21 July 2015

WSBK: All The Gold in California for Davies

The Ducati Factory squad in World Superbikes will have been laughing all the way back across the Atlantic and to Bologna after Chaz Davies destroyed the field at round 9 of the 2015 series from Laguna Seca last weekend, storming to an inaugural double victory for the Italian manufacturer's Panigale machine; ending Team Green riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes' streak of victories.
Photo: Ducati

Race Reports

Race One

Davies showed he was the man to beat all weekend, clinching an impressive pole position in Superpole on Saturday afternoon by nearly two tenths ahead of team mate Davide Giugliano. In such confident style, the Welshman flew off the line, building up to over a second's lead by the end of the first couple of laps by which time it was game-set-match to the former World Supersport champion.

The battle behind him for silver trophy honours was between Kawasaki team mates Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, with Sykes coming out on top after a race long battle. Behind them Davide Giugliano and Jordi Torres rolled over the line with Alex Lowes not too far down the road in 6th, his best result of the season. His compatriot Leon Haslam fell off while battling for 5th with team mate Torres, while his replacement at Pata Honda, Sylvain Guintoli brought his CBR1000RR home in 7th ahead of team mate Michael van der Mark.

Race Two

Much the same as race one, aside from where Haslam managed to stay on his machine, battling with Torres once more, losing out to come home across the line in 5th. Davide Giugliano had a violent change of fortunes for the second outing, battling for lower podium honours while his team mate checked in his bags at San Francisco airport, he managed to high side himself out of the race and into a tumbling dizzy state following a spouting of rain shortly after the lights went out. Sylvain Guintoli also fell on the same lap in an apparent collision with Alex Lowes who suffered a punctured front tyre and was pulling into the pits.

BSB King of Brands: It's Not About The Money, Money, Money...

Shaun Muir's SMR squad and the Yamaha factory have major reason to celebrate following this weekend's Big Brands Hatch event as their Aussie prodigy Josh Brookes claimed his first wins of the season and was subsequently crowned 'King of Brands', all the while drowning the doubts critics had about the R1s capability in the series. 
King of Brands!
Photo: MCE BSB

This weekend had something different up for grabs as well, such is the nature of the MCE BSB series in always looking for something different to entice fans through the gates, new and old. The coveted 'King of Brands' prize made a return for the rider who aggregated the best result from the weekend, along with a potential £50,000 up for grabs for a rider able to go from #LastToFirst as Neil Hodgson did back at Oulton Park in 2000. Would anyone take the plunge?

Race Reports

Race One

Reigning BSB champion Shane Byrne stormed off the line as the lights went out the first time around, taking the holeshot ahead of Brookes, whom he clinched pole from on Saturday by just 0.001s, with Michael Laverty, Richard Cooper, James Ellison and Stuart Easton in hot pursuit during the opening laps.

14 July 2015

BSB: £50,000 for King of Brands, would you take the gamble?

MCE British Superbikes announced yesterday they were to add a 'unique twist' to their now traditional King of Brands ahead of this weekend's round in Kent.
'Shakey' hopes to be King of Brands with an extra prize
Photo: MCE BSB

Riders will now be in with a chance of winning a massive £50,000 prize as well as being crowned the now coveted 'King of Brands'.

Explained clearly by MCE BSB: "At the start of race two, as the riders form up on the grid, the top three starters will be given the choice to either take up their positions, or alternatively line up on the final row. Should they elect to sacrifice their front row slot, their challenge will be to charge from last to first and replicate Neil Hodgson's famous achievement from Oulton Park during the 2000 season.

The highest placed 'MCE BSB - Monster Energy King of Brands' contender will receive a specially commissioned trophy and should they win the race, they will receive a total £50,000 cash prize. Second position would be rewarded with £25,000, and third place with £10,000. Only the leading rider will be eligible to win a top-three bonus, but any rider that accepts the challenge will receive £5,000, regardless of success.

Double Main Season championship points will be awarded to the challengers and regular Podium Points if they battle into a top three position."

This exciting and unique news has created a stir amongst many, including the riders themselves.
Shane Byrne, who is currently chasing his 'Strive for Five' took to twitter to express his thoughts: "My view.., £50k doesn't buy a 1st BSB title let along a 5th one, 10 podium credits for 2 more wins I'm chasing!! However the £50,000 odd would be quite nice...along with hopefully 2 wins, double points and ten credits."

12 July 2015

Sachsenring Moto3 and Moto2: Kent vanishes for victory, Simeon steals first win.

The German Grand Prix round brought two very exciting support class races, Moto3 stepped outside it's normal last lap chaos to deliver a getaway performance of excellence from Danny Kent as he saw off all rivals.

Moto2 looked geared up for more of the same with Johann Zarco poised to try the same tactic, but Belgian rider Xavier Simeon had other ideas for how the end of the race would run...

Race Reports


Danny Kent may have been the pole-sitter but it did not guarantee him a dream start, swamped as the lights changed before fighting back and hitting the front. From that point on the Leopard riders win never looked in doubt as he eased away to win by an impressive 7.5 seconds.

The British rider now leads the championship by 66 points from his nearest rival Enea Bastianini.

The only rider to attempt to stay with Kent was his team-mate Efren Vazquez, though the Spaniard eventually faded from view too, marking a great day at home for the Kiefer/Leopard team.

Gresini's Bastianini stole third at the line, undoing all Romano Fenati's hard work to gain the position, leaving his fellow Italian fourth and off the podium for Sky Racing Team VR46.

Nico Antonelli was next to take the flag in fifth in a tight finish for Ongetta-Rivacold, with Jorge Navarro top rookie in sixth after his team-mate Fabio Quartararo crashed out.
Before the dramatic end - Rabat and Rins    Photo: EG 0,0 Marc VDS

Brad Binder was also in the group fighting for third, though lost out heavily to finish seventh for Red Bull KTM Ajo. Alexis Masbou made massive improvements in the race on his way to eighth after a tough weekend, his team-mate John McPhee was battling down the order for the final points, but just missed out in 17th.

Andrea Locatelli was ninth on the other Gresini entry, with Niklas Ajo making up only the places he was deducted to finish where he originally qualified in tenth for RBA Racing.

Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP) impressed at home in eleventh, with Jorge Marin the top Mahindra in twelfth.

11 July 2015

Sachsenring Moto3 & Moto2 round-up : Kent and Zarco in a class of their own for poles in Germany as race direction dish out the penalties!

The Sachsenring was dry on qualifying day and all the riders made the most of the conditions to set some fast lap times with records tumbling in all classes, Danny Kent was so far ahead that most of his pole run was spent in the pits after a crash, yet he still claimed the top spot. Johann Zarco gave a great lesson in the perfect pole performance, with his mid-session hot lap holding off all late challengers.

Qualifying Reports


It took just nine laps for Britain's Danny Kent to seal pole for the third time this season, which was just as well as just seconds after his new record lap of 1m 26.420 he collected wild-card Max Kappler on the way into the gravel.

The Leopard Racing rider then had to sit in the pits and watch the action unfold, but his time was to stay at the top with nearest rival in the championship Enea Bastianini the best of the rest for Gresini, making up a place on his final lap as the session drew to a close to snatch second. That displaced Karel Hanika, who had been in second since his early tumble from the Red Bull KTM Ajo bike that joins the two Hondas to complete the front row.

8 July 2015

BSB Knockhill: I Shake It Off, I Shake It Off...

After dominating the previous round at Snetterton just a fortnight ago, four times British Superbike Champion, Shane 'Shakey' Byrne threw his cards down on the table at Knockhill last weekend for the 5th round of the 2015 series, taking another double victory ahead of team mate Stuart Easton on both occasions.
2x PBM 1-2 in Scotland
Photo: MCE BSB

On the back of a disappointing 3rd round at Oulton Park, which saw the BSB veteran (sorry, Shane..) crash out of the second race after War for Four rival Ryuichi Kiyonari's BMW S1000RR torpedoed the rear of Byrne's Kawasaki, the Londoner has been out to prove a point ever since.

Race Report

Race 1
As the lights went out and riders hurtled round the 1.2mile circuit for the first time, Byrne managed to clinch the lead into the final corner from home-round-hero team mate, Stuart Easton, before a crash at the back of the pack lead to the safety car being sent out on circuit while debris was cleared.

The main battle for the final podium position in the first half of the race was between Ohalloran and Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes with the Aussie duo being passed by Tyco BMW's Michael Laverty before the Northern Irishman setting his sights on Scotsman Stuart Easton ahead of him.

Come the final lap, Byrne had enough of a gap to stop any further attacks from behind, taking the win, while Laverty managed to best Easton taking second over the line with the second PBM rider rounding out the podium positions. Laverty was later shifted back down to fourth in the overall results due to passing Brookes under yellow flags, which lifted Easton into second, Brookes third, Laverty fourth and O'Halloran fifth.

Championship contenders, James Ellison and Ryuichi Kiyonari were both fallers in the race along with a series of other riders including Dan Linfoot, Richard Cooper and Jack Kennedy.

Race 2
The second outing for the British Superbike brigade turned from usual 30 lap strategic race to all-out-war 11 lap sprint after a brief shower stopped the race just before the 2/3s distance mark on lap 19. Byrne, Laverty, Brookes and Easton lead the charge prior to the stoppage.

Byrne made a rocket-like start off the line for the second outing of the second outing, controlling the pace from the get-go, fending off launches from the rear for the entirety of the sprint race. Easton brought his Kawasaki home in second once again ahead of Brookes just behind him. Kiyonari redeemed himself from his race one crash with a 4th place finish ahead of Jason O'Halloran, while Michael Laverty, Danny Buchan and James Westmoreland filled out the top 8.

James Ellison was a retiree this race as well due to a malfunction on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki, while Quattroplant Kawasaki's Luke Mossey failed to finish due to crashing out of the race.


1 July 2015

Stoner returns to the Festival of Speed, in pictures: 'the difference is really incredible'

The 23rd edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed undoubtedly contained the biggest focus on motorcycle racing in the event's history. A charm of World Champions, present and former, took their machines for skids, wheelies and general loud noisiness up the famous hill climb in front of 200,000 or so Motorsport enthusiasts.
Joint winner of #bestwheelie at FoS

Two of the show's biggest stars present this year were Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, with the Doctor having been flown in especially on Saturday night following his accolades in Assen earlier that day. In amongst the constant scrum around the 9 time World Champion, he managed to take a specially liveried M1 up the hill and then into Lord March's house (without wiping his feet, the scoundrel..), details of which are described here.

Former arch rival Casey Stoner's weekend in West Sussex was slightly less manic, spending a steady three days at the event taking his 2015 RC213V Repsol Honda up and down the driveway, much to the delight of the spectator's lining nearly every inch of 1-mile the course.

PaddockChatter managed to catch Stoner for a brief word in amongst his hill runs and various chats with the likes of John McGuinness, Sylvain Guintoli, and Jim Redman, to ask about what has brought him back to the prestigious annual festival. "Quite honestly it's been fantastic. I haven't been here since '06, so seeing the difference and how much it's expanded over these years is something really incredible, to be honest. 

"I went over to the Honda display and the whole thing is design to look like matchbox cars, it's incredible. To see all that and the amount of riders and drivers that are here that you've watched when you're growing up your whole life and, in a sense, getting to share a track with them on the way up the hill is something really special. 

"It's a very unique event in that you get to see some of the bikes and cars out here, but at the same time, generally talk to a lot of riders that you never thought you'd be able to get close to. I've spoken to quite a few people who I've known for many years but only had short times to talk with them. It's very good to see Agostini, he's always a lot of fun to chat with and is always a gentleman, for someone who is as famous as he is. I've always enjoyed talking to Jim Redman, I haven't seen him since '06 and there's lots of others like that, Kenny Roberts and Freddie Spencer for example, always a pleasure."

Below are a selection of images of the double MotoGP World Champion's visit to Lord March's estate, for your viewing pleasure...

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


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 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.