testing

MotoGP: Marquez leaves Sepang test with a new record time

Marc Marquez continued to improve at the Sepang MotoGP test.

Instead of resting on his laurels after topping the first two days of action Honda rider Marquez took things to a whole new level on the final day in Malaysia setting a new record time at the track with a 1m 59.533 lap – just inside Casey Stoner’s unofficial benchmark lap of 1m 59.607 from 2012.

This apparently left him “pretty happy”.

After the young Spaniard the trio with the next best times were all Yamaha riders and all worthy of a mention.

Valentino Rossi looks like he might be in for a good season after coming in second again and just 0.194 shy of the top time of current champion Marquez. The Italians lap was also his own best around Sepang ever. A good sign for a feisty championship ahead (hopefully!)

2014 marquez test helmet

Keeping it subtle, a nice, understated version of the Marquez ‘ant’ theme for the Sepang test, with a couple of little additions to remind everyone who the reigning champion is!
Image via Marc Marquez own Twitter account @marcmarquez93 and reproduced here under the fair use act.

Jorge Lorenzo clocked in third as he continued to succeed in his mission to iron out bike issues but this time also working on race pace, something he found very quickly.

Impressing so much that accusations are already flying as they did in CRT, Aleix Espargaro was not only fourth quickest while working on a full race distance on his Open Class Forward Yamaha entry but also went sub 2 minutes!

Understandably “thrilled” the FTR M1 rider concluded his sensational test in style finishing ahead of many riders who you could reasonably have expected to see above him on the timesheets -factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl and the whole Ducati outfit.

2014 A Espargaro Sepang helmet

Hola Forward, hello world! Once again commanding attention (and not just from all the pink on him) Aleix uses his helmet to say hello to his new team while making a mark on MotoGP for 2014 before the season has begun.
Image by Aleix Espargaro @AleixEspargaro on twitter and also shared via Instagram, other details as above.

Full list of final times for the third and final day below:

1. Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 59.533 (Lap 10/40)
2. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 59.727 +0.194 (11/55)
3. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 1m 59.866 +0.333 (2/65)
4. Aleix Espargaro  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 1m 59.998 +0.465 (7/43)
5. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 0.112 +0.579 (11/38)
6. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.223 +0.690 (29/55)
7. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 0.370 +0.837 (10/40)
8. Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.655 +1.122 (8/65)
9. Andrea Iannone  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 0.725 +1.192 (13/57)
10. Alvaro Bautista  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.788| +1.255 (3/63)
11. Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.896 +1.363 (10/65)
12. Cal Crutchlow  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.057 +1.524 (58/58)
13. Nicky Hayden  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 1.514 +1.981 (21/59)
14. Colin Edwards  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 1.731 +2.198 (41/47)
15. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 1.782 +2.249 (12/67)
16. Hiroshi Aoyama  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.383 +2.850 (61/66)
17. Randy De Puniet  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 2.486 +2.953 (17/67)
18. Yonny Hernandez  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.556 +3.023 (31/65)
19. Kosuke Akiyoshi  Honda Test Rider 2m 2.619 +3.086 (3/58)
20. Katsuyuki Nakasuga  Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 2.788 +3.255 (13/38)
21. Scott Redding  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 2.833 +3.300 (42/60)
22. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.187 +3.654 (12/41)
23. Hector Barbera  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 3.204 +3.671 (49/54)
24. Broc Parkes  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.402 +3.869 (40/43)
25. Mike Di Meglio  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.516| +4.983 (28/58)
26. Nobuatsu Aoki  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 5.686 +6.153 (10/12)
27. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 5.974 +6.441 (6/12)

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MotoGP: Marquez remains on top for day two and Iannone’s follow friendly helmet

Day two in Sepang for the MotoGP riders saw Marc Marquez go sub two minutes in Malaysia, the first rider to do so.

The top three times of the day were all set by Honda riders with the Spaniards factory team-mate second and LCR rider Stefan Bradl improving to third.

Valentino Rossi completed another solid day of testing with the fourth fastest time, just ahead of the rider of the test for me so far, Aleix Espargaro – who was the fifth best on day two, easily the best of the Open Class entries and one place faster than Rossi’s Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo. Impressive.

Andrea Iannone saw off the factory Ducati riders once again with his Pramac machine, so to celebrate here’s his ‘follow me’ social media inspired helmet as the image for todays blog, Day two times listed below the picture:

2014 at andreaiannone29 sepang test

Still Crazy… The self styled ‘Maniac Joe’ wants you to follow him – just like Crutchlow and Dovizioso at the moment!
Image via Iannone himself initially posted on his Twitter feed – @andreaiannone29 and used under the fair use act

Sepang Test 2014 Day Two Times:

1. Marc Marquez  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 59.926s (Lap 38/65)
2. Dani Pedrosa  Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 2m 0.336s | +0.410s (12/62)
3. Stefan Bradl  LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 2m 0.339s | +0.413s (13/52)
4. Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.464s | +0.538s (18/61)
5. Aleix Espargaro  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 0.547s | +0.621s (16/42)
6. Jorge Lorenzo  Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 2m 0.573s | +0.647s (27/49)
7. Bradley Smith  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 0.603s | +0.677s (27/66)
8. Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 0.855s | +0.929s (9/49)
9. Alvaro Bautista  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 0.897s | +0.971s (51/55)
10. Pol Espargaro  Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.061s | +1.135s (4/49)
11. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.146s | +1.220s (8/45)
12. Cal Crutchlow  Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 2m 1.396s | +1.470s (11/48)
13. Michele Pirro  Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 2m 2.177s | +2.251s (6/56)
14. Nicky Hayden  Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.287s | +2.361s (25/58)
15. Colin Edwards  NGM Mobile Forward Racing (FTR-M1) 2m 2.545s | +2.619s (8/35)
16. Yonny Hernandez  Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 2m 2.675s | +2.749s (13/45)
17. Kosuke Akiyoshi  Honda Test Rider 2m 2.692s | +2.766s (8/68)
18. Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 2m 2.825s | +2.899s (65/66)
19. Katsuyuki Nakasuga  Yamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 2.970s | +3.044s (49/56)
20. Randy De Puniet  Suzuki Test Rider (XRH-1) 2m 3.064s | +3.138s (73/96)
21. Scott Redding  Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 2m 3.117s | +3.191s (39/53)
22. Michael Laverty  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 3.528s | +3.602s (37/41)
23. Hector Barbera  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 4.551s | +4.625s (2/37)
24. Broc Parkes  Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 2m 4.619s | +4.693s (42/43)
25. Karel Abraham  Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 2m 5.261s | +5.335s (21/32)
26. Mike Di Meglio  Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki) 2m 5.355s | +5.429s (4/34)

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 MotoGP.com, 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…

MotoGP: Testing! Testing! Stoner back on a Honda in Motegi

Test Stoner 2013

Stoner back in action, of sorts. The Australian comes out of retirement to test for Honda at Motegi
Image shared via hrc_motogp, also available on Instagram and Twitter.

For the first time since the final race of the 2012 season Casey Stoner was back on a MotoGP bike – testing the 2013 Honda at the Motegi circuit in Japan alongside test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Wataru Yoshikawa and Randy De Puniet for Suzuki.

Starting out, according to those at the track, with the 2012 forks and shocks in place, the former two-time world champion is also due to try out the new 2014 prototype machine, but has for the time being been held up by the wet weather.

Stoner had the following to say on his return;

“It was good to get back on the bike, if only for a few laps! We only managed to get one run in before the rain arrived which was a little disappointing. It was really nice to get that first run, it’s been nine months since I’ve been on a bike and it’s going to take me some time to get used to everything again! The bike and the track felt good and I hope that we can get some better testing in tomorrow with some dry track time and run some more laps.”

The development of next year’s Honda factory bike and production racer is due to continue at the private test tomorrow, weather permitting.

Moto3: Rule changes for 2014 onwards

 

Engine revs and costs to be limited by the GP commission in future seasons.

As KTM continue to dominate the previously open competition ground of Moto3 the GP Commission met in Qatar to discuss cost cutting measures which also have the aim of leveling the field.

Currently in basic terms the KTM revs higher and is more powerful but high maintenance while Honda, who wanted the change, have a smaller bore so rev lower and cost less are easier to look after but cannot match the power output of the KTM.

There were also changes made to the current testing arrangements.

Here is the official press statement:

Moto3 Class

Changes to the regulations concerning supply of engines for the Moto3 class were approved. The objective is to reduce the cost of the engine programme for the teams and to ensure that there is equality of performance between engines supplied by the same manufacturer.

With effect from 2014 engines will be provided to Championship Organiser by the manufacturers in three batches during the season. The engines will be sealed and distributed randomly by the Technical Director and will become the property of the teams, with no requirement for them to be returned under any “service contract”. When an engine has completed the normal cycle of use it will be replaced by another sealed engine and it is anticipated that the six engines will be more than sufficient for the season. At the end of the season the team then owns six engines with only minimal mileage accrued which can be used for testing or sold on. The fixed cost for the engine package is €68,000.

The concession to allow timing chain replacement on Honda engines at regular intervals, which involves supervised breaking of the engine seals, will be extended until the end of 2014.

With effect from 2015 the maximum revs permitted for Moto3 machines will be reduced from 14,000 RPM to 13,500 RPM and the timing chain replacement concession will be cancelled.

 

Testing Regulations – Moto3 and Moto2 classes

Changes to testing regulations for the Moto3 and Moto2 classes were also approved. Testing is now permitted as follows:

At any circuit, with any riders, between the final GP and 30 November.

Three pre-season official tests, but only with contracted riders, at circuits in Europe nominated by Dorna/IRTA.

Teams may also designate one GP circuit and one non-GP circuit where they may test at any time from 01 February onwards with any riders, but not within 14 days of an event at the circuit.

Teams may also participate in tests held on Mondays and/or Tuesdays after events in Europe when these days are not required for MotoGP class testing.

Any activity authorised by Race Direction.

No testing is permitted between 01 December and 31 January, both dates being inclusive.

Paddock Chatter guest blog – is CRT a success?

Paddock Chatter are a fairly young but very awesome source on motorsport related news, with a smattering of opinion and article led content thrown in for good measure. The website was created by motorcycle fans for motorcycle fans and have a huge presence on twitter, where they initially started out, the highlight of which is their ‘Twinterview’ where they fire a few questions at a well known rider (Shane Byrne, Eugene Laverty, Gino Rea and James Toseland included) over the social media platform.

I have a new guest blog to read on their website, this time analysing the debut season for the claiming rules teams and what they achieved in MotoGP, why they are criticised and their future in the sport.

Would be lovely if you could show it and, of course, Paddock Chatter some love with some comments or tweets!

Here’s the link for more:

http://www.paddockchatter.com/2013/02/guest-blog-claiming-rule-teams-success.html

MotoGP: Marc Marquez on ice!

Marc Márquez – 2012 Moto2™ World Champion

Marc Marquez
Photo by Atlantic Dolphin via Flickr and used under Creative Commons license

Marc Marquez begins his season by racing a car on ice in the G Series BPA 2013.

Despite testing not being until February Spanish reigning Moto2 champion Marc Marquez will be racing again on January 12th when he takes part in the G Series BPA ice road race in a Volkswagen Golf MK1 in Andorra at the Grandvalira Circuit.

The 19 year old HRC rider is the latest in a long line of Spanish motorsport stars to take up the challenge with Toni Elias, Aleix Espargaro and Jorge Lorenzo all past participants.

My favourite helmet design of 2012

I have always been a big fan of the way motorcycle riders can show a little of their personality through the bits of their kit they have the ability to personalise and the most obvious example of this is usually their helmets.

Fastest in testing in a Kalex top three and championship runner up Pol Espargaro ran with a AGV helmet that, especially after THAT crash with Marc Marquez, summed up his season perfectly:

Pol Espargaro 2012 AGV Never Give Up helmet

A neat summary of Espargaro’s season – on a helmet!

Moto3: Valencia wild card Juan Fransisco Guevara earns full 2013 ride with CIP

Coming to Moto3 in 2013 to give Maverick Vinales a challenge for best name in the paddock if nothing else is the Spanish teenager Juan Fransisco Guevara.

The 17 year old impressed with a 12th place in his second wild card grand prix race at the Ricardo Tormo circuit and the French CIP team (Technomag no longer appear to be involved) have snapped him up for a full time ride alongside Alan Techer who has renewed his contract with the outfit after finishing 22nd in the final standings.

Guevara still has unfinished racing business this year as he is due to compete in the seventh and final round of the Moto3 CEV Spanish championship. He is due to test his new Moto3 machine next week.