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Randy De Puniet To Race For Suzuki In World Superbikes In 2015

Randy De Puniet is to make a return to racing full time. As had been rumored for some weeks now, the Frenchman is to make the switch to the World Superbike series, where he will join the Crescent Suzuki team for 2015. De Puniet will race alongside Alex Lowes next year, aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

After losing his ride with the Aspar team at the end of 2013, De Puniet has spent 2014 as Suzuki's official test rider, helping to develop the bike now dubbed the GSX-RR. The only racing action he had seen was with the Yoshimura team during the Suzuka 8 Hour race, where he finished in second place with teammates Josh Waters and Takuya Tsuda. But De Puniet was keen to return to racing full time, and with no vacancies in MotoGP, the World Superbike series was the obvious choice. Racing with the Crescent team allows him to stay with Suzuki as a test rider, and retain his strong ties with the Japanese factories.

Alongside his duties in WSBK, De Puniet will continue development work on the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP machine, with a particular focus on 2016. De Puniet will mainly be working on getting the GSX-RR to work with the Michelin tires, due to replace Bridgestone at the start of the 2016 season. He will also be helping to make the bike work with the so-called unified software which is to be introduced at the same time.

The Crescent Suzuki press release announcing the signing of De Puniet appears below:


Randy de Puniet joins Crescent Suzuki World Superbike for 2015

Crescent Suzuki is delighted to announce its completed rider line-up for the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship as world-renowned competitor and current Suzuki MotoGP™ test rider Randy de Puniet joins the UK-based team alongside Alex Lowes.

A long-standing racer in Grand Prix, de Puniet has amassed 139 MotoGP race starts and five 250cc GP race wins during his 15 years on the world stage so far. During 2014, he has become instrumental to the development of Suzuki’s 2015 return to GP competition with the all-new GSX-RR.

The 33-year-old Frenchman will enter the World Superbike series full-time with his new Crescent Suzuki squad for the 2015 season but will also continue to test the Suzuki GP machine, with particular responsibility for matching the bike’s performance to MotoGP’s new 2016 tyre provider. De Puniet is very motivated for competitive action aboard the World Superbike specification GSX-R1000, after his successful second-place result as part of the Yoshimura team in the 2014 Suzuka 8 hour endurance race.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will complete its last race of the 2014 season with current riders Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes at the Losail International Circuit, in Qatar, on November 2nd, before beginning an extensive winter of testing and development with de Puniet and Lowes.

Randy de Puniet:

“I’m so happy to be joining Crescent Suzuki for the Superbike World Championship because my target for 2015 was to get back to competing on the race track. Testing for the past year was ok but of course what I really want is to race! I really enjoyed racing in Suzuka this year – to race, to fight and to be on the podium is everything to me. I had the opportunity to join the Crescent team for next year and I’m really happy; my first priority was to stay with Suzuki because I want to stay within this family, and for me this is a new challenge – a new championship, new bike, new tyre, everything is different and I have many things to learn but I am ready for that and I’m very confident. I will be joining a very strong team with a lot of experience and I think the bike will be good next year. We have a good test plan for this winter and I think we will be ready for the first race in Phillip Island next year.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“We couldn’t be happier to have secured Randy’s agreement to compete in the 2015 World Superbike Championship on board our GSX-R1000. We needed a high quality rider to replace Eugene; Randy was the obvious choice, and we are very proud to have gained his trust and commitment to race with us next year.

“He has impressed Suzuki this year with his hard work and feedback as test rider on the Grand Prix GSX-RR, but Randy’s racing pedigree is also beyond doubt and his potential to succeed on the Superbike is clear. This is not a commercially driven deal – the primary motivation is simply to race! After an acclimatisation period to learn the GSX-R1000 and the Pirelli tyres, I see no reason why he won’t be an absolute front runner. Randy’s close working relationship with the Suzuki Factory can also only be positive for the World Superbike project, and the whole team is very excited about getting down to work, and turning 2014’s potential into solid results for both riders next season.”

Randy De Puniet is to make a return to racing full time. As had been rumored for some weeks now, the Frenchman is to make the switch to the World Superbike series, where he will join the Crescent Suzuki team for 2015. De Puniet will race alongside Alex Lowes next year, aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000.After losing his ride with the Aspar team at the end of 2013, De Puniet has spent 2014 as Suzuki's official test rider, helping to develop the bike now dubbed the GSX-RR. The only racing action he had seen was with the Yoshimura team during the Suzuka 8 Hour race, where he finished in second place with teammates Josh Waters and Takuya Tsuda. But De Puniet was keen to return to racing full time, and with no vacancies in MotoGP, the World Superbike series was the obvious choice. Racing with the Crescent team allows him to stay with Suzuki as a test rider, and retain his strong ties with the Japanese factories.Alongside his duties in WSBK, De Puniet will continue development work on the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP machine, with a particular focus on 2016. De Puniet will mainly be working on getting the GSX-RR to work with the Michelin tires, due to replace Bridgestone at the start of the 2016 season. He will also be helping to make the bike work with the so-called unified software which is to be introduced at the same time.

MotoGP Safety Commission Push To Remove Artificial Grass, Examine Flag-To-Flag Races

The events of the previous MotoGP race at Aragon look set to have a major impact on tracks around the world in the near future. The crashes by Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone, both of whom lost control of their bikes when they hit the still wet astroturf which lines the outside of the outer kerbs, caused the subject to be raised in the MotoGP Safety Commission at Motegi. There, the Safety Commission decided to ask the circuits hosting MotoGP races to remove all of the astroturf from the run off areas around the track. Dorna Managing Director Javier Alonso told the MotoGP.com website that they would start talks with circuits to get them to remove the astroturf as soon as possible, starting with the most dangerous parts of the tracks.

The decision is a complete reversal of the earlier policy devised by the Safety Commission, the closed and private forum in which MotoGP riders can discuss safety issues and other concerns with the FIM and Dorna. As a result of a previous request, tracks had started putting in astroturf on the run off areas. That was in response to changes made primarily for car racing, where gravel traps on the outside of corners have been replaced with hard standing, such as asphalted areas. The astroturf was put in place to prevent riders using the run off as extra race track, allowing them to take corners faster.

The crashes at Aragon were just the latest in a long list of incidents involving the astroturf, and demonstrating its downside. The material becomes exceptionally slick and slippery when it gets wet, making it extremely dangerous and unpredictable when you touch it. Even in the dry it can be dangerous: Stefan Bradl got caught while sliding over the astroturf, and fractured his leg in the ensuing tumble. A case can be made that it was the astroturf which was responsible for Shoya Tomizawa's fatal accident at Misano, when he slid and fell back on the track, in front of other riders. 

Those incidents meant that the subject of artificial grass in the run off area has been a recurring theme in the Safety Commission. The events at Aragon appear to have been the final straw, and the astroturf will now be removed again.

The question is, of course, what to replace it with? Most likely, the astroturf will simply be replaced by asphalt, once again opening the door for riders to use the extra run off as part of the track. That is already happening a lot with the kerbstones, riders using those as an extension of the track surface. More track space (either legal or illegal) will corner faster, requiring either more space or more airfence in the case of a crash. The faster riders crash, after all, the further they travel. And riders tend to slide much further over asphalt than they do over gravel. 

If astroturf or gravel are not to be used to prevent exceeding the track limits, that will leave Race Direction with a lot more work. The current punishment for exceeding the track limits is to drop a place, even if no advantage is gained. That can lead to strange and sometimes dangerous situations, such as happened to Jonas Folger at Misano. The German missed Turn 1, as so many riders to at the track, and was penalized for cutting the track and forced to drop a place. The problem was, Folger was over five seconds ahead of a group battling for 8th, and he had to wait around for them to catch him, then try to rejoin amidst a pack of riders fighting for position. The situation was technically correct, but entirely unsound from a safety perspective. If Race Direction are to spend more time punishing infractions for exceeding the track limit, they will have to spend both a lot more time and effort monitoring riders' positions, and enforcing the penalties correctly and safely.

The Safety Commission also discussed the procedures around flag-to-flag races, though no satisfactory conclusion was reached, Javier Alonso told MotoGP.com. Flag-to-flag races are the best way of allowing a race to be run to completion, and keep it within its allotted time slot on TV. The alternative is to red flag a race once it starts to rain, and then restart a new, shortened race to run to completion. That, too, has its dangers, as the shortened races invite riders to take much more risk, and can be very confusing for TV viewers if they are run on the basis of aggregate times. Having race officials decide on when riders should come in to swap bikes and tires is also undesirable, as the riders have a better idea of the grip all around the track, not just in certain sections. The flag-to-flag procedure is to be reviewed, and any proposals to be discussed at further meetings.

The events of the previous MotoGP race at Aragon look set to have a major impact on tracks around the world in the near future. The crashes by Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone, both of whom lost control of their bikes when they hit the still wet astroturf which lines the outside of the outer kerbs, caused the subject to be raised in the MotoGP Safety Commission at Motegi. There, the Safety Commission decided to ask the circuits hosting MotoGP races to remove all of the astroturf from the run off areas around the track. Dorna Managing Director Javier Alonso told the MotoGP.com website that they would start talks with circuits to get them to remove the astroturf as soon as possible, starting with the most dangerous parts of the tracks.The decision is a complete reversal of the earlier policy devised by the Safety Commission, the closed and private forum in which MotoGP riders can discuss safety issues and other concerns with the FIM and Dorna. As a result of a previous request, tracks had started putting in astroturf on the run off areas. That was in response to changes made primarily for car racing, where gravel traps on the outside of corners have been replaced with hard standing, such as asphalted areas. The astroturf was put in place to prevent riders using the run off as extra race track, allowing them to take corners faster.

Now Officially Confirmed At Last: Marc VDS To Race In MotoGP With Scott Redding From 2015

The difference between a handshake an an officially signed contract is just under four weeks, it seems. Late on Sunday night after the race at Misano, the Marc VDS Racing team put a message on Twitter announcing they would be moving up to MotoGP for the next two years, racing a factory-backed Honda RC213V with Scott Redding aboard. Honda, however, was far from pleased with the team's adoption of 21st Century technology to communicate with fans and media, and the Tweet was quickly taken down. Though agreement had been reached at Misano on all of the details - a three-year deal to lease a factory-spec Honda RC213V, and putting Scott Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 seasons - HRC deemed that the deal was not yet ready to be announced. Though the contract was public knowledge, the team went silent on the deal.

Until now. Today, the Marc VDS Racing team finally officially confirmed what we have known for nearly a month. The team will be competing in MotoGP in 2015, with Scott Redding aboard a factory-spec RC213V. The deal will see Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 season, with the team having a bike at its disposal for a third season. The deal means that Redding is now free to abandon the Showa forks and Nissin brakes in favor of the Ohlins/Brembo combination favored by paddock groupthink. But it also poses the team with a minor problem, as they will have to assemble a team around Redding. His former crew chief, Pete Benson, is set to stay in Moto2 with Tito Rabat, the team unwilling to break up a combination which has proven to be capable of winning races and a championship. The obvious candidate to take the place as Redding's crew chief would be Naoya Kaneko, current crew chief to the departing Mika Kallio. Kaneko has MotoGP experience, having worked for Kawasaki during their period in MotoGP.

The move to MotoGP comes as an addition to, rather than a replacement for their Moto2 team. Tito Rabat will contest the Moto2 championship for the team again next season, and he will be joined by Alex Marquez, who is leaving Moto3 to race in the intermediate class. The Moto3 structure is to be dissolved, with the staff most likely redistributed among the Moto2 and MotoGP projects of the team.

Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team.

Marc VDS to move up to MotoGP

Motegi, Japan – 10 October 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team is pleased to announce that they will make the step up to the premier MotoGP class in 2015, after reaching an agreement with Honda Racing Corporation.

Marc VDS will field a factory specification Honda RC213V in the MotoGP World Championship, with Scott Redding returning to the team to lead the assault on the premier class in both 2015 and 2016.

Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped us to achieve our aim of racing in the premier MotoGP class, with what is clearly the most competitive bike available. Without their help, and the continued support of Marc van der Straten, this move would have remained a dream for us, but now it is a reality. Obviously we are looking forward to welcoming Scott Redding back to the fold next year, but our focus for now must be on the Moto2 World Championship, which we are currently leading with both of our riders.”

Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team

“It is a great honour to be associated with Honda at the very top level of two-wheeled motorsport, especially as we are a relatively new team to the Grand Prix paddock. But, while newcomers we may be, I think we have shown quite clearly that we are there to race and there to win, which I believe reflects Honda’s philosophy also. I am excited about this new project, especially as it means a return to the Marc VDS racing family of Scott Redding, with whom we enjoyed a long and successful association in Moto2.”

More information and high resolution images are available on the Marc VDS Racing Team website at www.marcvds.com.

The difference between a handshake an an officially signed contract is just under four weeks, it seems. Late on Sunday night after the race at Misano, the Marc VDS Racing team put a message on Twitter announcing they would be moving up to MotoGP for the next two years, racing a factory-backed Honda RC213V with Scott Redding aboard. Honda, however, was far from pleased with the team's adoption of 21st Century technology to communicate with fans and media, and the Tweet was quickly taken down. Though agreement had been reached at Misano on all of the details - a three-year deal to lease a factory-spec Honda RC213V, and putting Scott Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 seasons - HRC deemed that the deal was not yet ready to be announced. Though the contract was public knowledge, the team went silent on the deal.

World Superbike Test Ban Lifted Ahead Of Major Changes For 2015 Season

With new technical regulations set to come into effect for the 2015 season in World Superbikes, the Superbike Commission has decided to lift its customary testing ban. Instead of testing being prohibited for the months of December and January, the World Superbike and World Supersport teams will be allowed to continue testing, with only a short break over the holiday period. Testing will no be banned from 21st December 2014 to 4th January 2015.

The change was made at the request of the teams. With the technical regulations undergoing a radical overhaul for the 2015 season, the teams felt they needed a lot more testing time to identify and fix problems with the new bikes. Extracting sufficient horsepower while maintaining reliability, to comply with the limited engine allocation, had been a major concern. The extended period gives the teams a little more time to prepare for the 2015 season.

The current change has only been made for the 2015 season. With the rules set to stabilize for the future, a test ban is likely to be reinstated for the winter of 2015/2016.

You can read the text of the press release announcing the change on the FIM website (PDF document).

With new technical regulations set to come into effect for the 2015 season in World Superbikes, the Superbike Commission has decided to lift its customary testing ban. Instead of testing being prohibited for the months of December and January, the World Superbike and World Supersport teams will be allowed to continue testing, with only a short break over the holiday period. Testing will no be banned from 21st December 2014 to 4th January 2015.The change was made at the request of the teams. With the technical regulations undergoing a radical overhaul for the 2015 season, the teams felt they needed a lot more testing time to identify and fix problems with the new bikes. Extracting sufficient horsepower while maintaining reliability, to comply with the limited engine allocation, had been a major concern. The extended period gives the teams a little more time to prepare for the 2015 season.The current change has only been made for the 2015 season. With the rules set to stabilize for the future, a test ban is likely to be reinstated for the winter of 2015/2016.You can read the text of the press release announcing the change on the FIM website (PDF document).

UPDATED - The 2015 MotoGP Rider Line Up So Far - 2 Seats Left To Fill

With MotoGP's silly season for 2015 nearing its conclusion, we can draw up a list of contracts signed for next year and beyond. Below is who is going where for 2015, along with what they will be riding and how long their contracts are for:

Team Rider Bike Duration Status / Notes
Repsol Honda
  Marc Marquez RC213V 2016  
  Dani Pedrosa RC213V 2016  
 
Movistar Yamaha
  Valentino Rossi YZR-M1 2016  
  Jorge Lorenzo YZR-M1 2016 Believed to have an option to leave after 2015
 
Factory Ducati
  Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP15 2016  
  Andrea Iannone Ducati GP15 2015  
 
LCR Honda
  Cal Crutchlow RC213V 2015  
  Jack Miller RC213V-RS 2017  
 
Marc VDS Racing
  Scott Redding RC213V 2016 The Marc VDS Racing team has a contract for three years with HRC, and a contract for two years with Redding. The bike will be kitted with Ohlins and Brembo
 
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
  Pol Espargaro YZR-M1 2015  
  Bradley Smith YZR-M1 2015  
 
Drive M7 Aspar
  Nicky Hayden RC213V-RS 2015  
  Eugene Laverty RC213V-RS 2015  
 
Forward Yamaha
  Stefan Bradl Forward Yamaha 2015  
  Loris Baz Forward Yamaha 2015  
 
Gresini Aprilia
  Alvaro Bautista Aprilia ART 2016  
  ??? Aprilia ART   Marco Melandri had been in the frame for the second Aprilia seat, but the Italian looks set to remain in World Superbikes, preferring to race for wins rather than develop a slow bike. Who will take his place is unclear. Current favorite if Melandri turns the ride down is Michele Pirro, but Ducati are keen to keep him as a test rider
 
Suzuki
  Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 2016  
  Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 2017  
 
Pramac Ducati
  Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14.2 2015  
  Danilo Petrucci   2016  
 
Avintia Ducati
  Hector Barbera Open GP14 2015 The Avintia Ducatis will run as full open class entries, and be used to develop the bike with the unified (spec) software.
  ??? Open GP14    
 
Cardion AB
  Karel Abraham RC213V-RS    

 

With MotoGP's silly season for 2015 nearing its conclusion, we can draw up a list of contracts signed for next year and beyond. Below is who is going where for 2015, along with what they will be riding and how long their contracts are for:

Loris Baz Confirmed With Forward Racing In MotoGP For 2015

Loris Baz has finally found his place in MotoGP. After being signed and then disposed of by the Aspar team, the Forward Racing team finally announced that they have signed the 21-year-old Frenchman for the 2015 season. Baz will line up alongside Stefan Bradl on board the Open class Forward Yamaha. The Forward Yamaha will be close to a 2014 spec satellite Yamaha M1, but using the Open software.

Baz' path into the premier class has not been easy. He was in talks with Aspar for several weeks, eventually signing a precontract which depended on Aspar not being able to sign Scott Redding. Once that deadline passed, Aspar the refused to honor the precontract, citing Baz' height - said to be 1.92m - as a reason to reject him.

When problems appeared with the Aspar deal, Baz turned to the Forward team, who were more willing to overlook his height. At a press conference at Aragon, where Forward and Yamaha presented their 2015 project, Yamaha boss told the press that he could not see Baz' height being a problem on the Yamaha.

There is good reason to suspect that Baz will find it easier on the Yamaha than he would have on the Honda. At Misano, several riders were asked for their opinions of the affair, and of tall riders. As he so often does, Bradley Smith expressed it most eloquently. When asked if being tall was an impediment to racing in MotoGP, Smith said that it depended on the bike. "If you're going to ride a Honda, yes. If you're going to ride a Yamaha, the Yamaha has been designed around a slightly taller rider, Valentino [Rossi] and Colin [Edwards] back in the day. So it fits." 

In Smith's opinion, it would still be more difficult than for a smaller rider, however. "Road racing has always been like that, it's always been a smaller rider. In the current way of MotoGP, we haven't really seen big riders." The problem was mainly about the package which bike designers build, and as most riders are small, bikes are built for smaller riders, rather than tall riders. Tall riders would always face problems, Smith said. " Because you're adapting. This sport isn't about adapting, it's about designing a product and putting someone fast on that product, and staying within a box of design parameters. If Honda designed a bike around Loris Baz, Leon Camier, Scott Redding, the bike would be a lot different than designed around Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez."

With Baz now signed to Forward Racing, the chances of Mike Di Meglio retaining his seat at Avintia have grown slimmer. Dorna were known to be keen to have a fast young Frenchman riding in MotoGP, and had been offering to provide assistance for Baz in the series. With Baz signed, support for Di Meglio is no longer necessary, and Di Meglio will have to persuade Avintia to retain him on the strength of his performance, rather than his passport.

The Forward press release announcing the signing of Baz appears below:


Loris Baz joins NGM Forward Racing for the 2015 season

The NGM Forward Racing Team is delighted to announce to have signed an agreement with Loris Baz for the 2015 season. The 21 year old French rider completes the Forward Racing line up alongside of Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl on board of a Forward Yamaha. Loris Baz, who is currently riding for Kawasaki’s factory team in World Superbikes, will make his debut in the MotoGP World Championship with the NGM Forward Racing colours.

Loris Baz – Rider Profile

Date of birth: 01 February, 1993
Place of birth: Sallanches, France
2013: 8th in the World Superbike Championship with one win
2012: 13th in the World Superbike Championship with one win
2011: European Champion STK1000 Junior Championship BSB British Superbike with 7 Super poles in 7 races, Wild Card in the World Championship in 1000 STK
2010: 8th at the World Cup 1000 SuperStock
2009 8th at the World Cup 1000 SuperStock
2008: Youngest winner of the European Championship 600 SuperStock - 3 Victories, 8 podiums and 2 pole positions in 10 races
2007: Season Training in R6 600
2006: Catalan Championship and 125cc Spanish Championship

Giovanni Cuzari, Team Owner

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Loris Baz in our team. He is a young rider who has proved to be fast in World Superbikes and we would like to give him the possibility to show his talent also in MotoGP. I’m very happy to start this new adventure with Loris and bring this new rider in the premiere class, continuing our mission of talent scout team alongside of Yamaha. Loris will partner Stefan Bradl and we are delighted to line up a very young team with a 21 year old Frenchman and a 24 year old experienced German rider”.

Loris Baz has finally found his place in MotoGP. After being signed and then disposed of by the Aspar team, the Forward Racing team finally announced that they have signed the 21-year-old Frenchman for the 2015 season. Baz will line up alongside Stefan Bradl on board the Open class Forward Yamaha. The Forward Yamaha will be close to a 2014 spec satellite Yamaha M1, but using the Open software.Baz' path into the premier class has not been easy. He was in talks with Aspar for several weeks, eventually signing a precontract which depended on Aspar not being able to sign Scott Redding. Once that deadline passed, Aspar the refused to honor the precontract, citing Baz' height - said to be 1.92m - as a reason to reject him.When problems appeared with the Aspar deal, Baz turned to the Forward team, who were more willing to overlook his height. At a press conference at Aragon, where Forward and Yamaha presented their 2015 project, Yamaha boss told the press that he could not see Baz' height being a problem on the Yamaha.

MotoAmerica Announce 2015 Rules Package - Bring AMA Closer To WSBK Class Structure

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MotoAmerica, the organization which replaces the DMG in running the US AMA series, has given their first peek into the future, by announcing the rules package. Though still not finalized, the package does give a very clear indication of MotoAmerica and KRAVE's thinking, and the direction they wish to steer motorcycle racing in America in.

Four classes have been announced, with two more currently being weighed. The series will feature two superbike classes, Superbike and Superstock 1000, which will run concurrently. There will also be two middleweight classes, Supersport and Superstock 600, which replace Daytona Sportbike and the Supersport series. 

For the moment, the four classes will be very similar to the classes they replace, with the exception of Superstock 1000, which will be run along the same lines as the FIM Superstock 1000. But MotoAmerica make it very clear in their press release that the eventual goal is to bring the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 600 rules used at the world championship level, with the aim of bringing more American talent to world championship racing.

With that in mind, MotoAmerica had also been evaluating Moto2. The difficulty with that class, however, is that it is much harder to get backing to race in the class. Because Superstock, Superbike and Supersport classes all feature bikes from recognized manufacturers, importers, distributors and even individual dealerships are happy to provide support. As Moto2 machinery is based around specialist chassis manufacturers and generic engines, dealers and importers are far less interested in providing material support. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons Moto2 does not feature in the British BSB championship.

Of the two classes still under consideration, one is believed to be a spec bike series along the lines of the Red Bull Rookies and European Junior Cup. Informed opinion suggests that this could be based around the KTM RC390, KTM's small capacity pure sports machine. Given that KTM will be running the same class in BSB next year, this would make a lot of sense.

The final class still open could well end up being Moto3, or a class along Moto3 lines. The problem, once again, is expense, with full fat Moto3 machinery costing well north of 200,000 euros. The number of second hand bikes in circulation is still limited, as the class has only recently come into being, but MotoAmerica is believed to want at least one Grand Prix class in the series, to ready young Americans for that championship. 

So far, the signs from MotoAmerica are very good. There is a clear focus that has been lacking in recent years, and the aim is very simple: to get American racers back to the two motorcycle road racing world championships. This is coming not just from Wayne Rainey and his group, but also very strongly from Dorna, who need Americans in MotoGP and WSBK to make the series attractive to TV channels. It has been a tough few years for the AMA, but things finally appear to be getting back onto the right path. There is still an awful lot to do, but the first steps have been taken.

Below is the press release issued by MotoAmerica announcing the classes for next year:


2015 Primary Motorcycle Racing Classes Announced

Costa Mesa, Calif. (October 3, 2014) - MotoAmerica has announced the primary racing class structure for the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Motorcycle Road Racing Championship season.

The premier class for the MotoAmerica Championship will be the Superbike class. The Superbike class will feature a rules package based on a combination of current AMA Superbike chassis and 2015 World Superbike Championship engine specifications. Racing alongside the Superbikes (but scored separately) will be the Superstock 1000 class. The Superstock 1000 class will be closely aligned to FIM Superstock 1000 rules, run on slick tires, and help to provide an action-packed race for MotoAmerica fans.

Middleweight road racing is one of the most exciting classes of racing worldwide. The primary MotoAmerica middleweight road racing class will be the Supersport class (formerly AMA Daytona Sportbike). The MotoAmerica Supersport rules have been designed to utilize 2014 AMA chassis rules, run on slick tires, and have engine rules aimed at moving toward FIM World Supersport Championship specifications. In addition to the Supersport class, MotoAmerica will also rename the current AMA Pro SuperSport class to be Superstock 600. The Superstock 600 class rules will be based on 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport rules and be closely aligned with FIM Superstock 600 regulations.

MotoAmerica is also currently in discussions for two additional racing classes in the MotoAmerica Championship and will be announcing that information as it becomes available. The MotoAmerica full technical rules will be released shortly.

“The 2015 MotoAmerica racing classes were designed to be more performance oriented and in line with FIM international road racing classes,” MotoAmerica partner Chuck Aksland said. “These new racing classes were created in collaboration with the AMA, FIM, and with input from key industry teams and partners. We are excited and looking forward to the 2015 MotoAmerica Motorcycle Road Racing Championship season.”

The 2015 MotoAmerica Road Racing Championship

Superbike*

  • Chassis rules as AMA 2014
  • Engine specs in line with the 2015 World Superbike Championship (gearbox as AMA 2014)
  • Electronics as 2015 World Superbike Championship with a one-year option to run to AMA 2014 specs
  • Use of two bikes will be allowed during each event

Superstock 1000*

  • Engine and chassis to be aligned with FIM Superstock 1000
  • Brake system may be changed
  • Superstock 1000 to run on slick tires
  • Use of two bikes will be allowed during each event

n.b. Superbike and Superstock will run together but will be scored separately

Supersport* (formerly Daytona Sportbike)

  • Chassis rules as AMA 2014
  • Engine rules moved toward FIM World Supersport Championship specification
  • Electronics as AMA 2014
  • Supersport will be run on slick tires
  • Use of one bike allowed during each event. Second bike may be built but not used until cleared by Technical Director
  • Based on 600 class machines, including 675 triples

Superstock 600* (formerly AMA Pro SuperSport)

  • Similar rules to 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport rules and aligned with FIM Superstock 600

Moto 2 will not be included in 2015 but will be re-evaluated for the 2016 season.

MotoAmerica are currently in discussions to run two additional classes in the series.

*The MotoAmerica full technical rules will be released shortly. MotoAmerica reserves the right to amend the above information and aims to develop all classes over the following seasons.

MotoAmerica, the organization which replaces the DMG in running the US AMA series, has given their first peek into the future, by announcing the rules package. Though still not finalized, the package does give a very clear indication of MotoAmerica and KRAVE's thinking, and the direction they wish to steer motorcycle racing in America in.Four classes have been announced, with two more currently being weighed. The series will feature two superbike classes, Superbike and Superstock 1000, which will run concurrently. There will also be two middleweight classes, Supersport and Superstock 600, which replace Daytona Sportbike and the Supersport series. For the moment, the four classes will be very similar to the classes they replace, with the exception of Superstock 1000, which will be run along the same lines as the FIM Superstock 1000. But MotoAmerica make it very clear in their press release that the eventual goal is to bring the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 600 rules used at the world championship level, with the aim of bringing more American talent to world championship racing.

Eugene Laverty Confirmed At Aspar MotoGP For 2015

Another piece of the MotoGP puzzle has been fixed into place. It was widely known that Eugene Laverty would be riding a production Honda for the Drive M7 Aspar team in MotoGP next year, but official confirmation of the fact only came today. Laverty is to line up alongside Nicky Hayden aboard the uprated production Honda, now called the RC213V-RS, taking the place of Hiroshi Aoyama.

Laverty's path into the Aspar team was far from straightforward. The Irishman had been in talks with Aspar, who at the time were also talking to replacement rider Leon Camier and Frenchman Loris Baz. Aspar then signed a precontract with both Baz and Laverty, subject to the condition that Aspar could not secure the services of Scott Redding. Once the deadline for Redding's signature passed, Aspar found themselves with two contracts on their hands. They quickly moved to break the contract with Baz, declaring that they had not known that the Frenchman was 1.92m, despite the fact that Baz' height is a matter of public knowledge. That left Laverty in line to take the seat at Aspar, despite having offers from Ducati to ride at Pramac, and having had talks with Forward Yamaha.

Laverty returns to the Grand Prix paddock after six years in World Supersport and World Superbike. Laverty was twice runner-up in World Supersport, to Cal Crutchlow and to Kenan Sofuoglu, as well as finishing second in the World Superbike championship to Tom Sykes. After a hard year on the Suzuki in World Superbikes, Laverty has been looking for either a more competitive ride, or a switch back to MotoGP. The Honda RC213V-RS will have a 2014 Honda RC213V engine, without the seamless gearbox, but should be a much more competitive package than the current RCV1000R.

Below is the press release from the Aspar team announcing Laverty's signing:


DRIVE M7 Aspar Team strengthen MotoGP line-up as Eugene Laverty joins for 2015

Spanish team see Ireland's former World Supersport and World Superbike runner-up as a solid bet for their latest project

Whilst the 2014 season heads into its decisive phase, the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team is already shaping its plans for 2015 and is today pleased to announce the signing of Eugene Laverty for its MotoGP project. The current World Superbike rider began his international career in Grand Prix, competing in the 250cc category in 2007 and 2008, and he has gone from strength to strength since then, meaning that the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team will now welcome a talented and experienced rider back to the paddock.

Laverty, from Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, has twice finished as runner-up in World Supersport (2009 and 2010) and was also runner-up in World Superbikes in 2013. In six seasons of production racing the 28-year-old has ridden a host of different machinery for various manufacturers, winning races for all of them, showing his great adaptability as a rider. Aside from this obvious talent, the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team sees him as a gifted rider with the potential to continue improving, and is pleased to offer him the opportunity to ride a Honda in MotoGP next season.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “Eugene Laverty is a rider we were already in contact with last year, we tried to sign him then and even though we didn't manage it at the time he is a rider we have been interested in for a long time. I think he is a rider with great potential, he has produced some incredible races in Supersport and Superbikes, and he has a lot of wins on his record with a lot of different manufacturers, which says a lot about his capacity to adapt. Maybe he hasn't had the luck that you always need to win a world title but I am sure that he will be giving 100% to the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team. I am sure he will continue to develop as a rider and he can bring a lot to this team. He is ready to make the step to MotoGP. Next year we will have a new, more competitive Honda, and I have a lot of hope invested in our MotoGP project. I am sure we will achieve great results together.”

Another piece of the MotoGP puzzle has been fixed into place. It was widely known that Eugene Laverty would be riding a production Honda for the Drive M7 Aspar team in MotoGP next year, but official confirmation of the fact only came today. Laverty is to line up alongside Nicky Hayden aboard the uprated production Honda, now called the RC213V-RS, taking the place of Hiroshi Aoyama.Laverty's path into the Aspar team was far from straightforward. The Irishman had been in talks with Aspar, who at the time were also talking to replacement rider Leon Camier and Frenchman Loris Baz. Aspar then signed a precontract with both Baz and Laverty, subject to the condition that Aspar could not secure the services of Scott Redding. Once the deadline for Redding's signature passed, Aspar found themselves with two contracts on their hands. They quickly moved to break the contract with Baz, declaring that they had not known that the Frenchman was 1.92m, despite the fact that Baz' height is a matter of public knowledge. That left Laverty in line to take the seat at Aspar, despite having offers from Ducati to ride at Pramac, and having had talks with Forward Yamaha.

The 2015 Moto3 Rider Line Up So Far: Still Plenty Of Question Marks

While the rider line up for the MotoGP is very near to being settled, there are still a lot of things up in the air in the Moto3 class. Though the teams were all required to submit their official entries, and pay a deposit to secure their rides at Aragon, there were only a few official announcements by the end of the weekend. Enough, however, to make a rundown of the latest developments for the 2013 season.

Though this year's title protagonists will be moving on to better things - Jack Miller to MotoGP, Alex Marquez and Alex Rins to Moto2 - the Red Bull KTM and Estrella Galicia teams are likely to be at the forefront in 2015 as well. With the Red Bull KTM team having signed Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, they are the team which looks most likely to be fighting for the title, against Team Sky VR46's Romano Fenati. The Estrella Galicia team will have a couple of rookies in Fabio Quartararo and Maria Herrera, while Jorge Navarro will have learned a great deal during his first half season in Moto3 replacing Livio Loi.

Enea Bastianini will be remaining with Gresini, but the team has been tempted away from KTM and on to Honda, the Japanese factory taking a keen interest in the sensational Italian rookie. Bastianini has been impressive in his first season in Moto3, and has overshadowed the other Red Bull Rookies who joined the class. Karel Hanika may have had the upper hand when he raced in the Rookies, but so far, Bastianini has been the better rider. Perhaps with a year of adapting to Grand Prix racing, Hanika's potential will start to show through.

Jorge Martin will be hoping to follow the example of Bastianini rather than Hanika. The young Spaniard won the 2014 Red Bull Rookies title with relative ease, and has been signed to race for Aspar. Aspar are now the factory Mahindra team, and should be capable of pushing the project forward for the Indian manufacturer. 

Mahindra may have lost Brad Binder to KTM, but they will be getting Binder's younger brother Darryn as compensation. The young South African is moving up to take the place of Brad Binder in the Ambrogio Racing team aboard a Mahindra. The Binder pairing brings the number of brothers racing in Grand Prix to three, along with the Espargaros and the Marquez' brothers. As an side, Aleix Espargaro will not only be racing in MotoGP, but also running a team, having applied for two seats in Moto3. 

One of the biggest problems for the teams was the disappearance of Kalex. KTM decided not to support outside chassis builders from next season, leaving the teams currently racing Kalex KTMs scrambling for alternatives. Many appear to have turned to Honda, the NSF250RW proving a much more competitive machine than the first version of the bike. Both Kiefer Racing and RW Racing have made the switch, with more expected to follow suit.

Below are the Moto3 signings made so far:

Red Bull KTM Ajo
Miguel Oliveira KTM
Brad Binder KTM
Karel Hanika KTM
 
Team Calvo
Isaac Viñales Husqvarna
 
RTG
Alexis Masbou Honda
John McPhee Honda
 
Ongetta Rivacold
Niccolo Antonelli Honda
 
Ambrogio Racing
Darryn Binder Mahindra
Alessandro Tonucci Mahindra
 
Aspar
Juanfran Guevara Mahindra
Jorge Martin Mahindra
 
Team Sky VR46
Romano Fenati KTM
Andrea Migno KTM
 
Sepang Circuit
Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM
 
Kiefer Racing
Danny Kent Honda
Hiroki Ono? Honda
 
Gresini
Enea Bastianini Honda
Andrea Locatelli Honda
 
Estrella Galicia 0,0
Fabio Quartararo Honda
Jorge Navarro Honda
Maria Herrera Honda

Press releases announcing various Moto3 signings and projects:


Red Bull KTM Ajo sign Brad Binder for 2015

Red Bull KTM Ajo are proud to announce the signing of South African as team’s new rider for next season’s Moto3 World Championship.

09/30/2014

Three-time World Championship winning team in the lower cylinder class (125cc in 2008 and 2010, Moto3 in 2012) Red Bull KTM Ajo have reached an agreement with Brad Binder for next year. This past weekend at MotorLand Aragon, Team Manager Aki Ajo and the South African rider struck a deal for their collaboration in next season’s Moto3 World Championship. This will be the fourth full year that Binder has competed in Grand Prix racing.

Brad Binder, 19, made ​​the leap to World Championship via the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he raced for three seasons. Born in the town of Potchefstroom (South Africa) on August 11th, 1995, he has improved year-after-year and managed to take his first podium this season with second at the German Grand Prix. Already in 2014 he has more points to his name than in the entirety of 2013, with 4 races still remaining. His continuous upward progression has been valued by the Red Bull KTM Ajo as suitable for him to ride their KTM machinery in the Moto3 World Championship.

Aki Ajo - Team Manager

"I am thrilled to start this journey together with Brad [Binder]. I have seen that he is a rider who is highly motivated and eager to grow in the World Championship. One can see that Brad is a great person, calm and hard worker in a team, respecting all those who cooperate with him. He has great potential and I think that with the team, KTM, Red Bull and other large partners that support us, next year he can show this for the first time on the track. We will do this together."

Brad Binder - Moto3 rider

"Honestly, the feeling after joining Red Bull KTM Ajo is truly amazing. Since I started in Moto3 my goal has been to join a top team like this. Entering such an important structure as the KTM factory team, with partners like Red Bull and other large enterprises, is a unique opportunity. This will be a great chance for me and it's time to show what I can really do.

Being on this team, the target cannot be anything less than to fight to place as high up as possible. We have potential to do so, we have the perfect bike-team package to attempt it, and I am excited about the future."


Darryn Binder and Alessandro Tonucci with WWR in 2015

From Binder to Binder. World Wide Race, the Company that owns and manages the team competing in the Moto3 World Championship this year as Ambrogio Racing, has decided for Darryn Binder as team mate of Alessandro Tonucci next season. Darryn, 16 and currently competing in the Rookies Cup, is Brad Binder's younger brother. The same Brad who is playing a leading role in Ambrogio Racing's racing season, and will move to another team next year. The Binder family will be currently the third to entry two brother in the same class of the World Championship.

Darryn Binder “Since the start of the season I've been watching closely what my brother does in the box, trying to learn as much as I can about the data and all that, because I never worked to anything like that before. My brother and I are very close, so we are always together: he shows and teaches me everything he can and I try to learn as much as possible. It's probably five years since I've been racing against him – it was in the 125cc, South African championship. To be honest, I don't know what to expect from the next season. For sure I'll do the best I can. As always. Let's see how it goes”.

Brad Binder “It's really good to have back my brother competing in my same championship after a while. The first year is always to be difficult for everybody, in the World Championship, and I'm so glad to see him here and in this team. An advise? To be honest, my only one is do not expect too much too soon, because unfortunately in GP nothing happens overnight. It takes time and efforts, but I know my brother is a really good rider and I'm sure he will handle it all well”.

Fiorenzo Caponera (Team Manager) “I've been quite a long in this business, but something like this did never happen to me before. When I think to it, I say to myself: well, it is not going to be different from other seasons; our team loves to work and rise young riders, and we did it so many times. We did it with Brad, and are going to repeat the experience with Darryn. We are happy to welcome him as a full time member of the team, after a year in which we saw the guy so often in the garage with his big brother. And are very happy to continue our relationship with the Binder family: we did and are doing a good job together and are going to do a good one also in the future”.


Team Aspar incorporate young champion Jorge Martín into Moto3 ranks

The Spanish rising star shows great promise, as the new winner of the Rookies Cup, heading for the World Championship ready for anything

True to form and building from the ground up, nurturing young motorcycle talent, the Aspar Team have decided to incorporate Jorge Martín into their ranks. The Spaniard is the recently crowned new champion of the Rookies Cup. The rider was the series runner-up last year and has dominated the junior championship this season. Martin, a 16 year-old from San Sebastián de los Reyes, arrives in the World Championship keen to continue developing in one of the best teams in Moto3.

The Aspar Team therefore enjoys an optimistic outlook preparing for next season. The Valencian squad will also become the official team of the Indian giant Mahindra in the Moto3 category, as was recently announced. It will also feature one of the best young Spanish talents, Jorge Martín. He has spent most of his young career in the Bancaja Cuna de Campeones, a successful format devised and designed by the Aspar Team. The good feelings are enhanced with the news of the confirmation that Juanfran Guevara will also continue with the Valencian team. Since joining the Aspar Team the Lorca rider has continued to grow, becoming one of the strongest riders in the lightweight category in the second half of the season.

The Aspar Team has high hopes for next season and the new collaboration with Mahindra. The riders will be Juanfran Guevara and Jorge Martín, although the Spanish team is not ruling out a surprise announcement in the near future. The team's efforts will be fully focused on Moto3 next season, with it’s Moto2 project temporarily delayed.

Jorge Martínez 'Aspar': "Firstly congratulations to Jorge for winning the Rookies Cup. The whole project with Mahindra excites us greatly. I’m happy with this new challenge that will involve both the new World Junior series and the Moto3 World Championship. Undoubtedly Jorge Martin is a rider who has earned the respect of us all, he is doing very well and deserves a chance, so let's go for it. In the future I hope to continue seeing him as a star in big races. He is eager to do things the right way. I like him because he is a fighter who wants to learn and always tries to improve himself. I talked to him and I already mentioned some aspects that we would like to improve on. Most importantly though, with him being so young, is to continue with the vision and desire to take risks and grow. He is young and now is the perfect time to soak in everything that happens around him, both in training and racing."

Jorge Martin: "I'm living an amazing experience, I hope to continue enjoying and learning a lot from my jump up to the World Championship. Lately I'm having trouble sleeping due to excitement as I have wanted to start working with the Aspar Team already. I am convinced that I am joining a very close team. For me they are one of the best in the World Championship and have always been a top team. I hope to match up to the opportunity. Jorge told me that he hopes I enjoy every moment and to try to learn everything I can. The important thing now is to continue to grow as a rider. Looking from outside, the Moto3 class seems to be very hard, but I think I'm a strong rider and I hope to adapt as quickly as possible. I consider myself a consistent rider and I try to improve every time I go on track. That's what makes me go fast."


RW Racing GP with Honda and one rider in Moto3 2015

The Dutch RW Racing GP team will compete with Honda and one rider in the Moto3 class in 2015. The team is talking with a number of riders, amongst who current RW Racing GP rider Scott Deroue.

Team manager Jarno Janssen is delighted with today’s announcement that Eurosport has gotten the broadcasting rights for the Netherlands and Belgium, meaning that the practices and races of the Moto3 class will be live on an open channel for the next four years. “First of all we are very happy to have a competitive bike for next year. We thank Honda for this token of faith, which means a lot to us, given the fact that we are going through a difficult year that doesn’t match the expectations we all had. This has been one of the reasons we are cut back to one rider for next year, but we hope to be back with a line-up of two riders in 2016.”

Which rider will be on the bike in 2015, is still a matter of negotiations. Team manager Janssen: “A number of riders have shown their interest to ride with us and there are some serious options with top riders as well as young talents. Scott Deroue is one of them. It isn’t just a matter of nationality or budget, Honda has an opinion too.”

Having a competitive bike again and with Moto3 back on an open channel in RW Racing GP’s home country, Janssen sees new opportunities for a team sponsor. “We are negotiating with a few big companies about a long term relationship. Moto3 is an extremely popular class with spectacular races. As a team we have shown we can be running for podium positions. We hope to be back in front next year.”


While the rider line up for the MotoGP is very near to being settled, there are still a lot of things up in the air in the Moto3 class. Though the teams were all required to submit their official entries, and pay a deposit to secure their rides at Aragon, there were only a few official announcements by the end of the weekend. Enough, however, to make a rundown of the latest developments for the 2013 season.Though this year's title protagonists will be moving on to better things - Jack Miller to MotoGP, Alex Marquez and Alex Rins to Moto2 - the Red Bull KTM and Estrella Galicia teams are likely to be at the forefront in 2015 as well. With the Red Bull KTM team having signed Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, they are the team which looks most likely to be fighting for the title, against Team Sky VR46's Romano Fenati. The Estrella Galicia team will have a couple of rookies in Fabio Quartararo and Maria Herrera, while Jorge Navarro will have learned a great deal during his first half season in Moto3 replacing Livio Loi.

Danilo Petrucci Confirmed At Pramac For Two Seasons

One of the last few pieces of the rider puzzle for 2015 has slotted into place. Today, Pramac Racing confirmed that they have reached agreement with Danilo Petrucci to race for them for the next two seasons. Petrucci will race the Desmosedici alongside Yonny Hernandez in 2015 and 2016.

The move had been widely expected, with Pramac keen to have at least one Italian rider in the team for the sake of their sponsors. Andrea Iannone had been a useful asset for the team, and they needed an Italian to replace him. The other riders linked to that ride - Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty - were less attractive to Pramac's Italian sponsors.

With the second seat at Pramac taken, that leaves just four seats unfilled. Eugene Laverty is believed to have signed to take the seat at Aspar Honda alongside Nicky Hayden, while Loris Baz is close to a deal with Forward Racing to race the Open Yamaha alongside Stefan Bradl. Only the second seat at Gresini Aprilia, and the second slot at Avintia, aboard the Open Ducati remain unfilled.

The press release confirming the signing of Petrucci appears below:


Agreement between Pramac Racing and Danilo Petrucci

Pramac Racing Team is pleased to announce the formalization of the partnership with the Italian rider Danilo Petrucci for the 2015 and 2016 MotoGP season joining Yonny Hernandez.

Danilo Petrucci's first words:

"I am very happy to have reached an agreement with Pramac Racing, a team that has shown great care and ability to promote the growth of young riders. I am also proud and extremely motivated for the chance to ride a Ducati, especially in light of the relationship of mutual respect that has developed these recent years with the Borgo Panigale. And this is for me a great start and I will try to give everything to make the most out of this opportunity for which I thank Pramac Racing. I also wanted to thank Giampiero Sacchi for giving me the opportunity to start racing at the highest level in MotoGP. "

One of the last few pieces of the rider puzzle for 2015 has slotted into place. Today, Pramac Racing confirmed that they have reached agreement with Danilo Petrucci to race for them for the next two seasons. Petrucci will race the Desmosedici alongside Yonny Hernandez in 2015 and 2016.The move had been widely expected, with Pramac keen to have at least one Italian rider in the team for the sake of their sponsors. Andrea Iannone had been a useful asset for the team, and they needed an Italian to replace him. The other riders linked to that ride - Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty - were less attractive to Pramac's Italian sponsors.With the second seat at Pramac taken, that leaves just four seats unfilled. Eugene Laverty is believed to have signed to take the seat at Aspar Honda alongside Nicky Hayden, while Loris Baz is close to a deal with Forward Racing to race the Open Yamaha alongside Stefan Bradl. Only the second seat at Gresini Aprilia, and the second slot at Avintia, aboard the Open Ducati remain unfilled.

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