It's funny how the mood of the paddock can swing. There was much to talk about after qualifying on Friday - because race day is on Saturday here, a hangover of Assen's Dutch Reformed Church past - such as Marco Simoncelli's second pole, Casey Stoner's relatively lowly 3rd place, Jorge Lorenzo missing out on the front row twice in 7 races, Karel Abraham - yes, the kid with the rich daddy, or perhaps we should say the really, really fast kid with the rich daddy - being quickest of the Ducatis, and Valentino Rossi struggling with the GP11.1 just as much as he did with the GP11.0. But instead, all anyone wanted to talk about was tires.
The topic got chewed over by every rider, journalists moving from hospitality unit to hospitality unit to ask the same questions, and receive the same answers, more or less, the only variation being in the solutions offered. The problem, of course, is that the Bridgestones are simply too good. MotoGP's spec tires offer phenomenal levels of grip - in an offhand comment, Casey Stoner referred to 58 degrees of lean as "not that much" - with outstanding duration. It is common for riders to set their fastest laps in the second half of the race, the point at which the tires are supposed to be degrading and losing grip.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Thursday's truncated day of practice at Assen:
As predicted yesterday, Honda have finally confirmed that Dani Pedrosa is to miss the Assen MotoGP round. HRC today issued a terse press release announcing that Pedrosa would not be racing in Assen, and that Hiroshi Aoyama is to take his place in the Repsol Honda team, while Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi will move in to Aoyama's seat at the San Carlo Gresini Honda team. Pedrosa is now expected to make his return at Mugello, as he stated in Repsol's press release.
Pedrosa's injury is still shrouded in mystery. After breaking his collarbone in a crash with Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans, Pedrosa had his collarbone plated and was expected to return at his home Grand Prix in Barcelona. However, he did not make an appearance there, amid rumors that the Spaniard had aggravated his injury in a training accident. After having yet another operation to fix a loose bone chip, Pedrosa was unable to race at Silverstone, and has now also decided to skip Assen. Once he makes his return at Mugello, he is likely to face a barrage of questioning from the media, and especially from the Spanish contingent. Pedrosa is in for a very long weekend at Mugello.
Below is the text of the Honda press release.
The incident between Dani Pedrosa and Marco Simoncelli has had much bigger consequences than anyone believed it would. Pedrosa broke his right collarbone in the crash, just weeks after having a plate removed from his left, due to the plate causing the Repsol Honda rider to suffer Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Since then, Pedrosa's return has been much longer in coming than expected, his injury shrouded in mystery, with rumors that Pedrosa had aggravated his injury in a training accident emerging in the Spanish press.
After further surgery to fix a loose bone fragment in Pedrosa's collarbone, in his blog on the Repsol website, Pedrosa said his objective was to return to racing at Mugello, and that he would see what would happen at Assen. However, Pedrosa's participation in the Dutch TT at Assen is now looking increasingly unlikely, with all of the signs pointing to Pedrosa deciding to skip Assen and return to action at Mugello.
Press releases from the MotoGP team after the race at Silverstone:
The press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying on Saturday at Silverstone:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Friday at Silverstone:
Press release previews of this weekend's MotoGP round at Silverstone from the Yamaha teams, Repsol Honda and San Carlo Gresini, as well as a list of activities happening alongside the racing:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the race at Barcelona:
Dani Pedrosa's annus horribilis has apparently gone from bad to worse. Very strong rumors - completely denied by Repsol officials - are circulating among the Spanish press in the paddock at Barcelona that the reason Dani Pedrosa is absent is because he has suffered yet another injury to his collarbone. The fullest report so far comes from the Spanish website Motocuatro.com: according to Motocuatro.com, Pedrosa crashed while training on a Supermoto bike, falling on his right shoulder and aggravating the collarbone that was plated after his crash at Le Mans.
HRC had already confirmed that if Pedrosa was unable to ride at Silverstone, Hiroshi Aoyama would move up from the Gresini Honda team to take Pedrosa's bike at Repsol Honda. Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, who rode Aoyama's Interwetten Honda last year while the Japanese rider was injured, will step into the Gresini team to take Aoyama's bike once again. If the rumors of Pedrosa's injury are true, then Aoyama is now certain to ride the factory Repsol Honda at Silverstone.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams on Friday after the first day of practice at Barcelona:
The period between the Le Mans and Catalunya Grand Prix appears to have had a salutary affect on Marco Simoncelli. In the San Carlo Gresini Honda press release preview of the MotoGP round at Barcelona, Simoncelli has expressed his regret at the crash at Le Mans, in which he and Dani Pedrosa collided and Pedrosa broke his collarbone, and for which he was given a ride-through penalty. Read the official press release below:
SIMONCELLI LOOKING TO THE FUTURE IN BARCELONA