Month: March 2013

MotoGP: Jerez test round-up – Crutchlow leaves Jerez quickest

After the good conditions the Moto2 and Moto3 teams had at Jerez the MotoGP boys must have had high hopes for a productive test when they arrived at the circuit, instead they had an incredibly wet test, with few laps being done and a lot of time to fill while waiting for the track to dry out to get some valuable work done and some actual testing, some teams had parts to try while Yamaha had a whole chassis to put through it’s paces!

On Top – Crutchlow at the Jerez test
Image: Tech3 Yamaha Facebook, editorial use only

Surprisingly after the Honda dominance of the previous tests, especially Marquez and Pedrosa’s performance at the private Austin test it was British satellite team rider Cal Crutchlow who finished with the fastest overall time of 1m 39.511 set on the final day aboard his Tech3 Yamaha.

Crutchlow was seemingly able to concentrate on pace when the weather allowed after stating on Twitter  “I don’t have any new parts to test at all !” after the official MotoGP website suggested he did.

Despite clocking less than 70 dry laps over the course of the test the Englishman was quick to point out that everyone else was in the same boat and that he was pleased with his consistant “decent lap times”. He also remains concerned about the pace of the Honda bikes, telling MotoGP.com:

“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani and Marc (Márquez) at the moment. I think their package is stronger. We know Dani is obviously very confident because he went home today – so he is happy with the bike! We are still working very hard with the Yamaha, but it’s going to be a big battle in Qatar.”

Dani Pedrosa finished overall fourth while electing not to ride on the final day at Jerez, reasoning a return of the neck pain he has been suffering and having no new parts to test were enough to skip day three. Pramac Ducati rider Ben Spies and Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista also did not ride. Pedrosa’s Honda team-mate rookie rider Marc Marquez finished the test sixth fastest and was fifth on the final day.

Fans around the globe breathed a sigh of relief when on day two Valentino Rossi went quickest, his lap of 1m39.525 remaining the second fastest time after being narrowly beaten by Crutchlow, he was also the second fastest rider on day two.

Rossi had been testing the new chassis on day three and though he felt the test was a success he was not as confident with the new chassis and both he and Jorge Lorenzo will use the old one for the opening races:

“I’m so happy because at the end of today’s session we had some quite good conditions to make some laps in the dry and especially because for us it was very important to try the new chassis. The feeling is generally ok; I was able to be competitive in difficult conditions and I also made good lap times with the used tyre. The new chassis has some good and bad points but I think I will start the season with the one I used yesterday and test this one again during the season. I am happy about the test; I was competitive all three days so I am looking forward to going to Qatar.”

Lorenzo and Rossi in action at the final pre-season test at Jerez
Photo: Yamaha Factory Team Facebook, editorial use only.

Reigning world champion Lorenzo completed the top three fastest times at the Jerez test with his day two time of 1m 39.540 just tenths behind his team-mate Rossi, making an all-Yamaha top three. He was fourth on the final day and was pleased overall after the difficult times the team had faced at the Austin test:

“It’s been a positive test for us to gain some motivation after Austin; that was a difficult three days. It shows that every track is a different world so let’s see what happens in Qatar. There can be a lot of sand on the track there so we’ll see how it is. Like every year you feel a little nervous at the beginning, it’s so important to start in a good way and get some points!”

Displacing the Spaniard from the final day’s top three was Stefan Bradl, who felt he had finally fixed the issues he had been experiencing with the front end of the LCR Honda, which had lead to a series of crashes for the German.

“We have found the right direction to get my front feeling back. Basically we were playing with setup, finding some more grip and confidence in the front which is very important for me because I had a crash yesterday. Finally we found something good and the lap time is not so bad.”

Bradl finished the test fifth overall, with only the top five riders dipping under the 1m 40 benchmark and Marquez narrowly outside he looks in a strong position, despite being the sole rider at his team, to take his first podium MotoGp finish this season.

Below are the final placing for the final test before the season begins in Qatar in April:

 1. Cal Crutchlow  Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 39.511s (day 3)
 2. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.525s (day 2)
 3. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.540s (day 2)
 4. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.630s (day 2)
 5. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.975s (day 3)
 6. Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 40.130s (day 3)
 7. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.322s (day 2)
 8. Andrea Iannone  Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 40.331s (day 3)
 9. Nicky Hayden  Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.370s (day 3)
10. Alvaro Bautista  Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 40.686s (day 2)
11. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (GP13) 1m 40.881s (day 3)
12. Randy De Puniet  Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 40.971s (day 3)
13. Bradley Smith  Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 41.134s (day 3)
14. Aleix Espargaro  Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 41.218s (day 3)
15. Hector Barbera  Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.376s (day 2)
16. Claudio Corti  Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.443s (day 3)
17. Danilo Petrucci  IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.529s (day 2)
18. Ben Spies  Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 41.702s (day 2)
19. Hiroshi Aoyama  Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.772s (day 3)
20. Lukas Pesek  IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.791s (day 3)
21. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB (ART CRT) 1m 41.864s (day 3)
22. Yonny Hernandez  Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 42.050s (day 2)
23. Bryan Staring  Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 42.107s (day 2)
24. Colin Edwards  Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 42.154s (day 2)
25. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 1m 42.470s (day 3)
* Control ECU.

 

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MotoGP: Bradl unveils the 2013 LCR Honda

It almost slipped under the radar after the fanfare and fuss surrounding the Yamaha unveiling but there was another bike being launched in Jerez before testing commenced at the circuit as Stefan Bradl pulled the covers off his new 2013 LCR Honda!

                            Bradl and the 2013 LCR Honda
                              image owned by LCR Honda

Former Moto2 champion Bradl is starting his second season at the team after earning the title of  ‘rookie of the year’ in his debut season for LCR.

The German is hopeful of continuing his progress in MotoGP and would like to cement his success with a podium on the Honda:

“I am excited to be back after the winter break and more importantly, I am happy to be back with Lucio and his Team. Last year we had a very positive season and I felt that everybody gave their maximum support for me in my debut in MotoGP class. Firstly I must thank Honda HRC for believing in me and to thank them again for making the RCV as it is a real dream bike. The main target for me is to be on the podium this year, I think we have the potential to do that. For sure, the challenge is high and my rivals are very strong, but as soon as somebody in front makes a mistake we should be there to catch a podium”.

The Honda and Bradl can be seen in action this week in the final MotoGP pre-season test at Jerez before the season starts in Qatar in two weeks time.

Moto3: Vinales – “I thought I had blown the world championship”

Vinales pictured during the Jerez test before the accident
Image : Team Calvo / Laglisse press

Moto3 title contender Maverick Vinales has begun his race to be fit ahead of the openeing round of the championship at Qatar in April.

The 18 year old racer lost the tip and nail of one of his fingers on his right hand during the final pre-season test at Jerez on the third day, last Wednesday.

To put his injury into perspective, when Jorge Lorenzo sustained a similar injury in warm-up at the Phillip Island race weekend in 2011 he missed the last two races of the season to allow his injuries to heal. Vinales has a recovery window of just two weeks.

The Spaniard has already had a skin graft in hospital in Barcelona and spoke at a press conference held in the hospital the following morning describing how he thought he had thrown his season away before it had started.

“I thought I had blown the World Championship for the year. When I got up and looked at my hand I was so scared, speechless … this is my first injury. I was absolutely on the limit, got the corner wrong and lost it.”

The Team Calvo (formerly JHK Laglisse) KTM rider has been given an excellent recovery prognosis from the hospitals doctors and will have check-ups for the injury next week to ensure he has remained free of infection and will then have a brief course of rehabilitation with a physiotherapist ahead of the race at Lossail.

 

 

MotoGP : Yamaha unveil 2013 livery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yamaha Factory team today (Friday) revealed the livery the will be using for the 2013 season in Jerez, showcasing the bikes of the returning Valentino Rossi and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

The colour scheme as expected remains largely blue and white with the lower part of the bike almost identical to the 2012 model with he Eneos logo on display. The biggest change is the addition of the Monster Energy logo to the centre, and is a bit smaller and less in-your-face than you’d expect from the drinks company, leading to the bikes general appearance being very understated with the excpetion of Rossi’s luminous yellow 46 bouncing off the page, a much welcomed pop of colour.

Pictures via the Yamaha Racing Facebook page, click the link for more!

MotoGP: Colin Edwards teaches you COTA!

Keen to get a preview of the Circuit of the Americas before the MotoGP paddock arrives for the second round?

Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo already had taster of COTA at their recent test.
Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies also got to test out the new USA round in Austin, Texas for a recent Ducati launch event. Even the wild-card Attack Performance and GP Tech machines have given the new circuit a whirl.

Now fellow American and fan favourite Colin Edwards gets to test out his new true home track while giving WSBK commentator Jonathan Green a tour of the circuit.

Here’s an idea of what we can expect on raceday!

Moto2/Moto3 Jerez Test latest – Salom and Espargaro fastest as Jerez test draws to a close

This week I am writing the test news for the Paddock Chatter website, so for full versions of all the latest on the Moto2 and Moto3 Jerez test follow these links:

For Moto3 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto3-test-salom-finishes-fastest.html

For Moto2 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto2-test-espargaro-leaves-jerez-as.html

If you read the content there you can discuss and comment too, below is a taster of both news articles which also include a full results list if you follow the links above:

Moto3:

The weather on the Andalucian coast was good once again for the shared track time with Moto2 and Moto3’s sole running ahead of the season opener at Qatar.
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Luis Salom set the fastest time of the whole week in the final half day of testing on Thursday, his time of 1m 46.374 being 0.229 quicker than the time Maverick Vinales set for Team Calvo on Wednesday before sustaining the finger injury that ruled him out of the rest of the test.
Also fairing well on the final day were the Estrella Galicia team riders, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez, both of whom had put in strong performances throughout the test and finished the day second and third, and impressively third and fourth overall.
Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira broke up the KTM dominance after filling the top three positions once again, placing his Mahindra fourth on the final day, his team-mate Efren Vazquez was seventh on a day where less than two seconds covered the top 19 riders…

Moto2:

Pol Espargaro was once again the pace-setter on the final day of Moto2 testing action at Jerez, the Tuenti HP 40 rider was also fastest overall with the 1m 42.636 he set in Wednesday’s sessions, cementing his status as the man to beat after being runner-up last season.

Second fastest on Thursday was Espargaro’s team-mate Tito Rabat, who had also run at the top of the timesheets earlier in the week. The Pons Kalex pair were followed by the Aspar team riders, Jordi Torres and Nico Terol, who finished the day third and fourth respectively on their Suter machines…

For more including the list of times for both classes just follow the links above!

MotoGP: Schwantz asked to “leave the track” at COTA Austin test.

Former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz has issued a statement via Facebook regarding his attendance at the last MotoGP test at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in his hometown of Texas.

Schwantz Suzuki Attack LCR Austin

Kevin Schwantz – apparently not welcome at COTA
Image: Cedric Janodet via Flickr used under creative commons license

Schwantz was initially involved in the tracks build and bringing MotoGP racing to the Austin site, but the relationship between his company 3four Texas GP, the track owners and Dorna turned sour when,  according to the 1993 champ, he was seemingly cut out of the promotional deal which was initially negotiated and to last for ten years, resulting in ongoing legal wranglings.

Here’s the Schwantz statement in full where he discusses how despite being a guest of LCR and employed by Attack Performance to coach their rider he was asked to leave COTA and not return:

Statement by Kevin Schwantz

I have read several reports regarding my attendance at the MotoGP test last week in Austin. I would like to make this statement:

“I had been in Switzerland over the weekend where I was the guest speaker at the St. Gallen University. I returned to Texas on Tuesday evening and on Thursday I was at CotA for the MotoGP test, with a proper credential supplied by the Attack team, to coach Blake Young. Additionally I was an invited guest of the LCR Honda team.

While there, CotA security informed me that CotA management requested I leave the track immediately and was not welcomed at the circuit. CotA’s security force also accused me of criminal trespass and warned I would be arrested the next time I entered the track.

This comes as a tremendous disappointment to Honda, Blake Young, and myself. Especially because I am single-handedly responsible for bringing MotoGP to Texas and for the initial design of the facility to accommodate MotoGP racing.”

Here’s a link to the facebook original page too: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10151418731912961&id=61715682960

Moto2/Moto3 Jerez Test latest – Vinales fastest but injures hand, Espargaro back in control

This week I am writing the test news for the Paddock Chatter website, so for full versions of all the latest on the Moto2 and Moto3 Jerez test follow these links:

For Moto3 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto3-test-vinales-fastest-but-injures.html

For Moto2 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto2-test-espargaro-back-on-top-at.html

If you read the content there you can discuss and comment too, below is a taster of both news articles:

Moto3:

With the weather improving after the downpours of Tuesday, after a short delay to allow the track to fully dry it was back to business at the Spanish circuit.

 

Team Calvo rider Maverick Vinales topped the timesheets with a 1m 46.603 aboard his KTM, but will take no further part in testing after crashing at Criville corner, the fastest on the circuit, during the Moto3 only session. The young Spaniard got his hand caught under the handlebars, causing a lost nail and damage to the tissue of his third finger. Vinales headed to Barcelona for further medical checks with it currently seeming that surgery will not be necessary and is expected to recover quickly enough to be ready for the opening race of the year at Qatar.

 

The title favourite explained his mixed feelings on finishing fastest after the crash:

“On one hand I’m happy because we did a great pace and we have worked hard and well. Every day I feel more comfortable on the bike and the connection is very good. But it was a shame next was the fall. Now it’s time to be calm and recover for Qatar”.

 

Vinales time today was the fastest of the test so far and quicker than the fastest time at the previous Jerez test, a 1m46.805, which he also set.

 

It was another strong day for KTM/Kalex KTM with the manufacturer having a stranglehold on the top three and taking up nine of the top ten places.

 

Second fastest was early leader in the morning session Alex Rins who was just 0.086 slower with a time he set in the final session for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team, German rider Jonas Folger, who was top on day one, made the top three for Aspar…

Moto2:

As the sun returned to the Spanish circuit so did the full field of Moto2 riders with Tuenti HP 40 rider Pol Espargaro leading the way aboard his Pons Kalex, setting a time of 1m 42.636, the fastest of the test so far though just shy of the Spaniards own time of 1m 42.332 from the first test at the track in February. His progress meant Espargaro elected to sit out the third session altogether.

 

Fastest in the final session of the day to grab second was Italtrans rider Takaaki Nakagami who didn’t break the 1m 43 mark and was 0.467 adrift of the top time. Third place was filled by his team-mate, Julian Simon, making it an all Kalex/Pons Kalex top three.

 

British rider Scott Redding scored an impressive fourth fastest place, the Marc VDS Kalex man also completing a race simulation run during his track time…

For more including the list of times for both classes just follow the links above!

Moto2/Moto3 Jerez Test latest – Miller and Redding shine in the wet

This week I am writing the test news for the Paddock Chatter website, so for full versions of all the latest on the Moto2 and Moto3 Jerez test follow these links:

For Moto3 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto3-test-miller-makes-best-of-wet.html

For Moto2 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto2-test-redding-shines-through-jerez.html

If you read the content there you can discuss and comment too, below is a taster of both news articles:

Moto3:

The first full day of testing from Jerez was hit by frequent heavy downpours covering the track in standing water. Just 20 riders elected to brave the conditions and set a time – no-one ventured out for over 90 minutes after the first session started..

 

The track dried a little towards the end of the day with Jack Miller topping the times by posting a 1m 57.627 lap on his FTR Honda for Caretta Technology-RTG just 0.174 ahead of his team-mate British rider John McPhee, marking a strong wet performance for the team. The lap was over ten seconds slower than Folger’s fastest lap from day one in near perfect conditions.

 

Louis Salom completed the top three fastest on a fairly uneventful and uncompetitive day for the Red Bull KTM Ajo outfit, fellow KTM user and last seasons top rookie Alex Rins was fourth for Estralla Galicia, Australian Arthur Sissis made it two Red Bull machines in the top five…

Moto2:

After an hour and a half wait as the rain poured down in Spain many of the teams elected not to leave the pit garages at all – just 19 Moto2 riders set a time on day two.

 

The second session for Moto2 was the most productive with most riders setting their fastest times then despite the tricky conditions, the third session was shared with Moto3. Scott Redding was the cream of the crop after the deluge for Marc VDS setting a lap time of 1m 55.082 on the Kalex machine, almost 12 seconds slower than Monday’s top time in the dry set by Toni Elias.

 

After his surprise return to form yesterday Elias proved to be competent in all conditions and was the second quickest on day two, 0.296 behind Redding aboard the Blusens Avintia, making it a top two for Kalex in the wet. Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter was third fastest for the Technomag carXpert team and the fastest Suter.

 

Frenchman Mike Di Meglio, the sole MotoBI rider in the field, was fourth fastest with a time which lead the first session for the JIR team. Ant West once again demonstrated his proficiency for wet weather riding placing fifth on the timesheets for the QMMF team with his Speed Up machine…

For more including the list of times for both classes just follow the links above!

Moto2/Moto3 Jerez Test latest – Folger and Elias lead on day one

This week I am writing the test news for the Paddock Chatter website, so for full versions of all the latest on the Moto2 and Moto3 Jerez test follow these links:

For Moto3 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto3-test-folger-leads-way-on-jerez.html

For Moto2 news : http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/03/moto2-test-elias-quickest-as-testing.html

If you read the content there you can discuss and comment too, below is a taster of both news articles:

 

Moto3:

The start of the final test ahead of the seasons opening race at Qatar saw clear skies and warm weather for the Moto2 and Moto3 riders on track at Jerez.

 

Making the most of the conditions ahead of tomorrows predicted heavy downpours was Jonas Folger who ended the day fastest with a time of 1m 47.149 for Aspar on his Kalex KTM. The German topped the list ahead of a trio of Spanish KTM riders with his nearest rival for speed, Estrella Galicia rider Alex Rins, 0.252 behind. The Spanish riders all did extensive testing of new parts and components – a move which could be wise if the weather changes as predicted.

 

There was little to separate Rins from his fellow countrymen Maverick Vinales (at the newly re-named Team Calvo, still the Laglisse team but changed due to a big sponsor deal with a canned fish company) and Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM, currently riding with a fever). All three have been a dominant force in the previous tests but could not match Folger, who went six tenths quicker than his own time at the last Jerez test.

 

The fastest non-KTM bike across the line belonged to Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder in fifth, who was the quickest Suter Honda rider ahead of his team-mate Danny Webb…

Moto2:

Former Moto2 world champion Toni Elias lead the way on day one at Jerez with his lap of 1m 43.365 on his Blusens Avintia a surprise for many who were expecting Pol Espargaro to get back to business as usual as he was the pace-setter the last time Moto2 tested at the track in February when he set the quickest time of that test with a 1m 42.332.

 

This four day test for the class is the first time the teams have been allowed to use their official Moto2 race engines, with the teams using their own engines during winter testing up to this point.

 

Elias fastest time from the final session lead in a slew of fast Kalex bikes in the close to ideal weather conditions, with the top six positions being dominated by the manufacturer. The top three was completed by Pons Kalex riders and team mates Tito Rabat and Espargaro, second placed Rabat was just 0.059 behind the fastest time after leading the opening session. It is the first occasion the Tuenti HP 40 rider has finished a testing day ahead of Espargaro.

 

The Italtrans pairing of Takaaki Nakagami and Julian Simon were fourth and fifth fastest ahead of fellow Kalex rider Mika Kallio for Marc VDS in sixth. The first non-Kalex bike on the timesheets was NGM Mobile Forward racing’s Alex De Angelis…

For more including the list of times for both classes just follow the links above!