Month: March 2014

Image of the GP – Qatar: Riding through the pain

25/03/2014

Sandro Cortese picked up the first penalty point of the season for crashing into Aspar’s Jordi Torres – his pilot-less bike then crossing the track and taking out Marc VDS man Mika Kallio.

Though both Torres and Kallio walked away relatively unscathed, the German number 11 has been diagnosed with a broken heel having spent much of his race weekend in a wheelchair.

Cortese, eager to make up for his moment of madness, rode Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix with a borrowed larger boot and pain killing injections and finished an impressive sixth in the race – and moved up to fifth when Taka Nakagami was disqualified for his Idemitsu teams use of an illegal air filter on his bike.

Here’s his bike as the mess that is his foot is still a little too graphic:

Embed from Getty Images

Intact Dynavlot GP released the following statement clarifying the news on Cortese’s injury:

Intact GP

Diagnosis: Broken heel bone!

Right after Sandro Cortese had arrived in Germany from Qatar today, he went to his sports physician Dr. Armin Schupp in Memmingen to check his injured left foot. A CT scan revealed the diagnosis: a fractured heel bone and numerous internal hemorrhages in the entire left foot. To stop the bleeding @Sandrissimo11 has to keep the foot 3 to 4 days completely immobilised. Otherwise he feels topfit and until the team travels to Austin to attack in the second race of the season, the 24-year-old has two weeks time to recover.

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MotoGP Qatar Race Reports…

22/04/2014

…Are online now!

Want to know who made the podium in Moto2 and Moto3? I have just the links you need (again)!

My Moto3 race report at crash.net can be found here, and Moto2 here.

For a brief summary of the two there is also my shorter combined round up for both classes over at Paddock Chatter, something for everyone – just follow the links!

I also appreciate much tweeting, liking and commenting, so get involved! (Thanks all!)

MotoGP Qatar qualifying round-ups…

22/04/2014

Are online now!

Want to know who made the front of the grid in Moto2 and Moto3? I have just the links you need !

My Moto3 qualifying report at crash.net can be found here, and Moto2 here.

For a brief summary of the two there is also my shorter combined round up for both classes over at Paddock Chatter, something for everyone – just follow the links!

I also appreciate much tweeting, liking and commenting, so get involved! (Thanks all!)

MotoGP 2014: It’s not just the circuit lit up at Losail, meet Rossi’s new helmet!

22/03/2014

The floodlights of Qatar always offer up an exciting start to the MotoGP season and last time round Jorge Lorenzo chose to echo that with a glowing helmet, for more on that :

https://survivalofthefastest.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/motogp-lorenzos-glowing-qatar-helmet

This time Valentino Rossi has brought the lights to his lid:

2014 Glowing Rossi Helmet Qatar

Easy to find in the dark… Valentino Rossi chooses to echo the special nature of the Qatar Grand Prix in his helmet.
Image via @alawi94 shared on Twitter, re-posted under fair use act and for editorial use only.

For a closer look there is also currently a free video called ‘Rossi’s Qatar LED Helmet’ in the official MotoGP website here.

 

MotoGP 2014: Qatar – Who to watch out for in Moto3 and Moto2

22/03/2014

A very short post just to point you in the direction of my Moto3 and Moto2 previews over at Paddock Chatter, giving a review of the top contenders for the Qatar race weekend.

More here (Moto3): http://www.paddockchatter.com/2014/03/moto3-preview-whos-likely-to-feature.html

(Moto2): http://www.paddockchatter.com/2014/03/moto2-whos-who-in-intermediate-class.html

So far in Moto3 the return of Romano Fenati is looking good and the Estrella Galicia pairing of Alex Marquez and Alex Rins are looking good too. Moto2 meanwhile is far more open so far…

MotoGP,Qatar 2014: And the award for best new helmet goes to…

22/03/2014

Everyone gets excited when Valentino Rossi turns up to a race weekend, resplendent in new lid. These days Lorenzo brings on the same excitement  levels in the ‘fashion’ stakes – every day this blog is searched by someone after a look at one of his helmets.

If you take the time to look the aesthetics of MotoGP can be as beautiful to see as a hard fought race. Though, as with the racing, sometimes you need to dig a little deeper than the blue ribbon event for the best stuff.

So, in Academy Award style, the best helmet to be seen at Qatar goes to…

…Lorenzo Baldassarri.

2014 Baldassarri

Gresini rider Lorenzo Baldassarri, showing off his retro ‘Pac-Man’ helmet,shared via his official Twitter account –  @lorybalda7.
Re-posted here under the fair use act, editorial use only.

Always nice to see someone having fun on the grid with their appearance and if Baldassarri can get his Gresini Moto2 bike into gear he will be hard to miss in this very yellow ‘Pac-Man’ effort. Having seen it in action during practice it’s quite hard to miss!

(7 is the rookie’s race number, not his Pac-Man points score!)

Serious reporting will be resumed shortly.

MotoGP: The countdown to the new season – Yamaha’s 2014 livery and a new set of rules.

19/03/2014

The new season approaches and that means the time for a digest of the run in to the new season.

Yamaha got everyone whipped up by revealing their new livery for 2014….

2014 Yamaha

It’s nearly here! Yamaha got everyone hyped up for the new season with a well timed bike launch.
Image via Movistar Yamaha press release

Their bike launch may have amounted to so little change that it looked like someone had got some giant green ‘M’ stickers and added them to last seasons design effort, but not in a bad way, the 2013 bike was quite nice anyway, it just leaves the Yamaha looking a little busy. With lots of green’M’s on it (Movistar AND Monster).

The most important thing is that the bike is fast to guarantee some tight racing from Qatar and beyond. And at least Yamaha won’t have to spend too long pouring over the last minute rule changes that the paddock arrived to in Doha.

DSC_0506

Are you ready? Back under the floodlights in Qatar.
(Image by D@ly3D via Flickr used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0)

There were a few nuggets, really important nuggets of information inside the latest rule adjustments. Ducati are now re-classed (again!) as a ‘factory’ team.

As the only factory team to have not achieved a win in the previous season the new rule change keeps them under the ‘factory’ title but with the allowances they were aiming for with the open switch intact – until they hit a certain number of top three results (which is what the quickly abandoned ‘factory 2’ was all about).

By again being listed in the Factory class, Ducati will not need to use the Open class ECU software. Bonus.

A race win, two second places or three podium places in dry conditions this season change all that – they will have their race fuel reduced from 24 to 22 litres. If Ducati go on to win three races  they will also lose the right to use the softer  rear tyre available to the Open class. It will also apply to any new factory (Suzuki if they re-enter as planned in 2015, for example).

All other Open class concessions – twelve engine changes, no development ban – will be unaffected irrespective of results.

Hopefully that clears that up….

The other big news is that MotoGP now plans to impliment a standard ECU – both hardware and software – from 2016.

Full rules as laid out by the Grand Prix Commission below:

“1. The Championship ECU and software will be mandatory for all entries with effect from 2016.
All current and prospective participants in the MotoGP class will collaborate to assist with the design and development of the Championship ECU software. During the development of the software a closed user web site will be set up to enable participants to monitor software development and to input their suggested modifications.

“2. With immediate effect, a Manufacturer with entries under the factory option who has not achieved a win in dry conditions in the previous year, or new Manufacturer entering the Championship, is entitled to use 12 engines per rider per season (no design freezing), 24 litres of fuel and the same tyres allocation and testing opportunities as the Open category. This concession is valid until the start of the 2016 season.

“3. The above concessions will be reduced under the following circumstances:
Should any rider, or combination of riders nominated by the same Manufacturer, participating under the conditions of described in clause 2 above, achieve a race win, two second places or three podium places in dry conditions during the 2014 season then for that Manufacturer the fuel tank capacity will be reduced to 22 litres. Furthermore, should the same Manufacturer achieve three race wins in the 2014 season the manufacturer would also lose the right to use the soft tyres available to Open category entries.

“In each case the reduced concessions will apply to the remaining events of the 2014 season and the whole of the 2015 season.”

A final word for Marc Marquez who went from “not 100%” for Qatar to revealing “Five days ago I was not able to walk but now it’s coming better”. That’s the words of a champion who is eager to repeat success. Hopefully Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo and the rest of the MotoGP grid can provide the kind of edge-of-your-seat racing 2014 has been building up to.

Game on.

Moto2/3: Jerez test round-up – it’s all about numbers…

The Jerez test for Moto2 and Moto3 moves the racing focus back onto the junior classes and saw Jack Miller and Taka Nakagami top the respective combined timesheets for the classes.

Also impressing ahead of the season start in Qatar in Moto3 was Alex Marquez who has seemed to make the most of the Estrella Galicia Honda switch in second and rookie Karel Hanika; winner of the 2013 Red Bull Rookie title; who quickly adapted to post the third best time.

Hope of a strong season for the Brits was amplified by some great lapping by John McPhee and Danny Kent in sixth and seventh respectively after their day three performances.

Taka Nakagami lead the way in Moto2 with the list dominated by strong efforts from riders who have only offered a glimpse of greatness before.

All staking a claim that this could be their season were former Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese in second, uninjured Interwetten regular Tom Luthi in third and the now recovered Xavier Simeon in foruth. Johann Zarco was fifth best for the Caterham team.

Top rookie honours in Jerez went to Luis Salom in sixth. His Pons team-mate – the reigning Moto3 title holder Maverick Vinales was next best in 11th.

Speed-Up’s Sam Lowes held 13th place despite suffering from tendonitis. Fellow Brit Gino Rea put his privateer AGT Rea RAcing machine into a steady start in 22nd.

Full times at the end of the blog.

Numbers continued to be an issue as the rules on how your racing number can look in the lightweight classes have been tightened further.

After Scott Redding had to do away with his star in Moto2, rules were already fairly strict. but After Caterham tweeted out the image of a very patriotic stars and stripes design for Josh Herrin, it became clear that none of the designer fun the MotoGP boys can have with their brand was going to be seen this year in Moto2 (or 3).

Here’s the image:

2014 Caterham old

Pretty, patriotic and soon to be gone…the Caterham/Herrin number which sparked the numbers discussion.
Image originally shared via Twitter and reproduced here under the fair use act

A reply to the image was telling (from Ian Wheeler):

“Rule is single colour only. No stars, no chrome, just plain vinyl”.

This opens up the whole brand argument. The riders of today’s MotoGP championships tend to stick with their numbers through thick and thin, forsaking the #1 plate in favour of their superstitions, their character, their brand – the number emblazoned on the products the fans buy.

Moto2 and Moto3 are never dull race-wise, but red tape means that again it will be a little subdued on the graphics front.

Back to the starting board before Qatar for the sticker designers then!

Full Moto3 combined Jerez test times:

1. Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 46.259s
2. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0.0 (Honda) 1m 46.359s
3. Karel Hanika CZE Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 46.381s
4. Jakub Kornfeil CZE Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 46.388s
5. Efren Vazquez SPA Saxoprint-RTG (Honda) 1m 46.392s
6. John McPhee GBR Saxoprint-RTG (Honda) 1m 46.493s
7. Danny Kent GBR Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 1m 46.547s
8. Isaac Viñales SPA Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 46.551s
9. Romano Fenati ITA Sky Racing Team by VR46 (KTM) 1m 46.592s
10. Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 46.612s
11. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0.0 (Honda) 1m 46.694s
12. Niklas Ajo FIN Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 1m 46.768s
13. Juanfran Guevara SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 (Kalex-KTM) 1m 46.782s
14. Niccolo Antonelli ITA Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 1m 46.840s
15. Philipp Oettl GER Interwetten Paddock Moto3 (Kalex-KTM) 1m 46.967s
16. Brad Binder RSA Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 1m 46.985s
17. Francesco Bagnaia ITA Sky Racing Team by VR46 (KTM) 1m 47.041s
18. Eric Granado BRA Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 47.068s
19. Alexis Masbou FRA Ongetta-Rivacold (Honda) 1m 47.315s
20. Arthur Sissis AUS Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 47.419s
21. Alessandro Tonucci ITA CIP (Mahindra) 1m 47.454s
22. Livio Loi BEL Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex-KTM) 1m 47.559s
23. Ana Carrasco SPA RW Racing GP (Kalex-KTM) 1m 47.587s
24. Scott Deroue NED RW Racing GP (Kalex-KTM) 1m 47.797s
25. Enea Bastianini ITA Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 1m 48.032s
26. Andrea Locatelli ITA San Carlo Team Italia (Mahindra) 1m 48.186s
27. Matteo Ferrari ITA San Carlo Team Italia (Mahindra) 1m 48.265s
28. Zulfahmi Khairuddin MAL Ongetta-AirAsia (Honda) 1m 48.614s
29. Luca Grunwald GER Kiefer Racing (Kalex-KTM) 1m 48.752s
30. Jules Danilo FRA Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 1m 49.104s
31. Bryan Schouten NED CIP (Mahindra) 1m 49.891s
32. Gabriel Ramos VEN Kiefer Racing (Kalex-KTM) 1m 50.005s
33. Hafiza Rofa MAL SIC-Ajo (KTM) 1m 53.100s

Full Moto2 combined Jerez test times:

1. Takaaki Nakagami JPN Idemitsu Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 42.206s
2. Sandro Cortese GER Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 42.393s
3. Thomas Luthi SWI Interwetten Paddock Moto2 (Suter) 1m 42.472s
4. Xavier Simeon BEL Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 (Suter) 1m 42.556s
5. Johann Zarco FRA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing (Caterham Suter) 1m 42.616s
6. Luis Salom SPA Pons HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 42.628s
7. Lorenzo Baldassarri ITA Gresini Moto2 (Suter) 1m 42.639s
8. Alex De Angelis RSM Tasca Racing Moto2 (Suter) 1m 42.699s
9. Dominique Aegerter SWI Technomag CarXpert (Suter) 1m 42.778s
10. Simone Corsi ITA NGM Forward Racing (Forward KLX) 1m 42.822s
11. Maverick Viñales SPA Pons HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 42.872s
12. Jonas Folger GER Argiñano & Gines Racing (Kalex) 1m 42.910s
13. Sam Lowes GBR Speed Up (Speed Up) 1m 42.928s
14. Franco Morbidelli ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 42.936s
15. Julian Simon SPA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 43.024s
16. Marcel Schrotter GER Tech 3 (Tech 3) 1m 43.149s
17. Axel Pons SPA Argiñano & Gines Racing (Kalex) 1m 43.187s
18. Mattia Pasini ITA NGM Forward Racing (Forward KLX) 1m 43.189s
19. Anthony West AUS QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 1m 43.211s
20. Louis Rossi FRA SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 43.211s
21. Josh Herrin USA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing (Caterham Suter) 1m 43.622s
22. Gino Rea GBR AGT-Rea Racing (Suter) 1m 43.645s
23. Randy Krummenacher SWI Iodaracing Project (Suter) 1m 43.751s
24. Hafizh Syahrin MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia (Kalex) 1m 43.812s
25. Azlan Shah MAL Idemitsu Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 43.938s
26. Ricky Cardus SPA Tech 3 (Tech 3) 1m 44.029s
27. Roman Ramos SPA QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 1m 44.099s
28. Tetsuta Nagashima JPN Teluru Team JiR Webike (TSR) 1m 44.658s
29. Thitipong Warokorn THA APH PTT The Pizza SAG (Kalex) 1m 45.190s
30. Robin Mulhauser SWI Technomag CarXpert (Suter) 1m 45.361s

1 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN Idemitsu Honda Team Asia KALEX 1:42.206 Day 3 Session 1
2 Sandro CORTESE 11 GER Dynavolt Intact GP KALEX 1:42.393 0.187 0.187 Day 3 Session 1
3 Thomas LUTHI 12 SWI Interwetten Paddock Moto2 SUTER 1:42.472 0.266 0.079 Day 3 Session 1
4 Xavier SIMEON 19 BEL Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 SUTER 1:42.556 0.35 0.084 Day 3 Session 1
5 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing CATERHAM SUTER 1:42.616 0.41 0.06 Day 3 Session 2
6 Luis SALOM 39 SPA Pons HP 40 KALEX 1:42.628 0.422 0.012 Day 3 Session 3
7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA Gresini Moto2 SUTER 1:42.639 0.433 0.011 Day 3 Session 2
8 Alex DE ANGELIS 15 RSM Tasca Racing Moto2 SUTER 1:42.699 0.493 0.06 Day 3 Session 2
9 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI Technomag CarXpert SUTER 1:42.778 0.572 0.079 Day 3 Session 3
10 Simone CORSI 3 ITA NGM Forward Racing FORWARD KLX 1:42.822 0.616 0.044 Day 3 Session 1
11 Maverick VIÑALES 40 SPA Pons HP 40 KALEX 1:42.872 0.666 0.05 Day 3 Session 1
12 Jonas FOLGER 94 GER Argiñano & Gines Racing KALEX 1:42.910 0.704 0.038 Day 3 Session 3
13 Sam LOWES 22 GBR Speed Up SPEED UP 1:42.928 0.722 0.018 Day 1 Session 3
14 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA Italtrans Racing Team KALEX 1:42.936 0.73 0.008 Day 3 Session 1
15 Julian SIMON 60 SPA Italtrans Racing Team KALEX 1:43.024 0.818 0.088 Day 3 Session 3
16 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER Tech 3 TECH 3 1:43.149 0.943 0.125 Day 3 Session 3
17 Axel PONS 49 SPA Argiñano & Gines Racing KALEX 1:43.187 0.981 0.038 Day 3 Session 1
18 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA NGM Forward Racing FORWARD KLX 1:43.189 0.983 0.002 Day 3 Session 1
19 Anthony WEST 95 AUS QMMF Racing Team SPEED UP 1:43.211 1.005 0.022 Day 3 Session 3
20 Louis ROSSI 96 FRA SAG Team KALEX 1:43.211 1.005 Day 3 Session 1
21 Josh HERRIN 2 USA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing CATERHAM SUTER 1:43.622 1.416 0.411 Day 3 Session 2
22 Gino REA 8 GBR AGT-Rea Racing SUTER 1:43.645 1.439 0.023 Day 3 Session 3
23 Randy KRUMMENACHER 4 SWI Iodaracing Project SUTER 1:43.751 1.545 0.106 Day 3 Session 2
24 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia KALEX 1:43.812 1.606 0.061 Day 2 Session 2
25 Azlan SHAH 25 MAL Idemitsu Honda Team Asia KALEX 1:43.938 1.732 0.126 Day 3 Session 3
26 Ricky CARDUS 88 SPA Tech 3 TECH 3 1:44.029 1.823 0.091 Day 3 Session 2
27 Roman RAMOS 97 SPA QMMF Racing Team SPEED UP 1:44.099 1.893 0.07 Day 3 Session 2
28 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN Teluru Team JiR Webike TSR 1:44.658 2.452 0.559 Day 3 Session 2
29 Thitipong WAROKORN 10 THA APH PTT The Pizza SAG KALEX 1:45.190 2.984 0.532 Day 3 Session 3
30 Robin MULHAUSER 70 SWI Technomag CarXpert SUTER 1:45.361 3.155 0.171 Day 3 Session 2
31 Alexis MASBOU 10 FRA Ongetta-Rivacold HONDA 1:49.314 2.956 0.052 Day 2 Session 2 – See more at: http://www.bikesportnews.com/news-detail.cfm?newstitle=Jerez-Moto2-test:-Combined-three-day-times&newsid=11367#sthash.EJ7X136b.dpuf
1 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN Idemitsu Honda Team Asia KALEX 1:42.206 Day 3 Session 1
2 Sandro CORTESE 11 GER Dynavolt Intact GP KALEX 1:42.393 0.187 0.187 Day 3 Session 1
3 Thomas LUTHI 12 SWI Interwetten Paddock Moto2 SUTER 1:42.472 0.266 0.079 Day 3 Session 1
4 Xavier SIMEON 19 BEL Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 SUTER 1:42.556 0.35 0.084 Day 3 Session 1
5 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing CATERHAM SUTER 1:42.616 0.41 0.06 Day 3 Session 2
6 Luis SALOM 39 SPA Pons HP 40 KALEX 1:42.628 0.422 0.012 Day 3 Session 3
7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA Gresini Moto2 SUTER 1:42.639 0.433 0.011 Day 3 Session 2
8 Alex DE ANGELIS 15 RSM Tasca Racing Moto2 SUTER 1:42.699 0.493 0.06 Day 3 Session 2
9 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI Technomag CarXpert SUTER 1:42.778 0.572 0.079 Day 3 Session 3
10 Simone CORSI 3 ITA NGM Forward Racing FORWARD KLX 1:42.822 0.616 0.044 Day 3 Session 1
11 Maverick VIÑALES 40 SPA Pons HP 40 KALEX 1:42.872 0.666 0.05 Day 3 Session 1
12 Jonas FOLGER 94 GER Argiñano & Gines Racing KALEX 1:42.910 0.704 0.038 Day 3 Session 3
13 Sam LOWES 22 GBR Speed Up SPEED UP 1:42.928 0.722 0.018 Day 1 Session 3
14 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA Italtrans Racing Team KALEX 1:42.936 0.73 0.008 Day 3 Session 1
15 Julian SIMON 60 SPA Italtrans Racing Team KALEX 1:43.024 0.818 0.088 Day 3 Session 3
16 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER Tech 3 TECH 3 1:43.149 0.943 0.125 Day 3 Session 3
17 Axel PONS 49 SPA Argiñano & Gines Racing KALEX 1:43.187 0.981 0.038 Day 3 Session 1
18 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA NGM Forward Racing FORWARD KLX 1:43.189 0.983 0.002 Day 3 Session 1
19 Anthony WEST 95 AUS QMMF Racing Team SPEED UP 1:43.211 1.005 0.022 Day 3 Session 3
20 Louis ROSSI 96 FRA SAG Team KALEX 1:43.211 1.005 Day 3 Session 1
21 Josh HERRIN 2 USA AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing CATERHAM SUTER 1:43.622 1.416 0.411 Day 3 Session 2
22 Gino REA 8 GBR AGT-Rea Racing SUTER 1:43.645 1.439 0.023 Day 3 Session 3
23 Randy KRUMMENACHER 4 SWI Iodaracing Project SUTER 1:43.751 1.545 0.106 Day 3 Session 2
24 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia KALEX 1:43.812 1.606 0.061 Day 2 Session 2
25 Azlan SHAH 25 MAL Idemitsu Honda Team Asia KALEX 1:43.938 1.732 0.126 Day 3 Session 3
26 Ricky CARDUS 88 SPA Tech 3 TECH 3 1:44.029 1.823 0.091 Day 3 Session 2
27 Roman RAMOS 97 SPA QMMF Racing Team SPEED UP 1:44.099 1.893 0.07 Day 3 Session 2
28 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN Teluru Team JiR Webike TSR 1:44.658 2.452 0.559 Day 3 Session 2
29 Thitipong WAROKORN 10 THA APH PTT The Pizza SAG KALEX 1:45.190 2.984 0.532 Day 3 Session 3
30 Robin MULHAUSER 70 SWI Technomag CarXpert SUTER 1:45.361 3.155 0.171 Day 3 Session 2
31 Alexis MASBOU 10 FRA Ongetta-Rivacold HONDA 1:49.314 2.956 0.052 Day 2 Session 2 – See more at: http://www.bikesportnews.com/news-detail.cfm?newstitle=Jerez-Moto2-test:-Combined-three-day-times&newsid=11367#sthash.EJ7X136b.dpuf

MotoGP: news round-up – Factory 2 explained, ITV4 highlights and Marinelarena improves

As we close in on the start of the season a lot can still change in a week in MotoGP…

Embed from Getty Images

Lets start with the UK based news (viewers from the rest of the world skip down the page – your news is below!)

Another excellent WordPress blog – The F1 Broadcasting blog – brings the news that it appears that ITV4 have picked up the MotoGP highlights rights for the forthcoming season, read more here.

This is big news for UK viewers when confirmed by ITV4. Until now after BBC/Eurosport lost the right to show MotoGP all other broadcasters were priced out of the market by the hoover that is BT Sport, moving MotoGP away from free-to-air tv. The young channel now have everything from Premier League football matches to rugby, through womens tennis and even managed to get their sticky fingers on some FA cup games.

BT Sports coverage looks strong, but is more pricey than the incredible detail of the MotoGP pass which costs significantly less. Unless your bargaining is top notch and you don’t move to BT to get free coverage on your initial contract (watch that line rental rocket, early switchers!!) it’s £12-15 a month with Virgin Media/Sky.

What ITV sport have here is a big deal. It should catch all the casual viewers who just want to see who won and who may have been planning to watch it later, delayed due to life commitments and work. They have also removed BT Sports bragging rights as an ‘exclusive’ on tv. Still exclusive for live full coverage yes, but now not just solely on their channel.

BT Sport still don’t even like to mentiontheir channel is available on Virgin Media along with Sky, allowing you to take all your football from one provider, so it will be interesting how long it takes them to adjust their advertising to allow for this amendment.

The big, big, big news of the week though came via Spanish publication AS.com, who published an interview with Dorna CEO Ezpeleta stating his plans to launch ‘Factory2’, nothing more than a flashy manner to shunt Ducati out of the new Open Class after some clever reading of the rules saw them make the move to take advantage of continued testing and development and an increased fuel allowance.

Dorna Managing Director of Events Javier Alonso claims the move is to compliment the existing classes within the championship, without letting the only Open entry capable of running the new second software (Ducati) get an advantage.

He explains:

“As a championship we aim to allow everyone to have the best possible technology, including this type of software, but from talking to the private teams they are not yet set up to be able to use this ‘full software’. Clearly Ducati were not at the same level as Honda and Yamaha last season and what they have done is to look for a way within the rules to improve their grid and race results. We understand that by making some changes they can be closer to the other constructors but we do not want them to have too much of an advantage, as it would be unfair for them to beat the rest of the manufacturers with greater ammunition. So we think the proposal on the table is a good solution.”

The Factory 2 changes mean the now three tier championship runs as follows:

  • Factory bikes (Yamaha/Honda)  Run five sealed engines over a season and have a 20 litre fuel capacity and no access to the extra soft option tyre.
  • Open Class entries have 12 non-sealed engines at thoer disposal and a higher 24 litres of fuel as their limit, they can also use the extra soft option tyre.
  • The proposed Factory 2 class means that any Open entry obtaining three third places, two seconds or a win in dry races will trigger the Factory 2 settings for their bike – a reduction to 9 engines and 22.5 litres of fuel.

The notion that Ducati may exploit the rules too well have foundation. It causes concern though that as Dorna expect all entries to be Open in the near future (much to Honda’s disgust) that as soon as Honda voiced their concerns that Ducati may get a little of their mojo back by exploiting the rules to their advantage a new set of rules are announced.

It also seems to run against logic that you should penalize someone for doing well with the restrictions you have given them, you want to push and promote Open Class racing but, hey don’t do too well in case the Factory teams get upset?

Just when we thought there would be some really competitive racing on the cards.

As a final thought, though essentially brought in as an answer to Ducati’s move it has the potential to suck in Aleix Espargaro, the most successful Open bike in testing to date.

Espargaro who excelled in CRT and who has already set the Open Class bar pretty high has consistantly run in the top five for Forward Yamaha regardless of who was participating and has a chance at the podium in the right conditions. It seems he is on course to get penalized for getting the measure of his bike and being successful way ahead of Ducati.

Does it have it’s own separate class winner? Who knows what lies ahead now!

Let’s finish up with some positive news on Alex Marinelarena. The Tech3 Moto2 rider has seen his condition improve and can now move and speak after a accident at a private test left him in a coma, the second time this has happened to the 21-year old Spaniard after also falling into a coma after crashing in the 2013 season. Team Boss Herve Poncheral has been present and supportive since his fall.

Tech3 web statement:

“Alex Marinelarena, who was injured during a private test at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France last Thursday, awoke this morning from the medically induced cma he was put under. After nearly one week in a deep sleep,  the 21 year old rider was today, able to move his arms and legs as well as speak.

Further examinations will now follow to clarify his condition, but the recovery process has already started.

The Marinelarena family and the whole Tech3 Racing Team wish to thank everyone sincerely for the numerous thoughts and wishes sent during these tough days”.

MotoGP: An Open Class Ducati, fast Rossi and Entry lists finalised

First up Ducati have finally put to bed the Factory vs Open debate after the Jerez test…and picked Open Class.

I was early on this rumour and covered the ins and outs of the decision in my original story for crash.net, available here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/199360/1/ducati-switching-to-open-class-for-motogp-2014.html

I think after Ducati’s news a sit down with a nice strong cup of tea is in order!
Ducati cups image by e-supreme available via Flickr and used under the creative commons agreement.

For everyone who’s still here, here’s the breakdown:

In an interview posted by Italian based website GPOne.com (link to site available in Crash.net article) Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso is quoted as saying that when testing resumes in February in Sepang that the ‘Factory’ team riders will be testing both the prototype GP14 they were expecting to be riding next season… and the ‘Open’ class Ducati that will be used by Pramac rider Yonny Hernandez.

Ducati seem keen to reveal that they have found little difference in the performance of the two bikes in the testing done so far. The plan therefore seems to be to run an as close to ‘Factory’ effort as possible while exploiting the benefits which come from being an ‘Open’ class entry – more fuel allowance, less engine restriction and as it stands, softer tyre options.

The major negative is the requirement to run the spec ECU package.

On the face of it, if all goes to plan this could be a shrewd move by Ducati.

The Desmosedici has not won a race since 2010 and struggled to a best of fourth last season. It was previously a championship winner under the control of Casey Stoner.

It is clear that after drafting in some of the worlds best mechanics, riders and developers with, for whatever reason, no improvement, that something must be done.

There is a level of expertise to the idea too – Ducati’s new General Manager, Gigi Dall’Igna, was in control at Aprilla last year instead, spearheading the performance of the only CRT bike entries to challenge the Factory and Satellite teams, with CRT champion Aleix Espargaro aboard the most successful of the bikes and often finding his skills mixed with the performance more than a match for the Satellite Ducati’s and even tangling with their Factory entries for final position.

The Open class has been brought in to replace the CRT category.

Though it looks to be a smart move, and certain to put Honda’s backs up (they had threatened to pull out of the championship over future electrical changes and restrictions so another GOOD thing to come from this if it goes ahead) it was until yesterday, until it was said, unthinkable. A step backwards for some of the red machines fans. A step away from a coveted ‘Factory’ bike for the riders.

If you are a casual bike follower perhaps it is easiest to consider it in terms of another sport, lets try F1 for an example:

The equivalent would be telling Vettel he was going to ride out 2014 in a new, improved Torro Rosso instead of the Red Bull but it will still be competitive as he has more fuel to play with and can hopefully use some really soft tyres, as long as the rules aren’t changed before the start of the season. And he doesn’t have to have his engine sealed.

Now this is confirmed news, Ducati have pointed out that Dovizioso’s improvements in Jerez told them what they needed to know, that further testing is vital for Ducati and allowed under Open rules.

Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager added: “We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation. This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs”.

The final day of the Jerez test also saw Valentino Rossi iron out his Yamaha and tyre issues to go top, pleasing as he was consistent and one of few to touch Marquez pre-injury. He was matched by one fast lap by Dani Pedrosa late in the final day, registering exactly the same time, Rossi had long gone home after a satisfying day of improvements.

The finalised entry lists are available and not only show that Ducati are an open class entry but also bring confirmation of the sad news that Leon Camier is out of a ride for the season as the Iodaracing team drop to just one rider.

Also troubling news coming from the MotoGP.com Twitter feed is that after crashing at a private test

“As of Saturday at 8pm, confirms that remains in a medically induced coma”.

Marinelarena has been in a similar place last season after a race crash, so here’s hoping he can pull through again.

Full entry lists available here.