Tuesday, August 19

BREAKDOWN THWARTS ANSTEY'S FIRST PRACTICE

A BREAKDOWN with the Padgetts Motorcycles Yamaha YZR500 on the first lap of Classic TT practice at the Isle of Man saw New Zealander Bruce Anstey miss out on getting a lap in on the Mobil-backed McIntosh Racing Manx Norton.

Anstey, the current outright  TT lap record holder (132.30 mph), got at far as Ramsey before the V4 Yamaha two-stroke was reported to have stopped, leaving the Kiwi to make a dash back to the grandstand in a vain attempt to get a lap on the McIntosh Norton that he'll campaign in the 500cc Classic race.

A stunning collection of Classic machines assembled in pit lane for the start of qualifying for the 2014 Isle of Man Classic TT presented by Bennetts with a host of legendary names taking to the TT Mountain Course.

The split session saw the F1 and F2 machines on track first shortly before 6.40pm, lead away by TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton on his ZXR 750 Kawasaki but it was Michael Dunlop, last year's F1 Race winner, on the Team Classic Suzuki, that was first back with an opening lap of 117.191mph.

Dunlop opted to switch to his 500cc Molnar Manx Norton but his teammate in the F1 Class Lee Johnson moved up the board with a lap of 116.093 with Steve Mercer on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki posting the session's third fastest lap (115.866). Ian Lougher (106.584) topped the evening's F2 leaderboard from Roy Richardson (104.864) with Chris Moore (104.831) the third fastest in the class.

John McGuinness, hoping to put the problems he experienced in last year's Classic TT behind him, clocked an opening lap of 104.599 in the 500cc session on the Team Winfield Paton twini from Dunlop's first 500cc lap of 102.962.  McGuinness's second lap (107.652) topped the session from teammate Ryan Farquhar (104.353).

Michael Rutter, a late replacement for the injured Dan Kneen on the G50 Matchless, only arrived on the Island shortly before the practice began. He broke down near Bishops Court on his opening lap and will be hoping for better luck in tomorrow's session.  Rutter's busy schedule sees him planning to race in Saturday's 500cc race before heading to Cadwell Park for the BSB round on Monday.

The session was also notable for eight-time TT race winner Charlie Williams' first competitive Mountain Course lap since 1984.

In the 350cc session, Alan Oversby was the only rider over 100mph (100.046) from Blackpool's Roy Richardson (98.759) on the '68 Aermacchi and Jamie Hamilton.

New Zealand's legendary America's Cup skipper Grant Dalton, who also participated in the 'Whitbread Round the World' race five times, swapped the ocean for the road and got his first ever Mountain Course laps in the F1 Classic TT qualifying session.

John Barton was reported to have sustained a broken collarbone following an incident at the Creg Ny Baa while Ryan Farquhar, David Burrell, Alec Whitwell and Jared Heath all came off at Governors but all were OK.

Friday, August 8

JORGE GETS TWO YEARS...

WITH Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez all renewing their contracts for their respective teams, there had been speculation among some Australian  commentators that Jack Miller was going to replace Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha.

To clear that up, here's the official, unedited, Yamaha press release:


Yamaha Racing
   
MotoGP
News


Yamaha and Jorge Lorenzo Confirm New Two-Year Agreement
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo are delighted to announce that they have signed a new two-year agreement that sees the Mallorcan complete the Movistar Yamaha line up for the next two seasons. The agreement realises Lorenzo’s wish to continue his premier class career with Yamaha, extending the relationship from seven to nine years. Both Yamaha and Lorenzo are confident that the partnership has the potential to deliver a third title and will continue to work towards this goal.

Lin Jarvis - Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing
I am very happy we have reached an agreement for Jorge to continue as a Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider. The new agreement extends Jorge’s seven-year partnership with Yamaha. He started with us as a rookie back in 2008 and together we achieved many great results including 31 GP victories and two MotoGP Rider World Champion titles in 2010 and 2012. The 2014 season has been a tough one for Jorge so far but I am hoping that the confirmation of this new agreement will give him the peace of mind to be able to focus 100% of his energy on the remaining races. Last year we saw what he was able to do when the going was tough and he was fighting back from mid-season injuries so we know that the potential is there for a strong second half to the 2014 season. For 2015 and beyond we have no doubt that Jorge will be a strong title contender and we will do our very best to provide him with the materials and the support he needs to be able to realize our shared ambitions.”


Jorge Lorenzo


“I am very happy to finally be able to make this announcement. It is a relief to be able to now completely focus on the remainder of the 2014 season in the knowledge that our relationship will continue for the next two seasons. It has always been my wish to continue my career with Yamaha; I strongly believe we can fight for a third title together. This season has been very challenging after a difficult start, however we will continue to take it race by race, giving 100% until Valencia. I want to thank Yamaha for their continued belief in me and all the Yamaha fans around the world who continue to support me. After the summer break I’m excited to be back at Indy with my team and focused again on riding.”
Jorge Lorenzo



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Wednesday, August 6

ANSTEY TO TRY AGAIN ON MANX

WELLINGTON'S Bruce Anstey is to have another crack at the Senior Classic TT on August 23.  And once again he will be racing the short-stroke six-speed Manx Norton Auckland's Ken McIntosh and his team originally built for Kevin Schwantz.

Anstey is the fastest man to lap the TT.  He set a new outright lap record in this year's Superbike TT (click here for details).

Anstey is New Zealand's most successful rider at the Isle of Man, having won nine TT races in his career.  But a piston failure in the McIntosh Racing Manx Norton on the second lap of last year's inaugural Senior Classic TT last year cost him any chance of adding to that.  He was holding second place at the time.

The race was won by Englishman Ollie Linsdell on a very fast Italian 500cc Paton twin (click here for details).

In a 20 plus year career, 44-year-old Anstey has raced many different makes and models of motorcycle, from 250cc GP two-stroke twins, through Kawasaki 600 and 900 fours, a TRiumph TT600 four, Suzuki GSX-R1000s and most recently a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.

But last year's Classic TT was his first time on an old style single cylinder 500cc four-stroke and he expressed amazement at how precise the steering was.  He commented that he had to re-learn all his old "250" lines where you used every inch of the road, and sometimes more! 

"He wouldn't let me change any of the setting on the Featherbed Manx," says McIntosh.

With previous riders Kevin Schwantz, Cameron Donald and Andrew Stroud all winning races on the bike, the set-up was already well established for short circuits but it also proved to be good on the many jumps and high speed corners on the TT course.

Last year McIntosh took one of his New Zealand built 1962 Manx Norton replicas for Anstey to race, along with a spare engine.  However, he ran out of time to fit the spare engine for the race, with the result the piston broke, ending the Kiwi attempt.

This year McIntosh will return with two identical bikes for Anstey, so that the race bike is still fresh at the end of qualifying, giving Bruce his best chance of a finish.

McIntosh said "It was a major blow to be the fastest single cylinder bike in all the practices and never miss a beat all week and then fail to finish when lying in second place. We had to come back and give our New Zealand built bike another chance to live up to its  'Manx' Norton name."

Anstey will be competing for the Mike Hailwood Trophy awarded for 500cc single cylinder machines using a machine that is essentially true to 1962 specification against the much later pre-1973 period multi-cylinder bikes, but "with Bruce's speed and the fickle nature of true 'TT' racing he is certainly in with a chance of an overall podium finish" says McIntosh. 

Last year Anstey lapped around the 108 mph mark on the McIntosh Manx but that was no match for the Paton twin, Linsdell averaging 110.256 mph over the four lap race, with a best lap of 111.660 mph.

The fastest man on a single cylinder bike around the Isle of Man TT course is Scotsman Ian Moodie.  He won the inaugural Singles TT in 1994 on a Harris-framed Yamaha 660 single at an average speed of 111.290 mph, edging out New Zealander Robert Holden (Ducati 550cc Supermono) who clocked 111.110 mph over the four laps.

Although the Singles TT was run from 1994 until 2000, the first year was the fastest, with Moodie setting a lap record of 112.660 mph, which still stands.

It would be a monumental achievement for Anstey to get close to that, given Moodie's Singles TT machine used a 660cc air-cooled SOHC four-valve Yamaha engine in a Harris chassis with modern suspension and brakes.

Although the McIntosh Manx Norton is a very fine example of the breed, it is still a 1950s design and is only 500cc, 160cc less than Moodie's record holder, and has only two valves.