! Second went to impressive rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team), with 2019 Cup winner Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) emerging in third.

But let’s rewind back to the start. Just before most of the MotoE riders were about to head out, there was an almighty downpour and the Red Flags came out, with those who had headed out quickly making it back. The rain didn’t stay around long but it was certainly still wet, wet, wet on track by the time the session restarted, and it was Dynavolt Intact GP’s Dominique Aegerter’s 2:03.417 that proved the first benchmark time.

Lukas Tulovic (Tech3 E-Racing) then hit the deck at Turn 3 on his second flying lap, before Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac MotoE) crashed at the final corner. Granado next pulled out three seconds on his second lap to take over at the top with a real stunner, before the Brazilian was next to crash as he highsided at Turn 3. Thankfully he was back up on his feet quickly, but in the meantime rookie Pons had cut the advantage to 0.1s…

Aegerter was then at the summit with a 2:00.251, 0.064s ahead of Granado, but Pons then moved the goalposts to a 1:58.384. Aegerter, on his next lap, returned to P1 by 0.101s but just ahead of him, Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) crashed at the final corner.

Initially it was Aegerter on top but there was post-session drama. Because of a number of crashes, a whole host of riders were having their laps cancelled for Yellow Flag infringements – including the Swiss rider. Pons and other parc ferme attendee Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) also had their laps chalked off, and so did fourth place Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team). This promoted Granado to P1, with all the other changes eventually seeing Pons hold onto P2, with 2019 Cup winner Ferrari completing the front row. The two veterans said of the drama that it’s nice to have the dice roll your way, but one day the luck won’t be on your side with the rule – and that overall, safety comes first with Yellow Flags.

So on Row 2, Xavi Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and title leader Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) will sit ahead of Aegerter, in P4 and P5 respectively, with the Swiss rider shuffled down to sixth.

Andrea Mantovani (Indonesian E-Racing MotoE) was another rider to profit from cancelled laps in P7 as Aldeguer slips to P8, and the 16-year-old is one place ahead of former MotoGP rider Hernandez. Okubo, who was in parc ferme, will be starting P10 in the end… just ahead of reigning Cup winner Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40), who will be one rider especially eager to make short work of the start, as will Tulovic next to him.


MotoE EPole

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 51 Eric GRANADO ENERGICA 2m00.315
2 71 Miquel PONS ENERGICA +0.101
3 11 Matteo FERRARI ENERGICA +0.340
4 18 Xavi CARDELUS ENERGICA +1.122
5 61 Alessandro ZACCONE ENERGICA +1.882
6 77 Dominique AEGERTER ENERGICA +3.102
7 9 Andrea MANTOVANI ENERGICA +3.457
8 54 Fermín ALDEGUER ENERGICA +4.527
9 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ ENERGICA +4.930
10 78 Hikari OKUBO ENERGICA +5.546
11 40 Jordi TORRES ENERGICA +5.652
12 3 Lukas TULOVIC ENERGICA +6.320
13 19 Corentin PEROLARI ENERGICA +8.837
14 80 Jasper IWEMA ENERGICA +9.106
15 14 Andre PIRES ENERGICA +9.396
16 27 Mattia CASADEI ENERGICA +9.430
17 21 Kevin ZANNONI ENERGICA +10.033
18 6 Maria HERRERA ENERGICA +12.593

MotoE Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Alessandro ZACCONE Energica 25
2 Dominique AEGERTER Energica 20
3 Jordi TORRES Energica 16
4 Mattia CASADEI Energica 13
5 Miquel PONS Energica 11

Source: MCNews.com.au

2022 Husqvarna two-stroke enduro range

2022 Husqvarna Enduro 2T Range

2022 Husky’s land this July, 2021

Changes for 2022 on Husky’s two-stroke bush-bashers primarily focus on new suspension tunes in the WP XPLOR forks and XACT rear shock along with new Braktec hydraulic clutch and braking hardware. The existing Husky brake and clutch set-up was pretty damn awesome so it will be interesting to see if the changes have improved them even further. New GSK wave disc rotors are another change. 

2022 Husqvarna TE300i

The suspension changes include a new oil bypass system in the 48 mm outer fork tubes while the shock seals are now reduced in hardness which Husky claim improves feedback and damping consistency.  The forks have 30-click adjusters, compression in the left leg and rebound in the right. The linkage set-up on the rear is the same as used in Husky’s TC/FC motocross range. 

It’s forking shocking I tell yas!

CNC machined triple clamps are anodised black and position the forks in a 22 mm offset while the bars are adjustable. 

Dellorto supply the 39 mm throttle body used by the entire two-stroke range

Traction control is selected on or off by the switch and functions by analysing throttle input from the rider and the rate at which engine RPM increases. If the RPM increases too quickly, the engine management system (EMS) registers a loss of grip and reduces the amount of power to the rear wheel to maintain maximum traction. Additionally, all two-strokes are fitted with a standard map switch to allow selection between two ignition curves based on conditions or rider preference.

2022 Husqvarna TE250/350 powerplant

The EMS features an electronic control unit (ECU) on the two-strokes, which is responsible for a number of functions. The unit determines ignition timing and amount of fuel and oil injected. It also receives information from the throttle position sensor, ambient air and intake pressure sensors as well as crankcase pressure and water temperature sensors to adapt values and make corrections for automatic temperature and altitude compensation. Prior to fuel injection, this would have meant changing carburettor jets.

The TE300i sports a 72 mm bore and stroke while the 250 has a smaller 66.4 mm bore but are otherwise identical

The two-strokes use a 39 mm throttle body which regulates the amount of air entering the engine via a butterfly operated by dual throttle cables connected to the handlebar throttle assembly. Unlike four-stroke throttle bodies, fuel is not introduced at this point, but rather two-stroke oil is mixed with the air entering the engine to lubricate the crankshaft, cylinder and piston. Additionally, a throttle position sensor (TPS) relays airflow data to the ECU which in turn calculates the amount of oil and fuel delivered to the engine while a bypass screw regulates the idling speed and a cold start device opens an air bypass for cold starts.

TE oil tank and pump, tank holds 700 ml of oil

Tailored specifically for each model using an innovative 3D design process, the two-stroke header pipes feature advanced geometry and performance. The TE 250i/300i header pipe offers more ground clearance making it less susceptible to damage, while a corrugated surface makes the header pipe more durable to rock damage and other hazards found on the enduro trail. The two-stroke mufflers also feature an aluminium mounting bracket and advanced internal construction for excellent noise damping and weight saving.

Not so cool that the cooling fan is an optional extra on the two-stroke models

All TE models come with electric start as standard. The system uses a compact and lightweight Li-Ion battery which is 1 kg lighter than a conventional battery.  Additionally, the wiring harness concentrates all needed electrical components into a common area below the seat for easy accessibility.

2022 Husqvarna TE300i

The radiators are made from high-strength aluminium and designed using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to channel air through them more efficiently. The cooling system is intelligently integrated with the frame, eliminating the need for additional hoses. The large centre tube running through the frame reduces pressure at this point, allowing for a consistent coolant flow.

2022 Husqvarna TE250i

While the four-strokes get a radiator fan as standard, this is an optional extra on the two-strokes.

2022 Husqvarna TE300i

An 8.5 litre polythene fuel tank incorporates a quick release filler cap and an integrated fuel pump.

2022 Husqvarna TE300i

The airbox is designed with precisely positioned inlet ducts aimed at preventing air deformation to ensure maximum airflow and filter protection. The air filter is easily accessed, without tools, by removing the left side-panel. Easy maintenance is guaranteed by the Twin Air filter and filter cage design featuring a simple fail-proof mounting system for safe and accurate filter installation.

2022 Husqvarna TE250i

Black high-strength alloy rims by D.I.D with laser engraved logos are coupled to CNC machined hubs using lightweight spokes and silver anodised aluminium nipples. The nipples incorporate an advanced design reducing the frequency of spoke checks and maintenance.

2022 Husqvarna TE250i

Rugged grey and electric yellow graphics look mint while the ergonomics are tailored to deliver comfort and control.

2022 Husqvarna TE250i

Husqvarna TE (Two-Stroke Enduro) Specifications

Source: MCNews.com.au

Le Mans MotoGP Preview | Schedule

2021 MotoGP Round Five Le Mans


As MotoGP heads to Le Mans lets start with a short recap of Jerez; it looked like Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was going to be heading into his home Grand Prix with three wins in a row and a nice cushion of points at the top of the Championship. But the course of true racing never did run smooth, and arm pump put paid to that as Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) swept through to take an emotional first win in red. His teammate, Francesco Bagnaia, further compounded the Ducati delight in second, and he’s now atop the table to boot. That makes an interesting equation in the standings, with Quartararo already back training after surgery, Yamaha and Ducati sharing the wins so far… and another home hero in Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) waiting in the wings.

Fabio Quartararo led for most of the race in Jerez

A Ducati 1-2 – the factory’s first since 2018 – and it wasn’t the Red Bull Ring, Motegi, or Qatar… it was the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, where in recent history few have managed to get the Italian machine to look like the best bike on the grid. That’s a warning shot as Miller fired back following his tougher start to the season and Bagnaia just keeps on being quick, but so was Quartararo’s pace before he ran into trouble. Yamaha have a great record at Le Mans, but Ducati can also find plenty in the Sarthe circuit to suit. In 2019 it was a Borgo Panigale 2-3-4 behind only Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), last year it was a Ducati win.

That will have Miller, Bagnaia and home hero Zarco very eager to get on track. The Frenchman has also already been on the podium at Le Mans on different machinery, and on the podium this year with Ducati… so it could be a good mix as the red wall looks to continue its march. But Quartararo is no stranger to going from arm pump surgery to podium, and he’ll really, really want to bounce back this time. Can he?

Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco battled for much of the race at Jerez, but they were nowhere near the front

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), meanwhile, has had a more muted run since winning the first race of the season, but the last time he won in Qatar he also won in France. Franco Morbidelli’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) momentum has gone the other way this season and he arrives building on each previous race, so he’ll be eager to show once again why he was runner up in the title fight last year. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) wants to get on that bandwagon too, and the ‘Doctor’ said big positives were found in the post-Jerez test…


Suzuki

At Suzuki there are also some mixed fortunes. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has now been one of the fastest riders out there on Sunday only to slide out of contention, so there’s either keeping it together this time around or easing off a little on the table. In MotoGP the latter isn’t often likely – as Rins himself showed last year in France with one of the most direct approaches to a three-in-one overtake attempt ever. The Spaniard was spectacular in the tough conditions before he then overcooked it… with rain possible this year, could redemption be on the cards?

Defending MotoGP champion Joan Mir in the thick of battle at Jerez but never threatened for the lead

Reigning Champion Joan Mir, meanwhile, has been consistent as ever. He’s had a podium in Portugal but otherwise put in solid rides for points at venues he says don’t suit him or the bike quite perfectly. Now into the top four overall, Le Mans is another where he doesn’t expect to be slicing through to win from pole, but the Spaniard has been the best at balancing risk, reward and brutal overtakes for some time now, so he can’t be counted out.


Aprilia

As 2021 rolls on, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) has become a fixture nearer the front too. The Noale factory continue to home in on the race win in terms of time, and it’s a mark of how big the step forward has been that Espargaro was slightly disappointed with their actual position in Jerez.

Podium finishes for Aleix Espargaro threaten in 2021

KTM

Also disappointed in Jerez for different reasons was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) after the South African’s upward trajectory from a difficult first race out ended in an early crash, so can KTM fight back in Le Mans? Both Binder and teammate Miguel Oliveira were upbeat after the Jerez test, saying they’d spent a lot of time focusing on getting the bike to work better with the softer tyres without compromising their positives. That does seem a key for the factory in 2021 so far. A KTM was on the podium last year in the wet at Le Mans, but the Austrian factory were also in the top six in the dry in 2019 – a year before their breakthrough fourth premier class album full of chart toppers. What will we see this time around? Tech3 KTM boss Hervé Poncharal gives us his take on the weekend ahead.


Hervé Poncharal
Tech3 KTM Team Manager

“The next Grand Prix is the French one and it’s already the fifth round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. Time flies since we started in Qatar and it was only about half a year ago when we came back from Le Mans. Although it’s the home Grand Prix for the team, not having a French rider in our garage, makes it a bit more normal, but it’s still always a pleasure to come to Le Mans and see the bigger interest from the media. Yet, it’s a shame we won’t have any spectators there.

“I believe the circuit is going to be quite interesting for our KTM RC16 machine. Last year with Miguel and Iker we have been pretty fast in both, dry and wet conditions, which is important because it looks like it’s going to be wet this year. Clearly, after the positive step we made in Jerez I’m expecting both, Danilo and Iker to make another step this weekend. We need to carry on pushing with both in order to give the right feedback to the KTM engineers and we need to qualify better.

“Our target is to have at least one rider inside the top 10, but also to be as close as we can to Miguel and Brad, who are the benchmark inside the KTM family and there is no reason for our two guys not to catch up with them. The grid is incredibly close. In FP3 in Jerez the top 10 have been separated by just 0.2 seconds, which is showing the competitiveness of this class. We are not lost, we just need to make another small step forward to be fighting for the top like last year.

“The test we did on Monday in Jerez was for sure a help for our riders in order to feel better on the bike and although we didn’t find anything very special I think both, Danilo and Iker understood a bit better how to ride and setup their machines with the current 2021 environment.

“If it’s wet this weekend, it will be interesting to see how our bike and the whole grid is performing in these conditions. With Danilo we have the last MotoGP rain winner, so let’s hope to repeat that performance in Le Mans in case it’s wet again on Sunday. I really hope Danilo will find his magic rain riding with the KTM as well. Le Mans is always a very special event and I’m quite sure Claude Michy, the organizer has reserved some interesting surprises for us.”


Honda

At Honda, there was plenty, plenty to see in the test. A brand-new air intake, chassis, exhaust and more added to five different aero combinations made quite the impression, although last time out it was someone reverting to their 2020 chassis that made the biggest dent in the race: Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Japanese rider equalled his best ever result in fourth and will be looking to keep that rolling, and he had a solid Le Mans last year. His teammate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, is still looking to get back to where he left off last year… but last year, the then-rookie put in an absolute stunner for his first premier class podium in France. Will good memories see him take a step forward? And has the Jerez test helped Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) do the same?

Finally, there’s Marc Marquez. His return in Portugal was impressive after so long on the sidelines, and his speed remained at times in Jerez. But it was undoubtedly a more difficult round for the eight-time World Champion as he suffered two fast crashes that saw him then only complete seven laps in the test on Monday. But that was then and this will be now, with Marquez having always been one of the sport’s best at resetting. What can he do with some more time to recover and more time on the bike? We’re about to find out…

The first four rounds of the 2021 championship have seen records broken at every circuit. These have included race duration records, race lap records, all-time circuit lap records and all-time circuit top speed records, with that in mind it is safe to say that more records could tumble this weekend…


MotoGP Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 66
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 64
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 50
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati 48

Moto2

After four races, there are five riders starting to make some breathing space at the top of the Moto2 standings. But it’s been far from a predictable season, and Le Mans offers those on the chase another chance at taking a bite of the podium, victory or top five cherry. So what are we expecting in Sarthe?

Sam Lowes and Remy Gardner have battled hard this season

Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) heads into Le Mans with the points lead despite his worst finish of the season so far last time out, although that was a fourth place, which goes some way to explaining his impressive position in 2021. He’s still looking for a win though and with podium form last year at the venue, will likely be feeling pretty confident of at least fighting for the rostrum once again. Can he go one better and tick off the victory box this season? Or is there still no rush to be rash when you’re top of the pile?

The one man ahead of him in 2020, however, was the man just behind him in the standings now: Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). Judging it perfectly at the front and moving through to lead after a heartbreaker for Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing), the number 22 will be looking to at least head Gardner home. He’ll also likely have a bit more of a spring in his step in France after recovering from his sky-high DNF in Portugal to take a solid third place and re-engage consistency mode under a little more pressure. Rookie Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is only as far behind Lowes in the standings as Lowes is behind Gardner, however, so can he move forward again after running out of grip to hold onto the podium in Jerez?

Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), meanwhile, did the opposite and steamed away from the squabble for second to take it pretty comfortably by the flag. He took a podium in France last year and after a more muted opening three races, arriving back in Sarthe fresh from his first rostrum of the season is a good springboard to start getting back into the fight for the win. Speaking of which, there’s another Italian with the ultimate springboard on the way into Le Mans: Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).

Diggia has come close to the top step before in Moto2, but the dream finally came true in Jerez as the Italian got the perfect launch and then showed perfect poise – and speed – all the way to the flag. It was pretty much faultless and brings him back into within striking distance of the top, so can he push on from here? Sometimes, a win can unlock more than just a bottle of prosecco, and the Italian already had a podium earlier this year so it was far from a surprise to see him in the fight for glory.

From there and the five fastest riders so far, there’s a small gap back to those on the chase, so who can break the stranglehold near the top? So far, only Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) has done so; the Spaniard taking second place in Portugal. Can he find that form again and iron out his ups and downs? Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) is actually ahead of Canet overall though, the American with one DNF but some solid consistency otherwise, and he’s been close – rubbing-is-racingly close – to the podium this season. Never having found Jerez the best match, will Le Mans bring the American further into the fray? Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is another looking for a step forward and he has podium form at Le Mans, as well as having come close to it again last season, and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) is now in the groove after a tougher first race. The Japanese rookie has made a few waves of late getting in the mix near the front…

And then there’s also, of course, the 2020 man of the moment… for a while at least. Jake Dixon had never led a Moto2 race before or been very close to doing so until his incredible display of form in 2020 before disaster struck, but that moment saw the Brit kick on and bounce back to greater heights for much of the rest of the season. He’s already been quick in 2021 despite still being on the comeback from his wrist injury and surgery, so will the good memories outweigh the bad? The Sarthe weather could also play into his hands, and those of Lowes; the others who’ve shown pace in tougher conditions… and cause a bit more of a headache for the likes of Raul Fernandez and Ogura.


Moto2 Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Remy GARDNER Kalex 69
2 Sam LOWES Kalex 66
3 Raul FERNANDEZ Kalex 63
4 Marco BEZZECCHI Kalex 56
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Kalex 52

Moto3

The races keep coming and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just keeps stealing the headlines. He’s now the only rider in history to have ever taken four podiums in his first four Grands Prix, despite saying of Jerez that it’s somewhere his riding style doesn’t suit, but now it’s Le Mans in the crosshairs and that’s unfamiliar turf for the number 37. Qatar was, of course, the same, and that went pretty well for the now-Championship leader. But with pre-season testing beforehand there was a little more time to get to know the venue, so the Sarthe circuit is most definitely a whole new challenge in terms of both the track itself and the position the history-maker finds himself in.

Moto3 Jerez 2021 podium
1 Pedro Acosta – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – 39:22.266
2 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna – +0.417
3 Jeremy Alcoba – Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3 – Honda – +527

With such a mammoth 51-point lead, however, there’s room to “relax”. The Spaniard enjoys the highest leading margin after the opening four races of a 125cc or Moto3 season since the current point system was introduced in 1993. But even before that was the case, the words of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in the Jerez pre-event Press Conference ring true: tenth is ok. A win is ok. A point, a crash… it’s all ok. Because regardless of the records set already, he’s still a rookie.

That said, there are a few riders who’ll be ignoring that and heading into Le Mans looking to depose the new ruler. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) arrives closest on the chase thanks to his consistency – and a Doha podium – followed by Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team), who has one 0 but two fourths and a third. Their ability to stay out of trouble, in terms of either causing it or getting tangled in it, has paid dividends and they’ve both been quick to boot. Migno also took a top five in France last season, and the year before, prefaced by a podium in 2018. On both past and current form, the Italian has arguably the best CV at Le Mans.

Then there’s Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), fresh from a podium and some similarly artful dodging of the drama that befell many at the final corner. The veteran seemed to consciously stay out the melee before striking late, and he’s another who’s been consistent. He also has form at Le Mans and although it’s from 2016, he finished just 0.099 off the win in second. The fact that a 0.099 deficit has to be quantified as being second place also speaks to how incredibly close the class is. The man who followed him home in Jerez, meanwhile, is looking for a little less drama in a different manner: Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) may once again have impressively recovered from a Long Lap Penalty to take a rostrum finish, but he’ll want to head into race day with a clean sheet this time round and rid himself of some Sunday hurdles.

So what of that aforementioned drama? Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) would have made different headlines in Jerez if not for that late move that set off the skittles, but the Turk nevertheless put in an impressive performance and will be looking for more of that race-leading feeling. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will also be focused on bouncing back as soon as possible; both also fuelled by the knowledge that they were once again fast, just unlucky. Experience remains on their side.

Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was another who was fast and after his late race blunder first time out in 2021, the Japanese rider has since been a consistent force in the front freight train on his best roll of continual form pretty much ever. Can he crank that up even further this time? Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) will also want redemption after a highside out the lead, and John McPhee’s (Petronas Sprinta Racing) bad luck only continued in the Spanish GP. But the Scotsman is the only man in the field who’s won before at Le Mans… so could this be the turnaround he needs?


Moto3 Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Pedro ACOSTA KTM 95
2 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM 44
3 Andrea MIGNO Honda 42
4 Romano FENATI Husqvarna 40
5 Jaume MASIA KTM 39

MotoE

After a Round 1 with plenty of thrills and a couple of spills in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, it’s already time for the grid to head back out for another showdown, this time at Le Mans. Arriving ahead after his first electric victory is Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE), who turned consistent speed into an impressive Sunday charge, and the stage is set for Round 2 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France.

MotoE

Zaccone will definitely be on everyone’s radar after his impressive weekend at Jerez, but Le Mans could be a tougher one. Looking ahead to the round in the post-race Press Conference, the Italian explained that the Cup’s 2020 visit had been challenging with the mixed conditions really hampering those who, like him, had never ridden Le Mans before. With only six or seven laps in the bag before E-Pole and then the race, it was a tall order. So he’ll be pushing to keep that consistency, but who else will come out swinging?

2020 contender Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP), second in Jerez, will surely be at the front once again, and the Swiss rider has plenty of experience at the venue despite some bad luck last year in Race 1 and a fourth in Race 2. Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40), meanwhile, won the first MotoE race in France before a solid sixth on in Race 2 to take home the Cup. After starting the season on the podium he’ll be eager for more at what’s so far been a happy hunting ground in MotoE. Incredibly, he’s also the only rider on the grid returning this year who already has a podium at Le Mans in the series.

On the other side of the coin, Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) will be looking to bounce back. Once again the fastest man on track and putting on an impressive show in E-Pole, disaster struck for the Brazilian on race day as he slid out the lead. His speed was very much on show, however, so can Le Mans see him iron out the cracks? Last year it wasn’t his best venue, but consistent speed rather than lap records is what he’ll be looking for… so could his less dominant speed at Le Mans so far work to his advantage?

Just off the podium fight, Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) made a step in Jerez but will still be looking for more, as will 2019 Cup winner Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE), although the latter moved through from the back of the grid after exceeding track limits in E-Pole and took home sixth. That’s a good step as both work on getting more from the updated tyres for this season, and experience did shine on race day.

That said, the man who just pipped Ferrari to fifth was rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team). Pons, after some impressive performances in preseason, had a more muted first weekend until Sunday when he moved up to complete the top five and depose fellow debutant Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team) as top rookie. Can Aldeguer, who took a front row start before he and Lukas Tulovic (Tech 3 E-Racing) crashed out together in Jerez, hit back at Le Mans?

Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) put in a solid rookie race too in seventh and he’ll want more, ahead of a step forward from Andrea Mantovani (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) at Round 1. Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team) also made some progress, despite afterwards heading in for arm pump surgery. She beat Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac MotoE) by a tenth first time out, but Hernandez has some serious experience at the track, having been on the podium in the 24 hour race in 2019. That worked well for last year’s MotoE podium finishers Mike di Meglio and Josh Hook…


MotoE top five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Alessandro ZACCONE Energica 25
2 Dominique AEGERTER Energica 20
3 Jordi TORRES Energica 16
4 Mattia CASADEI Energica 13
5 Miquel PONS Energica 11

Source: MCNews.com.au