Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time

There’s a feeling of the inevitable as Marc Marquez wins the Fastest Qualifier BMW for the 6th time. As the ‘Official Car of MotoGP’ for 20 years, the BMW M Award has been given to the fastest qualifying performance across each season since 2003. And for the past six years, that’s meant a new BMW added to the Marquez garage.

Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time
Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time

Motorcycle racers are legendary for their ability to use and abuse hire cars. But Marquez now has enough to start loaning out his own collection. For six consecutive years he has been awarded the latest in the BMW M range as a reward for his qualification achievements.

Marc Marquez Wins The MotoGP Fastest Qualifier BMW For 6th Consecutive Year

Given his success at the highest level of motorcycle racing, it’s no surprising Marquez has broken several qualifying records along the way. Since 2003, the BMW Awards have seen him become the first rookie to achieve it in 2013, the first rider to win three in-a-row in 2015, and first rider to achieve four awards in 2016. Considering he’s a five-time MotoGP champion at the age of 25, it might be wise to invest in a bigger garage for the future.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, BMW President Markus Flasch and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta
MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, BMW President Markus Flasch and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta

This year Marquez drives away in a new 2018 BMW M3 CS. Not necessarily a match for his Repsol Honda RC213V. But still the most powerful BMW M3 so far, with a 460hp M TwinPower turbo inline-six-cylinder engine achieving 0-100 kmh in 3.9 seconds. It’s got a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, adaptive suspension, full leather interior and 19 inch alloys.

“I can hardly believe that I have won the BMW M Award for the sixth time running,” said Márquez at the award ceremony at Valencia. “One year ago, I announced here that my objective for 2018 was to claim this sixth victory – and I have actually managed it. That makes me very proud. Now I can hardly wait to get behind the wheel of this fantastic BMW M3 CS. I want to thank BMW M GmbH for providing the BMW M Award as an accolade for the fastest qualifier. This shows special appreciation for us as MotoGP riders. The prospect of winning this prize provides even more motivation for us when qualifying starts on Saturdays.”

Marc Marquez Receives His 2018 BMW M3 CS From BMW President Markus Flasch

The BMW M Award is based on a points system allocated for the MotoGP qualifying each weekend. And the rider with the most points over the season gets a brand new BMW M series. Marc Marquez holds the record with six awards, followed by Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner who each received 3. Jorge Lorenzo is next on 2, and 1 award has gone to both Sete Gibernau and Nicky Hayden.

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Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

It’s a hat trick as Peter Hickman wins his third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. The British Superbikes and road racing star led an all-British podium finishing ahead of team-mate Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. The 2018 event was the 52nd time the event has been held, and followed wins for Hickman in 2015 and 2016.

Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, ahead of Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp

The race on the 6.120 street circuit finished on lap nine of 12 after the race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Phil Crowe and Ben Whylie. The early leader had been Honda-mounted Michael Rutter, before Hickman was able to move past on the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing BMW S 1000 RR.

2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
The 2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix gets started

Hickman was the pre-race favourite after claiming his first Macau pole start. And the Louth-based rider moved into the lead on lap 3. He began to pull away from Rutter and the chasing riders including Jessopp, Danny Webb and Gary Johnson until the race was brought to a premature end.

Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman
Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman

A delighted Peter Hickman said: “Michael got a much better start than me which is usual as he is always good off the line. I was quite happy to just sit there and follow him to watch where he was strong and where he wasn’t. I could hear the Ducati behind me so realised Martin was fairly close so after the third lap I decided it was time to go and got my head down, passed Michael and began to pull a bit of a gap.

After half distance he began to gain ground on me and was only 0.7s behind so thought I had better get my head down again and pull the gap back out again. I looked at the TV screen at Lisboa and saw that I had pulled away again but unfortunately the red flag came out. I really hope the boys involved are ok, which is the main thing to be honest. It is fantastic for myself, the Smiths Racing crew, (I had my usual team around me) and Aspire-Ho Bathams who are the sponsors for the team, to give them a win here is absolutely brilliant.”

Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP
Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP

Hickman has achieved wins in every international race in 2018, along with qualifying for the British Superbike Showdown. That includes victory in the Superstock and Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT, along with the fastest lap record of 135.452mph. Plus victories at the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

Behind the podium finishers of Hickman, Rutter and Jessopp were Danny Webb (BMW) and Gary Johnson (Kawasaki). Horst Saiger took sixth ahead of Davo Johnson, Derek Sheils and Davey Todd. Completing the top ten was the returning John McGuinness.

Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney - 2018 Macau GP
Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney – 2018 Macau GP

In total, 24 riders completed the race, with Craig Neve the final classified finisher. Only Davy Morgan and Didier Grams failed to finish, as the red flag meant Wylie and Crowe were included in the provisional results in 15th and 16th place. Fortunately the reports are that Wylie was taken to hospital with injuries understood to not be serious, and Crowe was pretty much unscathed. The crash occurred at Fisherman’s Bend as Wylie struck the barrier on his Bimota before Crowe collided with the fallen motorcycle.

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Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

The British Superbike grid is being confirmed for next year, as Bradley Ray stays with Buildbase Suzuki for the 2019 BSB series. The 21-year-old rider from Kent has taken two race wins to secure a place in the end-of-season Showdown in 2018. And it means he will stay with the team, and the Suzuki GSX-R1000, for a third year in a row.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

It’s been a mixed season for the Lydd-based rider with two wins at the opening British Superbike round at Donington. He’s racked up three more podiums, but suffered some non-finishes in the middle of the season. Currently sixth in the standings going into the triple-race final weekend at Brands Hatch, Ray can at least focus on the track action knowing his place is secure for 2019.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Ray made his debut in the British Superbike class with Buildbase Suzuki, taking a podium in his first year. It followed several seasons in the MotoGP Rookies Cup, British MotoStar championship, and in the CEV Moto3 series. In 2016 he took third in the British Supersport championship before moving to the top national class.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

2018 saw Ray take part in the Suzuka 8-Hour race with Yoshimura Suzuki. And the team were able to recover to 10th overall, after dropping to 48th due to a crash. He also appeared as a wildcard for his first outing in World Superbikes at Donington Park, taking 14th and 15 place finishes.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Bradley Ray said, “I’m really happy to be staying with the team and with Suzuki for another year. I’ve got a great relationship with everyone and we enjoy working together, and that should only give us a head-start next season. This year was only my second year on a superbike and the second year of development for the new GSX-R, and we’ve won races, been on the podium, and made it into the Showdown, so we can only be happy with that, and I’m confident that will continue next season. It was good to have everything signed and agreed nice and early. We’ve now got one round to go and I can focus on my riding and to try to finish the season strongly at Brands.”

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Buildbase Suzuki team manager, Steve Hicken, added, “Continuing our association with Bradley next season is really important for us. Like many, we recognised his talent early on, and when he was in the supersport class two years ago we wanted to get him onto a superbike as soon as possible. He’s one of the most natural young talents in the country, so of course we’re really excited to be able to announce that he’ll again be on a Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000R for a third season in 2019. While we’ve got one round to go and are aiming to finish the season strongly, having everything signed and confirmed means we’ll be going into the winter with a clear focus on building for a title assault next year.”

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

The full line-up for Buildbase Suzuki in 2019 hasn’t been confirmed yet. Current team-mate Richard Cooper is making his debut at the Sunflower Trophy at Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland this year for the team. The races traditionally end the Irish season, and occur on the weekend following the end of the British Superbike season.

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Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day

You never know who might turn up for a quick blast at a track day. As demonstrated when former Grand Prix and World Superbike legends Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi ride at an Aprilia track day along with the regular attendees. It happened at one of the Aprilia Racers Days 2018 events, with the 16th date of the calendar taking place at Mugello in Italy. So you can imagine the Noale-based motorcycle manufacturer invited the two stars along.

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day

Capirossi is currently the Safety Advisor to Dorna Sports for MotoGP. He won two 125cc GP titles, and a 250cc world championship with Aprilia in 1998 before switching to the 500cc class, and then MotoGP until his retirement in 2011. Now 45 years old, he was joined by Max Biaggi, who he often raced against. Biaggi dominated the 250 world championship from 1994 to 1997, taking four titles, and three of those were on an Aprilia. He arrived in the top class in 1998, and competed until 2005 before switching to World Superbikes. Riding again for Aprilia he took two WSB titles in 2010 and 2012, before ending his competitive international career in 2015.

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day Capirossi Pits

The former GP rivals were riding at Mugello on both an Aprilia RSV4 RF and an RSV4 which had been fitted with a Factory Works kit and then tuned by Aprilia Racing. So the normal track day riders had a bit of an excuse when their lap times didn’t quite match up.

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day - Biaggi Action

In addition to enjoying the Mugello track, the pair also chatted with riders and fans. Along with photo opportunities, they were able to suggest bike set-up advice and how to set a good time around the circuit.

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day - Biaggi Cornering

Max Biaggi: “Fantastic! Of course, the things we did when we were racing cannot be repeated, but with this bike you really go fast and Loris still has his style, so it was like taking a ride down memory lane. This RSV4 is a bike made for the track. It felt like I was back on my SBK. You really go fast and it is a lot of fun. An experience to repeat.”

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day - Capirossi Action

Loris Capirossi: “Having the track all to ourselves and precisely here at Mugello was an emotional experience. As always, Max never gives in and he really opens up the throttle. I enjoyed the RSV4 very much, especially in the Factory Works version. At Mugello, power and torque count for a lot and I truly had a lot of fun.”

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day - Max Biaggi

The Aprilia Racers Days take place throughout the year, and allow enthusiasts to test the top models in the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Tuono V4 1100 Factory ranges. The ‘season’ takes place on 18 dates at a variety of top tracks in Italy, including Imola, Vallelunga, Misano and Mugello. Although this particular event was the 16th, and the calendar is winding down, apparently Biaggi and Capirossi have already promised to return in 2019.

Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi Ride At An Aprilia Track Day - Pits

Given the fact that two top Italian rivals were on track, perhaps the biggest surprise was the lack of incidents on track. But you never know who might turn up on your next track day, and it’s best not to underestimate a pair of Italians in their mid-to-late 40s if you happen to see them rock up on some Aprilias…

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