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Image of the GP – Aragon: Barbera on fire (literally)

Ok, so image of the GP hasn’t had an airing for a while, a mixture of illness and engagements have left me short of time (you can all still picture that Rossi win in Misano well yourselves, right? Great stuff!).

So to make up for that here’s an image of the GP for Aragon, a bit early, but that I’m pretty sure the riders at MotorLand will struggle to match it – not every day you see this:

 

That brand new Ducati sure gave Hector Barbera more than he was expecting! On a serious note those of you who thought he appeared to be fanning away invisible flames should look away now – the Spainiard may have walked away relatively unharmed but picked up some battle scars – warning – burns in his next tweeted image:

It ended up not being the only drama of the day with Kenny Noyes Moto2 bike also giving off flames, while Taka Nakagami came dangerously close, spurting fuel on the track.

It’s great that riders stand more chance of avoiding injury from these type of accident now, the pictures act as a very real reminder of a not too often seen but very dangerous part of racing.

 

 

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Indy reports online now/ Edwards says goodbye to racing at home in camo

10/08/2014

What a weekend of racing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brought.

There were many stand out performances with Marquez making it  a perfect 10, which also happened to be Spains 500th Gp win and 100th victory in the Premier class, plus Kallio beat Saarinen’s Finnish win record in Moto2  and Vazquez tasted victory for the first time in Moto3.

For all your race report needs I have been busy reporting over at crash.net with my Moto3 report here and Moto2 here

If you like your news all in one place you can try a slightly more condensed and combined round up at PaddockChatter here

If reading is not your thing at the end of a long race weekend here’s a final couple of  pictures from Twitter, in tribute to the fact that Indy marked Colin Edwards final race on home soil. He is awesome on and off track and will no doubt be missed widely as one of the big characters of the sport.He went full camo, very appropriate given his links as a tribute to the American troops and Texas Tornado Bootcamp!:

Then to wake you back up as you reminisce about Edwards long and excellent career I’ll finish with Dominique Aegerter’s luminous yellow leathers from the weekend, couldn’t miss him!:

 

 

 

 

MotoGP: Marquez joins the Indianapolis special helmet ranks

09/08/2014

He’s the championship leader annihilator, marching forward with a perfect record for race wins so far this season, so it’s really no big surprise that Marc Marquez has a special helmet ready to share for his American fanbase for the Indy race weekend.

The stars and stripes design is fairly standard for an American themed helmet, but the little graphic on the back featuring the phrase ‘USA special’ and a race marshal waving chequered flags is quite, well, special.

He gave a little reveal of it previously when he took it to watch the Indy mile and Tweeted this picture of it:

 

MotoGP: Nicky Hayden’s book promo helmet at Indy

08/08/2014

Not letting recovery and not racing get in the way of a great marketing opportunity Nicky Hayden is still giving all the American fans as much as he can ahead of his home round of the MotoGP championship in Indianapolis.

Missing the next couple of races while recovering from having bones removed from his troubled hand to make it more flexible ( he is being replaced by Briton Leon Camier) you could expect to find the fan favourite with his feet up but Nicky will instead be holding Honda meet and greets on Friday and Saturday and getting down to business. The family business.

Earl Hayden, Nicky’s dad has written a book chronicling his racing family – all the Hayden’s can ride a bike, not just Nicky, Tommy and Roger Lee the multi-title winning Hayden Brothers.

The book entitled ‘The First Family Of Racing’ was launched by Earl himself at the start of the Indy weekend in a press conference, while Nicky contributed this lovely bit of advertising for his Fathers work:

Hayden’s Starline special is once again a beautiful creation by Roberto Marchionni with a healthy dose of Camouflage as seen on many of Nicky’s recent popular helmet designs, the book title and the ‘Earl’s Racing Team’ logo used on many of the Items purchasable to support the brothers in the Hayden General Store. The photo montage from the book cover is also prominent on one side while a large ’69’ plate covers the other. The barcode is a nice touch too.

I can’t review the book yet but if it is half as good as the now hard to find ( especially outside the U.S.) OWB to MotoGP it will be worth a read, the Hayden’s are an entertaining bunch!

Finally, here is a statement from the books press release where Earl Hayden reveals the best thing about his project – it’s for a great cause –

“I’ve been blessed to have a great life so far, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to share it,” said Earl, who is donating his portion of the proceeds from this book to St. Joseph’s Peace Mission for Children, an emergency shelter for abused children in the Hayden family’s hometown of Owensboro, Ky. “I’m really passionate about this charity, and I hope to see it do well. If this book can entertain people and help make a difference, I’ll be tickled pink.”

For those interested the book can be found at the Hayden Bros General Store and also on Amazon.

MotoGP: Monster reveal Lorenzo’s Indianapolis helmet

08/08/2014

The summer break is done for all of us and MotoGP returns this weekend in the USA at the IMS – Indianapolis Motor Speedway to you and I, and as I’ll be typing a lot this weekend I’m going with ‘Indy’.

Jorge Lorenzo is officially off holidays ( he even went hashtag crazy with #ByeByeHolidays so you know he means business!) and back at Yamaha with a new contract that was announced with more of a whimper than a bang despite the PR machines best efforts as it wasn’t much of a secret.

The Spaniard has even taken to flogging his sunglasses via social media with a handsome discount code to boot. But Lorenzo is now the frontrunner of the special helmet brigade! Not a market salesman! Never fear. He just hasn’t told you about it as Monster were left to do the work for him:

Sticking with the snakes it appears to be some type of metal take on his mamba theme.

Hopefully there will be some more specials this weekend that are yet to be revealed. It’s becoming less frequent in the USA with less Americans in the top class of racing. Sadly for all the MotoGP family tomorrow will include a Special livery for Colin Edwards final American race. All good things come to an end but after a long run in the championship the paddock will be missing some character. With Nicky Hayden out injured there will be no United States rider in MotoGP in Brno.

 

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:

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Image of the GP: MotoGP, rodeo style!

17/06/2014

With a close MotoGP race and excitement all the way from Moto3’s kick off to pretty much the final podium it was tough to pick an Image of the GP.

Aside from all the great rides from the winners there was Dani Pedrosa proving he still has a fighting instinct with his last lap do-or-die move, Jordi Torres landing his Aspar on Dominique Aegerter and Jonas Folger honorably putting racing aside to ensure he didn’t hit Luis Salom to be taken into account.

For style points if nothing else, Niklas Ajo and his Husqvarna in Moto3 nudge into the top spot as the save seemed impossible, but rodeo style, Mamola style, the Finn pulled it off:

It must be hard to come to terms with what looked to be a sure thing for a podium place vanish but the skill required to pull that Avant Tecno bike back around and finish in the points deserves to be looked at again too, so here’s some footage too:

 

MotoGP: An Argentina helmet special from Marquez

26/04/2014

Time to look at some helmet art!

Marc Marquez promised something special for the first GP in Argentina for 15 years and here is the artwork:

2014 helmet marquez Argentina

Argentina x Marquez! A little South American flavour for Marquez at Round Three. Image in the public domain and shared via Marc Marquez at Facebook. Image used under fair use act for reporting purposes/editorial use only.

This design is so nice it’s a shame the blue didn’t cover more of the helmet. A nice tribute to Argentina, though if you live there it may cost a house to buy the no doubt soon-to-be-available replica, which is a shame.

All the usual graphpics are incorporated, number and ant, with great use of the race nations national flag to supply the colour palette for the rear of the helmet.

Glad it is a awesome and the design is at the back, it means everyone else should get to see plenty of it as we watch the rest of the field try to track him back down (although, this is MotoGP, so you never know…)

UPDATE: For more from the creator of this marvelous helmet head over to @nicoaffin (arts&customs) on Twitter or at affin.com.ar !

Image Of The GP – Austin: Ready Steady…already gone!

14/04/2014

Jorge Lorenzo – “I wasn’t thinking and was distracted and I made a big mistake in the start”.

There were some great rides in all the classes in Austin. Miller’s blocking in Moto3 was a masterclass in staying ahead. Vinales showed his potential by getting a win in just his second Moto2 race, and making it look easy – no learning curve required there.

MotoGP had it’s fair share of interest and intrigue too, but it’s first big talking point set the tone for the race and that’s why it is my image of the GP:

2014 Austin COTA Texas Jorge Lorenzo start

Jorge, come back! A contender for the most obvious jump start of all time? Yamaha’s Lorenzo ended his Austin adventure before it had even begun. Image via Movistar Yamaha. Editorial use only under the fair use act.

 

The Yamaha press release perhaps put it best – ‘Jorge Lorenzo experienced his second Grand Prix weekend to forget today, making a jump start at the beginning of the race and receiving a ride-through penalty as a result’.

That, of course meant that the Spaniards race was over before it had even begun. Lorenzo took the penalty swiftly and rejoined in 23rd. Ever the professional, knowing that fans come to watch and sponsors need to be appeased he staged a spectacular ride carving through the field to come home in tenth.

After crashing out in the early stages in Qatar Lorenzo could at least take positives form getting his first championship points of the year –

“At least I didn’t crash because it was a difficult situation with the tension and it was easy to make a mistake and get injured. The good thing is that I finished the race and got my first points in the championship but clearly it wasn’t our weekend”.

Yamahas ‘difficult’ race was compounded by teammate Rossi’s tyre problems, with a destroyed front tyre the Italian did not finishing that far ahead of Lorenzo all considered, the margin at four seconds at the flag in an eventual eighth for Rossi after a promising start.

In the mean time reigning world champion Marc Marquez vanished in to the distance and even a late wobble on the final corner could not stop him from taking his second succesive win and we’re only two races into the season!

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.