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Lowes storms to season opening victory in the desert

By General Posts

Sam Lowes crowned a perfect weekend by winning the first Moto2 race of 2021 in Qatar as Augusto Fernandez scored important points and gained valuable experience by finishing 14th.

The 2021 season started in style under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit with the 20-lap Moto2 race demonstrating the full potential of Sam Lowes, who rode to a brilliant victory.

Sunday evening’s track temperature (23 degrees) was nine degrees lower than qualifying (32 degrees) and the wind had picked up considerably, adding another challenge for team-mates Lowes and Augusto Fernandez.

After a tough qualifying on Saturday, in which he placed 21st, the 23-year old made some drastic changes to bike set-up ahead of the race. He confirmed these improvements on Sunday afternoon by placing eighth in warm-up.

Fernandez was then involved in an epic six-rider fight for eleventh place for the majority of the race. He maintained a strong rhythm until the end, and came home 14th, 17.540s behind the winner.

“I’m happy with what we changed with this bike”

“I’m happy because we did a lot of work all weekend. Yesterday we changed the setting of the bike completely. So today was like a test. We had a quick warm-up, a new setting and then we had to try and understand as many things as possible before the race. Coming from the back of the grid is always difficult so I’m happy with the performance. We have to improve some things, especially in sector three, where I was struggling a lot. But we will analyse everything because I’m happy with what we changed with this bike. If we can improve in sector three, we’ll make a big step. My last two laps of the race were fast – top seven or top eight pace. I can’t wait to start round two to try and improve and have a good weekend!”

Having topped preseason testing, led FP2 and clinched pole position, Lowes started as the pre-race favourite. Despite a turn two crash in the warm-up session, he showed no signs of pressure, making a solid start and taking the lead from Marco Bezzecchi at the start of lap three.

From there, the 30-year old Briton expertly controlled the race, gradually extending his advantage over Remy Gardner to win by 2.26s at the finish. This was Lowes’ seventh win in the Moto2 class and the fourth in his past seven starts.

Lowes becomes the first British rider to win the first race of the season in any grand prix class since Barry Sheene did so in the 1979 Venezuelan Grand Prix!

“Winning the first race is a mega start”

“Honestly, the first one is always difficult because you have all the winter to think about it. Every time you are training, or even if you can’t sleep at night, it’s on your mind! It has a massive build up. Then I crashed in warm-up and the wind was different to the other times we rode during the weekend. All of that added to it! So, I’m really proud of that ride because it was solid. To get pole position and win at the first round starts things off in a good way. My team has done a fantastic job. It was nice to go testing and build a base for the season. Winning the first race is a mega start!”

Motul Set For 2021 MotoGP Campaign With Team Suzuki And Pramac Racing

By General Posts

from https://www.scoop.co.nz

Motul continues winning partnership with reigning MotoGP champions Team Suzuki- Motul and PRAMAC Racing sign exclusive deal for 2021

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship season was an incredible year, which saw Team Suzuki and Motul claim a clean sweep across the Drivers and Teams Titles. The famed Japanese manufacturer will continue with riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir, a line up that remains unchanged since 2019, with a clear aim of repeating the championship successes in 2021.

Motul will continue as the Official Lubricant Partner of the Suzuki factory team, extending the close working relationship between the two brands that have delivered success at the top flight of motorcycle racing for the past 32 years. This partnership has pinned its hopes on the championship-winning Suzuki GSX-RR, which has seen only minor upgrades due to a MotoGP engine freeze over the winter. The aim is clear for 2021 – to repeat the success of 2020 and achieve back-to-back titles.

Motul also confirms a key technical partnership with PRAMAC Racing for the MotoGP World Championship, inking a three-year deal which will see Motul and PRAMAC Racing competing at the top flight of motorbike racing until 2023. Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco will be leading the charge in 2021, both on the highly competitive Ducati Desmosedici GP bike which scored 5 podium finishes in the hands of PRAMAC Racing during the 2020 season.

This partnership extends away from the race track, where Motul Heavy Duty will be working closely with PRAMAC’s industrial applications in the energy and material handling sector. Motul will provide first fill lubricants at factory level for PowerGen equipment, providing high-performance diesel and gas lubricants to improve mechanical efficiency.

The 2021 MotoGP World Championship season begins this weekend, at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on the 26-28 of March 2021. The action begins with the two Free Practice sessions on Friday, with Qualifying on Saturday and the Grand Prix on Sunday.

Kaspersky becomes sponsor of Aprilia Racing

By General Posts

from https://www.albawaba.com

Kaspersky has become a sponsor of Aprilia Racing – one of the most successful teams in motorcycle racing history, Partners with Piaggio Group

Kaspersky has become a sponsor of Aprilia Racing – one of the most successful teams in motorcycle racing history. The cybersecurity company’s logos will be placed on the team’s bikes for the entire 2021 season, starting with the first race in Qatar on March 28. The sponsorship comes as part of Kaspersky’s partnership with Aprilia’s parent company Piaggio Group – Europe’s largest scooter and motorcycle manufacturer.

This new sponsorship adds to the cybersecurity vendor’s contribution to motorsport. Kaspersky has been a long-time supporter of talented racers, who the company helps to reach their full potential. The global list of athletes, supported by Kaspersky, includes the first female Emirati racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi, as well as Formula One racer Antonio Giovinazzi.

“Kaspersky is committed to securing the technological progress of the mobility industry and to the development of motorsports. Despite working in different sectors to Piaggio Group and Aprilia, we share the same values of constant improvement, innovation and becoming the best at what we do. I’m sure our partnership will be beneficial for the whole mobility, automotive and motorbike community,” says Alexander Moiseev, CBO of Kaspersky.

Aprilia Racing is the most advanced technological expression of the Piaggio Group – it has won an astonishing 54 world titles, including 28 since the Noale-based manufacturer joined the Piaggio Group in 2005. From its inception, Aprilia Racing has been an extraordinary breeding ground for new talent.

“It is a great honor to have Kaspersky’s name on the Aprilia RS-GP livery this year. Our new partner is a successful name in motorsport and we are sure that MotoGP will represent a wonderful new challenge in this realm. Together, we will be able to enhance talents and honor the true spirit of racing, as both Kaspersky and Aprilia Racing have been able to demonstrate in the course of their history,” says Massimo Rivola, CEO of Aprilia Racing.

The sponsorship of Aprilia is part of Kaspersky’s new partnership with Piaggio Group, which gives one of the world leaders in motorcycle production access to the IT company’s time-proven expertise and the ability to securely use the best of what technology can offer. Kaspersky has long been a household name in automotive cybersecurity – for over a decade it has worked with renowned vehicle manufacturers, as well as developers of connected components.

Honda extend MotoGP commitment

By General Posts

Honda extend MotoGP commitment: Most successful MotoGP team to compete until 2026

Honda will continue to add to their illustrious history in Grand Prix racing, having extended their contract for the next five years until 2026

from https://www.financialexpress.com

Honda will continue to expand their illustrious history in Grand Prix racing having signed an agreement with Dorna Sports S.L. to compete for the next five years, from 2022 to 2026. Honda started in 1954 when Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda, declared entry into the Isle of Man TT, the premier motorcycle racing event of the era, with the aim of becoming the best in the world. This journey has so far seen 100 different riders win on Honda machines and amass over 800 wins across all categories. In the premier class alone, Honda has claimed 850 podiums and 25 Rider World Championships, more than any other brand in history.

The journey will continue for at least five more years as Honda have agreed with commercial rights-holder and series-promoter Dorna Sports S.L. to guarantee their place on the grid until 2026.

Noriaki Abe, Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.: “First, I would like to express my respect and gratitude to Carmelo Ezpeleta and everyone at Dorna Sports for their hard work in organizing races during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very pleased that we have renewed our contract to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026.

“Honda has been competing in the FIM Grand Prix World Championship since 1959, and won its 800th grand prix last year. Honda believes MotoGP racing is vital to our motorsports activities. MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing – it allows us to develop various technologies, and through fierce competition, teach our engineers and nurture their skills. With these engineers working on the development of production vehicles, Honda can create better products for its customers. Honda will continue to bring dreams and joy to its customers worldwide through its motorsports activities, including MotoGP.”

South African riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class

By General Posts

by James Richardson from https://www.thesouthafrican.com/

Later this month Brad Binder will become the fifth South African rider in the history Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class, here we look at those that went before.

Formerly classified as the 500cc class before it was transformed to MotoGP, Grand Prix motorcycle racing has not been an environment inhabited by South Africans very often.

Before 2020, just four South African riders had made it into the elite class with all three competing during the 500cc era.

SA riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class

Here we will only look at riders who have reached either the 500cc class or MotoGP.

1 Paddy Driver

The first South African to reach the premier class, Driver competed on the Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit from 1959 to 1965. His best result came in his final year on the circuit when he rode a Matchless to a third-place finish in the 500cc world championship behind Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini.

Having lined up in two Formula One Grand Prix Driver is part of a very small club of men who have raced in both the Grand Prix motorcycle World Championship and Formula One. That group also includes legends John Surtees, Mike Hailwood and Johnny Cecotto.

2 Alan North

North made his Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the elite class when in the 1975 season riding for Yamaha.

The Durban-born racer spent three seasons in the 500cc class scoring nine world championship points in that time. He won his only Grand Prix race in 1977 when he claimed the 350 cc 1977 Nations Grand Prix at Imola

3 Jon Ekerold

SA riders in Grand Prix motorcycle racing’s elite class 

Prior to Brad Binder’s 2016 Moto3 championship, Ekerold was the last South African to win a world title in Grand Prix motrocycle racing claiming the 1980 350cc championship as a privateer. Without the benefit of a motorcycle manufacturer’s support Ekerold defeated Kawasaki factory racing team rider Anton Mang to win world championship.

Ekerold appeared on the 500cc circuit in three seasons, racing in eight Grand Prix in the elite class.

His best race finish in the 500cc class came in his debut on the elite division’s grid in the 1976 Isle of Man TT where he placed sixth.

4 Kork Ballington

A contemporary of Ekerold, Hugh Neville “Kork” Ballington was born in what would become Harare in Zimbabwe but raced under the South African flag winning four Grand Prix motorcycle World Championships.

Ballington raced in the elite class in three seasons including the 1982 season when both he and Ekerold raced in the elite class. That would be the last time until 2020 that a South African rider took up a place on the grid in the elite class.

He finished on the podium twice in the 1981 season claiming third place at both the Dutch TT and the Finish Grand Prix.

In 1978 and 1979 Ballington won both the 250cc and 350cc championships, making him the most successful South African rider in terms of championships on the circuit.

5 Brad Binder

The 2016 Moto3 champion makes the step up to MotoGP as South Africa’s first representative at the pinnacle of Grand Prix motorcycle racing since the 1980s.

Binder’s younger brother Darryn is also a racer and joined Red Bull KTM’s Moto3 team in 2018.

The MotoGP season gets underway in Jerez later this month and will see Binder compete for Red Bull KTM alongside the best riders in the world. He will be the first South African rider to compete in the championship since it became the MotoGP.

From eardrum bursting motorcycle roar to soft music

By General Posts

by Fadhli Ishak from https://www.nst.com.my/

KUALA LUMPUR: MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli, who is used to scorching speeds around the world’s racing tracks, including Sepang, has slowed down to a stop — following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Morbidelli, a member of the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT), has yet to twist a throttle this season.

The 2018 MotoGP rookie of the Year is now spending his time at home, under lockdown in Italy.

Instead of listening to the eardrum bursting roar of motorcycles’ engines, Morbidelli now tunes into soft music.

He is keeping himself occupied with a new hobby, playing musical instruments, while doing his best to remain physically fit.

“I am trying to stay in shape but without leaving my house. I can go running if I stay within the land boundaries of my household. I am doing that but not much more,” said Morbidelli.

“I have some musical instruments and I am trying to learn to play them. It’s not easy, I need to practise a lot. Maybe by the end of this thing (lockdown) I will be able to play the harmonica and cajon.”

Cajon is a box-shaped, percussive instrument which originated in Peru.

“We should try to enjoy the time that we now have at home and get the maximum from it. We can do things at home that we usually don’t have time to do.”

The MotoGP second, third and fourth rounds in Thailand, Argentina and the United States have been postponed to later this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodbye, Nicky Hayden

By General Posts

From Cycle World.

Nicky Hayden succumbed to injuries earlier today after being hit by a car while training on his bicycle last week in Italy. He was 35 years old.

Nicky was the last American to win the MotoGP world championship in 2006, more recently moving to the World SBK series for the 2016 season. He was beloved by everyone in the paddock and in both racing series, not to mention by all of us in the American motorcycle community (not to mention personally to a whole lot of people in this building).