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Day 2 of the KymiRing test is now done and dusted for MotoGP manufacturers’ test teams, with better weather early on Tuesday allowing everyone some dry track time and with it, a new – although unofficial – fastest lap of the venue. That fastest lap was set by Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith, who put in a 1:47.540 to top the timesheets before action was cut a little short as the weather closed back in.
Whilst it stayed dry and sunny earlier in the day, Honda test rider Stefan Bradl bounced back from a crash midway through yesterday to end the test second quickest, 0.324 behind Smith. After using a ‘salad box’ yesterday, Bradl’s RC213V was seen without it for the entirety of Tuesday’s track time.
Ducati’s Michele Pirro, meanwhile, had an eventful day on Tuesday but it ended in him finishing the test third quickest. The Italian was the only faller after a crash at Turn 11, rider ok, and Pirro was then later seen testing a larger ‘salad box’ than was spotted yesterday – that’s as well as a modified aero fairing that broke cover. Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli, fresh from being announced as Joan Mir’s replacement for the British Grand Prix, ended the day just over a tenth adrift of Pirro in fourth.
KTM’s Mika Kallio was again the first rider out on track on Tuesday to the delight of the Finnish fans in attendance, and he completed the most laps of the day: an apt 36. Yamaha’s Jonas Folger was just a tenth behind Kallio, with all six riders separated by just over a second and a half.
That’s it from the second and final day of testing in Finland, with data gathered for both Michelin and the factories alike and work now continuing to prepare for the track’s future debut on the MotoGP calendar .
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Michelin is taking its first overseas trip since April as the 2019 MotoGP World Championship heads away from mainland Europe and over the English Channel for a date with the newly resurfaced Silverstone Circuit in England and the GoPro British Grand Prix.
This will be another new challenge for the French tyre company as it travels to a circuit with completely fresh asphalt for the second year in succession, armed with very little information as no tests were able to be carried out prior to the forthcoming race weekend. The 5,900m circuit – the longest and one of the fastest on the calendar – in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside, was completely resurfaced last year, but issues with drainage following heavy rain on race day in 2018 caused the cancellation of the race and the subsequent laying of another new surface. To combat the latest asphalt, Michelin named a range of four front and four rear slick tyres during the pre-season allocation, which is allowed within the rules of MotoGP if a circuit has not been tested on. This range will see soft, medium and two versions of hard compound for both the front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks. The front medium and hard compounds will be symmetric, whilst the front soft and all the rears will be asymmetric with a harder right-hand-side to manage the 10 corners that travel in that direction and although there are 8 lefts making the design of the circuit almost symmetric, there is more stress put on the right side of the tyre so the harder rubber is needed to give optimum performance.
As was demonstrated last season, wet weather can be expected at any time during a British summer, so the range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres could be called into operation at any moment during the weekend. The allocation will feature symmetric soft and medium front tyres, with asymmetric soft and medium rears with the harder right-hand-side like their slick counterparts.
Michelin will get its first taste of the new Silverstone circuit on Friday 23rd August when the MotoGP field will take to the track for the two Free Practice sessions. Saturday will have more practices before the excitement of Qualifying takes centre stage as the riders aim for the best grid positions for the 20-lap race. Sunday’s schedule will have a different running order and timetable to usual, with the main event preceding Moto2 this weekend and getting underway at 13.00hrs local time (14.00hrs CEST, 12.00hrs GMT/UST) on Sunday 25th August.
Silverstone will also see the now traditional staging of the ‘Day of Champions’ on the Thursday before the race weekend. This is where riders give their time and items of memorabilia to be auctioned live on stage in a specially prepared area to raise money for an important charity. Michelin will again be supplying a replica MotoGP tyre which will be signed by all the riders and then auctioned on the day, for more information on this event and the charity involved and its work visit www.twowheelsforlife.org
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“It was a huge disappointment for all involved with what happened last year at Silverstone, but the circuit has done a good job and had it totally resurfaced, but this means we are heading there with no knowledge of how the surface will actually perform. The range of tyres that we have selected is based on data supplied to us from the company that laid the asphalt, so we have some information of what types of stones and other materials have been used to make up the surface. It is always a challenge to go somewhere we haven’t tested at; this is why we had it placed in the rules that we could take four tyres to give the riders every opportunity to find the best compound for them and their bike. We are confident with our allocation and are looking forward to see how the new surface behaves, we have initial good reports, but want to experience it for ourselves, and of course we are certainly hoping for good weather, but we are going to England so who knows what will happen!”
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After a full gas back-to-back, MotoGP has headed north for a two-day test to inaugurate the new KymiRing in Finland on the 19th and 20th of August. All six manufacturers’ Test Teams have now arrived at the northernmost track on this year’s itinerary to get acquainted with the new venue ahead of its planned inclusion on the MotoGP calendar.
During the test, the track will be open from 10:00 to 17:00 local time (GMT +3), with a final slot from 17:00 to 18:00 for local heroes to take to the track for some laps of their new World Championship venue.
2011 Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl is on test duty for Honda, with test rider and ever-impressive wildcard performer Michele Pirro on track for Ducati. Former WorldSBK Champion Sylvain Guintoli represents Suzuki, with premier class podium finisher and recent Moto2 runner Jonas Folger putting the laps in for Yamaha.
Local hero Mika Kallio will be on track for KTM as he gets a first taste of his new home track, with the high calibre line-up completed by Bradley Smith testing for Aprilia, fresh from making a little history as a podium finisher in the opening two races for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup – and ahead of his Moto2 appearance at Silverstone.
On Sunday the six riders walked and studied the track with their teams ahead of getting on the asphalt on two wheels on Monday, before later lining up for the first photo opportunity at the brand new track. With the kerbs flying the colors of the Finnish flag and the background a stunning slew of giant conifer trees and clear northern summer skies, it was a moment to remember for the track.
The test will also include two press conferences. On Monday at 13:00 representatives from the FIM, Dorna and local authorities will talk to the media, with FIM President Jorge Viegas, Timo Pohjola, KymiRing Circuit Director, Tapio Nevala, President of the Finnish Motorcycle Federation, Aki Ajo from Ajo Motorsport, and Carlos Ezpeleta, Sporting Director from Dorna Sports all present.
On Monday evening at 18:00, the six riders will then take part in a second press conference to give their first impressions of the track.
The post MotoGP KymiRing test ready for lift off in Finland appeared first on MotoGP Brits.
Do not adjust your set: that was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) slicing past Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) at the final corner as the Italian turned the tables on the reigning Champion, the hunted turning hunter to keep Ducati’s 100% winning record at the Red Bull Ring intact. After all-out war in Austria, ‘DesmoDovi’ became the first repeat winner since the venue’s return to the calendar in 2016, with the gloves coming off early as a vintage Dovi vs Marquez duel lit up the Red Bull Ring. The Italian has won most of them, but in Spielberg he didn’t play defence. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completed the podium after another impressive ride from the rookie, equalling Yamaha’s best result at the track.
Polesitter Marquez was lightning off the start but so was Dovizioso as the two pre-race favourites headed into Turn 1 already locked together, despite Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) heading in slightly hot and almost clipping the number 4 Ducati ahead of him. But all’s well that ends well and this was just the beginning, with the Italian and Spaniard even making slight contact on the run into Turn 3 at 300km/h. Marquez was on the inside and Dovi on the outside, but the number 93 went in hot and ran wide, the Ducati then also forced to sit up. That let Quartararo sweep through to lead, with Miller and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins then also pouncing on the exit and Marquez having another wobble as he gassed it to try and slot back into the pack.
Dovizioso was behind Marquez after the shuffle, but he was back past into Turn 4 as Quartararo started putting the hammer down in the lead. The Frenchman was 0.5 ahead onto Lap 2, but Dovizioso and Marquez started to make up ground as they recovered from a frantic opening lap. Dovi was soon back up to second, with Miller holding off Marquez – for the time being – and fast-starting Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) not far off, ‘The Doctor’ climbing his way up to fifth from P10 in the opening exchanges and initially in the battle for the podium.
Before long, Marquez had dispatched Miller and the top three started to edge away from the number 43, Rossi and Rins. Then on Lap 7, Quartararo was under serious attack: Dovizioso blasted past into the lead, before Marquez shot past the Yamaha moments later. The two were back in front, and the duel was just getting started.
The pin wasn’t yet pulled, however, with the top five remaining within a second and a half before heartbreak struck for Miller as the Australian slid out at Turn 9. Just metres ahead on track, Marquez struck for the lead at the final corner, too, and then the duo started to pull clear. Not by a massive margin each lap, but Quartararo couldn’t match the pace of the Ducati and Honda as another almighty Austrian battle started to take shape.
Marquez threatened to stretch away but the gap didn’t rise above 0.4 seconds, with the number 93 strong in the first half of the lap and Dovizioso the stronger in the second part. The laps ticked by and there was nothing between them, Dovizioso shadowing the reigning Champion. Then, out of nowhere, a move was made with nine to go. Dovizioso powered alongside Marquez, and the number 93 even looked across at the Italian heading into Turn 1. But the Ducati made the pass stick and it was now the 2017 Austrian GP winner in control.
Tensions were bubbling to boiling point for the next five laps, with Marquez trailing Dovi by 0.1, 0.2. The question was not if, but when and where. Then, with three to go, we found out. Turn 7 was the unlikely location as Marquez stuck it underneath Dovizioso to take back the lead, and it settled back into strategic chess until Turn 1 on the penultimate lap as the number 04 went for it. Could he make it stick? Not quite, Dovizioso running wide and Marquez straight back through.
Onto the last lap, there was nothing separating the leaders and again, Dovi went for it at Turn 1 but ran wide, so it was Marquez who led going down into Turn 3. The Italian was close but not close enough around the final lap, and it started to look like the Borgo Panigale factory’s stranglehold on the Red Bull Ring could be under threat. But it was far from over as down to the last sector, with the two glued together once again as the Ducati powered up the hill out of Turn 8. He was close, but no pass came at Turn 9. It was going down to the wire.
Heading into the last corner, the Ducati pulled out from behind the Honda as Dovizioso pulled a Marquez – pushing his machine into the gap and on the verge of creating space rather than using it. It was roles reversed from 2017 as the Italian lunged down the inside, keeping it perfectly pinned to deny Marquez and power towards the line ahead for his second win of the season. With no chance to strike back, Marquez was forced to settle for second.
Behind the duel, Quartararo took the chequered flag in a lonely third to claim his third MotoGP rostrum and bank another huge haul of points in his impressive 2019, coming home top rookie, top Independent Team rider and top Yamaha – equalling the Iwata factory’s best result at the track from 2016.
Just behind him, Rossi had been caught by teammate Maverick Viñales and Suzuki rider Rins as the trio battled for fourth, with Rossi ultimately able to pull a tenth or two clear of Viñales as three Yamahas sat in the top five at a tougher track for them. Rins, meanwhile, was only 0.021 off the number 12, the number 42 running it close and only just fended off.
Behind the Yamaha train, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) took P7 and a big haul of points after a much more positive weekend, finishing just ahead of fellow rookie Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). The Portuguese rider finished as the best KTM on the Austrian factory’s home turf, taking a sensational P8 and some serious scalps.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) will be disappointed with P9 on a Ducati-friendly circuit, with compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completing the top 10 ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and the second KTM of Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, crashed out of contention on Lap 2 at Turn 3, the British rider hitting the back of Tito Rabat’s Reale Avinita Racing Ducati after the Spaniard had to take avoiding action after a problem for Pol Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) bike.
The 2019 Austrian GP will live long in the memory after another breathtaking Dovizioso vs Marquez battle, and it’s the Italians who emerge victorious again. Can they repeat the feat in Silverstone next time out? Two weeks will tell us.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder battled to his first Moto2 win of 2019 in the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, getting the job done in style on home turf for both KTM and team sponsor Red Bull…and on his birthday no less. The South African held off a hard-charging Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) as the Championship leader sliced through from P11 on the grid, with Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) completing the podium.
Binder took the holeshot from second on the grid and quickly began to bolt and break clear, settling into an early lead of just under a second. Behind, poleman Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) dropped down slightly into third behind Xavi Vierge (Marc VDS EG 0,0), who made a great start from the third row, before the Japanese rider then hit back for second. The first bout of drama then hit as Vierge tried to retaliate into Turn 3 but went down, collecting Nagashima to make it an early heartbreaker for the polesitter.
That left an almighty scrap for second place and by Lap 8 it was heating up. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) were battling it out like a last lap showdown and it was the Australian who was able to emerge ahead, then setting after Binder and closing him down.
Gardner’s first attempt to grab the lead failed after he ran wide at Turn 1, the Australian then trying again but again running wide. With seven to go Gardner again got his front wheel in front, but Binder forced him the long way round into Turn 3, with the inside line seeing Binder hold on.
Meanwhile, Bastianini and Marquez were closing in and Gardner ran wide for a third time at Turn 1. This time, as he rejoined, the Aussie clipped the rear wheel of Marquez and crashed out as Marini managed to tag onto the back of the fight at the front. Sadly for the Italian, he also went down not long after…collecting compatriot Bastianini and leaving a duel for the win out front.
It came down to Binder vs Marquez and the Championship leader pushed the South African to the limit, shadowing him round a close final lap. But Binder held firm, taking his first win of the season on a perfect day for it. Marquez took second but extended his Championship leader out to beyond 40 points, with Navarro putting in another solid ride to complete the podium in third having avoided the carnage.
FlexBox HP 40 teammates Lorenzo Baldassarri and Augusto Fernandez came home fourth and fifth respectively, with second in the Championship Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) having a tough day at the races in sixth.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin created more home glory at the Red Bull Ring after he took his best rookie result yet in seventh, a quarter of a second ahead of American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona. Rounding out the top ten were Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) after a solid comeback from P16 on the grid for the German, and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who started P15.
Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who started third, had a tougher Sunday but impressed to take P12, just behind Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team).
Romano Fenati’s (VNE Snipers) 2019 reboot is complete after the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, with the Italian veteran producing a sensational ride to claim his first win since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. The number 55 was pitch perfect to finish just over a second clear of teammate Tony Arbolino for a VNE Snipers 1-2, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) locking out the final place on the podium.
Despite plenty of rainfall in the morning, the track had mostly dried for the Moto3 race as every rider went for slicks. There remained plenty of wet patches on the grid, however, and off the line it was Fenati who got the better of polesitter McPhee, with Arbolino slotting into second at Turn 1 to make it a VNE Snipers 1-2 on the run down to Turn 3. At said corner, Arbolino immediately pounced to take over in the lead and the trio of Arbolino, Fenati and McPhee started to pull the pin and create a gap to the chasing pack.
On Lap 2 the front three were well clear of fourth place Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), with the gap up to 2.7 seconds despite Fenati and Arbolino exchanging the lead of the race as McPhee looked on. On Lap 7, Arbolino told Fenati to stick behind him, but the number 55 was soon back through and with the gap to the chasers up to over four seconds, it seemed set to remain a three-way fight for the win.
The lead had changed again but on Lap 9 Fenati took over again, then setting a 1:38.4 to stretch his lead to over half a second. It seemed the veteran was in the groove in the tricky conditions, and Arbolino and McPhee were also starting to come under pressure from those behind as Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) started to close in.
By then, Fenati was setting fastest lap after fastest lap and his lead was creeping up to the two-second mark. Vietti and Masia were also on fastest lap pace as the duo started to eat into the 3.3-second advantage McPhee and Arbolino had, with the latter two getting closed down half a second a lap.
With four to go, it was game on for the podium battle. A lap later Vietti set the fastest lap and Masia stuck with him, with Fenati still over 1.5 seconds up the road. Masia then made a move stick on Vietti at Turn 3 as the Spaniard eyed a first podium since Mugello but after attempting a move up the inside of McPhee on the penultimate lap, the number 5 went down. And then there were three.
Fenati crossed the line with just over a second of breathing space for his first win since 2017 and Italy’s 250th win in the lightweight class, keeping incredible composure throughout despite the tough conditions – and a lot of pressure. Behind him, it was Arbolino from Vietti from McPhee on the last lap, with the trio line astern into the final corner and everything coming down to the drag to the line, but Arbolino was just able to keep second by a handful of thousandths. He took second, with McPhee able to pip Vietti to P3 by just by 0.015.
Five and half seconds back, Marcos Ramirez got the better of Leopard Racing teammate Dalla Porta as the two finished fifth and sixth respectively, meaning Dalla Porta retakes the Championship lead after title rival Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) finished P10. Seventh went the way of Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), the Kazakh rider picking up his best Moto3 result as he edged out Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP), Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and the aforementioned Canet to the line.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was an early crasher at Turn 1, with Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashing twice – riders ok.
Dalla Porta now takes a one-point lead over Canet to the British GP. and Arbolino’s second means he’s out of the picture in third overall, only 42 off Dalla Porta. But Sunday in Austria belonged to one man: Fenati. After an incredibly tough year, ‘FennyFive’ is back on the top step to equal Enea Bastianini’s Moto3 podium count of 24. Can he produce more of the same at Silverstone in two weeks’ time?
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The hopes of a top-ten finish for Sam Lowes did not last long, with the Briton who was already in a difficult position after a difficult qualifying performance in Austria (he lined up on the grid in 24thplace). Even with a good race pace on his cards, the standard bearer of Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2had a coming together with a rival at turn four after a few laps while he was running in 14thplace.
Back at the very bottom of the field, it was impossible for the former World Supersport Champion to improve his position, meaning that 24thended up being his final result for the #AustrianGP – to wrap up subpar weekend for the Englishman.
Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 will be back at work tomorrow with the Moto2 official tests: the goal is to improve the front-end feeling and to prepare the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – which take place in two week’s time – the best possible way.
24th – SAM LOWES #22
“Disappointing race. I had a good start and while I was battling in the big pack somebody hit me from behind and pushed me wide. I can’t even say who he was, but surely this incident had a big impact on my race. We were a bit unlucky, but when you start so far back… My pace was not so bad, we could have fought for the top-ten. We’re staying here tomorrow and we’ll be working hard to prepare for my home GP, because we need to improve the front-end feeling.”
Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took an impressive victory in Round 2 of the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, with the grid going racing in wet conditions for the first time ever and the Frenchman perfectly composed to come home for 25 points and the Championship lead. Xavier Simeon (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) took second after a big squabble to decide the podium, with Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) crossing the line in third.
The race was reduced to five laps due to rain falling at the Red Bull Ring, with no practice time in the conditions meaning the grid were given two sighting laps and the race distance was reduced. After that extra lap to judge the conditions before lights out, the scene was set and Round 2 got underway.
As the grid thundered into Turn 1 it was Simeon who braved it out to take the holeshot from second on the grid, but the Belgian was forced to cede the lead soon after as Di Meglio retaliated into Turn 3. The fight for third just behind them was immediately heating up as well, with a gaggle of riders all blasting towards Turn 3 in tandem and Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) coming out on top.
That’s when the first bit of drama hit as previous points leader Niki Tuuli (Ajo MotoE) ran wide into Turn 4, the Finn managing to keep it upright in the gravel trap and rejoin but right at the back, facing an almighty uphill struggle to take points. Smith also had a moment into Turn 4, but the Brit only slipped down to ninth and stayed on.
Ninth was where Granado started, but he’d quickly shot through into the fight at the front and momentarily took second away from teammate Simeon, but a big moment for the Brazilian then saw the Belgian strike back. Granado, of course, repaid the favour once again, and this time the number 51 was able to keep it and start to home in on Di Meglio for the lead.
Once through and at the front, Granado seemed to have an edge in the tough conditions and set about starting to break away from the pack…but then disaster struck. On lap three and on the brakes into Turn 3, the Brazilian suddenly lost the front and slid out of contention, leaving Di Meglio back in the driving seat with a little breathing space included.
However, as comfortable as it looked initially, Tech 3 E-Racing’s Hector Garzo was on a charge. He’d managed to out-duel Simeon after going quite literally elbow to elbow in the fight for second, the Spaniard rolling around the outside into Turn 9, and with just two laps left, Garzo set his sights on Di Meglio a second ahead of him.
The Spaniard was gaining seemingly corner by corner and had cut the gap in half by the final lap, but that’s when disaster struck. After getting so close, Garzo suddenly crashed out at Turn 4as Di Meglio started to turn the screw again, leaving the Frenchman in clear air to take a composed win – his first in this paddock for just over ten years.
That put Simeon in second place for a first MotoE podium, whilst Smith had fought his way through to fourth after his early error, ultimately crossing the line third after the drama ahead of him. That keeps him only five points off the lead with his podium – the same gap he arrived with, just behind a different rider.
Alex De Angelis (Octo Pramac MotoE) took fourth, a tenth clear of compatriot Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE). A best ride of the season from Sete Gibernau (Join Contracts Pons 40) saw the former MotoGP star battle his way through from twelfth on the grid to sixth. Josh Hook (Octo Pramac MotoE) took seventh, ahead of Niccolo Canepa (LCR E-Team). Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) was given a penalty for passing under yellow flags and was demoted a place to ninth, ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Trentino Gresini MotoE), who completed the top ten.
Round 1 winner Niki Tuuli managed to fight his way back to score a point, and every point is crucial in a six-race series. The FIM Enel MotoE World Cup is next in action at the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano, with a double header sure to shake up the fight even further – and 50 points on the table.
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Brad Binder took his first victory of the season at Red Bull Ring in Austria, the home of KTM, after a difficult first half to the season that has not seen him regularly fighting for wins as he was in 2018. The South African led from start to finish, holding his nerve at the front as those behind him lost theirs, Remy Gardner, Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini all crashing out. Xavi Vierge took out pole man Tetsuta Nagashima early in the race, leaving Moto2 series leader Álex Márquez to come through from the third row to finish second and extend his advantage over Thomas Luthi, sixth today, by ten points.
Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team riders Jake Dixon and Xavi Cardelús completed a hard-fought race in Austria, battling head to head with their closest rivals and finishing 18th and 26th respectively. The British rider struggled with a vibration on the rear tyre, which made it hard for him to fight further up the pack, whilst Cardelús was happy with his performance after battling throughout with Nagoe and Tulovic. The next race for the Sama Qatar Ángel Nieto Team will take place on 25th August at Silverstone.
18th Jake Dixon:
“We had the same problem as Brno, with a big vibration from the rear tyre. I don’t know how I managed to finish the race because I was right on the limit. It is something we need to fix for Silverstone and hopefully improve the bike in other ways, like we did under braking here. We have had one less session than everybody else here so I couldn’t do much more. I gave everything I had in that race.”
Cal Crutchlow endured a disappointing day at the Austrian Grand Prix as he crashed out on just the second lap at the Red Bull Ring. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider came into contact with Tito Rabat and went down after a low-speed collision having only just completed the opening circuit.
With morning rain having cleared to leave cool conditions in central Austria, the race was in its early stages when Crutchlow got caught up with Rabat who was trying to avoid Pol Espargaro in front of him whose bike had seized up. It was a frustrating end to the weekend for the Briton who claimed fourth position in Spielberg last year.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“Obviously today we were really disappointed with what we can’t even call a result. I only managed just over a lap of the race, I was unfortunate to be caught up in an incident when Pol Espargaro’s bike stopped and the rider in front of me (Tito Rabat) hit the back of Pol and evidently I hit the back of Rabat. It was really slow speed when I hit him, his bike hit my handlebar and just took me down. I was feeling quite positive for the race and felt we could have got a good result here, so it’s a disappointing way to end and not get information from a valuable race that I thought we could learn good lessons from. But that’s the way racing goes sometimes and we now have to look forward to my home Grand Prix at Silverstone.”
Any one of sixteen could have won the intense seventeen lap race but it was Japanese 18-year-old Haruki Noguchi who put together two perfect corners to complete his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victory. Cup leader Carlos Tatay almost stole the win by passing him into the penultimate corner but the 16-year-old Spaniard drifted a fraction wide and Noguchi was back ahead.
Billy van Eerde, the 17-year-old Australian picked up his second podium of the weekend with a fine third ahead of Adrián Huertas, Pedro Acosta and Zonta van den Goorbergh. Two seconds covered the top 14 KTM RC 250 Rs at the finish.
Not shy about his intentions, Noguchi had made clear his determination to win after three third places. “Finally a win and I am very happy with that. It was half full gas and half a bit of planning. It was such a tight bunch that I though it best to keep in the top three or four to keep out of trouble.”
“On the last lap I wanted to take the lead and hold it but Tatay managed to get ahead and I had to repass him, then I went for maximum corner speed and using all the track at the last corner so I could not be passed. It worked. I want to thank everyone who supports me including the technical staff, we swapped back to the settings I used for Qualifying and that worked well today.”
With a hand already on the Cup title Tatay might have cruised a bit and picked up useful points but the racer never thought of that. “I’m not thinking about the championship. I wanted to win. I went for the inside line at the end but just could not hold on. Still, second is good and I am very happy after yesterday’s mistake at the start. I really want to thank my manager and my mechanic, they know exactly how to give me a boost when I need it.”
Wearing the same brilliant smile he carried after yesterday’s second place, van Eerde was happy with third. “It was a different race to yesterday, I was stuck more in the pack. Things were so close this time that I couldn’t find the line I needed and it was very hard to make progress. I just kept pushing though and made it work at the end.”
Like van Eerde, Huertas has had a torrid second Rookies Cup season but the 15-year-old Spaniard put that behind him with a fine fourth. “Finally, it’s time” he said. “I wasn’t feeling so good because every time I overtook someone they would repass aggressively and I was struggling in the group. I kept pushing and on the last lap I managed to make it work. I braked a little early for the second tight right hander and while everyone else went in deep and too fast I had the bike turned and got the drive out.”
The same plan didn’t work so well for Saturday’s winner Acosta. “I braked a little early and got hit,” explained the 15-year-old Spaniard. “I stayed on but I lost my drive and had to work hard just to get fifth.”
So rapid were the changes of fortune through the entire race that David Salvador, the 15-year-old Spaniard who had the lead with a couple of laps to go ended up 16th after colliding with Marcos Uriarte on the final lap. Uriarte rolled home 20th, completing a frustrating weekend that had looked so promising when he qualified second.
Pole sitter Alex Escrig was even more unlucky. He ended up stuck in the gravel trap on Saturday and didn’t even make the start on Sunday after a collision with van den Goorbergh on the warm up lap. Escrig fell and his bike was damaged so the 15-year-old Spaniard could not start.
Van den Goorbergh did not fall, started as normal but was quickly awarded a long lap penalty for the incident with Escrig. He served the penalty and then managed to get back in the pack.
“Sure it was my fault but I didn’t intend anything, I didn’t see him,” explained the 13-year-old Dutchman. “I served the penalty and then chased after the pack. It only took about three laps to catch them, then I worked my way through. I got to third but there were so many riders trying so hard I was only sixth at the line but still I think it was a good race,” he concluded after his second sixth place of the weekend.
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