Month: May 2012

Moto2:Julian Simon not to blame for slides in MotoGP start

Julian Simon had the MotoGP fingers pointed at him for being the possible cause of the many wobbly starts at the beginning of the MotoGP race. He and his team announced today that this was not the case – so Simon remains heroic!

See my full report here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/179979/1/moto2_simon_unlikely_to_have_caused_slippery_motogp_starts.html

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My Le Mans hero – Julian Simon!

There were many epic performances over the Le Mans weekend, but even the winners and the awesome Rossi podium will find it hard to compete with the dedication of Blusens Avintia rider Julian Simon.

The former 125cc champion crashed on the final corner, just like Bradly Smith, but PUSHED his bike over the line, surely a mean feat for someone so slight!

The downside is that the strange MotoGP starts of De Puniet, Hayden and Spies are being attributed to him dropping something on the track that went unnoticed (more the marshals problem than his surely?)

Anyway here’s the video!

Moto2: Luthi wins at wet Le Mans

Swiss rider Tom Luthi won while many of the big names crashed out during the wet race in the Moto2 championship at Le Mans, Brit Redding made the podium in France, but for me the highlight was watching a determined Julian Simon pushing his Blusens across the line, not exactly Usain Bolt but got him an heroic 13th place, check out the full race report here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/179897/1/moto2_luthi_takes_wet_win_in_le_mans.html

Moto3:Rossi takes debut victory at wet Le Mans

Rossi (no not that one!) took an impressive first win in the wet in France, while the whole top five set new best performances, even more impressive to the sodden French fans as he is a Le Mans local!

For the full race report, click here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/179893/1/moto3_rossi_takes_debut_home_win_at_wet_le_mans.html

Moto2: Early effort gives Marquez pole in damp France!

Marc Marquez put in an early lap before the on/off drizzle set in, which remained for the session to take pole. Luthi second and Espargaro third.

Excellent qualifying performance from Redding and Iannone too in fourth and fifth, see my full report here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/179873/1/moto2_early_lap_gives_marquez_pole_in_le_mans.html

Moto3: Vinales takes pole in France!

With weather playing it’s part over in France Maverick Vinales finds himself on pole in Le Mans.

Drama for Cortese post-crash too. Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow, check out my full qualifying report here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/179869/1/moto3_vinales_dominates_in_damp_le_mans_qualifying.html

Stoner to retire at the end of the 2012 Season

Double World Champion Casey Stoner used todays Le Mans press conference to announce his retirement plans, while Valentino Rossi promises fans another two years.

Current reigning World Champion Casey Stoner announced in the Le Mans press conference that he will retire from the sport at the end of the 2012 season as he no longer feels a strong passion for the sport. The announcement was a shock in its timing, it was only at the last grand prix in Estoril that he was forced to deny his retirement plans as rumours were already bouncing around the paddock, but not in its content as he has long remonstrated that he has no interest in riding a CRT bike, which are to be introduced across the board from next season, he has also spoken out against most recent rule changes, many of which have been brought in as austerity measures.

“After so many years of doing this sport which I love, and which myself and my family made so many sacrifices for, after so many years of trying to get to where we have gotten to at this point, this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it. I don’t have the passion for it and so at this time it’s better if I retire now.

“There are a lot of things that have disappointed me, and also a lot of things I have loved about this sport, but unfortunately the balance has gone in the wrong direction. And so, basically, we won’t be continuing any more. It would be nice if I could say I would stay one more year, but then where does it stop? So we decided to finish everything as we are now.”

The Australian also added that family factors had been an influence in his decision, he has often used his Repsol blog since becoming a father to mention how he has been the last to arrive and first to leave testing and now race weekends since becoming a father earlier in the year, Estoril was also the first race where he had no family present as Adriana is still home with the baby and his mother and often present father Colin were also not in attendance.

Both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo used their press conferences to give immediate reaction to what they had just heard, both being somewhat surprised at his decision and sad for the sport as Stoner is a front-runner who they have both battled against in the past.

Yamaha’s Lorenzo, currently second to Stoner by one point in this years championship was among many who, despite the rumours, thought Stoner would race for at least one more season:

“It’s a surprise for me, for everyone. I didn’t expect it. I heard the rumours and I thought there was a possibility, but I thought he would continue next year. Now he has told us, it’s not good news for MotoGP I think, but his decision is to live quietly with his family and we must respect his decision.”, he told the press conference for motogp.com.

Ducati rider Rossi concurred, and used his time in front of the microphone to renew his commitment to race for two more years after rumours of his own retirement being imminent:

“Yes, it’s a big surprise. I think it’s bad news for all the MotoGP world because at the end of the season maybe we’re losing one of the great riders and a great rival. Is negative, but it’s his own decision. For me it’s very difficult to understand where my retirement news started from, as I never spoke about my retirement. I want to race in MotoGP for the next two years for sure.”

Rossi returns to Le Mans with hopes of a strong performance as last season he managed to make the podium when he finished third, heavy rain is forecast for Sunday,which may well help him in his quest for a place on the rostrum

Stoner fan or otherwise,interest comes as his departure opens up a seat at Honda which will surely shake up the contract season, with all riders out of contract and up for negotation.

The upcoming Marc Marquez should be immediately out of the equation due to the rookie rule.Yamaha will have to dig deep into their pockets to ensure they keep Jorge Lorenzo, while it gives Rossi fans a hope of a dream move back to Honda for a final title shot.Ben Spies has already had to fend off rumours surrounding his position at Yamaha after a run of poor form, while the current Tech3 situation dictates that either Cal Crutchlow or Andrea Dovizioso will go at the end of season to make way for the incoming Bradey Smith.

Latest Moto2 and Moto3 changes ahead of Le Mans

It appears not to be the end of the chassis switching in Moto2 as hot on the heels of Julian Simon from FTR to Suter, this week there are three more riders with equipment changes.

Gresini Moto2 riders Gino Rea (federal oil) and Ratthapark Wiliarot (Thai Honda) will hope for improvements as they make the switch from Moriwaki to championship leaders Suter, a big blow for Moriwaki who don’t seem to have found their feet this season, this was the combination that won the inaugural Moto2 championship with Toni Elias.

Angel Rodriguez also switches chassis, from a FTR to a Biamota HB4, while his team mate Marco Colandera keeps working on the FTR chassis for the La Torre SAG team.

Changes are also afoot in Moto3, the Ambrogio Next racing team announced, in somewhat dramatic fashion in the Italian press that they are parting ways with Oral, with their riders Grotskyj and Pedone switching to Suter form Le Mans, although originally denied by Oral.

Oral are still present in the championship as they work with Mahindra.

Read my full story on the change here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/179730/1/moto3_ambrogio_drop_oral_for_suter_honda.html

Vermeulen in for Edwards at le Mans

NGM Forward racing has announced it is to replace the injured Colin Edwards with former MotoGP rider Chris Vermeulen for the next race at Le Mans.

The sidelined Texan had been using his @texastornado5 Twitter account to debate with the public who should be his substitute for the next round in France with Vermeulen being a name the number 5 brought up as a preferred replacement.

 

Vermeulen is considered to be a wet weather specialist given his previous rain results, especially his only MotoGP win, which came in 2007 at a very wet Le Mans for Suzuki,making him a fairly logical choice for the Forward team – especially as he is not currently contracted to any team and has GP experience.

The Australian rider, who was at one time mentored by motorcycle legend Barry Sheene, has suffered serious injury since moving to World Superbikes, sidelining his career progress. Vermeulen is excited to be given an opportunity to return to top flight motorcycle racing:

“First of all I would like to wish Colin a speedy recovery. I am grateful to have the opportunity to race back in MotoGP with the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team,” said Chris Vermeulen. “I am looking forward to my first time on the bike being at Le Mans, a circuit that holds great memories for me including a victory in 2007. I am excited to be racing at the top level of motorcycling again and look forward to working with the team.”

How he will fare given his lack of recent racing remains to be seen, but his results in the wet, especially at Le Mans, which is so often a rainy race, goes a long way to explain why the team sought him out. His previous MotoGP experience should mean he still knows his way around the circuit and hopefully he will get to grips with the bike quickly too. No doubt having a different rider will give some good feedback on CRT problems for the team, and being out of contract because of his injuries makes him much easier to hire than the BMW Superbike riders, as Forward use BMW that would have raised more issues had they been miles ahead or behind Edwards current times.

Rossi retiring from MotoGP?

Anyone who hasn’t yet caught today’s article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph should look here :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/motorcycling/9250594/Ducati-rider-Valentino-Rossi-expected-to-retire-from-MotoGP-at-the-end-of-this-season.html

Don’t know how much is fact but it would be a shame to see a hero to so many go like this, but at the same time it would be great to see him happy and winning again in a sport he loves and enjoys.

What is certain is the Telegraph have certainly started a talking point for the day!

UPDATE: check out the Italian press company Sportmediaset rubbish the report as a ‘big lie’ here (knowledge of Italian or some Google translating required!)

http://www.sportmediaset.mediaset.it/motogp/motogp/articoli/81889/rossi-si-ritira-balla-colossale.shtml