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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Assen WSBK Race 2: Rea wins with last minute charge

Jonathan Rea put in a first class performance to win Race 2 at the Assen World Superbike round today, picking off riders in mixed race conditions.


As the riders made their way out to the grid the track was very wet, but as the sun broke out from the clouds and the wind picked up, it quickly started to dry out. As the tyre warmers came off most of the riders had chosen slicks.

Checa however was sitting in full wets which made his instantly uncompetitive, lapping 15 seconds slower than other riders, forcing him to put for a tyre change.

Jakob Smrz led from the first corner and began to put a gap between himself and Tom Sykes in second. Haslam soon caught up with Sykes and successfully challenged him for 2nd.

As Sykes moves backwards in the rankings, Guintoli made his way up and eventually put a moe on Haslam, before closing the gap on teammate Smrz. After just a handful of laps Guintoli lined up Smrz and passed him on the pit straight.

Meanwhile Rea was covertly working his way through the pack, and seemingly out of nowhere caught the Ducati team mates. Within just a couple of laps he had made his way past both Smrz and Guintoli, ultimately giving him the race win.

Guintoli held his position and claimed second position at the end of the race, but Smrz crashed out when he hit a curb passing a back marker.

The fast paced pack of Eugene Laverty, Haslam and Melandri put on a great show as they battled for the final place on the podium. Each rider put in some ballsy passes, but it was Laverty who ended up on the podium, with Melandri beating Haslam to 4th by a margin of just a few centimetres.

All in all a great day's racing at the Assen World Superbike round. Read more at www.worldsbk.com

Assen WSBK Race 1: Guintoli takes dramatic win

Sylvain Guintoli claimed an impressive win in the first Superbike race today, taking advantage of the wet conditions after the race was originally red flagged and restarted as a 9 lap sprint.


From the start of the race the conditions were dry and Tom Sykes got a cracking start from pole position and started pulling out a lead from lap 1. Marco Melandri also got a great start and worked his way through the pack up to 2nd place, closely followed by Jonathan Rea in 3rd.

Whilst pushing for 2nd place Rea got himself into a full on drift, but miraculously saved it and lost a few positions on track. For the first few Laps the front 8 riders were only split by a couple of seconds.

In a stroke of bad luck Sykes Kawasaki starts to smoke down the home straight and he lost power. After carrying on for 1 lap he was black flagged and had to pull off the track. In the confusion around Sykes problem Haslam took advantage and jumped into the lead.

A great battle between the BMW teammates saw Melandri pass Haslam for the lead. just a few seconds later Melandri unexpectedly low sided and was followed by 2 or 3 other riders. It was then reported that it has started to rain on that part of the circuit and the race was red flagged.

The wet race was restarted at 12.55 with 9 laps to be ridden. Melandri had pole but looked uncomfortable and lots places quickly. Rea takes the lead for the first lap but is quickly caught up by Haslam who puts a move on him for the lead. Rea crashes out following Haslam.

Hopkins is the second rider to crash out in the freezing cold and soaking wet conditions. Haslam continued to extend his league but eventually pushed too hard and crashed out, leaving Checa in the lead.

Guintoli makes his way passed Biagi for 3rd and Badovini takes the lead from Checa. Checa also loses a place to Guintoli, who is then the race leader as Badovini crashes out. Giugliano then makes a move on his team mate forcing Checa down to 3rd.

After a massively dramatic race, Guintoli excelled in the wet conditions to claim a well deserved win, with Giugliano and Checa rounding out an all Ducati podium.

Race 2 results to follow later today!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sykes takes pole at Assen World SBK

British rider Tom Sykes has gone quickest in today's qualifying session in Assen to claim pole position for tomorrow's World Superbike race.


After soaking up the local culture last night (including some classic Dutch drinks such as blueberry liqueur with fanta) we headed down to the circuit and collected our passes ready for qualifying.

In superpole one most of the usual suspects put in solid times to secure their spot in superpole two, however one notable exception was Max Biaggi who struggled to get to grips and didn't make the cut for the two superpole sessions.

Kawasaki rider Sykes will be joined by Rea, Smrz and Guintoli on the front row, with Checa, Fabrizio, Haslam and Hopkins making up the second row.

We'll be back at the circuit tomorrow with live updates from the races, check back to the site and follow @momentumblog on Twitter for updates.

Read more at www.worldsbk.com

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

New BSB Support Vehicle for Oxford Products

Popular bike accessory firm Oxford have just announced the first venture of its new two‐wheel race support vehicle, a Yamaha FJR1300.

Motorcycle News: New Yamaha FJR1300 is Oxford blue colours!

The bike is being used by Oxford’s experienced helmet technician, Kevan Chalcraft, who's running the company's new race service in the BSB championship this season.

Oxford are running the new service from a workshop in Buildbase BMW’s race truck, where they are supporting nearly 30 racers who have chosen HJC helmets, IXON leathers as well as other Oxford products.

Kevan is running a helmet drop‐off service, bringing the latest technical know‐how and technology straight from HJC’s Moto GP workshop that supports rider after Ben Spies.

The new bike is fully branded up in Oxford colours and Kevan is loving the new role: “It's a privilege to be at the vanguard of HJC’s track development, getting the latest developments from Moto GP. The BSB guys are a joy to work with and are so positive about the service”.

To find out more about Oxford Products visit www.oxprod.com for the latest BSB news check out www.britishsuperbike.co.uk

Monday, 16 April 2012

Motorcycle Racing - Business or Entertainment?

The 2012 racing calendar is now in full swing with top championships such as British Superbike, World Superbike and Moto GP all well under way. So far the action on the track has had a mixed reception with fans, whilst the packed grids for the Superbike championships have delivered action packed races, the return of the 1000cc Moto GP era was found to be somewhat underwhelming by some fans.

Motorcycle News: Is motorcycle racing primarily a business or a form of entertainment?

Despite a last minute chase from Lorenzo to pass Stoner for the race win, there was relatively little action at the front of the pack for the majority of the race. Mid-pack battles provided some good viewing but the grand pix circuit has certainly seen some better action over the years.

Whether it's the fact that the people's champ Valentino Rossi is struggling with his bike, or the sad loss of the flamboyant rider Marco Simoncelli last year, the series has definitely lost some of its magical appeal and it is a great shame. As much as i hate to say it, I even caught myself getting more excited by the F1 race at the weekend.

Whilst I know that Dorna are trying hard to revitalise the sport, bringing in the CRT bikes and teams, I cant help but feel that the departure of Suzuki and Kawasaki have hit the series hard. Times are certainly tight and pulling out of the GP might well be a good business decision for the firms, but for entertainment purposes it's definitely a big loss for all.

This brings us to the question of whether racing is primarily for business or entertainment? Obviously the answer depends on which side of the fence you sit on, manufacturer or fan, but is this right? Shouldn't the manufacturers be looking at their part in racing for the entertainment value delivered not just the cold bike sales? Obviously as fans we all love racing but we can also understand that from a business point of view, if the numbers don't stack up, it can't carry on.

We'll certainly be keeping a keen eye on the progression of the racing calendar, with our first live race of the season coming up at Assen for the World Superbike championship. Hopefully when the global economy improves, more of us can get out there and buy the bikes we've been eyeing up, and in turn we might see a return to the golden days of racing. Until then let's hope the organisers, racers and manufacturers make it as interesting as possible for us.

Check out more as www.britishsuperbike.co.uk www.worldsbk.com and www.motogp.com

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Qatar MotoGP: Crutchlow qualifies in 3rd

What better way to kick off the 2012 MotoGP season than with a British rider on the front row of the grid, with Cal Crutchlow qualifying in 3rd place in Qatar.

Motorcycle News: Crutchlow heads to front row for MotoGP season opener

After looking promising all week in the free practice sessions, finishing 2nd quickest under the famous floodlights on Friday, Crutchlow delivered his best ever qualifying performance in the desert, just 0.3 seconds behind Lorenzo on pole position.

Reigning champ Stoner secured second place on the grid for the season opener tomorrow, but couldn't match the pace of spaniard Lonrenzo on his Yamaha. Qualifying in 4th was American Ben Spies, closely followed by compatriot Hayden in 5th

Meanwhile GOAT Valentino Rossi struggled to get to grips with his Ducati and ended up with a dismal 12th place.

The first race of the season is on BBC red button at 19:30 tomorrow and repeated on BBC One at 23:20.

Crutchlow is keeping typically level headed about his qualifying performance and says he won't celebrate until he turns it into a race result.

Read more at www.motogp.com

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Checa shows who's boss at Imola World SBK

Current world champ, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), clearly asserted his sovereignty this weekend as he took the double win at Round 2 of the World SBK Championship in Imola.

Motorcycle News: Carlos Checa pipped Sykes to the top spot of the podium

In Race 1, Checa waited until the half way point to pass Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), setting a lap record on the way to his second win this season. Sykes secured his best dry race performance in second place, with Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) claiming the final podium place.

Motorcycle News: Sykes, Checa and Haslam on the podium

Despite Sykes making another strong break at the start of the race, laying down some hugely impressive lap times, Checa put in an equally solid repeat performance and claimed his second win of the day. The podium was rounded off in an exact repeat of Race 1 with Sykes second and Haslam third. Unfortunately,  Italian rider Biaggi just missed out on the post-race champagne, securing 4th in both races.

After four races, the Championship looks like this: Checa 75, Biaggi 71, Sykes 69, Haslam 47 and Melandri 46.

Read more at www.worldsbk.com