Brilliant RINS Wins His First MOTOGP Race In Texas

Team Suzuki Press Office – April 14. Alex Rins: 1st Joan Mir: 17th (+ 48.063) • Alex Rins keeps cool to execute perfect debut victory. • Joan Mir left to…

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Team Suzuki Press Office – April 14. Alex Rins: 1st Joan Mir: 17th (+ 48.063) • Alex Rins keeps cool to execute perfect debut victory. • Joan Mir left to...

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Gonzalez Wins As Carrasco Finds No Luck At Home

The opening round of the new-look WorldSSP300 championship took place this weekend at the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragon, with a win for Kawasaki and two podium places for the Ninja 400 in total. Spanish rider Manuel Gonzalez, only 16 years of age, took his Kawasaki ParkinGo Team to the very top step of the podium […]

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The opening round of the new-look WorldSSP300 championship took place this weekend at the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragon, with a win for Kawasaki and two podium places for the Ninja 400 in total. Spanish rider Manuel Gonzalez, only 16 years of age, took his Kawasaki ParkinGo Team to the very top step of the podium at his home race.

Last year he scored three podiums in this exciting class, designed around young riders, but to record his first WorldSSP300 race win at home left the teenager from Madrid almost speechless. He had also taken pole position after Superpole Qualifying, with a new best lap of 2’06.938.

Title challenger in previous seasons, Scott Deroue (Kawasaki Motoport) had a remarkable ride from 14th on the grid to third place, picking off rivals at just the right time to get him into the leading bunch in the final lap.

Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec), the reigning champion, was well in the multi-rider fight for the podium places but was unlucky to fall on lap six after being hit from behind, losing the chance to start her title defence in style. Like all her competitors she will have eight more chances to go all-out for race wins, in a season that runs from Motorland in April to Losail in October.

Ana, the first woman to win a full FIM World Championship in roadracing, does not leave her home round without any reward. She set a new lap record on lap two, with a 2’07.487 on her impressive run through to the leading positions.

With over fifty young hopefuls trying to take ultimate glory in the FIM Supersport300 World Championship in 2019, qualifying has to be split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups, with the fastest few from each group being joined on the final starting grid for the race on Sunday afternoon by the top riders from a ‘last chance’ race on Saturday.

A few talented riders needed to qualify for the grid via that last chance race route, and even some others like Deroue and Carrasco found it relatively tough in qualifying. No less than 36 riders started the 11-lap race today.

Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) was another top ten rider at Motorland on a Ninja 400, in eighth place. Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) just missed out on the top ten places in 11th. No fewer than 11 of the top 20 riders were on Kawasakis today.

Proof of just how competitive this class is can be found in the fact that the top seven riders were covered by just 0.891 seconds at the chequered flag in Motorland.

In the current championship standings, with just one race gone, Gonzales leads with 25 points, Hugo De Cancellis has 20 and Deroue 16.

The next round will take place in a few days time, at Assen in the Netherlands, with raceday on Sunday the 14th of April.

Manuel Gonzalez, stated: “I do not have words for this race win because it was so difficult – but I enjoyed it a lot! The last lap was so tough because the slipstream in the main straight was difficult to manage. But I overtook De Cancellis in the last corner. Thanks to all in the team for the hard work they have done here. See you all at the next races.”

Scott Deroue, stated: “Yes it was incredible to come through for a podium. This weekend was quite hard and in qualifying I was not really good. I was not in the best place on the grid so I knew we had to something. I was just pushing, pushing – like unbelievably hard. I think this is one of my best races ever. I already won some races in this class but I think this race was the best ever.”

Ana Carrasco, stated: “It is a pity to not score. We had some issues in the practice sessions and I started the race from the fourth row. In the race itself I felt myself to be very fast, and comfortable, so much so that we actually set a new lap record. Some bikes had better acceleration but in braking and top speed I was super strong. In the crash two guys in front of me touched and I had to close the throttle – then someone hit me from the back. It is a shame because I am sure I could have finished on top. I just want to say thanks to all people that came to see me here at Motorland, to my team and Kawasaki. I am on the bike again in only four days, at Assen – I can’t wait!”

#NinjaSpirit

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Rea Podiums Twice As Haslam Recovers Pace

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his eighth and ninth second place finishes of the 2019 season today, first in the 10-lap Tissot-Superpole race and then in the second full distance contest. His team-mate Leon Haslam recovered from a tough Saturday to record a seventh place in the sprint race and then fourth this afternoon, […]

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Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his eighth and ninth second place finishes of the 2019 season today, first in the 10-lap Tissot-Superpole race and then in the second full distance contest. His team-mate Leon Haslam recovered from a tough Saturday to record a seventh place in the sprint race and then fourth this afternoon, fighting for a podium all the way.

Rea and Haslam have two points scoring races to compete in on Sundays in 2019 and in each of the races today Rea rode to what he feels were his best possible results – two runner-up places.

In every race of the year so far Rea has finished second but in the final race at Motorland he really had to work for it, using all of his race craft and experience to make the most of a late opportunity to ensure his second place. Windy conditions did not help Rea’s cause but he demonstrated why he is a four time World Champion by taking three second places away from the Spanish round.

Haslam and his team were fully competitive for a podium finish in the final race of the weekend, pushing up to second place at one time and finishing just 0.454 seconds off another podium finish for his KRT squad.

It was particularly satisfying result as it was a relatively tough weekend for Leon and his crew until the afternoon race, at a circuit which has not been one most favoured by Haslam in the past.

In the championship rankings, after three rounds and nine individual races, Jonathan has netted a total of 147 points and is 39 behind points leader Alvaro Bautista. Haslam is fifth overall and just five points from fourth place.

The classic circuit of Assen, in the Netherlands, will host the fourth round of the championship next weekend, with track action running from the 12th to the 14th of April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was a tougher Sunday than I expected and the strategy was different. Especially in the sprint race, I lost a lot of rear traction at the end. We think it was a consequence of being so fast in the beginning. During the 18-lap race I decided to be calmer in the beginning but when Alex Lowes came through he had a good pace with Chaz Davies. I started to panic a little bit that maybe these guys had an extra gear. And then Leon came past, so I had to step up and really use the tyre that I was conserving. My body language was a lot different at the end of the race because I really put my head down and maximised where we were strong. It looks like our bike is really creating a lot of traction in the long corners, which is positive. Our corner entry is not so bad. It was nice to see Leon in the front as well because our data becomes more relevant to compare and we can try to move the bike set-up forward together.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “Starting from the fourth row was not ideal in the first two races so we used the sprint race to get back into it. The team has done mega-well from really struggling on Saturday morning to being able to battle for second place for Johnny. What a turnaround. I am really happy about what we have done here and I feel quite positive. In the sprint race I did not get the best of starts but it got me a better grid position for the final race. We made some steps in being able to pass people in the last race as well.”

Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) ran out a remarkable eighth in the sprint race and an even better seventh in the final full distance contest today. He ended his home race weekend inside the championship top ten, with 35 points. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was unfortunate to retire from the final race, having finished the sprint race today in tenth place. He sits 12th overall. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) could not ride on Sunday after breaking his wrist yesterday.

2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 9, Wins 0, Podiums 9, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 143 (101 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)

Leon Haslam:
2019: Races: 9, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)

6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 391 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Spain The Next Stop For Rea And Haslam

Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will shortly embark on a run of six European-based WorldSBK championship rounds, beginning at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend. The third of 13 rounds in the 2019 WorldSBK Championship Motorland Aragon will be an event laden with opportunities for both official KRT riders, given their most […]

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Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will shortly embark on a run of six European-based WorldSBK championship rounds, beginning at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend. The third of 13 rounds in the 2019 WorldSBK Championship Motorland Aragon will be an event laden with opportunities for both official KRT riders, given their most recent experiences at the 5.007km long circuit.

Rea has won at Motorland three times, as part of a total of nine podiums at this venue. He scored a victory for Kawasaki in race one last year. Haslam’s most recent Motorland race weekend experience, in 2015, delivered pole position and then a third place in race two.

WorldSBK race winning record holder and four-time World Champion Rea is looking to take his first step on the very top of the podium in 2019, having finished runner up in every race of the new season so far. Rea’s record of 71 race wins is still 12 more than the next closest rider.

Rea has already added to his career pole position total on the latest Ninja ZX-10RR, raising it to 17 at the opening round of the season in Australia.

Reigning BSB champion Haslam’s last competitive visit to Motorland was fruitful in terms of scoring pole and a podium. In addition, his first on-track experience with his official KRT Ninja ZX-10RR was at Motorland Aragon last November, where he set strong lap times.

As is the ‘new normal’ race weekend schedule in 2019, there will be two full distance contests for full points at Motorland this weekend, and one ten-lap Tissot Superpole race on Sunday morning. The shorter race only scores points for the first nine riders home, with 12 for the winner.

The ‘sprint’ race also determines the grid slots for the top nine riders in the last full-distance race on Sunday afternoon. The two 18-lap races will take place at 14.00hrs on Saturday the fifth of April and Sunday the sixth; with the Tissot Superpole race starting at 11.00hrs on Sunday.

Jonathan is second in the championship standings after two rounds, 26 points behind the lead. Even though he suffered from pain associated to trapped nerves in his back at the previous round in Buriram, Leon Haslam is sixth overall.

A quick-turnaround road trip to the north of Europe follows the Motorland Aragon round of the championship as Assen in the Netherlands hosts the fourth round, with track action to be held between the 12th and the 14th of April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s been a nice break since Buriram and Motorland is a good place to get back to business. I enjoy the track layout and we made some good progress last year during winter testing. We will continue to work on making more progress during Friday’s practice sessions. The layout is nice and flowing with lots of challenges during the lap, so finding a good set up for the race is crucial. It’s an important race for my team too, as their headquarters are just a few hours away in Granollers, near Barcelona. I expect lots of support and I’m excited to give it my all.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “Aragon is a circuit I last raced at in 2015 but I was on pole. I managed to score a podium there, so those are not bad memories. It has not been one of my favourite circuits but the lap times have been pretty competitive. My very first test with KRT was at Aragon last year, even though we lost some track time due to the weather. But the lap times still came pretty good. I am predicting that it is going to be a tough weekend this time. Jonathan’s record around there is really competitive. Chaz Davies goes pretty well there and Alvaro Bautista is going to be the man to beat, especially with the couple of big straights that there are at this circuit. I think it is going to be a big fight to get on that podium but obviously that is always my aim. My back is better, definitely ten times better, than it was in Thailand.”

As he approaches the Motorland Aragon round Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) sits ninth overall in the championship and is fourth in the Independent Riders’ rankings. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is 12th after six races and two rounds in his first season riding a Ninja ZX-10RR. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is currently 15th but aiming to move up at the home round of his team’s title sponsor.

2019 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2019: Races 6, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 71 (56 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 140 (98 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 17 (13 for Kawasaki)

Leon Haslam:
2019: Races: 6, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 5 (0 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 41 (3 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 3 (0 for Kawasaki)

6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
4 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 127 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 388 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 82 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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SYM GTS 300i EVO – the Slick Route to the Freedom of the City

The “EVO” part of this Sym’s title is spot on. The Taiwanese built scooter started it’s life as a 250, and then evolved into the 263,7cc engine which currently provides it’s thrust. In fact parent company Sym are busy with a bit of an evolution themselves. 2018 world wide sales are significantly up, to more […]

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The “EVO” part of this Sym’s title is spot on. The Taiwanese built scooter started it’s life as a 250, and then evolved into the 263,7cc engine which currently provides it’s thrust. In fact parent company Sym are busy with a bit of an evolution themselves. 2018 world wide sales are significantly up, to more than 750000 units, this despite sales in China, their previous biggest market being down. Sym products have built a reputation for quality and reliability over the years which is now starting to bear significant fruit.

As always, when I review a bike I see what journos around the world have to say about the bike. This is so that I remain objective and factual and if there is an issue which I am not aware of I want to know about it. The more you google Sym, the more you read positive things about this brand. After reviewing the Citycom 300i I became a firm fan. A fan of that scoot in particular and of scooters in general. I just don’t get why SA has not followed the European love of scooters.

As our roads have become more and more congested over the years we should, like in Europe, embraced this thrifty, convenient and fun way of commuting. At times I think we are just way too testosterone driven and dof when it comes to making intelligent commuting choices! By all means, keep your big beast, but don’t waste it in the urban sprawl. Your saving on services and tyres and petrol will damn near pay for your Scooter.

The GTS EVO looks more substantial than the CityCom, with more elaborate bodywork, and despite running 13 inch wheels. I half expected a tad of instability with the smaller wheels, but no way! The GTS, aided by decently damped shocks, tracks straight and true at all speeds, even over dodgy surfaces.

The body does provide a greater level of weather protection and storage nooks and crannies. There are two cubbies just rear of the dash as well as a third behind your feet. The under seat storage is comprehensive and good for two full face helmets.

The EVO also features the on/off kill switch additional security measure under the seat. The steering can be locked too, as well as a sporting a cover which locks over the ignition so that you can’t jimmy the lock. Clever.

The EVO is slightly heavier than the CityCom and makes slightly less power at 17.15 Kw and with torque of 24.08 Nm @5500 rpm. The result is slightly softer performance all round. That said, it is no slouch, dropping most cars off the line in the robot GP’s. I took it on an evening out at the Corner Shop with my wife Irene on the pillion. She loved it!

Reckon’s it rivals the very best she has experienced for comfort. The urge makes two up riding a doddle too. It was so convenient stashing our kit under the seat while we quaffed an ice cream and coffee.

I used the GTS for a full week in the course of my daily comings and goings and enjoyed it so much it was a real wrench to give it back. I rode out almost two tanks of gas which, at 28 km/L gave me 300 plus k’s on a tank. Frikken amazing.

Now here is the thing. It is a given that the EVO GTS is going to be the business in the general urban sprawl. What you don’t expect, considering it’s bulk and a motor of closer to 250 than 300cc’s, is how well it performs on the highway. The torque is such that it holds it’s speed, and even accelerates if called upon to do so, whilst cruising at highway speeds. I reckon that if you like touring at a “stop and smell the roses” pace, the Sym 300 Scooters would do the job in a really practical way. Good wind and weather protection, a smooth [at all speeds] motor, decent tank size and brilliant fuel economy. Ally those attributes to a comfy seat with nice lower back support and you have in my book, a winner.

The Sym 300 GTS EVO, at a little over R60 grand, makes a compelling commuting argument. I just feel that to not explore it’s other talents is to sell it short. Over the coming Easter weekend we are going to indulge in some Botswana SYMmetry. Two Dave’s, are going to ride two 300 Sym’s, to Elephant Sands in Botswana. We intend carrying all our camping kit in and on the scooters. We’re going to prove to any remaining sceptics out there just how good, versatile, economical and fun these amazing scooters are. Watch this space!

For more information visit: www.sym.co.za/GTS300i

Review by: Dave Cilliers / photos by: Bjorn Moreira / www.zabikers.co.za

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