This weekend SHARK-supported riders contested in three different Championships MotoGP, World Superbikes and British Superbikes, plus road racing from Tandragee. All races saw SHARK men claim race wins, podium finishes and essential championship points.
The third round of the Moto2 Championship took place at Estoril, Portugal, with rookie rider Johann Zarco (JiR) claiming a respectable fourth-place finish. Running ahead with the race leaders from early on, the young Frenchman managed to keep pace with the front-runners, eventually finishing in fourth and claiming precious championship points. In the Moto3 Championship Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) had a successful weekend collecting points, finishing in fifth after a long battle with Niccolo Antonelli.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), once again impressed the paddock with a ride beyond his experience. The Moto2 Champion started from fourth on the grid to chase Valentino Rossi during the early stages, and settled into a lengthy duel with Ben Spies. Swapping places on several occasions, Spies’ experience eventually won out, with Bradl ending the race in a respectable ninth. The MotoGP paddock will now take a short break, before the fourth round takes place at Le Mans, France on 20 May.
The World Superbike and Supersport Championships continued in changeable conditions from Monza, Italy. The first race was cancelled and the second was red flagged just eight laps in, leaving SHARK-rider Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing) to score his first World Superbike race win of the season.
In World Supersport, it was a SHARK 1-2 on the podium after a good battle between Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) and Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda). Lowes secured his third pole in a row, and made a clean break early on in the race, with Cluzel in his shadow. A mistake on lap seven saw Lowes drop back, and Cluzel move ahead of his PTR teammate. On the last lap Lowes made a pass but ran wide giving Cluzel a clear run to the finish line. Lowes was second by 0.3 seconds. The next round will take place this weekend at Donington Park, England.
The fourth round of the British Superbike Championship continued from Oulton Park. The re-scheduled race from Brands Hatch meant the Superbikes were on track three times over the weekend. SHARK’s riders scored points in all three races by finishing within the top-ten. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) scored two second places in the Motorpoint British Supersport races moving himself up to second in the rider standings.
The Metzeler Superstock 1000 race saw a SHARK 1-3 with Danny Buchan (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) and Dave Johnson (BMW Carbontech Racing) on the podium. Fellow SHARK riders made up the rest of the pack with Howie Mainwaring (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) in fourth, Lee Costello (Kawasaki Halsall Racing Team) seventh and Victor Cox (ILR Kawasaki) in eighth. In the Superstock 600 race, Alec Olsen (Triumph Team HARIBO Starmix) landed himself on the second step of the podium, with fellow SHARK-man Lee Jackson (Kawasaki Chris Walker Race School) in fifth.
The Triumph Triple Challenge gained more wins for SHARK with Philip Atkinson winning both battles, and the 125 Monster Energy British Motostar race saw a further SHARK podium with Ryan Watson (Appleyard/Macadam Racing) in second place, followed by Harry Hartley (Honda GH Motorsports) in fifth and Joe Francis (Honda Banks Racing) in seventh.
Road racing ace Ryan Farquhar collected a hat trick of wins at the Tandragee 100 road races. The SHARK rider won the Open, Supertwins and Moto 450 races, and was runner-up in the Supersport and feature Superbike races. Farquhar’s teammate, and fellow SHARK-supported Jamie Hamilton had a mixed day at the 5.5mile track; being forced to retire in the first Superbike race, but he did claim third place in the Supertwins and gave SHARK 1-3 with Farquhar on the podium.
Stefan Bradl, MotoGP: ninth: “Well… this has been a very hard weekend for us in general. We have struggled a lot with rear grip immediately on Friday morning but Saturday we have found some good adjustments. Unfortunately for the all race we had some issues going into the corners. My start was okay and I could make some good manoeuvres in the beginning but then I was a bit on the limit and in the middle of the race I was losing too much in the corners entries which was always our problem this weekend.”
Jules Cluzel, World Supersport: first: “I am really happy because I expected to make a podium before now, but it was really hard in Australia and in Imola I made a mistake. For me, to look at these conditions before the race, I was expecting and hoping for dry conditions, because it was possible to win the race or finish on the podium. I pushed for the first two laps and I was second behind Sam and I was happy behind him. I braked very late and to pass me he had to go inside. He had to run ran wide so it worked out for me. This was very good for the team, a 1-2, and Sam is a really good rider who was pushing hard. »
Danny Buchan, British Superstock: first: “The bike felt fantastic from the word go and qualifying went really well, it was like I had never left and I stuck the bike in second spot on the grid. The race was close, I knew there was someone behind me and I was waiting for them to have a go at me. This weekend was much better than the first two rounds and it’s great to be back with MSS Bathams Kawasaki – now the championship is on!”