Qatar

Qatar 2015 – determination required, drama guaranteed!

MotoGP gave us one of it’s greatest races in a long time, and a very Italian podium, but the Spanish domination had vanished in all three world championship classes, they did not feature once on the podium in Qatar (though all the Spanish Moto3 and Moto2 rookies look VERY promising).

 

Reporting on the support classes is always enjoyable, both races had winners who had not won before in that class thanks to a mixture of talent and luck. Behind them riders got the chance to excel on their new machines, while other faltered at the final hurdle.

Moto3 saw experienced ‘veteran’ of the class Alexis Masbou claim his first Moto3 win, just his second ever victory at 27 , Moto2 saw Sam Lowes dominance come to nothing, the reigning champion Rabat also falling and Zarco be let down by his machinery. One of the few other riders to drop a sub two minute lap, Jonas Folger was perfectly poised to pick up the pieces there.

But who else impressed? Who bagged a trophy?

To catch up with the action, try these reports (I again, lovingly created!)

Crash is the destination for detail, as reported live directly after the session reports for Moto2 and Moto3, just click the links to be immersed in all you could wish to know about the Qatar action so far:

Less time? Try the shorter version at PaddockChatter

Qatar qualifying 2015 – resurgence, dominance and experience

MotoGP has returned so it’s time to get back to blogging after my own winter break!

Qatar qualifying has really been exciting as there is so much movement in the paddock, many riders beating expectations and some below where they were predicted.

MotoGP brought us a session where the Ducati really shone a resurgence under the guidance of project manager Gigi Dall’Igna, emotively completed by chants of the man who has stuck by them through thick and thin ‘Dovi’ – Andrea Dovizioso.

 

But my main focus for reporting remains the support classes, both of which had riders take career first poles within the world championship structure.

Moto3 saw experienced ‘veteran’ of the class Alexis Masbou rise to the top , Moto2 saw Sam Lowes continue his dominance over the weekend.

But who can challenge them?

The finest place to catch up with the action, try these reports (I lovingly created!)

Crash is the destination for detail, as reported live directly after the session reports for Moto2 and Moto3, just click the links to be immersed in all you could wish to know about the Qatar action so far:

Less time? Try the shorter version at PaddockChatter

Image of the GP – Qatar: Riding through the pain

25/03/2014

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

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

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

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

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

Intact GP

Diagnosis: Broken heel bone!

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

MotoGP Qatar Race Reports…

22/04/2014

…Are online now!

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

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

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

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

MotoGP Qatar qualifying round-ups…

22/04/2014

Are online now!

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

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

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

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

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

22/03/2014

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

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

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

2014 Glowing Rossi Helmet Qatar

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

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

 

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

22/03/2014

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

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

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

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

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

22/03/2014

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

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

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

…Lorenzo Baldassarri.

2014 Baldassarri

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

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

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

Serious reporting will be resumed shortly.

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

19/03/2014

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

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

2014 Yamaha

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

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

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

DSC_0506

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopefully that clears that up….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game on.

Moto2: Tom Luthi makes surprise return in Texas

Tom Luthi

Luthi riding for Interwetten in 2011
Image by T.Tanabe used under the creative commons agreement via Flickr

Interwetten rider Tom Luthi has announced a shock comeback a whole round earlier than his projected return at Jerez in May. The Swiss star has flown out to Austin ready to ride at the inaugural Moto2 race around the Circuit of the Americas.

Luthi suffered damage to his elbow, arm, ligaments and collarbone in a crash with Ratthapark Wilairot at the Valencia test in February and was not at the season opener in Losail. His replacement Sergio Gadea finished 20th.

More on the injuries can be found in this post.

Just weeks ago he was struggling to do day-to-day basics like eat as he was having trouble moving his arm and hand. He has cut his recovery from an estimated three months to just 64 days.

Tom Luthi stated: “I put all my energy and willpower into working towards an early comeback and I am happy about my speedy recovery. I still lack power in my right arm, but nevertheless I’m sure that I’m ready to go out and race. I definitely want to take part in the free practice sessions on Friday. If I can confirm my hopes and ride without great difficulties, I will also start in the race on Sunday, trying to get the best possible result!”

Team Manager Daniel Epp added: “I was surprised about Tom’s decision to fly to Texas on Tuesday and to return to racing so soon, at the second Grand Prix of this season. But he made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation program, especially over the last days, so I can fully understand his decision to return now instead of the first European race at Jerez. We are all convinced of Tom’s ability to score a good result at Austin and he has our full support with this brave decision!”

It has not yet been announced if Sergio Gadea or another replacement rider will be flown out to race if Luthi cannot compete as planned.