Le Mans

Image of the GP: Le Mans – A worm, a tap and Bautista!

20/05/2014

The thing you usually remember about Le Mans is that it was wet. Probably even if it wasn’t as it has the habit of raining on the grand prix THAT often.

No rain meant one of the most action packed race days so far this season. So much so that I believe that each class should have their own ‘Image of the GP’ this time around.

First up was Moto3 and even by it’s own exciting standards it was a race to remember. Jack Miller had clearly decided that there was no room for manners after his clash with Fenati a few weeks ago and took no prisoners on his way to victory, which has left Efren Vazquez a little peeved to say the least. For his third hard earned win he celebrated in style, something lacking of late, and even busted out ‘The Worm’:

No worm in Moto2 but we did see a cool Kallio ease to victory, which raised a rare smile on the Finn’s face. Not everyone was as calm and collected though. Here’s Tech3 rider Ricky Cardus getting a ‘tap’ on the head from a frustrated Mattia Pasini:

Finally, MotoGP. Marc Marquez won, and was as record breakingly awesome as ever. Rossi looks to be on the way to finding an answer and was a wonderful second.

Is it down to contract time being upon us? Was it Athletico Madrid that spurred him on?
Who knows – but Alvaro Bautista was back on the podium all the same, possibly making it the happiest podium in history:

MotoGP Le Mans Race Reports…

18/05/2014

…Are online now!

 

Want to know who made the podium in Moto2 and Moto3? Here is all the information:

My Moto3 race report at crash.net can be found here, and boy was that a thriller from Miller! Well, the image is a bit of a giveaway there! To find out which riders cool approach saw them hit the top step in Moto2 look  here.

For a brief summary of the two there is also my shorter combined round up for both classes over at Paddock Chatter, something for everyone – just follow the links!

For UK readers, I’m not tackling the BT presenter changes until the press statements really have an answer, so for the latest on where Melanie Sykes went I recommend fellow WordPress blog The F1 Broadcasting Blog for the latest news!

I also appreciate much tweeting, liking and commenting, so get involved! You can always say hi on Twitter too I’m @LisaLewisWrites (Thanks all!)

MotoGP Le Mans qualifying round-ups…

17/05/2014

Are online now!

It’s round five already and the MotoGP paddock has hit France.

If you want to know who made the front of the grid for the Le Mans grand prix races in Moto2 and Moto3  – I have just the links you need !

My Moto3 qualifying report at crash.net can be found here, and Moto2 here.

For a brief summary of the two there is also my shorter combined round up for both classes over at Paddock Chatter, something for everyone – just follow the links!

Both races feature riders who have their first pole position in the class so there’s been plenty going on.

I always appreciate much tweeting, liking and commenting, so please do take the opportunity to have a conversation using the links above or at @LisaLewisWrites on Twitter and get involved!

MotoGP: Le Mans – home riders special helmets and colours

17/05/2014

Vive Le France!

There’s nothing like a home Grand Prix to warrant some special racing gear and the French riders in Le Mans are no exception and they’ve been showing off thier wares on social media, here’s a round up:

Former 125cc Champion Mike Di Meglio has a special helmet with a green strip filled with pictures sent in to feature on his helmet, a nice touch and involving for his fans:

Taking things to a whole other level this weekend is Johann Zarco, a true Le Mans local, who is running his leathers and bike in colours paying tribute to former French 250cc Champion Christian Sarron:

This makes Zarco’s bike an interesting mix of Sarron’s 1984 colours and his current AirAsia Caterham paint job, celebrating the 30th anniversary of his win.

Here’s some more info from the press release from Johann Zarco:

“Its 30 years since Christian Sarron won the 250cc World Championship in 1984.

“Since I began racing in the World Championship, my manager and I often look back at the older riders as an example, to learn about what they did with the bikes they had and we have a lot of respect for their achievements.

“I read about Christian a few years ago and I have also watched some of the footage of him racing, which is why I know the story. Moto2 is similar to the 250 class in that it is the middle category and so as a French rider in the Championship today I felt it was only right to pay tribute to Christian Sarron with this livery for the Le Mans GP.”

While Sarron has the following to add:

“I feel very honoured that Johann is running my colours here at Le Mans. I saw the pictures already and I thought wow that looks very nice!

“He doesn’t need these colours to bring him luck but he deserves a win anyway. It’s a long time that I have been watching him race, since working at Eurosport and before. He rides beautifully and if only it could be here at his home Grand Prix that he can take first place, I will be very pleased”.

MotoGP: Le Mans – Can anyone halt Marquez in 2014?

16/05/2014

With consecutive wins at every round to kick off his season Marc Marquez looks unbeatable. Ahead of Le Mans here’s a look at his peerless start and who can challenge his current dominance of MotoGP.

The full version of this story looking at the amazing start Marquez has had to the season, his records and who now, or in the future may rival him is available at Paddock Chatter, just click the link for more.

Here’s a taster to get started:

The achievements are incredible.

And that’s just this year. Marc Marquez has won all four of the MotoGP rounds held so far this season. No matter where in the world the paddock has been he has put his Repsol Honda on pole and crossed the line in first place for a perfect record.

If Marquez hits the rostrum again in Le Mans it will become his 60th podium appearance.

In that time the Spaniard has been victorious with broken bones, from the back of the pack, and come back from vision issues to win.

All the time the Emilio Alzamora protege has made it look easy with his ever present smile in place…

…Honda have hit gold and have rewarded their young charge with a new two-year contract. That leaves him in place to lead the way for them until 2016. His first season with all the track data under his belt and his riding style refined has seen him move from amazing to invincible.

The sport has had dominant figures before – Valentino Rossi won his numerous titles while his personality kept the masses mainly onside. The big difference is the chasing pack often had a sniff at victory.

The Marquez way of winning is something not seen for a long time.

The most recent rider to clock up five consecutive wins is still on track, and is Rossi. The Italian won from Laguna Seca onward in 2008. Despite his own return to form his thoughts in the press conference ahead of Le Mans were that for Marquez “four wins is enough!”.

It is rarer still to start a season so well. Australian legend Mick Doohan also won the first four rounds of the 1992 championship season, Marquez however still has a long way to go to hit his benchmark of ten wins in succession in 1997.

His fellow countrymen seem short of answers too…

For the full story please visit Paddock Chatter at the link above, all comments likes and tweets welcome, here, there on on Twitter direct at @LisaLewisWrites

Moto2: At a glance: Scott Redding – setting a new standard.

Scott Redding set a few new records for himself, as a Briton and for his team last time out in Le Mans. His back-to-back wins with his second victory of the season in Mugello  for the 20 year-old Gloucester raised rider.

Here’s a compilation of what he has achieved in just two weeks…

redding win mugello

Redding: onto a winner in Mugello
image via Marc VDS Press

  • Redding is the first Briton to win back-to-back GPs since Sheene won Belgian/Swedish 500 GPs in July 1977.
  • The Gloucester rider is also only the third Briton to win at Mugello, following in the footsteps of legend Barry Sheene who won the 500cc  race in 1976 and Bradley Smith the 125cc race winner in 2009.
  • Redding also becomes the first British rider since Rod Gould in 1971 to win back-to-back races in the intermediate class.
  • It is also the first time he has won from a pole start.
  • He is also the first person to win two Moto2 races this season.

Here’s a reminder of the way he had already altered the record books after his first season win in Le Mans:

  • First British winner in the intermediate class since Jeremy McWilliams in Assen (2001)

  • Redding’s win in Le Mans is the first non-Spanish GP win in any class since Danny Kent won last Moto3 race of last year at Valencia

  • It is 30 years ago since the last British GP win at Le Mans – Alan Carter in the 250cc race (1983)

Surely an even stronger case for a competitive rider in MotoGP next year? It appears he has had some encouragement from the MotoGP paddock afetr Jorge Lorenzo used his offical Twitter page to reveal the following:

I told you, more mature outside & on the track! I’m happy for you, you are an example of big evolution. UK needed you!

Image of the GP part two: The Great Escape

Image of the GP part two: The Great Escape

Nicky Hayden narrowly avoids being taken out by a falling Valentino Rossi in Le Mans
Image via Hayden’s official Twitter @NickyHayden

Nicky Hayden just posted his best result of the season so far with a fifth place in the wet at Le Mans, but he came close to not finishing at all!

Unlike Niklas Ajo who could do little about Zulfahmi Khairuddin’s crash in front of him in Moto3, Hayden got lucky and had the chance to get clear of the tumbling Valentino Rossi, his team-mate last season at Ducati.

After Dovizioso’s efforts to mix it up at the front – he lead at one stage- it seems the Ducati still runs really well in the damp.

now if they could just find a dry set up…

Image of the GP – a popular victory!

Redding win in Le Mans

A well deserved and long awaited win for Scott Redding!
Image : Marc VDS

Not an image from the MotoGP race this time – for me the image of the day came via Moto2 this week.

And it’s an image to cheer my home nation for sure – British rider Scott Redding’s first Moto2 win and Marc VDS’ first race victory!

So what if we can’t win Eurovision! With Redding’s win and a second for Crutchlow in Le Mans the future of British racing seems to be held in very able, confident hands – at last.

For more on why Redding’s victory is so special see my post on all the firsts it achieved.

 

 

Moto2: At a glance – Scott Redding a man of many firsts.

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Scott Redding and Mr. Marc VDS himself celebrate in Le Mans
Image: Marc VDS

 

Scott Redding is no stranger to holding a few records – he is the youngest rider ever to win a Grand Prix race after his victory in Donington in 2008, aged just 15, and he was also the youngest rider to reach 50 race starts.

Today may have been the first Moto2 win For Scott Redding and the first victory in any Grand Prix class for his Marc VDS Team but the firsts didn’t stop there here’s a quick breakdown

  • First British winner in the intermediate class since Jeremy McWilliams in Assen (2001)

  • Redding’s win in Le Mans is the first non-Spanish GP win in any class since Danny Kent won last Moto3 race of last year at Valencia

  • It is 30 years ago since the last British GP win at Le Mans – Alan Carter in the 250cc race (1983)

Surely a case for a competitive ride for the Gloucester born rider in MotoGP next year?

 

 

Round-up: Moto2 & Moto3 – Redding storms to first Moto2 win, Vinales controls Moto3.

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      Redding on his way to his Maiden Moto2 win          Image: Marc VDS
 
For more on this story visit Paddock Chatter or for in depth coverage check out my full race reports for Moto2 and Moto3 at Crash.net, just click the links for more…
 
Moto3 had the best of the weather in Le Mans and got their race under way in officially dry conditions though the track was still damp and the sky poised for rain.
 
The championship leaders made a break at the front with Maverick Vinales, Jonas Folger, Alex Rins and Luis Salom moving away at the front.
 
It was Vinales who would time his move to perfection, picking the right moment to up the pace and gain his second win of the season in back to back races.
 
The victory at the scene of his first ever career win makes him the first rider to take two wins in moto3 this year, giving the Team Calvo rider a strong 13 point lead in the championship over Luis Salom.
 
Also making the French podium was Alex Rins who held his nerve to take second for Estrella Galicia, while the all-Spanish, all-KTM top podium was completed by Red Bull Ajo rider Salom.
 
Taking a chance on the softer option tyre proved a bad gamble for Mapfre Aspar’s Jonas Folger, it caused a few small errors meaning he had to settle for fourth.
 
Alex Marquez rode a steady race to put both the Estrella Galicia riders in the top five, he was followed across the line by Redox RW Racing’s Jakub Kornfeil who posted some of the fastest laps of the race to push forward to sixth.
 
Romano Fenati found some of his old form with a series of strong moves making him the highest placed Honda powered finisher in seventh for San Carlo Team Italia.
 
British rider John McPhee was just outside the top ten again for the Caretta Technology outfit, one place ahead of team-mate Jack Miller. Fellow Brit Danny Webb, who broke his foot in Saturday’s qualifying crash was not fit to race due to a concussion sustained in the accident.
 
Moto2 followed and was hit by the change of weather bringing the scheduled downpour and ending the race with 22 laps completed.
 
It was an excellent day for the Marc VDS team with Scott Redding taking his first ever Moto2 win, a first victory for the team.
 
The 20 year old Brit was joined on the all Kalex podium by his team-mate Mika Kallio, giving the Belgian team a one-two finish.
 
Belgian fans had even more to celebrate as Xavier Simeon scored the final podium spot for his Desguaces La Torre Maptaq team, beating home rider Johann Zarco, who at one point had lead the race, into fourth for the Came Iodaracing Project. The Frenchman was also the highest placing Suter rider.
 
Redding the only non-Spanish Grand Prix winner this season, and the first since Danny Kent won in 2012, now leads the championship by a hefty 24 points from Tito Rabat.
 
Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter had also been in with a podium shout but finished in fifth for the Technomag carXpert team.
 
Mike Di Meglio also faired well at home, the sole Motobi user finishing seventh for the Jir team.
 
The crashes in Moto2 were as notable as the excellent overtaking manoeuvres employed by Redding to hit the front.
 
After just a handful of laps the Tuenti HP 40 team riders Pol Espargaro, the championship favourite, and Tito Rabat, who entered the race leading the championship, both slid out simultaneously at the same corner. They were soon followed by Takaaki Nakagami, who was leading the race by more than three seconds at the time for the Italtrans team.
 
There were also crashes for Aspar’s Nico Terol and Interwetten Paddock man Tom Luthi.
 
British rider Danny Kent was just outside the points in 16th one place behind his Tech3 team-mate Louis Rossi. Blusens Avintia’s Kyle Smith didn’t go the distance while Gino Rea appeared to have technical issues with his FTR bike, though was able to go back out and gain some experience finishing 26th and ten laps adrift after having been as high as 12th place.

Moto3 Le Mans Race Top 15:

1.Maverick Viñales SPA Team Calvo (KTM) 42m 5.448
2. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 42m 6.712
3. Luis Salom SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 42m 6.835
4. Jonas Folger GER Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 (Kalex KTM) 42m 20.041
5. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 42m 43.397
6. Jakub Kornfeil CZE Redox RW Racing GP (Kalex KTM) 42m 45.743
7. Romano Fenati ITA San Carlo Team Italia (FTR Honda) 42m 48.773
8. Brad Binder RSA Ambrogio Racing (Suter Honda) 42m 48.985
9. Alexis Masbou FRA Ongetta-Rivacold (FTR Honda) 42m 50.959
10. Isaac Viñales SPA Ongetta-Centro Seta (FTR Honda) 42m 51.122
11. John McPhee GBR Caretta Technology – RTG (FTR Honda) 42m 56.900
12. Jack Miller AUS Caretta Technology – RTG (FTR Honda) 42m 57.040
13. Arthur Sissis AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 43m 4.161
14. Alessandro Tonucci ITA La Fonte Tascaracing (FTR Honda) 43m 4.418
15. Philipp Oettl GER Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing (Kalex KTM) 43m 23.475

Moto2 Le Mans Race Top 15:

  • 1.Scott Redding GBR Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 43.583s
    2. Mika Kallio FIN Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 44.673s
    3. Xavier Simeon BEL Desguaces La Torre Maptaq (Kalex) 36m 44.817s
    4. Dominique Aegerter SWI Technomag carXpert (Suter) 36m 45.284s
    5. Johann Zarco FRA Came Iodaracing Project (Suter) 36m 45.442s
    6. Mattia Pasini ITA NGM Mobile Racing (Speed Up) 36m 55.855s
    7. Mike Di Meglio FRA JiR Moto2 (MotoBI) 36m 55.961s
    8. Julian Simon SPA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 37m 13.295s
    9. Anthony West AUS QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 37m 14.062s
    10. Alex De Angelis RSM NGM Mobile Forward Racing (Speed Up) 37m 14.818s
    11. Randy Krummenache SWI Technomag carXpert (Suter) 37m 15.118s
    12. Simone Corsi ITA NGM Mobile Racing (Speed Up) 37m 15.258s
    13. Sandro Cortese GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 37m 15.500s
    14. Marcel Schrotter GER Desguaces La Torre SAG (Kalex) 37m 19.361s
    15. Louis Rossi FRA Tech 3 (Tech 3) 37m 28.628s