Michael Dunlop Takes TT Superstock Win

michael_dunlopMichael Dunlop made up for the disappointment of retiring from the morning’s Monster Energy Supersport Race 1 by winning Monday evening’s delayed 4-lap Royal London 360 Superstock race.

Dunlop overhauled lap one leader Guy Martin and promptly romped away, putting in a second lap some 13 seconds quicker than his nearest rival giving him the cushion that allowed him to control the race after the pit stop. His eventual winning margin, the 9th TT win for Kawasaki, was 18.63s over John McGuinness, the Padgetts Honda rider overhauling Martin on the third lap. However, the Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider had the consolation of his second podium of the day.

The daytime sun gave way to cooler, cloudier conditions for the 6.30pm start and it was McGuinness who put in his trademark rapid nine miles and he led Martin. It was close though with just 0.2s between them whilst William Dunlop was only another half second back in third. Indeed, there was only 1s between the top 4 and 2.4s between the top 7, Gary Johnson, Bruce Anstey and Keith Amor all right on the pace.

At Ramsey, Michael Dunlop was in the lead from Martin and McGuinness but it had all changed by the Grandstand and it was now the Suzuki man in the lead, his opening lap of 127.953mph giving him a buffer of just under two seconds. McGuinness was still in contention, only another 1.7s in arrears with Johnson, William Dunlop and Amor completing the top six. Leading contenders Dan Stewart was out of luck though, the Cumbrian retiring his BMW at the end of the first lap.

The front three were edging away from the rest of the field with Martin circulating on the road with Amor but it was Dunlop who was surging clear at the front, his advantage over Martin 3.5s which, amazingly, he extended to almost ten seconds by Ramsey. McGuinness was still only two seconds off Martin but at the end of the lap, Dunlop’s lap of 129.709mph was way quicker than anyone else and his lead rocketed up to 13 seconds.

Johnson was out though having retired at Cregny Baa whilst William Dunlop and Dan Kneen were treating the fans all around the course to a terrific spectacle as they lapped wheel to wheel.

The pit stops all went smoothly for the front runners and by Glen Helen, Dunlop’s lead was over 15 seconds and, with another 4 added to that gap by Ramsey, it was his race to lose. Behind though, McGuinness was making a move and he was now ahead of Martin by almost two seconds, the latter still circulating – and swapping positions – with Amor. The battle for fifth was also hotting up with little to separate Wilson Craig Honda team-mates William Dunlop and Cameron Donald.

Dunlop maintained his advantage over McGuinness all the way to the chequered flag for his second TT win whilst the Morecambe man was delighted to have racked up yet another TT win. Martin, meanwhile, was again left to rue what might have been and had to settle for third, his 11th TT podium.

Amor enjoyed his second top four finish of the day in fourth whilst William Dunlop just got the verdict from Donald by 0.48s. Kneen, Michael Rutter, Adrian Archibald and James Hillier rounded out the top ten whilst newcomer Simon Andrews put in a brilliant ride to take 11th, also lapping well over 123mph and being the first privateer home.

Conor Cummins got his much deserved first finish of the week in 12th with newcomers Dean Harrison and PiotrBetlej also putting in their first 120mph+ laps in 27th and 29th.

McGuinness has opened up a 10-point lead over Amor in the TT Championship while Ian Mackman, 15th in the race, continues to extend his lead in the Privateers Championship.

To listen live to Radio TT’s commentary for all races and follow live timing at the 2011 Isle of Man TT Races go to www.iomtt.com

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Isle of Man Media Office]

Pedrosa Won’t Race at Silverstone

dani_pedrosa_wont_race_at_silverstoneDani Pedrosa will be going three races without any points. The Repsol Honda rider has just announced that he will miss the next round of the 2011 MotoGP season at Silverstone. Pedrosa crashed during the Le Mans round and had to have surgery on his collarbone.

Pedrosa missed the Catalunya event, and with only a week to prepare for Silverstone, Pedrosa has decided that his best move is to rest up for at least another week.

“After dedicating some time entirely to recover, I have decided not to take part in the British Grand Prix this week,” Pedrosa said. “I’ve done everything I could to be fit in time for Silverstone, but the conditions are not right to return to compete with guarantees.”

The MotoGP riders are entering the heart of the season with 5 events in the next 7 weeks. After the Silverstone event, the MotoGP riders will have a rare week off, hopefully giving Pedrosa enough time to recover completely.

“I need to feel 100% fit before I get on the bike again and to be sure I can fight for the victory, I don’t want to go out there just to do laps,” Pedrosa said. “I’ve raced many times with pain and the experience tells me I’m still not ready to be competitive. I’ve decided not to take further risks and will instead continue my recovery process so I may return in the best possible way. It’s time for me to be logical and not only follow what my heart says, or my desire to return. I want to return as soon as possible, but I want to do it when I have ability to fight to win. It’s not the time yet.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Josh Hayes: Nice Guys Finish Fast

Hayes1croppedA funny thing happened as my son and I walked the pits of the World and AMA Superbike races in Tooele, Utah. We found ourselves walking toward a fully-leathered Josh Hayes before the start of the AMA Superbike event.

Knowing that he was mentally preparing (and hydrating) for the event, we unobtrusively wished him “good luck”. To our surprise, he stopped and shook our hands. Not only that, he took the time to have a little chat with us.

I’ve been to enough races, and been in close proximity to enough top racers to know that many can be more than a little aloof and egotistically distant. Knowing that we met up with him during his pre-race preparations, Josh had every right to brush us off. He did not.

The race that he was preparing for turned out to be epic. Josh and Blake Young swapped positions repeatedly before Young ultimately held on to the top position on the final lap. It was the most exciting event on the final race day in Tooele.

Hayes3croppedIn the podium ceremony, it was again Hayes who captivated the audience with his humor and humility. He told the crowd with a grin that his wife had told him, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” Obviously he did not relish finishing second.

After the champagne spraying that concluded the ceremony, Hayes again walked directly toward my son and me. In the disappointment of a second place finish, Hayes could have quickly brushed through the waiting crowd. He did not. He shook every outstretched hand (including my son’s) and talked with a smile to fans.

In our contact, Josh Hayes had no idea that I was a moto-journalist – it wouldn’t have mattered. He is a guy who treats everyone with respect. I was already a Josh Hayes fan. Now my son is, too. Yep, in the case of Josh Hayes, nice guys finish fast.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Herrin Does the Double at Road America

Josh_Herrin_on_the_podiumThe Daytona Sportbike class is the most competitive series in AMA Pro Road racing, which makes Herrin’s feat at Road America that much more impressive. Herrin won both races this weekend, and thanks to two DNFs for Jason DiSalvo, Herrin takes control of the points lead.

DiSalvo saw the gravel in the opening race, crash again during warm-up, then took the worst fall of the weekend during race 2. DiSalvo is a bit banged up, but he’ll be ready to challenge again at Barber.

“You really hate to see a rider like Jason go down,” Herrin said. “It’s kind of crappy the way that it happened. We really hope he’ll be alright. I think we would have been at the top eventually, but we wouldn’t have caught up this quickly if he didn’t go down twice. But the championship is really close now so we’ll have a great year of racing.”

With DiSalvo out of the race, Herrin had an epic battle with Danny Eslick and Dane Westby.

“It was a great race,” Herrin said. “We had a lot of close racing. We were running 5 or 6 wide. I know I’d look to my left, and be like damn, there’s so many of us. I knew we had a fast bike today, so if someone went by me I knew I would have another shot at the front.”

Herrin would beat out Eslick by .09 seconds. Eslick led the way down the final stretch but Herrin put on the speed to take the win at the checkers.

“I wanted to be in the front,” Eslick said. “I tried drafting off of Westby earlier, and it just wasn’t happening. So I knew if I wanted a shot at the win I had to be leading down the stretch. I thought I had it, but Josh just slingshotted by me. It was a little tough to swallow, but I’m really happy to be on the box here at Road America.”

Westby would take the final spot on the podium before Tommy Aquino and Corey West came across the line in fourth and fifth. The top five riders all finished within 1 second of the leader.

AMA Daytona Sportbike Results – Race 2 – Road America


Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Terol Takes Fourth Win at Catalunya

terol_at_catalunyaNico Terol took his fourth win of 2011 after Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) was penalised 20 seconds for an illegal overtake on the last lap in the 125 race. Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) finished second with Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) promoted to third.

A tactical battle ensued at the start of the race between Terol (Bankia Aspar), Zarco and Viñales. The very experienced Terol pulled a gap of over six seconds pursued by Zarco, who battled him for the win, overtaking Terol in the last few laps.

Terol, who celebrated his 100th start in last month’s Le Mans race, proved a tough a competitor, and regained the lead in the final lap. But Zarco was determined for the win, and in the last corner tried to overtake again, pushing Terol off the track into the grass. Zarco was penalised 20 points and thereby demoted to sixth position, giving Terol his fourth win of the season. Viñales claimed his second podium of the 2011 season with a second place finish, followed by Folger.

Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) ran wide with seven laps to go when he and Folger nearly touched, forcing Faubel out of the top five.

After a wet weather warm up, the 125cc race start was held in drying conditions. Most of the field chose slick tires for the race including all of the race leaders, though several riders opted for rain tyres at the start, including Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing) who had nothing to lose after qualifying last on the grid due to technical problems that saw him miss FP3 and most of qualifying. However as the race progressed, the sun came out and progressively dried the track, forcing those who chose the rain tyres to the pits for a change to slicks.

Fourth place finisher was Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), followed by Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), Zarco and with Faubel following in seventh. Eighth place finisher was Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), Adrián Martín (Bankia Aspar) took ninth and Jakub Kornfeil (Ongetta-Centro Seta) rounded out the top ten.

Treacherous conditions early in the race claimed several victims, including two Brits Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing) and Harry Stafford (Ongetta-Centro Seta) who both crashed in the first corner on the opening lap, and Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) who went down after a lightening start, suffering a fractured wrist.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-SIC-Ajo) crashed in turn 8 after an incredible start that helped launch him to fifth in the beginning of the race.

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of MotoGP]