GP™ TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, 11th -13th September 2015
Who could have predicted the outcome as all the usual suspects arrived in the beautiful Italian Rivera, with the sole intention of putting themselves in the history books? As always with motorcycle racing, this weekend threw up some big surprises!Moto3™
Championship leader and Britain’s own Danny Kent (#52) struggled from the start of FP1 on Friday all the way through to Sunday's race, when he eventually finished in 6th Position. Although this is not a terrible result in such a closely contested field, it was a shock to see Danny not on the podium.
Kent saw his nearest title competitor, Gresini Racing Team's Enea Bastianini (#33), take his well-deserved maiden Moto3 victory, in front of an electric home crowd after a lengthy battle with the likes of Miguel Oliveira (#44), Niccolò Antonelli (#23), Romano Fenati (#5) and Brad Binder (#41).
With 3 of the top 5 riders being on a KTM, and getting good feedback from the rider, the new chassis upgrades are clearly working well!
A weekend of surprisingly slow lap times in FP1 as many riders and teams struggled with set up on the newly surfaced, tight and twisty circuit.
However it was not long before current World Champion Tito Rabat (#1), Johann Zarco (#5) and Alex Rins (#40) started pushing each other and the lap times came tumbling down. Sunday saw very different weather conditions from the rest weekend and with a drastically colder track temperature, Rabat found himself struggling with front end feel and rapidly slipping down the order. Tito dug in deep and despite using all his strength and determination he managed to fight his way back to take second place.
Despite his fight Tito was not able to catch championship leader Zarco, who ended up taking the win, after class rookie Alex Rins took out the race leader at the time, Dominique Aegerter (#77).
Unfortunately, Alex Marquez (#73) was not able to follow up on his recent good form crashing out of the race despite showing very good pace until that point. We are sure he will be back on good form in Aragon!
Just like the other classes, MotoGP™ provided a weekend of cracking entertainment with all the teams arriving at the Yamaha-Dominated track with different expectations, especially after a mixed weekend at Silverstone.
Despite most riders being immediately on the pace, it became apparent that Jorge Lorenzo (#99) was the man to beat and was his usual consistent self, only really challenged by current world champion Marc Marquez (#93).
Come race day, with over 90,000 spectators -the majority dressed in yellow showing support for their local hero Valentino Rossi (#46) - there was an atmosphere unlike anything we have ever experienced before.
In near perfect conditions in the run up to race day it was a shock when race day came and conditions were… well not so perfect.
All the riders started the race on slick tyres on the slightly damp track. Several laps into the race the conditions became much worse and as the rain fell the track became increasingly slippy, the majority of riders dove into the pits to swap to their wet bikes. Shortly after doing so, the rain stopped!
As the riders continued to blast round the quickly drying track, they eventually had to come in for a second change, back onto their original bikes with dry settings. At this point in the race, timing was key!
Lorenzo dove into the pits on the next lap to change his bike, but shortly after crashed out, almost certainly due to a cold rear tyre! Rossi left it a lap later again to come in and change his bike and after 2 laps on very badly degraded tyres, lost any chance of fighting for the podium. Having followed the two Factory Yamaha’s around for a few laps, Marquez and his Honda team judged it to perfection, eventually taking a convincing win. Marquez rode a brilliant race and showed extreme maturity for someone still so young. He also ended Honda’s bad run at the circuit, by taking their first victory there since 2010.
Second and Third place went to Bradley Smith (#38) and Scott Redding (#45), with what some people say was just down to luck. We like to think of it as them showing their determination and strength as riders. Smith stayed out on slicks the whole race, in what was described as near impossible conditions. Redding judged his timing to perfection and executed the changes perfectly, with the help of his ‘Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’ pit crew. Despite a crash early on in the race, he pushed hard enough to make up the time he lost. It really was a fine display of race-craft and determination.
We would like to send our personal congratulates to Marc Van Der Straten, Michael Bartholemy and the rest of the Team on a truly fantastic result.
See you all at Aragon for Round 14!