Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the first day of practice at Indy:
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 Both factory Yamaha men have had an engine withdrawn, while there are question marks over the life left in one engine each allocated to Valentino Rossi and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders.
Press Releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after today's race at Laguna Seca:
Championship leader and 2012 runner-up Tom Sykes has signed up for another year with the Kawasaki World Superbike team. The relationship has been a strong one so far and that he has signed this early in the season bodes well for the support that Kawasaki has for Sykes. With six successive pole positions this year, and one of the most competitive packages on the grid, race fans the world over can breathe a sigh of relief that the Yorkshireman will remain where he is both comfortable and productive.
With the new rules shaking up how the teams are going to manage their bikes, with cost cutting being one of the 2014 changes, getting their most important signing out of the way Kawasaki can now focus on what next year needs while Tom can focus on the championship at hand on the bike he has played a huge part in developing.
Press releases ahead of this weekend's Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca:
Just when it looked like the MotoGP silly season was getting ready to wrap up, a few new developments threw a spanner or two in the works. A week ago, most MotoGP pundits were convinced that Cal Crutchlow would be going to Ducati, Scott Redding would be moving up with his Marc VDS Racing team, and there was next to no interest in Yamaha's leased engines. At the Sachsenring, many things changed, in part at the instigation of Honda, and in part because of Yamaha.
Honda has made the biggest move in the market. At the Sachsenring, credible rumors emerged of Honda attempting to secure both Redding and Crutchlow, in two different moves. HRC's approach to Crutchlow could cause the biggest upset. The Japanese factory is known to be very impressed by Crutchlow, but their dilemma is that all four Honda prototype seats are ostensibly taken for 2014. While both Marquez and Pedrosa have contracts for next year, and Bautista is locked in at Gresini for 2014, Stefan Bradl's seat at LCR Honda could possibly be available. While Bradl is locked in to a two-year deal with HRC, Honda hold the option to decide not to take the second year, potentially freeing up Bradl's bike, and that seat could then be taken by Cal Crutchlow.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
The second and final day of testing in Argentina got off to a damp start, with rain falling for much of the morning - the curse of MotoGP, it appears, as it had not previously rained in the area for several months, local sources reported. Not wishing to risk injury in the damp, the MotoGP and Moto2 riders present stayed off the bikes in the morning, mingling instead with the fans. The afternoon saw the sun return, and the riders take to the track once again, putting more laps on the bikes and providing valuable feedback for Yamaha and Honda, as well as for Bridgestone and Dunlop.
Times on the second day were slower than on Thursday, Alvaro Bautista topping the timesheets with a best time of 1'45.578, nearly a second and a half slower than the best time set by Stefan Bradl on Thursday. The rain had made the track a good deal slower, but with just six bikes on track - seven, if you include Randy Mamola, who was giving two-up rides aboard Ducati's X2 machine at the circuit - times were never going to be representative. Once the full MotoGP grid descends on the Termas de Rio Hondo, times are likely to drop by at least a second.
MotoGP bikes have at last taken to the track at Argentina, marking the return of Grand Prix racing to South America for the first time in nine years. All of the riders praised the layout, liking the fast and sweeping nature of some of the sections. Other parts are technical and challenging, but the track appears to have several different lines around it, promising good racing when the series alights for the Argentinian round in 2014.
With a very dusty track, and only six machines present to sweep the dust from the track, it is hard to attach any significance to the times. Stefan Bradl was the fastest man on the day, lapping in the low 1'44s, and testing a lot of tires. Alvaro Bautista was the second quickest man, while Cal Crutchlow was nearly a second off the pace of Bradl. Whether that means that the Termas de Rio Hondo track is a Honda circuit remains to be seen, as the dusty track made it hard for the Yamaha to use its advantage in edge grip at extreme lean. We will only get an idea of the real balance of power in Argentina once the full MotoGP grid turns up.
The bikes have finally hit the track at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Pushbikes, that is ... Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista, Hector Barbera, Stefan Bradl and Tito Rabat have all spent time lapping the Argentinian circuit ahead of the two-day test which starts on Thursday, some circulating on bicycles, some lapping the track in rental cars.
First reports from the track are positive, with all of the riders tweeting that they like the layout. It appears to be a fast track, with several fast, sweeping corners, the kind of track which riders love, and as promised by the race organizers when they announced the race just over a year ago at Assen. It would be the fastest track on the calendar, was the promise. The general assessment is that the track looks safe, with no dangerous areas, which is a major positive for the track.
2013 Assen MotoGP Wednesday Round Up: Of Weird Wednesdays, Difficult Ducatis, And MotoGP's Long Term Future
Wednesday at Assen is always a rather odd day. At most rounds, Wednesday is a travel day, and the paddock regulars spend the day in airports, planes and hire cars. But because the race at Assen is on Saturday, the events that normally take place on Thursday such as the pre-event press conference, happen a day earlier. That leaves everyone with the racing equivalent of jet lag, their bodies and minds 24 hours behind events. Mentally, we are all prepared for a day of torpor and inaction. What we are greeted with is a day of rushing around to talk to riders, team managers, and anyone else foolish enough to cross our paths. Mind battles physical reality, and both come out losers.
Even focusing on the upcoming race is hard. Rolling into the circuit under bright skies and cheery temperatures - not warm, but not freezing either - feels slightly surreal after having studied the weather forecasts for the coming days. While race day is likely to be dry, Thursday and Friday look like being full wet days. What that means is that practice may not be much of a guide to what actually happens on race day, rendering practice and qualifying relatively meaningless.
Ducati, at least, will welcome the rain. "The rain is bad for the fans, but it's good for Ducati," Nicky Hayden quipped, though he was not entirely happy with the situation. The Ducati goes very well in the wet, despite still struggling in the dry. Though a wet race may act as a placebo - though perhaps an analgesic is a better metaphor - in easing the pain of the Ducati riders, the fact of the matter is that Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, Andrea Iannone and Michele Pirro, still taking the place of the injured Ben Spies, are starting to run out of options.