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, 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…


Moto2: Who else is affected by Ant West’s ban?

The FIM has now confirmed the ban imposed for Ant West’s doping offence. The Australian has always claimed this was accidental and a result of taking the banned substance Methylhexaneamine via an energy drink.

The ban has been applied retrospectively so does not affect his future competition, but when applied over the dates 20 May 2012 to 19 October 2013 – 18 months in total – he loses his two Moto2 podium results.


West’s results may have been scrapped, but who gets bumped up into those podium places at the expense of the Australian?
West image by thomasrdotorg and used under the Creative Commons License Agreement

Sad for West and his fans, but a timely reminder that athletes can never be too careful – the severity also serves as a warning that accidental consumption is equally frowned upon.

Now to look at the story a different way, who else has been affected by the ban now it has been confirmed the results are to be altered and West’s podiums removed?

Scott Redding gets another rostrum, Gino Rea is boosted up to a 2nd, and Hafizh Syahrin his first Moto2 podium placing!

Here’s a look at the original results and the new standings after West’s Results have been omitted:

Phillip Island, Sunday, October 28, 2012 podium,ORIGINAL

  1. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Tuenti Movil HP 40 (Kalex)
  2. Ant West (AUS) QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up)
  3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol (Suter)

Phillip Island, Sunday, October 28, 2012 AMENDED

    1. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Tuenti Movil HP 40 (Kalex)
    2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol (Suter)
    3. Scott Redding (GBR) Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex)

Sepang, Sunday, October 21, 2012 podium, ORIGINAL

  1. Alex De Angelis (RSM) NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR)
  2. Ant West (AUS) QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up)
  3. Gino Rea (GBR) Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 (Suter)

Sepang, Sunday, October 21, 2012 podium, AMENDED

  1. Alex De Angelis (RSM) NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR)
  2. Gino Rea (GBR) Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 (Suter)
  3. Hafizh Syahrin (MAL) Petronas Raceline Malaysia (FTR)

So there is some good news in the bad, especially for Hafizh Syahrin who will have his first full Moto2 season in 2014, and Gino Rea, who can hopefully use the positive change to his result to secure more sponsors after revealing he will have American backing for next season after a hard year of wild-card and replacement privateer riding in 2013!

Full FIM press release statement below:

Doping – Decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of rider Anthony West

The FIM has taken note of the Award handed down on 22 November 2013 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the case of rider Anthony West, participant in the 2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix in the Moto2 Class.

On 20 May 2012, Anthony West underwent an anti-doping test conducted by the FIM at the 2012 French Grand Prix. The urine sample obtained from Mr West revealed the presence of a stimulant (Methylhexaneamine) prohibited in competition under the FIM Anti-doping Code in force.

Following a decision of 29 October 2012 handed down by the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI) to suspend Mr West for one month, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed to the CAS and called for a 24 month period of ineligibility to be imposed on Mr West.

The case was referred to a three-man CAS Panel. A hearing was held on 21 August 2013 in Lausanne and the parties were heard. The FIM was represented by the Head of its Legal Department, Mr Richard Perret.

The appeal by WADA against the CDI’s decision was only partially upheld. The Panel suspended Anthony West for 18 months from which the one month’s suspension already served was deducted.

Taking into account the considerable delay in the conduct of the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CAS Panel decided to set the start of the suspension retroactively at 20 May 2012.

Subject to the lodging of any appeal by one of the parties within 30 days with the Swiss Federal Tribunal and as provided for in the CAS Award, all the sporting results obtained by Anthony West from 20 May 2012 up to the expiry of the period of ineligibility (i.e. 19 October 2013) will be invalidated. The FIM will therefore modify the rankings of the 2012 and 2013 FIM Road Racing World Championships Grand Prix, Moto2 Class, accordingly. The FIM will also modify the rankings of the 2012 FIM Endurance Road Racing World Cup.

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 :

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 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!

Motegi madness! Moto3 and Moto2 reports online now!

What racing! After the weather left an empty programme The Japanese Motegi Grand Prix’s at Motegi really made up for the wait.

Lorenzo did all he could to take the MotoGP battle down to the wire, whereas Marquez rode an intelligent race in second, though he had much work to do off the track too after apologising hard for THAT t-shirt and helmet design, tweeting :

“My special helmet was designed to be a symbol of thanks to all my Japanese colleagues & fans so I am very sorry if it caused any offence.”

Good on him to have the strength of character to apologise. Picture of the helmet here:

Moto2 and Moto3 detailed race reports can be found here at, Moto3 was a thriller and Moto2 has a champion so well worth a look.

The brief round up is as usual at Paddock Chatter here, just click the links to share, comment, like, tweet and discuss!

I also have a special feature on Espargaro’s title win in moto2 and how it was not meant to be for Redding here:



Phillip Island Qualifying Reports Online Now!

All change at Phillip lsland! A bike swap for MotoGP, Lorenzo with an extra seagull for much of qualifying and a shortened Moto2 race, with the title leader out of action!

For full race reports on  Moto2 and Moto3 visit  If you prefer a brief round-up of the action I have a round up at paddock chatter for both classes. There’s a lot to talk about so why not use the links to like, tweet or comment!

Moto2: Marc VDS reveal new cooling system for riders in Sepang…

It gets hot a humid in Sepang. Then it rains, usually when it’s time for racing on Sunday.

This means it is essential for the MotoGP paddocks racers to be given new and innovative ways to keep cool amid the troublesome heat.

Marc VDS have come up with the perfect solution and here it is in action, being demonstrated by championship title contender Scott Redding, who has had problems in the humidity in the past…


Redding in a Bin

It’s Scott Redding on ice!
Image via the excellent @ianwheeler on Twitter

It’s a bin!

But it’s full of ice!

It’s simple and clever and hysterical to look at all at once, and what’s better than that as the season draws to a tense conclusion in Moto2! Thanks for the funnies Marc VDS, and kudos for being as resourceful as MacGuyver (If you need to look that up, congratulations on being young, wanna swap?!)

Aragon race reports online now

Aragon Motorland  bought us three action packed races, no doubt you’ve heard about the Marquez/Pedrosa controversy (No dancing in HRC hospitality tonight, it was all about apologising!)

Terol Aragon

Back to winning ways, Terol in control in Aragon
Image via Team Aspar, editorial use only

No race direction intervention was required inMoto3 or Moto2, both had brilliant battles to the line!

For a Moto3 or Moto2 summary visit my report on PaddockChatter. For a more detailed race report for Moto2 and Moto3, you can visit my work at, where you can also find my analysis of the Redding/Espargaro Moto2 title battle.

Moto3 and Moto2 Aragon qualifying reports online now!

Moto3 and Moto2 round-ups: Dominant performances leads to pole for Rins and Terol…

Terol Austin Aragon

Terol won in Austin, can he do it again in Aragon?
image via Mapfre Aspar

Well it’s a race weekend again, and you’ll probably keep up-to-date with the MotoGP goings-on, but what happened in the support class qualifying sessions.

To find out more about the excellent performances of Alex Rins and Nico Terol and how title race leaders  Luis Salom and Scott Redding both struggled you can check out my round up on or for more in-depth coverage my Moto3 and Moto2 reports are available at

Hopefully both races will live up to the promise shown in qualifying!

Silverstone – There’s no place like home…

…or why I go to my home GP, every year, even though it’s not my favourite.

Redding silverstone win

What it’s all about… Redding wins the British Moto2 Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Image via, editorial use only under fair use act!

Silverstone charged £15 for Sunday parking this year, kids were only free if under two and admission on the day prices are heading dangerously near F1 costs, but I was there on Sunday, with a single hope, for which there was a common consensus in the crowd – we all wanted a British win.

Okay, not for the two guys on holiday I came up on the train with who wanted the MotoGP Brits to fail miserably, and technically I was also really looking forward to blitzing the merchandise stands for goodies so I had two hopes, but I digress.

It’s been a while in MotoGP/500cc racing, and like winning the World Cup that elusive victory seems to be taking forever arriving. This explains why as a nation we tend to go a bit nuts when we do actually win at ANYTHING, a sudden love Andy Murray taking over even his biggest critics post Wimbledon or forgiving the England cricket team for urinating on the wicket (more British than queuing, fish & chips or jellied eels, as you’ll find after a Saturday night out in any major UK city, just minus some stumps and add a wall!)

This meant that there were a LOT of people adorned with the number 35.

If they didn’t arrive with it, they had already bought it, ripped the packet open and donned their badge of honour.

Cal Crutchlow is like Marmite for me, one week I’ll be impressed by his comic timing on Twitter (let’s just say Marc Marquez has to have a good sense of humour!) the next I’ll be gobsmacked that’s he’s talked himself out of a great seat with the same mouth.

I think they’d picked the wrong number, and I wasn’t the only one. I was also at my home Grand Prix in 2008 at Donington Park. Moto3 was off last, as is the case for the British Grand Prix timings.

A huge section of the crowd had stropped off when in the MotoGP race a St George flag-styled James Toseland hit the dirt, ending the dream, missing out on watching him steel himself and circulate to finish 17th, those who stayed made sure to make enough noise to let him know the effort was appreciated.

Even less stayed to see a bit of history when Scott Redding on a 125cc bike held on for dear life in blustery conditions as those in front of him seemed to get blown away and took the win, aged just 15.

I can’t vouch for what it was like in the stands that day, so maybe people with fancier tickets are better prepared and have read the entry list beforehand.

Where I was stood there was myself and my partner, cheering like mad when the Gloucester born rider hit the front, some guy about ten people in front also got it and knew what was going on. Much shouting of ‘Go Redding!’ by the in-the-know parties our side and a bit further down the fence seemed to generate interest and by the line there was a decent cheer for our 15 year-old hero. Some kid called Marc Marquez showed promise by appearing on the radar for the first time with his first podium, a third place.

He was so small it was a miracle he made the finish, I came home with some odd kind of wind tan that day, it was blowing so hard.

Redding Marquez 2008

Small and smaller – Redding and Marquez in 2008
Image from 2013 Silverstone programme

Fast forward to 2013. Crutchlow did a ‘Toseland’.

Redding did a ‘Redding’.

There’s a lot of talk of ‘curse’ but there’s also a lot of pressure to win and the longer the wait, the heavier it feels. You can feel it when you have been shuttled in from the first train to the sound of Moto2 warming up, you see it as the spectators play a kind of fan bingo while they see what everyone else is wearing and who is supporting who, with a glare if your numbers don’t tally ( or smiles and cooing if you are my toddler in his Nicky Hayden attire, EVERY TIME).

crutchlow battered tech3

Don’t worry, we can rebuild you!
Crutchlow’s Tech3, Image via editorial use only under fair use act

Redding differs as he has said before that he thrives off the home crowd, they’ve all paid to come and see you, will you to win, he takes it all in the positive, which seems to eradicate any nerves or extra pressure.

Generally speaking, the stats don’t help. I worked qualifying and sitting there looking back at me while I wrote my race reports up were the following facts:

The only British rider to have started from pole at Silverstone, across all solo GP classes, is Barry Sheene – in the 500cc race in 1977

Only one British rider has won a solo GP race at Silverstone – Ian McConnachie in the 80cc class in 1986.

Scott Redding is first British rider in any solo class to arrive at British GP leading the world championship, since Barry Sheene in 1977.

That’s all a lot of years back.

Cal crippled that Tech3 trying for the first fact on the list, impressively his mechanics fashioned a rideable Yamaha from the leftovers of his crash-fest of a weekend, but alas it was not to be, finishing seventh.Bradley Smith has the unenviable job of sharing his rookie year with Marc Marquez, he came ninth.

For more on Crutchlow’s fortunes and the excellent battle between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez see the excellent race report at Riding Fast and Flying Low by Chitra Subramanyam , she knows he stuff and this link will tell you all you need to know for the’ main’ race.

Now let’s get to the win.

Moto2 went off first, when you factor in Donington, Redding had himself to beat as the last home winner of a British Grand Prix, and with the ride of a champion, he delivered.

Out-racing Nakagami – so desperate for his first win – instead of setting for second,  the ‘putting the championship first’ answer, Redding gave us a taste of what we wanted and extended his lead in the championship in the process. Esaprgaro ended up teary and looking emotionally battered while being comforted by his brother after the race. More on their rivalry in this report by me, here at

The Brit had even tempted fate and curse with his union flag leathers and bike, topped off with a fancy wolf helmet (and crazy wolf celebration, a lot of faces pulled by the general public trying to work that one out!), see more here.

This is the home race difference: You felt proud to be there. That’s why it’s special.

I like Estoril (so long, my GP friend!) for the awesome holiday to Lisbon, and the natural mountain banking which meant you could see most of the track without a big screen (just as well as they don’t have any!).

I love the Catalunya race. No excuse is needed to soak up some culture in Barcelona. The mix of fans form all nations and all ages all pouring onto the local train to Montmelo is a great (but sweaty) experience. The walk from the station to the circuit gives you a feeling of inclusion it’s hard to get anywhere else. I got to see Rossi vs Lorenzo with a bonus ‘Julian Simon can’t count’ race, which makes it a winner, my first choice of Grand Prix.

Yet, there is something special about your home race, being able to say ‘I was there’ for Redding’s two home wins, which is pretty undeniably awesome in it’s own right, the reason why I keep turning up.

Silverstone clearly acknowledge how dedicated bike race fans are as they have improved food, fun, transport and changed the layout to make your day feel more inclusive… and easier on the feet. I saw Aleix Espargaro on a scooter down by the motorhomes! you could never get THAT near before. Hopefully they don’t price all but the wealthiest out of the market in return.

Always had the best toilets though, they’re F1 posh.

They know though that piggy banks will be raided as we all wait for the next premier class win. The ‘new’ Hailwood, Surtees or Sheene. I want to be there for that British GP win and I know I’m not alone, the record crowd prove it. Perhaps if I put on my ruby slippers and repeat ‘there’s no place like home’ I may be able to magic my way in for free!

With Redding off to Gresini Honda, maybe he’ll fancy a home win in the top class to complete the set?

I’ll save up for 2014 now then…