Marco Melandri

Sepang 1 Test Day 2 Times - Rossi Leads As Rain Stops Play

The rain that held off yesterday finally came to Sepang on Friday, disrupting testing during the morning and at the end of the day. The rain in the morning combined with the limit on engines to persuade most of the riders to sit in the garage, or restrict their laps to a minimum. The track started to dry out at lunchtime, and from then, all 17 MotoGP riders, along with a couple of Yamaha test pilots, got to work on their testing program. By the time the rain came around 5pm, it was Valentino Rossi who had set the fastest lap, finishing ahead of Casey Stoner and Rossi's Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Dani Pedrosa completed the top four, the Aliens still clearly a breed apart in the MotoGP paddock.

While both Rossi and Stoner finished in the same positions as yesterday, both Jorge Lorenzo and especially Dani Pedrosa made a huge leap forward. Lorenzo jumped from 5th spot to 3rd, though he did not close the gap to his Fiat Yamaha teammate. Dani Pedrosa, on the other hand, closed the gap by over half a second, while working on the all-new Honda RC212V. Given that the bike has new Ohlins suspension, new electronics, a new chassis and a number of swingarms, there would appear to be plenty of room for improvement once the Repsol Honda team find the right setup for the bike.

Sepang 1 Test, Day 1 Times, Rossi Leads Stoner

The rain that threatened to ruin the first day of testing for 2010 luckily decided to stay away, but the session was still disrupted by the weather. Instead of water, it was the oppressive 40°C tropical heat that sapped the strength of the riders, limiting the amount of testing the riders could do. The rain finally came just before 5pm to cool the track from the scorching 50° Centigrade it was at most of the day, though only adding to the humidity.

Valentino Rossi ended the day with the fastest time, a comfortable half a second ahead of Casey Stoner on the Ducati. Stoner had suffered chatter for part of the day, and the hot asphalt made it difficult to judge the difference adjustments to the bike were making. The riders in 3rd and 4th place were a big surprise, Colin Edwards' 3rd spot slightly less so than Loris Capirossi's 4th fastest time. It's clear the Yamaha is good, but even the satellite bikes are so good that on their day, they can match the speed of the factory bikes, Edwards finishing ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and nearly a quarter of a second faster.

MotoGP About To Resume At Sepang

MotoGP makes a long-awaited return to action on Thursday, with the 17 official entries all taking to the track at Sepang. For the veterans, it marks the first time they will have ridden a MotoGP bike in nearly three months, their last outing being at the Valencia post-race tests in November last year. Even the rookies, who got extra tests at the end of 2009, have not been been on track since late December, with Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama the most recent to test here at Sepang before Christmas.

Wednesday saw the bikes already on track in the hands of the testers, who gave all of the teams' bikes a shakedown to ensure they are all working properly. This had been agreed as part of the cost-cutting measures limiting testing, allowing test riders an extra day on track to ensure that the teams would not lose any testing time to mechanical problems. Honda's Kosuke Akiyoshi was fastest, in a relatively meaningless 2'04.43, between three and four seconds off the pace the MotoGP riders will be aiming for at Sepang.

Panic Over: Melandri To Run #33, Not #24

There was much consternation among Marco Melandri's many fans when the FIM issued the provisional entry lists for MotoGP earlier today. For besides Melandri's name was not the #33 which the Italian has used since he moved up to the MotoGP class in 2003, but instead #24. Had Marco Melandri wanted to put his past behind him and start with a new number? Was he tired of #33 and wanted a change? To the vast majority of Melandri's fans, the idea was akin to blasphemy.

Melandri's fans can all breathe a sigh of relief. A spokesperson for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team told MotoMatters.com that it was all just a mistake by the FIM, Melandri's name filled in the space vacated by that of Toni Elias, while forgetting to remove Elias' number. Melandri will be using #33 after all.

It will not just be the fans who will be relieved. For the many journalists and commentators who follow MotoGP around the globe, the San Carlo Gresini team is going to be confusing enough, with the Two Marcos (Melandri and Simoncelli). For Melandri to have taken a new number would have made the situation infinitely worse.

Provisional 2010 MotoGP Rider Entry List

The FIM today released the provisional entry lists for the MotoGP class, and the list has no surprises in it. The list contains official confirmation of the numbers the MotoGP rookies will be using, most of which are the numbers they used previously. Hiroshi Aoyama is the only exception, taking number 7 as the number 4 which he used in the 250 class has already been claimed by Andrea Dovizioso - who in turn had been forced to take 4 because his preferred number 34 has been retired in honor of Kevin Schwantz.

Rather surprising is Marco Melandri's entry. He was listed under the number 24, and not the number 33 which he has used since entering MotoGP. This turned out to be a mistake, as pointed out to us by the San Carlo Honda Gresini press office. Melandri will be running number 33 in 2010 after all.

2010 MotoGP Rider Lineup

2010 MotoMatters.com Motorcycle Racing Calendar Still Shipping

Though the gift-giving season may be past, the motorcycle racing season is still a long way off. To help ease the wait, and to aid you in planning your life around the MotoGP and World Superbike racing series, as befits a true race fan, you can still get your hands on one of our beautiful 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendars. With January one quarter gone, you will have missed eight days of looking at Scott Jones' beautiful action shot of Colin Edwards, but February's stunning shot of Valentino Rossi, brakes lit up at Qatar, should more than compensate you for that, along with 10 other fantastic photos and a double-page spread of the 2009 World Champion Rossi.

Memory Lane, Part 3: The Sachsenring, As Seen By Scott Jones

Another day, another set of beautiful photographs taken by MotoMatters.com snapper Scott Jones. That weekend saw the weather play a major role, with race day finally drying up and producing three great races, including a scintillating MotoGP contest. Relive it all again in glorious color:


Valentino Rossi had things well under control in Germany


Still probably the best looking bike on the grid


58, the number of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brother

Memory Lane, Part 2: Red Bull US GP At Laguna Seca, By Scott Jones

On the third day of looking back at 2009, we return to the July 5th weekend, and the Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca. The light is always beautiful on the Monterey Peninsula, and Scott Jones knows how to get the best out of. Enjoy some of his highlights from a weekend of racing in California. 


Nicky Hayden sold a shedload of 848s with this livery


Speed


Eddie discusses kart tactics with Vale

Memory Lane 2009 - Scott Jones' Photos From Qatar

It is a tradition to look back at the end of the year, and pick out the highlights of the season. Certainly for us at MotoMatters.com, the highlights have been Scott Jones' beautiful photos. Having paddock access for the first time meant that Scott could attend more races and take better photos. Over the next few days, we'll be going back and selecting a few of our favorites from among the very many beautiful shots Scott took for us. If you see any photos you'd like to have on your wall, then drop Scott an email to ask about pricing. And if you want to help us do it all over again in 2010, then head over to the donate page and send us a contribution. Here are some of Scott Jones' photos from Qatar to help persuade you of the wisdom of that decision.


Of the 18 men who started the season, three would be gone by Valencia


The night race at Qatar may be weird, but it does generate some spectacular photos of sparks ...


... or shift lights, as Chris Vermeulen's visor demonstrates


Casey Stoner started the season as he meant to go on

Get Your MotoMatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar In Time For New Year

If you wanted a MotoMatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar for Christmas, you're too late, unless you can persuade Santa to take a detour via California or The Netherlands. But that doesn't mean you still can't get one. Though the calendars are selling fast, and the boxes are emptying rapidly, there's still time to get a racing calendar in time for January 1st, and maximize your enjoyment of Scott Jones' beautiful photos. Colin Edwards fans, in particular, should be quick, as January features a stunning shot of Edwards at the Sachsenring.

Last Call For Christmas 2010 Calendar Orders

Only a few more days to the holidays, and time is running out if you want your MotoMatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar delivered to a friend or loved one in time to slip under the tree. Realistically, orders will have to be in by Saturday morning if they are to be delivered in the US or Europe, and the chances are not good for receiving a calendar in time if you are outside of the US, Canada or Europe. So you had better hurry if you want a calendar before Friday!

Fortunately, 2010 is still 13 days away, and so you still have plenty of time to order the MotoMatters.com calendar, and get the maximum value out of the  14 beautiful photographs by Scott Jones the calendar features. If you need a stocking filler or New Year's gift for friends or family you won't be seeing until after the holiday season, this is still the ideal gift.

Full details of the calendar are available on the MotoMatters.com calendar ordering page, but the highlights of the large 12"x18.5" calendar are one of Scott Jones' fantastic photos every month, as well as a monthly grid with the race weekends for that month clear marked, showing all three days of on-track action for the MotoGP and World Superbike series, as well as birthdays for most of the world's top motorcycle racers. An example page is shown below, while the calendar ordering page has the lowdown on the calendar. Best of all, 10% of the calendar's purchase price goes towards Riders for Health, helping provide health care in remote regions of the world.

MotoMatters 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar Special Offer Page

The Motomatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar features one of Scott Jones' fantastic photos above every month, with the month grid below containing birthdays for most of the leading riders in the MotoGP, World Superbike, Moto2, World Supersport and 125cc classes, as well as every MotoGP and World Superbike round highlighted for easy reference. The center pages are a double-page close-up spread of the 2009 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi.

This year's calendar is larger than last year (12" x 9.25", or 30.5cm x 23.5cm), and the production quality is better too, with an additional high gloss finish to make Scott Jones' pictures shine. Full details of the calendar are shown below. Best of all, the calendar has been produced in partnership with Riders for Health, and 10% of the proceeds will go towards helping provide health care in remote regions of the world. Riders for Health was set up by former 500cc star Randy Mamola together with Barry and Andrea Coleman, and has been a cause that Motomatters.com has supported for a number of years now. We are proud to be able to help Riders through our calendar. 

Special Discount Price

Order Now If You Want Your MotoMatters 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar Before Christmas!

The Holiday season is nearly upon us, and anyone looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, friend or family member who is crazy about bikes need look no further than our very own 2010 Motorcycle racing calendar, allowing the motorcycle racing fan in your life to organize their year around the most exciting sport in the world. Of course, at this time of year, the world's post offices are slowly starting to clog up with gifts and cards, making deliveries later and later. So if you want to order the most beautiful motorcycle racing calendar on the market, the time is now. If you don't order the calendar within the next couple of days, the chances of the calendar arriving in time to be gift-wrapped and placed under the tree will start to diminish. So better to be safe than sorry, and order your copy today.

Full details of the calendar are available on the MotoMatters.com calendar ordering page, but the highlights of the large 12"x18.5" calendar are one of Scott Jones' fantastic photos every month, as well as a monthly grid with the race weekends for that month clear marked, showing all three days of on-track action for the MotoGP and World Superbike series, as well as birthdays for most of the world's top motorcycle racers. An example page is shown below, while the calendar ordering page has the lowdown on the calendar. Best of all, 10% of the calendar's purchase price goes towards Riders for Health, helping provide health care in remote regions of the world.

MotoMatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar Order Page - Now Reduced In Price!

The Motomatters.com 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendar is still available, and has been reduced to clear! The calendar features one of Scott Jones' fantastic photos above every month, with the month grid below containing birthdays for most of the leading riders in the MotoGP, World Superbike, Moto2, World Supersport and 125cc classes, as well as every MotoGP and World Superbike round highlighted for easy reference. The center pages are a double-page close-up spread of the 2009 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi.

This year's calendar is larger than last year (12" x 9.25", or 30.5cm x 23.5cm), and the production quality is better too, with an additional high gloss finish to make Scott Jones' pictures shine. Full details of the calendar are shown below. Best of all, the calendar has been produced in partnership with Riders for Health, and 10% of the proceeds will go towards helping provide health care in remote regions of the world. Riders for Health was set up by former 500cc star Randy Mamola together with Barry and Andrea Coleman, and has been a cause that Motomatters.com has supported for a number of years now. We are proud to be able to help Riders through our calendar. 

New Reduced Price!

Silly Season 2010 Update - Only A Couple Of Seats Remain Open

The MotoGP silly season is just about played out. With four races left in the season, the rider line up for 2010 is almost complete. As expected, once Jorge Lorenzo finally made up his mind, the remaining pieces in the puzzle fell into place, leaving just a few gaps to fill.

All of the factory seats are now full, and largely unchanged, with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo back at Yamaha, Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden at Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa (albeit reluctantly) re-signed with Repsol Honda, and Loris Capirossi joined at Suzuki by the only newcomer to the factory line up, Spanish rookie Alvaro Bautista. Though next year's seats are settled, plenty of excitement still remains over what will happen next year: Everyone but Andrea Dovizioso and Alvaro Bautista is on a one year contract, which means that the Fantastic Four will all be on the market at the same time next year and looking to move, almost certainly precipitating a bidding war and making a mockery of all the cost-cutting measures already put in place.

Of the satellite teams, only the Gresini and LCR squads are completely set. Fausto Gresini got his Italian Dream Team with the two Marcos, Melandri and Simoncelli, and helping him extend the team's sponsorship contract with snack manufacturer San Carlo, while Lucio Cecchinello has re-upped with Randy de Puniet. But even among the remaining teams, the seats are largely taken. Mika Kallio is back with Pramac, and Colin Edwards returns to the Monster Tech 3 team, though reportedly taking a half million dollar pay cut for the privilege. No official word as yet from Team Scot, but as Gabor Talmacsi is the only person likely to be bringing significant funds into the team, the Hungarian must be a safe bet for that seat.

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