Sachsenring, Germany

2014 MotoGP Calendar Finalized, Brazil Dropped, Aragon Moved

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:

Looking Back At 2013 With Scott Jones, Part 4: A German Excursion

Needs more elbow slider. Alpinestars had to redesign their suits for Marc Marquez

Looking for a bit more. Even at the Sachsenring, it didn't really come

Cal Crutchlow came tantalizingly close to his first win at the Sachsenring. But not quite close enough

2014 MotoGP Calendar Changed, Japan, Australia, Malaysia Reshuffled

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

2014 MotoGP Calendar

The 2014 MotoGP calendar:

Interviewed At The Sachsenring: Jeremy Burgess Speaks About Ducati, And Rossi's Return To The Yamaha

Following Valentino Rossi's shocking decision to part ways with his long-term crew chief Jeremy Burgess, there has been much speculation about Rossi's reason for the split. Mick Fialkowski spoke to the experienced Australian earlier this year at the Sachsenring, where Burgess shed some light on the last few seasons of their cooperation. Burgess told Fialkowski about their time at Ducati, the return to Yamaha, and where Rossi has struggled this season. With the benefit of hindsight, this interview makes for a highly illuminating read.

Mick Fialkowski: Jeremy, what went wrong at Ducati when you were there for two years with Valentino between 2011 and 2012?

Jeremy Burgess: I think you probably have to ask that to Ducati, because we tried very hard to get them to work in a way that we had been using for many years but unfortunately it was a mentality of Ducati which even Valentino wasn't able to change. As much as we tried and as you can see this year, the situation doesn't seem to have improved significantly at all. I think there have to be some really big changes in the way Ducati believes that they should go about their MotoGP racing.

Q: What do they need to change?

JB: The people at the circuit are very good. These projects are not lost by the people working at this level. The people in each garage here work to the level of the equipment and the funding that they have. If there is somebody in the higher position that is blocking the development or not believing what the riders are saying and believes that their design is OK, then this is when it suffers at the race track. Ducati regularly tests in Mugello, they compete in MotoGP and see the results every week. It's really in the hands of the directors of the engineering group to put the right people in place back in Ducati.

Q: After years with Honda and Yamaha, were there any significant differences between working with a Japanese and an Italian factory?

JB: Very much so. The Japanese factory listens to what we say and responds to our requests. Ducati, whether they've listened, they've heard, for sure, but they didn't respond. They believed for some reason that what they've had was good enough and that in some miraculous way everything would be OK next week. And then it wasn't and of course you start to lose the bond between the engineers and the rider to work together to improve the machine. Fundamentally Ducati needs to regroup, go back, try and build again and perhaps hire the very best rider, change their structure and their strategy somewhat.

Q: What were your first thoughts when Vale told you that you're going back to Yamaha for 2013?

Provisional 2014 MotoGP Calendar Released: 19 Races, Brazil Questionable, Laguna Seca Out

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.

2013 Silverstone MotoGP Friday Post-Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Silverstone:

Round Number: 

The 2014 MotoGP Rules: A Minor Modification Redefines The Foundation Of The Rules

At the same time the World Superbike rules for 2014 were announced, the revised version of the MotoGP rules, including updates for next season were also published. But unlike the WSBK rules, no press release was sent out to announce the new rulebook, as the minor rule changes had already been announced previously.

Yet this rulebook marks a sea change in the way MotoGP is defined. For 2013, MotoGP is still defined as prototypes competing with 21 liters of fuel, and an additional class of machines running under the claiming rule banner. From 2014, however, the roles are reversed. All bikes are classed as MotoGP entries, but an exception is made for teams entered under the 'Factory Option'. MotoGP bikes are allowed 12 engines and 24 liters of fuel, but must run the official ECU hardware and software. Manufacturers can choose to enter four riders as 'Factory Option' entries, who must run the official ECU hardware, but are free to write their own software for the standard ECU. Factory Option entries are allowed only five engines per season, and 20 liters of fuel per race.

It is a remarkable and shrewd rewriting of the rulebook. Although on the face of it, nothing concrete has changed, in effect, the MSMA entries have become the exception, rather than the rule. The concept of a single class has been reinstated, with a special allowance made for factories who wish to submit to the discipline of making do with 20 liters of fuel, in return for the freedom to write their own software. Having the class redefined in this way is the first step on the way to the removal of that freedom. After all, it is easier to remove an exception than it is to change the rules. The next major rule change is expected to come in 2017, with the removal of the factory option the first priority, closely followed by the imposition of a rev limit.

Engine Usage At The Halfway Mark: Yamaha Struggling, Honda Dominating, Ducati Managing

With the 2013 MotoGP season at its halfway mark, now is a good time to take a look back and examine the engine usage for the teams and riders. In 2012, with the engine durability regulations in their third full season, the factories appeared to have the situation pretty much under control. The only excitement arose when something unexpected happened, such as Jorge Lorenzo have an engine lunch itself after he was taken out by Alvaro Bautista at Assen last year. 

For 2013, the engine allocation was reduced from 6 to 5 per season. Each rider now has 5 engines to last the entire season, for use in all timed practice sessions during each race weekend. With three seasons already under their belt, no real drama was expected, yet that is not quite how it has turned out. While Honda and Ducati are right on course to last the season, Yamaha find themselves unexpectedly struggling. An unidentified design flaw has seen Yamaha losing engines too rapidly for comfort. Both factory Yamaha men have had an engine withdrawn, while there are question marks over the life left in one engine each allocated to Valentino Rossi and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Collarbone injuries in MotoGP 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.

Collarbone injuries in MotoGP

They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. If you’re a motorcycle racer, you need to add collarbones to that list.

Bike racers break collarbones, simple as that. Wrists too, because when you jump off a motorcycle at speed it’s usually a hand or shoulder that take the brunt of the impact.

The clavicle – to give the bone its anatomical title – is the strut that joins the shoulder blade to the sternum, so it’s just asking for trouble whenever you land on a shoulder or an outstretched arm.

MotoGP's New Rules On ECUs And Factory Riders: What Do They Actually Mean?

There was a small flurry of excitement when the minutes of the last meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, including rules on the spec ECU and factory entries were announced last week. That was then followed by a bout of confusion, as everyone tried to figure out what all of the various changes meant, and what impact they may have on the series. It appears that the answer to that question is "not as much as you might think," so let us take a look at what has changed.

The changes announced in the FIM press release (shown below) outline two major changes, both regarding the replacement of CRTs for 2014. Since the return to a larger capacity, the Grand Prix Commission (MotoGP's rulemaking body, comprising representatives of the FIM, Dorna, the teams and the manufacturers) opened the door to a simpler, cheaper form of racing, which in practice (though not by rule) consisted of putting tuned engines from road bikes into prototype chassis. To help such teams compete against the engineering prowess of HRC, Yamaha Racing and Ducati Corse, teams entering under the CRT rules were given extra engines and extra fuel, to allow them to make more power and sacrifice reliability. To prevent other factories from entering under the guise of a CRT, the GPC instituted a claiming rule, which meant that any factory could buy the engine from a CRT for 20,000 euros.

Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki Explains Why Asymmetric Front Tires May Not Have Helped At The Sachsenring

Bridgestone today issued their usual post-race debrief discussing how their tires held up at the last Grand Prix, this time at the Sachsenring. There was much controversy at the German racetrack over the number of crashes, with riders responding positively to media suggestions that an asymmetric front tire may help. Bridgestone's Motorsport Tyre Development Manager Shinji Aoki addresses this, and other questions in the press release.

German MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez won his second race of the season at Sachsenring after overcoming the challenges of Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi who placed in second and third place respectively.

Round Number: 

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Losing focus in MotoGP 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.

Losing focus in MotoGP

I interviewed Sito Pons at the Sachsenring, chatting about his times winning 250 World Championships in the late 1980s. He told me that when he was training – running or whatever – he only ever had two rivals in his sights.

“When I trained, in my head there were only two riders: Toni Mang and Carlos Lavado,” said Pons, who won the 1988 and 1989 250 titles and now owns Pol Espargaró’s Moto2 team “They were my focus, no one else, because they were fastest and most consistent riders, so I knew if I could beat them, then I could be world champion.”

Scott Jones In Saxony: Race Day!

Ready to rumble

Racer's dream: Stefan Bradl leads his home Grand Prix

Jordi who? Jordi Torres!

Laguna Seca: Pedrosa Present (Probably), Lorenzo Absent (Probably). For The Moment, At Least

Two days, two big highsides, and two championship contenders down and out. Friday and Saturday at the Sachsenring saw both Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa have massive crashes, and forced to withdraw from the race in Germany. Jorge Lorenzo bent the titanium plate holding together the collarbone which he broke at Assen, while Dani Pedrosa suffered an incomplete fracture of his collarbone, and had problems with blood pressure and dizziness.

Though both Pedrosa and Lorenzo were ruled out of the Sachsenring race, there was much speculation about whether either of the two would be racing at Laguna Seca next weekend. Jorge Lorenzo had already ruled himself out of the race, posting a statement on his Twitter feed that he would be waiting until Indianapolis to return, in order to be fully fit and healthy.

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