18 May 2015

MotoGP Le Mans: Yamaha domination

Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo won the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans this weekend, securing yet another dominant victory and cementing his position in the title fight. In what was looking to be
Lorenzo was able to escape a hectic turn one
Photo: Yamaha MotoGP
yet another nail biting GP, race fans were kept on the edge of their seats even if the battle for the victory seemed to fizzle out.

In-front of an animated French crowd and under sunny skies we were treated to an afternoon of exciting racing, drama and intrigue.

Race Report
Jorge Lorenzo took his second victory in succession in France as the Spaniard led from the opening lap, with Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi struggling to keep up with the former champion.

Taking the lead on the exit of the Dunlop chicane, Lorenzo was able to keep hold of first position despite pressure from both Andrea Dovizioso and team-mate Rossi. Reigning champion Marquez had a tough race due to the warmer weather conditions, meaning the set up of his RC213V wasn't able to cope with the heat putting the Spaniard in a battle for fourth position.

17 May 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 races: Le Mans - Fenati sneaks late win as Luthi leads with ease.

The rain from qualifying was nowhere to be seen as Moto3 got race day under way in Le Mans. The lightweight class was a tale of impressive slicing through the pack by riders who found them selves way down the grid on Saturday and a glimpse of what Romano Fenati can do when he starts at the front.
Rabat passes home rider Zarco             Photo:EG 0,0 Marc VDS

Tom Luthi held his position with ease in Moto2 after an initial battle with Johann Zarco and proved time and again that he had a little in reserve every time he was challenged.

It was not the best of home rounds for the French riders in the support classes with only Zarco managing a points finish.

Race Reports:


The lightweight class it was all about who could make the best of a bad situation with many riders keen to make up for their poor grid position, while the Italians raced it out upfront. The race was also peppered with crashes with only 20 riders making it to the flag.

It was to be Romano Fenati who pulled out a tiny lead on the last lap as the trio behind him tangled each other up earning him his first podium this season in style with a win for the Sky Racing VR46 team.

The KTM rider was joined on the podium by fellow Italians Enea Bastianini, who came from 18th on the grid to feature at the front for Gresini on the Honda and Francesco Bagnaia on the podium for the first time for himself and the Aspar/Mahindra team this season in third.

Fourth was in many ways the most impressive ride as Danny Kent put himself in contention for the win after qualifying 31st, gaining a place on that from Hanika's pit lane start.

It was not to be for the British Leopard rider after an epic attempt he ended his race in a very respectable fourth. Kent still leads the championship standings.

Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) faded after being passed by Kent to take fifth, with early frontrunner Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC) sixth Isaac Vinales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) seventh and Miguel Oliveira ninth. Philipp Oettl scored a top ten finish for Schedl GP racing.

The remaining points went to Hiroki Ono, eleventh after starting 32nd, Juanfran Guevara, still nursing his collarbone injury after being hit by Hanika in Jerez in 12th, Livio Loi in 13th, Zulfahmi Khairuddin in 14th and Stefano Manzi with his first point in 15th.

John McPhee will be looking to find his confidence again after a quiet weekend, finishing 17th for the SaxoPrint-RTG team.

Pole-sitter rookie Fabio Quartararo crashed out while running at the front in a race filled with falls.


The Moto2 race was dominated by a confident and intelligent performance by Tom Luthi, The Derendinger Racing Interwetten rider making leading look easy after an early battle with Johann Zarco.

16 May 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Le Mans: Rookies in charge in the wet – Quartararo and Rins on pole

As the paddock rolled in to Le Mans so did the rain clouds, with the showers really playing havoc with Moto3's grid. Moto2 didn't quite manage to miss the rain either with a late drizzle stopping play.

Fabio Quartararo takes his first pole at his home round as he went quickest on the only real lap of qualifying in Moto3 just before the track got slippery causing the French rookie and many others to crash. The session was a disaster for the Leopard Racing team - including championship leader Danny Kent in 31st.
Moto2 pole man Rins in action         Photo: PonsRacing.com

Sam Lowes looked to have the pole pace in Moto2 setting a new lap record as the rain returned, only to have Alex Rins knuckle down after the shower to set exactly the same time. The rookie was awarded pole as his fast laps previously gave him the second fastest lap.

Qualifying Reports


Moto3's qualifying session consisted of an outlap a 'fast' lap and not much else as a downpour at Le Mans meant if you hadn't banked a good lap time you were not going to get another chance.

Even those with a lap in the bag had trouble as pole man Quartararo's Honda lost grip and flew into the gravel. He was followed almost immediately by his team-mate Jorge Navarro. It was those opening minutes that counted though with the pair occupying the first two places on the grid for Estrella Galicia 0,0.

They are joined on the front row by Mahindra rider Francesco Bagnaia in third, his first and Mahindra's first front row appearance this season.

Jakub Kornfeil, the best qualifying KTM rider, starts fourth for Drive M7 SIC, while Romano Fenati found the rain saved him from himself in an elevated fifth for the Sky Racing Team VR46 outfit. Fresh from his best ever race result in Jerez, Jules Danilo finds himself on row two in sixth for Ongetta-Rivacold.

Danilo's team-mate Nicollo Antonelli is one slot behind in seventh. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth, Isaac Vinales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) in ninth and Tetsuki Suzuki (CIP) with a career best grid position complete the top ten.

Juanfran Guevara, riding with a broken collarbone starts 15th, Karel Hanika starts from pitlane after causing the incident in Jerez.

12 May 2015

WSBK: Rea Races To Double Delight in Italy.

Jonathan Rea once again stormed to the top of the podium as his assault on the World Superbike Championship continues to leave others in his wake, picking up his second consecutive double win at
Rea was able to hold off his team-mate in Italy
Photo: KRT

In an incident packed weekend just outside of Bologna, the Northern Irishman had to dig deep to taste victory after qualifying third on the grid. Rea gave the massive Italian crowd a display of supreme confidence coming from behind to take the chequered flag in both races despite the home fans praying for a home victory from the Aruba.IT Ducati of Davide Giugliano. The Italian rider had led the way following Superpole but he just couldn’t get the better of the flying Kawasaki.

Rea’s Kawasaki teammate and 2013 Champion, Tom Sykes qualified in second place and to demonstrate the strength of the British assault on the WSBK title this year, there were four Brits in the top five on the starting grid, as Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam sat fourth and fifth respectively on the grid.

4 May 2015

MotoGP Jerez: Lorenzo's Land

Jorge Lorenzo secured his fifth win at the circuit of Jerez in stunning style, impressing his home fans and reminding us that he's still got a strong pace aboard his YZR-M1. Crossing the line over five
Lorenzo decided against going for a swim this year
Photo: Yamaha MotoGP
seconds ahead of Marc Marquez in second we were able to see another championship contender added to the mix, as leader Rossi secured his 200th podium in third.

It wasn't the last lap thriller we were treated to in Argentina however we saw Lorenzo's smooth and dominating style at it's best, as Britain's Crutchlow, Redding and Laverty had a strong weekend all finishing in the top 18.

Race Report

Movistar Yamaha's Lorenzo led the race from start to finish, getting the whole shot from pole position and never looking back. Compatriot Marquez wasn't one to go down without a fight however and stayed with Lorenzo during the early part of the race, however issues with his broken finger caused him to back off the pace.

Movistar team-mate Valentino Rossi crossed the line a distant third, after being caught up in the opening laps the Italian was unable to catch the Spanish duo and despite a mid-race push to catch Marquez, Rossi didn't have the pace to catch him.

Andrea Dovizioso had an impressive race after finding himself down in 20th on the second lap he was able to climb back up into ninth position, which means he is now 15 points behind Rossi in the championship standings. Argentina podium finisher Cal Crutchlow secured fourth position, four seconds ahead of Pol Espargaro on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and Andrea Iannone completed the top six.


1 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team
3 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
5 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team
8 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team
10 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Pramac Racing
12 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Pramac Racing
13 45 Scott REDDING GBR EG 0,0 Marc VDS
14 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing
15 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
16 6 Stefan BRADL GER Athinà Forward Racing
17 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Aspar MotoGP Team
18 50 Eugene LAVERTY IRL Aspar MotoGP Team
19 33 Marco MELANDRI ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
20 43 Jack MILLER AUS CWM LCR Honda
21 15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM Octo IodaRacing Team
22 63 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA Avintia Racing
Not classified
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Repsol Honda Team
76 Loris BAZ FRA Athinà Forward Racing

17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE AB Motoracing

Rider reactions

"I am absolutely proud of myself and of the team that we finally delivered some extraordinary work, because we had some problems that have been beyond our control. Lorenzo explains his joy following his race win, "This time I could do it during the whole weekend and especially on braking. Sometimes it happens that on Sunday I feel a bit worse on braking than during the rest of the weekend, but today that didn’t happen. I was able to brake really late, enter well into the corners, and carry good corner speed and acceleration, so everything was fine. When this happens you have to make profit of it and win the race. I was thinking about jumping into the lake, but I am 28 years old...! It’s not the same as when you are 23, so in the last second I decided to stop and go back to the bike. It’s important that we recover some points to Vale because he’s been very strong at the beginning of this season and always on the podium. It’s also important we have recovered the feeling and ability to go fast and now we have to enjoy these hours, this night and this victory!"

Marquez managed to keep Rossi at bay
Photo: Repsol Honda
Problems with his arm meant Marquez was unable to push Lorenzo for the victory: "This is a track where we've always struggled a little because of my riding style - and this year also because of my injury, but today we achieved what we set out to do. On the opening laps I followed Jorge, but by lap five I could tell that although my finger was not a problem, I was unconsciously working more with my right arm and it began to stiffen up. From then on, I decided to just try and finish the race strong. Then I saw that Valentino was closing in on me and I thought "it's going to be Argentina all over again" but I gathered strength and this time I was able to maintain the gap between us. We leave Jerez a little closer to the World Championship leader, but Jorge has extended his advantage."

"It was a difficult weekend. Championship leader Rossi admits he was disappointed with his third place in Spain, "From Friday on we were struggling a lot to find the right setting and I wasn’t able to ride on the maximum level. In the end it’s a podium, so it’s not so bad, but also in the race I wasn’t strong enough to fight with Jorge and also with Marc. I had one moment in the race where I was not doing so bad and I was close to Marc. We hoped for another good fight until the end and I thought I could do it, because I got the gap down to one second, but had to give up. This time I extended my lead to Dovizioso, but it looks like Jorge also came back into the championship with this victory. We don’t have to think about the points yet, just of the bike, trying to be competitive every weekend."

Crutchlow continued his strong form after his podium in Argentina:“Fourth position was the best we could do today with my physical condition. I was happy enough to be honest, we had a good race and I pushed when I needed to push. In all honesty I could have been five seconds overall quicker on the race distance, I just didn’t need to be. I kept the gap to Pol Espargaro behind and I think it was just too difficult to chase Valentino, even at the start when I was caught up in the battle with Aleix and Pol. But the team did a great job to finish in fourth behind the three factory riders. The distance from the winner is a little strange, but we know why because of my physical condition, which also affected my feeling with the bike. But we did a good job and the whole team is pleased.”

“I am disappointed about today’s result, because I could probably have fought for fourth place with Crutchlow. Dovizioso kept his second position in the championship standings after an impressive race where he found himself in 20th on the second lap, "We didn’t have the race pace to be able to aim for the podium, but in any case it was a real shame not to have picked up those points. I had a problem at the last corner on lap 2, when I made a small mistake and the bike almost switched off. Ho almost crashed because I lost my balance and had to go straight on into the gravel, but when I got back onto the track I felt that the bike had no problems and so I started to push hard once again. I was in last place and I had to overtake many slower riders, losing a lot of time, and at the end I couldn’t get any further up than ninth. It’s a pity, because even though the podium was out of reach for us today judging by the pace of the first three, I feel sure we could have scored some really good points.”

Tweets of the weekend 

Championship Standings 

1 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 82
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 67
3 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 62
4 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 56
5 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 50
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 47
7 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 36
8 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki 31
9 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 26
10 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki 20
11 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 19
12 Scott REDDING Honda 13
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 12
14 Dani PEDROSA Honda 10
15 Hector BARBERA Ducati 10
16 Jack MILLER Honda         6
17 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 5
18 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 3
19 Loris BAZ Yamaha Forward 2
20 Alvaro BAUTISTA  Aprilia 2
21 Stefan BRADL Yamaha Forward 1

Next Race
Round 5 - Le Mans, France, 15th, 16th, 17th May 2015

3 May 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Jerez: Kent and Folger win as the rookies stumble

Overcast conditions greeted the paddock on race day in Jerez, and Moto3 got the proceedings off to an exciting start with a frantic race which was decided on the final corner, with Britain's Danny Kent keeping a cool head to take the win as rookie Fabio Quartararo was lucky to stay on board and finish.

Moto2 saw Jonas Folger take advantage of a mistake by Tito Rabat, with great timing allowing him to pass and pull off a small but significant lead to guarantee the win. Rookie Rins tried a last lap lunge past Rabat but he was not as lucky...

Race Reports:


Danny Kent became the first Brit since Barry Sheene to take three wins in a row as he found the hole in the last thrilling lap and powered to the line to take a dramatic win in Jerez.

Leopard Racing's Kent had been in contention all race in the lead group battling for position with rookie Fabio Quartararo of Estrella Galicia and the Red Bull KTM pairing of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.

2 May 2015

Moto2 and Moto3 Jerez: All in the timing - Rookie Quartararo and experienced Rabat secure pole positions in Spain

As the MotoGP paddock arrives in Europe for the first time this season the hot and sunny Spanish weather at Jerez made finding grip an important aspect of qualifying.

Though traffic also played a big part in the slightly cooler first run Moto3 session both classes pole times came from well timed laps – Fabio Quartararo took his first with a late lap just before the rest of the field all took to the track at once, where in Moto2 it was Rabat's early fast lap which dominated the timesheets as the temperature rose.

Qualifying Reports :


First on the day's schedule Moto3 saw Estrella Galicia rider Quartararo take pole at just his fourth race weekend. The rookie French rider looked easy on his first attempt around a track he had cut his teeth on in the Spanish championship and a well timed run lead him to pole as his rivals hit traffic.

Danny Kent saw his fast time evaporate as he tangled with the riders who followed the Leopard Racing rider out of the pits, though his previous run saw him set the second best time.

The front row is completed by Miguel Oliveira the best placed KTM rider behind the Honda pair, for the Ajo team.

His Red Bull team-mate Brad Binder will start fro fourth with an amazing lap from Philipp Oettl pushing him up to fifth, Karel Hanika also earns a row two start despite a late tumble in sixth on the third Red Bull entry.

Italians Enea Bastianini (Gresini) in seventh , Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) in eighth and Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) in ninth complete row three with Estrella Galicia's other rookie rider Jorge Navarro completing the top ten.

John McPhee and the whole Saxoprint RTG team struggled to find the right settings for Jerez and starts 25th.


Tito Rabat always puts in a large amount of laps, but it was just his eleventh trip around Jerez which landed him pole, set when there was still over 23 minutes left on the clock.

The last sector caused trouble for many of the riders as the grip levels fell, but with a few wobbles on the way EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Rabat looked back to his confident best as he put in many consistent laps, though he was also not quite able to reach his best lap time from early in the session.

19 April 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Argentina – The great vanishing act: Kent and Zarco are streets ahead.

Mind the gap - on a day where championship leads were beginning to build, the Moto3 and Moto2 winners performances were all about dominance and a win defining distance. Danny Kent pulled out a immense 10 second lead , the biggest Moto3 has seen in dry conditions, while Johann Zarco looked easy as he pulled away to win by 2.7 seconds.
One better every race -Rins continues to impress Photo: PonsRacing.com

Race Reports:


British rider Danny Kent repeated his Austin performance as he again weighed up the conditions and competitors before disappearing down the track to take back-to-back wins – the first British rider to do so since the legend Barry Sheene in 1971.

The Leopard Racing rider, who leads the championship, was joined on the podium at the Rio Hondo by team-mate Efren Vazquez who raced with a fever, with timing and experience enough to help him power his Honda to second.

18 April 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 – Argentina: Record tumble as Oilveira and Zarco secure pole in the dying seconds.

With the sun finally with the paddock in Argentina the good weather lead to a highly competitive Moto3 session, before making the track slippery and wind appearing for the last class to take to the track, Moto2.

Despite this both qualifying sessions shared similar qualities, with the track record dropping further and the closing seconds being crucial, and record altering.
Close, lap after lap - Rabat at work but settles for second Photo EG 0,0 Marc VDS

Qualifying Reports:


Moto3 got qualifying started and initially it was Danny Kent who looked to have control and a strong candidate to top the timesheets at the flag. His controlled and dominant performance for Leopard racing was halted by a last lap dash by Red Bull KTM rider Miguel Oilveira, giving the manufacturer their first pole this year.

Kent's time remained good enough for second, with Nico Antonelli completing the front row for Ongetta Rivacold.

Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing) took fourth after staying on his bike following contact which could have easily lead to a crash, Isaac Vinales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) early lap held on for fifth, with Karel Hanika having a return to form in sixth for Red Bull KTM.

Jorge Navarro ( Estrella Galicia 0,0) was top rookie in seventh, his team-mate Fabio Quartararo could only manage 16th on his first tour around Rio Hondo.

Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR 46) made a late surge to push for eighth, one place ahead of another well performing rookie, Hiroki Ono for Leopard Racing. Enea Bastianini completed the top ten for Gresini.

13 April 2015

MotoGP Austin: Keep Austin Weird

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez came out and rained on Britain's parade this weekend in Austin, becoming the only non-Brit to win a Grand Prix, although we suppose even we knew a British
Marquez dominates in America once more
Photo: Repsol Honda
MotoGP winner was a little out of reach this Sunday.

With fog, water under the bridge and superstars turning up at the Circuit of the America's, the 22 year old was able to secure his third win at the COTA. There are now just 25 points covering the top five in the championship and MotoGP 2015 gets better and better!

Race Report

With no jump starts recorded year it was Jorge Lorenzo from the back of the front row who seemed to have the wholeshot on his Movistar Yamaha, however after almost coming into contact with Dovizioso the Spaniard was pushed back through the pack. Dovizoso took the lead into the opening corner, ahead of Marquez and Valentino Rossi.

Getting a strong start off the line, Scott Redding was having a dramatic opening lap and following a mistake from Lorenzo, Redding lost the front end of his EG 0,0 Marc VDS machine and took Pol Espargaro out with him. Marquez hit the front on the fifth lap and never looked back, leaving Rossi and Dovizioso to fight it out for second position.

12 April 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Austin: The Brits are coming! – Impressive wins for Kent and Lowes.

The predicted bad weather didn't have much of an effect on the support class races, with just a few spots of rain to hamper the riders in Moto3 and Moto2. Brit boys Danny Kent and Sam Lowes both used their racecraft to pull out leads which they converted  into convincing wins at the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin Texas.

Both riders had looked strong over the weekend in the lead up to the race but had faltered when in control before, missing poles and crashing out while leading races, but no such mistakes were made this time.

Qualifying Reports:

Miguel Oliveira had been the early race leader, often finding himself at the sharp end of the lead group before crashing out of contention. It was to be Leopard Racing rider Kent who had the mind to sit back and let the pack test conditions before hitting the front when confident with what the track had to offer and pull away for a commanding win with a lead of 8.5 seconds.

11 April 2015

Moto3 and Moto2: A lesson in perseverance – Poles for Kent and Simeon.

The MotoGP paddock made it's second stop of the season in Austin, Texas for the qualifying action to be a show in determination in all classes.
After that tricky season in Moto2 and a hard first season back in Moto3 Danny Kent continued to build with a pole position. Xavier Simeon also rallied for just his second career pole in Moto2, with even more perseverance on show from the hurting Sam Lowes who he just beat in the final moments.

Both classes set new lap records in the process.

Qualifying Reports:

After being at the front for most of Qatar bar when it counted for qualifying Danny Kent set about his task of pole with an attention grabbing performance on the Honda, utterly dominant on his way to his first pole of the season with Leopard Racing.

Kent's new record was 0.998 faster than Miller's 2014 record.

After some serious lapping Miguel Oilveira came closest to rivaling Kent, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider the only man to also see his personal best give him a sub 2m16 time. They are joined on the front row by Gresini's Andrea Locatelli.

Fellow Italian Niccolo Antonelli was just a shade behind on the timesheets in fourth, joined on row two by the best performing rookies Estrella Galicia riders Jorge Navarro and Fabio Quartararo in fifth and sixth respectively.

Seventh went to Isaac Vinales, eighth Enea Bastianini, ninth Francesco Bagnaia with Qatar race winner Alexis Masbou completing the top ten.

Moto3's second British rider John McPhee had to wait for his bike to be fixed following a frustrating crash with Livio Loi after five minutes, the troubled Saxoprint RTG rider eventually able to pick off enough places for 15th on the grid.

There were also big crashes for Manzi, Ajo and Ono – with the Japanese rider's causing a brief red flag.


With Moto2 Qatar riders all featuring at the front in practice it was expected it would be Zarco, Lowes and Rabat dueling it out for qualifying honours.

Though Lowes' very early hot lap, which was followed by a chatter induced crash for the Speed Up rider, looked like holding on it was to be Xavier Simeon's late dash that pushed his Gresini to pole, for just the second time in his career and the first since 2013.

He again broke the lap record on his way to pole as had long time leader Sam Lowes before his time was ultimately bettered.

The pair are joined on the front row by Tito Rabat, the EG 0,0 Marc VDS man putting in an impressive 20 laps on his way to third on the grid.

Johann Zarco's late push was only good enough for fourth for Ajo Motorsport, while Franco Morbidelli held fifth for Italtrans despite a late crash. Sixth went to Idemitsu rider Taka Nakagami, who had hoped for more before having his best lap hit traffic.

Julian Simon starts sevneth for QMMF, Alex Rins is the best of the rookies in seventh for Paginas Amarillas HP 40 ( main rival Alex Marquez starts 23rd) while Dominique Aegerter made huge improvements learning behind Rabat for ninth.

Tech 3's Marcel Schrotter held on to tenth after crashing at the same time as Morbidelli.

Qatar race winner Jonas Folger finds himself 19th, Tom Luthi had bike woes all session hampering his progress in 17th.

There were also crashes for Mulhauser, Cardus and Baldassarri.

Full Moto3 qualifying results here.

Full Moto2 qualifying results here.

3 April 2015

Seven things to look forward to in BSB 2015

The clocks have gone forward, Easter eggs are on Supermarket shelves, and MotoGP is under way, it can only mean one thing - the first round of the 2015 British Superbike Championshop season is upon us.
Back to school - the class of 2015.
Photo: MCE BSB

It's set to be the biggest ever BSB season - literally - with 40 riders set to grace the grid at Donington Park on Easter Monday. Making up the numbers are riders from 11 different countries. With young guns looking to make their mark, returning heroes from the world stage, and highly experienced BSB veterans out with a point to prove; a mistake at any single round could be pivotal in who will make the cut through to the Showdown in September.

PaddockChatter has been keeping an eye on testing and come up with seven things we're most looking forward to seeing when the lights go out in Derbyshire on Monday...

Aussies on a brand new bike with a point to prove... 

Photo: Milwaukee Yamaha
The new Yamaha R1 has been arguably the most eagerly anticipated Superbike of the year, and has received praise far and wide. The first test for the Milwaukee Yamaha squad, Josh Brookes and new team mate & compatriot, Broc Parkes, went smoothly for the team on the whole, with team manager Mick Shanley beaming at the bike's 'huge potential', stating that the team "haven't even scratched the surface yet". Brookes seems more determined than ever before to wrap up a BSB title, he has even backed out of road racing for this year in an attempt to fully focus on the short circuits. Meanwhile, former World Supersport ace and Yamaha factory Superbike golden child from the EWC,  Broc Parkes, took a hat-trick of podiums the last time he competed in BSB as a wildcard with PBM at Brands Hatch in 2009. Should he be able to adapt to the tricky nature of the British circuit calendar, who could bet against the Andorran resident for being a permanent podium threat? Both will be immensely strong contenders throughout the season, but there is always a degree of uncertainty when developing a brand new bike.

Estment previews 2015 British Supersport return: 'I'm more prepared than ever'

Bjorn Estment will be returning to British shores for 2015 to compete once again in the fearsome British Supersport Championship for the Evo class honours.
Estment will be riding a NFB backed Triumph 675 for 2015
Photo: Evan de Boer/PaddockChatter

Having spent the previous two seasons with Colin Appleyard's squad, Estment has formed his own outfit for 2015 less than 3 weeks ago prior to the first round of the season, which is kicking off this weekend at Donington Park. Estment will be racing a Smith's Racing prepared Triumph 675 backed by NFB Financial Services; "better late than never!" Exclaims the South African.

Chomping at the bit to get back into action, Estment said: “I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I will be making a return to my new ‘home’ once again in 2015. There have been many uncertain times over the winter break, but the support and enthusiasm that I have received from the British public and race fans alike has been fantastic and incredibly motivating when times have got tough.

“It is a very exciting year for me as a new bike and manufacturer is always interesting, fresh and a challenge. A huge thanks to NFB Financial Services Group and Smiths Racing, for their efficiency and professionalism in making it happen. I would like to thank everyone who continues to support my efforts and I am looking forward to a successful season aboard the new machine. Roll on round one – hell yeah!”

In light of the news about his 2015 plans, PaddockChatter caught up with Bjorn for a further chat about the off-season and what it takes to get such a project off the ground and ready for Round 1... 

Weaving excited for new challenge

Courtesy of StrawBales Media

2015 sees a step upwards for the 2014 Motul Motostar Moto3 British Champion. After securing the title with a round to spare, Jordan will this year contest the Pirelli National STK600 Championship, which again runs in support of the MCE British Superbike Championship, for NMT No Limits Kawasaki aboard their factory-supported ZX-6R Ninja. 
New beginnings for the South African
Photo: freezeframe-photography.co.uk

After two intensive test sessions in Spain, the Gloucestershire engineering student has been working closely with team rider coach Ewan Burnett to work on the transition of riding style from the light and nimble, slick-shod, KTM250 prototype to the heavier and more powerful 600cc production racer on treaded tyres. Whilst the lap times are coming step by step, the main focus has been getting comfortable on the bike and learning session on session.

After the sun-blessed tests in Southern Spain it was rain and a cold, bitter wind that greeted the former Red Bull Rookie and the NMT No Limits Kawasaki team at Donington Park last week for the only official UK test day ahead of the season opener at the same circuit over Easter Weekend. With the wind causing concern for all, Jordan posted a time on a dry but cold track that saw him finish just shy of the top ten, which is nothing but encouraging given the progress required in this most hotly-contested of classes.

Ahead of Round One, Jordan said "It's was a long winter waiting to make my debut for the NMT No Limits Kawasaki team, passing the time working hard in the gym and at college. Now I've had a few sessions on the Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, I have to say I really enjoy riding her. Whilst a very different machine to the one that served me so well last year, I'm getting more and more confident every time we go out. It's not an easy transition and patience is absolutely the key."

He continued, "I'm thankful to the NMT No Limits Kawasaki team for this opportunity and to Ewan for his continued hard work in getting me this far, although I'm fully aware we still have work to do, but I'm excited to see where my level is at Donington Park this weekend and will be doing all I can to bring home the best result I can for the whole team."