It was a good weekend for MotoGP at Misano. We had two-and-a-half great races, two championships were opened up again and one took a step closer to the inevitable conclusion it has been moving towards almost since the start of the season. The weather was good - with just a sprinkling of raindrops to keep everyone honest - the crowds were up - on last year at least - and if the home crowd didn't exactly get what they came to see (a Rossi victory), at least they went home with hope in their hearts after a pretty strong race by the Italian, all things considered.
That they were less than happy with Jorge Lorenzo's victory - the third Spanish victory of the day, and the second time the Spaniards had cleaned up at an Italian Grand Prix, a particular thorn in the side of Italian MotoGP fans - as was witnessed by the booing during the podium ceremony, which Lorenzo responded to by cupping his hand to his ear as if he couldn't hear. Lorenzo said afterwards he found it disappointing that fans responded like that, acting more like soccer fans than racing fans, saying that he was sure that Valentino Rossi would disapprove of such behavior. Rossi agreed - up to a point - but after making all the expected noises, he added "This is Italy!" and said that his advice to Lorenzo was not to take any notice of it.
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Misano:
Qualifying at Misano ended up giving an accurate reflection of the key battles in all three classes (or four if you include WSBK Superpole at the Nurburgring, where Carlos Checa sits on pole, with rivals Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri alongside him on the front row). In MotoGP, there was little to choose between Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, the three men qualifying within 0.180 of each other, and well ahead of the rest of the field. In the Moto2 class, Stefan Bradl held off the assault of Marc Marquez to secure his seventh pole of the season. And in the 125cc class, Frenchman Johann Zarco lines up on the grid, with the championship leader Nico Terol on the outside of the front row, in 3rd. These men will share out the handful of world championships between them, with the losers being left only with thoughts of revenge for next year.
After the announcement that Bridgepoint Capital - the company that owns Dorna - had acquired 100% of the shares in Infront Sports & Media, the parent company of World Superbike series organizer Infront Motor Sports, IMS CEO Paolo Flammini gave a press conference to give IMS' vision on the merger, and how it will affect the World Superbike series. Nieuwsmotor editor Iwan van der Valk was present at the press conference and recorded what Flammini had to say on video. Here's the video of the press conference:
Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams at Misano:
The story that has been brewing for the best part of three months has finally reached a conclusion: Bridgepoint, the private equity firm that owns Dorna, MotoGP's organizers, has acquired Infront Sports & Media, the sports marketing firm that owns Infront Motor Sports, the organizers of World Superbike series. Infront yesterday issued an official press release announcing the acquisition, with Bridgepoint purchasing the company from its three major shareholders.
The press release states emphatically that the takeover will have no effect on the running of either the MotoGP or the World Superbike series, though clearly, such a move would put an end to any legal moves which Infront Motor Sports may have been considering against the FIM over the use of production engines in CRT machines. The two series are not to merge, the press release stated, saying that both MotoGP and World Superbikes will continue to run separately under the auspices of the FIM.
Stefan Bradl and Marc Marquez continue to dispute the leadership of the Moto2 class at Misano, with Stefan Bradl coming out on top in the latest instalment. Marquez had led for much of the third session of free practice, but Bradl squeaked ahead of the Spaniard in the final seconds to take the lead by just four thousandths of a second. Alex de Angelis was 3rd fastest in the session, the man from San Marino excelling as usual at his home race, while Yuki Takahashi put the Gresini Moriwaki into 4th, ahead of Scott Redding and Andrea Iannone.
Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after practice on Friday at Misano:
Marc Marquez took control of the first session of practice for the Moto2 class at Misano late in the session, posting a fast lap to lead Frenchman Jules Cluzel by nearly a third of a second. Cluzel's margin over 3rd place man Aleix Espargaro was smaller, the Spaniard just edging local boy Alex de Anglis into 4th. Aleix' younger brother Pol has clearly taken heart from his first ever podium at Indy last week, the Spaniard briefly leading the session and ending FP1 in 5th, half a second behind Marquez and seven hundredths ahead of Simone Corsi, who led for most of FP1.
Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after the race at Indianapolis: