The FIM has today released the final, official version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar. As expected, the Brazil round has been dropped, after it became clear that construction work at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia would not be completed in time for the September round. To ease the congestion in that part of the season, the date of the Aragon round has now been pushed back a week, and will take place on 28th September, the date originally scheduled for Brazil.
The dropping of the Brazil round had been expected almost from the moment it was placed on the schedule. There were serious doubts that the circuit would be able to make the necessary changes in time for September 2014, and teams were informed of the doubts which Dorna and IRTA had. The inclusion of Brazil was a statement of intent, with both Dorna and the manufacturers keen to return to South America, as both Brazil and Argentina are key markets. Actually racing in Brazil will depend one of the circuits still in the country being able to make the necessary modifications to make it safe enough for Grand Prix motorcycles.
Below is the official, finalized version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar:
Continuing their video series on the progress of their MotoGP project, Suzuki today released the second part of the series. Today's video documents the first tests which Suzuki undertook at Motegi in April and May, after signing Randy de Puniet as test rider and Davide Brivio to manage the program.
The first task De Puniet was set was testing the Suzuki GSV-R 800 bike back-to-back with the new 1000cc bike. De Puniet had previously tested the 800cc bike at Valencia at the end of the 2011 season, before Suzuki decided to pull out of MotoGP temporarily. The two bikes have radically different designs: the 800cc bike had a narrow angle V4 engine layout, while the 1000cc is an inline four with a big bang layout, along the lines of Yamaha's M1. De Puniet's comments on the two machines give an interesting insight into the difference the new regulations have made.
Below is the second video in the series. If you'd like to catch up with the first video, you can see it here.
The first major change to the 2014 MotoGP schedule has been announced. Though the dates remain the same, the order of the Asian flyaway triple header has been reshuffled, with Sepang moving from first of the three to last. The Grand Prix classes will now head to Japan first, for the Japanese GP at Motegi on 12th October, before heading south to Australia for the Phillip Island round a week later, on 19th October. The weekend after that the MotoGP paddock visits Malaysia, for the last of the three overseas races at Sepang on 26th October.
The change is unlikely to be the last. It is widely anticipated that the new track in Brasilia will not be ready for the Brazilian round of MotoGP on 28th September, and that the Motorland Aragon race, due to take place on 21st September, will be rescheduled for a week later. That decision will not take place for some time, however, as the Autodromo Brasilia Nelson Piquet will be given a few more months before the mandatory circuit homologation inspection.
Below is the updated, and still provisional, 2014 MotoGP calendar, with changes highlighted in bold. You can always find the latest, most up-to-date version including all changes on this page.
The 2014 MotoGP calendar:
After a disastrous outing at Phillip Island, Bridgestone returned to Motegi better armed to deal with the circumstances. The weather did its best to prevent the race from happening, but Bridgestone's tires handled the circumstances well. In the traditional post-race debrief press release, Shinji Aoki explains how well Bridgestone's tires worked in the wet, and how their strategy of providing more tire choice to the riders, by producing two tire choices they can use, worked well enough at Motegi to have both compounds on the podium.
Japanese MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Wednesday 30 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Super-soft (Asymmetric) Extra-soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Last Sunday, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo won his second consecutive race after taking victory at the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Poor weather conditions resulted in all Friday practice sessions being cancelled, with the MotoGP™ riders getting their first taste of action in a wet qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Conditions improved for race day, with a dry track greeting riders for the twenty-four lap Japanese Grand Prix.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's race at Motegi:
2013 Motegi MotoGP Sunday Round Up: On The Unpredictability Of Racing, And Why You Should Never Trust Pundits
There have been occasions over the past few years when I have asked Nicky Hayden how he manages to find the motivation to keep racing every Sunday. His answer is always the same, whether I have asked him after a surprise podium, or after coming in tenth: 'You never know what can happen in the race. That's why we line up.' Hayden is living testament to his own deeply driven mixture of ambition, hope and determination. His 2006 championship was won against the odds, and against the greatest rider of the period at the height of his powers.
Sunday's races at Motegi - indeed, the races at all three of the flyaways - have been a shining example of the vicissitudes of racing. In all three classes, the presupposed script was torn up and thrown away. In Moto3, young men facing pressure made major mistakes. In Moto2, one astounding comeback met with disaster, another astounding comeback met with triumph, and a championship. And in MotoGP, the champion elect as of a couple of races ago is finding himself having to fight for his title. The season is only over once everyone crosses the line for the last time at Valencia.
Full report and results below:
Full report and results below:
Full report and results below:
Riding with the effects of a fractured right ankle Stefan Bradl has amazingly headed a Honda top three after MotoGP FP at Motegi. The young German proved his mettle and fitness to lead the Repsol Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez by a tenth of a second. It wasn't all plain sailing for the factory Hondas though as Marquez sent a massive scare through the camp after a scary crash at the lightning fast turn twelve.
The championship leader lost the front coming out of the tunnel and cart wheeled violently through the adjacent gravel trap, knocking his head and right arm several times and losing the visor from his helmet in the process. Remarkably he was able to walk away in tact, return to his pit box to remove the gravel from his nostrils and head back out on his second bike to further improve his lap times and once again underline his uncanny resilience.
Yesterday's pole-man Jorge Lorenzo looked consistent and fast in the early running but had to settle for the fourth fastest time ahead of Alvaro Bautista. Bautista also had a crash, losing the front at turn ten in the final minutes whilst pushing on a very quick lap, he thankfully also walked away unharmed and made it four Hondas in the top five. Cal Crutchlow ended in sixth place ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi while Nicky Hayden and Bradley Smith completed the top ten after the first and only dry session of a trying Japanese Grand Prix weekend so far.