Editorial Note: American Patricia Fernandez, riding her JMcC Roofing Kawasakis, finished 28th in Superbike Race One, 17th in Superbike Race Two, and 25th in the Superstcok race Saturday at the North West 200.
IRWIN’S SUPERBIKE SPREE IN THE SUNSHINE AT THE 2022 fonaCAB AND NICHOLL OILS NORTH WEST 200
Glorious sunshine saw huge crowds descend upon the north coast on Saturday to watch Glenn Irwin claim a Superbike race double on his Honda Racing Fireblade during the main day of action at this year’s fonaCab and Nicholl Oils North West 200.
“I’m in love with the North West 200,” the Carrickfergus rider declared as he extended his superbike winning streak to a record breaking six consecutive wins at the event on the Honda Racing Fireblade with victories in the Anchor Bar and Merrow Hotel and Spa Superbike events.
“We are on the limit out there in what was the fastest superbike race ever.” Irwin said after the opening six lapper.
Michael Dunlop’s outright lap record was broken by Irwin, Davey Todd (Milenco Padgetts Honda), Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) and Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) during the race before Peter Hickman set a new mark at 124.799 mph on his FHO Racing BMW. Hickman, who now holds the outright lap records at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Dundrod’s Ulster Grand Prix, overshot University on the opening lap and retired on the fifth lap with tyre issues.
Rubber would play a major factor in the outcome of the second superbike event as tyre manufacturer, Dunlop, discovered a fault in a batch of their superbike-spec slick tyres.
Citing safety concerns, Dunlop withdrew Davey Todd, Conor Cummins, Michael Dunlop, Michael Rutter, Dean Harrison, Peter Hickman, Brian McCormack and Sam West plus a number of other competitors from the Merrow Hotel and Spa Superbike race.
Six-times world Superbike champion, Jonathan Rea, started the seven lap feature race as Irwin cantered to a start to finish win, finishing 2.4 seconds ahead of Richard Cooper.
“I was a bit more relaxed and controlled in that one,” Irwin smiled after his ecstatic post-race celebrations amongst the fans in the grandstands. “The last lap was so special and I was trying to wave to everyone and acknowledge all the support which was incredible. This is such a special place.”
Northern Ireland’s Alastair Seeley and Lee Johnston also enjoyed a good day out at the seaside during this year’s North West.
Seeley added a second Superstock race win on the IFS Yamaha to the Stocker and Supersport victories he claimed during Thursday evening’s wet races.
Seeley blitzed the Saturday opposition, finishing 11.7 seconds ahead of Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) with Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) third. The three victories brought the 42 year old’s record breaking North West tally to 27 and earned him the Man of the Meeting award.
“I got a good start but then the two Hondas of Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd came past before they ran on at University,” he explained. “I led before Michael Dunlop came past and flicked up a stone that broke my screen. I pushed on, started to see a gap on my boards and took the win. That’s three in a week so big thanks to the IFS team.”
The Tides Restaurant Supersport race developed into a titanic battle between Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing Yamaha) and Davey Todd (Milenco Padgett’s Honda) as the pair swapped places throughout the six lapper. The Fermanagh man got the better of the Saltburn on Sea rider at Juniper chicane on the final lap, taking the chequered flag by just 0.079 seconds.
Local favourite, Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha) was 9.8 seconds further back in third.
“We both made a little bit of a mistake at different times which prevented us from being able to gap each other.” Johnston explained.
“Davey is riding really well and he is strong on the brakes but I left it as late as I could at Juniper and still be safe on the last lap. It is great to get another North West win, especially in this weather and with huge crowds. The bike was awesome so huge thanks to my Ashcourt team.”
Todd’s second place was his third runner-up finish at the meeting after finishing behind Alastair Seeley in both Thursday night’s Supersport and Superstock races. He had the consolation of setting a new 600cc lap record at 118.036mph in Saturday’s Supersport race before going on to finish second yet again in the opening Superbike event.
Richard Cooper thought he had claimed his first wins around the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit on the Ryan Farquhar-built JMC Roofing Kawasaki. The Englishman had set a new lap record for the class at 111.580mph in the Milltown Service Station Supertwin race which was run on Saturday morning after being called off on Thursday evening because of adverse weather conditions.
Cooper also finished the JM Paterson Supertwin race in first place later in the day but he was subsequently disqualified from the results of both races after a modification to the frame of the JMC Roofing ER6 was deemed to be against the rules by the stewards of the meeting.
Pierre Yves Bian (VAS Engine Racing Paton) and Joe Loughlin (ILR/Coverdale Paton), the initial second place finishers in each race, have now been declared the winners.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Casadei fends off Zannoni for maiden MotoE win
It went down to the wire in an all-Italian duel, with Aegerter and Okubo ultimately completing the podium
Mattia Casadei (27) leads Kevin Zannoni (21) and others during MotoE Race One. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Saturday, 14 May 2022
Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) is now an FIM Enel MotoE World Cup race winner! The Italian veteran saw off a serious challenge from compatriot Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) in Race 1 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France to take his maiden win in the Cup. Zannoni threw everything into his bid for victory, but hit the deck on the final lap when he asked too much of his front tyre at Turn 13. Nevertheless, the speed was a warning shot for Sunday…
After that drama ahead, Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP) took second place and a valuable 20 points, with Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) completing the podium in a first rostrum finish for the Japanese rider.
There was drama as soon as the race started when Casadei’s team-mate and reigning Cup winner Jordi Torres fell in the pack as the they exited the Turn 3/Turn 4 chicane. Neither Niccolo Canepa (WithU GRT RNF MotoE Team) nor Xavi Fores (Octo Pramac MotoE) were able to fully avoid the stricken Spaniard, but after a check up at the medical centre Torres was confirmed with a broken fibula; unfit but otherwise ok.
The net result of that opening lap was that Casadei led Zannoni, Okubo and Aegerter, with Casadei looking like he might break away. However, he was reeled in by Zannoni as the eight-lap contest reached its halfway mark.
After biding his time for a handful of laps, the SIC58 rider then had a big look at race leader as they sped through Turn 1/Turn 2 for the final time. Casadei fended off that attack but Zannoni did not give up, pusing to the limit and then sadly just over it as his challenge came to an end at the penultimate corner when he folded the front. Rider ok, and surely eager to recharge for a Race 2 charge.
Up ahead, Casadei won unflustered by 0.8 seconds, while Aegerter had hustled past Okubo at Turn 3 on the second-last lap. Okubo was a maiden podium finisher in third though, just ahead of Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE), Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing), Miquel Pons, and Eric Granado. The latter two, team-mates at the LCR E-Team, had managed to stay upright despite contact exiting Turn 14 in the closing stages of the race, and both will want more on Sunday.
Canepa made the chequered flag in eighth, Andrea Mantovani (WithU GRT RNF MotoE Team) took ninth as he sits in for Bradley Smith, and Alex Escrig (Tech3 E-Racing) was 10th all-told. Escrig had run as high as fourth in the early stages but lost three spots when he ran long at Chemin aux Boeufs (Turn 9/Turn 10) on Lap 2, then had to serve a long lap penalty for the shortcut. Fores ended up 12th and Zannoni was classified a finisher, but in 16th.
Granado won both races in Round 1 of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix, but his lead in the MotoE World Cup standings has now been cut to six points, with Aegerter second and Casadei 12 points further back in third. Will they make up more ground, or can the Brazilian fight back? Tune in for Race 2 on Sunday at 15:30 (GMT +2).
Mattia Casadei: “It’s amazing, I’ve been waiting for this victory since the first year of MotoE, finally it’s happened and it’s fantastic. I had a very good race, I pushed a lot from the first lap and this is good, I felt comfortable. I’m happy for me and for my family who believe in me a lot, also my friends, my girlfriend, and my team because they’re working very well. It’s a great emotion..”
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Number 46 to be retired at Mugello
Rossi will return to the emblematic venue to see the number 46 retired from MotoGP
Saturday, 14 May 2022
The number 46 will be retired from use in the MotoGP class at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello. Synonymous with nine-time World Champion and MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi, the number will be signed off in style at the upcoming Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley.
The retirement ceremony will take place on the main straight on Saturday, just ahead of qualifying. Rossi will be in attendance as his legacy is honoured and number retired, having raced the number 46 into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame over 26 seasons of success – creating one of the most recognisable calling cards in global sport.
The ‘Doctor’ took nine World Championships, 115 wins and 235 podiums across all classes as he played a key role in redefining the sport for millions of fans around the world. Retiring at the end of the 2021 season, he was inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame in Valencia and his number will now join him as a spectator enjoying the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship.
Make sure to save the date and tune in for the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley from the 27th to the 29th of May as Rossi returns to Mugello for a Saturday spectacular with a difference.
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