Karel Abraham

2015 Mugello Sunday MotoGP Round Up: False Starts, Italian Pride, And Honda's Predicament, Again

Mugello is always a little magical, but packed to the rafters with delirious fans, it becomes something greater than just a race track. Over 90,000 fans turned up in Tuscany on Sunday, up 20% from last year on the back of the renaissance of Valentino Rossi and of Ducati, complete with two Italian riders. Something special was always going to happen here.

It certainly did, but perhaps not in the way the fans had hoped. Valentino Rossi did not score the dream victory in front of the ecstatic yellow hordes which packed the hillsides, nor did Ducati finally get the elusive win they have been chasing since 2010. But the MotoGP was packed with excitement and incident, the Moto3 race was a typical Mugello classic, and even Moto2 had some tension down to the final lap. Those who came got their money's worth.

The MotoGP race may have ended much as you might have predicted based on pace in practice, but the journey to Jorge Lorenzo’s third utterly dominant win in a row was a lot more intriguing than the results suggest, with drama right from the start. Literally: Andrea Iannone made what looked at first glance like a jump start – though not as blatant as Karel Abraham's – and Marc Márquez threaded the needle from thirteenth on the grid to make up seven places before the exit of the first corner. And did so surgically and cleanly.

But first that Iannone start. So convinced that the Italian had jumped the gun were HRC that they sent someone up to Race Direction to complain that they were not doing their job. Race Director Mike Webb was able to show them that they were doing just that, by going through the footage. He explained to me the process: there are high-speed cameras on each row and on the lights, capturing the start at a rate of several hundred frames a second. After the start, a dedicated official responsible for all of the video reviews goes over the starts, and checks for a jump start. If one is spotted, such as Karel Abraham's lurch forward, then a penalty is issued. That must be done within the first four laps, to make it fairer on the offender.

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2015 Mugello Saturday Round Up: Of Marquez' Strategy Error, And A Topsy-Turvy Grid

Over the past two years, Marc Márquez and his team have proven to be a master of strategy. They have found a number of innovations, most notably the two-stop, three-run strategy during qualifying, and the bunny hop bike swap during flag-to-flag races. Santi Hernandez has earned his reputation as a brilliant crew chief, and as a strategist capable of finding advantages in places where other teams simply haven't thought of looking.

So for Márquez to first miss out on going straight to Q2, and then make a fatal error again in Q1 leaving him in thirteenth is frankly shocking. Two major blunders in one day is unlike Márquez' side of the Repsol Honda garage, and their worst mistake since Phillip Island in 2013, where they miscounted laps for the compulsory pit stop and Márquez found himself disqualified.

What caused them to mess up like this? Concern about the championship, and then a touch of hubris. Márquez spent FP3 working on set up for used tires, looking at pace later on in the race. That meant he had little time at the end of the session to push for a fast lap, and found himself bumped out of the top ten as the pace hotted up. He missed out on Q2 by a very narrow margin: just 0.009 separated him from Maverick Viñales in tenth, and less than a hundredth of a second from Bradley Smith in a very safe eighth spot.

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2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Post-Race Press Releases

Press releases from the teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's fascinating French Grand Prix:


Flawless French Finale for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo repeated his stunning performance from Jerez at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, taking his second consecutive victory. Teammate Valentino Rossi also rode a brilliant race at Le Mans and took second place, his fifth consecutive podium finish of the 2015 MotoGP season.

Le Mans (France), 17th May 2015

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2015 Le Mans MotoGP Saturday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Le Mans:


Marquez conquers 25th premier class pole with impressive 8th for Pedrosa

Today in qualifying for the GP of France, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez stormed to an impressive pole position – half a second faster than second place Dovizioso. His teammate, Dani Pedrosa, who has just returned back from injury, put in a valiant effort and earned himself and third row start for tomorrow’s 28 lap race.

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2015 Jerez Saturday MotoGP Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Jerez:


Lorenzo Stuns with Record Jerez Pole

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo again stamped his authority on the Jerez circuit today, setting a new pole position record and leaving everyone in his wake. Teammate Valentino Rossi qualified one row behind him, taking fifth.

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 2nd May 2015

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2015 Jerez MotoGP Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Jerez:


Positive day for injured Marquez in Spanish sunshine

Despite riding with a broken left little finger, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has had an optimistic first day in the GP of Spain finishing third in the combined times with teammate Hiroshi Aoyama placing 20th.

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2015 Argentina Sunday MotoGP Post-Race Press Releases

Press releases from the teams, Bridgestone and the circuit designer after Sunday's thrilling MotoGP race in Argentina:


Rossi Rules MotoGP‘s Argentine Adventure

Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 19th April 2015

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi ended his Argentine adventure in style today with a sensational victory in the Gran Premio de la República Argentina. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo started strongly as a key protagonist before dropping to finish in fifth.

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2015 Argentina Saturday MotoGP Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at the Termas de Rio Honda circuit in Argentina:


Marquez clinches breath-taking pole for Red Bull GP of Argentina

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has clinched his 24th MotoGP pole position – and second successive – for tomorrow’s twenty-five lap race in Argentina, with teammate Hiroshi Aoyama qualifying 15th.

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