Franco Morbidelli

2017 FIM Moto2 Grand Prix World Champion

Born on 4 December 1994 in Rome, Italy

FRANKIE CAN RELAX

Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) was crowned the 2017 FIM Moto2 World Champion with a race to spare after taking eight wins, six poles and eleven podiums to become the first Italian champion in the intermediate class since Marco Simoncelli in 2008. Morbidelli arrived in Moto2 from national and European STK600 racing with three appearances in 2013 that gained him a full-time ride for the following year. Some top ten results in the latter half of that season laid the foundations for 2015, when he scored top six results in the opening five rounds and a debut podium at Indianapolis.

Morbidelli showed his championship potential in 2016, recovering from a slow start to score eight podiums from the last eleven races, but nobody could have predicted the form he showed at the start of this campaign. Off to a flying start with a faultless win from pole in Qatar, Morbidelli scored three further wins from the next four races to establish a lead he would not relinquish. Victories at Assen and Sachsenring further cemented his position, before he crashed out of the lead at Misano. Next time out at MotorLand Aragon, the VR46 academy prospect took on compatriot Mattia Pasini (Kalex) in a stunning duel, and put everything on the line for his eighth win of the year.

'Frankie' arrived for the penultimate round at Sepang with a 29-point advantage and following a dramatic qualifying session that saw key rival Thomas Lüthi (Kalex) ruled out of action after suffering a fracture in his foot, Morbidelli’s advantage at the top was enough to declare him the champion.

PALMARES
Word title - 2017

Marc Garcia

2017 FIM Supersport 300 World Champion

Born on 1 November 1999 in Barcelona, Spain

GARCIA BECOMES FIRST EVER CHAMPION OF NEW CLASS  

Marc Garcia (Yamaha) made history in 2017 as the first ever winner of the new FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, taking the title by a single point from Alfonso Coppola (Yamaha) in a gripping final-round decider at Jerez. The new series was designed as an entry-level World Championship that would give new teams and riders from all corners of the globe the opportunity to make their mark on the international stage, and so it proved with the emergence of some exciting young talent and incredibly close racing all season.

Running alongside all European rounds of the FIM World Superbike Championship, the first WorldSSP300 race took place at Aragon in April, with the Netherlands' Scott Deroue (Kawasaki) taking an historic win. Deroue doubled up in his home round at Assen however podium consistency proved key to the title as groups of six or more riders regularly crossed the line within the same second. One such heart-stopping battle at Portimao was won by Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki), who became the first ever female to win an FIM World Championship Circuit Racing event after overcoming both Coppola and Garcia by less than a tenth of a second.

Garcia took his second win and fifth podium in the penultimate round at Magny Cours to set up a grand finale against Coppola, who trailed by four points. The title swung both ways throughout another race-long group skirmish, which wasn't decided until the final lap as Coppola crossed the line third, just 0.038 seconds behind race winner and Indonesian wildcard Galang Hendra (Yamaha), but with Garcia claiming the title just behind him in fourth.

PALMARES
World title - 2017

Joan Mir

2017 FIM Moto3 World Champion

Born on 1 September 1997 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

JOAN IS THE MIR-ACLE MAN!

Joan Mir (Honda) became the first rider ever to score more than eight wins in a single FIM Moto3 World Championship season as he stormed to the title in dominant fashion. A former FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship rider in 2015, when he gave a sign of his great promise by standing on the podium at each of the races he finished, Mir was crowned Rookie of the Year at Grand Prix level in 2016 with fourth place overall and kicked off this campaign with a second career victory in the opening round at Losail. The 19-year-old would hold firm at the head of the standings throughout the remainder of a stunning campaign.

Backing up his victory in Qatar with the same result at round two in Argentina, Texas proved to be his worst result in the first half of the year when he came eighth, but Mir bounced back on home turf at Jerez to take third, only a tenth off the win, and was quickly back on the top step at Le Mans. He won again at the Catalan GP before stringing together wins at Sachsenring, Brno and Austria. After losing some ground to key rival Aron Canet (Honda) at Silverstone, he produced a calm ride to second in the rain at Misano and Aragon saw him back on top of the podium, setting him up with his first chance at the title at Motegi.

In torrential conditions, the tale took a twist as Romano Fenati (Honda) took the win and Mir failed to score, but at Phillip Island it was a different story, as the Majorcan took his ninth win of the year clinch the title with two rounds to spare.

PALMARES
World title – 2017

Dennis Foggia

2017 FIM Moto3 Junior World Champion

Born on 7 January 2001 in Algemesi, Italy

MOTO3 JUNIOR CHAMPION REMAINS IN ITALY

Dennis Foggia (KTM) ensured that the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship remained in Italy in 2017, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta as he clinched the title with two races to spare. 

Jeremy Alcoba (Honda) made the early season running with a victory and a third place in the opening two rounds at Albacete and Le Mans, whilst back-to-back wins for Alonso López (Honda) at the French round and the first of two races at Barcelona-Catalunya pulled him into direct contention with his fellow Spaniard. However, a spell of inconsistency for the pair was met by a run of three straight wins for Foggia, who took the championship lead with a dominant double in round four at Valencia, before following up at Estoril.

A second place in the first race at Jerez edged Foggia closer to the title and even when he crashed in race two, when he was taken out in the last corner by López, Vicente Pérez (KTM) was the only one of the top seven in the championship to capitalise with a points-finish. 

As such, Foggia went into the penultimate event at MotorLand Aragón needing just fifteen points to secure the title. The Junior Team VR46 Riders Academy rider showed his intent in qualifying, scoring his first pole position of the season, before making sure of the championship with second place in a race won by Jaume Masia (KTM).

PALMARES
World title - 2017

Ben Birchall & Thomas Birchall

2017 FIM Sidecar World Champion

Ben Birchall (Driver)
Born on 21 January 1977 in Mansfield, Great Britain

Thomas Birchall (Passenger)
Born on 23 December 1986 in Mansfield, Great Britain

BIRCHALLS BACK ON TOP

British brothers Ben and Tom Birchall (LCR-Yamaha) made history as the first FIM Sidecar World Champions of the post-1000cc era in 2017, comfortably holding off the challenge of last year's champions Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen (LCR-Honda) with victory in all but the final race of the season.

Reaping the rewards of their decision to race a 600cc outfit in 2016, when they lifted the F2 World Trophy for the smaller machines, the 2009 FIM Sidecar World Champions signaled their intent from the opening round at Le Mans, where they took pole position and set a new lap record on their way to a dominant win.

With double points up for grabs in round two at Oschersleben the pair were doubly effective, again taking pole position and a lap record as they cruised to victory in both the sprint and gold races to open up a fifteen-point advantage over their Finnish rivals, who were second each time. The result pattern continued at round three in Hungary, where the Birchalls again took the full set of pole, lap record and a double win, and in a single race at Assen.

The determination of the Finns meant that Ben and Tom still only held a 30-point advantage going into the final round – another double-header in Croatia - and despite conceding the holeshot to Paivarinta and Kainulainen in the ten-lap sprint race, the Birchalls quickly recovered to seal the title with a seventh win from seven. A rear tyre puncture that caused them to crash out of the gold race did nothing to deflate the celebrations.

PALMARES
2 World titles – 2009, 2017
F2 World Trophy - 2016

David Checa

2017 FIM Endurance World Champion

Born on 20 April 1980 in Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain

CHECA CLAIMS HAT-TRICK TITLE

David Checa was crowned as an FIM Endurance World Champion for the third time in 2017, following on from his previous successes with the GMT94 Yamaha team back in 2004 and 2014. Checa has been an integral part of the GMT94 Yamaha team in every EWC season they have contested, enjoying a first success together way back in 2003, when they won the Oschersleben 24-hour race.

That season was his first experience with Yamaha, also racing a YZF-R1 in the Spanish championship, and the introduction of the third-generation of the machine in 2004 saw him dominate the EWC to capture the title for the first time, taking victory in the Oschersleben 24 hours and Zhuhaï 6 Hours rounds. In 2005 he won at Le Mans and finished second at the Bol d’Or, but after missing out on the title he tried his hand at other individual series', including the FIM World Superbike Championship, which he contested also with GMT94, in 2008 and 2009. 

The experienced Spanish rider, who spent the early part of his career racing with some success in the FIM 250cc World Championship and also scored points in MotoGP during 2005, found his home back in EWC in 2010 and finally lifted the title for a second time, ten years on from the first, in 2014. After missing out to SERT in the team category and Lucas Mahias in the individual stakes in 2016, the younger brother of former FIM World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa this year shares the rider's crown with his title-winning GMT94 Yamaha team-mate Niccolò Canepa.

PALMARES
3 World titles – 2004, 2014, 2017

Niccolò Canepa

2017 FIM Endurance World Champion

Born on 15 May 1988 in Genova, Italy

IF ANYBODY CAN, NICCOLO CAN

Niccolò Canepa was crowned as an FIM Endurance World Champion in an exciting final round at the Suzuka 8 Hour, barely a year after making his debut in the discipline following a long career as a successful Superstock, MotoGP and World Superbike rider. The Italian hooked up with the experienced GMT94 Yamaha team in 2016, forming a strong relationship with team stalwart David Checa that took them to within a point of the FIM EWC title in their first campaign together.

After taking ninth place in the opening round of the new season at the Bol d'Or in 2016, the pair were joined by Mike Di Meglio for the 2017 races and stormed to victories at the Le Mans 24 Heures, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben and the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring to hunt down early leaders and defending champions SERT.

Canepa first made his name as the FIM Superstock 1000 Champion in 2007 and after some impressive testing performances with Ducati he was awarded a satellite MotoGP seat for 2009, finishing in a respectable sixteenth. After spending 2010 in the Moto2 class he returned to production racing, finishing second in Superstock in 2011 and in the World Superbike Evo class in 2014, before finding an affinity with World Endurance and the GMT94 Yamaha team. 

With Di Meglio having missed out on their result at the Bol D'Or, Canepa consequently shares the 2016-2017 FIM EWC rider's crown with his title-winning team-mate David Checa.

PALMARES
World title – 2017

GMT94 Yamaha

2017 FIM Endurance World Champion Team Manager

Team Manager: Christophe Guyot
Riders: David Checha, Niccolò Canepa, Mike Di Meglio

JAPANESE JOY FOR GMT94!

GMT94 Yamaha reclaimed the FIM Endurance World Championship title they had previously won in 2004 and 2014 in a thrilling grande finale to the season at the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours.

Defending champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) had led the standings throughout the season after winning the Bol d’Or 2016 last September, but by the time they got to Suzuka in August 2017, they had a lead of only one point over GMT94 Yamaha, who had picked up three wins - at the Le Mans 24 Heures, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben and the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring – since signing former FIM 125cc World Champion Mike Di Meglio to join David Checa and Niccolò Canepa for this year's races.

The French factory Suzuki team – 15-time FIM EWC world champions – dropped out of the running for yet another world title when Sodo Hamahara crashed out, causing the Suzuki #1 to drop back to beyond 30th place. A safety car intervention then partially stymied Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and their Japanese teammate’s efforts to climb any higher than 18th.

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, who withdrew from the Bol d’Or but stepped on the podium at Le Mans and Oschersleben went all out to keep their title hopes alive but Mandy Kainz’s factory-backed Austrian team (Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane and Marvin Fritz) had to settle for third overall after finishing fifth.

Meanwhile an eleventh-place finish for the team managed by Christophe Guyot was enough for a third FIM EWC title, whilst David Checa and Niccolò Canepa, who unlike Di Meglio were part of the GMT94 Yamaha line-up that finished ninth at the Bol d’Or, jointly claimed the riders' honours.