Espargaro

Moto3: All change for Ana Carrasco?

04/10/2014

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Woman racers. They always cause discussion.

The only girl in the world championship is Ana Carrasco, a Moto3 rider. She excelled as Maverick Vinales team-mate in his championship winning year on a KTM closer to a street bike, taking two points finishes.

Her second year in Moto3, this year, has been more difficult – on an unfavoured Kalex KTM at RW Racing her best placing has been 20th.

Things have become so strained between rider and team that the Spaniard was to sit out practice in Misano, allegedly over financial differences – with her now to make no further appearances with the team this season as we head into the trio of flyaway races followed by the season finale in Valencia.

Just as this moves the discussion into paid rides and the money a solo female rider brings as a novelty (unfortunately the view of many) versus talent and getting a good enough bike to show it ( I believe after her year at Team Calvo, the termination of which again came down to money issues, the latter applies as good results from any of the Kalex KTM riders have been few and far between) it appears that talent can come first as Carrasco seems to be near confirming a ride for 2015!

It is suggested in her home news publications that Carrasco has been picked up by Aleix Espargaro’s RBA team – present in this years CEV Spanish  championship and with a string of Moto3 wild-card appearances under their belt with Gabriel Rodrigo.

For the full lowdown and news on who else is set for a move to the team click here to go to my full story at crash.net, where you can get interactive on social media or in the comments.

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MotoGP: Pedrosa and Espargaro’s Catalunya helmet art celebrates coming home

14/06/2014

With so many Spanish riders in the MotoGP paddock there was bound to be a selection of special helmets doing the rounds in Spain.

The Espargaro brothers are Barcelona locals, their support of Barcelona FC is often apparent, while Dani Pedrosa is originally from Sabadell, just outside the city and very close to the Montmelo track.

The Repsol Honda rider not only had a pole to celebrate but a helmet celebrating his fanbase, a touching tribute showing what the Spaniards fans mean to him:

 

The helmet features the phrase ‘You don’t race alone’ an image in black and white of his fans with banners in the stands and his usual cartoon logo replaced with the fanclub sticker version. Possibly Pedrosa’s best helmet to date.

Aleix Espargaro’s effort is slightly aimed at Twitter featuring the hashtag #WhereItAllStarted a refrence to Montmelo being his home circuit, an accompanying graphic of the track sits above it:

 

His leathers, bike and helmet are all also designed to support Special Olympics Catalunya – a local charity organisation set up to “promote the practice of sport among people with intellectual disability as a tool for social integration and to improve their quality of life”. A great cause.

Finally, as a helmet art bonus, down in Moto3 Isaac Vinales also had a different design on show for his home race, some excellent work by @SLGrafics :

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: Marquez leaves Sepang test with a new record time

Marc Marquez continued to improve at the Sepang MotoGP test.

Instead of resting on his laurels after topping the first two days of action Honda rider Marquez took things to a whole new level on the final day in Malaysia setting a new record time at the track with a 1m 59.533 lap – just inside Casey Stoner’s unofficial benchmark lap of 1m 59.607 from 2012.

This apparently left him “pretty happy”.

After the young Spaniard the trio with the next best times were all Yamaha riders and all worthy of a mention.

Valentino Rossi looks like he might be in for a good season after coming in second again and just 0.194 shy of the top time of current champion Marquez. The Italians lap was also his own best around Sepang ever. A good sign for a feisty championship ahead (hopefully!)

2014 marquez test helmet

Keeping it subtle, a nice, understated version of the Marquez ‘ant’ theme for the Sepang test, with a couple of little additions to remind everyone who the reigning champion is!
Image via Marc Marquez own Twitter account @marcmarquez93 and reproduced here under the fair use act.

Jorge Lorenzo clocked in third as he continued to succeed in his mission to iron out bike issues but this time also working on race pace, something he found very quickly.

Impressing so much that accusations are already flying as they did in CRT, Aleix Espargaro was not only fourth quickest while working on a full race distance on his Open Class Forward Yamaha entry but also went sub 2 minutes!

Understandably “thrilled” the FTR M1 rider concluded his sensational test in style finishing ahead of many riders who you could reasonably have expected to see above him on the timesheets -factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl and the whole Ducati outfit.

2014 A Espargaro Sepang helmet

Hola Forward, hello world! Once again commanding attention (and not just from all the pink on him) Aleix uses his helmet to say hello to his new team while making a mark on MotoGP for 2014 before the season has begun.
Image by Aleix Espargaro @AleixEspargaro on twitter and also shared via Instagram, other details as above.

Full list of final times for the third and final day below:

1. Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 59.533 (Lap 10/40)
2. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 59.727 +0.194 (11/55)
3. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 59.866 +0.333 (2/65)
4. Aleix Espargaro  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 1m 59.998 +0.465 (7/43)
5. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 0.112 +0.579 (11/38)
6. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.223 +0.690 (29/55)
7. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 0.370 +0.837 (10/40)
8. Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.655 +1.122 (8/65)
9. Andrea Iannone  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 0.725 +1.192 (13/57)
10. Alvaro Bautista  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.788| +1.255 (3/63)
11. Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.896 +1.363 (10/65)
12. Cal Crutchlow  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.057 +1.524 (58/58)
13. Nicky Hayden  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 1.514 +1.981 (21/59)
14. Colin Edwards  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 1.731 +2.198 (41/47)
15. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 1.782 +2.249 (12/67)
16. Hiroshi Aoyama  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.383 +2.850 (61/66)
17. Randy De Puniet  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 2.486 +2.953 (17/67)
18. Yonny Hernandez  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.556 +3.023 (31/65)
19. Kosuke Akiyoshi  Honda Test Rider 2m 2.619 +3.086 (3/58)
20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga  Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 2.788 +3.255 (13/38)
21. Scott Redding  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 2.833 +3.300 (42/60)
22. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.187 +3.654 (12/41)
23. Hector Barbera  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 3.204 +3.671 (49/54)
24. Broc Parkes  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.402 +3.869 (40/43)
25. Mike Di Meglio  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.516| +4.983 (28/58)
26. Nobuatsu Aoki  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 5.686 +6.153 (10/12)
27. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 5.974 +6.441 (6/12)

MotoGP: Marquez remains on top for day two and Iannone’s follow friendly helmet

Day two in Sepang for the MotoGP riders saw Marc Marquez go sub two minutes in Malaysia, the first rider to do so.

The top three times of the day were all set by Honda riders with the Spaniards factory team-mate second and LCR rider Stefan Bradl improving to third.

Valentino Rossi completed another solid day of testing with the fourth fastest time, just ahead of the rider of the test for me so far, Aleix Espargaro – who was the fifth best on day two, easily the best of the Open Class entries and one place faster than Rossi’s Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo. Impressive.

Andrea Iannone saw off the factory Ducati riders once again with his Pramac machine, so to celebrate here’s his ‘follow me’ social media inspired helmet as the image for todays blog, Day two times listed below the picture:

2014 at andreaiannone29 sepang test

Still Crazy… The self styled ‘Maniac Joe’ wants you to follow him – just like Crutchlow and Dovizioso at the moment!
Image via Iannone himself initially posted on his Twitter feed – @andreaiannone29 and used under the fair use act

Sepang Test 2014 Day Two Times:

1. Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 59.926s (Lap 38/65)
2. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.336s | +0.410s (12/62)
3. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 0.339s | +0.413s (13/52)
4. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.464s | +0.538s (18/61)
5. Aleix Espargaro  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 0.547s | +0.621s (16/42)
6. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.573s | +0.647s (27/49)
7. Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.603s | +0.677s (27/66)
8. Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 0.855s | +0.929s (9/49)
9. Alvaro Bautista  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.897s | +0.971s (51/55)
10. Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.061s | +1.135s (4/49)
11. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.146s | +1.220s (8/45)
12. Cal Crutchlow  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.396s | +1.470s (11/48)
13. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 2.177s | +2.251s (6/56)
14. Nicky Hayden  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.287s | +2.361s (25/58)
15. Colin Edwards  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 2.545s | +2.619s (8/35)
16. Yonny Hernandez  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.675s | +2.749s (13/45)
17. Kosuke Akiyoshi  Honda Test Rider 2m 2.692s | +2.766s (8/68)
18. Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.825s | +2.899s (65/66)
19. Katsuyuki Nakasuga  Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 2.970s | +3.044s (49/56)
20. Randy De Puniet  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 3.064s | +3.138s (73/96)
21. Scott Redding  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 3.117s | +3.191s (39/53)
22. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.528s | +3.602s (37/41)
23. Hector Barbera  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.551s | +4.625s (2/37)
24. Broc Parkes  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 4.619s | +4.693s (42/43)
25. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 5.261s | +5.335s (21/32)
26. Mike Di Meglio  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 5.355s | +5.429s (4/34)

MotoGP: Valentino Rossi’s helmet for the Sepang 2014 test

MotoGP’s winter break is finally over (as is mine, with plenty of great blog reading for me to catch up on!) and to celebrate here is a picture of Rossi’s helmet for the Sepeng test as seen on Twitter and originally shared by MotoGP.com, hopefully for all his fans it will be the only view his rivals get of his face on track this season!

2014 Rossi Sepang test 1 helmet

Rossi’s helmet will look best if you are behind it! (So far that’s everyone EXCEPT Marquez!)
Image originally shared on twitter by @MotoGP reposted here under the fair use act

So far the helmet has served him well, finishing the first day in Sepang in second behind current World Champion Marc Marquez.

Here is a list of times from day 1:

1. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.286s (52/62)
2. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.804s | +0.518s (58/61)
3. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.906s | +0.620s (73/75)
4. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 1.082s | +0.796s (26/47)
5. Alvaro Bautista  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 1.240s | +0.954s (48/52)
6. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 1.320s | +1.034s (10/25)
7. Aleix Espargaro  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 1.419s | +1.133s (19/26)
8. Andrea Iannone  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 1.538s | +1.252s (38/44)
9. Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.634s | +1.348s (42/48)
10. Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.876s | +1.590s (54/55)
11. Colin Edwards  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 2.483s | +2.197s (25/26)
12. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 2.497s | +2.211s (21/27)
13. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 2.552s | +2.266s (47/48)
14. Cal Crutchlow  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 2.860s | +2.574s (16/38)
15. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.891s | +2.605s (28/49)
16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga  Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 3.126s | +2.840s (14/35)
17. Nicky Hayden  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 3.319s | +3.033s (53/56)
18. Hiroshi Aoyama  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 3.328s | +3.042s (49/51)
19. Randy de Puniet  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 3.893s | +3.607s (47/75)
20. Kosuke Akiyoshi  Honda Test Rider 2m 4.267s | +3.981s (27/64)
21. Scott Redding  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 4.431s | +4.145s (41/48)
22. Hector Barbera  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.922s | +4.636s (34/44)
23. Mike di Meglio  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 5.825s | +5.539s (50/51)
24. Broc Parkes  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 5.889s | +5.603s (32/40)
25. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 6.070s | +5.784s (14/14)
26. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 6.755s | +6.469s (21/41)

Early indications from day 1 give the impression that a competitive season between Marquez/Rossi/Lorenzo and Pedrosa could be on the cards with Aleix Espargaro giving a star turn once again – impressing in the Open class, as he did as a CRT rider. Ducati still seem to have work to do…

MotoGP: Are Ducati planning a move into the open class for 2014?

First, a shameless plug.

This was originally going to just be news, but solid sources and some good quotes mean the news bit is now here at crash.net:

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

The website is also a great place to discuss the story with 38 comments after just a few hours in print as I type this (it currently has 123 Facebook likes, 54 re-tweets and amazingly has even amassed two whole +1 Google shares as of now!)

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.

So for those who are still here reading instead here’s whats occurred.

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.

Exactly.

Dovizioso is currently putting a brave face on his ride into/onto the unknown next month.

His very honest and vocal new team-mate Cal Crutchlow is a newlywed. when he returns from his honeymoon it will be interesting to see where he stands on the idea as, though he had little option in the end, he had always backed up his move to Ducati with the argument that he wanted to be at a ‘Factory Team’ to be able to win races…

Personally I hope the test goes well and the move works in their favour, competition is needed to make MotoGP a great spectacle again, and if this gives Ducati the ability to mix it up with the Yamaha and Honda riders, then that can only be a positive, for the championship and viewers alike.

 

Image of the GP: Congratulations Champions!

No clever, funny or controversial pictures this week. The news in pictures is this week just a celebration of the the MotoGP world championship winners; Moto3 – Maverick Vinales; Moto2 – Pol Espargaro and MotoGP – Marc Marquez.

The individual images are from each of the riders personal twitter accounts to show how they shared their championship wins with the fans. Compiled with the group photo it also gives some good images of the celebration helmet specials and winning t-shirts (Marquez’s baby champion was particularly lighthearted and good fun, without a whiff of controversy this time!).

So congratulations champions:

Your 2013 MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 Champions; l-r Pol Espargaro, Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales. Image by @ECdeportes on twitter, editorial use only under fair use act.

Your 2013 MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 Champions; l-r Pol Espargaro, Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales.
Image by @ECdeportes on twitter, editorial use only under fair use act.

Maverick Vinales celebrates after taking Moto3 to the final lap. Image via @maverickmack25 details as above.

Maverick Vinales celebrates after taking Moto3 to the final lap.
Image via @maverickmack25 details as before.

Pol Espargaro was lucky enough not to need to wait to Valencia, he celebrated his win in Japan, via @PolEspargaro, details as above.

Pol Espargaro was lucky enough not to need to wait to Valencia, he celebrated his win in Japan, via @PolEspargaro, details as before.

Marc Marquez won the big one, and was top rookie too, via @marcmarquez93 details as above.

Marc Marquez won the big one, and was top rookie too, via @marcmarquez93, details as before.

Not forgetting the CRT Champion Aleix Espargaro, he was crowned three weeks ago, image via Aleix Espargaro on Instagram, details as before.

Not forgetting the CRT Champion Aleix Espargaro, he was crowned three weeks ago! Image via Aleix Espargaro on Instagram, details as before.

 

 

 

 

Moto2 Redding Vs Espargaro – Helmet wars! (Vote Now!)

They battled hard all season with Pol Espargaro eventually victorious but who won the Valencia helmet-off between the 2013 champion and runner-up Scott Redding?

Ok, so as he won we will first take a look at Espargaro’s celebratory effort:

Pol Espargaro shows of his shiny winning effort. Image via Espargaro on Facebook, editorial use only under the fair use act

Pol Espargaro shows of his shiny winning lid.
Image via Espargaro on Facebook, editorial use only under the fair use act.

The Spaniard has opted for a shiny and slightly expected gold winning effort, featuring a large splash of the yellow and green from his main design on the ‘world champion’ font.

It’s nice.

Next up is Scott Redding’s effort proving you can kick a man when he’s down but you can’t mess with his sense of style:

Redding's Valencia effort was touching. Image via @ianwheeler on twitter, who owns the image, editorial use only

Redding’s Valencia effort was touching. Image via @ianwheeler on twitter, who owns the image, editorial use only

Redding may have added a lost tooth to his injury list over the weekend but still had a loud and toughing helmet to show off ahead of Sunday’s Valencia race. Much bolder than Espargaro’s effort it’s a shame that the pain barrier the Brit fought hard against limited it’s screen time.

Redding also chose to carry a touching tribute to his team and their four years together on his leathers, in place of his name.

For me the winner is Redding. Cheerful, colourful and thankful, plus Pol already won something – the title!

Now here’s you’re chance to have a say, please vote, then I’ll add an update for the outcome!

For a more serious and informative look at the final round of the Moto2 championship for the duo try :

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/198023/1/moto2_redding_espargaro_never_give_up_in_moto2_swansong.html

MotoGP Valencia race reports online now!

What a race weekend! It was a pleasure to be able to report on the whole of the 2013 season and Valencia saw the year end with a flourish.

Moto3 surely has to go down as one of the best race ever in any class, race report available at crash.net here.

Moto2 sure proved that it had racing left in it even with the title decided, race report for that also on crash here.

For a briefer digest there’s always my race round-up for Paddock Chatter.

This is also my final summary of the Redding/Espargaro title battle, plus I also have news on where Moto3 Brit John McPhee will be riding in 2013!

Click the links for more on any of the above or just to connect to fellow fans and tweet, like and comment with other race fans!