Month: October 2012

Marc Marquez and his awesome gold ant championship winning helmet!

Marc Márquez – 2012 Moto2™ World Champion

Marquez with fancy gold winners helmet and obligatory can of Red Bull!
Image via MotoGP.com

In keeping with my interest in MotoGP helmet designs here is an image of Marc Marquez holding aloft his special world championship winning effort.

It’s his usual graphic of an ant, stylised unlike his mascot version into a pattern and in gold, which surely must irk Ant West a little as he was definitely using the whole Ant logo thing first, it is his name after all.

Fellow WordPress blogger Vicente Vila has a great image of the lid over on his tres ruedas blog on the page where he gives you the Repsol generated winners interview (crash.net have also run this in English if you do not read Spanish!). See it here:

http://tresruedas.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/marquez-no-voy-a-desaprovechar-la-oportunidad-de-motogp/

 

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Moto2 Marc Marquez season review

Marc Marquez

Moving on: Marc Marquez during his maiden Moto2 win
Picture by ImageNationPhotography (Ben Henderson) used under Creative Commons license for flickr

Marc Marquez took his second championship title in a season filled with excitement, rivalry and controversy. Read all about it here in my Marquez season round up for crash.net:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/185610/1/marc_marquez_racing_doubt_to_double_world_champion.html

Normally I give more of a preview of my work on other sites but I’m keen to have people check out the full story in it’s original form, a lot of effort was needed to keep awake as it was written the same day as the races which I’d been up to report on from 2am and this was finished at 11pm – the end of a very long day – so if anyone would like to comment , like on facebook or google plus it would be nice to see it being enjoyed by fellow bike sport fans.

 

Moto2: Untouchable Espargaro wins,Marquez is champion

Pons Kalex rider Pol Espargaro won in Phillip Island by an incredible margin of over 18 seconds there was a race to the line between the best o fthe rest with Ant West 2nd for QMMF, his second podium in as many weekends after a drought of seven years while a late turn of speed saw Marquez take third from Marc VDS’ Scott Redding over the line, giving the Catalunya Caixa Repsol Suter man his second championship and a whole host of new facts and records to his name.

For the full rundown see my crash.net race report here, where you can comment like and discuss further:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/185562/1/moto2_untouchable_espargaro_wins_marquez_crowned.html

Moto3: Cortese times Phillip Island win to perfection

World champion for Moto3 Sandro Cortese calculated his ride on the Red Bull KTM Ajo to perfection to win at Phillip Isalnd, he was joined on the Podium by Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira and his Ajo team mate Arthur Sissis who scored third in his home Grand Prix.

For my full race report follow the link to crash.net where you can discuss the race in more detail too:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/185559/1/moto3_calculating_cortese_storms_to_phillip_island_win.html

Moto3: Cortese on pole for Phillip Island race

Winner of the inaugural Moto3 crown Sandro Cortese finished top of the timesheets for the Red Bull Ajo KTM team ahead of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix from Phillip Island, with fellow countryman Jonas Folger starting second for Mapfre Aspar. Efren Vazquez was a more unusual face for the front row qualifying third for the JHK T-shirt Laglisse team.

Japanese race winner and Cortese’s team mate Danny Kent returned to form in fifth, fellow Danny and Brit Danny Webb didn’t qualify for Mahindra as they lacked the spare parts to repair his engine woes.

Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin stormed to fifth after missing most of the session with bike issues for the Air Asia sponsored KTM Ajo team.

Curious where the rest qualified? check out my full race report available from crash.net at this link:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/185511/1/moto3_cortese_eases_to_pole_at_damp_phillip_island.html

Moto2: Espargaro faster than a CRT in Phillip Island qualifying

Pons Kalex rider Pol Espargaro sped through the tricky conditions to storm to pole with a perfectly timed lap on the Tuenti Movil HP 40 machine, his time of  1m33.705 set before the drizzle returned was faster than the time set by Blusens CRT rider Ivan Silva during the MotoGP qualifying session. The lap was also a new record at the circuit for the Moto2 class.

Espargaro needs to win in Sundays race and for Marquez to score less than two points top take his title hopes into the final round at Valencia. Marc Marquez starts from third on his Catalunya Caixa Repsol sponsored Suter.

Between the Spanish rivals on the grid is Marc VDS racer Scott Redding who with two rounds to go has already set a new highest ever points total for a British rider in a season of intermediate class racing.

Curious where the rest of the field line up? You can find out in my full race report at crash.net , you can also comment and like on Facebook to enjoy some participation and debate:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/185518/1/moto2_motogp_pace_puts_espargaro_on_pole_at_phillip_island.html

Moto3: Mack is back! Vinales rides for Blusens after apology

Blusens Avintia’s offer for Maverick Vinales to return to race with the Team in Australia was quickly taken up by the teenager who will be attempting to secure the runner-up spot in the Moto3 championship as the season draws to a close in Phillip Island and then Valencia, see more on those events here:

https://survivalofthefastest.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/moto3-maverick-vinales-quits-blusens-avintia/

Paco Sanchez, a rider adviser, has been brought in to mediate between the two parties and points out that Vinales should never have been allowed to walk away as this caused the biggest problem:

“A seventeen-year-old, who was ill-advised or misguided, who wants to be World Champion can make bad decisions. In Malaysia, with all the problems there were, on that day, mentally, for reasons I will not mention, it would not have been right to get on the bike. He could not get on the bike. The error was not that he didn’t get on the bike – the mistake was leaving.”

Personal opinion has been divided between youthful exuberance, naivety and attitude and a need for professionalism at any age, a point Vinales saw retrospectively when he chose to take the team up on their offer to return for the benefit of the sponsors, promoters and fans, while the youngster made an honest apology explaining his state of mind at the time stating that he didn’t think it wise to ride at all while so angry.

Not all the media were negative about his leaving with riders Aleix Espargaro and David Salom being supportive via Twitter, Espargaro spoke of the manager being the bigger issue, and went on to mention the many who had been in the same situation, but who were less rash in the circumstances.

“I had the same manager as mack(Vinales nickname), and I spend the same, so you … But it ended badly for me, Elias, Pablo Nieto, Pol, Simon … ALL! Anyway … ”

Salom had an interesting take posting on his @davidsalomds account:
“Not because there is so much hype with @maverickmack25, when teams throw the drivers (which are many) not such a fuss.”

His view that teams often leave riders out in the cold with little or no notice with no-one really raising an eyebrow came from a different perspective than most without agreeing or condoning the Spanish youngsters actions, while raising an interesting point.

BBC reporter Matt Roberts thought the Vinales incident was a good reason to contemplate a “official riders’ representative body” to look out for racers interests and stop massive breakdowns in communication going so far in the future.

Vinales made his original apology here to MotoGP.com:

“I made a mistake, because although I was not mentally prepared to ride the bike, I should not have left the Sepang circuit, or make such statements. And so, I apologize for the harm that has been accidentally caused, to all the fans, to the members of my Blusens Avintia team, to FTR, Honda, the championship promoters, and especially the sponsors of team (Blusens, Avintia, Repsol, Pacha and other partner companies) and personal sponsors (Alpinestars, Airoh, Wild Wolf, J. Costa etc.) that have both supported us, and without which I would not have achieved the successes to date.”

“I return with the aim to finish the season and regain second place in the overall standings, and for that, I will focus solely on sporting issues and work with my technicians to find the best set-up of the bike.”

“Finally, I want to express my strong desire to amicably resolve all the problems with the team, and to be able to concentrate on riding, which is what I really like.”

Remembering Marco Simoncelli #58

Marco Simoncelli by Bonneville790 at Flickr, used under Creative Commons License. R.I.P. Supersic

A year today although it still only feels like yesterday we could all enjoy his character on and off the track, from his edgy moves bringing out the best and worst in the other riders to his sense of humour in a tough situation ( who can forget his “arrest” press conference ) he brought excitement back to a class of racing which needs characters as much as skill to survive.

Like all race fans I will be thinking of Supersic today, R.I.P and thanks for the good times on track.

What next for Malaysian wild card Hafizh Syahrin?

What next for the future of Malaysian wild card Hafizh Syahrin ?

 

In a Moto2 race full of surprises and an unusual looking podium with not a Spaniard in sight, the wild card ride from Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin on his Petronas Raceline bike still deservedly caused a stir, and not just for the locals whipped up into a frenzy after Moto3 home racer Zulfahmi Khairuddin continued to push the boundaries with a new best of second while continuing to add to the best ever points tally by a Malaysian rider he is setting this season.

 

Syahrin impressed using his home track knowledge and skills currently being honed in the Spanish Moto2 Championship, where he is leading the privateer points standings and is sixth overall, with strong but safe overtaking moves in the treacherous conditions at Sepang.

 

Eventually finishing fourth at the red flag behind the podium men Alex DeAngelis, Ant West and Gino Rea the teenager was still in contention for a rostrum if the conditions hadn’t worsened after making his way to the front of the field from 27th place on the grid.

 

He achieved this in only his second grand prix racing start, after riding a Moriwaki in the Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix in 2011. It is the best position achieved so far by a wild card entry in the class.

 

As much as it would be interesting to see if his talents can extend beyond his home track this currently seems unlikely as the Petronas team have told website NST.com that the 18 year old is currently tied into a long term contract with them which they have no plans to change or be bought out of, although his performance has prompted them to consider further wild card rides in Moto2 next year and perhaps a full season in 2014, with the team moving into the World Championship with Syahrin.

 

Petronas Motorsports boss Anita Azrina Abdul Aziz stressed the intention not to let their rider slip away:

 

“He is not for sale. He is on a long term contract with us. We intend to see him develop with us and move him up gradually when he is ready to take the big step.”

 

Pertronas Raceline manager Barry Leong revealed the team had discussed doing more next season but are uncertain their rider is ready for the move into the World Championship and ruled out giving Syahrin a full season in Moto2 next year:

 

“We have time because Hafizh is young. So we’d like to see him develop and be ready before we move him up. For now the plan is another season in the Spanish Championship, with an eye on putting him into the World Championship in 2014.”

 

Syahrin himself added he wants to stay with his current team due to the opportunities they have afforded him:

 

“ I am committed to my current team and sponsors. If I move up I want to bring my team and sponsors with me, to do it together.”

 

Dubbed ‘the king of pocket bikes’ as a child after starting riding on the machines aged nine, Syahrin was discovered by Leong whilst dominating the scene before hitting his teenage years and has ridden under his guidance at the Petronas Raceline Malaysia team since he was fourteen, winning the novice Malaysian Cub Prix championship in 2009 and the CP130 class the following year. The team have also run the youngster in the Petronas Asia road racing championship in 2010/11and the Australian national championship.

Moto2 De Angelis,West and Rea make ‘crazy’ Sepang podium in red-flagged race-Marquez crashes out.

In torrential conditions the rain specialists- and those with local knowledge shone in the awful weather. In a race which was delayed and controlled by weather San Marino rider Alex De Angelis lead on the lap the race result was calculated from for forward Racing. Gino Rea was ‘frustrated’ as he had hit the front when the red flag came out, but was placed third and needed to move his bike from the number one spot in parc ferme! Although not fond of the tag ‘rain master’ Ant West lived up to his reluctant billing and looked strong in the wet pulling clean moves  and marching through the field to take second.

The championship battle will last to Australia at least as Marc Marquez slid out while in a position to take the title on his Catalunya Caixa Repsol Suter. Initially distraught, instead of returning to the team garage a champion he arrived dejected on a scooter, Espargaro meanwhile was doing enough to keep his hopes alive but would have liked more points than his final position afforded him.

Special mention to the amazing fourth place ride by one time leader and Malaysian wild card rider Hafizh Syahrin who was unlucky not to make the podium for Petronas.

For full details and some great discussion read my full race report over at crash.net, available here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/185324/1/moto2_de_angelis_wins_red-flagged_race_marquez_crashes.html