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Quintanilla Extends Overall Lead in Morocco

Moving one step closer to securing the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla has claimed a third place result in today’s marathon stage. Extending his lead in the provisional overall standings, the Chilean is one day away from securing victory at the 2017 OiLibya Rally.

The third rider to take to the start of today’s shortened timed special, Pablo followed a well-calculated plan of attack. Putting in a strong performance in the dunes of Morocco the FR 450 Rally mounted rider secured a second consecutive top three result.

Currently enjoying a six-minute lead in the provisional overall standings, Pablo is on track to secure victory at the 2017 Morocco Rally and along with it the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title.

Featuring a circular route around the city of Erfoud, Tuesday’s stage five of the OiLibya Morocco Rally includes a 188km-long timed special.

Pablo Quintanilla“I’m really happy with how everything is going. When I set off for the marathon stage I didn’t even know if I’d be able to continue my battle for the championship. Two days later I’m leading the overall standings and we have one more stage to secure the title. The marathon stage was good and I felt strong on my bike. Organisers made some modifications due to the rainfall and we had to race a shortened stage on both days. I finished third on both days and I’m happy about that. We’re in a very good position for the last stage. I need to stay focused until the last kilometre because anything could happen. As always, I will give 100% and hope for the best tomorrow.”

2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 4 
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 8:05:35 
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 8:12:24
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 8:19:33
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 8:26:02
5. Antoine Meo (KTM) 8:27:54
6. Joan Pedrero (Sherco) 8:29:47

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Carole Nash launches e-petition for Jonathan Rea to make BBC Sports Personality 2017 shortlist

Carole Nash is celebrating its Brand Ambassador, Jonathan Rea, winning the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship by calling for him to be nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year (2017).

The e-petition comes as Jonathan secured his third consecutive Superbike World Championship after building an unassailable points tally by winning the Pirelli French Round. Rea is now able to enjoy the final two races of the championship with the championship already in the bag.

As well as becoming the first rider to win three consecutive championships this millennium, Jonathan will be meeting the Queen to receive his MBE on 21st November, rounding off another magical season for the Northern Irishman. However, his achievements are yet to be recognised by the BBC’s celebration of sporting excellence.

Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash, says: “Everyone at Carole Nash would like to send a massive congratulations to our brand ambassador, Jonathan, for this third Superbike World Championship. We’re thrilled for him and so proud of what he has achieved. We have always believed in Jonathan and we don’t think it’s a huge ask for the powers that be at the Beeb to formally acknowledge his achievement on his third win.”

On his win, the Carole Nash ambassador says: “”I’m really pleased with the way my career has fallen into place over the last few years with this third consecutive World Superbike title. After a lot of hard work, it’s very rewarding to get a sense of achievement and progress year-on-year.

“I just concentrate on riding my bike well and winning races. I don’t know if I am worthy or not of an award as big as BBC Sports personality, but for others to be talking about me in this way is hugely flattering.  I grew up watching the awards and to potentially follow in the footsteps of some of my all-time heroes like Tony McCoy and Barry McGuigan, who have both won the award, would be a dream come true.

“I’d like to thank Carole Nash for wanting to mark my achievement in this way. I have had a relationship with them for a number of years now and I have always been grateful for their support.”

Rea achieved his astonishing feat winning Race 1 at Magny-Cours, his 50th win in the series that gave him an unassailable 129-point lead with five races left after his 12th victory of the season. In wet conditions, Rea made a sensational start from pole to lead by 2.4 seconds after lap one. Rea then extended his lead as he finished 16.3 seconds ahead of Marco Melandri although had less luck in the second race of the weekend on Sunday, retiring early, which allowed Chaz Davies to take victory.

To sign the e-petition on change.org, visit https://www.change.org/p/bbc-petition-for-jonathan-rea-to-be-shortlisted-for-bbc-sports-personality-of-the-year-2017

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Honda to cease 150 European Championship

The Honda 150 European Championship has been a resounding success; helping scores of children between the ages of 11-14 from around the world fulfil their dream of becoming a professional racer. The programme began in 2013 and over the years has produced some stunning racing while helping hone the talents of young riders who were all equipped with the Honda CRF150R.

This year’s Honda 150 European Championship winner Andrea Adamo is the latest in a long list of distinguished alumni who have gone on to perform well in international competition including Tim Edberg, Jere Haavisto, Viking Lindstrom, Rick Elzinga, Emil Weckman, Hakon Fredrikson, Alberto Forato and Shana van der Vlist.

The conclusion of the Honda 150 European Championship after five successful seasons is part of a change in strategy that sees Honda increase its support of the EMX250 and MX2 championships on the back of the introduction of the all-new Honda CRF250R. The increased investment in the 250 class of racing exemplifies Honda’s ongoing commitment to supporting up and coming talent in Motocross.

Honda would like to extend its thanks to all the riders, their families and our sponsors and partners over the years that have helped make the 150 European Championship such a successful programme.

Gordon Crockard – Off-road Manager, Honda Motor Europe

I am proud to have been involved in the Honda European 150 Championship which provided such a fantastic opportunity for the young riders of tomorrow. I can only imagine how amazing it must have felt for them to be racing on the same MXGP circuits as their heroes on the same day in front of a global audience.

It was amazing to be able to help guide the riders, parents and mechanics throughout the championship seasons and I would like to thank them all for presenting the bikes so well on race day. It was great to see the families show so much love for motocross and also to see the Honda CRF150R perform so well in various conditions in World Championship racing.

I remember many emotional moments and sharing both the highs of success and the disappointment of defeat together with the riders. A highlight was seeing the progression of the riders who have competed in the 150 series performing in more senior championships. This year we witnessed a great example of this with former 150 Championship runner up, Alberto Forato, racing for Honda and enjoying success by winning EMX250 races in 2017.

I also have great admiration for Shana van der Vlist, having previously raced in the 150 Championship, Shana has finished 8th and 10th in the overall Womens World Motocross Championship rankings in the last 2 years. All this while she is still a teenager.

Honda will continue to invest in the future stars of motocross. We will strengthen our support in EMX250 and MX2 and with the all-new 2018 CRF250R – which is designed to offer ultimate performance – we will give our supported teams and riders the best possible chance of success.

I would also like to thank all of the Honda 150 Championship sponsors and partners, who provided material and technical support to Honda over the past 5 years, thank you.

A special thanks has to go to Gerry Bryce and his Racedays team of staff for all the dedicated hard work over the 5 years, delivering a truly wonderful championship for Honda.

It’s been fantastic, thank you to everyone.”

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Quintanilla wins Stage One at Morocco Rally

Putting in a solid performance today in Morocco, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has won the first full stage of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally. Taking the provisional lead in the overall standings with four stages to go, the Chilean star will keep battling to successfully defend his Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title.

Things couldn’t have started any better for Pablo at the final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Kicking off the OiLibya Morocco Rally with third in the short opening SuperTest yesterday, the FR 450 Rally mounted rider showed dominant form throughout today’s 272km-long timed special stage.

Improving his pace as the day went on, Pablo opened up a gap of almost two minutes to his closest rival Matthias Walkner. Continuing his strong run of form in Morocco, Quintanilla is currently one-minute and 34 seconds ahead of Walkner in the rally’s provisional overall standings.

Continuing his rally apprenticeship aboard the FR 450 Rally machine, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short reached the finish of the rally’s longest stage in 33rd position. Successfully battling his way through a few small issues, the American has his eyes set on continuing to learn and improve.

Tomorrow’s stage two of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally involves a circular route around the city of Erfoud. Including a total distance of 388km, it features a timed special of 364km.

Pablo Quintanilla“It was a long day and I’m happy I got the win. We left the bivouac very early in the morning and got to the start of the timed special before 9am. The special stage was quite fast. There were lots of parallel tracks and with low visibility due to the dust it was easy to make a mistake. Navigation was tricky and for some kilometres it was difficult to follow the road book. I felt really good on my bike. I got a good pace right from the start and kept my momentum until the end of the timed special. I didn’t do any big mistake and I’m really satisfied with my performance today.”

2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification 
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 3:02:10 
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:04:01
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 3:06:41
4. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 3:07:46
5. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 3:07:56
6. Antoine Meo (KTM) 3:09:48

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WorldSSP300: Yamaha take manufacturers title

Only one round of the FIM Superport 300 World Championship remains in 2017, and Yamaha have already been crowned as the manufacturers world champions, taking the victory by a comfortable 52 point lead following Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing)’s win around Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.

With 195 starts over the season for the Japanese manufacturer, and more than 21 riders starting each WorldSSP300 race, riders and teams were soon able to get to grips with the YZF-R3 and have been able to impress around the eight circuits so far this season, taking three victories in 2017 and a podium in every round.

Taking a second position in the opening round of the season around MotorLand Aragon, Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) put up a strong battle and was the lone Yamaha on the podium, with team-mate Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) in fourth position. The second round of the season at TT Circuit Assen was the Japanese factories worst round of the season, as Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) took third position behind two Dutch riders of Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) and Glenn van Strallen (Vos – TKR Racing) gunning for home glory.

Heading to the first of the Italian rounds for 2017, Garcia took his debut victory in the class, in a Yamaha lock-out on the podium with Coppola and Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) getting a taste of Prosecco DOC under the sunny skies. Spaniard Garcia continued to reign for Yamaha, and he was the top finisher for the factory as the WorldSSP300 series headed to Donington Park, taking second position in the 13 lap thriller.

As the Italian passion began to heat up for the fifth round of Misano, it was the turn of Armando Pontone (IODARacing) to take to the podium and finish in second position, and the highest Yamaha in the standings. In a stunning performance in front of his home fans, Pontone narrowly missed out on the victory from Honda’s Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) over the line.

The next three races saw even stronger races for Yamaha, with a victory in Germany and a second position in Portugal for Coppola, whilst Garcia took the victory in France. Now locked in a riders championship fight with Coppola, the victory was enough to secure Yamaha the title with one round remaining.

Consistency was the key for the manufacturer, as can be seen when looking at the standings; Yamaha have not had one race with a rider off the podium, whereas Honda have been without a trophy for four races out of the eight. Despite having a greater presence on the grid, there have been four top riders for Yamaha over the season.

With the riders world title yet to be decided. The next SSP300 action will be from Jerez from 20 – 22 October.

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Aoyama to replace Miller at Motegi

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will field two former intermediate class World Champions at the Japanese Grand Prix, with HRC test and development rider Hiroshi Aoyama joining Tito Rabat in the team as a replacement for the injured Jack Miller. Aoyama was crowned World Champion in 2009, the final year of the 250cc two-stroke machines, and the Japanese rider has extensive MotoGP™ experience, having raced four full seasons since making his debut in the premier class back in 2010. Since 2015 the 35-year-old Japanese rider has been an HRC test rider and heavily involved in the development of the Honda RC213V he’ll race this weekend in Motegi on home soil.

Hiroshi Aoyama: “Firstly I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery and I hope he will be fit to race in his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island. It’s never nice to replace an injured rider but I hope that I can do a good job for both Jack and the team in Motegi. I also want to thank Michael Bartholemy and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for giving me the opportunity to race once again in front of the Japanese fans. I have not raced yet this season, so it will take some time to get back the feeling. The fact that I already know a lot of the crew, having worked with them in the past, will help a lot, as will having a rider with Tito’s experience on the other side of the box. I am looking forward to the weekend ahead!”

Michael Bartholemy, Team Principal: “Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to Hiroshi for stepping in at the last minute to replace Jack in Motegi and to HRC for arranging everything at such short notice. I am looking forward to welcoming Hiroshi into the team this weekend. It won’t be completely new for him, as he’s worked with many of our technical staff previously, so we start already from a good position. I am sure he will do a good job for us this weekend and I hope he enjoys this opportunity to race once again in front of his home crowd.”

(MotoGP)

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Pablo Quintanilla off to a strong start in Morocco

Successfully getting things underway in Morocco, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rally star Pablo Quintanilla has claimed a third place result in the short, opening Super Stage at the start of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally. Enjoying a mistake-free first day aboard his FR 450 Rally, Pablo’s teammate Andrew Short finished inside the top 15.

Including a short 12km-long special stage over mixed terrain on the outskirts of the city of Fes, today’s Super Stage gave all competitors a small taste of what’s to follow in this five-stage-long event in Morocco. The fifth and final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally is a crucial last competitive test before the prestigious 2018 Dakar Rally.

The first rider to kick off today’s stage, Pablo Quintanilla completed the short timed special in a total time of nine minutes and 10 seconds. Securing a solid third place result in the opening stage, the Chilean rally star now looks forward to the rally’s longer stages.

For Pablo and the whole Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, the OiLibya Morocco Rally is a crucial event for more than one reason. Entering the event as the provisional leader in the points standings, Pablo has his eyes set on defending his title and securing the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Following a few days of testing Pablo’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team partner Andrew Short had his first competitive outing on the FR 450 Rally machine. Focused on gaining further rally experience the American wrapped up the short opening stage with the 15th best overall time.

For Pablo and Andrew the OiLibya Morocco Rally is also the perfect chance to test the updated version of the Husqvarna FR 450 Rally machine. With the team looking to gain valuable experience in Morocco, the official launch of the all-new machine is set to take place during the 2017 EICMA show in Milan at the beginning of November.

With a total of 859km to be run on Friday, stage one of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally will take competitors to the city of Erfoud. It’s going to be the longest stage in this year’s rally and the first part of the two-day long Marathon stage.

Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a good day for me. It’s always important to have a good first day at these multi-stage rallies. You can see where you’re at compared to other competitors and make your plans for the rest of the event. I was the first rider to start the super stage today and that felt good. I have an awesome feeling on my bike at the moment and I’m happy to be here racing. I’m looking forward to some more good stages during the next few days. This is the last race of the season and I’m really happy to be leading the championship. I want to remain focused on my main goal and that is to defend my title from last year. I want to have a good week of racing here in Morocco and enjoy the desert stages as much as I can.”

2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally – Super Stage Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 8:53
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 8:53
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 9:10
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 9:15
5. Laia Sanz (KTM) 9:19