Brno, Czech Republic
The FIM have today released the provisional version of the MotoGP calendar for 2014. As expected, there are few surprises: with the addition of Argentina and Brazil, there will be nineteen races on the calendar, though Brazil is not expected to be ready to host a race next year, the event likely to be postponed until 2015. Laguna Seca is gone from the calendar, leaving just two US races on for 2014. And once again, there are four Spanish rounds on for next season, although Jerez is marked subject to contract.
The season opens with the night race in Qatar on March 23rd, though this decision is likely to face criticism from the riders. Moving the race two weeks earlier increases the risk of the evening dew which settles on the surface hitting earlier, while the bikes are still out on track. That was the case in previous years, when the race was held earlier, with some major crashes as a result. The dew settles quickly and is impossible to see under the lights, but renders the asphalt extremely slippery within a very short period.
There must be something in the Moravian water. Three races at Brno on Sunday, and all three genuine barnburners. What's more, the podiums had a good mixture of experience, age, and nationality. 'Only' five of the nine were Spanish, while in Moto2, there wasn't a single Spaniard on the podium. And at the end, the championships in all three classes got a little more interesting.
Race of the day? Impossible to say, but the 2013 Czech Grand Prix will surely be remembered for the MotoGP race. After a tense race with a blistering finish last year, the 2013 race was even better. A brilliant start by Jorge Lorenzo - perhaps the best of his career - saw him catapult into the lead at the start. He pushed to break the following group, consisting of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's race at Brno:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's Czech Grand Prix at Brno:
MotoGP fans around the globe should be reminded that race day at Brno does not follow the normal schedule. The MotoGP race has been moved an hour earlier to avoid a clash with the Belgian F1 Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps, in accordance with the agreement F1 and MotoGP have to avoid schedule clashes.
This means that MotoGP race will start a 1pm local time in Brno, which is 12 noon in the UK, 7am Eastern, 4am Pacific time or 9pm AEST. To find the correct time for your time zone, check this time converter on the TimeAndDate.com website.
Moving the MotoGP race naturally has repercussions for the rest of the schedule. The Moto2 race is the first race of the day, and is also an hour earlier, starting at 11:20am Brno time. The Moto3 race becomes the last race of the day, starting at 2:30pm in the afternoon, 90 minutes after the start of the MotoGP race.
The warm up schedule is similarly affected, Moto2 kicking off the day at 9am, MotoGP following at 9:30am, then Moto3 at 10am.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Brno: