With success in Superbikes, Motocross and Enduro, two wheels proved more fun than four for our Red Bull stars this past weekend...
The fifth round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park, in the UK, ended with Red Bull rider Johnny Rea standing atop of the podium for his second win of the season, after a gripping end to both races on Sunday.
Race one saw the Northern Irishman come within two-tenths of a second of a podium finish after a race-long battle saw him end just behind Tom Sykes and in fourth position, with BMW pair Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam scoring a one-two as the Italian scored the manufacturer’s first-ever WSBK victory.
Race two was a dramatic affair as a four-rider group involving Rea, Max Biaggi, Melandri and Haslam headed into the final corner of the last lap with any one of the quartet still able to take victory.
That was when the real drama unfolded as Melandri tried to overtake his team-mate Haslam, who led into the turn. The Italian ran wide, with Haslam leaving a gap on the inside which Rea pounced upon, and the two Brits touched bikes.
Haslam lost the front of his machine and cleared out his team-mate, as Rea powered out of the turn to victory with Biaggi taking second and Sykes claiming fourth in a truly jaw-dropping finale to the race.
“It’s nice to win and, in that second race, everybody wanted to win so bad,” said Rea after the race. “It was a crazy race and I made it hard work because I dropped off the group again in the middle stage and then, when I caught the group, I made a big mistake and ran wide at the last corner. To catch up with five laps to go and make up some places and then cap it off with the win was unbelievable.
“I was quite happy with the fourth in race one as well – the guys gave me a great bike and Chris [Pike – crew chief] and his team were on it all weekend. It’s nice to come here and get a good result because it’s never happened in the past with Superbike.”
Rea’s team-mate and fellow Red Bull athlete Hiroshi Aoyama continued to adapt to the CBR1000RR throughout the weekend but struggled to a disappointing 17th in race one. The second outing was far better for the Japanese rider however, as he took 10th at the flag.
“Somehow, in the first race, we went in the wrong direction [with set-up], so I was fighting but could not make it,” said the former 250GP world champion. “In the second race, we went to the opposite set-up and it seems like this was positive and I could fight for tenth position.”
In the World Supersport Championship also staged at Donington, Kenan Sofuoglu rode with his head and his heart to secure second place in the race and the lead in the championship.
After qualifying fourth on Saturday, Kenan knew that he could win the Donington race but on the day the front running force of British rider Sam Lowes took the prize. Sofuoglu was pushing him hard in the latter stages, but realising he risked a crash if he pushed any harder he took the second place in order to maintain his championship lead.
Having now scored four podiums in five races, including a win in Australia, Sofuoglu is five points ahead of Lowes, and 17 points up on Donington's third placed rider, Jules Cluzel.
Red Bull KTM factory riders Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings sealed both the MX1 and MX2 GPs in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday in Round 4 of the MX series to move further ahead in their respective championships and retain the coveted red plates.
After a clear victory in the opening moto for Cairoli, the five-times world champion had to engage in a tough four-way fight for the checkered flag in the closing stages of the second moto. The final result could have gone either way right up to the last seconds but he managed to hang on to third place to grab the GP win by a slender one point. It was a fight all the way for Cairoli.
Jeffrey Herlings delivered two copybook rides in MX2 to go into the record books as the first ever GP winner in Mexico by putting on a great show on his KTM 250 SX-F for the Mexican fans.
Jeffrey was well supported by team-mate Jeremy van Horebeek, of Belgium, who had two excellent starts, secured both holeshots and even led both motos in the opening stages. He twice finished third behind Briton Tommy Searle to join his team-mate on the podium in third overall and has strengthened his second position in the championship standings.
In round seven of the Enduro World Championship, meanwhile, the KTM factory team also celebrated the return of the popular Johnny Aubert to the top of the E2 podium on Saturday.
The Frenchman was fast again on Sunday, if not quite fast enough to take the first place away from rival Pierre-Alexander Renet. He did well in most tests but also lost some time in the difficult Extreme Test.
Aubert has had a difficult start to his season in the first four rounds in South America but his 1-2 for the weekend earned him enough points to move up to fourth in the standings and he now trails Juha Salminen in third by just one point.
In E3, David Knight failed to find his rhythm on the bike. He finished with a 7-13 result in the two rounds and is now fourth in the standings but has a chance to regroup before the next two rounds in Italy on June 30.
Away from the track and into the water, Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons won the Billabong Rio Pro after defeating Coco Ho (HAW) in the competition's final on Sunday. Fitzgibbons came from behind to secure a narrow victory defeating Ho with 14.10 to 14.03 (both out of 20.00). Fitzgibbon’s result marks her second victory on the ASP Women’s World Tour this season after clinching victory at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach during Easter. Click here for more from Rio
In Formula One's Spanish Grand Prix, Pastor Maldonado raced to a sensational maiden victory, holding off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus to hand Williams its first race win since 2004.
Sebastian Vettel was the highest placed Red Bull Racing man, with sixth, and the defending champion had an eventful afternoon characterised by a drive-through penalty for not heeding yellow flags following a crash involving Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna.
“I think we have to be happy. It was a hard day at the office,” said Vettel, who passed both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the final laps. “We had a good recovery at the end – we know that we are probably a bit stronger at the end of the stints and that worked. It was good fun, but obviously when it’s up and down, up and down like that it’s quite difficult."
Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, finished 11th, the Australian unable to better his starting position. For Scuderia Toro Rosso it was an unprofitable afternoon with Jean-Eric Vergne 12th and Daniel Ricciardo 13th.