Press release previews from the Moto2 and 125cc teams ahead of Sunday's race at Sepang:
2011 Sepang MotoGP Thursday Round Up: On Marquez' Big Mistake, And MotoGP's Silly Season Winding Down
After an eight-hour flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur, the MotoGP circus has rolled up at the Sepang circuit ready to do it all again a week later. Fortunately for most of the teams, they have had a day or two in Kuala Lumpur to acclimatize to the sweltering Malaysian heat, quite a contrast to the blustery cool of Phillip Island.
The climate inside the air-conditioned rooms where negotiations are taking place over 2012 is just as fevered as the hot and sweaty conditions outside, however. The spare time forced on the paddock has given riders, their managers and teams time to try to reach agreement over next season. With just two races of 2011 next to go, and with all of the major pieces having slotted into place, the final seats on the grid are starting to shake out.
The biggest announcement came on Thursday afternoon at the circuit, and had held much of the Spanish press in its thrall throughout the week. Marc Marquez finally announced that he will be staying in Moto2 for another year, and not moving up to MotoGP as many had hoped he would. For the full details, see this story here, but part of the decision was down to Marquez' personal backing from Repsol. The Spanish petroleum giant is getting an unprecedented bang for their buck at the moment, with Casey Stoner dominating in MotoGP on the Repsol Honda - and Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso picking up the baton on the rare occasions that Stoner falters - while Marc Marquez is storming up the field in Moto2. Repsol is getting massive exposure in their home market from having the two championship favorites on their books, and will be hoping to capitalize with a brace of #1 plates in both MotoGP and Moto2 next season.
Marc Marquez is to stay in Moto2 for another year. After all of the recent speculation, the 18-year-old Spaniard told the media at Sepang on Thursday that he had decided against switching to the MotoGP class after reviewing the options on offer to him. He will race for the Repsol-backed Catalunya Caixa Moto2 squad run by his mentor Emilio Alzamora aboard a Suter for 2012.
Marquez admitted that he had been surprised at the speed of his own progress. "This is my first year in Moto2, and my level is much better than i expected at the beginning of the season," he told the MotoGP.com website, and that had caused him and his manager Alzamora to explore the options available to him. In the end, though, he felt it was better to remain in Moto2 for another year, to gain more experience before stepping up to the premier class. "At the end of the season, it was time to check all the possibilities, and I think the best one is to stay one more year in Moto2, because every race I learn something new," Marquez told MotoGP.com. "It was a difficult decision, but I think we took the right one."
The FIM today released the list of teams accepted for next year's Moto2 and Moto3 championships, and both championships are looking healthy. Twenty teams have been entered in each of the two classes, and grid size is expected to be 32 riders in both Moto2 and Moto3. That is actually a reduction in size for the Moto2 class: in previous years, 40 riders have been given starts, but this caused a number of complaints from the teams. Having 40 riders line up on the grid was widely regarded as being a little too many, creating dangerous situations as riders desperately try to make up as many positions as possible off the line.
Although the rider lists will not be officially released until Valencia - and even then, those lists are subject to massive change, as we have seen in previous years - there are still some interesting names on the list worth examining. In the Moto2 class, Marc Marquez' Monlau Competicion team has a grid slot, despite rumors that the Spaniard could move up to MotoGP. Catalunya Radio reported that Marquez is keen to go to MotoGP, but that Repsol wants to keep him in Moto2. If Marquez is promoted to MotoGP, then it is possible that Toni Elias could fill the vacant seat at Monlau Competicion.
Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:
Fears of a tiny grid in MotoGP for 2012 appear to be receding rapidly. As the countdown to next year approaches, the final slots on the grid - along with what may turn out to be a large number of CRT entries, as we reported earlier - are starting to fill up.
The burning question in the MotoGP paddock at the moment is whether Spanish prodigy Marc Marquez will move up to MotoGP from Moto2 next season. Speculation on the matter has been hectic, with negotiations being opened in earnest at the Aragon round of MotoGP, where Marquez' mentor and manager Emilio Alzamora told reporters that Marquez had little to gain from staying in Moto2. Since then, the situation has moved on, and as Spanish petroleum giant Repsol's plans for 2012 have been clarified, a switch to MotoGP is looking increasingly likely.
Results and summary of Moto2 race at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after qualifying on Saturday at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the Moto2 and 125cc teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
2011 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Round Up - On Bumps, Speed And The Lack Of It, And WSBK Silly Season
Phillip Island is the best circuit in the world, according to just about everyone in the MotoGP paddock. At least, that's what they thought yesterday, before they actually rode the circuit, and found out that the recent visits by the Australian GT series and the V8 Supercars have torn the track up and left bumps everywhere.
The verdict was unanimous, but as ever, Casey Stoner phrased it the best. "This year, the track's terrible," he told reporters. "It's always been a little bit bumpy into Turn 1, but this year, they're a lot more aggressive than they were in the past, and I'm not too happy with the condition of the track. I don't know what they've been racing around here, but it's made the track a lot worse." So bad was the surface that Jorge Lorenzo said he and the other riders would bring the subject up in the Safety Commission on Friday night, and ask for the track to be repaved.