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Hickman takes provisional pole position at Macau GP 2018

Peter’s first taste of Macau was in 2014, however after his bike failed causing him to crash in practice, he was unable to take part in the race. Returning in 2015 he took his first ever Macau GP win, in 2016 he earned a second win at the 6.1KM Guia Circuit. 

This year, under the Aspire Ho racing colours, with fellow Isle of Man TT star and 8 time Macau GP winner, Michael Rutter, Peter and his Smiths Racing team look to take his third win.

Riding under number 88, on his record-breaking Isle of Man Senior TT BMW S1000RR, Peter took to the streets of Macau at 23:30 UK time on Thursday 14th of November. In the early part of the session, a fallen rider lead to a red flag which stopped the session for 10 minutes. Peter took to the track immediately on the restart however another incident caused a second red flag just 5 minutes later. 

When the circuit was cleared, Peter went out and settled into a P5 position with a time of 2:34.249 he went on to take P2 with 2:30.434 before the chequered flag.

At 08:00 UK time, Qualifying started steadily with Hickman, putting himself in P5. As the session went on the Louth-based motorcycle racer, set the timing screens purple in his last sector and went fastest with a 2:28.2 

Looking confident it was Hickman, and fellow Aspire Ho rider Micheal Rutter who took control of the first qualifying session, swapping the top spot many times.

With 22 minutes left on the clock, Hickman regained P1, setting three purple sector times he raised the bar to 2:25.6 and returned to Smiths Racing in the pits. 

His final outing on the Guia Circuit saw him light up the timing screens in every sector and he went on to take provisional pole position with a time of 2:25.429 ahead of Qualifying 2, set to take place at 23:30 UK time. 


Peter Hickman:“It was a nice clean qualifying session, and Smiths Racing have given me a great set up here. The bike feels good, I feel good, and it was great to be duelling with my Aspire Ho / Bathams Racing teammate, Michael Rutter in the early parts of the session. We’ve both came here hoping to put the team on the top step, and we’ve made a strong start today.

Thanks to all the sponsors and fans following live. The support is mega, and it definitely helps drive me forward when I am racing so far away from home!” 

Live coverage of the Macau GP second qualifying session starts tonight at 22:30 UK time. With the 12 lap race taking place on Saturday morning at 07:55.


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Dan Kneen passes away following incident at IOMTT

ACU statement:

ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Dan Kneen, 30, from Onchan in the Isle of Man died this evening following injuries sustained during the Superbike qualifying session on the Isle of Man.

Dan made his mountain course debut at the Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and won an unprecedented three races – the Junior, the Newcomers C and the Ultra Lightweight MGP Races.

He achieved his first TT podium in last year’s Superstock Race, finishing third in the Superstock TT Race. He has a fastest official lap of 130.347mph which he set in last year’s Superstock Race and recorded a lap of 132.258mph (17:06.994) in last night’s Superbike qualifying session.

ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Dan’s partner Leanne, his family and his many friends in the road racing community and beyond. (IOMTT)

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Hutchinson reunited with Padgett’s in IOMTT Supersport class

Hutchinson won the two Supersport Races at both the 2015 and 2016 TT meetings and to date has won eight Supersport TT Races since his maiden victory in 2007. He has a fastest 600 lap of 128,259 which he achieved in 2016.

The 16 time TT winner will ride the Padgett’s machine alongside Honda Racing Fireblades in the Superbike and Superstock events. It will be the first time the 38 year old has ridden with Clive Padgett’s squad since winning five TTs in 2010 with the Batley outfit.

“Originally I had planned to ride with the Honda Racing team in all three races but because I didn’t know until just two weeks ago that I would be able to race those plans changed.” Hutchinson explained.

“Clive’s circumstances had also changed with Bruce Anstey not riding this year so we were able to get the deal sorted.”

Clive Padgett explained that Anstey, who is locked in a battle with cancer, has given his blessing to Hutchy riding his bike.

“I rang Bruce and asked him if he was OK with Ian riding the bike and he had no problem with it at all.” he said.

Conor Cummins will ride in all three classes for Padgetts at the TT and North West 200 and Lee Johnston, Hutchinson’s Honda Racing teammate, will also campaign a Padgett’s CBR in the Supersport races at the TT Races as well as this week’s North West 200.

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Dunlop and Hutchinson set to renew Supersport battle at the TT Races

As with the 1000cc classes, the duo will start at number four and six respectively with Hutchinson on board the Honda Racing machine, having moved away from Yamaha, and Dunlop on a similar CBR600RR that he will run in his own MD Racing livery.

Manxman Conor Cummins will have the number one plate on the Padgetts Honda and will have teammate Lee Johnston, who moves up the order from 13 to three, in close attendance.   Johnston will be looking to make amends for the Batley based concern having crashed in practice at Greeba Castle last year.

The Padgetts Racing pair are separated by James Hillier who again lines up at number two on the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Having come second in 2017, pushing Dunlop all the way, he will be hoping to go one better and add to his single TT win from 2013.

Dean Harrison slots in at number five, positioned between Hutchinson and Dunlop on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. He retired from last year’s race but second and third in 2016 more than prove his credentials and confirm him among the pre-race favourites.

Gary Johnson, the only rider other than Hutchinson and Dunlop to win a Supersport race since 2013, again sets off at number seven – this time on the RAF Regular & Reserve Triumph. Having taken victory in 2014 on a similar machine, the Lincolnshire rider should be among the leading riders.

Dan Kneen (8) who will ride for the Jackson Racing Honda concern, with whom he did so well in 2017, is another rider expected to be challenging for a podium place while William Dunlop moves up the order for the 600cc races, taking over the number nine plate on his Temple Golf Club Yamaha.

Peter Hickman, a double podium finisher last year on the Trooper Beer Triumph, rides the same machine again this time around and again sets off at number ten with the Burton upon Trent rider another strong contender.

Josh Brookes starts ten seconds behind Hickman, this time on the McAMS Yamaha, the team that Hutchinson enjoyed great success with. He’ll be followed by Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph.

With Johnston moving up the order, there’s a space at 13 and so next up at 14 will be Michael Rutter followed by David Johnson, the duo dropping out of the top ten for the 600cc races compared to their higher starting positions in the three 1000cc races.

Jamie Coward again starts at number 16, this time on the PRez Racing Yamaha, and while Steve Mercer will again be at number 17, he has two new riders behind him with Ivan Lintin (18) moving into the seeds on his Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki and James Cowton (19) doing likewise on his similar McAdoo Racing ZX-6R Kawasaki.

The field is packed with talented riders and amongst those outside the top twenty include Craig Neve (23), former Manx GP winner Andrew Dudgeon (26), Sam West (29), Daniel Cooper (37) and the Irish triumvirate of Derek McGee (27), Michael Sweeney (28) and Adam McLean (34).

A number of the leading Manx GP competitors also move up including Michael Evans (35), Glenn Harrison (39), Darren Cooper (40) and Jamie Williams (41) while overseas competitors with strong pedigrees include the Czech Republic’s Michal Dokoupil (25) and Kamil Holan (33), Spain’s Antonio Maeso (49) and Julian Toniutti (50) from France.

Last year’s newcomers Joey Thompson (51) and Paul Jordan (58) return with former Pirelli National Superstock 600cc front runners Davey Todd and Adam Lyon making their debuts this time around.

A total of 85 entries were accepted and the class was the most oversubscribed race in this year’s meeting.

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Hardisty joins Jackson at The People’s Bike team for TT

The Isle of Man based rider will be teammate to TT newcomer David Jackson.

Rhys has a number of years’ experience now on the roads and has a good record of finishes at the Manx Grand Prix. His highlights include an 11th place in the Senior MGP last year where he lapped at 118.343mph, following a 12th place in the Junior race earlier in the week.  He also finished third in the Formula 2 Classic TT Race in 2015 lapping at a more than impressive 111mph on a 250cc Yamaha.

He also plans to step up to the big bike class at the TT this year on a BMW S1000 but has competed at other circuits already in the 1000 classes including the Southern 100 where he lapped at almost 105mph in 2017. He will run on a Reps Motorcycles R6 Yamaha in the two Monster Energy Supersport Races.

Rhys Hardisty commented:

“Racing at the TT has been a dream of mine since watching Joey Dunlop there as a young child. I’m really excited to finally be able to ride at the TT and am so grateful to The People’s Bike team for giving me this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to working with them as I make the step up to the TT. “

Team Manager Janice Thompson said,

“We are very excited to welcome Rhys into the team. We have been following his career over the last couple of years and TT 2018 seemed like perfect time to step him up from the Manx GP. Rhys is a very talented rider and we believe he has the ability required for future success on the mountain course.”

The People’s Bike team, now in their tenth year, provide all sponsors with an official sponsors t-shirt, together with a goodie bag containing a team lanyard and stickers. All sponsors have the opportunity to add a photo of their choice to the livery on the bike’s fairings which will then feature on the bikes during race week.

Check out the team’s website thepeoplesbike.com and keep up to date with their news at this year’s TT and also see how you can become part of this unique team.

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Suter returns to TT with Ian Lougher on the two stroke MMX500

Ten-time TT Race winner Ian Lougher, who rode for the team in 2016, will again tackle the TT Mountain Course on the Suter MMX500 V4 2-Stroke in both the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races.

Lougher’s 2016 TT experience with Suter saw him lap at over 121mph on the prototype machine on his way to completing the PokerStars Senior TT Race. The Welshman is one of the most experienced road racers in the world and in addition to his ten TT Race wins he also has 8 wins at the North West 200 and 18 wins at the Ulster Grand Prix in his career.

Lougher took his first TT victory in the 1990 Junior TT in one of the closest races in the event’s history, winning by only 1.8 seconds from Steve Hislop, setting new race and lap records that weren’t beaten for nine years.

His near 30-year TT career, between 1984 and 2013, included 130 starts and the most replicas awarded to a TT rider before retiring after the 2013 Senior TT, although the 54-year-old continued to race on the TT Mountain Course in the Classic TT, before returning to the main TT event with Suter in 2016.

Ian Lougher said:

“It goes without saying, I am excited to be racing the Suter MMX500 again at the Isle of Man TT Races. I feel that after all the hard work put in by the entire Suter team and myself, it’s very much unfinished business and I can‘t wait to go testing. It‘s two years since our last episode together, and the engineers say that they have managed to squeeze even more power out of the engine and iron out all the niggling problems we encountered in 2016. I’m ready to go down Bray Hill and give the spectators that two stroke experience again.”

Eskil Suter, fouder of Suter, said:

“Ian has an unquestionable pedigree at this circuit. The idea of racing here is simple – to show how much the MMX500 has matured in both reliability and efficiency. Development since our initial run at the mountain course two years ago has been ongoing. We are confident in what Ian will be able to achieve with the bike in this spec.” 

Eskil Suter also outlined plans to sell Lougher’s race bike immediately following this year’s event.

“In another first, we are selling this TT 2018 race bike as is! The sales package will include the MMX500 Ian Lougher raced at the IoM TT 2018, complete with all the road rash and bugs. We will also be providing a complete set of Suter 2018 Team wear,  VIP access with the team as well as your very own spot on one of our Suter Race days with Eskil as your personal coach with everything handed over to you on the Isle of Man.”

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Michael Jackson prepares for Isle of Man TT Races debut in 2018

Joined by passenger Harry Payne, Jackson, who won the 2017 ACU British Formula Two Sidecar Cup, will compete in the two three-lap races on a newly acquired DMR chassis built by 17-time TT winner and fellow Manxman Dave Molyneux. The outfit will use a 600cc GSXR Suzuki engine.

Having secured the Wirral 100 Championship in 2016, Jackson and his MJR team made a huge impression on the British F2 Sidecar Championship last year. With Callum Crowe in the chair, Jackson won the Cup competition by a comfortable 66 points having done the double at Donington Park, Anglesey and Cadwell Park with another victory, his seventh in total, being taken at the final round of the season.

In total, Jackson stood on the podium nine times during the 14-race campaign and only failed to finish once all season. And as well as winning the Cup, the former trials rider finished seventh overall in the main F2 British Championship where he was only beaten by Pete Founds, Steve Ramsden, Conrad Harrison, Lee Crawford, John Lowther and Sean Hegarty.

His reliability and consistency was key to his and Crowe’s overall success, which is sure to pay dividends on his first appearance on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course. Payne, meanwhile, has scored strong results at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough and was originally lined up to partner Molyneux at last year’s TT before he opted for multiple winner Dan Sayle instead.

With strong results behind them, Jackson and Payne are the latest high profile sidecar pairing to make their TT debuts with the duo certainly having the potential to secure top twenty finishes in both races.

Photo credit: Richard J Martin

 

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Norton pull in the big guns!

23-time TT Race winner John McGuinness has signed to ride for the Norton factory team in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.

McGuinness joins 2015 British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes in a two-man team using the latest specification Norton ‘SG7’ machines, derived from the firm’s flagship V4 RR road bike.

McGuinness last won a Superbike class race in 2015, winning the PokerStars Senior TT, which also saw him breaking the outright lap record with a lap of 132.701, which remains his fastest lap around the Mountain Course. He achieved podiums in both the 2016 RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT but missed last year’s TT race meeting due to serious injuries sustained in the North West 200, which he is still recovering from. However, he expects to be back to full fitness in time for his TT debut with Norton this June.

McGuinness has enjoyed a remarkable TT career and is second only to Joey Dunlop in outright TT victories and is rightly considered as one of the all-time TT greats.  In a career that has now stretched over twenty years, he first announced himself to the road-racing world in 1996, finishing the highest placed and fastest newcomer in the 250cc TT Race and his name has since become synonymous with the Isle of Man Mountain Course.

He has stood on the Isle of Man TT podium a record 46 times from 78 race finishes and is confident that more success is just around the corner now he has teamed up with this iconic British brand.

Talking about the news of his Norton signing John McGuinness commented:

“I didn’t want to end my career due to an injury, but the truth is I didn’t know whether I would be able to come back as I didn’t know how fit I was going to be. Right now, things are going well. I feel a lot sharper and my head is in gear and ready to go. The plan is to get the external fixator cage off my leg by the end of this month and after that we can start working towards getting bike fit and testing.”  

“I’m definitely ready for a change of manufacturer. I needed an injection of enthusiasm and I’ve found it with Norton. From the first time I met with Stuart (Garner) the vibe was there and the passion. I watched Steve Hislop win the TT on the Norton in 1992 and it was massive. Everyone remembers that! We can’t get carried away, it’s going to be a big job but I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of the bike in action, I watched the bike out on track last year and it’s clearly a very fast and capable bike and I can tell you there are worse handling bikes out there too, so there’s no reason we can’t do the business if the stars line up right.”

Norton Motorcycles CEO Stuart Garner added:

“We’ve been talking to John for a year or more, he’s the talent. He’s the man at the TT with the total experience, the results and the pedigree. We have the ambition to win the TT and to go on to develop a really strong team in years to come. We’d got John in our sights for a long time.”

“To get John in the Norton team with his experience and knowledge available is fabulous.  Norton will seize the opportunity to get John involved in all aspects of the bike – he’s a huge asset to Norton. Everyone in the factory has got a huge buzz. It’s pretty special.  We’re all looking forward to the TT but we’ve not set any targets and take nothing for granted. Putting John McGuiness and Norton together is a dream team, but we know all results at the TT are hard earned whatever your name.”

 

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FIM Enel MotoE World Cup: a new class of competition

There are currently more than a billion vehicles on Earth. If the rate of growth within the mobility sector continues increasing as it has, that number could rise to three billion vehicles within the next thirty years. This sharply increases the need for sustainable mobility and is driving manufacturers towards more economically friendly solutions. Of those, one of the most important is the dawn of electric mobility.

This is why Dorna Sports will launch the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup in 2019. Rooted in cutting edge technology, the zero-emissions series aims to take alternative vision of racing onto the track. Competing as a new class at FIM MotoGP™ World Championship events, MotoE™ will be a globally visible example of high-octane yet zero-emission motorsport – benefitting from MotoGP™’s state-of-the-art TV production and substantial communication platform.

Dorna is also analysing how to reduce carbon emissions generated by the infrastructure and logistical demands of MotoGP™.

Races are proposed as 10 laps in duration. Any evolution achieved in terms of the bike or power will be used to improve out-and-out performance rather than increase the lap count of races.

In 2019, five races will be held at five of the European circuits on the MotoGP™ calendar. This leaves huge scope for MotoE™ in the future; beginning in Europe with a view to growing worldwide.

Practice sessions will take place on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and races on Sunday.

Before the inaugural MotoE™ season begins, the first official test for riders and teams is scheduled to take place at the Circuito de Jerez in February 2019.

There will be 18 bikes competing, distributed to teams as follows:

  • Each of the seven MotoGP independent teams will receive two bikes
  • Four bikes will be provided to Moto2 and moto3 teams who chose to enter
 
 

Riders will be contracted by the teams and will be required to have sufficient experience in the world of two-wheeled racing – creating an incredible level of competition from the outset.

The sound of MotoGP™ is unique, and even the sound of each MotoGP™ bike is unique. MotoE™ will similarly have its own unique sound, which will be very different to the noise of the premier class of Grand Prix racing. Electric bikes are quieter, but also allow fans to hear the sounds that would normally be lost in the roar of an engine.

The sound of the machines slicing through the air and the squeal of the tyres – which fans can hear with MotoE™ – are a completely different way to experience racing.

Michelin will be the sole tyre supplier for the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup. The French marque, who also supply the premier class of Grand Prix racing, share the values of the Cup perfectly – focused on the sport, competition and incredible opportunities for technological advancement and development. (MotoGP)

 

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Josh Brookes signs for Norton for TT 2018 campaign

Australian Brookes, the 2015 British Superbike Champion, will compete on the ‘SG7’, derived from the V4 RR road bike. The bike that Brookes will ride is hand built at Norton’s Donington Hall factory and will continue its development and testing schedule in the hands of two-time TT Race winner – and Norton development rider – Steve Plater.

Brookes enjoyed a successful return to the Mountain Course last year following a two-year absence from the Isle of Man, which included the fastest ever lap around the TT Course by a Norton machine with 130.883mph.

The lap was posted in the PokerStars Senior TT Race, which saw him finish in sixth place, his best finish to date at the TT. 

He also returned to the Isle of Man later in the year and secured his maiden Mountain Course win with victory in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT Race riding a Paton as well as riding a Rotary Norton to within 5 seconds of Steve Hislop’s fastest ever lap.

It was a good season all round for Brookes, who finished second overall in the British Superbike Championship, just three points behind eventual winner Shane Byrne, taking three wins along the way.

Brookes has enjoyed a meteoric rise at the TT since claiming the fastest newcomer title at the TT in 2013.  He finished a best place of seventh in the 2014 Senior Race, which saw him improve his fastest lap to an impressive 129.859mph in only his second year at the island.  

Speaking from his home in Australia, Brookes said: 

“It was a real honour to represent Norton last year. After a couple of years away it took me a bit of time to get dialled in again and despite the weather disruption I really felt comfortable by the end of race week and I’m raring to go again and build on last year with the team and add to their history around the Isle of Man.”

Norton CEO Stuart Garner is understandably thrilled at again securing one of biggest names in Motorcycling to represent the factory on the Isle of Man.

He said:

“There are only a handful of riders capable of competing for podiums and race wins at the TT and in Josh Brookes we have a rider with the ability and potential to rewrite the record books. Josh’s involvement in the team not only gives us a competitive position on the track but also means that we put into practice what we learn on the Isle of Man for our road bike.”

Garner concluded:

“The most important thing for us as a team and a company is that we always move forward, always look to build on and improve what we’ve achieved and I’m more confident than ever that that’s what we’ll be doing again this year as we look to establish Norton at the front of the field on and off the track.”