Photos

Wed, 2018-08-08 14:37
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No closing the lid on Pandora's box. Ducati debuted a new aero package at Brno. Expect more updates next year.


Dark days for Maverick Viñales


The Doctor is still In, and will be for the foreseeable future. But they need to fix tire wear


Cal Crutchlow went a long way at Brno, but lost the two with five to go


Meet the New Improved Jorge Lorenzo, who has finally got his head around the Ducati


A lot of data left to analyze for Kouji Tsuya, Yamaha MotoGP project leader


It's amazing what you can do with a leaf blower, a 3D printer, and a little ingenuity


Johann Zarco was near his old self at Brno. His relationship with former manager Laurent Fellon has been mostly patched up


Even helmets get hot at Brno


Desmo Dovi is dangerous at Brno


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Tue, 2018-07-31 12:42
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Endurance starts: sprint across a track, jump onto a bike and race off among 50+ other bikes. Nerves of steel required


Kawasaki vs Yamaha, Rea vs Van der Mark - the battle we were all expecting


Leon Haslam, waiting


Jonathan Rea, waiting


PJ Jacobsen, waiting


Michael van der Mark, waiting. Endurance racing is hours of waiting punctuated by an hour of excitement


Endurance starts - even more terrifying in the wet


Honda got beaten at their home track again. HRC will have to up their game again in 2019


Nightfall


Bradley Ray shaking up a storm in BSB, making an impression at Suzuka


The key to endurance racing: trying to pace yourself at the limit for 8 hours or more


Some are better at it than others, of course


Why put yourself through all that torture? For this: Michael van der Mark celebrates Yamaha's 4th straight victory with Katsuyuki Nakasuga


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Sat, 2018-07-28 21:00
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Jonathan Rea - Can the King of WorldSBK become the King of Suzuka?


Takumi Takahashi leads a Japanese Red Bull Honda effort


Suzuka is light and darkness - Alex Lowes is defending Yamaha's crown


Ant West will race anything, anywhere, so naturally, he's racing at Suzuka


Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda is getting his chance to represent for Hamamatsu


Domi Aegerter giving the Musashi Honda a handful


Michael Laverty has brought a BMW and Christian Iddon to Suzuka


An American in Japan: Moto2 rider Joe Roberts is racing a Suzuki for Team Kagayama USA


Leon Haslam is practicing for 2019 by being Jonathan Rea's teammate at Suzuka


Mr Rea, taking things seriously


And Mr Lowes, wondering how to stop Mr Rea


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Fri, 2018-07-27 11:51
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Suzuka is a race with a rich history and a full factory effort from Honda for the first time years is a real sign of the ever increasing importance of this race once again. Honda had trusted the efforts of supported teams in the past but now they're back and it's a full-fat Fireblade that's in action this weekend. It will take a lot to beat the Yamaha's but this is a good starting point


Sylvain Guintoli is back in action this weekend for the Yoshimura Suzuki squad and the former WorldSBK champion is keen to show exactly how much potential the bike has. A second lap crash cost the team any opportunity of success in 2017 but the bike will be fast once again


Bradley Ray has struggled in recent BSB rounds with grip issues. Armed with Bridgestone tyres this weekend he'll be keen to prove his speed to the Japanese bosses


The Number 21 Yamaha R1 has dominated recent years at the 8 Hours but they'll be under pressure this year. Honda is back with a full factory team, Kawasaki is back with Jonathan Rea and a handful of KRT WorldSBK bigwigs and the Yoshimura Suzuki has already proved to be a one-lap threat


Randy de Puniet has been moved to the Pro-Harc squad and he's certainly not afraid of sliding his Honda Fireblade through the Dunlop Curve!


It's been 20 years since Yukio Kagayama made his 500GP debut but at Suzuka he's still a big draw.


American PJ Jacobsen was elevated to the Red Bull Honda seat vacated by the injured Leon Camier. He'll be out to prove his speed but alongside two factory HRC riders he's been behind on seat time thus far.


Time to towel down! Takakki Nagagami feels the burn in qualifying


Alex Lowes does his best to tend to the grass while out on track on the Number 21 Yamaha


Michael van der Mark looks into the light as he prepares for qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours


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Sat, 2018-05-12 21:58
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Mirco Lazzari unveiled an exhibition of 69 photographs to remember Nicky Hayden at the Imola WorldSBK round

Mirco Lazzari at the Nicky Hayden exhbition

An exhibition of Nicky Hayden photographs by the Italian photographer Mirco Lazzari opened during the Imola WorldSBK round, aptly named A Million Dollar Smile. With 69 photographs depicting the American's international career, it provided a reminder to fans of what made the Kentucky Kid so popular.

For Lazzari, the challenge of finding the correct pictures was a trying time, with weeks spent to ensure he struck the right chord as the first anniversary of Hayden's death approaches.

“I wanted to create an exhibition for Nicky, and it was very emotional because Nicky was a rider that gave all of us a lot of emotions,” said Lazzari. “He meant a lot to so many fans and to the sport, so I wanted to do this exhibition because he is missed by so many people. There are 69 pictures and it was very difficult to cut the list down to the chosen pictures! I had originally planned on having 25 or 30 pictures, but when it was said to do 69 it felt right. It's difficult to find so many pictures, but I had a lot of help to choose the correct ones and these 69 pictures are all very special to me. I started working in MotoGP in 2002, and was at almost every race of Nicky's MotoGP career – I only missed some races due to a motorcycle accident one year.”

The exhibition came about as a result of the close collaboration between Lazzari, Nikon Italia and the Imola circuit, and it will remain open until June 10th. For Lazzari, this was one of the most difficult exhibitions of his career due to the pressure that he felt, as he wanted to showcase Hayden's sense of humor as much as his racing prowess.

“Every exhibition is emotional for me because you have to work so hard, but this one was the most difficult for me. It's not just about finding nice photos for this exhibition, it's the emotion that you feel for a person like Nicky. As I went through the pictures, the moment of taking each one came to my mind. I hope that everyone can understand that this exhibition is about Nicky and not about me. I'm very lucky to have been able to do this, and the comments from the people means so much to me.”

The sense of responsibility wasn’t lost on Lazzari, the Italian has attended almost every MotoGP race for the last 16 years and has worked in motorsports for over two decades.

“I love motorsport and even though I worked in Formula 1 before this, I've always loved motorcycles because the photographs can be so special. The ambiance in MotoGP is more in line with my personality, and for this reason I have always loved to work in motorcycle paddocks - the bikes and riders are unbelievable for a photographer. In this exhibition the bike is important, but not as important as the person. I much prefer to take an artistic picture rather than just to shoot the race, the photograph should show the emotions that you have for the sport.”

This is just one of many tributes to a rider that meant so much to so many. The Nicky Hayden memorial garden in Misano is set to be opened on the anniversary of his passing, and Hayden's hometown of Owensboro will unveil a statue of its famous son on June 9th (6/9) and declare the day Nicky Hayden Day for the #69.

Wed, 2018-03-28 16:25
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At the Qatar Grand Prix MotoMatters.com sat down with Jack Miller to talk about life lessons and how much his life has changed since claiming his first Grand Prix victory in the desert four years ago.

Jack Miller on the grid at Qatar

Jack Miller poses questions unlike any other racer in MotoGP. Over the last three years the Australian has seen every side of racing. He's gone from being the protégé of HRC fast tracked into MotoGP, to being discarded by them as quickly as he was chosen. Miller was a constant paradox for the paddock during the early steps of his MotoGP adventure.

He was Charlie Bucket handed the golden ticket to the HRC factory, but instead of it being the childhood dream it turned out to be a double-edged sword. In Wonka's World children faced morality tests, and in Miller's World he faced tests of his will. It took Miller time to learn the ways of the world in the premier class, but by the midpoint of his rookie campaign he was certainly showing his promise once again.

Ultimately Miller didn't end up with the keys of the Honda factory but he did end up with his future in his own hands and the opportunity to prove his worth to Ducati.

Jumping straight from Moto3 to MotoGP was a step that allowed Miller to emulate only a handful of riders. The likes of Garry McCoy and Leon Haslam both went from lightweight to premier class in an instant but not with the might of Honda behind them. It placed huge pressure on his shoulders but looking back Miller wouldn't have had it any other way.

School of hard knocks

“There's been a lot of lessons since 2014,” smiled Miller when asked about his whirlwind to the top. “I came into MotoGP as a guy that people talked about as being a risk, but it's been OK. When Honda called I knew that opportunities like these don't come around all the time. They're presented when you show your talent and your potential. You need to prove that you're worth it and I'm proud of the steps that we've made. Having a GP win is obviously nice, but being able to say that I'm an established MotoGP rider that had a three year contract and followed it up with another contract is nice.

“I think that I've proved everyone wrong now, but I knew at the time that having that target on my back was also a motivation. It is hard when you go home and read on the Internet people saying it was a career-ending move, but I've come out the other end of it. I'm still in MotoGP and fighting and getting stronger. I feel good at the moment and the next goal is to become a factory rider in the future. The only way to get that is to become the top satellite rider but I know that won't be easy. The field is so competitive now but I know that if I keep working harder and harder that I can make it happen.”


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Tue, 2018-02-20 22:59
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Master & Pupil - Jonathan Rea shows Toprak Razgatlioglu the way around Phillip Island


PJ Jacobsen moves up to WorldSBK, and is testing the Magneti Marelli electronics ahead of the Ten Kate team


Chaz Davies has some catching up to do


Anything PJ can do, Leon can do too


Xavi Fores puts the hammer down


Meet the wildcards. The name is on the backdrop


Kenan Sofuoglu has not made much of a mark yet at PI. But it isn't Sunday yet


And Troy Herfoss makes it three Fireblade wheelies


What Chaz Davies hopes Jonathan Rea will mainly be seeing this season.


Jake Gagne faces a steep learning curve


#1


The Man In Black


#2


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If you'd like a print of one of Andrew Gosling's shots, then send Andrew an email and he'll be happy to help.

Mon, 2018-02-19 18:01
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Phillip Island feels like a Ducati track. Marco Melandri agreed on Monday


Leon Camier hopes to revive Honda's fortunes in WorldSBK. So far, so good


Not the best of starts to the test for Jonathan Rea. Still third fastest, despite the highside


The brains of the operation


Aussie veteran Wayne Maxwell is still posting respectable times among the WorldSBK crowd


Tom Sykes' first objective? To beat the other side of the garage


Back to WorldSBK for Loris Baz, after a solid few years in MotoGP


Hot headers


Lucas Mahias: looks like a boxer, rides like the wind, wears a pink helmet. Any questions?


The Orange Menace: Luke Stapleford caused a bit of a stir on the Triumph 675 on Monday, finishing 3rd in WorldSSP


An American back in WorldSBK: Jake Gagne has big shoes to fill in the Red Bull Honda team


Peekaboo, Mr West


High hopes for the Pata Yamaha team, though Alex Lowes finished just 8th on Monday


Tom Toparis, wildcarding at his home round, on the Kawasaki ZX-6RR


Two-time ASBK champ Troy Herfoss demonstrating the Universal Racer Sign Language for "the front keeps wanting to wash out"


Daniel Falzon, teammate to Wayne Maxwell, and another Australian at the test


Built for speed, not for comfort


One of Xavi Fores' mechanics demonstrates the artisanal craft of tie-wrapping


Kenan Sofuoglu lost his WorldSSP title last year. Can he get it back in 2018?


Behold the steed of His Chazness


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Fri, 2018-02-09 10:01
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For most riders age is just a number, but for Loris Baz it's also a virtue. Despite already having six years' experience in world championship racing, the Frenchman returns to WorldSBK as one of the youngest riders in the field

Loris Baz on the Althea Ducati at the Portimao January test in 2018

When Loris Baz first raced in WorldSBK he was one of the rawest prospects on the grid. For Pere Riba, his former crew chief, he was a rough diamond that could be molded into a star. Three years working with the Spaniard turned Baz into a race winner. Three years in MotoGP turned him into a much more complete package, and returning to WorldSBK for 2018 Baz feels primed to show his true potential.

“When you ride with the best guys in the world in MotoGP on a bike that's a bit older you improve a lot,” reflected Baz. “You are always trying to find solutions and find some extra speed. That experience from MotoGP has definitely made me a much better rider and if I had this experience when I was racing in WorldSBK I would have been winning races.

“When I left WorldSBK in 2014 I was already fighting at the front in every race and I've only gotten better since then. Obviously the class has also changed since I was last racing in WorldSBK and it's clear that Johnny and Chaz are riding really well but they were already great riders in 2014. I definitely think that I can fight with them in the future.”

Baz Battles Beemers

Fighting for wins and podiums won't come easy for Baz in 2018. With the Althea continuing to use the BMW S1000RR Baz will face the unenviable task of trying to get the most out of a notoriously difficult package. The German marque hasn't had a podium finish since 2013, but Baz feels that it has some potential.

“The base of the BMW is actually quite good. I think that everyone wants the Kawasaki or Ducati because they're in front, but the BMW can definitely get closer to them. We know that we've got a lot of work to do and we could do with some help from BMW to do this. The front end of this bike feels good though and straight away in November it gave me confidence. The electronics are the biggest area that we can improve on.”

Loris Baz pulling a wheelie on the Althea BMW at the January Jerez WorldSBK test in 2018

Electronics have always been the bugbear of this machine. The operating window is very narrow but when it finds the sweet spot the bike can certainly surprise. One of the biggest surprises for the Althea team came early in the negotiation period when the team realized that despite his experience, Baz has only just turned 25 years old.

“It was funny when I started talking to Genesio Bevilacqua and Althea because he was surprised that I wasn't 27 or 28! I'm still young and to have three years' experience in both Superbike and MotoGP is really important, and the experience that comes from racing at that level is important for this year. I always said when I went to MotoGP that there'd be time for me to come back to WorldSBK and still be able to win.

“Winning is the ultimate target but for this year though is just to close the gap to the front. Last year the gap from Kawasaki to BMW was too big. As the only BMW rider on the grid my feedback will be even more important that usual for improving the bike. I want us to get on the podium this year and to be in the top five in Australia. Winning races is the goal but you need to take things step by step throughout the season.”


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Wed, 2018-02-07 13:58
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No team has undergone more change than Ten Kate Honda this winter. With a new team manager and rider line-up will they have a change of fortunes?

It's hard to imagine a more tumultuous season than the one Ten Kate went through in 2017. On and off the track the team faced incredible challenges. The death of Nicky Hayden robbed the team of their leader and hindered the developed of a troubled bike. They had a season unlike any other and the winter has seen them make drastic changes for the 2018 WorldSBK season.

The introduction of the new Fireblade was supposed to be a game changer rather than a headache. A season that saw a best finish of seventh illustrated the task ahead of the team and wholesale changes have been made for 2018. Kervin Bos has been promoted to team manager, and Leon Camier has been brought in to lead the team as a rider.

For Bos, a long-time Ten Kate employee and former rider, the challenge is huge. The 30 year old replaces Ronald ten Kate, and inevitably with any change of management, the vision and direction of the team also changes.

“I'm really excited to get started,” said Bos. “It's going to be difficult because we've had a big change to the structure in Ten Kate. Ronald ten Kate will look after the 'big picture' of the company. In terms of the race team we will change the structure. The technical side of the team will be split into three departments. We will have the tuning department, chassis department and R&D all working together instead of one person giving them direction.

“I will be working with the technical areas to help organize the race team. It's very different to the past because in the past Pieter Breddels decided on everything on his own. Now we have three people working with me to organize everything. Our goal is to get back on the podium this year and over the next few years is to get back into the top three and to fight for the championship again.”

The weight of expectation

To aid that fight for podiums the team hired Camier. The Englishman has rebuilt his reputation in recent years. Having been left high and dry in 2014 he turned a variety of substitute appearances into an MV Agusta ride. Despite not registering a podium finish for the Italian marque the progress the team made was due to Camier's ability to lead their development. That will be key for Honda and something that he is excited about.

“It's not easy to win in WorldSBK but even after just six days on the bike we've already making progress,” said Camier. “It's still a very new bike whereas with the MV it's an older bike. I'm hopeful that the Honda can be a more consistent package and can help me to deliver podiums and hopefully a win. It's difficult to know the potential of the Honda because of everything that happened last year.

“It was still early in the development when Nicky had his accident, and it was hard to judge with Stefan because, from the outside, it seemed that Nicky was leading the development. Once you lose that leadership, the program seemed to lose it's way. We'll see in Australia and then Thailand and then the rest of the season what our development is like. It's difficult to know what to expect just yet.”

Red leader

While Camier may not be sure when fortunes will improve his team manager is convinced that he's seen enough this winter to know that he is the man to lead the team.

“Leon is already fast,” smiled Bos. “His pace is consistent and he's been fast on the qualifying tire too. He's been able to join the team and fit in well. His approach is actually very similar to Nicky's approach. He's hard working and honest. He has a clear opinion about what he wants and works hard to get what he feels he needs. It's great to work with riders that know what they want but also know how to get the team to that point it's always good. If you look at the progress made this winter it's already been huge. There'll be pressure next year on all of us but I think that we can surprise some people.”

Having been able to fly under the radar in recent years Camier knows that he now needs to deliver. Riding for big name brands brings with it big-time responsibility.

“There's more pressure on my shoulders this year because the expectation changes when you go to Honda and have support from Red Bull. That being said, nothing changes for me because I'll be doing everything I can to help drive this project forward. Hopefully that'll be enough to get some decent results but all I can do is give it everything I have.

“We've still got work to do learn this bike because with this bike it's very different to the MV. I still need to understand how to find the right balance. If you have too much weight on the rear the front is good but it doesn't turn. If you overload the front you can start to get some bouncing from the front. When the weight is on the rear you've got grip, when it's on the front you've got none. It's difficult to find the way to balance the bike but we're getting better.”

One of the keys for further improvement should be the electronics package. While Cosworth has been used throughout winter testing, due to a shortage of parts, it is expected that the team will make a switch to Magneti Marelli. In a winter of huge upheaval that could be the most significant change the team make.


Gathering the background information for long articles such as these is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, buying the beautiful MotoMatters.com 2017 racing calendar, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page.

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