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WSBK AUSTRALIA : plein gaz sur 2015

L’île Australienne de Phillip Island accueillait ce week-end la première manche de la saison en World Superbike (WSBK), l’heure pour Sylvain Guintoli de défendre son titre de champion du monde 2014. Parmi les pilotes SHARK, Tom Sykes son dauphin, en 2014, aura à cœur de récupérer un titre qui lui appartenait en 2013, Alex Lowes tentera de confirmer une première année positive et Randy de Puniet nouvel entrant dans la catégorie aura tout à prouver pour son retour à la compétition.

Les pilotes étaient en Australie les jours précédents le week-end de course pour des tests. Si Alex Lowes a dominé facilement ces tests, Randy de Puniet son coéquipier a chuté et s’est blessé se retrouvant diminué pour le week-end de course. Pour Tom Sykes les essais se sont bien déroulés avec sa Kawasaki hormis une petite chute, tandis que Sylvain Guintoli a tenté de s’adapter à sa nouvelle Honda.

Les pilotes SHARK sont ordinairement habitués aux podiums sur le sol australien. Malheureusement aucun de nos 4 représentants ne pourra cette année monter sur une des 3 marches. Randy de Puniet repart de la première manche du championnat avec 9 points. Grandement diminué et poussé dans les graviers en première manche il ne peut faire mieux que 17ème. Dans une seconde manche tout aussi difficile pour lui il réalise cependant une belle 7ème place tout en souffrance. Son coéquipier Alex Lowes a vécu une fin de semaine à l’opposé de ses tests. Il a rencontré entre le warm up et la course plusieurs problèmes sur sa moto qui l’ont contraint à une première manche difficile qu’il terminera à la 9ème place et à l’abandon dans la deuxième. Lors de son départ Tom Sykes ne peut se trouver un chemin et doit prendre large. Ce fait de course l’oblige alors à adopter une autre stratégie et à se concentrer sur la victoire et non plus la gagne. Il termine 6ème et 4ème dans les deux manches. Il est cependant à l’issue du week-end le meilleur représentant SHARK de la catégorie, 4ème au championnat du monde. Notre champion du monde en titre Sylvain Guintoli a quant à lui marqué des points importants. Pas au mieux de sa forme après une grosse chute lors des tests hivernaux et en retard sur la préparation de la moto, il se classe en 7 et 5ème position ce qui lui permet de repartir 5ème au championnat du monde.

En world Supersport, nous accompagnerons cette année Lucas Mahias dans sa découverte du championnat du Monde WSS. Auteur de deux belles wildcard en 2014, il est pressenti comme un pilote pouvant jouer les devants de la scène dans sa catégorie.  Après de bons tests il se qualifie à une belle 7ème place. Pendant la course il se bat pour le podium mais doit abandonner pour cause technique (pneu). Dommage, mais prometteur pour le reste de la saison.

Prochaine course le 22 Mars en Thaïlande pour le deuxième round du mondial Superbike.

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Sykes does the double at Donington Park

Tom Sykes took a double World Superbike win at the weekend as the sixth round of the championship took place at Donington Park, UK. Finding his best machine set-up of the year, Sykes has now won the last six SBK races at the Leicestershire circuit. The Brit also set a new lap record of 1’27.640 in race two, adding to a successful weekend. He is currently sitting third in the overall championship standings.

Sylvain Guintoli made progress on his Pata Honda machine scoring two eighth-place finishes at the weekend. Alex Lowes also showed progress as he crossed the line sixth in both races, his Suzuki team-mate Randy de Puniet finished both races in 14th place.

In World Supersport Kyle Ryde took a step forward on to the world stage with a wild card ride in the class. The 17-year old impressed the home crowd finishing in third place.

The next round of the championship takes place at Portimao, Portugal 5-7 June.

Meanwhile some of the British Superbike support classes also took place over the weekend from Donington Park, which saw Josh Elliott second and Ben Godfrey seventh in the Superstock 1000 class.

The Ducati TriOptions Cup saw more podium finishes for SHARK-men with Marty Nutt placed third, fourth and second. Aaron Brown finished fourth and sixth, while Darren Fry crossed the line in all three races in fifth place.

Tom Sykes:

A full set this weekend – two race wins, pole position and a new lap record. After some battles in race one I had a clean start in race two and I went a little bit faster down Craner and into the Old Hairpin to stop any passes, and away we went. The bike was really nice and I made some 1’27s in the beginning. When I saw that the gap was increasing I just had to be careful in how to manage the race. I was really happy with the race performance because Marcel my crew chief and all the boys have been working really well. It is good to win all the last six races here at Donington but there is no real reason why. We are getting there now and I am able to do a little bit more of what I want to with the bike, and it showing.

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GP France : Zarco confirme au Mans

Devant 93 531 spectateurs attirés par le spectacle qui s’offrait à eux, SHARK, avec 9 pilotes, était présent au Mans ce dimanche. Le circuit Bugatti qui fêtait à cette occasion ses 50ans a accueilli 3 belles courses pour la 5ième manche du championnat MotoGP.

En MotoGP, Aleix Espargaro et Scott Redding les deux pilotes Shark présents au départ du Grand-Prix n’ont pas été en réussite. Souffrant suite à sa grosse chute de la veille, Aleix Espargaro est rentré au stand sur problème technique et n’a pas pu aller au bout de la course. Scott Redding quant à lui chute au 4ième tour ne terminant pas sa seconde course de la saison. Au Championnat du monde Espargaro est 9ième, Redding 13ième.

Scott Redding : « J’ai vécu un début de course difficile car je manquais de grip sur l’avant. J’ai ensuite senti du mieux et essayé de reprendre mon rythme. Mais j’ai malheureusement perdu l’avant au virage 6. C’était très tôt dans la course et j’en suis très déçu. »

Aleix Espargaro : « Je suis vraiment mécontent de mon week-end, quand quelque chose commence mal il finit généralement tout aussi mal. J’ai chuté sans importance vendredi mais samedi j’ai eu un très gros crash ; rien de cassé mais je ne me sentais pas à 100% pour prendre la course. J’ai eu un bon départ mais j’ai tout de suite senti que la moto n’était pas performante comme elle aurait dû et j’ai finalement dû rentrer au box et abandonner. Je suis déjà concentré sur le Mugello

En Moto2, Johann Zarco, pilote français, est arrivé et repart en tête du championnat du monde de la catégorie. Après un superbe début de saison il confirme en France avec un podium devant son public. Une troisième place qui lui permet d’accroître son avance au classement. Sam Lowes, également à créditer d’un excellent début de saison, se place au pied du podium, 4ième. Louis Rossi, local de l’étape chute en course et ne peut repartir. Il avait pour l’occasion des 50ans du Circuit Bugatti un casque spécial aux couleurs du Mans. Robin Mulhauser termine 20ième. Au championnat du monde Johann Zarco est en tête avec 21 points d’avance sur son plus proche concurrent. Sam Lowes est 4ième à 35points de Johan Zarco. Louis Rossi est 21ième, Robin Mulhauser n’entre pas dans le classement n’ayant pas encore marqué de point.

Johann Zarco : « J’ai eu plaisir à mener un moment la course, où j’étais plus à l’aise avec le réservoir plein. Je signe le premier podium de ma carrière au Mans, et je compte 21 points d’avance au général. Un vrai régal ce week-end avant le Mugello dans 2 semaines, où j’ai signé de meilleurs résultats par le passé. »

En Moto3, Miguel Oliveira a rencontré des problèmes de boites et n’a pu faire mieux que 8ième. Livio Loi notre pilote belge se classe 13ième et Gabriele Rodrigo chute dans le premier tour. Au championnat du monde Oliveira est 8ième, Loi 19ième.

Nous nous retrouvons dès la semaine prochaine avec les résultats du WSBK en Angleterre à Donington.

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SHARK domination in Supertwin races at the North West 200

Last week the North West 200 road races got underway in Northern Ireland with races taking place on Thursday and Saturday around the 8.9-mile circuit. Meanwhile the fifth round of the MotoGP championship took place at Le Mans, France over the weekend.

At the North West 200 on Thursday evening the first Supertwins race of the meeting took place with a SHARK 1-2-3 on the podium with Ryan Farquhar, Jeremy McWilliams and Jamie Hamilton stepping on the podium.

Saturday for the second race it was a similar result with another 1-2-3 SHARK podium, with McWilliams winning the four-lap race, ahead of Farquhar and Hamilton came home third.

Farquhar and Hamilton will now turn their attentions to the upcoming Isle of Man TT races, with first practice taking place on Saturday 30 May.

Meanwhile, at Le Mans in France the MotoGP championship continued with the fifth round of the season. There was disappointment for Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding in MotoGP who both had DNF’s in the race.

In Moto2 Johann Zarco scored another podium finish in third place and still continues to lead the championship with 89 points. Sam Lowes narrowly missed out on a podium finish by .3s, eventually crossing the line fourth after making a wrong tyre choice.

Moto3 saw SHARK’s Miguel Oliveira finish in eighth place, where he currently sits in the overall championship standings

The next round of the championship takes pace 29-30 May in at Mugello in Italy.

This weekend SHARK’s World Superbike riders will be travelling to Donington Park, UK for the sixth round of the series – practice starts on Friday 22 May, with the race on Sunday.

Ryan Farquhar:

It’s fantastic to see one of my bikes on the top step again and that’s what matters most. After Thursday’s race, I knew Jeremy would be strong again so for us to have another 1-2 makes me equally happy. It’s great for the sponsors and everyone connected with KMR Kawasaki and fair play to Jeremy. He’s such a professional and such a great rider, it’s a pleasure and a privilege to have him in the team.

I had a wee problem on Thursday with the bike jumping out of gear and it meant I was using second gear in a few places today instead of first but there’s no excuses from me. I rode as hard as I could and the better man beat me on the day. It’s been a superb North West 200 for the team but we won’t be sitting on our laurels and will be working hard now to make sure we have the best possible chance at the TT.

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Double podium for Sykes at Imola

This weekend SHARK’s supported riders were at Imola, Italy for the fifth-round of the World Superbike championship. Tom Sykes secured two-second place finishes, his best result of the season and is now third in the overall championship. He is only 25 points behind the second placed rider.

Meanwhile reigning World Champion Sylvain Guntoli finished race one in fifth place after the six-lap restart and showed a better pace than earlier in the weekend. However, he crashed out unhurt on the opening lap of race two after being forced wide on to a dirtier part of the track.

Alex Lowes finished race one just outside the top-ten in 12th place, but in race two fought a determined race to take tenth place. His team-mate Randy de Puniet was forced to retire from both of the day’s races.

The next round of the championship takes place at Donington Park, England 22-24 May.

Tom Sykes:

We made some improvements at this round and I am very happy. Jonathan rode a strong race in race two and we had a big gap to the guys behind. In the end I just had to accept that this was our limit today. Jonathan was really strong in some areas and could take an advantage, then I would take some back, but finally it was his day today. The good thing is we have improved from previous events, and from last year, so I think we are heading in the right direction. Still there are some minor things to change but on the whole we have addressed some of our limitations and in Donington at the next round we will keep working. We improved some small things this weekend but small things at this level make an incredible difference. To take the wins would have been better, but I am happy.

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Zarco extends championship lead in Spain

The MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 championships kicked of its European campaign this weekend in front of vast crowds at Jerez in Spain. In the highly-competitive Moto2 class Johann Zarco extended his championship lead to a healthy 16 points, finishing the race in second place. Meanwhile Sam Lowes finished in 20th place after suffering with rear grip issues.

In MotoGP Aleix Espargaro finished in eighth place and is also eighth in the overall championship standings. Scott Redding finished his weekend in 12th place. SHARK’s Moto3 rider Miguel Oliveira finished on the podium in second place and sits seventh in the overall championship.

In the UK it was an all-action weekend at round-three of the MCE British Superbike Championship and its support classes at the twisty, undulating Oulton Park in Cheshire, which saw racing yesterday on Bank Holiday Monday.

Young Kyle Ryde finished second and third in the two Supersport 600 races and is now just one point behind the series leader. Josh Elliott continued his amazing start to the season in the Superstock 1000 category with a second place at the weekend – he now leads the series by eight-points.

In the Superstock 600 category the podium saw two SHARK-protected riders with Bradley Ray finishing in second place and Joe Francis taking the third spot. In the Ducati TriOptions cup there was another SHARK podium for Marty Nutt in second place.

Next weekend sees the World Superbike Championship back in action at Imola, Italy.

Johann Zarco:
It was a good race, because I did not start very well and the first few corners were difficult. My pace was good and I was able to overtake riders from then until the end. I got up to the front group and wanted to stick with them, because I knew that until the last corner anything was possible. Rins made a mistake -we were all on the limit- and I had good speed coming out of the turn, so I kept second place and it feels great. Starting from ninth and finishing with 20 points is great for the championship, as we head to Le Mans as leaders.

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SHARK riders win Moto2 and EWC topping a huge weekend of world racing

With MotoGP, World and British Superbikes and the first round of the Endurance World Championships taking place over the same weekend, SHARK’s protected riders were in action around the globe this weekend.

In Argentina at round three of the Grand Prix championship Johann Zarco took his first win of the year in the Moto2 category, with last rounds winner Sam Lowes securing third place. Zarco leads the championship by four points. In MotoGP Aleix Espargaro qualified in second place and finished an eventful race bringing home his Suzuki in seventh position. The next round takes place 1-3 May at Jerez in Spain.

In France at Le Mans for the opening round of the Endurance World Championship Vincent Philippe and Etienne Masson (with Anthony Delalle) won the gruelling 24-hr race for the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. Honda Racing, with Freddy Foray and Sebastian Gimbert, led the race in the early stages but were forced to retire with mechanical issues after 20-hours. The next EWC race takes place 26 July at Suzuka.

It was tough going for SHARK’s SBK riders in Assen, Holland. Tom Sykes finished both races in fifth place, Randy de Puniet suffered two DNF’s and his teammate Alex Lowes had one DNF and a ninth place, while Sylvain Guntoli finished within the top-ten in eighth and seventh places. The next round takes place 8-10 May at Imola, Italy.

Back in the UK for the second of 12-rounds for the BSB championship there was success for many SHARK protected riders at Brands Hatch. Kyle Ryde won the first Supersport race and was runner-up in the second installment and broke the lap record.

Josh Elliott won the Superstock 1000 race and now leads the championship after two rounds. Meawhile Marty Nutt placed second and third in the two Ducati TriOptions races and Chris Taylor took a third, second and third in the KTM British Junior Cup. The next round of the British Superbike championship takes place 2-4 May at Oulton Park, Cheshire.

Alex Lowes:

Today was always going to be difficult but I gave it my best right to the end. It’s our first top ten with the new system, which is positive; especially as no one else crashed so it’s a genuine result. We ran strongly for the first few laps of race two, until I got caught out entering turn one, so obviously still need to improve, but we’ve all done our best so we can be happy with that. Thanks to all the team for working so hard, we’ve got some good information to go on now so we will continue to push forward together and see what we can achieve at Imola.

Sylvian Guintoli:

It’s been a struggle this weekend but we have actually come away from both races with some positives. My feeling with the CBR is definitely getting better – it’s just taking more time than we thought. In race two I was able to keep the pace better for much longer and I was actually quite close to the leading group. We’ll take that with us to Imola and keep trying to improve that feeling. We’re basically working on little details and the way I’m riding the bike. It’s taking time to change the way I’m doing things and then dialing in and starting to use the bike properly. But I really feel we’re not far away now so this is the really good news!

Sebastian Gimbert:

We tried to show that we were able to pursue our goals. We thought that the worst was behind us, but every time we were caught by surprise by another breakdown. We were very unlucky during that race and it is a pity because apart from these troubles, we were able to show that we were fast and we had a good race strategy. We would have deserved a better end for us as riders, but also for the team, for Honda and for all the hard work that has been done. I am a bit disappointed, but now I am looking forward to Suzuka, even if the championship points lost today will be difficult to catch up then.

Freddy Foray:

We are all more or less disappointed because we had worked a lot and we thought that we could really perform well in Le Mans. However, like last year, we are at the front every time we have a problem, so I am convinced that once we have put everything end-to-end, we’ll perform very well. For now it is a bit difficult to accept, because we were in a good pace, but that’s racing and we’ll have to keep on working for the rest of the championship.


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SHARK start British Championship with a win

Over the Easter weekend the British Superbike Championship and its support classes kicked off the season with the opening round at Donington Park.

SHARK protected Bradley Ray took a win and a second place and currently leads the Motorstar Championship. Kyle Ryde finished a creditable fourth and third in the two British Supersport Championship races and Josh Elliott continued the SHARK podium-steak with a valiant second position in the Superstock 1000 category.

Notable mentions also go to Joe Francis who finished third in the Superstock 600 class, as well as young Thomas Strudwick and Chris Taylor taking a podium finish each in the two KTM RC390 races. All in all it was a strong start for SHARK riders in the 12-round British Championship.

British Championship
Racing continues next weekend with MotoGP in Austin, Texas and World Superbike at Aragon, Spain.

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SHARK-men in action at the opening round of MotoGP in Qatar

This weekend SHARK’s supported riders travelled to Qatar for the first round of the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 championships under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.

In MotoGP Aleix Espargaro finished in 11th place, while Scott Redding finished just outside the top-ten in 13th place after struggling with the bikes set-up.

Sam Lowes suffered disappointment in Moto2 after dominating the class all weekend and clinching pole position. However, on lap three of the race he crashed out of contention after running wide and hitting a false neutral. Meanwhile Johann Zarco suffered a mechanical fault while leading the race and eventually finished in eighth place, Louis Rossi finished his weekend in ninth.

The next round of the championship takes place 10-12 April at Circuit of the Americas, USA.

Scott Redding, MotoGP – 13th:
“It was a tough race and certainly not where I expected to be finishing. The target was to finish inside the top 10, so I can’t be happy to be 13th. We are making steps in the right direction but not enough to bring us closer to our target. Turning is the biggest issue and we need to focus on that because I should be finishing much higher up on the package I am riding. We’ve collected a lot of data and I finished in the points, but it is clear there is plenty of room to improve.”

Sam Lowes, Moto2 – DNF

“I’m obviously disappointed and really sorry to everyone who has supported me. The pace was there, so it was a stupid mistake to make but one that I’ve already learnt from. I’m confident that I’ll come back stronger and prove what I’m capable of.”

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Positive weekend for SHARK-men in Thailand

Sylvain Guintoli Thailande 2015

This weekend Thailand hosted its debut World Superbike races at the Chang International Circuit. It was a positive weekend for SHARK-men with one podium scored and a host of top-ten finishes.

Alex Lowes demonstrated blistering consistent pace all weekend and finished race one in seventh place, but managed to finish on the podium in race two in third place. Lowes’ team-mate Randy de Puniet, who struggled with the new circuit finished 13th and was forced to retire on the sixth lap of the second race.

Meanwhile Pata Honda’s Sylvain Guintoli took fifth and sixth places, after a technical issue during the sighting lap for the second race meant he started from the back of the grid. Tom Sykes finished his weekend in sixth and fourth.

The next round of the World Superbike championship takes place at Aragon, Spain on 12 April.

Alex Lowes – seventh and third:
“I’m really happy to be back on the podium – it’s a third place but for us it means a lot after Phillip Island! It really should have been two podiums today, I just made a small mistake because I was determined to catch Leon and get second. As a team we’ve all worked so hard but the result is that we are back on the podium and back in the front group, and if we can keep a bit more consistency like this for the rest of the year then it will be a great season for us.”

Tom Sykes – sixth and fourth:

“In race one I was given no room going into turn one and had to run wide. It was one of those things and he could have easily left me some room, but he didn’t. It changed the outlook of my race but we have come away with some points on the board. In race two we made some changes to the bike set-up and I was able to be with the leaders in the beginning of the race but unfortunately we had some limitation with the front feeling. I was not quite able to put the bike where I wanted it and suffered a little but in the middle to exit of the corners.”

Sylvain Guintoli – fifth and sixth:

“In race one I did my best, of course, but we were just too far away from the pace of the front group. I did everything I could, but it turned out to be a bit of a lonely race for fifth. But race two was much more fun, even though we had a small technical problem which meant I had to start last. I had a great start and a great first two corners but then I got a bit over-excited and braked too late in turn five and lost three places. Finally I had a great battle with my team-mate which was more entertaining. Towards the end of the race I did my best lap time which was probably faster than my qualifying time, and that felt perfect, but it was difficult to be consistent. It’s only my second race on the bike and I’m still suffering from the neck injury in these dehydrating conditions.”

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Solid start for SHARK men down under

The 2015 World Superbike Championship season kicked off at Phillip Island, Australia with SHARK’s supported-riders in action over the weekend.
Reigning SBK Champion Sylvian Guintoli – who was adapting to his new Honda – scored a seventh and fifth place finishes, while 2013 Champion Tom Sykes took a sixth and a fourth. Alex Lowes who headed many of the time sheets in winter testing had a more challenging weekend. His new team-mate, Frenchman Randy de Puniet had an equally difficult weekend adapting to a new team, a new bike and a new championship.

The next round of the championship will take place at a new circuit in Thailand on 22 March.

Sylvain Guintoli – seventh and fifth:

« I tried everything I could and we did both races with very different set-ups, although the results were much the same. But at least we’ve got some good data that we can work on now. After missing so much winter testing, I’ve really been treating this weekend as another live test session because I’m still not quite yet clicking with the bike. We’ll just keep working though and come back strong in Thailand. To be honest, I’ve never felt so physically drained after two races. I think the injury from Jerez must have somehow added to the dehydration because I felt really ill during both the races. I’ll focus on recovering as much as possible before the next races now. But one of the highlights of the weekend for me was being on the track with Troy Bayliss. He had already retired when I came to SBK but we had a few laps scrapping out there in race two which was a bit special! »

Tom Sykes – sixth and fourth:

« In race one I was given no room going into turn one and had to run wide. It was one of those things and he could have easily left me some room, but he didn’t. It changed the outlook of my race but we have come away with some points on the board. In race two we made some changes to the bike set-up and I was able to be with the leaders in the beginning of the race but unfortunately we had some limitation with the front feeling. I was not quite able to put the bike where I wanted it and suffered a little but in the middle to exit of the corners. Jonathan did a great job for Kawasaki and that was good to see. Now we will leave Phillip Island with a lot more information and I hope we can use this to be stronger in the next rounds. »

Alex Lowes – ninth and DNF:

« I just don’t know what to say. Me and the team have put in so much work all week to have a strong package for today and from the very start of the warm up session to the end of my second race, everything that could go wrong, did. It’s impossible to point the finger at anyone or anything, everyone has been putting in so much effort to support me and get the GSX-R in the front group and we managed that all week but today it fell apart. Right now I just feel flat but we’ll get back, get re-focused and rebuild for the second round of the Championship. There is still a lot of racing left to do! »

Randy de Puniet – 17th and seventh:

« It was a horrible Sunday for me, I was in a lot of pain and the first race was a disaster. After six laps I was not able to ride because I had pain everywhere, plus arm pump, so it was impossible to brake or to accelerate, and I tried to manage a good position – I think I was ninth and should have been able to finish tenth. Unfortunately Camier hit me, I went straight on and finished 17th so I’m a little bit disappointed. I was worried again about my physical condition for race two but luckily I was able to manage it better, and I finished seventh. Until the middle of the race I was only four seconds from the lead but after that I started to struggle again, I tried to keep a good rhythm and finished seventh, which is a good result in this condition. I want to thank the team for everything and also the Clinica Mobile for helping me to ride this weekend. »