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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.

 

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Moto3: Caretta Technology become TascaRacing from 2013 season

New sponsor means a change of name for the Moto3 outfit.

 

The name Caretta Technology will no longer be present on the Moto3 grid in 2013 as Team Techno Racing, the people behind the Caretta branding have acquired a new title sponsor and shall now be known as TascaRacing Moto3 Team.

 

Tasca & Partners are a consultancy company in Italy and their CEO will also be taking an active role at the motorsport team with the aim of using his communication agency to achieve growth for the team commercially and financially.

 

Despite the name change TascaRacing will still be using FTR Honda machinery and will field signed riders Alessandro Tonucci who joins from Team Italia FMI, for whom he scored a podium at the Japanese Grand Prix, alongside Hyuga Watanabe who was a regular rider in the Spanish Championship’s Moto3 class last season and made wild-card appearance last year, also at Motegi, where he finished just out of the points.

 

 

The Italian team will be looking to build on a successful 2012 where as Caretta they ran Australian Jack Miller who finished as high as fourth in a successful season, Alexis Masbou who despite being injured was still 13th overall in the final championship standings and they also gave a chance to his replacement, young British hopeful John McPhee.

MotoGP: Ducati after Rossi

It looked like it was to be a marriage made in heaven, the Italian factory and their homegrown Italian multiple championship winner Valentino Rossi. It quickly went sour, so sour that Rossi spent most of last season looking like he was sucking on lemons and aching to be somewhere else instead of his usually sunny confident self.

So while the inevitable parting of ways has occurred and Rossi is back in more comfortable surroundings at Yamaha counting down the days until he can prove he still has ‘it’, Ducati found the most valuable thing Rossi gave them from his time there was not an all conquering anyone-can-ride-it-now Ducati, but a look at just what his marketability was capable of.

Presumably this explains the promo shots on the Pramac site, home to former Yamaha man Ben Spies and more interestingly Italian  Moto2 crazy man – a rider so crazy he upgraded his nickname from ‘Crazy Joe’ to ‘Maniac Joe’- Andrea Iannone.

In the shot below, from http://pramacracing.com/index.php Iannone is shown in an outfit not dissimilar to a fellow Italian who until recently raced in the factory team…

maniac joe crazy joe iannone rossi style leathers pramac test bike

“I will emulate Rossi by struggling to podium for Ducati”

It is worth remembering that Iannone has always shared a fondness for luminous yellow with Rossi, and he has never been known to shy away from a loud livery, none having more volume than his moving film advert for ‘Step Up 3D’ which was used at the San Marino round in 2012, as Iannone is such a flamboyant rider and risk taker here’s hoping that the red is luckier for hm than it was for Rossi and will be nearer the front come the checkered flag.

Romano Fenati back with Team Italia for 2013

After narrowly missing out on the accolade of ‘rookie of the year’ to Alex Rins after a close battle between the two this season, Italian teenager Romano Fenati can celebrate a secure future instead with the news he is confirmed to ride for his current team Team Italia FMI for the 2013 season.

The Italian teenager impressed in his rookie year with a string of strong results, including a race win at a wet Jerez and three further podium finishes.

Team Italia have made it their goal to nurture new Italian riders as there were few coming through the system after Andrea Iannone and the late Marco Simoncelli and have revealed that Fenati will have a new team mate next season in the shape of 15 year old Francesco Bagnaia, who will be sixteen during the winter break so able to race from the start of the season unlike new Marc VDS Moto3 signing Livio Loi or Eric Granado in this year’s Moto2 championship.

Bagnaia currently race in the CIV Moto3 Spanish championship and is third before the final round for the Monlau Competicion squad where he was the partner to championship winner Alex Marquez.

More on Fenati’s achievements so far here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romano_Fenati

Moto2: espargaro wins at Aragon Motorland, Redding third

Pol Espargaro found his way to the front at just the right moment in yet another hard fought Moto2 race, while championship leader Marquez had to settle for second, British star Redding snatched the final place on the podium in the final corners from Andrea Iannone.

For the full race report at crash.net click here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/184536/1/moto2_espargaro_wins_in_aragon_redding_third.html

For the qualifying report, which also made for some unusual results take a look here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/184514/1/moto2_surprise_aragon_pole_for_corsi_marquez_seventh.html

Moto3: Salom wins in aragon, Vinales out.

Luis Salom sealed his second career victory with a close win at the Aragon Motorland circuit, with Vinales suffering engine trouble and not making the race start. Cortese maintains his excellent podium record, while pole-sitter Folger also made the rostrum.

for my full qualifying report at crash.net click here :

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/184534/1/moto3_salom_wins_vinales_out_in_aragon_drama.html

feel free to comment and like/google+

Also, if you are curious the qualifying report is available here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/184511/1/moto3debut_pole_for_folger_at_drying_aragon.html

Amazing to see that Moto3 has provided exciting racing at every race this year, well worth following for the stars of the future.

Marquez masters Misano, keeps Espargaro in check

Moto2’s Misano race had to be restarted after an oil leak on track from unlucky Brit Gino Rea,with Iannone in the lead at the time he took the pole for the restart, but his tyres let him down, leaving countrymen and rivals Marc Marquez and Pol Espargero to fight it out to the line. Marquez used all of his bike and sometimes his leg to kepp Espargaro at bay, Iannone did enough to keep third place.

To view the full race result, check out my crash.net race report here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/184023/1/moto2_marquez_keeps_espargaro_at_bay_in_misano.html

Moto3: Cortese snatches victory, Vinales Fifth

Sunday’s Misano Moto3 race was action filled from start to finish with a particularly entertaining final lap. Cortsese had held enough back to escape for the win in the closing stages, while Salom and Fenati, who was way back, came through to complete the podium. Maverick Vinales tore through the pack after a troubled qualifying and poor start, only to bee ru off track by Alex Rins approaching the flag, anding fifth.

For the full race result see my crash.net race report available here:

http://www.crash.net/motogp/race+report/184017/1/moto3_cortese_wins_tough_battle_for_misano_victory.html

MotoGp: Valentino Rossi – special Misano helmet 2012 pictures

Valentino Rossi uveiled his AGV special Aldo Drudi designed special race helmet for the Misano race weekend 2012, it shows Rossi as a boxer, struggling and fighting the tough times at Ducati, the writing reads: ‘come vado?’ or ‘how am I doing?’

Rossi has had many special helmets over the years, and a fair few have been at Misano , below are ‘Donkey’ 2009, ‘Wake Up’ 2010 and his ‘state of mind’ 2011 effort, I still love that Donkey helmet!

Valentino Rossi 2009 Misano Helmet

valentino rossi helmet misano 2010

valentino rossi helmet misano 2011

Moto3: Cortese sneaks Misano pole, news round up

Red Bull KTM’s Sandro Cortese got a tow from the pair of Team Italian riders ahead of him, Fenati starts second while fellow Italian and rival Niccolo Antonelli will start from third for San Carlo Gresini, full report here :

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/183978/1/moto3_cortese_sneaks_pole_at_misano.html

Ahead of the Moto3 race here’s some more line-up data:

Italians Stefano Valtulini and Kevin Calia have wildcard rides for the weekend

Miroslav Popov replaces an injured Moretti at Mahindra (Moretti replaced Marcel Schrotter when he departed for Moto2)

MZ are no longer on the grid, their rider Finsterbusch now rides at Racing Team Germany

Alexis Masbou will not race after injuring his femur in testing, Rinaldi replaces him this week.

Isaac Vinales is also out from injury and is replaced by Josep Rodriguez at Ongetta

Adrian Martin did not set a qualifying time after getting injured in practice.