As we continue to cross days off of the 2020 calendar whilst patiently waiting for the world to defeat the virus that has caused a global pandemic, it is interesting to observe the way each individual is handling this unprecedented situation. For riders like Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Gautier Paulin, the confinement is not an issue.
“Personally, I am not completely away from my normal life,” the 30-year-old MXGP star said, “In wintertime, this is how it is for me. I don’t see anyone, I don’t go out, I don’t party, I don’t do anything except for eating and sleeping, family and training. So right now, the only difference is that I don’t see my family, I just facetime with them. I have everything I need to stay fit and in shape and to train in any situation whether that is inside or outside, even for things like if the weather is bad, I will train inside to prevent getting sick and things like that. I can still continue my full physical training, of course, I need to adapt everything because I am someone who loves to do sport outside as much as possible, and I have been this way since I was a kid but together with my trainer we have adapted the plan, but I am still training in the zone I want.”
Unlike most other motorsports, MXGP managed to complete two rounds of the 2020 series, much to the surprise of Paulin who is currently fifth in the Championship Standings, “I saw this coming, not a big pandemic like this as no one could imagine this, but before leaving to GP number one, I told my wife to just get everything we need for the baby in case of emergency because we are always travelling everywhere and in case we get stuck somewhere I wanted to be sure we have all the needs for the little one."
"I was actually surprised to ride the first two GP’s and even more when we were expecting to go to Argentina. After Valkenswaard, we had a meeting at 10:15pm with all of the team members and it was at that point we all realized this was serious. I decided directly to stop riding for my own security and also for the security and safety of the mechanics.”The coronavirus outbreak has certainly thrown a spanner in the works for many top athletes who have thoroughly planned their entire year based on the 20-round calendar that was supposed to run from late February through to the end of September, but despite being one of the most structured and meticulous athletes on the grid, Paulin is ready to adapt his regime. “It will be a tough challenge because I started training really early last winter, but I will be okay” he assured, “we cannot change anything we are dealing with it right now we just need to take it day by day because we don’t know what will happen from day to day, whether we are still locked inside or we can go out, or what. Obviously, the next GP is scheduled for Russia 7th of June. We still have two months, but who says that it will happen? So, I just continue to focus on myself and either way I will be in shape. This is what I have to do for my job, for my goal and actually I love to stay fit anyway, so actually I am making the most of this crazy situation.”
Infront Moto Racing, the promoters of the FIM Motocross World Championship are continuously monitoring the situation and adjusting the calendar where possible. As it stands, 18 rounds still remain with the season stretching all the way to November. The new calendar now includes a never-before run of six Grands Prix in a row in July. “We are now scheduled to race six GP’s in a row and eight in a really small timeframe” he said, “this has never happened before. How the team will handle it, especially with the season looking to end in Argentina or Indonesia or places like that, it’s going to be something really different.
From the business side, it’s really a big deal. But for me, the most important thing is that all of my guys stay healthy, and that all of my family stays healthy. All of the sport and business stuff aside, I am only concentrating on the essential side to this and that is to have everyone safe and healthy. And then for the sports side, I am positive that it would be an advantage for me because I am fit, and I will prepare myself for it.”
The new calendar will also see the biggest and most spectacular motocross event of the year, the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, take place in the middle of the season. “There are so many things we want to do, but we cannot with the problems that the virus has caused.” He stressed, “Motocross of Nations in the middle of the season doesn’t make any sense to me. It has always been at the end of the season and the event is like a big gift to everyone who loves motocross. We celebrate the end of the season proving which nation has the best racers.” A question mark also hovers over how quickly the riders will be able to get back up to speed once the world resumes and it is safe to ride again, but Paulin is confident he is ready to start again as soon as he is sure that everyone is safe. “I have a bike that I love, so for me, getting back on the bike is no stress.” he boasted, “My bike is done, it is ready, I was already happy with it at the first rounds, this is already a big step. When we can ride again, I will concentrate fully on riding and not on testing or anything like this. How long it will take to be ready on the bike is hard to say because when you start riding there is many things that can happen that can mean we need more time. Things like blisters for example, or small injuries or getting sick. Right now, my biggest worry is what is going to happen if we have to go to Russia for the third round with the virus still being a big threat in the world. I am not worried about being ready to be back on the bike, I am ready. I have been off for more than a month, but I am charged with motivation because I know my bike is ready. My main concern is how to prevent getting sick when we start travelling and racing again because this is going to be like playing poker.”
On a positive note, Paulin and his wife Clementine welcomed their first-born child into the world in May last year and amidst all the drama at present, he feels a sense of calm and peace. “I am so blessed for everything I have right now. All of my people and family are safe, and I am able to enjoy these moments watching my little one grow. It’s really nice. It is the best gift I have ever had, and I feel like it’s a new gift everyday that I am incredibly thankful for.”
The Repsol Honda Team converted their success on track to success in the virtual world as Alex Marquez claimed a stunning first win of 2020 with Marc Marquez finishing a respectable fifth.
Six laps around the Mugello circuit produced thrilling action for the first #StayAtHomeGP, riders attacking from the moment the lights went out. With a more condensed event format than a typical GP, riders had little time to refine their setting.
Keeping calm, Alex Marquez stuck to his pre-race plan and put in a sterling performance to make history and clinch the win aboard the Repsol Honda Team RC213V in his eSports debut. A massive seven second lead stamped his authority on the field.
Marc Marquez put in a strong and consistent ride to secure fifth place in his debut eSports race, demonstrating impressive riding skills in both the real and virtual worlds. A strong start saw Marc in podium contention as he looked to match the pace of his teammate in the early laps.
The result sees the Repsol Honda Team become the first official MotoGP team to win races in both the real and virtual worlds.
Alex Marquez 73
"Fantastic! What a result! It was a really funny event with all of the other riders and I am really pleased to win my first race! I found a good setting with the RC213V which let me race how I wanted to and I knew I had a few different lines for when I needed. Even at just six laps you really needed to stay focused because with one small mistake it can go very wrong. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope everyone who watched also had a good time. Let's hope that everyone continues to follow the advice of the doctors and scientists so that we can return to a more normal life, seeing friends and family, enjoying the outside and going racing."
Marc Marquez 93
"First of all congratulations to Alex on the win, I knew from our time playing together he would be very fast but he did a great job. Of course, I would have liked better than fifth, but the result isn't too bad and as a team we did well. You need a different style in these kinds of races so I had to adapt my strategy a little bit during the day. A good time and I am really happy to be able to do something for the fans. Now we want to be riding and battling back on track, because it means the world is in a better situation, but first we have to win the battle with the Corona Virus. Stay safe everyone!"
1. Marquez Alex
2. Vinales Maverick
3. Bagnaia Francesco
4. Quartararo Fabio
5. Marquez Marc
Honda e and CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE win Design Awards in the "Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020" - Honda e wins' Red Dot" Best of the Best"
Honda announced that the all-new Honda e electric vehicle and the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE supersport bike won product design awards in one of the most respected awards in the world, the Red Dot Award*.
Honda e won "Red Dot: Best of the Best 2020" in the automobile category, and also received "Red Dot 2020" in the meta category of "Smart Products". Honda e is a new-generation electric vehicle focused on a simple design and ease of use built upon Honda's philosophy of human-centric design, while bringing new values to customers that meet the needs of modern urban life through seamlessly connected technology and outstanding driving dynamics. Honda e's dashboard features two large touchscreens which display a wide range of applications and connected infotainment services in a lounge-like atmosphere, seamlessly integrating with the occupants' urban lifestyle. By accessing various connected services displayed on these large touchscreens, the driver and occupants can enjoy the same connectivity and comfort while driving, stationary or charging. The battery is situated under the floor, realizing a low center of gravity and a firm footing despite its small size, and contributes to an optimum balance between stability and handling.
CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE received "Red Dot 2020" in the motorcycle category. The CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE was announced at EICMA 2019 in Milan, Italy in November 2019, with sales soon beginning in Europe. Positioned as the top flagship of CBR series, the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE was developed with the concept, "TOTAL CONTROL for the Track", pursuing high performance on the track and in races. Its engine was designed with technologies from the RC213V MotoGP machine which continues to win world titles, resulting in the most powerful engine for a CBR yet. The frame has enhanced stability under acceleration and braking, and with the help of advanced electronic control system supporting sport riding, its potential has been further enhanced. Honda believes CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE won the award in part due to its functional beauty honed through pursuing the limits of high-performance and radical new form to achieve uncompromising function not in the public roads, but also in the circuit.
*The Red Dot Award was founded in 1955, and has since become one of the most respected design awards worldwide. 49 categories of industrial products are judged on nine criteria including degree of innovation, functionality, durability and ergonomics. Outstanding designs are awarded by three awards, "Red Dot: Best of the Best", "Red Dot" and "Honourable Mention". "Red Dot: Best of the Best" is the most prestigious award among them.
Lockdown and social distancing do not mean that you cannot work on or maintain your motorcycle with your trusted Yamalube products from the safety of your home or get creative in terms of staying active with your bike.
We encourage you to take part in the #LockedDownWithYamaha challenge – detailed entry requirements listed below - to stand the chance to win a Yamalube hamper to the value of R4 000.00. Terms & conditions apply.
We hope that you and your families are keeping safe at home during this time of lockdown.
Coronavirus pandemic halts production in France and Italy at Yamaha Motor Europe.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is forcing Yamaha Motor Europe to suspend production temporarily in Italy and France.
Specifically, the Motori Minarelli engine factory in Calderara di Reno, Italy, and the MBK Industrie assembly plant in Saint-Quentin, France, will be offline until at least March 22. Following that date, Yamaha will assess work safety conditions for its employees on a weekly basis.
Social distancing is becoming one of the most prevalent means of combating the spread of coronavirus, and is especially important in places like Italy, where the spread of the virus has been rampant. France too, as of writing, has registered thousands of cases and has taken strict measures to help level off infection.Yamaha Motor Europe is taking steps as well to ensure that the employees aren’t financially disadvantaged as a result of the closures.
“The health of our employees and our social responsibility are our priorities at this stage, which is why we took the decision to suspend production at these two facilities in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic," Eric de Seynes, president, chief executive officer of Yamaha Motor Europe, said in a company press release. “We also value highly the skills and commitment of a workforce that has shown tremendous loyalty to Yamaha, but now faces an unprecedented situation outside of the workplace. For their peace of mind, we are working to ensure that no employee will lose out financially between now and the return to a stable situation both in Italy and France.”
For the first time since 2014, Yamaha Motor Europe will enter a Factory team into the highly competitive FIM MX2 World Championship. Building on a fruitful 23-year relationship, the previously named Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 team has been renamed the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team for the 2020 season and has retained its strong contingent of MX2 protagonists Jago Geerts and Ben Watson for a third season.
Both riders will be campaigning the works version of Yamaha’s popular YZ250F, the YZ250FM. After finishing third in the 2019 MX2 World Championship where he proved his promise as one of only three race winners, 19-year-old Belgian sensation Geerts is a hot favourite for the title. Despite the pressure, the talented youngster remains calm. “I had a really good season last year” admitted the humble teenager, “I finished third overall in my second year of MX2. Now I’m working hard and looking forward to the next season where I just want to go out there and have fun and then we will see where I end up”.Yamaha Motor Europe’s enhanced commitment to the MX2 series has given Geerts an added boost of motivation, “in the MX2 class there are really a lot of riders who can win” he said, “you need to work hard during the season and keep working. I think it will be an exciting year.”
Unlike Geerts who has four years left in MX2, Watson will turn 23-years-old in June and due to the class’ age restriction will be forced up into the premier class at the end of the year, and after a turbulent 2019 season, the Briton still sees himself as a title contender.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself for a solid 2019 season”, he said, “a lot of things didn’t go my way. Luck wasn’t on my side.
I do see myself as a title contender. I just want to go out there and make sure I am enjoying myself. When I am enjoying myself, my riding will show in itself.”
Purdon starts the 2020 motocross season in victory
Tristan Purdon couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2020 season...
The Red Bull KTM motocross star left onlookers in awe as he went 1-1 to snatch MX1 victory at the opening round of the season in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
On a track notorious for its unforgiving sand and demanding weather conditions, Purdon’s performance was particularly impressive. Despite some slow starts by his own high standards, his consistent pace was unmatched as he worked his way up the ranks of what was a highly competitive field.
The victory comes at the perfect time for Purdon, who is still waiting to hear the outcome of the 2019 MX1 Championship. “I’ve been so excited for a fresh start and to put last season behind me, and winning the opening round was the perfect way to do it! I came into 2019 with a lingering wrist injury, so I feel like a different person starting the year with nothing holding me back,” said Purdon.It was a somewhat disappointing day for Red Bull KTM teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald, who received a DNF in the first moto of MX1 due to technical issues. In MX2, however, he managed to wrap the day up in sixth overall. As the reigning national MX2 Champion, Fitz-Gerald will look to come back swinging in defense of his 2019 title.
The journey to the start line of Rover Raceway was perhaps tougher than the race itself for Jonathan Mlimi. The rider was sent to the sideline in 2019 after breaking his leg during a practice ride. With a new appreciation of the sport, Mlimi managed to lead a portion of the second heat and finish the day in sixth overall. Having given but a glimpse of his true potential in the High School Class, Mlimi commented:
“It gave me a lot of confidence to see that I’m capable of pushing the pace up front. Unfortunately, I’m still dealing with a niggle from the accident and felt it in the second moto especially. I’m going to get that sorted before the next round and come back stronger!”
Saturday 08 February saw the Proudly Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha team take on the first round of the highly anticipated MSA National Enduro take place in the very wet and muddy Lesotho.
The hosting club for the event, Live Lesotho, quickly decided that the original route Altus de Wet had set for the Enduro had to be abandoned with the safety of the riders being the first priority.
The decision was made for the Offroad Time Trial loop that had been raced the day before for the National Offroad to be used as the National Enduro loop.
09:00 saw Kyle Flanagan take the hole shot up the first hill climb and into the hills of Lesotho.
Kyle would eventually take second place respectfully in the E2 category losing out only to Travis Teasedale.
Lloyd Kirk started side by side fellow bLU cRU stable mate Luke Walker from the McLarens bLU cRU Yamaha Racing team with a full on drag race up the hill and a classic two strove versus four stroke battle. Lloyd would pull a gap on Luke up the hill in the end.
This is the first time Lloyd has raced the all-new 2020 YZ250FX and the bike proved to be a formidable weapon on the day. This was very noticeable by the end of lap one when Lloyd closed down the gap and caught the leader Kyle Flanagan when they both came into the pits together.
Lloyd would take a respectful second place on the day in the E1 category losing out to Bradley Cox in the end. Lloyd was noticeably quicker than he had been in previous years on board the new YZ250FX.
Denzil Torlage and Bruce May started side by side on the hill climb and would eventually take first and second place in the Masters category.
In conclusion the Proudly Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha team had a great start to the national series and will go into the second round prepared to get back into the victorYZone.
None of this would be possible without the continued support of loyal sponsors:
Proudly Bidvest, Shoei, Acerbis, RK Chains, Progrip, Yamalube, GYTR andPSP.
Cox storms to a double victory at season opener in Lesotho
Bradley Cox, son of motorsport legend Alfie Cox, couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2020 season...
Cox, a multi-disciplined star from KwaZulu-Natal, stormed to a double victory this weekend in both the National Cross Country and Enduro season opener in Lesotho.
The rider has fast made a name for himself in Cross Country in particular and stepped into the season as the reigning OR3 National Champion. With a strong determination to break into the world of enduro too, Cox signed up to compete in the E1 Class for the first time in 2019.
With every passing race it became increasingly clear that he would soon become a force to be reckoned with in this sport. It was a break-out season for Cox who managed to place third nationally, and later that year narrowly missed a top ten finish at the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ – the Motul Roof of Africa. Fast forward to 2020, and Cox has spent the ‘off-season’ preparing for what looks to be one of the most exciting racing years of his career. In a highly competitive field this weekend he stormed to the top step of both the E1 and OR3 Class.
“I’m a bit lost for words to be honest. I always set big goals for myself so when I saw this weekend would be a double header, I wanted to go for both wins. I trained really hard this off-season because I knew that to achieve something like this my fitness had to be up there. I felt the pressure carrying the number one plate in Cross Country, but knew what I had to do and it all went super smoothly. It was my break-out season in enduro last year, so I’ve become really hungry to win the enduro title too. I just went for it – I’m paid to do a job, and that job is to win!” said Cox.
Brother Leader Tread KTM teammate and fellow multi-disciplined athlete Jarryd Coetzee had a solid start to the 2020 season too.
With a strong determination to defend his 2019 OR2 title, Coetzee managed to secure the second spot on the podium behind Brett Swanepoel. Perhaps even more impressively to some, Coetzee pushed the pace with the frontrunners in the E2 Enduro Class in his debut race to the sport of enduro entirely. He finished fourth in what is the most competitive national enduro class the country has to offer.
The opening round of the series was a far cry from what Scott Bouverie had hoped for by his own high standards. Bouverie lined-up as a favourite in Lesotho this weekend – a place that he tasted enduro glory multiple times in his career. After a crash in the first kilometers of the route, however, the rider was forced to limit his losses and pushed to finish the event fifth overall.
After his stellar performance at the 2019 Motul Roof of Africa, Bouverie has given but a glimpse of what he is truly capable of. It’s onwards and upwards for the rider as he continues his pursuit of what has been a seemingly elusive E2 title.
Rounding out the Brother Leader Tread KTM squad was Kirsten Landman, who after conquering the 2020 Dakar Rally was all too happy to be back on her KTM 250 XC-W TPI. As the only female in the E2 Class, Landman once again put on an impressive performance as she took her place as one of the select few to finish the unforgiving route.
The ultimate adventure motorcycle competition, on the ultimate adventure motorcycle, the all-new Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin.
Do you have what it takes?
We are looking for true adventure riders of Southern Africa. Men and women of courage who are adventurous, don't shy away from physical and mental challenges, take the initiative and function as part of a team.
Quest is not a race or a rally, it is an adventure expedition, designed to test human endurance and adaptability. Finalists will be tested and judged on their adventure motorcycle riding, mechanical skills, as well as their endurance, courage, and resilience against the African terrain and the numerous challenges they will be presented with by the Quest instructors.
What happens next?
After receipt of the entries, Honda Motorcycles Southern Africa, along with the Specialised Adventures instructors, will select 30 applicants to attend the Quest Boot Camp taking place in Cape Town from the 10th to the 12th ofMarch 2020. During boot camp the instructors will select 14 finalists, to participate in the Quest True Adventure 9-day, 2500km off-road adventure expedition in the Northern and Western Cape starting on April 2nd 2020.
Costs and logistics
Participation in the Honda Quest True Adventure 2020 is free, however travel to and from Cape Town for boot camp and Quest is not included, and for the cost of the contestants.
Entrants should take note of the dates for boot camp and the actual Quest event, should they need to apply for leave from their work place.
Apart from the title of winning Quest True Adventure 2020, the winning team will each win the Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L that they used during the Quest True Adventure event.
How to enter?
Simply visit the official Quest website at www.quest-trueadventure.com
Closing date for entries, February 23rd 2020.