Author: Ernest Scott

Petrucci wins Race of France in rain-hit conditions

Danilo Petrucci captured his first win of the season in a rained-out race at Le Mans. Repsol Honda’s rookie Alex Marquez took second place, his best placed finish in the premier class, ahead of the KTM of Pol Espargaro. .

Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo could only finish ninth and that was enough to extend his lead in the riders standings. Both championship contenders Joan Mir and Andrea Dovizioso ended 11th and 4th to remain second and third in the standings.

At race start, Petrucci shot off the grid into the lead from the front row, starting third on the grid. The two Ducatis led the race with Jack Miller in the Pramac Ducati in third. It was Ducatis in positions 1,2 and 3 in the early going. Behind the leading bikes, Joan Mir had to take serious evasive action on the opening lap after Valentino Rossi suffered a crash in front of him; the run-off cost him some positions.

The Ducati trio led for two thirds of the race. Alex Rins joined the foray in fourth as the Suzuki riider tried to dispatch Miller for third. Rins carved his way from seventh to fourth by lap 12. As the fastest rider on track, he made a jump to second by lap 18 of 26 when Dovizioso suffered tyre wear and Miller crashed out.

With seven laps to go, Rins would crash out of contention. This gave both Márquez and P.Espargaro a chance to creep up to second and third. Due to extreme tyre wear, Dovizioso was pushed back to fourth place. The race would finish with Petrucci pretty much taking a walk through win, followed by Marquez and Espargaro.

Dovizioso’s fourth place pushes him to third in the standings, 18 points behind Quartararo. Behind the Ducati were Johann Zarco, Miguel Oliveira, Takashi Nakagami and Stefan Bradl. Bradl’s eight place ensured a double finish for Repsol Honda, the first in a long while.

Quartararo finished ninth, while his Yamaha SRT team mate Franco Morbidelli crashed out of the race. Meanwhile, Maverick Vinales secured tenth place for factory Yamaha squad. He was the sole finisher for the factory team as Rossi crashed at race start. Mir made a last lap final dash to slot into 11th. This result was crucial for Mir, as he managed to maintain his second place in the title standings, where he now sits 10 points from the top.

The next race, tenth round, moves to the Aragon circuit in Spain from 16-18 October.

MotoGP Race of France results
1 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team 45’54.736
2 Alex MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +1.273
3 Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.711
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +3.911
5 Johann ZARCO Esponsorama Racing +4.310
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +4.466
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +5.921
8 Stefan BRADL Repsol Honda Team +15.597
9 Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +16.687
10 Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +16.895

Riders standings
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 115
2 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 105
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 97
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 96
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 81
6 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 77
7 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 75
8 Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 73
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 69
10 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 64

Quartararo takes emphatic win at 2020 Catalan GP

Quartararo takes emphatic win at Catalan GP

Fabio Quartararo came back with a vengeance at the race of Catalunya last Sunday with an emphatic win. The Yamaha SRT rider proved who’s the real contender in this season’s title chase as he outgunned the two factory Suzukis of Joan Mir and Alex Rins, who finished second and third.  The second Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli ended up fourth best, ahead of satellite Pramac rider Jack Miller.

With the win, Quartararo regains the top of the pecking order in the Riders standings, eight points in front of Mir. Former league leader Andrea Dovizioso  crashed out of the race on the first lap and didn’t score a point.

At race start, the Yamaha SRT rider lost several places but got back to second overall by lap six. The first five laps saw Morbidell in the lead and it was his team mat who beat him for the lead on lap nine. From there, the lead Yamaha SRT just never looked back.

By the mid-juncture of the race, the Suzukis had caught up from fifth and sixth spots in the early laps. Both riders played the long game, cleverly settling into formidable race pace and keeping their closest competitors in sight.

In the closing laps, the Suzuki riders started to reel in the Yamahas. Mir chipped away and put in some great passes to push himself towards the podium. Both Mir and Runs had overtaken Morbidelli for second and third, Two laps left, Mir moved into second place and was closing in on Quartararo as the chequered flag came out. Mir and Rins got the double podium finish for Suzuki, their first since 2007.

Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia were fifth and sixth for Pramac Racing, Nakagami finished atop factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci who took eighth spot. Petrucci managed to recover till the seventh position, engaging a duel with Bagnaia for sixth but, on the final stages, he couldn’t defend himself from Nakagami’s attack, finishing back into eighth place.

Maverick Vinales did some grace savving for the factory Yamaha squad by finishing a hard earned ninth, just ahead of the LCR of Cal Crutchlow.

The MotoGP circusr will now have one weekend without racing, before the championship tackles its penultimate triple-header, which starts with the Grand Prix of Le Mans from 9-11 October.

2020 Race of Catalunya results

1.  F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 40:33.176

2. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +00.928

3. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +01.898

4. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +02.846

5. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – +03.391

6. F. BAGNAIA – Pramac Racing – +03.518

7. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – +03.671

8. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – +06.117

9. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +13.607

10. C. CRUTCHLOW – LCR Honda CASTROL – +14.483

Riders standings

1  Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 108

2 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 100

3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 90

4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 84

5 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 77

6 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 75

7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 72

8 Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 60

9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 59

10 Brad BINDER KTM RSA 58

Toyota Racing gets 3rd consecutive win at 2020 Le Mans

Toyota Racing gets 3rd win in a row at 2020 Le Mans

The 24-hour  Le Mans endurance race is usually an exciting annual affair for motorsports fans in Europe and the world. This season is a little different as the post-pandemic situation has limited spectators to go to the Circuit de la Sarthe. Not only the fans, but manufacturers participating in the Le Mans have dwindled over the past 3 years. The 2020 Le Mans is also the penultimate round of the WEC (World Endurance Championship).

Toyota Racing have been carrying the Le Mans title for the past couple of years. Going into the 2020 season, they’re looking for a third and without any real factory squads to challenge them, it’s almost assuredly theirs for the taking. This Le Mans would mark the final appearance for the 1,000PS, four-wheel-drive TS050 Hybrid.

The stage was set on Sunday as the two TS050 Hybrids lined up on the grid. Cars no.7 featured  Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, while car no.8 piloted by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. The Toyota drivers looked set for a perfect 1 – 2 finish, but an exhaust issue would cause car no.7 the win. But, they ended up third overall.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Le Mans 24 Hours World Endurance Championship 16th to 20th September 2020 Le Mans, France

Led by the pole sitter car no.7, Toyota got off to a stirring start and built a one-lap lead by half distance. But shortly 3 hours after midnight, with Kobayashi at the wheel, the car suffered a drop in power which forced it into the pit. A damaged exhaust manifold was replaced in less than 30 minutes and the Japanese driver re-joined in fourth place, six laps off the lead and four laps behind the third-placed car no.3 Rebellion.

That left the second TS050 no.8 in a clear lead, having recovered from its own troubles first with a puncture, then a debris-damaged brake duct which cost time at two pit stops before a 10-minute repair in the seventh hour. But they never gave up and fought back into second place before disaster struck car no.7.

With a healthy lead, car no.8 trio controlled the rest of the race from the front, establishing a five-lap lead. For the third consecutive year, Nakajima crossed the finish line to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, cementing his status as the most successful Japanese driver at the Le Mans’ La Sarthe.

Car no.7 trio initially made up ground on third place but the car  sustained floor damage after hitting debris, which compromised aerodynamic performance. However, the podium battle came alive in the final hour when the no.3 Rebellion first crashed on track and then could not exit the pits, allowing José to earn third, taking the flag six laps behind the no.8 car and one lap adrift of the second-placed no.1 Rebellion.

For Buemi and Nakajima, this was their third consecutive Le Mans triumph and they join only seven previous drivers who have achieved that feat in the race’s 97-year history, while Hartley won for the second time following his victory in 2017.

After Le Mans, Toyota Racing have the advantage of 7 points in the drivers’  point standings. The WEC finale goes down to the wire in Bahrain on 14 November, with 39 points up for grabs.

Le Mans 24 Hours results:

1st  #8 Toyota Racing                                       387 laps         

2nd  #1 Rebellion (Senna/Menezes/Nato)                            +5 laps            
3rd  #7 Toyota Racing                                      +6 laps            

4th   #3 Rebellion (Dumas/Berthon/Deletraz)                      +6 laps    

5th   #22 United Autosports (Hanson/Albuquerque/di Resta) +17 laps    

Vinales takes first win of the year for factory Yamaha squad

VInales takes first win of the year for factory Yamaha squad

Last Sunday’s second bout at the Misano track saw Yamaha factory rider Maverick Vinales capture his first win of the season as he lapped in first place from start to finish. For the second race in succession, Suzuki had Joan Mir on the  podium as he beat KTM’s Pol Espargaro in the final laps.

At race start, Vinales made a good jump from pole to lead the field. He was followed by Francesco Bagnaia, who was the only rider able to keep up the pace.

Five laps into the race. Vinales made a small mistake and went wide. He lost the lead momentarily as the Yamaha man was 1.5 seconds down on Bagnaia. Fabio Quartarari in the Yamaha SRT  was chasing the pair, but too far back to do anything.

At the mid-part of the race, Mir had caught up from a woeful starting position. Mir pushed hard and managed to move up into the top five by lap 5.

Vinales decided to make his move in the final ten laps of the race. Seven laps from the end, Bagnaia would crash out, leaving the race wide open for Vinales and podium runners. Behind him, Mir had promoted himself to second and P.Espargaro laid third. Mir made a gorgeous overtaking move on Quartararo for third, three laps from the end and then, overtook P.Espargaro for second. Vinales’ win was only his eighth win in his young career.

Quartararo ended up forth, ahead of M. Oliveira, Nakagami, Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Marquez and Danilo Petrucci.

Andrea Dovizioso who finished eighth maintained the lead by a single point from Quartararo in the riders standings. The Ducati man had to battle back from fourteenth, but made the top ten by mid-race. In the end, he couldn’t do better than  eighth at the finish line,

The upcoming race moves to the Circuit de Catalunya, from 25 – 27 September.

Race of Emilia Romagna Misano  round 2 results

1 M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 41:55.846

2. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +02.425

3. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +04.528

4. F. QUARTARARO – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +03.419

5. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – +07.368

6. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – +11.139

7. A. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – +11.929

8. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – +13.113

9. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +15.880

10. D. PETRUCCI – Ducati Team – +17.682

Riders standings

1  Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 84

2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 83

3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 83

4 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 80

5 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 64

6 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 64

7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 63

8 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 59

9 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 58

10 Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 57

Morbidelli secures first-ever win at Misano

Morbidelli secures first-ever win at Misano

Franco Morbidelli brought his Yamaha SRT back from the brink, after the last two rounds, by taking his first ever MotoGP career win at the Circuit Marco Simoncelli, last Sunday. His team mate Fabio Quartararo wasn’t as lucky, as he crashed out of the race. Behind the Yamaha SRT rider were Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia and Suzuki’’s Joan Mir.

With Quartararo crashing out, the Riders standings saw Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso take first place in the standings with a 6-point margin, despite finishing seventh.

Morbidelli jumped into the lead off the line with factory Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and the rest of the field chasing after. Morbidelli went unchallenged virtually from start to finish.

The battle behind Morbidelli was the highlight of the race between a Yamaha, Pramac and two Suzukis. Rossi held second for much of the race, but couldn’t pull away from the chasing pack of Bagnaia, Mir and Álex Rins. Bagnaia shot past the Doctor who saw his pace dropped off towards the end of the race. Mir then overtook him to force the Doctor to fourth.

The two Suzukis were batlling amongst themselves for position the entire race. Rins pushed as high as fourth with Mir sixth mid-way through the race. With just a handful of laps remaining, both Suzuki riders were in podium contention but as Rins began to suffer physically, Mir was able to make his way through. On the last lap, Mir executed an incredible pass on Rossi to take his second podium of the year with third, while Rins finished fifth.

Behind the Suzukis was Maverick Vinales who overtook Jack Miller to take sixth place over the start-finish line, 5.383s from the lead.

Dovizioso finished seventh which enabled him to snatch the Riders standings lead. After Quartararo’s crash on lap 8, the Ducati rider tried to set his pace to close the gap on the front riders. Only towards the end of the race, he managed to finally catch the Ducati bike of Miller, passing it on the final lap to finish in the seventh position. Miller ended up eighth ahead of Nakagami and Esparagaro.

The MotoGP contingent next head to a one-day test, ahead of the seventh round of the season just days later from 18-20 September.

Race of San Marino results

1  . F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 42:02.272

2. F. BAGNAIA – Pramac Racing – +02.217

3. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +02.290

4. V. ROSSI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +02.643

5. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +04.044

6. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +05.383

7. A. DOVIZIOSO – Ducati Team – +10.358

8. J. MILLER – Pramac Racing – +11.155

9. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – +10.839

10. P. ESPARGARO – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +12.030

Riders standings

1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 76

2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 70

3 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 64

4 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 60

5 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 58

6 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 58

7 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 57

8 Brad BINDER KTM RSA 53

9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 53

10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 48

2020 F1 Belgian GP: Different stage same results, Mercedes 1-2 led by Hamiltn

2020 F1 Belgian GP:  Different stage same results, Mercedes 1-2 led by Hamiltn

Last weekend’s Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at the glorious Spa-Francorchamps saw Defending Champion Lewis Hamilton capture another win to extend his lead in the Drivers’ standings. Team mate Valtteri Bottas came in second, ahead of Max Verstappen who could do no better than third.

Fourth through sixth were two Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon who led home Alexander Albon in a second Red Bull. Ricciardo and Ocon took Renault’s best ever result in this shortened season.

The win at Spa was Hamilton’s fifth win of the year and 89th in his career.  For Mercedes, it’s their 50th 1-2 finish since 2010. Hamilton’s obviously piling up the points in the standings, now 47 points apart from Verstappen. Mercedes lead by a big 52-point from Red Bull in the Constructors rankings.

The bottom rung of the top ten was filled by Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.

Selected Drivers’ quotes:

Hamilton: “The first lap can be a nightmare, because of the huge tow down the big straight, but I managed to keep Valtteri behind me on lap one and from there I had a strong race. Of course, I’d love to be able to win every race wheel to wheel, but today was a different kind of race, it was all about managing the tyres and the gap to the cars behind.”

Verstappen: “On the medium tyre I didn’t have a lot of grip and then on the hard I was initially trying to put pressure on Valtteri but he was told to speed up and was able to build a good gap, so after that it was a bit lonely. There was not much action up front unfortunately and the tyre wear was quite high so we couldn’t really push. I had some vibrations towards the end of the race so I really had to manage my tyres, I took no risks and brought it home.”

Ricciardo: “We had a lot of pace today and fourth is a strong result. It’s been a while since I’ve had the fastest lap of the race, so that was also nice.”

Norris: “I controlled my pace when I had to, knowing that the Racing Points and Renaults were quick when we had a similar tyre life. I knew I might’ve been able to overtake and that’s what I did. One more lap and I could’ve done something to get P6, but I’m still happy with P7.” 

Gasly: “The overtaking move on Perez was especially intense but very enjoyable! We knew a safety car between the start of the race and lap 20 would be a killer for us, but unfortunately, that’s what happened and gave the other cars a free pitstop. We didn’t give up because we had a great car, good pace, so I pushed as hard as I could. After our pitstop, we exited almost last and we had to fight back through the field, but I enjoyed it and to recover to P8 was just great! I reckon the safety car cost us a potential P5 today because I think we lost around 20 seconds there and finished seven seconds behind Ocon in P5.”

2020 Belgian GP results

1         Hamilton                  1:24:08.761 

2         Bottas            +8.448s       

3         Verstappen              +15.455s     

4         Ricciardo                 +18.877s     

5         Ocon             +40.650s     

6         Albon            +42.712s8

7         Norris            +43.774s     

8         Gasly             +47.371s     

9         Stroll              +52.603s     

10       Perez            +53.179s     

Drivers standings

1         Hamilton       GBR   MERCEDES 157

2         Verstappen   NED   RED BULL RACING HONDA        110

3         Bottas FIN     MERCEDES 107

4         Albon THA    RED BULL RACING HONDA           48

5         Leclerc          MON  FERRARI      45

6         Norris GBR   MCLAREN RENAULT        45

7         Stroll   CAN   RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 42

8         Ricciardo      AUS   RENAULT     33

9         Perez MEX   RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 33

10       Ocon  FRA    RENAULT     26

Oliveira wins MotoGP Race of Styria; first for Red Bull KTM Tech 3

Oliveira wins MotoGP Race of Styria

Last weekend’s round 2 of the race at Red Bull Ring in Austria, aptly known as the Race of Styria, was won by a Red Bull KTM Tech 3  rider Miguel Oliveira who outlasted satellite Ducati rider Jack Miller and Red Bull factory squad rider Pol Espargaro. It’s a first win in premier class for the youngster from Portugal. To icing on the cake, the second Tech 3 bike of Iker Lecuona finished tenth.

The absence of Reigning Champion Marc Marquez and recent lockdown have turned MotoGP a bit topsy-turvy as factory teams find it difficult to come to grips with satellite teams. KTM factory squad, having made their MotoGP debut, have made headlines following Brad Binder’s win in Brno. This time around, it’s Oliveira and Espargaro who made the teams proud.

In a red-flag interrupted race, Oliveira practically outlasted and dispatched both Miller and Espargaro as they battled for the top spot in the final lap of the race. Oliveira, who’s first rider to come all the way through the Red Bull KTM system, commented, “I’m very emotional…there’s so much I want to say but I cannot at the moment. This is history today for me and my country and I couldn’t be happier to do it here in the home of KTM and Red Bull.”

Miller took the runner up for the second week running, with Espargaro third. Suzuki’s Joan Mir battled Andrea Dovizioso for a tough fourth place. Dovizioso was racing in the lead group after the restart. He would run wide later and gave Mir an opportunity to overtake him. He was unable to make any progress in the closing stint and settled for fifth, ahead of the second Suzuki of Alex Rins.

LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami came in seventh, while Binder was eighth and Rossi, ninth.  Rossi had a lonely race to finish ninth as he was in a four-rider fight for fourth place in the mid-part of the race. He struggled to match the riders in front of him and lost a position to  Rins with 7 laps to go. However, the Italian retaliated immediately when Rins went wide. Rossi’s quest for eighth continued until the very end. The Yamaha man was close to overtaking Binder but came just short and crossed the finish line in ninth.

For the second weekend in a row, both Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli didn’t make any impression as they ended up 13th and 15th.  Even so, Quartararo left the Styrian GP at the top of the riders’ standings and the team held on to the lead in the teams’ rankings.

There will now be a two-week break for the riders before they tackle the next triple-header, which starts with Misano next month, from 11 to 13 September.

Race of Styria results

1. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 16’56.025

2. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing Ducati +0.316

3. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.540

4. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.641

5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team Ducati +1.414

6. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1.450

7. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +1.864

8. Brad BINDER Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +4.150

9. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +4.517

10. Iker LECUONA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM +5.068

Riders standings

1. Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 70

2.Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 67

3. Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 56

4. Brad BINDER KTM RSA 49

5. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 48

6. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 46

7. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 45

8. Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 44

9. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 43

10. Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 35

Ducati celebrates 50th Win Milestone

Ducati is one of the perennial factory squads in MotoGP that has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the top echelon of two-wheel racing. They have legions of followers known as the Ducatisti, not to mention a number of successes in the motorcycle racing world. Ducati has been an active factory team in the premier class since 2003, after the introduction of the new regulation for four-stroke engines.

For long-time Ducatisti, names like the Great Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi have brought much accolades to the factory Ducati squad in MotoGP especially. Stoner is still the man with the most wins in a Ducati and brought home a title to the Bolognese-based squad in 2007.

Stoner riding style and racing instinct best suited the Desmosedici GP machine through the 2007 season and his formidable years as the top rider in MotoGP for several years. That year, MotoGP technical regulations required bikes to be 800cc, instead of 1000cc. But it didn’t matter to Stoner, the Australian came up with 10 wins, the most ever for Ducati, and 14 podiums to ensure the Riders and Manufacturers’ titles. After that spectacular year, Stoner would go on to win another 13 victories in three years and became the most successful rider onboard the Desmosedici GP bike.

After Stoner’s last success at Phillip Island in 2010, Ducati hadn’t much accomplished since the Stoner-era. From 2011 until 2015, they pretty much played catch up to the likes of the Hondas and Yamahas, even the Suzukis. It wasn’t till 2016, when Andrea Iannone scored a surprising win that Ducati tasted a podium success. A year later, Dovizioso pushed through for the win at the Sepang Circuit to bring Ducati back from the brink, late in the season. A win or even a podium finish was hard to come by for the proud Ducati MotoGP team. Although going through a relative slump in MotoGP, Ducati never stopped developing the Desmosedici GP bike, in terms of performance and evolutions introduced over the years. One such example was the innovative wings that have revolutionized aerodynamics of premier class machines,

Up to date, no one else has come close to Stoner’s numbers, even the likes of current rider Andrea Dovizioso, who’d just captured Ducati’s 50th win last Sunday at the Red Bull Ring, has only 14 wins in total. Dovizioso could one day beat Stoner’s record but it’s going to take some time.  

A look back at pre-Stoner era

Prior to the appearance of Stoner, Ducati MotoGP had two big names in the fold namely Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss. Capirossi tallied only seven wins during his tenure at Ducati. On the four-stroke bikes debut year in 2003, Capirossi and Bayliss gave Ducati a good combo, but it was Capirossi who eventually scored a win much later in the season.  In the opening race at Suzuka in Japan, Capi finished third at the finish line, taking the first of the 155 podiums obtained by the Italian factory squad. Also in 2003, at Mugello, the Desmosedici GP bike entered the history of motorcycling scoring the overall record of maximum speed (332,409 km/h with Capirossi). In their home race, at the Italian GP, Capirossi also took the second place, completing an all-Italian podium with Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi.

A few weeks later, Capirossi gave Ducati its first MotoGP victory at the Catalunya Grand Prix, after an exciting race at Montmelò Circuit. For the Italian, it was the first of seven successes achieved with the Desmosedici machine from 2003 to 2007. Bayliss, ran with Ducati from 2003 – 04 but only managed to capture a win in 2006 as a substitute at the season finale in Valencia. Bayliss stood in for the injured Sete Gibernau, after becoming Champion in WorldSBK with Ducati.

Fast forward to 2017, Dovizioso became the golden boy at Ducati having moved to the Italian outfit from Repsol Honda. 5-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo also  joined Ducati that year to partner Dovizioso, but he did not fit in quite as well. He still managed three wins in his two short years at Ducati, all in 2018. Dovizioso contributed four wins that year. In 2019, Dovizioso is paired with rookie Danilo Petrucci, who won a race at the home of Ducatistis in Mugello. One notable rider mention is Valentino Rossi who rode for Ducati between 2011 – 12. Rossi in his two seasons there only had 3 podium finishes.

Ducati as a squad has triumphed on 19 different circuits: Motegi, Sepang, Losail and the Red Bull Ring are the tracks where it has achieved the most successes, winning five victories. Mugello, Montmelò and Phillip Island follow with four wins; Valencia and Brno with three wins; Misano and Donington with two and finally Sachsering, Assen, Jerez, Silverstone, Laguna Seca, Motorland Aragon, Shanghai and Istanbul with a win.

Among the 50 victories achieved since 2003, Ducati has also scored six 1-2, placing its riders on the first and second steps of the podium on six occasions.

In addition to the 50 victories, Ducati has taken 155 podiums in the premier class since 2003: 136 obtained by the official team riders and 19 obtained by satellite teams riders.

List of Ducati riders and number of wins

Casey Stoner 23

Andrea Dovizioso 14

Loris Capirossi 7

Jorge Lorenzo 3

Troy Bayliss 1

Andrea Iannone 1

 Danilo Petrucci 1

Hamilton beats Verstappen for Spanish GP win

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Defending Champion Lewis Hamilton has bounced back at last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix to notch up his fourth win of the shortened Formula 1 season. His rival Max Verstappen finished second to earn his fifth straight consecutive podium finishes in the current season, while the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was third. It would be Bottas’ 50th career podium finish.

Hamilton obviously holds the lead in the Drivers standings by 37 points to Verstappen in the runner-up spot. Mercedes piled up the points in the Constructors, now up to 221, compared to runner-up Red Bull’s point total of 135.

2020 Spanish Grand Prix, Sunday – LAT Images

Hamilton got off to a flying start against Verstappen and Bottas. Verstappen made quick work of Bottas to slot into second, at the start of the race. Hamilton took control of the race early and never looked back, while the Red Bull had to fend off the second Mercedes to stay in runner up spot.

After the race, Hamilton said, “I was just in a daze out there, I didn’t even know it was the last lap in the end, that’s how in the zone I was. I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. It was really special and a real surprise after our recent tyre problems. I got the perfect start and then it was all about tyre management.”

Red Bull camp were somewhat satisfied with the results. Verstappen was able to split the two Mercedes to get loads of precious points. “Overall, it’s been another strong weekend with a good amount of points which we should be happy with. I made a good start and it was important to get past Valtteri early, which I did. I tried everything to stay with Lewis in the first stint but overall their car was faster and Lewis was a bit too quick today. From then onwards we focused on our own race and the car felt good. At the moment we’re in-between the two Mercedes cars and of course we’d like to push Lewis harder but you have to be realistic as they still have the faster car,” the Red Bull driver commented.

Lance Stroll secured fourth place for BWT squad, his best finish ever.  He beat team mate Sergio Perez, who goes by the name of Checo, in fifth. That’s two BWT cars in the top ten, yet again. “I had a great launch off the line and I was able to pass Checo and the Mercedes of Bottas, which set me up for a good race. It was good to battle with Checo on track for a bit too. We changed to a two-stop in the race, but I was able to make up places, and I managed to overtake Vettel late on, and I gained a place through Checo’s penalty too.”

McLaren had two drivers in the top ten,  Carlos Sainz in seventh spot and Lando Norris in tenth. Sainz moved up to sixth thanks to a penalty on a BWT driver, as did his team mate. “We put in a very good fight with the Racing Points and defending from the Red Bull after the pit-stop was key. It’s a pity that I got lapped by Max [Verstappen] at the end of the race and lost a couple of seconds, because Checo [Perez] had the time penalty and I think we could’ve finished in front of him,” Sainz remarked in post-race.

Four-time Champion Sebastien Vettel, who’s in all sorts of dilemma with Ferrari, couldn’t do better than seventh. The German topped the second Red Bull of Alexander Albon, who ended the race in eighth. Albon is now in a tie for fifth in standings.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly made good use of the 10th-place grid position he earned, vaulting two positions on the opening lap to take the eighth spot. Gasly ran in the top 10 through the race and fought off a strong challenge from Norris over the last five laps to place ninth.

The circus will have a week off following three consecutive race weekends before heading to the famed Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the 28 – 30 August Belgian Grand Prix.

2020 Spanish GP results

1                    Hamilton                  1:31:45.279 

2                    Verstappen              +24.177s     

3                    Bottas            +44.752s     

4                    Stroll              +1 lap

5                    Perez            +1 lap

6                    Sainz             +1 lap

7                    Vettel            +1 lap

8                    Albon            +1 lap

9         Gasly             +1 lap

10                  Norris            +1 lap

Drivers standings

1         Hamilton       MERCEDES 132

2         Verstappen              RED BULL RACING           95

3         Bottas            MERCEDES 89

4         Leclerc          Ferrari           45

5         Stroll              BWT   40

6         Albon            RED BULL RACING          40

7         Norris            MCLAREN    39

8         Perez            BWT   32

9         Sainz  MCLAREN    23

10       Ricciardo      RENAULT     20

Dovizioso does a 3-peat at Red Bull Ring

It’s the fourth race of the shortened season, the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg took center stage for the MotoGP contenders, last Sunday. Ducati factory squad’s season finally kickstarted right with Andrea Dovizioso taking the win. Suzuki rider Joan Mir was at the runner-up spot while Jack Miller secured third for the factory Ducati Satellite squad. Brno GP winner Brad Binder was fourth best for factory KTM squad.

In a multiple red-flagged raee, Dovizioso captured his third consecutive victory at the Red Bull Ring. since the return of this race on the calendar in 2016. The race was delayed after the start due to an accident, but would resume with the Ducati man in pole position. He battled Miller for a few laps and successfully dispatched the Pramac rider for the lead. Mir in the Suzuki made some progress as he moved up to fourth by the time the red flag came out.  Both Suzukis of Mir and team mate Alex Rins made good progress at the restart, with Rins third and Mir fourth. Rins would go up to second at mid-distance of the race, but he crashed out without injuring himself. With Rins out, Miller took runner-up spot with Mir right behind. At this point, Dovizioso had a comfortable lead at the head of the order. On the last lap, there was a dogfight between Miller and Mir, which saw Mir take second from Miller in the last corner before the start-finish.

Dovizioso finished tops and brought himself back in contention in the Riders standings. He is second in the overall standings, only 11 points behind Fabio Quartararo.

The Austrian GP didn’t favor the Yamahas all too well, with only Rossi able to score a fifth spot, as the highest ranked Yamaha rider. After the Johann Zarco – Franco Morbidelli crash, the race had to be restarted. Rossi and Vinales were both lucky to escape the Zerco-Morbidelli crash. Rossi would bounce back strong and made a good start from seventh place and put his head down. He was fighting with Binder but couldn’t quite make a move on him. With multiple riders crashing out, the Yamaha rider found himself in fifth place. He kept applying pressure on Binder until the very end but finished fifth, 5.837s from first.

Vinales would fall to last place after the restart, due to a technical issue. The Spaniard stuck with it. He rode a strong comeback race once he got back into the groove and made up a total of ten positions. Spurred on by the progress he was making, he began to quicken his pace and set his best time in the second-to-last lap to finally cross the finish line in tenth place.

The Yamaha SRT squad had no luck this time around as Quartararo managed to finish eighth behind Takashi Nakagami and Danilo Petrucci. Quartararo battled hard through the race with a brake issue and had to comeback from dead last. He made a positive comeback by picking off riders one by one. He would eventually cross the line in eighth, ahead of the second KTM Tech 3 rider of Iker Lecouna.

The next race remains at the Red Bull Ring for round six and the third of three races in a row, 21 – 23 August.

Race of Spielberg results

1         DOVIZIOSO Andrea          Ducati            28’20.853

2         MIR Joan                 Suzuki          +1.377

3         MILLER Jack            Pramac Racing        1.549

4         BINDER Brad          KTM   5.536

5         ROSSI Valentino     Yamaha MotoGP     5.837

6         NAKAGAMI Takaaki          LCR Honda              6.403

7         PETRUCCI Danilo   Ducati 12.498

8         QUARTARARO Fabio Yamaha SRT                  12.534

9         LECOUNA Iker        KTM Tech 3             14.117

10       VINALES Maverick  Yamaha MotoGP           15.276

Riders standings

           QUARTARARO Fabio        67      

2         DOVIZIOSO Andrea          56      

3         VINALES Maverick  48      

4         BINDER Brad          41

5         ROSSI Valentino     38      

6         NAKAGAMI Takaaki          37      

7         MILLER Jack            36      

8         MIR Joan      31      

9         MORBIDELLI Franco         31      

10       ZARCO Johann       28