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COOPER WEBB CLINCHES KTM’S FIFTH AMA SUPERCROSS 450SX CHAMPIONSHIP

Cooper Webb 2021 AMA Supercross 450SX ChampionWidely recognized for his grit and determination to win, Webb has overcome his share of adversity since earning his first 450SX title in 2019. As the 2020 runner-up in Supercross, Webb missed most of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship due to a back injury and he even had a challenging start to 2021 with a ninth-place finish at the opening round. However, in true champion’s form Webb spent the early part of the season chipping away at the points deficit, as he prepared for a strong comeback in the second half of the series. The 25-year-old from North Carolina entered the final round with a comfortable 22-point advantage in the standings, but that didn’t slow the KTM ace when it came time for the gate to drop at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Webb delivered his eighth victory of the season with a masterful performance; the KTM racer concluded the 2021 series with his 13th podium from 17 races to secure the AMA Supercross 450SX class title, an FIM World Championship. Marvin Musquin furthered a remarkable night for the team as he delivered a strong runner-up performance to give Red Bull KTM Factory Racing back-to-back 1-2 podium sweeps in the final two races.Cooper Webb 2021 AMA Supercross 450SX Champion 1From the last seven seasons, KTM has taken the prestigious AMA Supercross 450SX title on five occasions along with two closely fought runner-up results. The Austrian manufacturer is proud to again demonstrate its READY TO RACE philosophy with this latest success.

Cooper Webb: “It’s been a heck of a year with everything in the world going on, but we dug deep this year and stayed the course. It’s been an incredible journey, a hard-fought season with a lot of hard races but this is all worth it right here. Being a two-time champion is incredible and to get the win tonight is the cherry on top. I’m speechless, this is incredible.”

Ian Harrison – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “This season I think was Cooper’s strongest season – he got his most wins, and the competition was really tough, but he just fought his way through there. What a fighter, he was exceptionally strong at the end of all the races, and he put up a battle with so many guys on the last lap and came out victorious many times. Once we got to round four, he really found his groove and then he took command of the points lead around the middle of the season and there was no looking back. It was truly an amazing season, and it was awesome to be a part of it. Our team, everybody involved, they all did exactly what they needed to and more and we delivered, so I’m super happy.”
Cooper Webb 2021 AMA Supercross 450SX Champion 3Roger De Coster – Director of Motorsports, North America: “There have been many great champions over the years but when it comes to race craft and the really deep desire to win, Cooper is special and he ranks at the very top. Even when it was not necessary to win today – he could have just rode around and 18th would have been sufficient – but he decided he wanted to win the race and it was very impressive how he ended the season. The guy has so much heart, he keeps impressing me time after time and I’m really thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the people that make this possible because of course the rider is the biggest factor in this sport by a long margin, but there are also a lot of people that make this possible that have influence and make a difference in getting there. Especially the people in Austria, also Slovenia with Akrapovic and then all the people in the U.S. like WP Suspension, Carlos (Cooper’s mechanic) and so many other people that have something to do with this championship. I’m just thankful to still be a part of it and witness this awesome racing.”

Robert Jonas - Vice President Motorsports Offroad: “It has been an incredible Supercross season. Cooper fought back to find some impressive consistency week after week and was able to deliver victories when it mattered most to take his second AMA Supercross 450SX Championship. It is KTM’s fifth championship victory in the category and our KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION is proven once again. I’d like to congratulate Cooper and the entire Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for all of their success in what has been another intense season. Thanks also goes to everyone involved in achieving this victory - including those back at the factory in Austria, KTM R&D, KTM North America and to all of our partners. It’s great for us to be able to reflect on such a memorable season and celebrate this special achievement together.”Cooper Webb 2021 AMA Supercross 450SX Champion 2end bike test

Official Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP & MX2 Video Intro 2021

yam21Back with an extraordinary line-up in 2021, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP & MX2 teams are looking fast and motivated as they set their sights on the first FIM Motocross World Championship gate-drop of the new season.

Boasting some incredible stats and a wealth of experience, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team will line up with three popular names inside the premier class, MXGP. Jeremy Seewer will remain on the team for a third consecutive season (fourth with Yamaha) and will be joined under the awning by hot new recruits, Glenn Coldenhoff and Ben Watson. 

Spearheading the outfit in 2021, five times silver medalist Seewer hopes to steer his YZ450FM to the top step of the podium. "I've finished second in the world five times, two times in MX2, two times in MXGP and one time at the Junior World Championships" the 26-year-old Swiss rider said, "and these are not bad stats, you know, but of course I want to win, and yes, I think I can!"

"Usually, we race in 19 different countries and on different tracks, sand, hardpack, hot, cold, winter, summer, you know, so it's such an open book," Seewer continued, "it just takes a lot, a lot, a lot and at the base, I think it's hard work from everybody."  

Seewer's search for World Championship glory will not come without a challenge from his new teammate Coldenhoff. "Yeah, I think there's a lot of hard work," the 30-year-old Dutchman agreed, "not only for myself, but I also think from the whole team. I think I was ready for a big change this year, which I actually did, and I really feel good already within the team. I feel like I have really good people around me, and the goal will always be to get the world title."

While his teammates strive for more race and Grand Prix wins, 23-year-old rookie Ben Watson hopes to soak up their knowledge and experience as he gets set to get his feet wet. "For me it's a really big opportunity, to join the Yamaha Factory MXGP team" he said "and something I'm really grateful for because obviously the beginning of the season in MX2 last year, it wasn't going really the way I wanted and the opportunities to show myself were coming less and less. Fortunately, at the end of the season I found myself and started to ride how I know I can, so it was definitely my time to take this step to the 450."

Yamaha has a strong strategy to develop the next generation of MXGP champions from within its own ranks, and as Watson progresses up the Yamaha Racing pyramid, so too will young Yamaha stars Maxime Renaux and Thibault Benistant as they join title favourite Jago Geerts inside the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team for 2021.

"It means a lot to me to become a Yamaha Factory Rider for the MX2 team. For sure, it was a goal. It's the highest team in the MX2 class that we can have in Yamaha" Renaux said. 

It's no secret that Yamaha is on the hunt for FIM Motocross World Championship glory as the riders aim to secure the MX2 Championship gold plate while defending Yamaha's title as the MX2 Manufacturer of the Year.

"I will try to fight again for the world title," Geerts stated. "The benefits of staying in the same team for a couple years is you get to know the people very good and we made really some improvements with the bike this year, for sure suspension wise and setup of the bike."

As 21-year-old Geerts gets set to focus on consistency, his 20-year-old teammate Renaux is not holding back… "this year I really want to to get back on the top step of the podium" the Frenchman said, "I want more moto wins, more GP wins, and to do better let's say."

Meanwhile, Benistant is enjoying the move from the GYTR kitted YZ250F to the fully-fledged Factory YZ250FM. The 18-year-old sets his sights on a promising rookie season. "Of course everything is a little bit different," he said, "the engine, suspension, everything is a little bit more strong and to be a rookie, I think I have a little bit less experience than the more older, but it's similar because we have almost the same hours on the bike, just not in the same championship, in MX2 I won't have pressure. I know what I need to do and I'm working for."

The 2021 FIM Motocross MXGP and MX2 World Championships are expected to kick-off on the 13th of June in Orlyonok, Russia.end bike test

COX TAKES TOP HONOURS AT ROODEBERG ENDURO

Brad Cox storms to Enduro gloryjpgBrother Leader Tread KTM walked away with top honours at the second round of the National Enduro Championship. In an epic battle for Enduro glory, Bradley Cox stormed to his second National E1 Enduro victory of the season and second overall. 

The event was hosted by Roodeberg Enduro Farm - a venue in the heart of the Western Cape renowned for its unforgiving terrain and scenic mountain trails. After his blistering start the season, Cox lined-up with a fresh sense of confidence and strong determination to defend his championship lead. 

It was once again Cox and championship rival Heinrich Aust that went head-to-head in a battle for the top step in the E1 Class. After a game of cat and mouse for most of the route, Cox describes “digging deep” to overtake his competitor in the final push to the finish line. 

“The last time I tried to defend the red plate in an Enduro race I was recovering from a broken ankle, so I was a lot fitter this time around. I had to dig really deep to push for the victory and I couldn’t be happier with how everything came together,” said Cox. Kirsten Landman makes her comeback. Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate Kirsten Landman also experienced a race of redemption this weekend. The rider made her comeback at the start of the season after a lengthy time off due to injury. She described the first round as a “wake-up call” and spent the last few weeks conditioning her body for the second round. 

In what was an eye-catching performance, Landman managed to finish 8th in the highly competitive E2 Class and 15thoverall. She commented: “It was a tough day in the saddle, but I couldn’t be happier with the way I finished. I worked hard to condition myself for the physical demands that come with racing at this level, and I could feel that it really paid off today.”Charan Moore at Roodeberg Enduro Farm. A cherry on top of what was a successful day of racing for the team was a solid finish from new Enduro recruit Charan Moore. The multi-disciplined rider suffered an unfortunate crash at the last round of the National Cross-Country Championship and was determined to put consistent laps together at this event. With a respectable fifth place in the E2 Class and eighth place overall, the rider said: “My preparation and setup were a bit off for the conditions, but I’m happy with the improvements and direction we’re moving in. It was an awesome weekend with the entire time!”end bike test

Thrasher Scores First Supercross Win at Atlanta 1

YAMS1Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Nate Thrasher took a commanding first victory in the pro ranks at last night’s opening round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tripleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Justin Cooper joined him on the podium in second to expand his points lead in the 250SX West Championship. Unfortunately for Jarrett Frye, the challenging conditions made for a tough day, and the rookie did not transfer to the Main Event.YAMS2Riders only got one practice session in after rain put a halt to qualifying. The weather improved in time for racing, but the track conditions were challenging. Thrasher fought his way back from 16th after a couple of crashes in his heat race but just missed the final transfer spot. In the LCQ, the rookie took over the lead early and never looked back. He lined back up for the Main Event and came out swinging, getting a great start and quickly moving into the lead once again. From there on, Thrasher built a gap on the competition and kept knocking down the laps to bring home his first 250SX win nearly 12 seconds ahead of his teammate.YAMS3Qualifying second, Cooper lined up for the first heat race of the day. The red-plate holder got a great start but shortly after had a big crash. He rejoined at the back of the field and fought his way back to second and was right on the heels of the race leader but ran out of time. Feeling less than 100%, Cooper had a decent start in the Main Event. Inside the top five, the New Yorker rode a smart race and quickly advanced to third. He gained another position after the runner-up went down with three laps remaining. Cooper’s second-place finish expands his championship lead to four points with four rounds remaining.

Frye also had a challenging heat race. He went down early after another rider crashed ahead of him and had to join his teammate Thrasher in the LCQ. The 20-year-old did not get the start he was hoping for and finished eighth.

The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team returns for more action at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday, April 13.YAMS4end bike test

GONE IN 48 MINUTES - KTM UNLEASHES THE KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR IN A FLURRY OF ONLINE ORDERS

KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR ActionUsed solely for its ultra-exclusive special edition models, KTM’s digital sales platform has become a game-changer in fair, first-come-first-served marketing. In this instance, allowing customers to reserve one of only 500 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR units.

Customers were also able to ‘spec’ their KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR with a track-only full-titanium Akrapovic EVO system, with a surprising number of buyers ticking the option.

The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR is based on the wildly successful KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R but takes it further with a 90 percent track focus. Boasting an incredible parts list ranging from exclusive race-bred WP Pro Components suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, and the most complete track-orientated electronics pack ever fitted to a KTM, the ‘RR’ is KTM’s most READY TO RACE street motorcycle ever.

The 2021 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR also boasts a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, bringing 180 hp and a weight of 180 kg to the fore, not to mention a striking color scheme inspired by the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R PROTOTYPE.

No doubt, the quick-fire orders disappointed a number of KTM fans who missed out, but KTM has created an online waiting list, which will allow interested buyers the chance to get their hands on a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR should any previous reservation be canceled.end bike test

Locatelli Continues Preparations for 2021 Yamaha WorldSBK Debut

YAM01Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK racer and reigning FIM Supersport World Champion, Andrea Locatelli, continued to make steps towards his FIM Superbike World Championship debut next month, completing a day and a half of testing at MotorLand Aragón this week. 

With low temperatures at the Alcañiz venue and inclement weather since the team arrived on Sunday, Locatelli completed just 52 laps on Monday afternoon, choosing to holdover a half day allocation of WorldSBK regulation testing opportunity to a later date. The 24-year-old completed a full test day of running on Tuesday with 66 laps, gaining valuable experience on his 2021 official Yamaha R1 WorldSBK. 

Despite “Loka” suffering his first crash since his debut on the 1000cc machine, he bounced back impressively, showing very consistent pace and providing detailed feedback as his crew targeted improved confidence and turning in Aragón’s long, challenging corners. Improving his lap time by nearly a full second on Pirelli’s qualifying tire, Locatelli is now looking forward to the next steps in performance at his next test.

Turkish star Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was absent from the two-day test, continuing to remain in Barcelona following a further positive Covid-19 PCR test on Saturday, 10 April. Toprak remains well, without symptoms, and looks forward to getting back to work on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK.

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official rider and Yamaha WorldSBK rider coach Niccolò Canepa was able to step in at short notice to help the team test some important longer term development updates, and completed a total of 38 laps in running on Monday. Canepa has been recovering from fractures sustained to his left ankle in an endurance test crash earlier in the year.

ANDREAFurther updates regarding the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK test schedule ahead of the season opener at MotorLand Aragón will be announced in due course.

Andrea Locatelli: P5 – 1’50.257 / 118 laps

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

“It’s a very strange feeling, because yesterday and today I had crashes – but they were so crazy strange crashes! I felt sorry for the guys and the whole team, because we were unable to continue to work on track with these disruptions – having to stop and repair the bike or use alternative parts from the test plan. In the end, we were able to ride a little bit and improve, it was not so bad in the end. A very strange test here for me, but now we will see for the next test. We can analyse everything and the goal is to stay focused and to return here with a plan to improve again.”

Niccolò Canepa: P10 - 1’53.348 / 38 laps

“I was not expecting to ride here in Aragon, and I feel sorry for Toprak, but for me it was a good chance to understand the level of my fitness after the surgery on my ankle. I was able to test something quite important, and even if I was not able to be at my normal level it was enough to work with the guys and make some quite big improvements. I was in some pain at the end of the day but even with that, it was great to ride the R1 WorldSBK machine and do some productive work.”

YAM02Paul Denning - Team Principal

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

“It’s still a challenging time for many people around the world, there is no reason why professional motorsports should escape those same challenges! So, not to have Toprak here is of course disappointing but the priority is that he feels perfectly well and is – as you can imagine after 14 days in isolation – absolutely ready to go! We will rearrange alternative testing here in Aragon and he will be ready for the first races of the season. We found a way to make good use of Toprak’s R1 and his crew with Nico making some fundamental development testing for Yamaha; despite his quite severe recent ankle injury he was still able to complete some important and interesting work for the future – good effort and thank you, Nico!

“Andrea used one and a half of the two days available to us here and, for the first time on the R1 WorldSBK at this tricky circuit, did a good job. It was a more complicated test than we would have liked, with a couple of unusual and rather unlucky crashes, but even so, a lot of good work was completed. We have another two days here in Aragon next week for Andrea to take the next step forward in terms of raw pace, so we hope to use those well and be fully prepared for round one of the 2021 Championship.”end bike test

21YM HONDA CRF300L

HONDA04The essence of what makes a true dual-purpose motorcycle has long been in Honda’s DNA. In the late 1970s the XL250S was launched - a bike providing genuine on-road usability with excellent off-road performance. The entire XL range that followed became legendary, and proved that combining an economical and easy-to-use single-cylinder four-stroke engine with a competent chassis created a motorcycle that was useful, versatile and, as riders the world over found, a great deal of fun.

Over a decade ago, exhaustive discussions within Honda R&D took place about the creation of a brand-new dual-purpose machine. The company’s long history – in off-road competition and trail-ready machinery – was a useful touchstone when development of the bike first began.HONDA02Looking to the needs of customers came first. While some riders insist upon competition-level off-road performance, many others value ease of use, practicality and convenience. For weekday, urban environments they wanted a tough, practical bike with cutting-edge off-road style. But, come the weekend, it needed to provide a ticket to ride, wherever they wanted to go, on or off-road.

Honda’s new dual-purpose bike was always viewed by its development team with global perspective. It not only needed a powerful and frugal engine, its chassis also had to have a broad and capable range. And it needed to be affordable, offering high quality and outstanding value for money, with low overall running costs a priority.

The CRF250L, launched across Europe in 2012, was just that motorcycle.

And Honda’s engineers got the formula right. The CRF250L has proved a fruitful base platform which, as well as spawning a RALLY version*, enjoys consistent sales success around the world.

Time marches on, however, and now the new CRF300L takes the stage for 2021 – lighter, more powerful and with an array of detail improvements. It is every bit the do-it-all, dual-purpose motorcycle the CRF250L was. Just more so.HONDA03Now 286cc, the CRF300L’s new engine produces 10% more peak power of 20.1kW @ 8,500rpm, and 18% more peak torque at 26.6Nm @ 6,500rpm. Inlet cam timing has been revised, alongside both air intake and exhaust system for much stronger mid-range torque and power. Gear ratios 1-5 are shorter, for improved response, while 6th is taller for more relaxed high-speed cruising. An assist/slipper clutch now manages the rear wheel under hard down changes and offers 20% less load at the lever.

A redesigned steel frame, aluminium swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to a 4kg overall weight loss and feature revised rigidity balance for feedback and feel. Steering geometry has been adjusted in detail to match, alongside longer travel front/rear suspension and increased ground clearance.

Sharp-edged bodywork features a slimmer tank and seat, and a new positive LCD instrument display. The riding position, too, has been altered to encourage the light steering manoeuvrability needed off-road and, just as usefully, around town.HONDA06end bike test

NO REST FOR THE WICKED: THE KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR ROARS ONTO THE SCENE

KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR ActionKTM continues to surprise, taking the ever-popular KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R platform and forging an even angrier BEAST. Being the first machine menacing enough to wear an ‘RR’ badge, it sits proudly at the top of KTM’s street range as a limited-edition flagship motorcycle, developed around one key statement: Pure Performance.

Only 500 of these ultra-rare Naked machines will be built, with the European allocation being available exclusively via an online pre-order portal.

Based on the latest KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype, the RR is a demonstration of what happens when your R&D department is allowed free reign. It’s a true definition of READY TO RACE, with added exclusivity, exotic componentry, and premium workmanship.KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR Action 1The figures tell the story – 1,301 cc, 180 hp, 180 kg, and 140 Nm, translating into a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, with enough torque to tear open the bitumen. Make no mistake, this BEAST is all about track-ripping performance. It is a no-compromise Hyper Naked motorcycle that has been conjured up from the darkest depths of the performance lab to decimate lap records.

Weighing in at a whole 9 kg lighter, the RR is more agile, stiffer, and offers better high-speed stability than the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The wheels too have gone under the knife, shedding a massive 1.5 kilograms of unsprung weight. These are wrapped in ultra-sticky Michelin Power Cup2 tires, dramatically upping the track readiness of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR Action 2However, the biggest area of influence comes in the form of WP’s finest components. Up front, the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR makes use of fully adjustable WP APEX PRO 7548 Close Cartridge forks, together with an adjustable WP APEX PRO 7117 steering damper. At the rear, an APEX PRO 7746 Shock takes charge, which has been custom-made to the specification of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR.

Carbon fiber has been used extensively in the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR’s construction, with the subframe also receiving the lightweight carbon treatment. This has allowed designers to reimagine the tail of the BEAST, creating a unique single-seat unit, with redesigned LED taillights incorporated into new LED turn signals. These also include KTM’s adaptive brake light as standard.KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR DetailAll of this, not to mention the biggest Euro5-compliant V-Twin engine currently available in a Hyper Naked motorcycle, makes the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR the ultimate backstreet weapon or track day tormentor.

It gets its power down to the ground thanks to a new quick-turn throttle twist grip, with a 65-degree opening angle – a 7-degree reduction over the standard KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s 72-degree grip. This was developed to deliver improved throttle response, but also to reduce the rider’s wrist angle and elbow drop at full opening.KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR Static 1As with all extreme track terrors, this BEAST would not be complete without a lightweight AKRAPOVIČ "SLIP-ON LINE" exhaust system. Made from titanium with a carbon fiber end cap, it provides the ‘bark’ to the BEAST’s bite. For the absolute power-hungry, a full system AKRAPOVIČ KIT "EVOLUTION LINE" is available as an optional extra.

Notable features on the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR include:
// The most powerful V-Twin engine to ever power a naked motorcycle
// 180 hp and 180 kg give the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR a 1:1 power/weight ratio
// New WP APEX PRO suspension and Michelin Power Cup2 tires
// New carbon fiber bodywork
// Lightweight lithium-ion battery, saving 2.5 kg
// Ultra-lightweight forged wheels, saving 1.5 kg of unsprung weight
// Carbon fiber subframe with a redesigned single seat
// Prototype-inspired CTG
// Exclusive KTM PowerParts package
// Limited to only 500 units worldwide
KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR front leftThe KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR isn’t only impressive when it comes to hardware. Under its carbon-scaled skin hides the most complete track-orientated electronics package ever seen on a KTM – and all as standard.

Most notable of all in this package are the advanced Track and all-new Performance modes, which allow riders near-unlimited adjustability options for rear-wheel slip, throttle response, Launch Control, and Motor Slip Regulation.

While the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR already boasts a full range of never before seen components and bodywork, a full range of KTM PowerParts has also been developed for those riders looking to boost its already frightening performance and track-ready viciousness.

And let’s not forget, riders of the ultimate Naked motorcycle need to not only perform, but also look the part. For that reason, a dedicated range of KTM PowerWear has been developed to give KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR riders the utmost confidence when at the absolute ragged edge.KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE RR Staticend bike test

Fantastic Fabio Quartararo Seals Doha GP Win as Morbidelli Claims Twelfth

yam noowsFabio Quartararo made it two victories from two races for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, after the Frenchman fought through the field to take victory at the Losail International Circuit. Team-mate Maverick Viñales produced an equally impressive comeback to secure fifth place after losing positions in the early stages of the 22-lap Grand Prix. Franco Morbidelli brought his PETRONAS Yamaha SRT M1 home in 12th place, with Valentino Rossi finishing 16th. 

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP made it back-to-back wins in Doha after Fabio Quartararo produced a stunning comeback under the Qatari floodlights to take victory at the Losail International Circuit.

Starting round two from fifth on the grid, Quartararo fell victim to the typical opening lap battle, dropping to eighth, just ahead of team-mate Maverick Viñales, who also dropped positions on the first lap.

As the race settled and the pace picked up, the factory Yamaha duo kept their cool and bided their time. They both knew it would be a race of two halves, with tyre management playing a big role in the second visit to Qatar. With the soft compound the favoured tyre, Quartararo and Viñales managed their pace comfortably as they maintained their positions in the leading group.

The Monster Energy Yamaha duo were line astern at the half-way point of the race and as the Grand Prix entered its second phase, Quartararo showed his hand. The Frenchman climbed his way up to sixth after benefiting from a mid-race tangle for two of his rivals and immediately set after Alex Rins in a hunt for a podium finish. The hard-charging former CEV champion was quick to dispatch Rins, moving clear of the Suzuki rider at turn four, securing fifth place.

Likewise, team-mate Viñales was also making progress aboard his YZR-M1. The Spaniard dropped to ninth in the early stages of the Grand Prix but used his race-winning experience from the opening round to get the most out of his tyres. By lap 16, the 26-year-old was up to sixth place after mistakes from Joan Mir, Aleix Espargaro and Francesco Bagnaia gave him the perfect opportunity to pounce. With the podium positions in sight, it was time for both factory Yamaha riders to give it all they had. yam noows01The factory duo then pulled off a double overtake at turn ten, as Quartararo moved past Johann Zarco with an inch perfect pass for third, whilst Viñales pulled off a carbon copy manoeuvre to that of his team-mate as he passed Jack Miller. Just four corners later and it was Quartararo’s turn to lead. The fast French rider had a perfect run through turn 14 and positioned himself for a brave pass at turn 15, taking the lead with four laps to go. 

However, it wasn’t an easy task for Quartararo, who slipped back to second on the front straight, but that didn’t stop the number-20 rider, who regained the advantage with a pass at turn four. While the rider from Nice hit the front, Viñales had put himself in podium contention after passing Johann Zarco, but a mistake from the Qatar Grand Prix victor saw him slip back to fourth place with work to do in the closing stages.

Back at the front, Quartararo had opened his lead to just under half a second to Jorge Martin and continued to break away from the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line to take victory by 1.4 seconds. Viñales continued to put pressure on the two Pramac Racing bikes in what was a stunning final few laps charge, but a small mistake at turn one saw him slip back behind Rins. The Spanish rider gave it everything on the final lap of the 3.34-mile-long Qatari circuit, but just fell short, wrapping up the Doha Grand Prix in a strong fifth place.yam noows02Back at the front, Quartararo had opened his lead to just under half a second to Jorge Martin and continued to break away from the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line to take victory by 1.4 seconds. Viñales continued to put pressure on the two Pramac Racing bikes in what was a stunning final few laps charge, but a small mistake at turn one saw him slip back behind Rins. The Spanish rider gave it everything on the final lap of the 3.34-mile-long Qatari circuit, but just fell short, wrapping up the Doha Grand Prix in a strong fifth place.

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi had a difficult race, with the pair finishing in 12th and 16th places respectively. From tenth on the grid, Morbidelli found himself in a race-long battle for the top ten. The former Moto2 Champion was battling hard throughout the early stages of the race, but unfortunately could not make any further progress after using his soft rear tyre too early on, resulting in a P12 finish for the Italian, just 5.787s off the race winner. 

Team-mate Valentino Rossi had an uphill battle on his hands after starting from 21st, but as always, The Doctor looked to make the most of a tough situation. Having found something in Warm-Up, Rossi launched from 21st on the grid, making up places on the run into turn one – but slipped back as the field jostled for position.

Rossi sat comfortably in the pack and matched the lap times of the leaders before making his way passed Danilo Petrucci at the midway stage. The 42-year-old Italian then had a late burst, using the last bit of grip from his soft tyres to move up into P16, but sadly for the nine-time World Champion, the gap to 15th was just too big, and he had to settle for 16th position as the flag dropped.

With Quartararo’s victory, the factory Yamaha duo see themselves head to Portimao joint second in the standings, with the pair sitting on 36 points. Yamaha also head the charge in the constructor’s championship with 50 points, while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP maintain their advantage in the teams’ championship. 

The MotoGP World Championship will return to action in Portugal as the riders return to the roller-coaster that is Portimao across the weekend of 16-18 April.end bike test

 

 

 

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