The official press release of the Repsol launch at Repsol's Puertollano plant in central Spain:
Another Jerez Moto2 preview, this time from the Marc VDS Racing team and chassis builder FTR:
Jerez previews from the Moto2 and 125cc teams:
Ever since Valentino Rossi joined Ducati, the burning question of just how competitive the Desmosedici GP11 is has been clouded by Rossi's shoulder injury. The weakened shoulder - a result of training accident in which Rossi hyperextended his shoulder, fixed by surgery in November of 2010 - has made it very difficult to judge how fast Rossi could be on the bike if he could ride the Ducati unhampered by his shoulder. As a consequence, debate has raged among fans and pundits over how much or Rossi's deficit to put down to the shoulder, and how much to the bike.
Such shoulder injuries are relatively common in motorcycle racing - at Qatar, the list of riders recovering from post-season shoulder surgery was alarmingly long - as being thrown from a moving motorcycle at speed almost invariably causes some kind of damage to shoulders, arms and hands. Add to this the fact that the shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body, and certainly the one with the largest range of motion, and you begin to understand just how big an effect a shoulder injury can have.
After the financial difficulties that have recently dogged the Jerez Circuit, at last there is some good news. Today, the Andalucian State Government announced that it would be underwriting the Spanish MotoGP round at Jerez for the next five years, guaranteeing its future until 2016.
The future of the race had been uncertain. Despite being probably the best attended MotoGP event, and one that rates as one of the must-visit races for MotoGP fans around the world, a financial dispute with contractors had threatened to disrupt the event. As reported earlier this month, the assets of the circuit have been frozen by a local court, after the circuit failed to make outstanding payments owed to the consortium that carried out construction work on the track to improve safety in 2005. That dispute is still unresolved, though information on the status of negotiations is scarce, a situation which has raised the hackles of local politicians, though the event enjoys the backing of almost every party in the region, due to the publicity the event generates.
A couple of late press releases from the opening MotoGP round of the season at Qatar. Today, it's a Bridgestone debrief, and releases from MZ and FTR:
The earthquake and ensuing disaster that devastated Japan's northeast coast has weighed heavy on the hearts of everyone in the MotoGP paddock. With so many factories and suppliers based in Japan, everybody in the paddock knows at least one person who was affected in one way or another. The minute's silence before the start of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was just one expression of their sympathy, and it was a moment which touched the Japanese members of the paddock very deeply.
To add more practical support to those expressions of sympathy, Dorna, who run the MotoGP series, have arranged to sell t-shirts signed by all of the MotoGP riders to raise funds for the victims of the disaster and help the rebuilding effort in the country. The funds raised are to be presented to an as-yet-unnamed humanitarian organization at the Japanese Grand Prix, due to be held on October 2nd. So if you've always wanted a t-shirts signed by the riders, here's your chance. They cost 20 euros, and are available from a special website, http://weforjapan.motogp.com/.
Below is the official press release announcing the initiative:
MotoGP unites to help Japan
Press releases from the 125 and Moto2 teams after the race at Qatar:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Qatar:
The first race of the season hasn't even happened yet, but the Honda story is already starting to get old. The headlines are writing themselves, the only thing that an editor has to do at the moment is cast a cursory glance over the wording to check whether it was Casey Stoner or Dani Pedrosa who spotted the fastest time.
Despite the disparity with the rest of the field, qualifying actually turned into a pretty exciting spectacle. It was a race of two classes - the two lead Repsols matching each other's times, while the rest of the field battled valiantly for the rest of the places on the two front rows, but it still gave the viewers something to get engrossed in.
Stoner's 1'54.137 is a spectacular improvement over last year, cutting the best part of a second off his pole time from 2010. And it was the first time we got to see Stoner really pushing, starting to sling the Repsol Honda around like he used to muscle the Marlboro Ducati around in 2010. He admitted in the press conference that he had been a lot closer to the limit than he had been so far during practice, saying he had even managed to get close to tucking the front at one point. The bad news - at least for the competition - was that he had not been that comfortable on the softer tires, and felt he had better pace on the harder race tires.
Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams from Saturday at Qatar:
Results of qualifying for the Moto2 class at Qatar: