Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of testing at Sepang:
It has been a fascinating first day of testing at Sepang. And like all fascinating days, it has been long, tiring, and utterly inspiring. There were surprises, disappointments, and rumors confirmed and denied. It was, in short, a good day at the office.
Marc Marquez was fastest – it goes almost without saying – the 2013 world champion picking up where he left off. He was quick from the off, and put in a final burst of speed at the end of the day to open the gap on the rest, finishing with half a second advantage. Braking stability was the watchword for the Repsol Honda team, especially rear grip on braking and corner entry, with both Marquez and Dani Pedrosa working on a slightly revised version of the 2014 RC213V which both men had tested at Valencia last year.
Their main focus – like those of everyone on their first day back on a MotoGP – was just to get used to the speed again. The switchover had been toughest for Cal Crutchlow, the Englishman claimed. He had ridden a motocross bike for exactly one day, he said, spending the rest of his winter training on his bicycle. The speed differential between a 20-speed racing bicycle and a 6-speed Ducati Desmosedici is nothing if not cavernous.
Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez continues to build upon his reputation for securing sponsorship. In the past week, the Spanish owner of the Aspar team - active in all three Grand Prix classes - has announced two tie-ups for the 2014 season, one a renewal of a relationship close to home, and one new sponsor from Asia.
The Asian deal is the biggest for Aspar. Malaysian energy drink DRIVE M7 is to be title sponsor to Aspar's MotoGP team, backing riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama who will be racing Honda's RCV1000R production racer. Mutiara Motors, the owner of the DRIVE M7 energy drink brand, is attempting to broaden their market to Europe and other parts of Asia, and backing MotoGP is a good vehicle for a brand which is already strongly associated with racing through Mutiara Motors' other racing activities. But the signing of the deal is also a sign of motorcycle racing's increasing reliance on energy drink sponsorship, a risky strategy as international momentum for banning advertising energy drinks is starting to build.
The 2014 MotoGP rider line up:
Though most of the contracts were settled some time ago, there were still a few question marks on the 2014 MotoGP grid. The official entry list released by the FIM today answers some of those questions, but the answers it gives may yet turn out to be wrong. The list features 11 entries to be run under the Factory rules, which means 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season and the freedom to use proprietary software on the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The remaining 13 bikes will be run as Open entries, which gives them 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines per season, but forces them to use the Dorna-controlled spec software on the Magneti Marelli ECU.
The 2014 season looks set to follow the pattern established in 2013, with Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo likely to dominate. Of interest is the fact that Marc Marquez has been entered with number 93, rather than the number 1 which the world champion is allowed to use, but this may yet change before the start of the season. Marquez would dearly like to retain 93, but Honda is keen to see him run the number 1 plate.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams which stayed on for the third and final day of testing at Valencia:
Press releases after the first day of testing after Valencia:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the race on Sunday at Valencia:
Hiroshi Aoyama has been confirmed as the second rider in the Aspar MotoGP team for 2014, as had long been anticipated. Aoyama will line up alongside Nicky Hayden, riding Honda RCV1000R production Hondas. The job of monitoring and managing all four of the production Hondas will be undertaken by Cristian Gabarrini, former crew chief to Casey Stoner.
The Aspar press release announcing the deal appears below:
HIROSHI AOYAMA COMPLETES POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR TEAM 2014 LINE-UP
Japanese rider makes it two World Champions on track with the Spanish team in MotoGP next season
On the Thursday before the recent Australian Grand Prix the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team announced that it will be switching to Honda machinery for next season's MotoGP World Championship. One of the riders that will be riding the RC213V-based 'Production Racer' has already been announced as 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden and the team can now confirm that he will be joined by another World Champion in the shape of Hiroshi Aoyama.
As expected, the Aspar team today announced they would be switching from Aprilia to Honda for the 2014 season in MotoGP. The team has signed a two-year deal with Honda to race the RCV1000R production racer, and will field 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden on one of the bikes.
The reasons behind dropping Aprilia and their highly successful ART machine are simple: after the departure of chief engineer Gigi Dall'Igna, the future of Aprilia's MotoGP program is in severe doubt. American Honda had lobbied hard to have Hayden back on a Honda, and his signing came with the blessing and support of HRC. Having a top level rider on the production racer - and one with many years of experience on a factory bike - should help to develop the bike, providing valuable input for HRC. American Honda's financial contribution in getting Hayden on the bike was also a key factor.
Though there are plenty of reasons to attend the Silverstone round of MotoGP - the chance to see history being made by Marc Marquez, or hearing the British national anthem once, or perhaps even twice, or seeing the bikes roar through Woodcote and on to Copse, or even the chance to watch a British round of MotoGP without getting wet, as so far, it is predicted to be a dry weekend - but one of the best is the Day of Champions, held on Thursday 29th August, the day before the on-track action begins. It is a very full day of activities to help keep the crowds entertained, and well worth the paltry £15 entrance fee, all of which goes towards helping Riders for Health.
The action centers around the main stage, with a mixture of chat, quizzes, live music, and topped off with the Day of Champions auction. There is also plenty to do in the pits and paddock, as access includes entrance to the otherwise-closed paddock. BBC TV presenters Matt Roberts and Steve Parrish will be hosting the 'Question of Bikes' quiz, where contestants will be asked questions from motorcycle racing's rich history. Legendary Eurosport commentator Julian Ryder will host a chat on stage with some of the top Moto2 and Moto3 riders, which is always fascinating and gives the audience a chance to hear from the stars of tomorrow (and today). And at the end of the day, Roberts and Ryder are joined by Toby Moody and Gavin Emmett to host the Riders for Health auction at which a host of fantastic memorabilia and signed items go on sale. The Day of Champions auction is your best chance of buying something truly unique from your favorite riders. Some of the items up for auction are listed below, but there will be an awful lot more there as well, if past years are a guide.
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 release previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
Press release previews ahead of this weekend's MotoGP round at Austin, Texas:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's race at Qatar: