MotoGP

Aleix Espargaro Injures Knee In Training Incident

Aleix Espargaro has injured his knee during a training crash earlier this month. According to the Spanish publication Motocuatro, The Spaniard was participating in an informal dirt track race with his Suzuki teammate Maverick Viñales and a group of friends on 6th December, and crashed. The crash resulted in the elder of the Espargaro brothers partially tearing the cruciate ligaments in his left knee.

It was feared that Espargaro would have to undergo surgery to correct the injury, but examination by his doctors determined that this would not be necessary. The factory Suzuki rider faces a four-week layoff, to allow the injury to recover, before he can start training again. That will allow him to resume preparations some time around 6th January, meaning he should be in good shape once testing resumes in February. Aleix Espargaro is due to ride the Suzuki GSX-RR again at the first test in Sepang on 4th February.

Espargaro posted the following short video on his Instagram account, which shows the Spaniard wearing a knee brace, his knee clearly immobilized.

Aspar Press Release: Nicky Hayden On His Wrist, And The Honda RC213V-RS

To help fill the long void during the winter break, the Aspar team has been occasionally issuing press release interviews with its riders. Today's press release contains an interview with Nicky Hayden, now back at home working on building strength in his wrist and preparing for the 2015 MotoGP season. In the press release, Hayden briefly runs through subjects as diverse as his wrist recovery, the changes to his crew in 2015, and the potential of the Honda RC213V-RS, the replacement for the RCV1000R Hayden rode in 2014.

The interview appears below:


“My main objective for 2015 is to enjoy riding again”

Nicky Hayden is currently enjoying a hard-earned rest at home following a long and difficult season. The DRIVE M7 Aspar rider is one of the most experienced men in MotoGP and a throwback to the old-school hard men that inspired him. After what he has been through over the past twelve months, the 'Kentucky Kid' could be forgiven for turning his back on the sport for good but racing is in the Hayden family's blood and nothing can stop Nicky from enjoying his one true passion, which also happens to be his job. As he spends the Christmas period relaxing with his family and allowing his wrist more crucial time to recover, Nicky Hayden's mind remains very much on the job at hand in 2015.

Year: 
2015

MotoGP Notes From The Superprestigio - On Ducati, Michelin, And A Fast Frenchman

With so many MotoGP regulars either racing in or attending the Superprestigio in Barcelona, it was inevitable that a fair amount of gossip and rumor would end up circulating. It was the first chance for some of the media to talk to riders who had been testing down in Southern Spain, while the presence of Ducati's MotoGP bosses Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, attending as guests of Troy Bayliss, added real weight to the debate.

I spoke briefly to Ciabatti on Saturday, asking about progress with the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 and how Michelin testing had gone. Ciabatti was optimistic about the GP15, but confirmed that it was still not certain exactly when the bike would make its first appearance on track. It may not be ready for the first Sepang test in February, with the second Sepang a more likely place for the bike to be rolled out. "We think it's important for the bike to be completely ready," Ciabatti said. It was better for Ducati to roll out a bike ready to take on testing, than rush to try to get a bike going at Sepang 1, and find problems that would have been easier to deal with if discovered on the dyno.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Márquez vs Hailwood – the percentages

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.


Márquez vs Hailwood – the percentages

After Marc Márquez’s 13th win of the year at Valencia last month I tweeted that el fenómeno had broken Mick Doohan’s 12-wins-in-a-year record.

Not long after, Casey Stoner came right back, with a good-natured tweet reminding me that Doohan had won his 12 victories in a 15-race season, while Márquez had won 13 out of 18.

“Sorry Mat,” he wrote. “But I think we both know Mick’s record still stands ;) He had about three to four fewer races when he was around.” (NB: Stoner haters – this wasn’t a moan, that was a smiley face and a wink there.)

Marquez' Oval vs Rossi's Ranch: Which Dirt Track Layout Is Best For MotoGP?

Many years ago, when American riders first burst onto the roadracing scene, and immediately dominated Grand Prix racing, dirt track racing was seen as a key part of their success. Training on the hardpacked dirt, where pushrod twins have far more power than they can ever transfer directly into drive, translated very well into racing 500cc two strokes, which had the same excess of power over grip. As tire technology advanced, and as the number of racers coming out of the US to race on the world stage declined, dirt track fell out of favor. Styles changed back towards keeping the wheels in line and carrying as much corner speed as possible, a skill learned in 125s and 250s, and taken up to 500s and MotoGP. The advent of the 800cc bikes, which caused a quantum leap forward in electronic control, emphasized this even further.

Analyzing MotoGP Engine Usage In 2014 - No More Drama For The Factories

When the rules limiting the number of engines each MotoGP rider is allowed to use were first introduced, their usage was followed hawkishly. After pressure from veteran US journalist Dennis Noyes and myself, and with the assistance of Dorna's incredibly efficient media officer, IRTA and Dorna were persuaded to publish the engine usage charts. These were pored over constantly, searching for clues as to who might be in trouble, who may have to start from pit lane, and who would manage until the end of the season.

How the world has changed since then. Since 2010, the first full year of its application, engine allocations have been cut from six engines a season to just five, but despite that, the manufacturers are getting better and better at building incredible reliability into high horsepower engines. All eight Factory Option Honda and Yamaha riders completed around 9,000 km in 2014, using just 5 engines in the process. In the case of Bradley Smith, he raced for 9416 kilometers using just four engines, an average of 2354 km per engine.

The introduction of the engine reliability rules may have pushed the costs up at first, as factories rushed to modify their engines to suit the new regulations, it has worked well since then to help cut costs. No longer are engines crated up after every race to be flown back to Japan, there to be stripped, measured, tested and rebuilt, then flown back to Europe again ready for the next MotoGP round. Perhaps more importantly, the factories have made real technological progress in the field, Shuhei Nakamoto, Kouichi Tsuji and ex-Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi frequently praising the rule for the advances they have made. It is exactly the kind of technology which will find its way into road going motorcycles, allowing more power to be extracted while retaining reliability. There is good reason to believe that the latest generation of big horsepower road bikes have been made possible thanks to advances in materials and lubrication technology which have made it possible to produce that power without sacrificing reliability.

LCR Honda Surgery Update: Miller Has Plate Removed From Shoulder

With testing now over, Jack Miller has joined the ranks of riders undergoing surgery in the off season. Flying back from Sepang to Barcelona, Miller had an operation to remove four loose screws from his right collarbone, the aftermath of an old injury sustained at Indianapolis in 2013. That injury was fixed with a plate, but preseason crashes on the KTM Moto3 bike caused a number of complications for the Australian. With testing completely, Miller now has time to have the remaining screws removed from his shoulder, and allow it to heal. Miller will be unable to train for five days while the scar heals, but will be able to resume his training program after that.

Miller's surgery means that both LCR Honda riders have now gone under the knife. Cal Crutchlow had an operation on 14th November to remove a plate from his left collarbone, which has been inserted in 2011. The Englishman also had some arthritis cleaned up from the same shoulder, the accumulated damage from several falls over the years. Crutchlow's recovery is complete, and he has since flown to California, where he will be training over the winter in preparation for the Sepang tests.

Below are the two press releases about the surgery, the first issued today covering Miller's surgery, the second issued in mid-November, discussing Crutchlow's operation:

Jerez Combined WSBK And MotoGP Test: Jerez Test Ends With Yet More Rain

Testing at Jerez has wrapped up completely, with the final day once again plagued by heavy rain, cold temperatures and high winds. A slight improvement at the end of the day saw the two MV Agusta World Supersport bikes get a little closer to a normal lap time, though both Lorenzo Zanetti and Jules Cluzel were still 4 seconds slower than they were on Wednesday, when the bikes were out on a dry track. Nothing can be read into the times of the World Superbike riders, however, as neither Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier nor Tom Sykes completed more than ten laps, and most of their track time was focused on starts.

Ducati's MotoGP team were also present on the final day, but no reports of their times will emerge, as they were testing the new Michelin tires. Under the terms agreed by Bridgestone when they announced that they would be withdrawing as single tire supplier to MotoGP, the factories are not allowed to comment on the Michelin tires until next year, when the first full year of testing starts ahead of the switch to Michelin in 2016.

Times from Friday:

LCR Honda Press Release: Jack Miller Rounds Off Full Program Of Testing At Sepang

The LCR Honda team issued the following press release, after Jack Miller completed his three-day test at Sepang:


POSITIVE TEST CONCLUDES FOR MILLER IN MALAYSIA

Today in Malaysia saw the last of the on-track action in 2014 for the CWM LCR Honda Team and their rookie rider Jack Miller, as they concluded a three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit.

The 19 year-old Aussie has made significant progress over the past three days as he prepares the huge step up from the Moto3 World Championship to the elite of MotoGP in 2015. With help from HRC the team are gradually revealing more complex aspects of the Open electronics package on the Honda RC213V-RS, and with more time spent on the bike Miller admitted he felt increasingly comfortable, despite a small lowside spill in the morning.

After having completed a long run out on track in the afternoon the testing session was once again halted, as it had been the previous two days, when rain fell just after 4pm. However the Queenslander had already improved on his best lap of the test, with a quickest time of 2’02.9.

Year: 
2014

Thursday Testing Press Releases From Almeria and Jerez

Press releases from teams in the MotoGP, World Superbike and Moto2 teams at tracks across southern Spain:

Year: 
2014

Jerez Combined WSBK And MotoGP Test: Rain Plagues Fourth Day Of Testing

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:

LCR Honda Press Release: Jack Miller Ups Pace By Two Seconds On Second Day At Sepang

The LCR Honda team issued the following press release after the second day of testing for Jack Miller at Sepang:


MILLER KNOCKS TWO SECONDS OFF BEST LAP

On his second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Jack Miller upped his pace by nearly two seconds as he continued his apprenticeship on board the CWM LCR Honda RC213V-RS.

Track conditions were much improved from the first day of testing, and the Australian was able to consistently make progress as he and his team work to adapt the new bike to his requirements.

Dark clouds hung over the circuit for the majority of the day, but before they dropped their payload at 4pm in the afternoon as per usual, Miller was able to complete a best lap of 2’03.1, compared to a 2’04.9 on day one.

CWM LCR Honda’s final test of the year concludes tomorrow at Sepang, with the 19 year-old hoping to get in a couple of long runs to test out his fitness over a race distance.

Jack Miller #43 (2’03.1, 48 laps)

Year: 
2014

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP shakes up the rules

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.


MotoGP shakes up the rules

Two weeks from now MotoGP’s Grand Prix Commission sit downs in Madrid to decide the future of Grand Prix racing.

The December 17 meeting will finally rubber stamp the biggest regulations shake-up since the four-strokes arrived a dozen years ago, which the manufacturers and Dorna have been arguing over for what seems like forever. As always, they hold opposite positions: Dorna want low-cost, TV-friendly entertainment, the factories want an R&D-friendly technology race.

The GPC – made up of one representative each from Dorna, the MSMA, the FIM and teams association IRTA – will decide on plans to reduce performance, increase fuel capacity and essentially freeze electronics R&D.

Jerez Combined WSBK And MotoGP Test: Bradl Impresses, Rea Leads WSBK On Day 3

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.

LCR Honda Press Release: Jack Miller Completes First Day Of Testing At Sepang

The LCR Honda team issued the following press release after the first day of extra testing laid on for MotoGP rookie Jack Miller:


ROOKIE MILLER BACK ON TRACK AT SEPANG

One half of the CWM LCR Honda Team began the first of three test days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today, as preparations for the 2015 season continued before the testing ban comes into force during December and January.

As a rookie to MotoGP next season, the team’s new recruit Jack Miller is entitled to extra test days in order to smooth the transition to the premier class, and was joined out on the 5.543 km (3.444 mile) circuit by various test riders. Temperatures were cooler than during the scorching October race at the track, peaking at around 32°C, but with only four riders testing the surface took a while to clean.

The Australian, who joins the motorcycling elite after finishing as the championship runner-up in Moto3, was able to put in 39 laps of the track on his new Honda RC213V-RS until light rain at 4pm brought a halt to any further progress.

Testing continues at Sepang for Miller and the CWM LCR Honda Team on Thursday and Friday, where the 19 year-old will hope for better conditions to carry on with his adaptation to the new bike.

Jack Miller #43 (2’04.92, 39 laps)

Year: 
2014
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