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Danny Kent's racing story

Danny Kent's racing story

Britain have their first World Champion since Barry Sheene in 1977, all thanks to a boy from Chippenham.

As with many young British riders, Danny Kent made his start racing minimoto in the UK before progressing through the Aprilia Superteen Championship. The Superteen Championship has seen many riders, including Casey Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith cut their teeth. Having achieved great domestic success Kent begun to race in the Spanish 125GP Championship where he finished ninth overall in 2008.

The Red Bull Rookies Cup was a springboard for Danny Kent’s career; in 2010 the young talent from Chippenham impressed many by winning the first and the last race of the season. The ten-race season was filled with five other podiums and an overall strong season earned him second place in the championship, just six points shy of the winner.

His performance did not go unnoticed and in the same year he received his first call for the World Championship. In his home Grand Prix at Silverstone he made his first appearance as a wildcard mounted on a Honda RS125R, but was unfortunately forced to retire. In the closing five rounds of the season the Brit was called up by the Lambretta Reparto Corse team to replace Isaac Viñales, achieving a best finish of 21st.

In 2011, his fulltime World Championship adventure begun with the Red Bull Ajo Motorsport team mounted on an Aprilia RSA 125. Jonas Folger was Kent’s teammate for the year; the German riding the factory Aprilia but despite the difference in machinery Kent was able to achieve similar and competitive results. His best result of the year was fourth in the Spanish GP and Kent would finish his debut season in 11th overall.

The following year saw the lightweight category change rules, the two stroke 125cc engines replaced with single cylinder four-stroke ones and the Moto3™ class was born. Kent remained with the Ajo squad and adapted well to the change of machinery, his first podium coming in a dramatic Dutch TT, but the highlight of the year came in Motegi when Kent took the first win of his career. A win in Valencia at the last race of year allowed Kent to cement fourth in the championship with 154 points.

These promising results led him to jump to the Moto2™ category in 2013, joining the Tech3 squad. However, the move proved difficult and Kent struggled to make himself and the Mistral 610 competitive and returned to the Moto3™ World Championship and the Ajo team, this time mounted on the Husqvarna.

 On his return to the lightweight class Kent took pole at the Japanese GP, having secured podium finishes in Brno and Aragon before. Again Kent would end the year in the top ten of the world standings. For 2015 he undertook the challenge of racing with the newly formed Leopard Racing Team on the Honda Moto3™ machine, this move produced excellence. In the first half of the season Kent took five wins, often dominating races by huge margins and breaking multiple records.

Kent’s fortune faded somewhat after the summer break, unique race conditions in Indianapolis and a restarted race in Brno allowed many of the Brit’s rivals to reduce Kent’s significant points lead. Enea Bastianini emerged as the main candidate to challenge Kent’s claim to the 2015 crown, taking victory at home in Misano. But disaster struck for the pair in Aragon as they both fell on the final lap, leaving the points difference at 55. Kent arrived in Motegi with his first chance of taking the title but wild weather conditions forced the Brit to play it safe. Disaster struck in Phillip Island as Kent crashed out with Oliveira taking victory, Sepang was an equally difficult round. With a ninth place finish in Valencia Kent became World Champion, Britain's first since Barry Sheene way back in 1977.

Moto3, 2015, Danny Kent, Leopard Racing

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