At long last, the FIM and Dorna have released a calendar for the World Superbike and World Supersport classes for 2014. The calendar features fourteen World Superbike events, but it is still very much a provisional list, with three of the fourteen still subject to contract, and the final race still marked as to be confirmed, with neither the location nor the country known.
The season kicks off as always in Australia, the World Superbike and World Supersport classes headed to the Phillip Island circuit for the opener on 23rd of February. There follows another WSBK tradition: the interminable wait for round 2. In 2014, there are seven weeks between the first and second rounds, with the second event taking place at the Motorland Aragon circuit just outside of Alcañiz. The WSBK circus then takes off for a tour through Europe, heading to Assen, Imola and Donington Park, before heading overseas again to Sepang, and a Malaysian round. Two rounds in Europ follow, at Misano and Portimao, before the World Superbike class heads to Laguna Seca, taking the slot vacated by the MotoGP class.
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.
Suzuki stayed on for two extra days of testing at Misano after the official MotoGP test had finished, and though they lost the second day to rain, the third day of testing proved productive. Randy De Puniet posted a lap of 1'34.882, under a second off the fastest lap set in Sunday's race at the Italian circuit. The Japanese factory now moves on to Mugello for further testing next week. Suzuki issued the following press release after testing at Misano was completed:
POSITIVE TEST FOR SUZUKI MOTOGP AT MISANO
Team Suzuki Press Office - September 18.
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team has completed three-days of extensive testing at the Misano circuit in Italy on a positive note today after evaluating several new factory parts that included a new chassis, new engine-specifications and revised electronics, plus a new-styled cowling.
Test riders Randy De Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki put in more-than 200 laps of the 4,064km circuit in the Provence of Rimini, trying-out improved settings and finding new direction to move-on to the next test at Mugello next week.
Bridgestone today issued their customary post-race debrief discussing the performance of their tires at the Misano round of MotoGP. Highlight of this week's debrief is a mention of the new hard rear tire Bridgestone brought, which many riders tested on Monday and liked a lot.
San Marino MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Wednesday 18 September 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Jorge Lorenzo claimed his third consecutive MotoGP™ victory at Misano after the Yamaha Factory Racing star won the San Marino Grand Prix ahead of the Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa who finished in second and third place respectively.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Rossi’s wooden spoon
Valentino Rossi had his best race weekend in almost three years at Misano. For the first time since the last few races of 2010 he was on the pace every day, declaring that his YZR-M1 had never felt better.
On Friday afternoon he spent half the session chasing Marc Márquez, matching him pretty much yard for yard, lap after lap. Afterwards he was buzzing from the experience of riding with the youngster and not watching him disappear into the distance. “I enjoyed that a lot,” he beamed. “Marc’s style is very, very funny – a great show!”
2013 Misano MotoGP Test Round Up: 2013 vs 2014 Machines, Spec Electronics And A New Rear Bridgestone
The rain on Monday morning brought a welcome respite for tired journalists at least, after a night spent filing stories until the early hours of the morning. It meant that the Misano MotoGP test did not get underway until very late in the morning, with most riders staying in the pits until well after noon.
Once they got started, though, there was a lot to be tested. Both Yamaha and Honda had brought the latest versions of their 2014 prototypes for testing, but with the championship heading into its final five races, there was a lot to work on with the current crop of machines.
That was particularly true for Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man dropped from second to third in the championship at Misano, Jorge Lorenzo matching him on points, but taking the position on the basis of having more wins. Pedrosa has complained of a lack of rear grip almost all season, and if he is to retain a shot at the title, his team have to find a solution. Did they find anything? Pedrosa gave a series of carefully worded answers trying to put a positive spin on the test, but the short answer was 'not really'. There were positive points and negative points, and they had some ideas to try at the next races, but in reality, they did not find the silver bullet they were looking for.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Monday's post-race test at Misano:
Marc Marquez has ended the day at the top of the timesheets, taking the 2014 version of the RC213V out for a final run at the end of the day to post a time nearly a quarter of a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo, who had been fastest for most of the day. Both Honda and Yamaha had brought versions of their 2014 machines, with all four factory riders switching between the two versions, though most were concentrating on improving set up for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Valentino Rossi finished the day in 3rd, having worked largely on improving braking and corner entry, the area in which he is suffering the most during the races. They believe they found something, Rossi said, and ending the day under two tenths from his teammate suggest they have. Cal Crutchlow had a day building confidence, ending the test in 4th close behind Rossi, and just ahead of Alvaro Bautista. Dani Pedrosa set the 6th fastest time, and had spent nearly all day just working on trying to resolve the problems with rear grip he has had this season.
Randy de Puniet was once again present, testing the Suzuki MotoGP prototype. De Puniet ended the day 1.833 seconds behind Marquez, ahead of the CRTs, but a second behind the fastest Ducati, which would be the bike's first target.
Times from the test at 5pm:
Times at 3pm from the Misano MotoGP post-race test:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the weekend's races at Misano:
If half a second is a long time around Misano, seven tenths of a second is almost a geological era. Jorge Lorenzo was lacking grip and braking stability on Saturday; on Sunday morning, Ramon Forcada stiffened the front to improve Lorenzo's braking, and the factory Yamaha man crushed the opposition in the warm up. Four hours later, the reigning world champion did exactly the same again in the race, destroying his rivals in the first three laps, and holding on for a victory that was both overwhelming and important.
The first three laps? Lorenzo probably won the race in the first 100 meters off the line. Lorenzo had fluffed his practice starts on Saturday, bogging down and not really getting off the line. On Sunday, he was so fast away off the line that he had two bike lengths before he had even changed up into second gear. By the time he crossed the timing line at the end of the first sector, he was already 0.4 seconds ahead. By the end of the first lap, he was 1.2 seconds ahead. It was already game over.
There was the small matter of the remaining 27 laps, of course, but Lorenzo controlled the race imperiously. Every time one of the Repsol Hondas chasing him got a little closer, Lorenzo responded, upping his pace to match either Dani Pedrosa or Marc Marquez, depending on who was leading the chase. The gap climbed to three seconds, dropped to two seconds, climbed again to four before Lorenzo crossed the line nearly three and a half seconds ahead of Marquez. It had been a typically Lorenzian performance, ruling the race with an iron fist, crushing the opposition before it even had a chance to consider trying to put up a fight.
Yonny Hernandez is to replace the injured Ben Spies for the rest of the 2013 MotoGP season. So far, Spies' seat has been filled by Ducati tester Michele Pirro, but the stress of racing as well as working through a very busy test schedule has taken its toll on the young Italian. Furthermore, Pirro racing the three flyaways would have meant that testing would have ceased for the three-week duration, and with work in full swing for the 2014 season, that was not time Ducati had to lose.
Who will take Hernandez place at PBM is as yet unknown. Michael Laverty looks set to take Hernandez' ART machine for the rest of the season, while no clear favorite has yet emerged to take over the PBM Aprilia on the other side of the garage.
What this means for Spies' future is as yet uncertain. The Texan has a contract with Ducati for the 2014 season, but Spies' extended absence through injury has created tension in the Pramac team. There is unfounded paddock gossip that if Hernandez adapts well to the Desmosedici, he could take Spies' place next year. That, however, depends on a messy and expensive severance between Ducati and Spies. At the moment, such talk should be rated as improbable, but not entirely impossible.
Below is the press release from the Ignite Pramac team: