If there was any doubt that Race Direction in MotoGP is trying to impose a stricter code of behavior on riders in all three Grand Prix classes, the bumper crop of penalty points issued at Aragon and Sepang makes their intention clear. At Aragon, three penalty points were awarded: One for Alessandro Tonucci in Moto3, for staying on the line during qualifying, and one for Sandro Cortese for the incident in the Moto2 race, when he touched Alex De Angelis, causing the Italian to crash.
The most discussed penalty was of course the one issued for Marc Marquez, who was penalized for the touch on Dani Pedrosa which severed the cable to Pedrosa's rear wheel speed sensor, confusing the electronics and causing the unlucky Pedrosa to be ejected from his Repsol Honda. Marquez had to wait until Sepang to be hear what the punishment for that incident would be, after Race Direction asked for more data.
At Sepang, a couple more penalty points were handed out. One to Pol Espargaro, for not respecting the newly instated starting zones, and cutting across in front of other riders waiting to do a practice start, and one for Maverick Viñales, for his excessively robust move in the run to the finish line, when he barged Jack Miller aside to grab 5th place.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Sepang:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Sepang International Circuit:
Press releases from the MotoGP team and Bridgestone after Sunday's eventful Grand Prix at Aragon:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Motorland Aragon:
Replacement Merry-Go-Round: Cudlin In For Hernandez, Scassa Replaces Abraham, Salom In For Baz, And WSBK Wildcards
As the end of the season approaches, the punishment which the riders have taken is starting to take its toll. With several riders out or moved, replacements are being sought to complete the season, or at least fill in for the next race.
In the MotoGP class, the knock on effect of Ben Spies' extended absence means that a vacancy arose at the PBM team. With Michele Pirro unable to race in the overseas triple header, dedicating himself to testing for the remainder of the year, Yonny Hernandez has been moved to the Ignite Pramac squad for the last five races of the year, as was announced after the Misano test. That meant that Hernandez' spot at PBM needed filling, preferably by a rider with some kind of Grand Prix experience. That rider has now been found, and Damian Cudlin is to take the place of Hernandez at the next round of MotoGP at Aragon. Whether Cudlin will continue at PBM after Aragon is yet to be determined. Cudlin has GP experience, having replaced Hector Barbera in 2011 at Motegi and Phillip Island. He has also raced both as a wildcard and as a replacement rider in Moto2.
As the 2013 MotoGP season heads into its final five races, negotiations for 2014 are coming to a head. While the seats on factory and satellite machines were filled some time ago, the next level of competitiveness, both in terms of riders and bikes, is now up for grabs.
Two names and two teams were the focal point of the negotiations, and the log jam behind which many other riders were waiting. It was up to Aleix Espargaro to make a decision on whether to stay at Aspar, or pay off his contract and head to the NGM Forward squad, and up to Nicky Hayden to decide whether his future lay in MotoGP with Aspar or Forward, or if it was time to head over to World Superbikes, and become the first rider to win a title in both series.
In turn, the Aspar and NGM Forward teams had become the hot ticket, because of the packages they had to offer, and how competitive they are expected to be. Forward will be running Yamaha's leased engine package, consisting of an engine, frame and swingarm from the 2013 Yamaha M1 for 2014, with the rest of the bike to be built by FTR. The British engineering firm will then build an entire chassis package for 2015, though the chassis could be entered earlier if it is finished. The package will run the spec Dorna software instead of Yamaha's custom electronics, and this is likely to be the limiting factor on performance.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Misano:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Misano:
The outstanding appeal, as reported here, pertaining to Tom Sykes's and Sylvain Guintoli's positions at the end of the second race at Monza, has finally been decided. Tom Sykes will retain his third place and the championship standings remain unchanged. The importance of this ruling was such that it could have had a major impact on the World Superbike title chase.
Here follows the press release from the FIM:
2013 FIM Superbike World Championship
Monza: Guintoli/Aprilia Appeal rejected by the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI)
Following the decision taken by the FIM Stewards at Race 2 of the FIM Superbike round held on 12 May in Monza (ITA) and counting towards the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship to cancel the drop of position sanction imposed by the Race Direction on rider Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), the Aprilia Racing Team and rider Sylvain Guintoli lodged an appeal with the FIM CDI.
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's round at Misano:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Silverstone: