05/03/2020 - Motorcycling, Moto GP, Gresini Racing, #29799715
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Golf in the garden, rehabilitation training, plans to get creative in the kitchen and a lot of quality time with his family. That’s Sam Lowes’ time in this period of social distancing.
How are you and how are you living this current situation?
The situation we’re going through on a global level is very complicated. We must be aware of it, listen to those who know about it and unite to overcome the difficult times we are going through. I am spending these weeks at home in England with my fiancée and my daughter. Fortunately, the three of us are fine and we are trying to make the most of this time together.
How is your day-to-day life?
I get up early because my shoulder doesn’t let me sleep much at all. My daughter (Kathryn) also wakes up early, so we play right away and have breakfast. Then I usually do stretching and recovery exercises for my shoulder. In England, we can go running once a day and I take the opportunity to do that. In the middle of the day we eat and relax a bit by watching TV. In the afternoon, I play with Kathryn in the garden where I also try to practice some golf! To finish the day I do some more exercises, especially to recover from my shoulder, have dinner and go to bed!
What is the best and worst of this current situation?
The best thing is that I am with my fiancée and my daughter and we can share quality time and peace of mind. Plus, I’m getting valuable extra man time. The worst thing, apart from the fact that I miss riding and Grand Prix racing, is that this crisis is about people’s health and we don’t know how or when it will be solved. Seeing people suffer with their health and being concerned for the health of their loved ones, with the added uncertainty of not knowing, is very hard.
Have you discovered any new skills at home these days?
The truth is that I am getting involved a lot in the housework and I am the best at making my fiancée’s morning coffee. I haven’t dared to go into the kitchen much yet, but it will be the next territory to be conquered! Let the kitchen tremble!
How’s your shoulder?
It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better. Every day I feel stronger and I’m getting more mobile. It still bothers me at night and it’s hard for me to sleep well, but the improvement is great. I needed some extra time to get it ready. I don’t like having it because of a situation like this, but I’m taking advantage of it and optimising it as much as I can to recover 100%.
How do you keep in shape in quarantine?
I’m training daily. I focus mainly on running for cardio and I also do general toning exercises and shoulder rehabilitation at home.
How difficult is it to stay focused and train without knowing your return date?
It is not easy to plan an optimal physical preparation without knowing the date for when we have to be 100% prepared and physically fit. I try to stay positive and stay in shape and when more details are known, we will get into it even more thoroughly. I am motivated, positive and focused on the things I can control. The most important thing is that we collectively beat the virus and overcome the pandemic to get back to normal. Once we do that we can focus on our passion and on racing again.
The start of the year has been doubly strange for you as you were unable to ride at all due to the injury…
The truth is, it’s all been strange both in pre-season and the season opener. The injury altered all the plans. I worked very hard to be able to get back on the bike in Qatar and I am partly happy because I made it. On Friday, I could ride and do more than 20 laps with a constant progression. I was excited with progress, but the pain in my shoulder and the good sense of the team made me realise that it wasn’t worth risking aggravating the injury in case of a fall. I won’t deny that I was angry and that I didn’t like watching the first race from the garage, but seen in perspective, we made the best decision.
And after the first Grand Prix, how do you see the season in Moto2?
This year the category will be tighter than ever. There are a lot of riders who have shown they can go very fast in the tests and at the first Grand Prix. To make a list of favourites at this moment is almost impossible. I am convinced that it will be an exciting season with many surprises and a big group of names fighting for the top positions. I’m looking forward to getting the season back on track and building up a solid base for the future.
Repsol Honda Team’s Alex Marquez managed to avoid the chaos around him to clinch an impressive victory on his MotoGP debut in Sunday’s first ever Virtual MotoGP Race. The inaugural #StayAtHomeGP was filled with thrills and spills as ten MotoGP riders put on a show to bring a little light relief and entertainment to a tougher time for many MotoGP fans around the world – with more than twenty households connected up behind-the-scenes to make it a reality.
Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo started the race from familiar territory after the Frenchman stormed to pole position in the five-minute qualifying session that preceded the race, a quarter of a second clear of Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia and over half a second clear of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales, who completed the front row.
It was then drama from the off as the lights went out, with polesitter Quartararo alongside Viñales, Alex Marquez and Bagnaia on the run into San Donato and the holeshot anyon’e guess. It was Quartararo who ultimately emerged ahead but he was clearly too late on the brakes when the front-end of his Yamaha M1 washed out from beneath him, incredibly and unfortunately taking out 2021 teammate Viñales in the process.
Alex Marquez and Bagnaia avoided the incident and were able to break clear, with reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) settling into third place after an attempted lunge up the inside by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir. Further back, Quartararo was fighting back through the field after his spill, up to fifth after getting the better of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and the rookie highsiding in spectacular style whilst trying to get back ahead of the Frenchman…
As the leading two crossed the start-finish line at the end of the opening lap there was absolutely nothing between them, having already swapped places, and paint, a good few times. Bagnaia would once again dive past Alex Marquez into Turn 1, but the Spaniard responded immediately after as the Italian ran wide.
Meanwhile, chaos was breaking out behind the leading two. Mir was the first to crash out after getting an almighty shunt from his teammate Rins, of all people, and Quartararo wasn’t too far behind, tucking the front at Turn 1 for the second lap in a row. However, the Frenchman respawned on track… before Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) then rode straight into him and the pair crashed out, dropping the polesitter even further down the order.
Onto Lap 3 and Alex Marquez was beginning to edge further and further clear of Bagnaia at the front, with the gap starting to stretch to over half a second. The Pramac rider wasn’t throwing in the towel just yet, however. Just behind them, Viñales was recovering well from his earlier incident and had Marc Marquez in his sights after taking advantage of a mistake from Rins to take fourth.
Alas, Viñales then crashed out after braking too late into Correntaio and running into the gravel trap, the factory Yamaha rider visibly annoyed at himself as he slapped his controller in fury. Seconds later though, Marc Marquez would have a crash of his own, allowing Viñales to blast back ahead of the Repsol Honda and into the final podium place.
As the pack filtered through to start the penultimate lap, the podium looked decided but there a battle heating up between Marc Marquez and Quartararo for fourth place. The first MM93 vs FQ20 fight of 2020 would unfold with the Frenchman coming out on top thanks to a move at Casanova-Savelli, despite Marquez throwing everything he had into Arrabbiata 1 as he tried to stop the Yamaha man breaking clear…
Back at the front, Alex Marquez kept his nerve on the final lap to take victory by over seven seconds, joined on the podium by Bagnaia and Viñales. Quartararo ended up fourth, despite setting the fastest lap of the race with his final lap, with Marc Marquez completing the top five. Rins came out on top in the battle of the Suzuki teammates after he took sixth, ahead of Mir in seventh, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Lecuona and Espargaro completing the top ten.
An incredible and historic #StayAtHomeGP had pretty much everything: crashes, clashes and a rookie taking the victory! The good news is we don’t have to wait long for the next Virtual MotoGP installment either, with a handful of other premier class stars getting their chance to shine in the coming weeks…
As announced on Tuesday, this weekend will see a MotoGP first: a Virtual Race. A star-studded line-up headed by the likes of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) will get back on track, this time virtually, in a special event played on the official MotoGP19 Videogame from videogame developer, publisher and longstanding partner Milestone.
The competitors will be taking on the stunning digital rendering of the Autodromo del Mugello and the race length is SIX laps. Before the race begins, a five-minute qualifying session in time-attack mode will decide grid positions.
The event will be broadcast in full on Sunday the 29th of March at 15:00 (GMT+2), with qualifying shown before the race. Fans can watch on motogp.com and esport.motogp.com, on selected TV broadcasters, and across social media platforms including YouTube (via the MotoGP and MotoGP eSport channels), MotoGP eSport Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (via both the MotoGP and MotoGP eSport pages).
Broadcasters will include SKY Italy, Canal+ in France, DAZN in Spain and DACHS, BT Sport in the UK, Servus in Austria and Germany, Eurosport in the Netherlands, OTE in Greece, SwissTV in Switzerland, Viasat in Sweden, Pop in Slovenia, SportTV in Portugal, Sport5 Israel, Sportklub in Serbia, MTV Finland, NBC in the USA and ESPN in Latin America, amongst others.
The riders will each be playing via a private “Race Direction” lobby, set up to invite each rider to the event – and send them the bike settings.
Repsol Honda Team: Marc Marquez, Alex Marquez
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP*: Maverick Viñales
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini: Aleix Espargaro
Team Suzuki Ecstar: Alex Rins, Joan Mir
Petronas Yamaha SRT: Fabio Quartararo
Red Bull KTM Tech 3: Iker Lecuona, Miguel Oliveira
Pramac Racing: Francesco Bagnaia
Make sure to stay tuned across social media platforms as the riders get ready to race and the countdown begins, with plenty in play on Sunday – not least a little pride, and the first win of the season so far!
For most, MotoGP is more than a sport, it’s a passion, and that can make a long break away from racing difficult for any fan. But with the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, the challenges many face at the moment far outweigh those of simply missing out on sport or entertainment. And that’s why MotoGP is putting everything at fans’ fingertips to try and add a little sunshine back into a difficult daily life – starting, but by no means ending, with a Virtual Race.
Soon, some of the sport’s biggest names – from Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and teammate Maverick Viñales to the likes of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – will be back in action, but this time online playing the official MotoGP videogame from developer Milestone. As the MotoGP eSport Championship powers on for 2020, there is no better time to see what they’ve got in virtual reality… and on Sunday, we will!
The track for the Virtual Race will be the stunning Autodromo del Mugello, with six laps around the digital rendition of one of the world’s greatest racetracks set to decide the first ever Virtual Race winner. And just before it gets underway, a five-minute qualifying time attack will decide the grid. The whole event, including qualifying, will be broadcast at 15:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday the 29th of March on motogp.com, esport.motogp.com and selected TV broadcasters, as well as across social media platforms including YouTube (via the MotoGP and MotoGP eSport channels), MotoGP eSport Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (via both the MotoGP and MotoGP eSport pages).
It doesn’t stop there. As well as the Virtual Race, fans can now enjoy a whole host more racing as motogp.com makes all content – from races to interviews to documentaries and everything in between – free to watch with a VideoPass trial that’s valid until racing starts again*. It includes the race archive stretching back to 1992 and up to the 2020 Qatar GP, giving fans chance to enjoy each and every moment in recent MotoGP history whenever they want.
All documentaries are also free, covering everything from Marc Marquez’ many glories to the likes of fellow World Champions Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, as well as the history of the sport. The first two episodes of Off the Racing Line are also available, focusing on life off-track for Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3).
Fan engagement and entertainment can also be found across social media platforms. MotoGP recently asked for fan art on Twitter to celebrate the creative, with some truly incredible talent shining through from across the globe using the hashtag #MotoGPArt – the best of which can be found in a virtual gallery HERE. There are also quizzes twice a week on Instagram stories, as well as plenty of content from both the Championship and riders on TikTok. New series on IGTV, Facebook and YouTube also keep the content coming, and MotoGP is also showing classic races on Facebook Live several times a week.
So as we wait for the sunshine to return, get in gear to enjoy some eSport competition and watch the likes of Rossi take on our Virtual Race. And then go back through the archives to re-watch everything you love and catch up on anything you’ve missed – and make sure to stay tuned to social media as we wait it out. Together.
*excluding France and Italy
With an ongoing international impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the following change has been made to the upcoming Assen round of the 2020 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship calendar.
The FIM, Circuit Officials & Dorna WSBK Organization have announced that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Pirelli Dutch Round will be rescheduled.
Pirelli Dutch Round (previously 17th – 19th April) rescheduled for 21st – 23rd August.
FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization are continuously working with Circuits and Government Officials following up the situation in each country and will inform accordingly if there are further changes to the 2020 Calendar.
With ongoing external factors of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the following changes have been made to the 2020 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship calendar.
The FIM, Circuit Officials & Dorna WSBK Organization has announced that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the following changes are to be made regarding the 2020 WorldSBK Calendar, with rounds being rescheduled to later dates.
• Pirelli Spanish Round (previously 27th – 29th March) rescheduled for 23rd – 25th October.
• Pirelli French Round* (previously 25th – 27th September) rescheduled 2nd – 4th October.
The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization are working extensively with Circuits and Government Officials following up the situation in each country and will inform accordingly in due course if there are further changes to the 2020 Calendar.
Further updates to follow soon.
*With support and agreement of the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the Pirelli French Round will be postponed 1 week to avoid clashes with newly published MotoGP calendar (10th March), in order to maximise the coverage of the event.
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports has announced the postponement of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, which was set to take place from the 17th to the 19th of April. Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the event has been rescheduled for later in the season and will now take place from the 20th to the 22nd of November.
The Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana will therefore now be held from the 27th to the 29th of November.
The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas retains its new date from the 13th to the 15th of November, a week before the rescheduled Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina.
Following these schedule changes, the 2020 MotoGP class season is now set to begin with the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto from the 1st to the 3rd of May 2020.
Dates for the Moto2 and Moto3 test in Valencia and the MotoGP test in Jerez at the end of the year will be decided once the season is underway.