funny

Image of the GP, Germany: a fight, a fire and a frenzy!

13/07/2014

There was a lot going on in all the classes over the course of the German Grand Prix races aside from the wins, you can read about those in my earlier post here.

So what made the most spectacular viewing away from the actual race battles and results? Here’s a class-by-class breakdown!

Moto3 had a dominant winner, a podium debut, some great performances by the Brits and not a Spaniard in sight on the podium.

Away from all that excellence the Dutch pair of Scott Deroue and Bryan Schouten collided resulting in this:

Schouten was awarded two penalty points for hitting Deroue, while the incident recieved both broadsheet and tabliod attention around the world, which is great if they reported on the rest, but a bit of a skewed view of the sport if you don’t even carry a motorsport section. (Hello, Daily Mail. )

Moto2 decided it needed to top that and came up with… a moving fireball!

 

‘Following a positive warm-up’ is usually an innocuous statement in a press release but the AirAsia Caterham was about to get a whole lot warmer when Johann Zarco pushed too hard and it spectacularly caught fire as the Suter tumbled through the gravel.

The whole Moto2 race was excellent with a new winner in the class and a great race to the line and battles all down the field. There was again not a single Spanish rider inside the top three, very unusual.

So MotoGP had to give something extra. Something not seen before. PIT LANE START!

 

And if you think that image is amazing check out the grid.

 

 

The rain came for the start of MotoGP at the Sachsenring, as it did in Assen, and left everyone in a confused frenzy. Normal service was restored when Marc Marquez found his way to the front, though Michael LAverty got the pleasure of second for a short while.

Recommended viewing: Challenge 125 – A hidden gem.

27/06/2014

This review is for a UK TV series which has ended, though repeats are still showing on the Community Channel (Sky 539, Virgin 233, Freeview 63, Freesat 651 or BT vision) or you can try their on demand service to catch up with every episode online.

Hidden away on the Community Channel there has been some t.v. entertainment worthy of a Wednesday night in.

Challenge 125 has been the second series under the ‘Easy Riders’ banner, the first – Viva Valencia – I knew I would like as I knew what it was all about.

It saw MotoVentures main man Steve Keys, TV legend Danny John-Jules ( Yes, Cat in Red Dwarf) and former MotoGP presenter for the BBC Matt Roberts ride their Pink Yamaha M1’s (Matt somehow managed to score Lorenzo’s sleeker black M1) through France and Spain all the way to Valencia for the final race of the year.

ace viva valencia

How it all began – Danny John-Jules, Matt Roberts and Steve Keys at the Ace Cafe ahead of what would become series one.

They started from the Ace Cafe and I had a great time attending to see them off. I knew the drill. I knew Randy Mamola would feature. Plus my arm was in episode one. Bonus.

Challenge 125 was a dip into the unexpected. I knew the idea of the show from following social media.

Steve Keys and Danny John-Jules returned for a new challenge. Take a non-rider, teach them to ride and then ride out to Valencia again on a 125cc bike with just 125 pounds in your pocket to get you there, all in.

Before you think that’s crazy talk, the challenge is all in aid of an extremely worthy cause. Riders For Health is a charity which enables health workers in Africa to have reliable transportation to provide healthcare. Visit riders.org for more information.

This second series is again narrated with ease and humour by Chris Barrie (Yes, Dwarf fans that’s double for you, Rimmer’s in too!) but the action helps him along the way.

From the X-Factor like choice of novice, where former 125cc rider and Isle Of Man participant Danny Webb steals the show, all the way through food bickering, sneaky burgers, dodgy karaoke attempts, Mr John-Jules’ legally debatable firestarting to the relief of arriving in Spain, there’s fun all the way despite the serious work of shepherding a novice around and the serious and welcome reminders of the charity it’s all in aid of.

This  review aims to not give too much away in the hope more people will discover and love the show too, it’s still available online and worth seeking out, there’s not many bike-based shows on the t.v. and it’s comic elements make it great entertainment.

It’s worth taking the chance to catch up now too, soon the boys will be launching the latest installment – series three – ‘Five Peaks Challenge’ – and it promises to be as good as Steve Keys and Danny John Jules this time enlist the help of female stunt rider Chesca Miles for their latest trip with series four already filming!

Need to know more?

Background to the current series can be found at the MotoVentures website.

Why not try Twitter for the latest,  @TheEasyRidersTV has all you need to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MotoGP: Rossi’s Mugello helmet – a first look

31/05/2014

Mugello always means special helmet time for the Italian riders, with Valentino Rossi’s generating the most interest and for his 300th Grand Prix start we have…Pasta!

 

Hopefully he won’t be tempted to overcook it! (The text “non scuoce mai” translates form Italian as never overcook).

Any updates on an exact meaning or a quote from Rossi on his helmet design will mean an update to this post later.

Image of the GP: Le Mans – A worm, a tap and Bautista!

20/05/2014

The thing you usually remember about Le Mans is that it was wet. Probably even if it wasn’t as it has the habit of raining on the grand prix THAT often.

No rain meant one of the most action packed race days so far this season. So much so that I believe that each class should have their own ‘Image of the GP’ this time around.

First up was Moto3 and even by it’s own exciting standards it was a race to remember. Jack Miller had clearly decided that there was no room for manners after his clash with Fenati a few weeks ago and took no prisoners on his way to victory, which has left Efren Vazquez a little peeved to say the least. For his third hard earned win he celebrated in style, something lacking of late, and even busted out ‘The Worm’:

No worm in Moto2 but we did see a cool Kallio ease to victory, which raised a rare smile on the Finn’s face. Not everyone was as calm and collected though. Here’s Tech3 rider Ricky Cardus getting a ‘tap’ on the head from a frustrated Mattia Pasini:

Finally, MotoGP. Marc Marquez won, and was as record breakingly awesome as ever. Rossi looks to be on the way to finding an answer and was a wonderful second.

Is it down to contract time being upon us? Was it Athletico Madrid that spurred him on?
Who knows – but Alvaro Bautista was back on the podium all the same, possibly making it the happiest podium in history:

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.

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…

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.

MotoGP: It’s not that easy being green? Bautista tops the first day at Sepang II

Green + Motorbikes = Kawasaki.

However, in their MotoGP absence green is creeping into other teams colour schemes more heavily.

The Aspar Team this week unveiled a new – and very green – look:

2014 green aspar

It’s not just Monster who like green in the energy world! The Aspar Team with green Drive Energy ( a Malaysian energy brand) livery.
Photo via Team Aspar (editorial use only).

The team certainly found something under that new paint job, with Nicky Hayden moving into tenth on day one, a big improvement (Aoyama was not far behind in 13th).

Not to be outdone, the big news of the day was that BAUTISTA WAS FIRST.

His also very green Go & Fun Energy sponsored Honda (green, energy… I feel a pattern emerging…) topped the timesheets in Sepang on the first day of the second Sepang test.

The top three was filled out by the Esaprgaro brothers, with Open class Aleix’s Forward bike just ahead of his little brother Pol on the Tech3 Yamaha.

It strikes me that although it is early days in this test, more so the season, that this could (hopefully) be a precursor to a move varied season than we haven’t been treated to in a while.

O.K. So Marquez is out until Qatar (as a sidenote both the PBM Team – Laverty & Parkes – and the Iodaracing outfit – Camier and Petrucci were also missing) but where were the other big title contenders?

Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo ran into severe difficulties when it came to making their Bridgestone tyres work. This left them down in seventh and fifth respectively for Yamaha.

Dani Pedrosa waggled his accusational finger at grip issues too and quite strangely for a frequent flyer, jetlag.

Meanwhile the always jovial Bautista happily crediting his speed to the new Showa rear shock suspension in the press conference.

As no-one likes a perceived advantage you can imagine that after keeping in with Gresini by volunteering to run the Showa system over Ohlins that there could be a few defections before the start of the season if the Spaniard goes on to cement his opening performance.

In a day of surprises Andrea Dovizioso also treated us to a fast flash of red and the hope it is not all over yet this year for a challening Ducati by placing fourth.

Full final times for Sepang II Day One :

1. Alvaro Bautista Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.848s
2.
Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 0.900s | +0.052s
3.
Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.999s | +0.151s
4.
Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.029s | +0.181s
5.
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 1.158s | +0.310s
6.
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 1.160s | +0.312s
7.
Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 1.349s | +0.501s
8.
Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 1.491s | +0.643s
9.
Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.644s | +0.796s
10.
Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.227s | +1.379s (53/55)
11.
Cal Crutchlow Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 2.319s | +1.471s (45/48)
12.
Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.334s | +1.486s
13.
Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.709s | +1.861s
14.
Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 2.743s | +1.895s
15.
Yonny Hernandez Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.823s | +1.975s
16.
Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 2.975s | +2.127s
17.
Randy De Puniet Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 3.341s | +2.493s
18.
Scott Redding Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda(RCV1000R) 2m 3.553s | +2.705s
19.
Michele Pirro Ducati Tester (Desmosedici) 2m 3.991s | +3.143s
20.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Tester (YZR-M1) 2m 4.165s | +3.317s
21.
Mike Di Meglio Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.885s | +4.037s
22.
Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 5.638s | +4.790s
23.
Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki Tester (XRH-1) 2m 7.302s | +6.454s

 

MotoGP- Moto2/Moto3: Rabat and Antonelli leave Valencia test on top

Looks like this seasons support classes will offer some extremely closing racing if testing is anything to go by.

Marc VDS 2014 Valencia Moto2 test Tito Esteve Rabat

Different team…still fast. Tito Rabat finished with the fastest time during the test, he is no longer tied to his Spanish Radio Sponsor number 80 now at Marc VDS, choosing 53 for 2014.
Image:Marc VDS

 

There was action before the test even began.

In Moto2 Xavier Simeon lost his teeth in a big crash at a private test in Almueria:

www.crash.net – Simeon set to miss Valencia test (my report, click link for more)

In Moto3 Eric Granado moved from Aspar to Team Calvo (who last year were home to championship winner Maverick Vinales) as sponsorship came before talent. He’s a Red Bull rider and then Aspar signed a big deal with another brand…(though to be fair they did help him find somewhere else to ride and not filling their vacated seat suggests to me they maybe helped foot the bill too…):

www.crash.net – Granado makes transfer from Aspar to Calvo (again, by me – click link for more)

Times were close at the top over the three day test with Moto2 seeing the whole top ten under 1m 36s. Maverick Vinales who moves up to Moto2 as the reigning Moto3 champion, has been quickly on the pace at the Pons team and his time on the final day was just slower than the overall fastest posted by Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat:

“I’m very happy for the feeling with the bike and with the team during these three days in Valencia. We worked very well, trying many different things on the bike – suspension, swinging arm and fairings – and we learnt a lot. We made improvements to the bike and also found a good rhythm during our race simulation today. Now we need to head down to Jerez to confirm everything at a different track, under different conditions and, hopefully, make one step more.”

In Moto3 Austrailan Jack Miller showed off his skills after joining the KTM ranks for 2014 with the fastest final day time for the Red Bull Ajo team, but it was Niccolo Antonelli, also now a KTM rider, who remained fastest overall. Britains Danny Kent and Romano Fenati at VAlentino Rossi’s Sky sponsored 46 team also went sub-1m 40s.

The top eight bikes were all KTM powered when Husqvarna and Kalex-KTM’s included, indicating that once again the riders on anything else will struggle for the top spots. Mahindra had the ninth fastest bike with the first Honda showing up in tenth, it was piloted by Alex Rins – a title contender last year- at Estrella Galicia last year before they went against the majority and swapped FROM KTM to Honda. Oh Dear.

The next official test is just next week in Jerez -from February 18-20.

 

Valencia combined Moto2 times:

1. Esteve Rabat  Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.155
2. Maverick Viñales  Pons HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 35.302
3. Takaaki Nakagami  Idemitsu Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 35.337
4. Thomas Luthi Interwetten Paddock Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.422
5. Sandro Cortese  Dynavolt Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 35.564
6. Jordi Torres  Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.643
7. Mika Kallio  Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.690
8. Nico Terol  Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 (Suter) 1m 35.715
9. Julian Simon  Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.725
10. Luis Salom  Pons HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 35.844
11. Alex De Angelis  Tasca Racing Moto2 (Suter) 1m 36.033
12. Sam Lowes  Speed Up (Speed Up) 1m 36.082
13. Johann Zarco  Caterham Moto Racing (Caterham Suter) 1m 36.222
14. Axel Pons  Argiñano & Gines Racing (Kalex) 1m 36.335
15. Dominique Aegerter  Technomag CarXpert (Suter) 1m 36.384
16. Jonas Folger  Argiñano & Gines Racing (Kalex) 1m 36.439
17. Anthony West  QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 1m 36.534
18. Josh Herrin  Caterham Moto Racing (Caterham Suter) 1m 36.566
19. Marcel Schrotter  Tech 3 (Tech 3) 1m 36.684
20. Franco Morbidelli  Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 36.785
21. Louis Rossi  SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 36.852
22. Hafizh Syahrin  Petronas Raceline Malaysia (Kalex) 1m 36.886
23. Lorenzo Baldassarri  Gresini Moto2 (Suter) 1m 36.926
24. Azlan Shah  Idemitsu Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 36.955
25. Alex Mariñelarena  Tech 3 (Tech 3) 1m 37.015
26. Roman Ramos  QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 1m 37.067
27. Gino Rea  AGT-Rea Racing (Suter) 1m 37.141
28. Randy Krummenacher  Iodaracing Project (Suter) 1m 37.151
29. Thitipong Warokorn  A.P. Honda SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 37.867
30. Robin Mulhauser Technomag CarXpert (Suter) 1m 37.878
31. Tetsuta Nagashima  Teluru Team JiR Webike (MotoBI) 1m 38.915

 

Valencia Moto3 combined times:

1. Niccolo Antonelli  Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 1m 39.454
2. Jack Miller  Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 39.462
3. Danny Kent  Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 1m 39.726
4. Romano Fenati  Sky Racing Team by VR46 (KTM) 1m 39.885
5. Isaac Viñales  Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 40.060
6. Francesco Bagnaia  Sky Racing Team by VR46 (KTM) 1m 40.103
7. Juanfran Guevara  Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 (Kalex-KTM) 1m 40.112
8. Enea Bastianini  Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 1m 40.166
9. Miguel Oliveira  Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 40.206
10. Alex Rins  Estrella Galicia 0.0 (Honda) 1m 40.231
11. Livio Loi  Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex-KTM) 1m 40.394
12. Arthur Sissis  Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 40.409
13. Jakub Kornfeil  Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 40.444
14. Efren Vazquez  Saxoprint-RTG (Honda) 1m 40.546
15. Philipp Oettl  Interwetten Paddock Moto3 (Kalex-KTM) 1m 40.601
16. Alex Marquez  Estrella Galicia 0.0 (Honda) 1m 40.629
17. Eric Granado  Calvo Team (KTM) 1m 40.694
18. Hafiq Azmi  SIC-Ajo (KTM) 1m 40.734
19. Brad Binder  Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 1m 40.965
20. Niklas Ajo  Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 1m 41.127
21. John McPhee  Saxoprint-RTG (Honda) 1m 41.170
22. Ana Carrasco  RW Racing GP (Kalex-KTM) 1m 41.214
23. Karel Hanika  Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 41.258
24. Matteo Ferrari  San Carlo Team Italia (Mahindra) 1m 41.321
25. Luca Grunwald  Kiefer Racing (Kalex-KTM) 1m 41.542
26. Gabriel Ramos  Kiefer Racing (Kalex-KTM) 1m 41.749
27. Scott Deroue  RW Racing GP (Kalex-KTM) 1m 41.765
28. Alessandro Tonucci  CIP Moto3 (Mahindra) 1m 41.840
29. Jules Danilo  Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 1m 41.962
30. Zulfahmi Khairuddin  Ongetta-AirAsia (Honda) 1m 41.973
31. Andrea Locatelli  San Carlo Team Italia (Mahindra) 1m 42.043
32. Bryan Schouten  CIP Moto3 (Mahindra) 1m 42.392
33. Alexis Masbou  Ongetta-Rivacold (Honda) 1m 42.404