Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Indianapolis:
2014 Indianapolis MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Fast Brits On Proddy Hondas, An Early Title For Marquez, And An Epic Moto3 Race
Is Indianapolis really a Honda circuit? With four Yamahas on the two front rows of the grid, you would have to say it wasn't any longer. There is a Honda on pole, but as that's Marc Marquez, that doesn't really count: alongside his perfect nine wins from nine races, he now also has eight poles from ten qualifying sessions. Any discussion of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different manufacturers at a circuit really needs to disregard Marquez at the moment. In 2014, the Spaniard is just too much of an outlier, as his ability to put a couple of tenths or more on the opposition at will demonstrates.
Behind Marquez, the grid looks a lot more interesting. Behind Marquez is exactly how Andrea Dovizioso bagged another front row start, the Italian grabbing a tow off the Repsol Honda rider to set the second fastest time. The tow had allowed Dovizioso to follow Marquez' "crazy lines" as the Ducati rider put it, and the extra boost of the new engine Dovizioso has at his disposal may have contributed. The engine comes with a new fairing with revised cooling, suggesting the changes are more to do with making the engine more reliable at the top end, allowing it to be revved higher for longer. Given the Desmosedici's propensity for going up in a puff of smoke – Dovizioso has already lost three of his twelve engines this year, Andrea Iannone has got through four – reduced friction and reduced temperature would be a boon.
Jorge Lorenzo is the last man on the front row of the grid, but he was not disappointed with that. It was important for the Spaniard to build his confidence at Indy, and qualifying definitely helped. Lorenzo remarked that he was closer to Marquez than at the previous race, and that's not just true of qualifying. Lorenzo's race pace is strong too, though still a way off that of Marquez. In FP4, Marquez was running mid 1'32s consistently, while Lorenzo was hitting low 1'33s.
Efren Vazquez took advantage of terrific track conditions to set the fastest Moto3 time of the weekend and grab the top spot in the third free practice Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Vazquez's 1'41.103 put him a tenth of a second clear of a rapidly improving Romano Fenati (2nd). Isaac Vinales took third, another four-hundredths back. In each subsequent practice, Vazquez has steadily improved his place on the timesheet moving from fifth, to fourth to first.
Miguel Olivera took top Mahindra honors with fourth fastest followed by championship points leader Jack Miller. Moto3 riders, always tightly clustered on the timesheet, made no exception at Indianapolis with the top 19 rider separated by less than a second. Unexpectedly, that group does not include Alex Rins. The Honda rider, who sits fifth in the championship, set the 23rd fastest time.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Indianapolis:
2014 Indianapolis MotoGP Friday Round Up: An Improved Track, The State Of American Racing, And Yet More Silly Season Shenanigans
For the past four years, my coverage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has followed something of a ritual. The riders would ride the track. The riders would talk to the media about how awful the track was, the bumps, the different types of asphalt, the drainage covers, the joints between the tarmac, the corners which were too tight. I would write about what the riders had said in my nightly round ups. And I would receive an email complaining about what I'd written from IMS' otherwise excellent media office.
It's hard to blame Indy's media office for such a reaction. They are the best media office of all the circuits on the calendar, by a country mile, better organized and providing useful and timely information on everything happening on the track. It is part of their duty to handle criticism of the circuit, especially that coming from a bunch of Europeans only using half the real Speedway track, and requiring corners. They were only doing their job.
They will have a much easier job this weekend. Rider reaction to the changes made at Indy has been overwhelmingly positive, with barely a whisper of criticism of the track. The single surface on the infield is a vast improvement, the changes to the track layout make it much more suitable for motorcycle racing, and most of the bumps have been removed. The circuit is "more like a normal track," as Marc Marquez put it. Pol Espargaro concurred. Indy is "more of a motorbike track" the Tech 3 man said.
Isaac Vinales used his final lap of FP2 to his advantage to seize the top spot in Friday's final session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Vinales' nine-hundredths margin just clipped Alex Marquez (2nd) who had just set his fastest time and briefly held the top spot.
Jack Miller, leader for much of the session, ended his day in third. Efren Vazquez (4th) and John McPhee (5th) rounded out the top five. Both Vinales and Marquez set their fast times with effective use of slipstreaming on the long straight -- a tactic that will prove vital for the flyweight, 50 BHP bikes.
Romano Fenati and Alex Rins -- fourth and fifth in the championship standings -- finished the session eleventh and twelveth respectively.
Australian Jack Miller picked up right where he left off at the previous round with the fastest time in the first free practice at Round 10 of the Moto3 World Championship. Miller’s 1’45.824 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday morning left him three-tenths of a second clear of Isaac Vinales (2nd) and nearly three-quarters of a second faster than Alessandro Tonucci.
Luca Grunwald (4th) and Efren Vasquez (5th) rounded out the top five, both more than a second shy of Miller's time.
The session started slow on the damp track with times well slower than the previous year's FP1-- even with the slight track redesign which was supposed to make laps slightly quicker. But 15 minutes into the session as the racing line dried, lap times began to drop and Miller surged into the top spot. The championship points leader, fresh off the summer break, had dominated the previous round in Germany setting the top time in every session -- except race warm-up -- and winning the round.
There are few motorsports venues more iconic than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Of the places I've visited, only Monza comes close: you can feel the ghosts of all the men and women who have raced there. With its massive grandstands and historic racing museum, the vast facility is breathtaking. It is a magic place.
Sadly, the magic is all around the 4 kilometer rectangular oval on which the Indy 500 is held, and not so much around the road course used by MotoGP. The rather tight, artificial infield road circuit feels very much like an afterthought, something retrofitted to allow a greater range of activities at the facility. If the oval layout is spectacular, the road course is positively pedestrian.
To the credit of the Speedway, they have done an awful lot to try to improve the track. Last year, there were at least four different types of asphalt around the circuit, and the infield section was considered too tight for overtaking maneuvers. In an effort to solve both those problems at a stroke, turns 3 and 4, turn 7 and turns 15 and 16 have all been modified. The changes are aimed at opening the corners up a little, making them a little faster and more flowing. The change at turns 3 and 4 should make for more natural corners, and a better transition back onto the outside oval. Turn 7 has been altered to open it up, making a more natural chicane rather than the right-angle corner it was before. Turns 15 and 16 are now a little more flowing, and again have been modified to provide a more natural transition onto the oval. At the same time, the infield has been completely resurfaced, so that it now has just one type of asphalt.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis GP races:
There are many ways for fans to follow MotoGP: on TV, via newspapers, magazines and websites, via the official Dorna-run MotoGP.com website. Since last year, a new option has been added: the MotoGP Live Experience mobile app. The Live Experience app allows you to keep up with the latest news on your smartphone or tablet, see the results of practice sessions and races, or follow the sessions and races via live timing. But is it any good?
I have been using the Live Experience app for the past two years – paid for out of my own pocket, I might add, not provided by Dorna – and have seen it improve in leaps and bounds. Early 2013 versions had a tendency to freeze, but new versions fixed most of those issues. Like all Dorna products, the policy seems to be release early, and fix problems as they go along. Now, nearly 18 months into the project, the Live Experience app has proven to be pretty stable, and usable on both WiFi and over a mobile data connection. I use it over my home internet connection for races I don't attend personally, and over mobile data connections at the track for races I do attend. But before looking at how it works, first a look at what you can expect from the Live Experience app.
What does it do?
The aim of the MotoGP Live Experience app is to help fans keep up to date with MotoGP on their mobile devices. To that end, it provides a subset of the information and services on the MotoGP.com website. There is a section with the latest news stories, a selection of photos, and a (highly abbreviated) selection of videos. There is a guide to the riders and teams in all three classes, and a summary of the rules and regulations of Grand Prix racing.
The guts of the app, and to my mind, the main reason for purchasing it, is the ability to follow live timing. While the bikes are on track, a green button appears next to the session currently running, and a click on that takes you to a split screen, showing a 3D model of the track with the position of the bikes, and a timing screen showing the lap and sector times for all of the riders taking part in the session.
With MotoGP about to get back on track after the short summer break, bike fans will start to gather at Indianapolis. Although the action revolves around the three Grand Prix classes on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there is plenty more to be doing in and around the track and downtown Indianapolis. The highlights on Friday are the Riders for Health auction, where memorabilia and work by some of the top MotoGP photographers go on sale, to support MotoGP's adopted charity, and the Indy Mile, at the State Fairground. Saturday's highlights include the Cycle World Q&A session, where you get to put your questions to the US magazine's staff writers, including motorcycle genius Kevin Cameron, and a farewell Q&A session with Colin Edwards at his final home Grand Prix. The weekend naturally culminates with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday.
Below is a press release issued by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a complete timetable of events:
DAY-BY-DAY AT THE RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP (Updated Version)
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 - A day-by-day look at the on- and off-track happenings for fans at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, Aug. 8-10, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
FRIDAY, Aug. 8
8 a.m.-7 p.m.
2014 Sachsenring Sunday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez' Perfect Record, Dangerous Starts, And A Spaniard-Free Zone
The former England soccer player Gary Lineker once described the sport as follows: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." It feels somehow fitting to paraphrase that quote on the day that the Germans play in the World Cup final. Motorcycle racing is a simple sport, where 23 people ride a MotoGP bike as fast as they can, and Marc Marquez always wins.
He found yet another way to win at the Sachsenring. A heavy rain shower between the Moto2 race and the sighting lap for MotoGP left the grid in disarray, with about three quarters of the field heading in to swap from their wet to their dry bikes at the end of the warm up lap. That left fourteen riders to start from pit lane, five abreast, after jostling for position. At that point, the race should have been red flagged – more on that later – but instead, they all got out of pit lane safely. Just.
Marquez showed himself to be a master of improvisation, pitting quickly, swapping bikes and elbowing his way to the front of the pits. He took advantage of the chaos, exited pit lane first, and led the charge towards the shellshocked remainder of the pack who had started from the grid proper. He was 8.5 seconds behind the leader Stefan Bradl by the end of the first sector, a deficit which he had cut to 7.7 seconds by the end of the first lap. Before the sixth lap was completed, he had caught and passed the LCR Honda man, going on to win his ninth straight MotoGP race with relative ease. He faced an early challenge from his teammate Dani Pedrosa, but Marquez was more aggressive in getting past Bradl, where Pedrosa hesitated for a second. Pedrosa pushed hard once past, nearly caught Marquez, but faded towards the end.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at the Sachsenring: