29 June 2015

MotoGP Assen: Gravel Trapping

97,000 Dutch spectators were treated to a day full of stunning edge of your seat racing for the last time on a Saturday in The Netherlands as MotoGP didn't disappoint.
Every race is a home race for Rossi
Photo: Yamaha MotoGP

In a weekend racing fans won't forget we saw Valentino Rossi confirm he is very much still in the title hunt, Marc Marquez able to prove he's still got it and a lot of action at the infamous Geert Timmer chicane.

Race Report

Starting from pole position for the first time since Valencia 2010, Rossi got an uncharacteristic good start and led the 24 riders around the legendary TT Assen circuit for the first time. Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also made a stunning start from eighth position on the grid, moving up into the top four by the second corner.

The leading trio of Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo began to emerge and break away from the pack as Espargaro brothers who were battling for a position in the top five. Hector Barbera, Jack Miller and Nicky Hayden were involved in a nasty crash at the final chicane which saw Barbera be stretchered off the track, and Miller receive a stern talking to from Race Direction.

28 June 2015

PaddockChatter at Goodwood: Yellow Sunday

For the final day of the 2015 Festival of Speed in the heart of the West Sussex South Downs, there was a yellow haze covering Lord March's estate from early doors as fans, staff, media and other motoring stars eagerly anticipated the arrival of 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi on his first visit to the event.

On the back of an astonishing victory at the Assen TT yesterday, where the elder statesman of the MotoGP paddock clinched victory by the narrowest of margins, fending off a brutal attack from similar god-like character, Marc Marquez, in the final corner of the last lap. 

The stage was set for the Italian to grace the hill on a specially liveried Yamaha M1, celebrating the 60th anniversary of racing for the Japanese factory. A pre-planned photo shoot featuring all the two-wheeled past and present World Champions who had attended the event got underway before riders took to the hill for the first time of the day. The likes of Valentino, Casey Stoner, Freddie Spencer, Sylvain Guintoli, John Surtees, Giacomo Agostini, Jim Redman and Kenny Roberts all lined up with their respective machines for photographers to snap their way around the utter pandemonium that surrounded the charm of world champions. 

After years of trying to fit Rossi into the FoS schedule and finally achieving it, Lord March celebrated through inviting the Yamaha rider to take his M1 from the hill climb, up the gravel driveway and park in the front hall of his stately home, before taking the Doctor up to the balcony for his adoring fans to... well, adore him (for the video, click here). 

Due to the brief nature of a one day visit to the event, VR didn't join the other cast of riders up the hill aboard his M1 again, opting instead for a Lancia rally car and Mazda Le Mans style race car (yeah, I know, completely car racing ignorant..). Instead, fans enjoyed the likes of his MotoGP counterparts Scott Redding and Casey Stoner, along with Honda BSB out in full force with a very enthusiastic Jenny Tinmouth, along with Jason Ohalloran and Dan Linfoot adjoining for the final time. 

Below are today's selected images, aiming to give you a small impression of the happenings at the world's greatest motoring garden party.



PaddockChatter at Goodwood: Saturday

Day two at the Festival of Speed saw a fresh batch of faces from the motorcycling community grace Lord March's estate, revving, smoking and wheelieing their way up the famous hill climb.

World Superbike stars Chaz Davies, Leon Camier and Jonathan Rea joined fellow world stage competitor Leon Haslam, with Rea being fortunate enough to take the brutal Kawasaki H2R for a spin up the 1-mile track. Giacomo Agostini, a regular at the Festival of Speed, joined the fun taking both his 500cc MV as well as a Hampshire Motorcycles MV F4 up the hill with the unforgettable tones of the immortal Murray Walker carrying him all the way to the finish. It might as well have been the early 70s...

Below are a selection of photos caught from the paddock and the exit of Molecomb corner, our attempt at capturing even just an ounce of the atmosphere from the World's biggest and best motoring garden party.



27 June 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Assen: Oliveira and Zarco fight their way to the front for victory

As the paddock rolled into 'The Cathedral' of racing the scheduled rain failed to put in an appearance and Moto3 kicked off with one of the best races in any class this season, without needing a shower to ramp up the excitement.


Race Reports

Moto3


With seven riders in contention at the front it once again came down to a splendid last lap and this time it was Miguel Oliveira who stepped up, leading as the lap began to take his second victory of the year with Red Bull KTM Ajo, and of his career.

Fabio Quartararo lead briefly in the closing stages and impressed again on his way to second in his rookie year with Estrella Galicia. The podium was completed by championship leader Danny Kent, who attempted to break and was still in the hunt for the win despite trailing at the back of the lead group aboard his Leopard Racing Honda.

Quartararo's team-mate and fellow rookie Jorge Navarro was unfortunate to miss out on a first rostrum in fourth with a string performance by Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Romano Fenati was only good enough for fifth in the tough lead group.

26 June 2015

Moto3 & Moto2 Assen : Bastianini and Zarco on pole as records tumble again at The Cathedral

Tito Rabat -Also under the old record  Photo:EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Moto3 and Moto2 do their qualifying on a Friday and racing on a Saturday this week, which can only mean one thing – the paddock has hit the Netherlands for the Dutch TT Grand Prix.

Practice held few clues as the man on the Moto3 pace every session was beaten in qualifying and Moto2 saw the lap record smashed when it looked untouchable. The weather holds more surprises in store with rain predicted for race day. Here's how the riders line up.

Qualifying reports

Moto3

Moto3 got the day off with a bang with all riders trying not to slow for fear of punishment, the track action was more hectic than ever.

Britain's Danny Kent had been in charge in all the practice sessions, but it was to be Enea Bastianini who would place his Honda powered Gresini in first on the grid.

The Italian broke the lap record heading into the final five minutes, with everyone else failing to match his time as the clock ran down, his second pole after taking a career first at the last race in Catalunya.

Jorge Navarro had shown consistency heading into qualifying and turned his performance up a notch for second. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rookie was one place ahead of Karel Hanika, who clung to third with a time set on a strong early lap aboard his Red Bull KTM Ajo to complete the front row.

Leopard Racing rider Kent failed to find what he needed to push himself higher up the grid, but strong race pace saw him ready for Saturday in a confident fourth.

Fifth went to Husqvarna Factory Laglisse tow master Isaac Vinales, and sixth to Hanika's Ajo team-mate Miguel Oliveira.

Fabio Quartararo seemed to find all of the late traffic, and lost several fast laps to leave him seventh on the second Estrella Galicia entry.

PaddockChatter at Goodwood: Friday

It's that time of year again, the world's biggest and best motoring garden party, held at Lord March's Glorious Goodwood estate in West Sussex.

Gaggles of motorsport and automotive enthusiasts have flocked once again to watch the oldest, newest, fastest, most unreliable and above all, most spectacular vehicles of two or four wheeled varieties.

This year's theme is 'flat-out and fearless', celebrating those in the history of motorsport who live by that philosophy; so it was only fitting that from the biking community, old and new TT, Grand Prix, Superbike legends grace the oh so famous hill climb. Today's exhibitors up the mile climb included John McGuinness, Casey Stoner, James Hillier, Leon Haslam, Honda BSB's trio of Dan Linfoot, Jenny Tinmouth and Jason O'Halloran... and some little known former racers such as King Kenny Roberts and Freddie Spencer.

Below are a selection of our favourite pics (or the only ones we managed to get roughly in focus...) from the day. Stay tuned for more pics over the rest of the weekend as PaddockChatter explores more of this years events and new members of the motorcycle racing fraternity rock up to the south east...




18 June 2015

BSB Snetterton: PaddockChatter takes a look back

It’s been over a month since the British Superbike championship contenders last turned a wheel in anger in the 2015 edition of the world’s premier domestic series.
Ellison leads the way into Snetterton
Photo: MCE BSB

With the riders heading to Snetterton this weekend for the 4th round of the championship, we thought it’s best to have an ‘opening term report’ on the series so far, starting with the top 6 in the series, occupying the all important ‘Showdown’ places.

Cumbria’s James Ellison leading the charge in the championship standings, surfing on a wave of confidence after his most successful start to a season to date aboard the JG Speedfit GB Moto Kawasaki, taking 3 victories in 6 attempts so far. The Xpress Coffee backed rider finds himself in his most promising position yet to sustain a significant threat on the title this year.

16 June 2015

MotoGP Catalunya: Hammer time

Jorge Lorenzo moved one step closer to the championship lead as he secured his fourth win out of four races in Barcelona as team-mate Valentino Rossi finished in second and the Yamaha's continue
Rossi was unable to pull in Lorenzo
Photo: Yamaha MotoGP
to dominate. It was a race which saw Honda continue to struggle and Marquez's title hopes take another blow.

With tyres still being a vital issue for riders, high track temperature caused many riders to crash out of the Catalan GP, keeping the championship wide open.

Race Report
Movistar Yamaha's Lorenzo made MotoGP history today as he secured his fourth win in a row as the Spaniard continues his dominance, leading the last 103 MotoGP laps.

Starting from the front row of the grid in front of his home fans in Catalunya, Lorenzo was able to hit the front in the first corner, holding off rival Marc Marquez. By the third lap the two Spaniards were pulling away from the pack, however as he struggles to find a good pace aboard the Repsol Honda, Marquez crashed out on lap three, leaving Lorenzo with empty tarmac ahead of him.

Championship leader Valentino Rossi was again hindered by his lowly qualifying position of seventh and was hunting down his team-mate. Despite brining the gap down to just over a second on the final lap the Italian was unable to catch his team-mate for the race win.

14 June 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Catalunya: All about the last lap – Kent and Zarco snatch wins in Montmelo

The MotoGP paddock arrived in Spain for the second time this year, but a win was not on the cards for any of the home riders in the support classes with championship leaders Danny Kent and Johann Zarco displaying exactly why they are out front, both putting in great lunges for the lead in their respective races to seal victory.

Race Reports

Moto3

The Moto3 race came down to the last lap yet again this season, with six riders in contention at the start of the lap.

Danny Kent was near the back of the lead group before some perfectly timed manoeuvres aboard his Leopard Racing Honda saw him lead and hold on at the front for his fourth win of the season, a feat last achieved by Barry Sheene in 1977.

Enea Bastianini was very close to his first win but could not quite do enough to pass Kent and finished second for Gresini.

The final podium spot went to Kent's team-mate Efren Vazquez, who had lead at the start of the final lap after progressing through the field to join the leaders over the last handful of laps.

13 June 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Catalunya: A career first for Bastianini, Zarco dominant in the hunt for pole.

As MotoGP heads back to Spain for the second time this season, qualifying saw the Spanish sun return to heat up the Montmelo track. With both classes leaving it until the closing of their sessions to make an impact it was to be Enea Bastianini in Moto3 who would find the extra required to find a gap and secure pole after leading for most of the session, while Johann Zarco posted an untouchable lap with over ten minutes remaining which stood to the chequered flag.

Race Reports

Moto3

Enea Bastianini has had a very strong second season in Moto3 and looked strong again in the three practice sessions despite a Friday crash. Returning to Montmelo where last year he was second in qualifying and the race the Gresini teenager has already gone one better in qualifying taking first with a new record pole lap.

The Italian had lead from early in the session before being ousted by Fabio Quartararo and returned to the track to put his Honda on top once again, and this time he was not to be beaten.

Leopard Racing's Danny Kent came closest with a blistering last lap through the traffic but could only secure second. The front row is completed by rookie Jorge Navarro in a superb performance on home soil for Estrella Galicia 0,0.

Nico Antonelli starts fourth for Ongetta-Rivacold, fifth goes to the highest placed KTM of Mugello race winner Miguel Oliveira, with Efren Vazquez in race mode to also make the second row for the Leopard team in sixth.

Quartararo saw his brief lead vanish with no hope of extending it after getting tripped in traffic so starts from seventh on the grid for Estrella Galicia, Niklas Ajo (RBA Racing) sits in eighth on the grid, an impressive and consistent Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing)in ninth and the third of the Leopard racing bikes, piloted by Hiroki Ono in tenth.

2 June 2015

MotoGP Mugello: Lorenzo destroys competition, Marquez in trouble, Iannone overcomes injury

Double MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo stormed to a dominant 3rd consecutive victory in 2015 among the stunning hills of Mugello in Tuscany on Sunday, leaving home heroes Andrea Iannone and Valentino Rossi trailing behind for the remaining podium positions, much to the delight of the 90,000 or so Italian fans...
Leading the charge...
Photo: YamahaMotoGP

Hailed as one of, if not the best circuit of the world, following the contours of the rolling Tuscan landscape, the scintillatingly fast and flowing nature is said to be a match made in heaven with Lorenzo's smooth like butter riding style.

The Spaniard was pipped to pole position in Saturday's qualifying by Ducati's Iannone sporting the soft option tyre available to 'open class' machines; though his race pace throughout free practice was clearly a level above the rest of the field. Meanwhile, current world champion Marc Marquez was seen to be struggling all weekend with front end changes from the HRC factory, failing to make it through to Q2. God-like figure to the hugely passionate Italian fans, Valentino Rossi qualified in 8th position. Given that his last 3 victories in the premier class have come from that very same grid slot, the fans from all over zwerred from their homes with great expectation of the Doctor retaining his crown as the king of Mugello.

Race Report

As the red lights went out in Tuscany Andrea Iannone got a controversial start off the line and slotted into third position at San Donato behind Dovizioso and Lorenzo. As all 26 riders hurtled into the opening corner it didn't take long for Movistar Yamaha's Lorenzo to hit the front of the pack and from there he didn't look back.

Further down the pack after starting from 13th on the grid reigning champion Marquez had a stunning start and was able to get into the top four by the end of the opening lap. Home hero Valentino Rossi's Mugello woes continued as he was unable to get a strong start off the line and crossed the line for the first time of 23 in ninth position.

With Lorenzo cruising off into the distance it was between the factory Ducati and Honda team-mates to battle it out for the two podium spots. By the ninth lap Rossi was on the move and it was now a five rider fight for second.

In true MotoGP style drama hit the Italian circuit as Dovizioso was forced to pull out of his home race with an issue with his rear sprocket and then with six laps to go Marquez took a shock exit of the fight and crashed out of third position, unable to rejoin the race.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow suffered his second fast crash of the day out of sixth position and he became the only Brit in the class not to score a point, with Eugene Laverty securing one point aboard his Open Class Honda, Scott Redding crossing the line in 11th and Smith securing a top five finish.

Rossi chose lap 18 to strike as he passed Pedrosa for third position, but was unable to catch Iannone in second. Lorenzo crossed the line over five seconds ahead of his competitors, bringing Rossi's championship lead down to just six points heading into Catalunya.

31 May 2015

Moto3 & Moto2 Mugello : History made and dominance prevails as Oliveira and Rabat win in Italy

After last years Moto3 race in Mugello gave us the closest finish ever to a grand prix race this years proceedings had a lot to live up to but again Moto3 was action filled from start to finish with Miguel Oliveira holding on for his first win, writing himself into the history books as the first Portuguese rider to win a world championship race.

Straight after in Moto2 from just lap seven it was all about Tito Rabat who surged ahead before a last lap challenge came from championship leader Johann Zarco, with Rabat holding firm to take his first win this season, in his 150th grand prix start.
Rabat romps home in Mugello            Photo: EG0,0 Marc VDS

Race Reports

Moto3

From the very first corner to the very last lap the lead frantically changed hands in one of the most manic Moto3 races of the season in Mugello. The lead group expanded and contracted from as large as 16 to as small as five as riders passed, swapped paint and fell back, leaving the result of the race to again be decided on the final lap.

It appeared no-one wanted to lead on the final lap when slipstreaming was proving to be a crucial advantage but Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira took on the dubious task after a previous run showed he was able to stay ahead if he could maintain enough of a gap and a good block position.

The Portuguese rider then did just that with enough of a gap to keep his closest rivals behind despite picking up speed in his shadow and a block finalised his first race win, an emotional event as the first rider from Portugal to do so.

Danny Kent had been in just about every position within the lead group and had hoped the drag from the slipstream would be enough, but the Leopard Racing rider fell just short with his Honda second.

Romano Fenati also failed to find a way around, blocked by Oliveira so he could not take full advantage of the tow for the Sky Racing VR46 Team in third.

At the line Fenati had not only the win in mind, but a close finish with Francesco Bagnaia to deal with, just thousandths between the Italians at home as the Mahindra rider maneuvered into fourth. Another Italian, Niccolo Antonelli, took the flag fifth for Ongetta-Rivacold.

30 May 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Mugello: The Brits are back! Record poles for Kent and Lowes

Mugello's atmosphere is unquestionable, but the Italians found it tough to find some front row form at home with British riders Danny Kent and Sam Lowes both looking easy and confident as they took poles in their respective classes.

Qualifying Reports:

Moto3

Danny Kent's flying solo lap for Leopard Racing put him firmly in pole position, with only a late challenge from team mate Hiroki Ono troubling the Brit on his way to pole with a new record time of 1m 56.615s.

Kent had initially looked to stay in the pits and wait for a tow as he had been struggling with the final sector, but his best lap of the day proved that no such games were needed, while Ono's second was a career best performance, coming from a tow from Niccolo Antonelli.

Behind the Honda pair Romano Fenati was the top home rider and the best placed KTM on the grid in third for Sky Racing Team VR46.

Row two features the top Red Bull KTM Ajo qualifier – a resurgent Karel Hanika living up to his original promise in fourth, Ongetta-Rivacold's Antonelli, who spent much of his time sparring with Enea Bastianini in fifth and Drive M7 Sic rider Jakub Kornfeil in sixth.

Gresini's Bastianini starts from seventh just ahead of fellow Italians Francesco Bagnaia, the top Mahindra rider in eighth and Andrea Locatelli on the second Gresini in ninth. Isaac Vinales completed the top ten.

Fabio Quartararo crashed while on a hot lap leaving the teenager in 13th, but still ahead of his Estrella Galicia team mate Jorge Navarro who was 18th.

One place behind was Moto3's second British rider John McPhee in 19th as the SaxoPrint-RTG team continue their tough run in the championship. McPhee was also ahead of his team mate Alexis Masbou in 23rd, Masbou won the opening round in Qatar.

Moto2

Sam Lowes staged an amazing comeback in Italy ahead of the Speed Up team's home race, securing pole with a record lap of 1m51.514s after recovering his session when he crashed out early on.

24 May 2015

WSBK Donington: Sykes smashes records and rivals

'Its no secret I like Donington'
Photo: Brian Tyler Photography
Kawasaki Racing Team's Tom Sykes had a dream weekend at the sole UK World Superbike round at Donington Park, securing pole position, lap record  and his third double win in a row in front of his home crowd.

As we've seen in previous years from the Yorkshireman, Sykes came out his garage and dominated in an overcast Derbyshire leaving his team-mate looking out of character and on edge as he faught to catch him.

15,000 fans turned up to see Sykes dominate, as home hero Leon Haslam suffered with his injury and Chaz Davies was able to secure two podiums at his self confessed 'bogey' track. Alex Lowes was able to salvage a solid result at home, as reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli continues to suffer.

Race Report

Race one:
Sykes was able to 'narrowly' beat his team-mate to the victory in race one after Jonathan Rea seemed to back off from a tense fight for the victory in the closing laps. Swapping positions and perhaps paint the Kawasaki pair looked to be in a lock out for the win to the very end.

WSBK Donington: Ryde stuns in World Supersport debut

Nottingham racer Kyle Ryde had a stunning wildcard ride at Donington Park for the only UK World Supersport round, finishing on the podium aboard his Racedayz Trackdayz Yamaha.
Ryde impressed at home on the world series
Photo: Brian Tyler Photography


The 17 year old got a stunning start to the race from second on the grid, shooting up into third position as the 28 riders piled through Redgate corner and was in the fight for the lead with WSS championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu.

Setting a new lap record on lap three of 20 it was looking as if the wildcard could be fighting for the win, however he began to slip away from the leaders at half race distance.

Ryde was then locked in a battle with Lorenzo Zanetti for the final step on the podium, and on the 17th lap of 20 Ryde put in a strong move at the Foggy Esses to get back into third position.