MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Racism in the paddock
Will there ever be a Lewis Hamilton of MotoGP, a black king of motorcycle racing? Of course there will be.
Who does best at what often has much to do with culture, race, class and geography, but while international motorcycle racing is an overwhelmingly white sport, a black racer has already climbed the highest heights. American James Stewart has won world and US championships in motocross and Supercross. Thus it is only a matter of time before a black, Asian or Chinese racer gets to the top of MotoGP.
But despite the success of Hamilton and Stewart, the odds are stacked against black people in car and ‘bike racing. I’ve spent three decades working in motor sport and my own experience tells me that the paddock is more racist than most areas of modern life.
Want to buy a Moto2 machine? AGT Rea Racing, the team run by and for Gino Rea, have a number of Moto2 machines on sale. The bikes include Tito Rabat's Marc VDS Kalex, the Caterham Suters of Johann Zarco and Josh Herrin/Ratthapark Wilairot, and Gino Rea's own Suter from 2014. Prices start at €58,000 and rise to €80,000 for Rabat's Kalex, while a vast amount of Suter spares are also on offer. For more details, see the press release issued by the team below.
Marc VDS Kalex, Caterham Suter & AGT REA Racing Moto2 bikes for sale to public
AGT REA Racing have acquired the Marc VDS Kalex & Caterham Suter Moto2 race bikes (including Johan Zarcos full bike that finished on the podium at the final Moto2 race of 2014) and are now offering these to the public and race teams. Read below for details:
Marc VDS Kalex 2014 Moto2 (Tito RABAT) Complete Bike
Marc VDS Kalex 2014 Chassis and Swingarm, wiring loom, Moto2 Engine, Ohlins front & rear suspension, Brembo Brakes, Akrapovic Exhaust, OZ Wheels, 1 Kit Chassis Setting Materials- Pivot 0.1.2.3.4, Suspension Link A, Head Insert A,B,C.
Total Price Euros 80,000
Johan Zarco Caterham Suter Moto2 2104/2015
Dunlop is set to continue as single tire supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. In a press release (show below), Dorna announced that they have extended the current contract with Dunlop to remain as the spec tire supplier to the support classes, for the 2015 season and beyond. The press release does not make any mention of the duration of the contract, stating only that Dunlop will continue "from the start of 2015".
Dunlop has been the spec tire supplier to both Moto2 and Moto3 since the introduction of the two classes, in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The announcement that they are to continue signals that both series will continue with a spec tire for the foreseeable future. However, the intermediate classes had been a de facto spec series for a long time, with Dunlop supplying almost the entire field in the 250cc and 125cc classes which preceded Moto2 and Moto3.
The press release containing the announcement appears below:
Dunlop extends contract as Official Tyre Supplier to Moto2™ and Moto3™
Dorna Sports is delighted to announce that Dunlop has signed a fresh agreement to continue as the sole tyre supplier to the Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships from the start of 2015.
MotoGP Rule Update: Fuel Limit Raised To 22 Liters For 2016, SCAT3 Concussion Test Introduced, & More
The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, held on Tuesday in Madrid, made a number of minor changes to the rules for all three Grand Prix classes, as well as a couple of more significant revisions. The biggest changes concerned the setting of the maximum fuel allocation from 2016 at 22 liters, and the adoption of the SCAT3 test for concussion for riders after a crash. But perhaps the most significant outcome of the meeting of the GPC is not what was decided, but what was not.
Of the various minor rule changes, a few are worthy of comment. The first is the reduction of the time penalty at the start for a rider exceeding the engine allocation in any given year. From 2015, anyone using an extra engine will start the race from pit lane 5 seconds after the green light is displayed after the official start (once all riders on the grid have passed pit lane exit), rather than 10 seconds. This will have little direct impact on the outcome of any races, but should make it easier for riders using an extra engine to get close to the backmarkers, and perhaps score a point or two.
In the Moto2 class, tire pressure sensors will now be compulsory, to ensure that tire pressures are kept within the range set by the single tire supplier. This is to enforce a rule brought in at the end of last year, when various Moto2 teams were found to be running dangerously low rear tire pressures in an attempt to improve rear edge grip and feel from the tire. Making tire pressure sensors compulsory suggests that some teams had been flouting the mandatory tire pressure ranges, banking on not being caught.
Press releases from teams in the MotoGP, World Superbike and Moto2 teams at tracks across southern Spain:
Rain hampered the fourth day of the combined World Superbike, MotoGP and Moto2 test at Jerez. The circuit in Southern Spain was hammered by rain, high winds and cold temperatures, rendering the times set far from instructive. While the Ducatis continued to circulate without transponders, Tom Sykes was the fastest of the officially timed riders, though he was lapping over ten seconds slower than in the dry, the day before.
Testing is set to continue on Friday, but rain continues to plague the circuit. The Ducati MotoGP team is set to test Michelins, and due to the contractual situation with current single tire supplier Bridgestone, those times will be kept confidential.
Below are the times set on Thursday:
Honda have been officially confirmed as the single engine supplier for the Moto2 class for another four years. Honda will make engines available to Externpro, who manage the official Moto2 engines, until the end of the 2018 season.
The confirmation of Honda as official engine supplier means that Moto2 is to remain a single engine class until at least 2018. The chances of it changing after that are very slim, despite occasional expressions of interest from other manufacturers, such as KTM. Any proposal to introduce competition in engine supply meets with immediate opposition from the team, who are very keen on the single Moto2 engine. They believe it radically reduces costs - competing in Moto2 is significantly cheaper than contesting the Moto3 championship - and it eliminates one variable from the competition equation. Teams do not have to worry about choosing an engine supplier, and being stuck with an underperforming engine all season.
The official press release appears below:
Honda to continue to power Moto2™ racing through 2018
Honda Motor Corporation, in continued collaboration with Spanish company ExternPro, will remain as the official Moto2™ engine supplier for the next three years extending until 2018.
Press releases from the Gresini Moto2 team, the Aspar Moto3 team, and the Crescent Suzuki WSBK team after testing:
It was a busy track at Jerez, with more teams from various classes having converged on the circuit for the last couple of days testing. While the Suzuki factory MotoGP team has packed up and left, their place has been taken by the Ducati factory team, both MotoGP and World Superbike, along with the Forward Yamaha Open class team and Avintia Ducati. There were a number of Moto2 riders lapping here, rather than joining the Marc VDS Racing team and Gresini at Almeria, the Pons Kalex and QMMF teams taking to the track at Jerez. MV Agusta also started their first couple of days of testing, with Jules Cluzel returning to race in World Supersport, while Leon Camier gave a brand new F4RR a shakedown, starting his first day of work with his new team.
QUESTIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
One of the best things about running MotoMatters.com (apart from the opportunity to get so close and learn so much about racing motorcycles and the people who are involved with them) is the interaction I have had with readers. I am regularly complimented by people in the paddock on the intelligence and thoughtful tone of the comments on the website. Indeed, I am sometimes put to shame by them, the comments being far more interesting and insightful than the story which appears above them.
It is not just on the website itself. There is also social media, and interacting with race fans via Twitter or Facebook gives me a real sense of what fans think and what they want to know. From time to time, I will also try to arrange a meet up with fans at a racetrack itself, and talk to people directly, although that is too often very hard to fit in to the hectic schedule of a race weekend.
Testing is set to continue this week in a range of classes, as bikes take to the track in preparation for the 2015 season. The south of Spain will see the most action, with a group of MotoGP teams being joined by the Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team at Jerez, and a selection of Moto2 teams heading to Almeria.
At Jerez, Suzuki and Aprilia will continue work on their bikes ahead of next season. As new factories, they receive the same concessions as Ducati, which means that they are allowed unlimited testing, more engines, they have the softer rear tire, and they are allowed to develop their engines throughout the season. Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro will be riding the GSX-RR for Suzuki, while Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri will be taking the Aprilia ART out for further testing.
Ducati will also be present at the test, Andrea Dovizioso and new teammate Andrea Iannone continuing work on the Desmosedici GP14.2. They are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of the GP15, but that bike will not be ready until the Sepang tests, and most likely, only at the second test at Sepang.