MotoGP 2012 – A tale of three Champions…

The 2012 MotoGP season has seen some of the most spectacular action in recent years as ex-Champions Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo trade hard fought wins (4-3 to the Spaniard up to Assen) plus the added benefit of exciting scraps for podium positions from other members of the grid...

However it was an off-track move which has thrown a shadow over the on-track action so far…. that of Stoner’s announcement to a stunned press corps of his departure from the sport, at the end of the current season. The talented and often outspoken Aussie cited his retirement at the grand old age of 26 saying the sport had gone in a direction that doesn't interest him and that he no longer takes enough enjoyment from the sport which justifies the sacrifices necessary to be competitive at the top of the sport.

Back on track the action was just as exciting. Following a crash at the American round at Indianapolis, Casey Stoner was forced to miss three rounds, ruling him out of the championship hunt and leaving Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa to battle it out. The two have traded wins all season and things came to a head at the Czech Republic round at the Brno circuit with a dramatic final few laps which saw Pedrosa take the win on the very last corner. Britain's Cal Crutchlow crossed the line third in Brno to claim his first podium in MotoGP and be the first British rider to finish on the premier class podium since 2000, backing it up with a second podium at Phillip Island. Stoner also returned from injury to dominate Philip Island showing his home fans and GP watchers everywhere exactly what they will be missing next year.

The new Claiming Rules Team, or CRT bikes continues to split opinion but with some respectable finishes within the top ten, these machines with production engines and prototype chassis will remain for 2013 and could well be the future of MotoGP.

With over 90% of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 grids running Öhlins, the Swedish equipment remains the top choice for the Premier League of Bikesport…

Slip sliding away...

There was further success for Öhlins when Supermoto riders Hermunen Mauno and Febvre Romain secured victories at the prestigious 26th edition of the Superbiker Mettet races. Using an Öhlins front TTX cartridge Mauno took the 'Supermoto Finale' race, while claiming second in what became an enthralling battle for the famous 'Superbiker 2012' race. The win went the way of Romain who was riding with a complete Öhlins front forks and a TTX rear shock.

WSB – The Closest EVER…

After the enthralling final round at Le Mans, veteran racer Max Biaggi proved that despite competing in his 23rd season of racing he's just as fast as the 'young guns' by securing his second World Superbike crown by just half a point – the closest finish in the championship's 25 year history.

With nine different winners from every manufacturer, the championship continues to prove why it is regarded as one of the most competitive in the world, and its appeal continues to grow worldwide with new circuits such as the Moscow Raceway in Russia being included in this year's calendar while a return to Laguna Seca in California and the inclusion of the Buddh circuit in India will make up part of the 2013 calendar.

Like MotoGP, Öhlins are the suspension equipment of choice for the majority of the grid and with all but one of the top ten riders using the gold forks, their domination in the main 'production' championship is evident.

There was further success for the 'gold' riders in the support classes as Kenan Sofuoglu wrapped up his World Supersport championship onboard his Kawasaki ZX-10R while Sylvain Barrier secured the European Superstock 1000 championship on his BMW S1000RR.

Nationally speaking...

The AMA Superbike championship in the States has provided some of the top American riders in the world with both Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden being former champions. This year saw the Öhlins shod Monster Energy Graves Yamaha of Josh Hayes secure his third consecutive Superbike championship, placing him equal with legends Doug Chandler, Fred Merkel and Reg Pridmore. Hayes secured the title in dominating style taking 11 straight pole positions and victory in all but four of this year's races.

'Down under' Josh Waters wrapped up the Australian Superbike Championship at Queensland raceway in mid-September on his Suzuki GSXR1000 and promptly got the call up for winter testing with the similarly suspension equipped Crescent Suzuki WSB squad.

In the hotbed of competition that is the Italian CIV Championship Matteo Baiocco piloted his Barni Racing Ducati Panigale for a first major SBK win for the machine, which also features OE Öhlins equipment.

Julien da Costa won the French Superbike series on his SRC Kawasaki ZX-10R leading home an Öhlins 1-2-3 in both Superbike and Supersport division's – which was won by his team-mate Grégory Leblanc. The squad also won the Bol d'or 2012 and the 24H of Le Mans for the 3rd time in a row. The German IDM series saw French import and Endurance star Erwan Nigon take the title on a thankfully home grown BMW S1000RR using a TTX36 rear shock, TTX25 Cartridge Kit and steering damper, all serviced by Alpha Racing. The famous roundel also took the Canadian Superbike Championship as Jordan Szoke won an impressive eighth title.