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Winter Racing: Superprestigio, 13th December 2014 - Marquez * 2, Rabat, Baker, Mees & Many Others - But No Hayden

After the resounding success of the Superprestigio indoor dirt track event back in January this year, the race is to return. On 13th December, the Sant Jordi stadium on Montjuic, the hill south of Barcelona, will host the second running of the Superprestigio, featuring the cream of motorcycle road racing taking on some of superstars of American flat track racing.

Reigning Superprestigio champion Brad Baker will be back in Barcelona once again, to defend the honor gained back in January. He will be joined by reigning AMA flat track Grand National champion Jared Mees, the two Americans defending the reputation of the home of dirt track, and the country the sport originated in its current form. They will have their work cut out for them: they will face some the best circuit racers in the world, with reigning and former champions taking to the short indoor oval. All three Grand Prix champions - Marc Marquez, Tito Rabat, and Alex Marquez - will be lining up in Barcelona, the three avid practitioners of the art.

They will be joined by legendary former World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss, now spending his retirement racing dirt track and running his own invitational dirt track event, the Troy Bayliss Classic, which will run on 17th January next year. Another world champion will also be taking to the dirt, with Supermoto S1 world champ Thomas Chareyre also joining the fray.

Many more of motorcycling's superstars will also be racing in Barcelona: TT star, TV personality and truck mechanic Guy Martin will be taking part. From the world of MotoGP, the three world champions will be joined by Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Mika Kallio, Julian Simon, Alvaro Bautista, Johann Zarco, Jonas Folger, Marcel Schrotter, Xavier Simeon, Lorenzo Baldassari, Ricky Cardus, Alex Rins, Enea Bastianini and Niklas Ajo. Newly crowned CEV Superbike champion Kenny Noyes will also be there, along with indoor Enduro champion Taddy Blazusiak, Long Track world champion Joonas Kylmäkorpi, former Enduro world champion Ivan Cervantes, and the stars of regional dirt track championships from the UK, Spain and Italy.

There will be racing in three different classes: the Superprestigio class, for riders from an asphalt and road racing background; the Open class, for riders with flat track and other offroad backgrounds; and a junior class, for riders up to 18 years of age. The juniors will race against themselves, while the best riders from the Open and Superprestigio classes will qualify through a series of heats, the best riders from both classes meeting in the Grand Final at the end of the evening.

One rider who will not be there, unfortunately, is Nicky Hayden. Hayden is himself a former flat track winner and champion, having grown up on the dirt before making the switch to the road circuits. The American had watched the Superprestigio in January from his home, and had made arrangements to race at the event in December. His participation was dependent on getting the green light from his doctor, however, as Hayden is still recovering from surgery to remove three bones in his right wrist. Hayden was told it would be better for him not to take part in the Superprestigio, and instead to focus on gaining more movement in his wrist, the American told Cycle World. That has been his main concern since the surgery, Hayden aiming to be able to bend his wrist to 45°, rather than the 25° to 35° which he has been limited to since the surgery. Even that was an improvement, however, as Hayden had a lot of pain and virtually no movement prior to have the bones removed.

Tickets for the event range in price between €25 and €130, depending on seat location, and are available online through the RPM Ticket website. The event runs from 4pm until 9:30pm and is to be held in the Sant Jordi stadium, on Montjuic in the former Olympic complex. It is easily accessible by bus and metro, a set of escalators rising from the Plaza de España to the Olympic park. Its timing and location makes it an ideal as a pre Christmas excursion, with Barcelona's nightlife and shopping during the day, and the Superprestigio in the evening.

More information about the event, as well as a full rider line up can be found on Superprestigio website, DTX Barcelona. MotoMatters.com will attending the event, and bringing live updates from Barcelona as it happens.
After the resounding success of the Superprestigio indoor dirt track event back in January this year, the race is to return. On 13th December, the Sant Jordi stadium on Montjuic, the hill south of Barcelona, will host the second running of the Superprestigio, featuring the cream of motorcycle road racing taking on some of superstars of American flat track racing.Reigning Superprestigio champion Brad Baker will be back in Barcelona once again, to defend the honor gained back in January. He will be joined by reigning AMA flat track Grand National champion Jared Mees, the two Americans defending the reputation of the home of dirt track, and the country the sport originated in its current form. They will have their work cut out for them: they will face some the best circuit racers in the world, with reigning and former champions taking to the short indoor oval. All three Grand Prix champions - Marc Marquez, Tito Rabat, and Alex Marquez - will be lining up in Barcelona, the three avid practitioners of the art.

Got A Question? David Emmett To Host Ask Me Anything Session On Wednesday, 26th November 2014

One of the things I enjoy most about running the MotoMatters.com website is the ability to communicate and interact directly with fans. Here, and as @motomatters on Twitter (and even one day on Facebook, once I get the page sorted out properly), I derive a lot of pleasure from hearing your questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

Of course, the problem with Twitter is that space to give an answer is severely limited, to just 140 characters. That doesn't leave much space to give as full an answer as the questions usually deserve. Similarly, when responding to comments on the website, I often don't have the time to spend giving the answer the full attention it deserves, as most of the questions and comments come during a race weekend.

To rectify this, I will be hosting an Ask Me Anything session on MotoMatters.com on Wednesday, 26th November 2014. Send me any question you like, and I shall endeavor to answer it. Want to know about how I got into bikes, how I started the website, who my favorite photographer is? (It's our very own Scott Jones, of course!) Want to know who I think is the best crew chief in the paddock, or what the future of Moto2 is, or whether Dorna will make the series grow or are running it into the ground? I shall try to give as honest an answer as I can to all of the questions received. Of course, the normal rules of MotoMatters.com debate apply: questions should not be intended to offend, or likely to deteriorate into pointless and circular flame wars.

So how can you ask your questions? There are three ways:

  • If you are a registered user, you can post your question as a comment under the Ask Me Anything blog post which will be published at 00:00am CET on Wednesday, 26th November 2014. If you are not a registered user, you can sign up here. As a registered user, you will also be able to post follow up questions, and participate in the debate on other pages.
  • If you are not a registered user, you can also send your questions to me via the Ask Me Anything form on the Contact page. Make sure that Ask Me Anything is selected in the drop down list (it is by default).
  • If you do not want to use either of those methods, you can send an email to askmeanything@motomatters.com, with Ask Me Anything in the subject line.

I look forward to your questions, and will do my best to answer them.

PS: Don't post your questions in the comments section here, as I will have forgotten them by the time Wednesday 26th November comes around.

One of the things I enjoy most about running the MotoMatters.com website is the ability to communicate and interact directly with fans. Here, and as @motomatters on Twitter (and even one day on Facebook, once I get the page sorted out properly), I derive a lot of pleasure from hearing your questions and answering them to the best of my ability.Of course, the problem with Twitter is that space to give an answer is severely limited, to just 140 characters. That doesn't leave much space to give as full an answer as the questions usually deserve. Similarly, when responding to comments on the website, I often don't have the time to spend giving the answer the full attention it deserves, as most of the questions and comments come during a race weekend.

Ducati And Kawasaki Wrap Up World Superbike Testing At Aragon

While the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes were circulating at Valencia, along with the Althea WSBK team, Ducati and Kawasaki wrapped up their test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in preparation for the 2015 World Superbike series. The two Ducati riders were once again fastest, building on the work from Monday, with Davide Giugliano topping the timesheets ahead of teammate Chaz Davies. Jonathan Rea managed to just pip his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, an impressive enough performance on his first ride out on the ZX-10R, though reports from the track suggest Rea may have set his best time on qualifying tires.

All of the riders have a lot of work to do, with new technical regulations that restrict the tuning of the engines and limit electronics to a factory-supplied kit. Ducati has the least amount of work to do, the factory already having prepared for 2015 during the 2014 season, and having not to change much as a result. Kawasaki had more work on their hands, much of it falling on the shoulders of Tom Sykes, as Jonathan Rea's main objective at Aragon was simply learning his way around the bike. Also present at the track were a number of journalists and test riders, who got to ride both Tom Sykes' WSBK ZX-10R and the EVO spec Kawasaki ZX-10R with which David Salom took the 2014 EVO crown. Among those doing media laps were former Moto2 race winner Jordi Torres.

Below are press releases issued by Ducati and Kawasaki after the test:


The Ducati Superbike Team concludes its first winter test sessions today in Spain

Alcaniz (Spain), Tuesday 18 November 2014 – The Ducati Superbike Team and riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano have completed the first of a series of winter tests, which took place this week at the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragon, in mainly dry conditions and with very positive results.

The Ducati Superbike Team’s winter test schedule got started this week at Motorland Aragon. The team, also strengthened as a result of reconfirming both of its riders, Welshman Chaz Davies and Italian rider Davide Giugliano, was able to make the best possible start to its preparations for the new season. Work begins just two weeks after the final races of the 2014 season were held in Qatar.

Yesterday, in fairly cold conditions and on what was a damp track after overnight rain, the team focused on testing the new Panigale in its 2015 Superbike configuration, working with new electronics, new components and a new engine, that is closer to that of the production bike, in line with the 2015 regulation. In the afternoon, and on a dry track, both Davies and Giugliano completed approximately fifty laps, recording some very interesting lap times in the process.

Today, conditions allowed the team to work well with no interruptions to the programme. A great deal of important data was collated and the choices previously defined and tested by the development team were consolidated. The day concluded positively, with continuous improvement on the previous day’s performance in terms of lap times.

Winter testing will continue for the Ducati Superbike Team next week, with the Italian squad taking to the Spanish circuit of Jerez from the 26 to 28 November.

Quotes at the end of testing:

Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7

“We’ve had two very positive days. This is the first time that I’m starting winter testing with the evolution of the the same bike with which I finished the season and this is important in terms of continuity in our work. The approach with the new bike has been very easy because the sensations are very similar to those I had with the bike I rode in Qatar. We’ve carried out some tests to confirm some of the solutions used during this season and the new components introduced on the 2015 bike have given us some very clear and positive feedback. The new electronics are working well and the new engine behaves in a fluid, linear way. I’ve had fun and look forward to getting back on the bike next week.”

Davide Giugliano – Ducati Superbike Team #34

“It’s all gone very well, we’ve tried many different things, all of which have led to improvements in areas where we needed them. I’m very pleased with the 2015 package because as soon as I got on the bike I felt comfortable, and we were able to concentrate on set-up and the testing of new components right away. Going fast at Aragon is very important to me because it’s a track that has always given me problems. We still have to work on pace which is the most critical aspect for me, but already over these two days we’ve seen that I was able to lap consistently fast with used tyres. This is very positive as we look ahead to next week’s tests at Jerez.”

Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director

“The first test in preparation for the 2015 season has been a positive one and I’m pleased that the configuration defined during the latest development tests in September and October has been supported by Chaz and Davide, who have confirmed the chosen solutions. We’ve still got a lot of work to do but the stopwatch tells us that we’re on the right path and rewards the huge amount of work put in both at home and on the track during the season. Aragon and Jerez are two very different tracks so it will be important to consolidate the information and results collated here when we get to Jerez next week, so that we can be confident when we resume in January.”


Motorland Winter Test Wraps Up For KRT

The new-look Kawasaki Racing Team of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea completed their first winter test in preparation for the 2015 season with two days of action at Motorland Aragon in Spain, on 17 and 18 November. It was the first chance for Jonathan Rea to ride the Ninja ZX-10R after he was recently confirmed in the KRT team for 2015.

With several technical changes about to be introduced to the FIM Superbike World Championship next year the team worked on the many modifications to the Ninja ZX-10R, which include lower levels of engine tuning and fewer areas of machine adjustability than in 2014.

For the first time the riders used the MotoGP version of the Motorland Aragon circuit, rather than the more familiar SBK layout. Despite losing track time on day one after a rainy start each rider completed a high number of laps, with Sykes posting just over 100 and Rea around 80.

Neither rider was concentrating on lap times at this early stage but Rea made a best lap time of 1’51.1 on Motorland’s MotoGP layout, which will be used by the WSB class in 2015. Sykes set a best of 1’51.2 on a medium compound tyre choice, which he used all through this shakedown test for reasons of consistency and repeatability.

Next up for the KRT squad is more track evaluation of the 2015 equipment, this time at Jerez - the other Spanish circuit to have been recently confirmed on the 2015 WSBK race calendar. There will be two two-day sessions for tom and Jonathan at Jerez; 24 and 25 November and then 27 an 28 November.

Tom Sykes: “As we all know there are a lot of new technical regulations for 2015 and as soon as I left pitlane on day one I knew that we have a lot of work to do. I changed my mindset after that because we had a big list of things to try, plus some requests from KHI. We never got the chance to find a perfect package so we just focused more on race pace and evaluating things. We found a set-up and worked through the list of items to test. My approach was to find out where we are right now and what we need to do to get faster. I was also working on my riding style on the new set-up because in some ways it was ground zero at this test. We will work with a strong sense of the development direction we should take to arrive at the first round in Australia in a good place.”

Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief said: “The new regulations mean that the bike is very different. If you have been working so hard on the previous bike and been so successful it is quite a shock when you have to almost start from scratch because the new rules give us quite a few limitations. Tom set a 1’51.2 lap and did 101 laps in total despite losing track time on day one due to rain. We started on a medium compound race tyre and stayed with that compound each day. This was so that we were able to make a proper comparison because we used a lot of new material. At the next test in Jerez we still have quite a lot of things to test and we were just a bit limited in time here. We need to find our set up and because the new rules are so different we need more time to discover our performance.”

Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief said: “I feel quite positive about this first test. We used our new bike to suit the 2015 rules for the first time and at the same time we have a new rider in Jonathan Rea. On the first day it was raining in the morning but then it was a good day of testing because we started to understand what Jonathan needed. He is a very good rider, very professional and the information we received is really good. It helps us to understand which direction we needed to go in to develop the bike. Jonathan did around 40 laps each day. It was a first test so we had to look for the base setting for the rider and the machine. That meant we spent quite a lot of time in the pit box making changes, but it worked out positively.”


While the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes were circulating at Valencia, along with the Althea WSBK team, Ducati and Kawasaki wrapped up their test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in preparation for the 2015 World Superbike series. The two Ducati riders were once again fastest, building on the work from Monday, with Davide Giugliano topping the timesheets ahead of teammate Chaz Davies. Jonathan Rea managed to just pip his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, an impressive enough performance on his first ride out on the ZX-10R, though reports from the track suggest Rea may have set his best time on qualifying tires.All of the riders have a lot of work to do, with new technical regulations that restrict the tuning of the engines and limit electronics to a factory-supplied kit. Ducati has the least amount of work to do, the factory already having prepared for 2015 during the 2014 season, and having not to change much as a result. Kawasaki had more work on their hands, much of it falling on the shoulders of Tom Sykes, as Jonathan Rea's main objective at Aragon was simply learning his way around the bike. Also present at the track were a number of journalists and test riders, who got to ride both Tom Sykes' WSBK ZX-10R and the EVO spec Kawasaki ZX-10R with which David Salom took the 2014 EVO crown. Among those doing media laps were former Moto2 race winner Jordi Torres.

2015 World Superbike Provisional Calendar Released: 14 Rounds, Thailand Added, Russia Returns

The FIM have finally released the provisional calendar for the World Superbike series for next year. The 2015 season will see WSBK travel to 14 rounds, returning to all of the venues which hosted races in 2014, and two more overseas rounds added, in Russia and Thailand.

The chances of this being the definitive calendar appear to be slim. Three rounds are marked as still subject to contract: Portimao, Moscow and Qatar. Both Portimao and Qatar look likely to go ahead, but whether WSBK will actually return to Moscow remains to be seen. The 2014 round was canceled due to the political instability in the Russian Federation and the overflow of conflict in Ukraine, which affected various partners of the series. The political situation has only deteriorated since then, with the EU and US imposing sanctions on Russia, making the race there almost impossible. The teams and riders will be hoping for the round to be canceled: the race was a logistical nightmare to get equipment to and from, and for both the fans and riders to attend and find accommodation for.

The Moscow round is a legacy of the period when WSBK was still being run by Infront Motor Sports. Infront bosses Paolo and Maurizio Flammini signed a contract with Alexander Yakhnich of Yakhnich Motor Sports to host a Russian round of WSBK until 2021. A round in Russia will be scheduled for as long as that contract has left to run, though the chances of it actually being held appear to be slim. The situation highlights the risk of signing contracts with circuits or organizers in politically sensitive or unstable regions.

Happier news for WSBK is that they are heading to Thailand, to the Chang International Circuit. The race is to be the first World Championship race held in the country, and is the start of a push by both Dorna and the manufacturers into Asia. The circuit itself is a good distance from the Thai capital Bangkok, with only limited accommodation in the region, but the popularity of all forms of motorcycle racing in the region makes it prime territory for both WSBK and MotoGP. The Thai round is widely believed to be a prelude to MotoGP going to the track, with the circuit expected to appear on the 2016 MotoGP calendar if the WSBK race is a success.

The World Supersport class will contest one less race than World Superbikes, the class once again not appearing at the US round in Laguna Seca. WSBK joins the MotoAmerica round at the circuit, and with limited paddock space, a full schedule, and high travel and accommodation costs, it makes more sense to leave WSS at home.

The Superstock series will continue as support classes at selected WSBK rounds, as will the Pata and Honda-backed European Junior Cup. The Superstock 1000 class will race at 8 rounds, all in Europe, while the Superstock 600 class will have 8 races, spread over 7 rounds, the series doubling up at Aragon. 

Testing for both WSBK and WSS will take place at Phillip Island before the opening round, the teams riding on 16th and 17th February, while the WSBK class will get two tests on the Mondays following the Portimao and Jerez rounds, on 8th June and 21st September respectively.


FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup

2015 provisional calendar, 18 November

DATE COUNTRY CIRCUIT WSBK WSS STK1000 STK600
22 February Australia Phillip Island GP Circuit X X    
22 March Thailand Chang International Circuit X X    
12 April Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X X**
19 April The Netherlands TT Circuit Assen X X X X
10 May Italy Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola X X X X
24 May UK Donington Park X X X  
07 June Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve* X X X X
21 June Italy Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli X X X X
05 July Russia Moscow Raceway* X X    
19 July USA Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca X      
02 August Malaysia Sepang International Circuit X X    
20 September Spain Circuito de Jerez X X X X
04 October France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X X
18 October Qatar Losail International Circuit* X X    

* STC = Subject to contract
** Two races for the STK600 class

The FIM have finally released the provisional calendar for the World Superbike series for next year. The 2015 season will see WSBK travel to 14 rounds, returning to all of the venues which hosted races in 2014, and two more overseas rounds added, in Russia and Thailand.The chances of this being the definitive calendar appear to be slim. Three rounds are marked as still subject to contract: Portimao, Moscow and Qatar. Both Portimao and Qatar look likely to go ahead, but whether WSBK will actually return to Moscow remains to be seen. The 2014 round was canceled due to the political instability in the Russian Federation and the overflow of conflict in Ukraine, which affected various partners of the series. The political situation has only deteriorated since then, with the EU and US imposing sanctions on Russia, making the race there almost impossible. The teams and riders will be hoping for the round to be canceled: the race was a logistical nightmare to get equipment to and from, and for both the fans and riders to attend and find accommodation for.

Post-Season Testing In Full Swing: Moto2 & Moto3 At Valencia, World Superbikes At Aragon, Day 1

Though testing for the MotoGP class has finished, motorcycle racers in other series still have plenty of work ahead of them. Both the World Superbike series and the Grand Prix support classes have been hard at work, ahead of a busy schedule of testing. The Ducati and Kawasaki World Superbike teams have been testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit, while Moto2 and Moto3 are back at Valencia.

At Aragon, Jonathan Rea made his long-awaited debut on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, alongside 2013 World Champion and fierce rival Tom Sykes. With the World Superbike teams adapting to the new regulations, the two Kawasakis were a little slower than the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. The day started off soaking, with journalists and test riders doing media laps on the 2014 bikes of Tom Sykes and David Salom. Once the track dried out in the afternoon, Kawasaki also joined the action. At the end of the day, both Ducati riders clocked up unofficial times of 1'51.3, while Sykes posted a 1'52.2 and Rea a 1'52.7. As an interesting note, they are running the track in its MotoGP configuration, using the long, sweeping double left hander as the final corner, rather than the longer version used by WSBK when the series races there, featuring the hairpin and then right and left combination leading back on to the front straight. Giugliano's best time is three seconds slower than the best time set by Andrea Dovizioso on the first day of practice for the MotoGP race at the circuit. 

At Valencia, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams reassembled, taking over from the Spanish CEV championship, which held its final round of the season there on Sunday. They had returned there from Jerez, where they had held their first test of the season under difficult conditions, with rain falling on and off and the track never really drying out. That meant that Moto2 rookies Alex Marquez and Alex Rins made their debut in the class on a damp and difficult circuit, making their first steps in the class difficult.

The weather has been much kinder at Valencia, the teams all testing under clear skies and on a dry track. In the Moto2 class, Tito Rabat was the fastest man after the first day, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Rabat was a tenth of a second quicker than Jonas Folger on the AGR Kalex, while Taka Nakagami showed some of the form from two years ago, grabbing the third spot, three tenths off the time of Rabat. Alex Rins was the faster of the two rookies setting the 14th fastest time, a tenth ahead of Alex Marquez, but over 1.5 seconds off the pace of Rabat.

In the Moto3 class, it was Karel Hanika who topped the timesheets, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider perhaps benefiting from being one of the very few riders not to be switching bikes and teams. He finished ahead of Juanfran Guevara on the Spaniard's first run out on the Mahindra, though Guevara later crashed and injured his foot. Niccolo Antonelli set the third fastest time on the Ongetta Honda, finishing ahead of the Moto3 rookie Gabriel Rodrigo, riding for Aleix Espargaro's RBA team. Spanish CEV Moto3 champion Fabio Quartararo got his first ride on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 Grand Prix bike, though no times were released for the Frenchman.

Below are press releases issued by some of the teams at the tests:


Rabat fastest on opening day at Valencia

Valencia, Spain – 17 November 2014: Tito Rabat was the fastest rider on track during the first of two days of testing at Valencia, where the weather was much improved compared to last week at Jerez.

The Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider completed an extensive test program aboard the 2015 Kalex Moto2 bike, declaring himself impressed with the latest variant of the bike on which he won the Moto2 World Championship this year.

For Alex Marquez, the familiarisation process continued today at Valencia, with the reigning Moto3 World Champion making the most of the sunny and dry conditions to improve his feeling with the Kalex Moto2 machine. The 18-year-old Spaniard ended the day 13th on the timesheet, less than 1.5s off the time of his teammate, despite a small crash at turn five this afternoon.

Tito Rabat // 1st // 1’35.287

“The feeling was good today and I’m very happy with the 2015 Kalex Moto2 bike. We tested a lot of things like suspension, brakes and riding position, everything we need to test and evaluate to improve the bike ahead of next season. I’m pleased with the progress we made today and I hope we can continue improving in the same way tomorrow.

Alex Marquez // 13th // 1’36.772

“I’m really pleased with the improvement we’ve made today in the dry conditions. I feel really good with the bike and the team also. We’ve done some good work today and for tomorrow we need to keep this line, to continue improving step by step. I’m also happy with the lap time, so it’s been a good day overall, even if I did have my first small crash on a Moto2 bike this afternoon.”

Naoya Kaneko // Chief Mechanic // Alex Marquez

“Alex has done a good job today, with the gap to the frontrunners smaller than it was in Jerez last week. His consistency on the bike is also good, with only two or three-tenths difference in lap times. His crash today means he also understands more the different character of the Moto2 bike compared to a Moto3 machine, which is important. From our side we’re trying to understand him better and also what he needs to give him more confidence on the bike. I think we’re heading in the right direction, making improvements step by step, but still there is a lot of space to improve so we need to work hard together before the first race in Qatar.”


ENEA BASTIANINI GETS FIRST TASTE OF HONDA NSF250RW MACHINE AT VALENCIA

The 2015 campaign of the team Gresini Racing Moto3 has officially started today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, where Eneas Bastianini was able to complete the first laps aboard the Honda NSF250RW machine that he will use the next year.

The 16-year-old rider from Rimini completed 53 laps with encouraging lap times, beginning to get to grips with the new bike and making the first changes to the set-up with the team.

Bastianini will return to action tomorrow for the second and final day of testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.

ENEA BASTIANINI

“I really enjoyed this first day of testing! The Honda is a completely different bike from the one I was used to ride, but today we could begin to get acquainted to it, doing the many kilometers and making a very good job. In particular, I immediately liked it the behaviour of the chassis; on this first day first we tried to find the feeling with the bike, then we have already started to make some changes to the set-up to adapt the bike to my needs. Tomorrow we will continue in this direction”.


SIMEON QUICKLY GET TO GRIPS WITH KALEX ON FIRST DAY OF VALENCIA TESTING

Just one week after the conclusion of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship 2014, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Team was back on track today at Valencia to take the first laps with the new Kalex which Xavier Siméon will ride in 2015.

A first contact in which the 25-year-old Belgian rider was able to complete no less than 69 laps of the Ricardo Tormo circuit, obtaining a good feeling and getting lap times already close to the ones set during the recent Grand Prix of Valencia.

The team will be back on track tomorrow for the second and final day of testing at Valencia.

XAVIER SIMEON

“It was a very positive first day, in which we basically started to get comfortable with the bike: in the beginning we used a standard set-up recommended by Kalex, then we moved in different directions in order to evaluate the behaviour of the bike in relation to the changes. The first impressions are good: it’s a sensitive bike with sincere reactions and as a result we already did similar lap times to those marked during the last Grand Prix of 2014, where we have been very competitive. We can be satisfied: tomorrow we will try to do even many kilometers in order to deepen the knowledge of the Kalex machine and to gain further experience”.


Though testing for the MotoGP class has finished, motorcycle racers in other series still have plenty of work ahead of them. Both the World Superbike series and the Grand Prix support classes have been hard at work, ahead of a busy schedule of testing. The Ducati and Kawasaki World Superbike teams have been testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit, while Moto2 and Moto3 are back at Valencia.At Aragon, Jonathan Rea made his long-awaited debut on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, alongside 2013 World Champion and fierce rival Tom Sykes. With the World Superbike teams adapting to the new regulations, the two Kawasakis were a little slower than the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. The day started off soaking, with journalists and test riders doing media laps on the 2014 bikes of Tom Sykes and David Salom. Once the track dried out in the afternoon, Kawasaki also joined the action. At the end of the day, both Ducati riders clocked up unofficial times of 1'51.3, while Sykes posted a 1'52.2 and Rea a 1'52.7. As an interesting note, they are running the track in its MotoGP configuration, using the long, sweeping double left hander as the final corner, rather than the longer version used by WSBK when the series races there, featuring the hairpin and then right and left combination leading back on to the front straight. Giugliano's best time is three seconds slower than the best time set by Andrea Dovizioso on the first day of practice for the MotoGP race at the circuit. 

Scott Jones' Valencian Adventure - A View Of Race Day


Champions finish the season in the style they started it


The story of the Moto3 title race in a single frame: Jack Miller did all he could to win it, but he had only Isaac Viñales between himself and Alex Marquez


In the end, there were a lot of riders behind Valentino Rossi, and only one ahead


Remind me again, was this a job for duct tape, or WD40?


Nervous faces along pit lane as rain fell. In the end, only Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone came in to swap bikes


One of the most exciting spots on the calendar: Turn 14 at Valencia


A tale of two riders


Better luck next year, Mr Lorenzo


Andrea Iannone led during the early part of the race. He needs to learn to lead in the final laps


Dani Pedrosa's worst season in a while wasn't for want of trying


With every passing race, Gigi Dall'Igna looks more and more like Ducati's savior


Brothers at war: the Espargaros may love each other, but they love beating each other just as much


Moto3 produced a finale worthy of the best season of racing we have seen for a while


Funny that the future of MotoGP should include a 35-year-old. But he proved it does


HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto loves his riders. Above all, he loves his winners


#RufeaTeam


When the rain came, Jorge Lorenzo went backwards, and the Ducatis went forwards


2014 has been a great season for MotoGP, with close battles all through the field


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Champions finish the season in the style they started it The story of the Moto3 title race in a single frame: Jack Miller did all he could to win it, but he had only Isaac Viñales between himself and Alex Marquez In the end, there were a lot of riders behind Valentino Rossi, and only one ahead

Out Of Focus And Badly Lit: David Emmett's Photos From The Valencia MotoGP Test


Compare and contrast: Suzuki's chassis provides outstanding handling and turning


Honda's super stiff 2015 RC213V. Incredible braking and turning


Michele Pirro's Ducati GP14: Stiff, excellent stability in braking, but turning, not so much...


The NGM Forward team tested Kayaba suspension ...


... Stefan Bradl was not at all impressed, and told reporters he did not want to waste any more time testing it ...


... in the end, it will come down to money. Will Forward take money from Kayaba, or pay for Ohlins?


The Forward Yamaha top yoke and Magneti Marelli spec dashboard


A young Australian rider with Cristian Gabarrini? How do you think that will turn out?


More power for Nicky Hayden from the RC213V-RS, but he'd still take even more


The Aprilia is stunning. Slow, but stunning


Spot the exhaust. Yamaha tested a new slash-cut pipe at Valencia


Ah, there it is. It was straight through and LOUD. Meant to help with engine response


Every racing series should have a rider called Maverick


The biggest visible difference between the 2014 and 2015 RC213V is in the air intake


The 2014 bike is an oval basking shark-style opening


The 2015 bike has a pinch in the middle, making it more of a lip formation


Put lipstick on that and I would definitely kiss it


For comparison, meet the Suzuki's unkissable mouth


Best thing about testing? Getting up close and personal with the most amazing motorcycles in the world


The 2015 RC213V


Dashboard, complete with blinkenlights. The analog rev counter means this is Pedrosa's bike


Attention to detail: Movistar TV Carles Perez pointed out to me that even the TV camera is beautifully integrated on the bike


Two Honda Open bikes: Laverty's RCV1000R...


... and Nicky Hayden's RC213V-RS


Scott Redding's main focus was finding his position on the bike. That meant playing with lots of foam and tank pads

 


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Compare and contrast: Suzuki's chassis provides outstanding handling and turning Honda's super stiff 2015 RC213V. Incredible braking and turning Michele Pirro's Ducati GP14: Stiff, excellent stability in braking, but turning, not so much...

Grand Prix Commission Refines Jump Start And Corner Cutting Regulations

The Grand Prix Commission meeting at Valencia tied up a number of loose ends in the 2015 regulations, most to do with safety, some to do with basic practicalities of racing. 

The most significant changes are to the rule for jump starts and for exceeding track limits. Currently, the penalty for exceeding the track limit is a mandatory loss of position, but the races at Misano showed the impracticality of such a rule. Jonas Folger ran straight on at Turn 1, and had to drop back several seconds into the middle of a group battling for position. Race Direction now has the option of imposing other penalties based on their perception of advantage gained. The decision will allow the imposition of a time penalty, or any other penalty they wish.

The jump start procedure has also been changed, allowing a ride to move before the lights are out, and then stop again, and Race Direction once again decide whether they gained an advantage or not.

One change improving safety is forcing riders to wear helmets while riding the track on scooters. Given the speed which some riders reach on their familiarization laps, it is a much needed rule change. To save costs, riders will now also be allowed to rent dirt bikes or other machinery to use to get to know the track, rather than being forced to ship scooters around the world in team containers.

The press release from the FIM appears below.


FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 8 November 2014 in Valencia, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

Effective 2015

  • Riders or other persons using scooters for track familiarisation must wear a crash helmet.
  • Use of motorcycles from other disciplines, (motocross, enduro, supermoto, etc.) may be used for track familiarisation away from events without restriction.
  • Teams in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, testing on either of their designated circuits, may not use a contracted rider from another team in the same class.
  • In a situation where a rider anticipates the start with a slight movement but then stops, and is stationary when the red light goes out, Race Direction will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained and if a penalty will be imposed.
  • When riders are adjudged to have exceeded the track limits during the race then Race Direction will decide what penalty is to be imposed. (Automatic drop of position is no longer the only possible penalty).
  • When a group of riders are being lapped and the blue flag is displayed then there can be no changes of position within the group of riders until the rider lapping them has passed.

Technical Regulations

Effective 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Classes

  • Moto3 class engines are allocated randomly during the season in three separate batches. To ensure that engines in the different batches, from the same manufacturer, are of identical specification, an engine will be selected at random from each distribution and used as a reference to check randomly selected engines from subsequent distributions.
  • Permission has already been granted to Moto3 class teams to use their 2014 chassis in 2015 instead of buying new a chassis. However, to prevent any advantage by using higher specification components, not provided with the 2015 chassis packages, it was decided that any team taking this option may only use the standard front and rear suspension packages as supplied with the 2015 chassis.
  • The temperature of fuel used in Moto3 and Moto2 class machines may not be artificially reduced. Fuel must be at the ambient temperature as defined by the Technical Director.
  • Dell’Orto has been the exclusive supplier of ECU’s to the Moto3 class for the first three years of this class. Based on the good experience with the Dell’Orto hardware and knowledge gained by the Championship and teams on settings and data acquisition, it was decided to renew the contract with Dell’Orto for a further three years. This will also allow for continued use of existing product stock.

MotoGP Class

  • The details of the procedure for technical control of MotoGP class engines were confirmed. MotoGP class engines may be required to be dismantled for checking by the Technical Director. However, the team may then rebuild that engine, using new parts, and the engine may then be used for the balance of its normal life, determined as 3,600 km.

Other Matters

The Indianapolis Grand Prix was awarded the title of Best Grand Prix of 2014.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regula...

The Grand Prix Commission meeting at Valencia tied up a number of loose ends in the 2015 regulations, most to do with safety, some to do with basic practicalities of racing. The most significant changes are to the rule for jump starts and for exceeding track limits. Currently, the penalty for exceeding the track limit is a mandatory loss of position, but the races at Misano showed the impracticality of such a rule. Jonas Folger ran straight on at Turn 1, and had to drop back several seconds into the middle of a group battling for position. Race Direction now has the option of imposing other penalties based on their perception of advantage gained. The decision will allow the imposition of a time penalty, or any other penalty they wish.The jump start procedure has also been changed, allowing a ride to move before the lights are out, and then stop again, and Race Direction once again decide whether they gained an advantage or not.One change improving safety is forcing riders to wear helmets while riding the track on scooters. Given the speed which some riders reach on their familiarization laps, it is a much needed rule change. To save costs, riders will now also be allowed to rent dirt bikes or other machinery to use to get to know the track, rather than being forced to ship scooters around the world in team containers.

Scott Jones' Valencian Adventure - Day 2 Photos


He gets stronger as he gets older


Last time on slow bikes for both Hayden and Redding


Bradley Smith's luck has been miserable in 2014. Do not ask him to buy you a lottery ticket


Hiroshi Aoyama was surprised at just how different the Honda RC213V-RS is to the RCV1000R


Last time out on the Desmosedici for Cal Crutchlow. He was fast enough, but happy to see the back of it


93 vs 68 style check


Andrea Iannone was fast in qualifying. The prospect of being a factory rider gave him a boost


Spanish skies


Valencia was a time for goodbyes. Stefan Bradl bid an emotional farewell to the LCR Honda team


Aleix Espargaro's sadness was tempered by his eagerness to ride the Suzuki


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

He gets stronger as he gets older Last time on slow bikes for both Hayden and Redding Bradley Smith's luck has been miserable in 2014. Do not ask him to buy you a lottery ticket

Marco Melandri Completes Aprilia's MotoGP Line Up

Marco Melandri is to complete Aprilia's MotoGP line up for 2015. The Italian had been widely expected to switch back to MotoGP from World Superbikes, but confirmation came only on Monday at the Valencia test. Melandri will line up alongside Alvaro Bautista in the Gresini Aprilia team for next year.

The signing of Marco Melandri was not a surprise. The Italian still had another year to run on his contract to race in World Superbikes with Aprilia, but with the factory's decision to withdraw their factory team from WSBK, his options were less clear. Aprilia were keen for Melandri to move to MotoGP with the factory, but Melandri appeared to be reluctant to make the jump. After his options ran out in World Superbikes, he was left with nowhere else to go.

Below is the press release issued by Aprilia on Melandri's signing:


MARCO MELANDRI TO RACE WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGP

THE RIDER FROM RAVENNA WILL RACE UNDER THE ITALIAN TEAM'S COLOURS IN 2015

ROMANO ALBESIANO: "AN ITALIAN DUO TO TAKE ON APRILIA'S NEW CHALLENGE"

MARCO MELANDRI: "A VERY AMBITIOUS GOAL, BUT WE'RE READY"

Valencia, 10 November 2014 - The lineup is complete for the team that will take Aprilia into its rookie year in the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. After the announcement about Alvaro Bautista, today Marco Melandri has officially been signed, fresh from the conclusion of the 2014 Superbike season, also with Aprilia Racing, where he took 6 wins and another 5 podiums that contributed significantly to the WSBK Manufacturer Title that the Italian Brand won.

With these two new world titles earned in the recently ended WSBK season under its belt - Rider and Manufacturer - Aprilia now enters MotoGP a year ahead of the earlier announced schedule. As announced at the beginning of September, Aprilia Racing has signed an agreement with Gresini Racing, based on which Gresini Racing will mange the Aprilia bikes on the track in the MotoGP class for four years beginning with the 2015 season.

Born in 1982, Marco Melandri began his career at a very young age in minimoto, winning the Italian Championship in 1992 and 1994. Moving to 125 he became Italian Champion for the category in 1997, a title which allowed him to début in the "eighth litre" MotoGP class. Third in 1998 and second in 1999, Marco moved up a category to ride a powerful 250 two-stroke with Aprilia. This was the beginning of a Melandri-Aprilia match up where he finished fifth in the rider standings in 2000, third in 2001 and World Champion (with 9 wins and 2 podiums out of 16 races) in 2002.

Rising to the premier MotoGP category, Melandri immediately confirmed his competitiveness, finishing out the year in second place. In the various MotoGP categories Melandri has won 22 races and been on the podium 62 times.

In 2011 Marco Melandri moved over to World Superbike and was immediately a key player, so much that he was battling for the title from his rookie season, finishing the year in second place. Finishing third in the 2012 season, the rider from Ravenna was also a contender for the title in 2013, finishing out the season in fourth place. In SBK he has taken 19 wins and 31 podiums.

In its brief history, Aprilia boasts 54 World Titles (38 in MotoGP, 7 in Superbike and 9 in off-road disciplines) which make it one of the most victorious brands on a global level in motorcycle racing. Many recent protagonists in the motorcycle racing world have raced and won with Aprilia such as Biaggi, Capirossi, Rossi, Melandri, Simoncelli, Stoner and Lorenzo.

Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Director: "With Marco Melandri the last piece of the puzzle has been put into place for Aprilia's participation in next year's MotoGP season. These have been very intense and exciting days where in just a few hours we went from the last round of Superbike at Losail to this new adventure in MotoGP. We are very pleased to announce Marco's signing because this completes our team in the best way possible on the eve of a great challenge: with Melandri we now have an all-Italian bike-rider duo. We are moving into MotoGP a year ahead of schedule on wings of enthusiasm because of the double world Superbike championships we have just won. We moved our schedule up because we want the most demanding tracks and the most competitive championship in the world to gauge the quality of our work. Aprilia's 54 world titles, the hundreds of wins on tracks all over the world give proof of technical skills and a winning attitude that deserve the limelight of the most prestigious stage."

Marco Melandri: "I was offered the chance to develop a completely new project and it is something that I have not yet done in my career since I have always had 'inherited' bikes. Precisely for this reason I am very intrigued by this challenge. I am working with a company and a racing department which sought me out and with which I want to continue to work in order to develop and grow a great project. Aprilia Racing has always demonstrated their ability to make great bikes and make them fast. I'll put in my efforts. Our goal is quite ambitious: to grow a bike and at the same time to develop a new prototype that will race in 2016. It will be a demanding season and a lot of work but we are ready to take on these challenges."

Marco Melandri is to complete Aprilia's MotoGP line up for 2015. The Italian had been widely expected to switch back to MotoGP from World Superbikes, but confirmation came only on Monday at the Valencia test. Melandri will line up alongside Alvaro Bautista in the Gresini Aprilia team for next year.The signing of Marco Melandri was not a surprise. The Italian still had another year to run on his contract to race in World Superbikes with Aprilia, but with the factory's decision to withdraw their factory team from WSBK, his options were less clear. Aprilia were keen for Melandri to move to MotoGP with the factory, but Melandri appeared to be reluctant to make the jump. After his options ran out in World Superbikes, he was left with nowhere else to go.Below is the press release issued by Aprilia on Melandri's signing:MARCO MELANDRI TO RACE WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGPTHE RIDER FROM RAVENNA WILL RACE UNDER THE ITALIAN TEAM'S COLOURS IN 2015ROMANO ALBESIANO: "AN ITALIAN DUO TO TAKE ON APRILIA'S NEW CHALLENGE"MARCO MELANDRI: "A VERY AMBITIOUS GOAL, BUT WE'RE READY"

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