HONDA RACING NEWS

WTCC World Touring Car Championship 2014 – Round 10 : China – October 12, 2014

The Proteam Racing Honda Civic of Bennani Wins in China

Mehdi Bennani

The Honda Civic WTCC took the first victory of the World Touring Car Championship season with an emphatic win for Mehdi Bennani in Race 2 at Shanghai. In taking his lights to flag victory, the young Moroccan scored his first ever WTCC race win, at the same time becoming the first Moroccan and first African and Arabic driver ever to win a FIA World Championship Touring Car race. To underline this valuable victory, the Castrol Honda Civic of Tiago Monteiro was second overall with Norbert Michelisz 5th.

The Proteam Racing Civic of Bennani was in pole position for Race 2 having set the 10th fastest time in qualifying. His plan was to make a perfect start and drive as fast as he could for the first laps. In fact he had a 2.1 second advantage at the end of the first lap over Honda Civic driver Gabriele Tarquini with Monteiro third. By lap 5 his advantage was 4 seconds over Monteiro with Tarquini out and Michelisz in a battle with current drivers’ championship points leader Lopez and Loeb.

Tiago Monteiro

Mehdi maintained his concentration for every one of the 14 laps to take the checkered flag a comfortable 2.5 seconds ahead of fellow Civic driver Monteiro. An emotional Bennani embraced his family and team members in victory lane at the end of the race to the cheers of the entire WTCC fraternity who recognize the efforts made by this young driver to make his mark on the World Championship stage.

“This is a fantastic feeling – I think I may be dreaming,” said Mehdi through tears of joy. “Winning is something so special that I have been thinking about for years now. I want to thank His Majesty the King of Morocco for having made this possible, in putting me here amongst the best drivers in the World Championship. I want also to thank my family for the total support, Honda, J.A.S. Motorsport and of course my Proteam Racing of Valmiro Presenzini. I gave 100% from the start to the very end. It’s something wonderful.”

It took him several minutes to get his breath back before taking the Moroccan national flag to the top step of the podium to hear his national anthem played for the very first time in WTCC.

For Tiago Monteiro second place was some reward for a hard working weekend which saw him finish 7th in Race 1 close behind Castrol Honda team-mate Gabriele Tarquini whilst Norbert Michelisz in the Zengo Motorsport Civic was 5th overall with Bennani himself 10th whilst protecting his Civic for the challenge of Race 2.

“In Race 1 I had a big fight with Loeb and with the tyres degrading fast I was right on the limit. Race 2 victory proved that we are working together with the private drivers and that they have the same car as our factory team. So I’m happy for Mehdi and for Honda. We keep fighting in the upcoming races,” said Tiago.

Two 5th places is a great record for Norbert Michelisz in the Zengõ Motorsport Civic WTCC. “I am proud of my results here. I did the maximum to help my colleagues from Honda in the front of the race, because that was my plan in Race 2, helping to keep the gap between the Civics and the competition. So I’m very happy with this first victory for Honda.”

Victory is sweet for everyone involved with the Honda WTCC programme. Alessandro Mariani, managing director of J.A.S. Motorsport said, “This is a significant victory, for Honda, but also for the customers with the Civic because they are important for us. It’s a pity that Gabriele had the power steering problem, otherwise we could have had a 1, 2, 3 podium. We proved that we had the right pace in Race 2. Everyone worked hard in the last months and weeks, this victory is good for the morale of everybody.”

Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development for Honda R & D was also delighted with the race win. “This victory proved that we have the power. After improving the car in Beijing, Shanghai was the next step and now we are looking forward to make another step in Suzuka.”

It was a great day for Honda as the Civic also took its maiden victory in the national Chinese Touring Car Championship race.

WTCC World Touring Car Championship – Round 10 : China

Race 1

Rank Driver (Team)
1 Jose LOPEZ (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
2 MA Qing Hua (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
3 Yvan MULLER (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
4 Sebastien LOEB (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
5 Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)
6 Gabriele TARQUINI (Honda Civic WTCC)
7 Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)
10 Mehdi BENNANI (Honda Civic WTCC)

Race 2

Tiago Monteiro and Mehdi Bennani

Rank Driver (Team)
1 Mehdi BENNANI (Honda Civic WTCC)
2 Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)
3 Jose LOPEZ (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
4 Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)
5 MA Qing Hua (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)
6 Tom CORONEL (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)
RT Gabriele TARQUINI (Honda Civic WTCC)

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

World Superbike and World Supersport 2014 – Round 11: Magny Cours – France – October 5, 2014

Rea and Haslam Each Score Podium Finishes in France

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) swapped third place finishes at the 11th round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, with Jonathan posting third in race one and Leon repeating that feat in race two.

After a weekend of practice and Superpole qualifying held in fully dry and often warm conditions, race day dawned wet and cold and stayed that way throughout. The surface of the Magny Cours circuit was judged to be particularly slippery this year and several big names fell, including Jonathan, who was leading race two until the 11th lap. Because the races were wet they were cut in duration from their planned 21-lap distance to 19, and each event made it to a conclusion despite the conditions.

In the opening race Jonathan, who had qualified third and started from the front row, could not quite stay on terms with the Aprilia duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri, with Guintoli the race one victor. Melandri and Guintoli swapped positions as they also headed up race two. Jonathan’s no score in race two came after a long period of front running but at turn three he lost traction and fell. He remounted but had to retire in the pits. Only 13 riders finished race two, from a starting grid of 27.

Starting from his Superpole qualifying grid position of tenth Haslam finished race one in sixth place. In race two he battled his way through the field and after an audacious overtake on reigning world champion Tom Sykes on lap 18, Leon rode to a clear third place and his first podium for his Pata Honda team after almost two years of hard competition and frequent injury.

Leon Haslam

Leon’s two strong finishes of sixth in race one and then his race two podium pushed him up to seventh in the championship rankings, with only the final round in Qatar left to run. The overall championship is still very much alive after Guintoli’s first and second place finishes put him within 12 points of long-time leader Sykes, who could only finish with two fourth places in the wet in France. Only those two riders are now in the title fight.

The 12th and final round of the championship will take place at Losail in Qatar, with race day on Sunday, November 2.

World Supersport – Van Der Mark on the Podium Again
New World Champion Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) scored his ninth podium of the year in the FIM Supersport World Championship with a second place at Magny Cours, despite falling in the race and remounting.

With the championship wrapped up last time out van der Mark was out to win another race but the wet Sunday conditions, after two days of dry in practice, saw Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) take a great advantage in the lead of the race until he fell and had to retire.

Van der Mark fell on lap seven and had to work his way back to second in a race that was red flagged after 12 laps when a trackside air fence barrier could not be re-inflated. The race was won by home rider Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta) with Roby Rolfo (Kawasaki) third.

Michael van der Mark

Imola race winner Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) was in the fight for a podium finish until the red flag intervened and he was classified fourth, only a fraction of a second from a top three place. He is also fourth overall in the championship fight.

Ninth placed Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda) was the only other Honda finisher in the top ten, in a race that saw 18 riders reach the early finish and many other riders fall due to the slippery circuit conditions.

Luca Marconi (Lorini Honda) had a spectacular moment as his bike rear tyre slid then gripped, throwing him upwards, him but he regained control and finished the race in a more than creditable 11th.

Young Aussie rider Matt Davies (AARK Racing Honda) scored three points for 13th place, while new WSS rider Martin Cardenas (CIA Insurance Honda) was run off track in a first corner melee and had to play catch up from that point on. He finished 16th and one place from a point.

Valentin Debise (Com Plus SMS Racing Honda) placed 17th and Nacho Calero (CIA Insurance Honda) was the last rider home, one place behind Calero. Irishman Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) was looking set for fourth place until he fell on lap seven and damaged his bike badly enough that he could not restart. Vladimir Leonov (Rivamoto Honda) and Alex Baldolini (Team Lorini Honda) also failed to finish the race.

World Superbike and World Supersport 2014 – Round 11: Magny Cours – France

Superbike Race 1

Rank Rider (Team)
1 S. GUINTOLI (Aprilia Racing Team)
2 M. MELANDRI (Aprilia Racing Team)
3 J. REA (PATA Honda World Superbike)
4 T. SYKES (Kawasaki Racing Team)
5 L. BAZ (Kawasaki Racing Team)
6 L. HASLAM (PATA Honda World Superbike)

Superbike Race 2

Rank Rider (Team)
1 M. MELANDRI (Aprilia Racing Team)
2 S. GUINTOLI (Aprilia Racing Team)
3 L. HASLAM (PATA Honda World Superbike)
4 T. SYKES (Kawasaki Racing Team)
5 L. LANZI (3C Racing Team)
6 M. NEUKIRCHNER (3C Racing Team)
RT J. REA (PATA Honda World Superbike)

Supersport

Rank Rider (Team)
1 J. CLUZEL (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
2 M. VD MARK (PATA Honda World Supersport)
3 R. ROLFO (Team GO Eleven)
4 L. ZANETTI (PATA Honda World Supersport)
5 F. MARINO (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres)
6 K. COGHLAN (DMC Panavto-Yamaha)
9 R. WILAIROT (Core PTR Honda)
11 L. MARCONI (Team Lorini)
13 M. DAVIES (AARK Racing)
16 M. CARDENAS (CIA Insurance Honda)
17 V. DEBISE (Com Plus SMS Racing)
18 N. CALERO (CIA Insurance Honda)
RT J. KENNEDY (CIA Insurance Honda)
RT V. LEONOV (Rivamoto)
RT A. BALDOLINI (Team Lorini)

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014 – Round 15: Japan – October 12, 2014

Marquez Conquers the World at Motegi
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez, already the youngest ever World Champion, claimed his second successive championship at Honda’s home circuit of Motegi at the Japanese Grand Prix. The defender rode to a secure second place in the race to make his points lead unassailable, with three races to spare. The 21-year-old from Cervera in Spain, already 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, won his second straight premier class to become the youngest ever winner of consecutive titles, beating the record of Mike Hailwood that had stood since 1963.

The prodigious talent of Marquez means that he has also claimed this title still at a younger age than the previous youngest-ever winner, Honda’s 1983 champion Freddie Spencer. The win, celebrated with the ceremonial release of a high-flying balloon cut free with a traditional Japanese samurai sword, comes after a near-perfect season, with 11 race wins out of 15 races, 11 pole-position starts and setting the fastest lap in 10 races.

It also took Honda a step closer to securing a fourth successive Constructors’ Championship with the class-leading V4 RC213V MotoGP prototype. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was fourth, just half-a-second away from his own tenth podium finish, in a race run in dry conditions in spite of the threat of an imminent typhoon, in front of a Sunday crowd of 42,856. The position kept alive his hopes of finishing second overall to give Honda a classic championship one-two. The race was won at lap-record speed by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), with his team-mate Valentino Rossi third.

Marquez overcame a second-row start, and fought his way to second place after finishing the first lap fifth. He claimed the position on the 16th of 24 laps of the 4.801 Honda-built Motegi circuit, in mountainous country north of Tokyo.

Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

It was a fitting climax to a landmark season for the youthful superstar. Marquez won the first ten races without interruption, and added another victory in round 12. Each win was another chapter in the legend of a potential all-time giant of the sport.

Pedrosa started from the front row, but was shuffled back to sixth in the first-lap melee. Patiently he picked his way forward, and was closing on third place in the latter part of the race. The 29-year-old from outside Barcelona was the first rider other than Marquez to win a race this year, taking victory in the Czech Republic round. The experienced Honda rider has backed it up with eight more top-three finishes.

While Marquez’s championship position is unassailable, Pedrosa is in a close fight for the second spot. With three rounds remaining and a possible 75 points still available, he is now equal on points with Rossi, and Lorenzo is just three points behind. Pedrosa required corrective surgery for an arm-pump condition at the start of the European season, but recovered strongly.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Two more riders campaign the class-leading Honda V4 MotoGP prototypes. German former Moto2 champion Stefan Brad (LCR Honda RC213V) was seventh, up two places from his qualifying position, and holding off a fierce attack from satellite Yamaha riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith.

Former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V) finished tenth, also two better than his grid position. The Spaniard and his GO&FUN team-mate Scott Redding have a special role, race-testing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by Japanese companies with close links to Honda. Redding is one of four riders campaigning the new-this-year production Honda MotoGP machine, a close replica of the factory machine. The best of them was Japan’s Hiro Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R). The former 250cc champion was a close 13th, narrowly failing to overtake compatriot Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s factory Yamaha.

Second Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R rider Nicky Hayden was five seconds behind and one place lower, after a brave race for Honda’s 2006 World Champion. The American has finished in the points in the last two races, after missing four rounds following radical surgery to his right wrist. The hard braking of Motegi was a severe test for the courageous Kentucky competitor.

Redding (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV1000R) just missed the points, losing 15th place on the final lap. The Briton, youngest-ever Grand Prix winner, is still the top-scoring production Honda rider, placed 13th overall. Czech law graduate Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) crashed out of the race, with ten laps remaining.

Moto2
Honda is guaranteed to win in the intermediate Moto2 category, where the series organizers supply all competitors with identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines. This assures not only close competition, but also reliable racing.

A first win of the year went to front-row qualifier Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag Suter), who led the 23-lap race from the first corner to the last. But the Swiss former 125cc champion had to work hard for it, as two-race winner Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Pons Kalex) pushed through to second before the halfway point, and closed a lead that had been almost 2.5 seconds to less than a second as they started the final lap. Vinales secured a new lap record in the process.

Title leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was third after starting from his eighth pole position of the season, extending his points lead over team-mate Mika Kallio, who was fifth, just over half-a-second behind French star Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter). Sixth-placed former 125 champion Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) was a similar distance behind, with rookie team-mate Franco Morbidelli challenging to the end.

Rising Malaysian star Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex) came through for eighth, with Ricard Cardus (Tech 3 Tech 3) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) rounding out the top ten.

Rabat now has an advantage of 38 points over Kallio, with reigning Moto3 champion Vinales a strong third, another 32 points behind. Fourth-placed Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) failed to score after falling and remounting to finish 18th, and is now out of touch.

Moto3
In Moto3, the closest battle of the series, Honda is up against machines from KTM and Mahindra, and with his third win of the year Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) extended the World Championship lead that he took for the first time at the last round at Aragon. The younger brother of MotoGP champion Marc is now 25 points clear of erstwhile leader Jack Miller (KTM). He also set a new lap record in the race.

With SaxoPrint-RTG Honda rider Efren Vazquez coming though from 14th on the grid to second place, it was a one-two finish for the upgraded Honda NSF250RW Moto3 bike; with yet another of the 250cc single-cylinder four-strokes taking a very close fourth. That was ridden by second SaxoPrint-RTG rider John McPhee, the 20-year-old Scotsman’s best result, in his second full Grand Prix season.

It was another hard-fought and exciting Moto3 race, with the first four over the line in less than seven tenths of a second, and the next pair half-a-second behind, after tangling in the third-last corner. Brad Binder (Mahindra) was third, erstwhile title leader Jack Miller (KTM) fifth.

Second Estrella Galicia 0.0 Honda rider Alex Rins, twice a race winner this year, was a disappointed tenth, after a collision on the first corner sent him off the track, finishing that lap in 20th place.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) finished 14th, in the points; but Brno Grand Prix winner Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) was out of luck, crashing out of the 20 lap race. 

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix – Round 15: Japan

Marc Marquez

MotoGP

Rank Rider (Team) F/O
1 Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
2 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team) F
3 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
4 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) F
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team) F
6 Andrea IANNONE (Pramac Racing) F
7 Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP) F
8 Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) F
9 Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) F
10 Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini) F
11 Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing) O
12 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA (YAMALUBE Racing Team with YSP) F
13 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar) O
14 Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar) O
15 Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing) O

* F=Factory option, O=Open category

Moto2

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Sitag)
2 Maverick VIÑALES (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
3 Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4 Johann ZARCO (AirAsia Caterham)
5 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
6 Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)
7 Franco MORBIDELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
8 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
9 Ricard CARDUS (Tech 3)
10 Xavier SIMEON (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
11 Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
12 Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)
13 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
14 Gino REA (AGT REA Racing)
15 Luis SALOM (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)

Moto3

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
2 Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)
3 Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)
4 John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)
5 Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
6 Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)
7 Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
8 Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3)
9 Niccolò ANTONELLI (Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3)
10 Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
11 Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)
12 Karel HANIKA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
13 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
14 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Ongetta-AirAsia)
15 Alessandro TONUCCI (CIP)

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

MotoGP World Championship GP 2014 – Round 16: Australia – October 19, 2014

Hondas Suffer in Treacherous Race of Attrition

Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)

One week after championship triumph at Honda’s home circuit of Motegi, treacherous conditions brought disappointment to the factory Repsol Honda Team RC213V riders, neither of whom finished in the Australian Grand Prix.

Out of 23 starters, nine didn’t make the finish – an attrition rate of almost 40 percent in dry but rapidly cooling conditions that undermined tyre choices and brought dreams crashing to earth. Both factory-backed Honda riders were in that number, along with satellite rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V). It was the first time since the Portuguese Grand Prix in 2010 that the Repsol Honda team has suffered a double DNF.

New double World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had built up a significant lead of almost five seconds after 18 of 27 laps of the scenic seaside Phillip Island circuit. Braking on the downhill approach to a tight corner the front wheel suddenly locked and tucked under, and he fell unhurt.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had already fallen innocent victim to another rider’s error. The former 125cc and double 250cc champion was caught up in a tight pursuit pack after only five laps when a crashing Andrea Iannone (Ducati) slammed into him from behind. Pedrosa retained control, but his bike was too badly damaged by the impact to continue, and he had to pull into the pits to retire with a buckled back wheel.

A number of other riders crashed for the same reason as Marquez, as before the race the wind direction switched from a warm land breeze to an icy blast off the freezing Bass Strait adjacent to the circuit. Track temperature continued to fall through the race, playing badly against the special hard-construction high-endurance tyres. Bridgestone had made them especially for this circuit, after catastrophically high wear rates last year forced the race to be cut into two halves.

Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

The race was won by veteran multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo a fading second, inheriting the position only after Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) had a similar crash under braking on the final lap.

The result makes no difference to Marquez’s championship: he was already unassailable, after winning eleven of the first 12 races. But with two rounds remaining, it does mean he will have to wait for another chance to equal former Honda serial champion Mick Doohan’s record of 12 wins in a single season.

But a zero score was costly for Pedrosa, who has held second overall for most of the season, in spite of requiring surgery at the start of the European season after suffering arm-pump problems. Now both Rossi and Lorenzo have overtaken his points score.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

It also means Honda will have to wait for the chance to secure the constructors’ championship. The points lead is 45, with a maximum of 50 to be won over the last two races – a strong but not yet unassailable advantage.

The top-scoring Honda was the fourth RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Honda Gresini RC213V), who came through on the last lap to lead his team-mate Scott Redding over the line by four thousands of a second, a matter of inches, for sixth place. Redding races the production-racer version of the class-leading RC213V – the RCV1000R, built for this year’s new Open category rules. Seventh equalled the youngest-ever grand prix winner’s season best, in his first year in the premier class.

A second of these close replicas of the class-leading V4 MotoGP prototype was eighth, with former 250cc champion Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar RCV1000R) heading a close trio over the line within less than a second. Second Drive M7 Aspar RCV1000R rider Nicky Hayden was tenth. Hayden, Honda’s 2006 World Champion, is in his third race back after missing four rounds following radical surgery to his right wrist in the summer break.

Czech law graduate Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was an early casualty, falling out on the fifth lap after climbing from 23rd to 18th.

Moto2
All competitors in Moto2 are powered by Honda, with the series organisers providing identical race-tuned CBR600 engines, to guarantee close and reliable racing. The race fulfilled that goal, in a fierce front-running battle, with championship positions as well as race results at stake. Four different riders led at various stages, eventually crossing the line within less than two seconds; the fifth was no further behind.

A third win of the year for class rookie Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) kept the championship open for at least one more race, and preserved the Spanish reigning Moto3 champion’s own mathematical chances of moving up to second overall.

Second place for Swiss former 125cc World Champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag Suter) also upset the odds. Luthi, winner of the last round in Japan, crossed the line two tenths ahead of title leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex). Rabat had the chance of securing his first crown at this race, after taking a Moto2 record 12th pole position, but now will have to wait longer.

His closest rival is team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Kalex), who led the first eight laps of the 24-lap race, and then again a few laps later. He had taken benefit when Rabat ran wide at the hairpin more than once; but then made the same mistake himself, to finish a close fourth.

Reigning World Supersport champion Sam Lowes (Speed Up) was a fifth member of the front group and a strong candidate for the rostrum until the closing laps. He was still only 1.5 seconds behind Kallio in fifth, his best result so far in his first grand prix year.

Rabat extended his points lead over Kallio by three points, and now has a advantage of 41, with two rounds remaining and 50 points available; while Vinales closed to within 20 points of Kallio. At the same time, Luthi took over fourth overall from German Grand Prix winner Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter), who was eighth.

Almost ten seconds behind the leading group, former Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) came through to take sixth place, less than a tenth ahead of fellow-German Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3).

A similar distance behind Aegerter, Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) and Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) completed the top ten, at the head of a fiercely close group.

Moto3
In Moto3, six Honda riders are up against rival machines from KTM and Mahindra, and two races ago Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) took over the championship lead from Australian Jack Miller (KTM).

Miller narrowly won the race from Marquez, cutting the title lead of the younger brother of MotoGP champion Marc to 20 points, and keeping interest in this closest title battle at fever pitch.

Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Alex Rins was almost alongside in third, himself still a mathematical title candidate. Three more of the new-this-year Honda NSF250RW machines made up the rest of a six-strong lead group that flashed across the line within just 0.242 seconds.

Efren Vazquez and SaxoPrint-RTG Honda team-mate John McPhee were fourth and fifth; and Ongetta-Rivacold Honda’s veteran French rider Alexis Masbou sixth. The sixth Honda, ridden by Malaysian Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda), crashed out on the second lap.

MotoGP World Championship GP – Round 16: Australia

MotoGP

Rank Rider (Team) F/O
1 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
2 Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
3 Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) F
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team) F
5 Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing) O
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini) F
7 Scott REDDING (GO & FUN Honda Gresini) O
8 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar) O
9 Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Forward Racing) O
10 Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar) O
11 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) F
12 Danilo PETRUCCI (Octo IodaRacing Team) O
13 Michael LAVERTY (Paul Bird Motorsport) O
14 Mike Di MEGLIO (Avintia Racing) O

* F=Factory option, O=Open category

Moto2

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Maverick VIÑALES (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
2 Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Sitag)
3 Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
5 Sam LOWES (Speed Up)
6 Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
7 Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)
8 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)
9 Xavier SIMEON (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
10 Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
12 Louis ROSSI (SAG Team)
13 Franco MORBIDELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
14 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Gresini Moto2)
15 Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)

Moto3

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
4 Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)
5 John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)
6 Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
7 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)
8 Jakub KORNFEIL (Calvo Team)
9 Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)
10 Niccolò ANTONELLI (Junior Team GO & FUN Moto3)
11 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Jorge NAVARRO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
13 Karel HANIKA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
14 Alessandro TONUCCI (CIP)
15 Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

Morocco Rally  – October 10, 2014

Team HRC in Buoyant Mood after the OiLybia Rally of Morocco Finishes

Team Morocco - Wolfgang Fischer, Joan Barreda

The FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship calendar concluded at the Morocco rally, the event serving to fine-tune the new Honda CRF450 RALLY motorcycle and to bond the new Team HRC line-up ahead of the Rally Dakar 2015.

The overall balance sheet of the OiLybia Rally of Morocco leaves the Honda CRF450 RALLY account well in credit, with five out of six stage wins, one podium, and three bikes in the top ten finishers. Hélder Rodrigues ended up in third overall place and Joan Barreda fourth, in a rally that saw an extraordinary performance from Team HRC’s latest signing Laia Sanz, who posted a tenth overall place in her first world championship outing.

n addition, the riders had a successful end to their world championship campaign. Paulo Gonçalves, took the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship silver medal, in spite of suffering a broken rib in a fall which left him unable to finish the Morocco excursion. Joan Barreda, after leading the event when achieving top honours in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, finally settled for bronze. Hélder Rodrigues finishes in 4th place in the series. The competition displayed a tremendously high level – the adversaries likewise.

Now it’s time to pore over the data gathered during a race week where various technical innovations were on trial, before the optimal bike is finally handed to the riders who head off for the ultimate challenge – the Rally Dakar 2015.

Helder Rodrigues

Katsumi Yamazaki, Team HRC Large Project Leader :
“The stage 6 on the final day of the race, here in Morocco, has finished with the 5th victory for Joan Barreda. I could say that he has proved his strength and navigational capacity, as well as speed with so many stage victories. He missed 4th place by a very narrow margin, just 41 seconds off Helder Rodrigues in the overall.

Rodrigues finished in 9th position, and took 3rd place in the overall standings with his stable run. Laia Sanz finished 12th on the day, and 10th in the final standings, which had been her overall target. Even though she had been injured in Stage 2, she kept control of her physical condition well until the final day. In this morning Jeremias Israel’s machine which had mechanical trouble, was transported to the bivouac, but the team made a decision that he wouldn’t run on the final day.

I’m seriously surprised that we were unable to win the Morocco Rally while winning our 5th stage out of 6. I will analyze the factors as to why we weren’t able to win the Morocco Rally as soon as I get back to Japan and I will proceed immediately with all the necessary preparations to amend this before the Dakar.”

Martino Bianchi, Team HRC General Manager :
“The last day of the World Rally Championship here in Morocco, which didn’t reflect the real value of Team HRC as we had won five out of the six stages, all with Barreda. We tried to win the race with Paulo Goncalves who was really close to Marc Como with two days to go, then he crashed and broke his rib.

We proved to have very fast riders and we showed ourselves to have a very good bike, and we also proved that we are working very well towards the Dakar. We finished second and third in the world championship title. We weren’t able to defend the title but it was a very good battle between Marc Coma and Paulo Goncalves until the end. In this race, we finished on the podium with Helder Rodrigues showing himself to be a constant rider.

Also, the Morocco Rally was very important for us to test new things on the bike, and also to try out the new Team HRC riders. Jeremias Israel also performed very well. He was on the podium in stage two, but was unable to finish the race for a minor electrical problem. There was also a great performance from Laia Sanz, who had her first experience in this Morocco Rally. She finished tenth showing what fantastic potential this woman has.

Laia Sanz

So, overall I’m happy that the team is working well; the mechanics, staff and everybody. Now we only have two months of preparation before the Dakar in order to finish and fine-tune everything for the great Dakar race.”

World Championship Standings

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc Coma (KTM) 101 points
2 Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 71 points
3 Joan Barreda (Honda) 68 points
4 Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 62 points
5 Jordi Viladoms (KTM) 57 points