MotoGP- A resurgence of excitement?!
With the MotoGP World Championship now well under way, it is shaping up to be one of the closest and most competitive years in recent history. All eyes are fixed on the battle between reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and 2012 rival Dani Pedrosa however quickly becoming a thorn in their side is rookie sensation Marc Márquez who, following his fantastic victory at the second round in America, is now the youngest ever victor in the premier class...
The vast majority of the twenty four strong grid will once again be using the iconic gold and yellow of Öhlins as they compete for glory and throughout the preseason testing and opening rounds it has been a tale of five riders. Reigning Champion Lorenzo remains the title favourite, having been one of the most consistent and fastest rider throughout testing he fired the first warning shot to his rivals with a faultless ride in the opening round at Qatar. Overshadowing Lorenzo (in terms of publicity) though was the performance of the man on the other side of the garage, Valentino Rossi. While his highly anticipated return to Yamaha has divided opinions, he silenced critics with a stunning ride that saw him battle his way through the field to take second place. With mechanical woes forcing him down the order at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. his legions of fans are hoping it is just a matter of time before he once again reaches the top step.
Following his most successful Premier class season to date in 2012, Pedrosa will be hoping he can go one position better this year and finally clinch that elusive first MotoGP title. Pedrosa's biggest threat however comes in the form of his younger team mate, Márquez who has stunned the paddock with his breathtaking elbow dragging style and blisteringly fast pace. After taking a debut podium in his first race before following it up with a dominant victory in America, Márquez is now the youngest ever premier class victor.
The best of the rest is Britain's very own Cal Crutchlow on his Monster Energy backed satellite Yamaha. After topping the timesheets at the final test in Jerez, he has impressed in the opening rounds of the year as he hopes to become the first satellite rider to win a race since 2006.
Moto 2- No clear favourite…
Despite having their preseason testing disrupted by bad weather, it hasn't stopped the fairing bashing antics of the Moto2 class and the title is already looking like it will be a season long battle between Pol Espargaro on his Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex and Scott Redding, on his Mark VDS Racing Kalex machine. Once again over 90% of this highly competitive will be racing with Öhlins suspension.
World Superbikes- The New Guard take over
Kicking off the racing season back in February, the opening round of the World Superbike Championship threw up the usual thrills and spills that fans worldwide have become accustomed to as Aprilia duo Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli took a win and a second place apiece at the opening round of the season at Philip Island however it was all change at the second round of the year when BMW new boy Chaz Davies took a formidable double victory at Aragon to stamp his mark on this year's title. Round three in Assen saw some fantastic battles with the factory Aprilia's battling the Kawasaki machines giving Tom Sykes and Laverty a win apiece.
Again, the famous Swedish supplier has a formidable success rate in this most competitive of classes…
Rest of the world...
In the UK, Öhlins will be gunning for an unprecedented fifteenth British Superbike title with the Samsung Honda duo of Ryuichi Kiyonari and Alex Lowes- who has yet to finish off the podium, the Milwaukee Yamaha's of James Ellison and Josh Waters and for the first time ever, the Tyco Suzuki's of Josh Brookes and PJ Jacobson. The Milwaukee and Tyco teams will also be competing at the iconic Isle of Man TT.
Over in America the 72nd annual races at Daytona, and opening round of the AMA series saw an Öhlins whitewash as all seven races were won by their riders. The young Josh Herrin kicked off his Superbike challenge with a win and second place onboard his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, while in the iconic Daytona 200 it was a clean sweep with every rider who completed 200 miles, doing so on machines equipped with Öhlins.
The Öhlins equipped SRC Kawasaki squad made it another emphatic win in the legendary Bol d'Or 24 Heures race in April. The 77th Edition of this classic event saw SRC Teamsters Loris Baz together, Gregory Leblanc and Jérémy Guarnoni win by a Massive nine lap margin over the next team (YART Yamaha).