Misano MotoGP Images Gallery C

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Misano MotoGP Images Gallery C – Images by AJRN

Marc Marquez wins Misano mayhem

Repsol Honda’s Marquez took his fourth win of the season at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in some of the most difficult conditions the MotoGP World Championship has seen in recent years. The Spaniard took his 23rd MotoGP victory after gambling in a flag-to-flag race that saw most riders pit twice due to the changing conditions.

A record 92,000 fans at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli bore witness to an incredible spectacle but were denied a Valentino Rossi victory as the Italian crossed the line in fifth. Rossi managed to extend his lead in the championship standings to 23 points over teammate Lorenzo after the Spaniard crashed out of the race in second.

There was drama on the grid as drops of rain started to fall, riders setting off on their Warm Up lap with baited breath. Meanwhile, Ducati Team’s wildcard Michele Pirro had an issue with his GP15 and was forced to start from pit lane on his second bike, equipped with wet tyres.

The rest of the MotoGP field started on slicks with Jorge Lorenzo setting a scalding pace from the start with a trademark launch off the line. Small battles emerged throughout the opening lap, but drama came as the white flags were flown on lap two. This signaled that all riders were able to come in and swap to their second bikes if conditions deteriorated.

Lorenzo forged ahead undeterred with Marc Marquez close behind, the duo able to break away from Valentino Rossi who struggled in the opening laps. All the while rained continued to fall, some riders pushed even harder in the conditions while many tiptoed around, waiting to follow their rivals into the pits. By lap six the pace had dropped by close to six seconds and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) found himself battling the Ducati Team pair of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, but the riders were visibly timid in the tricky conditions.

Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding had been involved in this battle for fourth, but on the seventh lap disaster struck as the Brit ran on and dropped his Honda. Determined as ever, he sprinted to his bike and dove into the pits for wet tyres. By this stage the majority of MotoGP riders had also opted for wet bike change, just the front three of Lorenzo, Rossi and Marquez staying out.

As is usual in racing, the top three all dove into the pits together, adopting the same strategy as your rival is often the safest option in unusual circumstances such as the San Marino GP. Even in pit lane there was drama as Marquez and Lorenzo almost collided, the Yamaha rider gesturing to Marquez to ‘stay calm’ as they returned to track.

With the three re-joining at the same time, it was clear Lorenzo and Marquez had a quicker pace than Rossi and the Italian soon found himself 2.5 seconds behind Lorenzo. Lorenzo himself was able to get through on Marquez at Turn 8 when the Honda rider ran wide on the tenth lap. All riders found it difficult to tell where was wet and where was dry as the new Misano surface is quite dark.

But as the track began to dry, Rossi began to fly. The Italian gaining over a second a lap on the two leaders with each circulation, despite his front wet tyre rapidly starting to deteriorate. Worried mechanics worked hurriedly in pit lane, preparing bikes for a second change of the race.

Loris Baz (Forward Racing) was one of the first to jump back onto slicks, the Open rider soon finding himself inside the top ten as the rest of the field also opted to change back. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was struggling outside the points having remained on slicks throughout the entire race. The Brit followed his instincts to risk it after missing the opportunity to change with the rest of the pack.

Again, it was the top three who stuck together and stayed out long after the others. Rossi and Lorenzo battling tooth and claw for multiple laps as Marquez played it safe, waiting behind the Yamaha pair and assessing their tyres. On lap 18 Marquez decided it was time to swap back to slicks, a move that would prove to be a masterstroke. Lorenzo would join Marquez on slicks the following lap while Rossi continued to push ahead, 92,000 fans roaring in approval.

Disaster struck as ‘The Doctor’ pitted, with just seven laps to go Lorenzo fell at Turn 15. The Mallorcan suffered a small contusion to his right hand and his Yamaha M1 took a severe beating, but it was his championship hopes that came off worst of all. With eyes transfixed on the front-runners, Baz, Redding and Smith continued their silent charge through the order.

Marquez had chosen the perfect time to pit, he had built enough of an advantage to maintain a solid lead in the race even with his second pit stop and Smith’s gamble to stay out on slicks was finally paying off after a multitude of laps spent tiptoeing around and dropping as low as 21st, the Brit in a solid second now. As Lorenzo fell, Baz was promoted into third.

Sadly for the Frenchmen this would not last as Redding, who had swapped to slicks earlier than many riders after being unable to find a good feeling on wets, rapidly gained on the Open rider, passing him with four laps to go.

The positions settled in with just a handful of laps remaining and for the fourth time in 2015 Marquez secured victory, his first MotoGP victory at Misano. An elated, and somewhat surprised, Bradley Smith joined him with a second place finish and Scott Redding rounded out the podium with his first premier class podium finish. This was the first time since the 1979 Venezuelan GP (Barry Sheene & Tom Herron) that two British riders have finished on a podium in the premier class. Loris Baz may have been forced off the podium, but a fourth place finish delivers an incredible result for his Open Championship campaign.

LCR Honda rider Jack Miller was left pondering what might have been after the Australian looked poised to secure his first top-10 finish of the season. However, an electrical problem late in the race saw the Australian lose places as he eventually had to settle for 12th place and a fifth point-scoring finish of the campaign.

Jack Miller – P12 –  “With about six or seven laps to go we had an electrical problem with the bike, the thing starting losing power and wouldn’t go into anything lower than fourth gear, so I had to start short-shifting through second and third and as a result my lap times dropped considerably. It was a good race, but being a rookie to this bike change thing I stayed out longer than I should and it cost me dearly, I lost a good thirty, thirty-five seconds. It was a good race, I thought it was all over but then I was really happy when I came in and put the wets on. When we went to slicks it just took me a little longer to get into the groove of things than Scott (Redding, who finished third) and you can see what he did. We started picking things up, but then it all sort of came to an end with about seven laps to go and I just had to limp the thing home really.”

Alongside Lorenzo there was misfortune for Alex De Angelis (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) and Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Racing) who came together at Turn 6. With just two laps to go Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) also fell, his fourth DNF of the year.

Jorge Lorenzo – DNF – “Two races with bad luck in a row, because the circumstances were wet and abnormal. In Silverstone I didn’t have the confidence and here I didn’t have the pace to warm up the tyre well, so I entered the corner with slicks that were still cold and lost the rear. I think I’ve been unlucky this year in general, but especially these last two races, because I could have won both or finished second, but that’s racing. In previous years, my rivals in the championship crashed and this year it’s me who’s unlucky, but all is not lost. If I win all the coming races I can still become the World Champion and it wouldn’t matter in what position Valentino would finish in.”

With the yellow smoke settled and customary post-race track invasion dispersed, Rossi maintains his lead of the MotoGP World Championship with 247 points, now 23 clear of Lorenzo due to his DNF. Marquez jumps to 184, a comfortable margin ahead of Andrea Iannone who has 159 points. A second MotoGP podium gifted Britain’s Bradley Smith 20 points and cements him in fifth overall. Loris Baz jumps to 15th overall in the World Standings, with 28 points, now five points ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) in the Open battle.

Marc Marquez – P1 – “It was a very strange race but I’m happy with the end result. It is difficult to explain everything that happened during the race but I think the key was the second tyre change – from wets to slicks. That was where we made a difference and – believe it or not – it was not me who decided everything! The team informed me of the situation with the pit board and helped me decide when to come in to change bikes, and I have to thank them! Also Honda, because we keep working and doing our best, even though our title chances are slim, so our target to the end of the year remains; The more wins, the better!”

Bradley Smith – P2 – “I am thrilled with this finish as I feel that I earned it today even though it was a big gamble! It was very difficult to make the right decisions in the race and I tried to make a few calculations in my head. I looked at the sky before it started and I said to myself that if it rains, it will only be for a short while and I hoped it would dry quickly. However, I still didn’t know how the new surface would be in the wet. My decision to stay out was initially because I missed the lap when Jorge and Vale pitted so I carried on and I believed that the rain had slowed down slightly. At this point, I already had lost a lot of time, therefore I thought it would be best to wait a few laps and see what happens and when it stopped I knew the gamble could work as I realised that they might have to pit twice. Furthermore, I kept saying to myself that luck favours the brave which motivated me even further and here I am! My race position kept going up and to finally come home in 2nd is very special. This result is one of my greatest and it’s a truly emotional moment. In Phillip Island I just finished the race and got the podium but here I had to ride really smoothly and with skill as well as talent in these conditions. We have to take opportunities like these because as a satellite team we work really hard for 5th or 6th every race, but the rostrum is just out of reach. So, I’m even more delighted to give this finish to the team and the sponsors and I can’t wait to get back out on track at the next round.”

Scott Redding – P3 – “Where do you start after a race like that? When it started to rain I knew I had nothing to lose and pushed hard on the slicks. But I pushed too much and couldn’t stop the bike before I entered the gravel and crashed. I thought that was race over but got back on as quickly as I could and I could see that a couple of guys still hadn’t passed me, so knew I was still in a good position. I changed to the rain tyres and had a really bad feeling. I couldn’t get them to working temperature and when I did the track had already started to dry. I switched back to slicks thinking I’d got no chance and then suddenly I saw P4. I thought it was a mistake but then saw seven seconds to Baz and got my head down to catch him in case it rained again. Then I’m in third and I certainly didn’t expect that when I woke up this morning. It’s a great feeling for me and especially the team because they have deserved this for sticking by me all season.”

Loris Baz – P4 – “What a day! Without notice we had to race on wet conditions and change the bike not only once but twice. It was hard to stay on the bike with the slick tires but I think I was doing well there. Than I was one of the first to come back to pit to change to rain and after 6 lap one of the first to change again to slick. That was what made the difference. The race was crazy at some point I did not know where I was, I just stayed focused. The dry line was really, really tight. The last lap was eternally long because I wanted to bring the bike home and now I’m the leader of the Open standings. I want to thank all the team because flag-to-flag race are never easy and everyone did an incredible job not only for today but also in the last couple of months.”

Valentino Rossi – P5 – “It’s true that the championship is a lot more important that winning this race, it’s the main target. Unfortunately Jorge crashed and I was able to gain another 11-points. This is good for the championship, but it’s a shame to miss out on the podium, because I wanted to arrive in the top three in front of all the spectators. It was a crazy race and when you have to change the bike, in this case twice, you need luck and rapid thinking to understand the situation. Fifth is still a good result and we’re looking forward to the next race in Aragon. There are still five races left and unfortunately Lorenzo has the ability to win at every single one and Marquez is also always strong, so there are still a lot of points left to fight for. Aragon is always a difficult track, but we did some tests there and my lap times weren’t so bad, so we have to try to do a good race and arrive on the podium.”

Andrea Iannone – P7 – “It was a very complicated race. In the early stages I was going quite well, I had enough confidence with the bike and I was trying to attack Pedrosa. When it began to rain, the situation became more difficult because it wasn’t easy to lap on slicks in those conditions on a track surface that was neither dry nor wet. When I changed bikes, the rain tyres were ruined immediately, even before the track had dried out and my bike tended to move around a lot in acceleration and was difficult to control. Unfortunately I made a mistake when it was time to switch bikes for the second time, delaying my entry too much, and probably my final result would have been different if I had decided to come in before. Next time I’ll certainly pay more attention to the pit-board, and make better use of today’s experience.”

Andrea Dovizioso – P8 – “It was a real pity and I feel disappointed for the team because we missed out on an important opportunity to score a good result, but unfortunately I had the wrong strategy. Both bike switches I didn’t do at the right time, and I will take the blame for that: I’m really disappointed about it, because we could have got a good result. That will certainly be useful for the future, but it’s always complicated to understand when it’s the right time to come into the pits and change bikes.”

Dani Pedrosa – P9 – “Today was a very tough race and we missed out on a good result. The team did their job well, they had the bikes ready and I was well informed from the pits about the strategy, but I made the mistake. I didn’t see my board a few times going down the straight, so I could not see the team’s orders to enter the pits to change bikes. Now we have to move on and think positive about the next race in two weeks.”

Aleix Espargaro – P10 – “I must say I am disappointed about the race, not only for the result itself but because we don’t deserve to be where we are. We are all working very hard and the classification and points are not where we should be. In the first part of the race in dry conditions I was feeling competitive, being able to fight for the positions ahead well into the top-ten, then when we had to switch the bikes for the second time and we didn’t manage the situation at its best; maybe I could have stopped a lap earlier and gained some more positions. Unfortunately we still lack in performance, no need to say once more that we miss some acceleration, but we need to find a more efficient way to exploit what positives we have. Now we head to Aragon, I hope we will have a better luck there but most of all I hope that the weather will be similar to what we found in testing so that we can start from a solid base, which is what we couldn’t do in this race.”

Cal Crutchlow – P11 – “Obviously it was a really strange race today, I should have come in (to change bikes) at a different time, it was a complete lottery who was going to finish where in the race. I had a great pace in the rain as always and not too bad pace in the dry, but at the end I was on a used tyre so I didn’t have the best grip for the last ten laps. At that time we were already a little bit too far back to challenge. I’m disappointed for sure with the result because I feel we could have made a really good race, also because if it had been a completely dry race I thought we had made an important step forward with the bike.”

Maverick Viñales – P14 – “Once again this weekend I must admit that I am disappointed, after the tests we were so positive about this race but at the end of the day we couldn’t exploit anything about the information we got from it. I have struggled since the very first session, I couldn’t find a proper feeling with the setting and I can’t understand why. For sure the conditions were much different from the tests but back then I felt very confident, so it is so strange to have such extremely different feelings. The weather mixed up things for sure, but we could have done better. Now we need to find some ideas and solutions, we still have many races and I’m sure we can improve further, everything helps to grow and learn, so I want to keep in a positive mood.”

Alvaro Bautista – P15 – “This was a race where we could have done better. When I switched to the wet bike I wasn’t able to ride the way I would have liked because of the poor grip and we may have waited a bit too long to switch back when the track was drying out. By risking a bit more today we could have had a good chance to finish with an even better result. But I must thank the team for all the very hard work they did throughout the weekend. Now we’ll think about the tests on Tuesday where we are keen to take an important step forward with development for the next race and the season finale.”

Stefan Bradl – P16 – “We should have made the second bike change a lap sooner, but in these situations it’s always difficult to take the right decision: the track already seemed suitable for slicks, but I could still see drops of rain on my top fairing, so I decided to come in a lap later. In any case I had lost ground after the first bike change because I didn’t have a good feeling on the wet bike and in the first few laps in the wet it was very difficult to ride with the bike sliding around so much. The positive thing is that in the last part of the race on slicks I had a good feeling and I was able to ride fast straight away, recovering a few positions.”

Nicky Hayden – P17 – “What a bizarre day. On the one hand it was tough but at the same time there was a lot of adrenaline, it was quite exciting. The warm-up went quite good for us, we definitely improved our pace this morning so I was hoping for a dry race but on the sighting lap we took the wet bike out, scrubbed the tyres in, came back for the dry bike and took that out to the grid. I got a good start but it was so tricky with different conditions in different parts of the track. When I came back in the team had done a really great job with the wet bike being that we had no set-up time, even with the mapping. I was able to pick up some positions and I felt good. I probably stayed out a little too long but it was still kind of raining down on the front part of the track so I was sceptical about coming in for the slick bike again in case it did start raining again. Hindsight is always 20/20 on that. But when I went back out on slicks I didn’t have a great feeling in the beginning on the dry track and lost some positions and I wasn’t able to be fast enough in the last part of the race. It was a tough way to end a difficult weekend but we’ll go to Aragon and try to do better.”

Eugene Laverty – P19 – “It’s always easy to look back on a race with hindsight and maybe we could have pitted earlier in the race but anything you do in this situation is a gamble and that’s the way it goes. It was a hero or zero kind of race and fair play to the boys on the podium but it could so easily have gone the other way for them. The biggest surprise for me was when I went back out on my dry bike again and the lap time and the feeling was incredible. I had so much grip it was like the bike I had on Friday again. Yesterday and also this morning I had zero front grip, I have no idea why. Today, I don’t know whether the rain had washed the dirt off the track or whether the Bridgestone wets had laid some rubber down but I had grip again. It’s something we need to look into but for me it was down to the surface. I said to the boys earlier this weekend that at least our race wouldn’t be spoiled by the rain again like Silverstone but maybe I shouldn’t have said anything! I was angry after Silverstone because I felt our bike suited the track and we were capable of a result there. I wasn’t sure Misano would suit us but actually we have shown good pace at certain points of the weekend so now we can go to Aragon and Phillip Island, two tracks that should be good for us, with optimism.”

Claudio Corti – P20 – “It was a chaotic race with many sudden changes. I took some risks but I had fun overall. I was stuck in traffic early in the race and I lost some positions. I was able to get close again to my opponets but it started to rain. Maybe I waited a bit too much to get rain tires. We learned a lot from this race and we gathered many inputs to work with.”

Pol Espargaro – DNF – “I can’t hide my disappointment at how the weekend finished after it looked promising from the early stages and yet again, the weather complicated my race. Of course, I didn’t have any experience on this resurfaced track in the wet conditions so everything was a bit uncertain and to be honest, there were moments in the GP where I couldn’t see if line was dry or wet. In addition, at one point I was slightly confused about which position I was in as there was no one in front or behind me. I stayed out on the wet tyres for a while as I didn’t want to come back in and change to slicks in those ever changing conditions because it could have started raining again. So, I thought this was the best thing to do, but at the end of the day it was a lottery and this time, it didn’t go my way. Yet, when I did eventually pit, I returned to the track and I had an issue which caused me to retire. So it was clearly a frustrating end to this weekend even though I was on the pace when it was dry, just like at Silverstone. I started the day well and this morning I finished the warm up in 5th, but then the rain came which prevented me from racing the GP how I wanted to. However, I must say congratulations to Bradley who did a really good job and I just hope that in Aragon, the conditions will be the same for the entire weekend and we can have a normal and uninterrupted race.”

Michele Pirro – DNF – “Let’s say that today was clearly not my day. Until the race the weekend had been going perfectly, but on the grid the bike didn’t start because of a technical problem and I had to set off from the pit-lane with my ‘wet’ bike. It could have been a great day for me, because I felt really good and I was counting on doing well, but in the end I missed out in a big way. Bikes are made of components and today one of these components deprived us of the satisfaction of being able to run the race with the top guys. I’m clearly disappointed but I have to put it behind me, so a big thanks to the guys in the team who did a perfect job. For someone like me who doesn’t have many chances of racing in MotoGP, today maybe the conditions were just right for a good result, but it’s obvious that I still have to suffer some more!”

Zarco has one hand on title after Moto2 win

Ajo Motorsport’s Zarco took advantage of an early crash between Dominique Aegerter (Technomag Racing Interwetten) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) while they were battling for the lead to take his seventh career victory. In the process Zarco equaled Oliver Jacque, Arnaud Vincent and Christian Sarron in the list of most successful French GP riders of all time. It also meant that Zarco recorded his 12th consecutive podium of the season and the Frenchman can now take the title at Motegi.

EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Tito Rabat recovered from an awful start that saw him drop down to 8th by the end of the first lap to claim his seventh podium of the season. In a race were tyre choice was crucial, Rabat joined Zarco and a number of other riders by opting for the harder rear while the medium seemed to drop off dramatically in the latter stages. Rabat eventually crossed the line 3.850s behind his title rival Zarco in second.

Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami (+5.388s) went for the medium rear and was struggling dramatically for grip at the end of the race. The Japanese rider managed to hold on to claim his first podium since Misano in 2013 and the sixth of his GP career.

Forward Racing’s Corsi (+7.058s) crossed the line in fourth ahead of Julian Simon (+9.225s) on the QMMF Racing Speed Up bike. AGR Team’s Jonas Folger also went for the medium rear tyre, and saw his podium challenge fade as the race went on. The German eventually crossed the line in sixth, 10.466s behind the race winner.

Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) rode superbly with a dislocated right shoulder to finish in seventh, while Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP40), and Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten) completed the top ten.

Rins took out Aegerter while challenging him for the lead on just the second lap. Both riders re-joined, but Rins was black flagged late on in the race after battling with riders while a lap down. Aegerter eventually recovered to finish in 24th.

Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes was forced to retire from the race after a loose fairing rubbed against his rear tyre forcing it to delaminate.

It was announced before the race that Mika Kallio would be parting ways with the Italtrans Racing Team to join the QMMF Racing Team for 2016. Unfortunately for the 2014 Moto2 runner-up he then crashed out of the race at turn 8 on just the third lap. There were also crashes for Ricard Cardus, Robin Mulhauser, Alex Marquez, Jesko Raffin and Federico Caricasulo.

Later on race night Anthony West turned to social media in a quest for a ride for the remainder of 2015 and support for 2016. His employment with the QMMF team seemingly terminated without warning after his 15th place finish at Misano.

Battling Bastianini takes maiden Moto3 Victory

Gresini Racing Team Moto3’s Bastianini won a close fought battle at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to snatch his first Moto3 victory in just his 31st start at his home grand prix. In the process he closed the gap in the championship standings to Danny Kent to 55 points with 5 races remaining.

The Italian was involved in a five man leading group that saw the lead swap hands multiple times. On the last lap the ‘Beast’ made his move through turn 11 and held on to take the checkered flag for the first time in his career, just 0.037s ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira. It was Oliveira’s fourth podium of the season and best result since his race win at Assen as he took advantage of the new KTM Frame and chassis available to riders at Misano. It seemed a fitting way for the Portuguese rider to celebrate his announcement he will make the step up to Moto2 next year with Leopard Racing.

Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli (0.345s) recovered from Saturday’s crash to cross the line in third and take his third podium of the season ahead of a hard charging Romano Fenati (+0.584s) on the SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM. Oliveira’s teammate Brad Binder made it three KTM’s in the top five as only 0.637s separated the leading group across the line.

Leopard Racing’s championship leader Kent (+8.000) was at the back of the leading group mid way through the race but was forced to give up a position after exceeding track limits at turn 6 a number of times. Unfortunately for the Brit the nearest rider was four seconds back and he had to slow to let them pass, ending any chance he had of a podium as he eventually crossed the line in sixth.

Alexis Masbou (SAXOPRINT RTG), Francesco Bagnaia (Mapfre Team Mahindra), Isaac Viñales (RBA Racing Team) and Phillip Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) completed the top ten.

Scotsman John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) recovered from 26th on the grid to finish in 19th. There was also a five second penalty applied to Maria Herrera for exceeding track limits although it did not affect her position of 24th.

Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing) crashed out of the race while battling in the leading group, and there were also falls for Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Tatsuki Suzuki, Remy Gardner, Jules Danilo and Juanfran Guevara. Guevara crashed on the last lap and made contact with his teammate Martin, who somehow stayed upright to take the last championship point in 15th.

Both Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Navarro were forced to miss the race after crashing in practice on Friday being declared unfit.

Remy Gardner – DNF – “A DNF is not a good result, for sure. My start is been not so bad but I was placed in a back starting grid position. Mi goal was recover as much places as possible during the first laps but the race finished for me at the 6th one. My bike improved in the warm-up and allowed me to improve my qualifying best lap by tenths. Anyway I must keep working hard in practices and finish as many races as possible”.