February 2018

2018 Phillip Island WorldSBK: What we saw in Australia - A recap of Phillip Island

The opening round of the 2018 WorldSBK season is in the books and certainly provided us with plenty of excitement and plenty to talk about.

New schedule:

The 2018 season will see three free practice sessions on Fridays, and from the outset we saw the benefit of this schedule. In the past, if a rider crashed or had a technical problem on Friday it severely hampered their weekend. Any time lost was magnified because you could easily lose 60 minutes of track time. The new schedule sees three 40 minute session, to ensure the riders have the same amount track time. A crash on his out lap in FP2 saw Alex Lowes miss the entire session and while the loss of track time hampered the Englishman, getting out in FP3 allowed him to set a time good enough for entry into Superpole 2. The schedule will also allow riders to use Friday afternoon for a race simulation, whereas in the past this was harder to achieve.

Back to top

Kalex Rolls Out First Triumph-Engined Moto2 Prototype At Valencia

At the private Valencia Moto2 test held on Monday and Tuesday, Kalex rolled out the first version of its chassis to be used with the Triumph 765 engine in Moto2 in 2019. Swiss rider Jesko Raffin is currently working as test rider for Kalex. The German engineering firm issued the following press release after the test:


SUCCESSFUL FIRST ROLLOUT OF THE 2019 KALEX TRIUMPH MACHINE

Kalex Moto2 bike with a Triumph engine at Valencia, with the Kalex engineering firm

Back to top

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How ominous is Márquez's preseason pace?

Honda had a poor preseason in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but this time it looks like Marquez, Pedrosa and Crutchlow are in seriously good shape

During the last few seasons Honda has struggled through preseason testing and launched into the new season with distinctly unimpressive results at the season-opening race. And yet last year and the year before Marc Márquez turned things around to win the championship.

So far, this year is very different: Honda was the dominant force at the first two tests, showing super-fast race pace and taking two of the top three positions at Sepang and three of the top four positions at Chang in Thailand.

Back to top

Subscriber Interview: Alex Rins On Why He Races, What He Learned In 2017, And Being Compared To A Giraffe

The life of a motorcycle racer is not always a glamorous one. On Saturday, Suzuki ECSTAR rider Alex Rins got up at 3:15am, drove the two-and-a-half hours from his home to Barcelona airport to catch a 7am flight, then slept for a couple of hours on the plane to Amsterdam. From there, he was driven to Utrecht, to make an appearance at the Motorbeurs Utrecht, the traditional opening of the motorcycle season in The Netherlands.

In Utrecht, Rins was interviewed on the Suzuki stand, signed autographs, and posed for photos with fans. After a quick lunch, he did the fan meet-and-greet experience again, before heading back to Schiphol airport and a 5pm flight back to Barcelona, to arrive back home an hour or so before midnight. In Utrecht, in between meeting the fans and appearing on the Suzuki stand, he found time for a couple of interviews.

Though he does not relish days like this, he remained cheerful throughout, meeting the day's events with a quiet and relaxed calm, and without complaint. "It's work," he shrugged when asked about such a long day, a day on which he could have been training to prepare for the upcoming season. There was never a hint of irritation or frustration, he smiled, waved, and greeted fans and familiar faces with a friendly and professional demeanor.

A winning record

It is perhaps that calmness that explains his success in motorcycle racing. An open and positive approach, coupled with a keen intelligence, are the hallmark of all great racers. Rins has yet to win a Grand Prix championship – he was runner up in Moto3 in 2013, and in Moto2 in 2016 – but he has achieved that other mark of being exceptional: podiums and victories in (almost) every year he has been in Grand Prix.

Back to top

Marc Marquez Signs On For Two More Years With Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez has become the third rider to sign a new contract for the coming season. Today, HRC announced that the reigning world champion will be staying with the Repsol Honda team for two more years, for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The news doses not come as a surprise, despite recent comments by Marquez that he was open to listening to offers from other factories. Marquez is very happy with Honda, and at this point in his career, his main ambition is to keep winning races and championships. He has proven that he is capable of doing that with Honda.

The improvement in the Honda RC213V may also have factored into his decision to sign now. Throughout winter testing, the Honda riders have been much more positive in their comments than they have been in previous years. Marquez has been both very fast and very comfortable in winter testing, his long runs an indication of just how fast he is, even in race trim. With Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow also quick on the bike, the RC213V looks like being extremely competitive this year.

Marquez is the third rider to sign a new contract before the season has even begun. Maverick Viñales announced that he would be back with Yamaha for two more years at the Movistar Yamaha team launch, before he had even swung a leg over the bike, and Ducati announced they had signed Pecco Bagnaia to the Pramac team for two years before the Italian has even started his second year in MotoGP.

Back to top

2018 Philip Island World Superbike Race Two Results: Zero Tyre Strategy Required

The tyre problems of Saturday brought in a mandatory flag-to-flag race, with riders having to change tyres in the middle of the twenty-two lap race, on lap ten, eleven or twelve. The reverse grid is still being used, for some inexplicable reason as it had no effect last year, putting the fourth-placed rider from race one into pole position. 

Race Two didn't introduce any changes to the rev limits, the limits aren't introduced until three weekends have taken place, so everyone is still on 3.3% above the rev limit of the road bike. Georgia Flood, the anthem singer, served as a windsock as she sang, showing the wind was still coursing along the start/finish straight as a headwind, increasing the advantage of a slipstream. 

Back to top

2018 Philip Island World Supersport Race Results: Flag-to-Flag, Red Lap, Sprint Race, Oh my.

The first World Supersport race of the year opens with some controversy before the race even starts, with four riders getting penalised three places for unsafe riding. During qualifying, Federico Caricasulo, Sandro Cortese, Raffaele De Rosa and Jules Cluzel were all deemed to have ridden unsafely in qualifying, slowing down at inopportune times to deal with rivals trying for a tow. 

To make matters worse, with tyre problems causing issues, the race has been shortened to just sixteen laps with a mandatory pitstop on lap seven, eight or nine for a new tyre. Without a second bike, this will require every one of the twenty-two riders to get their rear wheel removed and replaced.

Back to top

Pages