The Suzuki press office today issued a press release containing a blog entry from MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio. Brivio discusses the progress being made on the MotoGP bike Suzuki are building for their return to the series in 2015:
DAVIDE BRIVIO BLOG
Team Suzuki Press Office November 9.
Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio talks about current progress and future plans for a 2015 MotoGP return at this week’s EICMA Motorcycle Show at Milan in Italy.
I am delighted to introduce myself as the Team Manager of Suzuki MotoGP team and as already officially announced by Suzuki in June, we are now developing our MotoGP racing bike to focus on returning to MotoGP racing in 2015.
This year we have tested the machines at four European circuits; namely, Catalunya, Aragon, Misano and Mugello, as well as several tests at Motegi in Japan.
Through those tests, we can say that we are happy with the results so far as a whole, as we were able to get through them without any major troubles at any circuit, despite many miles under very severe conditions.
Jorge Lorenzo would like to make something clear: Marc Marquez isn't the only rider capable of winning in Valencia come Sunday. To that end, Lorenzo set the fastest time in FP4 with a lap of 1'31.313. Moreover, he spent nearly the entire 30-minute session putting down laps in the 1'31 range -- a pace only Marquez seems to be able to match consistently. Marquez was second-fastest rider in the final free practice with Valentino Rossi in third.
Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will race for the NGM Forward team in MotoGP next year, riding FTR-based Yamaha production machines. The announcement had been expected for a very long time, but confirmation only came on Saturday morning at Valencia, as haggling over buying out Espargaro's contract had continued over the past couple of months. Negotiations have finally been completed, and Espargaro has been cleared to join Forward.
Marc Marquez broke the all-time lap record and used the pieces to carve away the hopes of his championship rival in Saturday’s free practice at the Valencia circuit. Marquez’s lap of 1’30.803 is the fastest-ever lap at the 2.5-mile circuit and it bettered Jorge Lorenzo's best by a full tenth of a second. More importantly, Marquez didn't set the time until Lorenzo turned what appeared to the fast lap of the weekend.
And it was -- for about 25 seconds. Then Marquez topped it again.
Valentino Rossi made a late charge to take the third. Dani Pedrosa -- the only rider to win in every class at this Spanish track -- placed fourth with Cal Crutchlow in fifth. Completing the top 10 and avoiding the first qualifying practice are Alvaro Bautista (sixth), Stefan Bradl (seventh), Nicky Hayden (eighth), teammate Andrea Divizioso (ninth) with Bradley Smith in the 10th and final slot. The rest of the riders must head into the first qualifying session in the afternoon with the top-two finishers there given a chance to better their grid positions in the second qualifying practice.
MotoGP fans have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of this weekend's final round of the championship. The race has everything: a mental Moto3 race to be decided outright by the rider who wins, with just five points separating Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales and Alex Rins; a triumphant homecoming for a newly crowned Moto2 champion, Pol Espargaro wearing a positively regal helmet to celebrate, while his title rival Scott Redding wears special leathers and helmet thanking the Marc VDS Racing team who have stood behind him for the past four seasons; and a shootout for the MotoGP championship, between Jorge Lorenzo, a man with nothing to lose, and Marc Marquez, who has to balance between riding hard enough to keep the bike working properly and not taking any unnecessary risks, while ensuring he comes home in fourth, something which sounds easier than it is. There were even a couple of sideshows: the presentation of the Honda RCV1000R production racer, and Yamaha's annual technical presentation, in which they brief the media on how they have developed the bike to be so competitive.
All that is forgotten. Valentino Rossi's shock announcement on Thursday that he had told long-term crew chief Jeremy Burgess that he wanted to replace him with someone else has dominated the headlines, as well as the hearts and minds of almost everyone in the paddock. In the search for the elusive last couple of tenths of a second which separate Rossi from the three Spanish superstars who have dominated the 2013 season, the Italian is leaving no stone unturned. Even the most revered of institutions - Burgess is held in extremely high regard throughout the paddock, even by his fiercest rivals - are no longer sacred. Rossi still wants to win, and so far, he has failed. 'We've been chasing rainbows for four years,' as Burgess so succinctly put it, but to no avail. 'We haven’t nailed anything decent in those four years. These are long periods in racing and it becomes more and more difficult.'
Marc Marquez again emerged from Valencia's second practice with the top time, leading both teammate Dani Pedrosa and championship challanger Jorge Lorenzo. Marquez set the fastest time of the weekend thus far with a 1'31.220 that put him more than one-tenth ahead of current world champion Lorenzo. Marquez needs only to finish fourth or better (if Lorenzo wins) to claim the championship as a rookie. The Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five.
MotoGP rookie and championship points leader Marc Marquez pounced at the end of FP1 at the Valencia circuit Friday to set a fast lap of 1'31.557, a mere 18-thousanths faster than second-fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo. In this case, that .018 must feel like an hour for Lorenzo who sits second in the championship and needs to finish Sunday's final race of the 2013 season several places in front of his Spanish rival if he is to win the championship. Dani Pedrosa's 1'31.581 took third fastest, another six-thousandths behind Lorenzo.
The surprise of the session was an improving Bradley Smith who put his Tech 3 Yamaha into the fourth slot, a little more than one-tenth of a second faster than Valentino Rossi, in fifth.
Valentino Rossi has decided to seek a new crew chief. After 14 seasons working together, in which the pair have amassed 7 world championships, Rossi and Jeremy Burgess are to part ways, and Yamaha are actively seeking a replacement for the Australian veteran. Rossi had taken the decision after a disappointing season with Yamaha, after being unable to match the pace of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, and Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
'It is true that next year Jerry won't be my chief mechanic,' Rossi told the press conference. The decision had not been taken lightly, he said. 'It was a very difficult decision for me because I have a great history with Jeremy. He is not just my chief mechanic. He is like part of my family. My father in racing.' Rossi felt he had been forced to make a decision to try to make a change, to regain his competitiveness. 'I've decided for next year I need to change something to try to find new motivation and to have a boost to improve my level, my speed. So this will be my last race together with Jeremy.'
Honda today officially unveiled one of the most eagerly anticipated motorcycles of recent years, and a key bike in the future of MotoGP. At the Valencia circuit, Honda unveiled the Honda RCV1000R, their production MotoGP racer, for entry in the Open class, which is to replace the CRT class for last year. The bike is a close sibling of the factory Honda RC213V raced by Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, with a few modifications to make the bike cheaper to produce. This means that while the engine configuration is identical - a 90° V4 - the engine runs conventional metal valve springs rather than the pneumatic valves run by the factory bikes, and a conventional gearbox rather than a seamless transmission. The chassis geometry is also identical, though there are minor differences in chassis stiffness between the two bikes.
The RCV1000R will run the spec Magneti Marelli hardware and Dorna software, rather than Honda's custom and highly complex electronics package run on the factory bikes. One sign of that was the lack of torque sensor on the bike output shaft which is used on the factory Honda. The bike will have a 24 liter fuel allowance, though Honda do not expect to need that fuel. They will also have 12 engines to last a season, instead of the 5 allowed for factory entries.
Mixed emotions greet the final race of most MotoGP seasons. There is sadness at the prospect of four months or more without racing. There is interest and expectation, as fans look past the race weekend to the test which immediately follows, when the bikes for next year appear and the riders switching teams get their first shot at a new ride. And there is excitement of course, at the prospect of a race to wrap up the season. But with the title usually already decided in advance, there is only pride at stake, and not much more to play for.
This year, it's different. Yes, the test on Monday is a big deal, with Cal Crutchlow's debut on the Ducati, the Honda production racer making its first appearance, with Nicky Hayden on board, and the Aleix Espargaro giving the Yamaha production racer its first run out. But for the first time since 2006, the Valencia race really matters, and will decide who gets to crown themselves champion. Just 13 points separate Marc Marquez from Jorge Lorenzo, and the two men who have dominated the season cannot afford to make a mistake. Both come determined to do whatever it takes to get the job done at Valencia.
There is a lot of fascinating news coming out of this week's EICMA motorcycle show in Milan: the boom in smaller capacity motorcycles, an upgraded Fireblade, a massive push from MV Agusta, details of which can be found on our favorite general motorcycling website Asphalt & Rubber. But the show is also making headlines which will affect motorcycle racing as well.
Today at the EICMA, during a presentation on Aprilia's future plans, Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno announced that the Italian manufacturer is aiming to make a return to the MotoGP class as a factory entry in 2016. The goal, Colaninno told his audience, was 'to achieve the same success we have enjoyed in World Superbikes', while recognizing that the factory had two years of hard work ahead of them. The aim is for Aprilia to race in MotoGP from 2016 with a pure prototype machine, according to GPone.com, with the objective of winning races.
For the first time in a long time, the MotoGP circus heads to the final race of the year at Valencia with not one, but two championships still undecided (and if there hadn't been that first-lap incident in the Moto2 race at Motegi, it could even have been three). The title is still to be decided in both the MotoGP and Moto3 championships, and the possible mathematical permutations are having race fans and followers racking their brains trying to work out who needs to finish where for either Marc Marquez or Jorge Lorenzo to win the MotoGP title, or Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales or Alex Rins to lift the Moto3 crown.
To assist with this computation, we have drawn up two tables with all of the possible permutations, one for the MotoGP class, and one for the Moto3 class. Using the tables below, you can see all of the possibilities the two MotoGP men and three Moto3 riders have to win the title in their respective classes.
Casey Stoner has concluded three days of testing at the Sugo circuit in Japan. The retired champion managed to put in a lot of laps in dry conditions, after previous tests he has participated in have been rained off. Stoner tested both the 2013 and 2014 Honda RC213V, but the Australian ran out of time to do further testing on Honda's RCV1000R production racer.
HRC issued a press release after the test was completed, which appears below:
Casey Stoner completes productive three day test at Sugo Circuit
HRC test rider and two time World Champion Casey Stoner has completed a gruelling three day test at Sportsland Sugo, Miyagi Prefecture. On this occasion the testing was held in good conditions with rain arriving only after lunch on day three, when the test programme was completed.
The 3.737 km facility played host to the HRC test team as Casey worked on the 2013 and 2014 RC213V prototype machine. He tested various items including a new frame and new engine. However, he did not have time to complete more test time on the Production Racer, instead these duties were left to Takumi Takahsahi.
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.
What might happen in MotoGP at Valencia
Who remembers the last time the MotoGP World Championship went down to the wire? Of course you do, it was Valencia 2006, the last hurrah of the 990s and the greatest day of the MotoGP era so far. Valentino Rossi went into the race as sure-fire title favourite, eight points ahead of Nicky Hayden, who had lost the series lead at the previous race when team-mate Dani Pedrosa took him out.
We all know what happened at Valencia that day: Hayden barged past Rossi on the way into the first corner and set off after the Ducatis, while Rossi got stuck in the pack and slid off at a 50mph hairpin. He rejoined the race but it was already game over.