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'Factory 2' Situation To Be Resolved On Monday

It has been ten days since Carmelo Ezpeleta announced to an unsuspecting world that a new category would be added to the MotoGP class to contain Ducati, the 'Factory 2' class. The change was to be ratified on Tuesday, 11th March, in a telephone meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, and Ezpeleta was confident that it would go through without too many problems.

Tuesday came and went, and no agreement had been reached. In fact, it has taken all week and much of this weekend for the situation to approach a resolution. Sources with knowledge of the situation have now confirmed that an agreement will be announced on Monday, allowing the rules to be set in place for the start of the season on Thursday, 20th March.

The precise details of the agreement are not clear, but the rules are unlikely to be very far off the proposal put forward by Dorna in response to complaints from the Open teams. The name looks set to change, the category no longer being called 'Factory 2', but merely as Open. According to the German language website Speedweek, the limits imposed by the Factory 2 status - reduction from 24 to 22.5 liters of fuel, and from 12 engines to 9 - will apply for each of the three Ducati riders separately, if they achieve a win, two 2nd places or three 3rds. The rest of the Open class rules - most importantly, not being subject to the Factory Option engine development freeze and free to test at any circuit they like - will remain in place.

The new system looks set to be applied only to the three factory-backed Ducati riders, Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone. All other Open teams will continue under the existing rules, as they use the less complex 2013 Magneti Marelli software, rather than the 2014 software which so far, only Ducati have expressed any interest in running. How the situation will change throughout the season is as yet unknown, with a meeting set to take place among the Open teams at the test after the Jerez round of MotoGP. A simpler solution would have been to simply force all of the teams - including Ducati - to run the simpler 2013 Magneti Marelli software, while development continued on the 2014 software. The 2013 software had not slowed Aleix Espargaro up on the Forward Yamaha, our source pointed out.

There appear to have been few concessions made to the MSMA under the deal. There were earlier rumors that Factory Option entries would be allowed switch to the Open class at any time during the season. However, given Honda's opposition to the spec championship software, the only team which this may have benefited is the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro. Speedweek suggest that the GPC has agreed to extend the deal to allow any team to retain Factory Option status and run their own software through 2017, an extra year after the original contract was due to terminate at the end of 2016. What is clear from all this, however, is that the days of factories developing their own software are numbered, and the spec software will be adopted soon enough. MotoGP is drawing ever closer to a single set of rules applying to all competitors equally, which has been the aim of Dorna, IRTA and the FIM all along.

It has been ten days since Carmelo Ezpeleta announced to an unsuspecting world that a new category would be added to the MotoGP class to contain Ducati, the 'Factory 2' class. The change was to be ratified on Tuesday, 11th March, in a telephone meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, and Ezpeleta was confident that it would go through without too many problems.Tuesday came and went, and no agreement had been reached. In fact, it has taken all week and much of this weekend for the situation to approach a resolution. Sources with knowledge of the situation have now confirmed that an agreement will be announced on Monday, allowing the rules to be set in place for the start of the season on Thursday, 20th March.

Valentino Rossi Opens VR46 Academy To Nurture Italian Talent

Though it is still some years off, Valentino Rossi is laying the groundwork for his life after racing. The nine-times world champion yesterday announced the start of the VR46 Riders Academy, a program for nurturing young Italian racing talent during the transition into Grand Prix racing.

The academy will consist of offering training facilities to help young riders develop their talent. The riders will have Rossi's gym and his dirt track ranch at their disposal, and will also receive support and tuition from Rossi himself. The first entrants into the academy will consist of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 riders, Romano Fenati and Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia, Moto2 rider Franco Morbidelli, and Luca Marini, Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega, all of whom will be competing in the Spanish CEV Moto3 championship. The academy is to be run by Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci, with other key people from Rossi's Tavullia circle.

The VR46 Riders Academy offers much optimism for the future of Italian racing, after a couple of years of poor results. The Italian federation FMI has also been focusing on supporting and nurturing young riders, running teams in both Moto3 and Superstock championships. The hard work of the FMI is starting to pay off - Fenati rode for Team Italia for the past two seasons - and with Valentino Rossi throwing his weight behind the project, progress should be much faster. The VR46 Riders Academy is loosely modeled on the former Grand Prix Academy, run by Alberto Puig, which has since morphed into the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Like that program, the VR46 Academy offers support to riders in every aspect of their preparation: riding, physical training, and mental preparation.

Below is the press release from the VR46 Riders Academy:


VR46 Riders Academy

Valentino Rossi and his men open their doors to young two-wheels talents.

An Italian academy for young Italian rider.

Tavullia, March 13, 2014 - VR46 Riders Academy is the new headquarters for the training and growth of young quality Italian riders. This was announced by Valentino Rossi that, with VR46, for the first time, makes available his experience and knowledge gained over many years of career.

The new talents of the VR46 Riders Academy will grow in Vale’s “gym", company and "Ranch", and right here, Vale will develop, for each of them, challenges on the track and exercises to enhance their qualities. The academy has six talents from Tavullia: Franco Morbidelli, Luca Marini, Andrea Migno, Nicolò Bulega , Romano Fenati and Pecco Bagnaia. The riders are trained together, but with specific programs prepared according to the different physical and psychological attitudes.

The VR46 Riders Academy has an experienced team. Alessio Salucci manages the relationship with the Teams, Alberto Tebaldi is responsible for logistics and external relations, Luca Brivio for the operational management of the riders at the CEV, Carlo Casabianca for the physical preparation, Claudio Sanchioni for the contractual aspects and Barbara Mazzoni for the secretarial and administrative services.

Racing is not just a matter of talent. For this reason, in addition to a very intense and focused physical and psychological preparation, VR46 Riders Academy is committed to ensuring both the best possible support and service – thanks to world-class chief technicians and mechanics - and a future as much as possible fitting with the characteristics of each pilot.

Salucci and Tebaldi recruited sponsors and Teams, appropriate for the characteristics of each rider. Franco Morbidelli will participate in the Moto2 World Championship with the Team Italtrans, Luca Marini and Andrea Migno will be part of theTeam Aspar for the CEV, together with Nicolò Bulega rider for the Team La Glisse. Fenati and Bagnaia run in Sky Racing Team VR46 for the Moto3 World Championship, the team created for the most talented riders of the two-wheels Academy.

Though it is still some years off, Valentino Rossi is laying the groundwork for his life after racing. The nine-times world champion yesterday announced the start of the VR46 Riders Academy, a program for nurturing young Italian racing talent during the transition into Grand Prix racing.The academy will consist of offering training facilities to help young riders develop their talent. The riders will have Rossi's gym and his dirt track ranch at their disposal, and will also receive support and tuition from Rossi himself. The first entrants into the academy will consist of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 riders, Romano Fenati and Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia, Moto2 rider Franco Morbidelli, and Luca Marini, Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega, all of whom will be competing in the Spanish CEV Moto3 championship. The academy is to be run by Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci, with other key people from Rossi's Tavullia circle.

Tech 3 Press Release: Ricky Cardus To Replace Alex Mariñelarena

Ricky Cardus is to replace Alex Mariñelarena. The Spaniard will take the place of the Tech 3 Moto2 rider, during the long period of convalescence which Mariñelarena must endure after a heavy crash at Paul Ricard. Below is the press release from Tech 3 on the replacement:


Ricky Cardus announced as Tech3’s Moto2 replacement for Mariñelarena

Ricky Cardus will replace Tech3 Racing Team’s Alex Mariñelarena for the temporary future. The Spanish rider will replace Mariñelarena until he has fully recovered from his recent injury and is fit enough to compete in the Moto2 races.

Mariñelarena was involved in an incident during a private test at the Paul Ricard circuit, South France for Team Tech3 Racing on the 27th February. He suffered a heavy fall which knocked him out of consciousness and placed into a medically induced coma by the medical staff at the Saint-Anne Hospital in Toulon.

After nearly one week of deep sleep, Mariñelarena awoke from the coma on the morning of Wednesday 5th March, 2014. The recovery process is now underway for the 21year old Spanish rider, but the date of his return is as of yet unknown.

Cardus, from Barcelona, contested in the Spanish CEV Buckler championship before competing as a wildcard in the 125cc world championship several times and riding half a season as a substitute in Moto2 in 2010. The Spanish rider then undertook three full time seasons from 2011 to 2013 in the Moto2 World Championship aboard various chassis to point scoring finishes.

Cardus will begin with the Tech3 Racing Team on Tuesday 11th March, 2014 at the three day Moto2 pre-season test at Jerez, Spain.

Ricky Cardus:

“Firstly, I want to say that I am really happy about having the possibility to ride for the Tech3 Racing Team, but of course it is not the ideal way to get a ride with Alex being injured. I want to wish him the very best with his recovery, and I hope to see him racing soon. I am excited to ride the Mistral 610 at Jerez this week, and will try my best in assisting the team. Thank you to the Tech3 Racing Team for the opportunity.”

MotoGP Rule Change Imminent: 'Intermediate' Category To Be Added Between Factory Option And Open Classes

The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the MotoGP.com website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.

It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.

The measure is to be adopted as of 11th March, according to Ezpeleta. The Grand Prix Commission will meet to approve the new rules, though the FIM, Dorna and team association IRTA have already given their assent. Given that this proposal was most likely made in response to pressure from the two Japanese factories still adhering to the Factory Option regulations, the MSMA are also likely to approve it.

The proposal will leave MotoGP with three categories, instead of the existing two. Factory Option: 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season, all engine development frozen and restricted testing, in exchange for the freedom to use and develop their own ECU software. Open: 24 liters of fuel, 12 engines per season, engine development and testing unrestricted, and  a softer rear tire, but forced to use the Magneti Marelli software. And Factory 2: the same as Open, but with 22.5 liters of fuel and 9 engines. What is not clear is what other restrictions will be placed on Factory 2 teams, whether testing will be limited, whether they will have access to a softer tire, etc. It is also not clear whether they will be freed from some of the restrictions on the electronics package, such as the freedom to use their own dashboard or sensor packages. At Phillip Island, Ducati ran the full Open spec electronics package, including Magneti Marelli dashboard. It is also unclear whether the Factory 2 regulations will apply to the Forward Yamaha team as well, especially as the bike which Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will be racing is now being entered as a 'Forward Yamaha' in the latest entry lists, rather than the 'FTR Yamaha' which it was originallly called. It is also unclear whether weather conditions will be taken into account when assessing results. When the engine allocation rules were first brought in, an exception was made for factories which had not had a dry win, the same logic could be applied here.

The trigger for the latest spat over the Open class was the introduction of a new, much more sophisticated software package brought to Sepang 2 by Magneti Marelli. Initial reports were that the new package was basically Ducati's ECU software, handed over to Magneti Marelli. As Mat Oxley wrote yesterday, however, the new package was not yet in use at Sepang, the software only being loaded so that the Open class technicians could get used to the way it worked, and compare it with the 2013 software, which was far less complex. 

In the interview with AS, Ezpeleta explained that Magneti Marelli had had the software for some time. The factories were asked in November last year to help develop the spec ECU software, but Honda and Yamaha refused, Ezpeleta said. Ducati agreed, and provided assistance to the Italian ECU maker. Magneti Marelli then built their software based on the input provided by Ducati, and this was the software introduced at Sepang 2. Ezpeleta was clear on why the upgrade was applied. 'The objective is that in the end, everyone will run as Open entries,' Ezpeleta told AS.

The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the MotoGP.com website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.

Movistar Pens 5-Year Deal As Title Sponsor Of Yamaha's MotoGP Team

It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.

The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.

The reason for the deal is to help promote the Movistar pay-per-view TV package. In a deal similar to that on offer in the UK, where BT Sport has secured  the rights, Movistar is using its sports and entertainment packages to help sell broadband services. Having Yamaha's MotoGP team be associated with Movistar will be a useful sales aid in the key Spanish market.

The livery to be used by the team has not yet been unveiled. That will be revealed ahead of the first race of the season at Qatar, in two weeks' time. 

Below is the press release announcing the deal between Movistar and Yamaha:


Yamaha and Movistar Join Forces for 5-year MotoGP Title Sponsor Program

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd can today make one of the most significant partnership announcements in recent years of the MotoGP World Championship. The exceptional agreement sees TELEFONICA DE ESPAÑA, S.A joining Yamaha with its renowned Movistar brand as Title Sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team for an extensive five-year contract.

The joining of these two iconic names from the premier class of motorcycle racing creates a new name for the team. Starting from the first race of the 2014 season, the team will be known as the “Movistar Yamaha MotoGP” Team and riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will embark on their title challenge under the floodlights of Qatar on 23rd March under this name.

The Movistar brand will feature prominently on all team assets (YZR-M1, riders’ leathers, team uniform, pit-garage, trucks, hospitality) for the next five years.

The new official team logo is made public today but the full 2014 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team livery will only be unveiled on Wednesday 19th March in Losail, Qatar, just before the opening race.

LIN JARVIS
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing

This is a big day for the sport. We are delighted to be able to welcome the Movistar brand back into the world of MotoGP in such spectacular fashion. Dedicated fans of motorcycle racing will know that Movistar has a strong history in the sport, and in the past they supported many talented young riders who later evolved to be the top stars in the MotoGP class. We are therefore honoured that they chose Yamaha as their partner to re-enter motorcycle racing.

The 5 year partnership provides an incredibly stable platform for both parties to fully exploit the relationship and make plans not just in the short-term but also strategically over a longer period. Their long-term commitment is also a strong sign of confidence in the sport and provides reassurance to the other sponsors and partners involved with our team.

We also believe the activation and promotion that Movistar will bring will also help to raise awareness and interest in our championship from brands not yet involved in MotoGP.

The Movistar announcement is the last and most significant of our planned sponsor agreements for this season. We are delighted to have such a full portfolio of premium brands now onboard with us as we make final preparations for our 2014 title challenge campaign.

We’re keen now to get to the start grid under the floodlights and kick off our title challenge together!

DANTE CACCIATORE
Director of Communication and Customer Experience, Telefónica Spain

Movistar is coming back to MotoGP; this moment is going to be one of the most important landmarks for our company history in 2014. Even though the adrenaline and engine sounds and even the smell of the gasoline and the support of the fans are yet to flow through our veins it's impossible for us to be much more excited. This return couldn`t have been a better kick off. We have decided to join Yamaha Factory Racing as a travel partner to embark on the same journey together. The team has achieved nine world championship titles and holds two magnificent world champions in Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

To speak of Yamaha is to speak of motorcycling, and not only that. It is to speak of the essence of teamwork at its best and the passion of proudly waving a flag of true racing heritage in front of a passionate crowd who support on each turn and on each straight. These values are identical to those we share at Movistar. It is a huge honour to belong to this new family that we receive with open arms. We are hungry and really looking forward to seeing the start lights go out in Qatar. Now is the time to live this dream; welcome to Movistar Yamaha MotoGP!

JORGE LORENZO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider

I am so happy with this announcement and the arrival of such a big, key sponsor as Movistar. This is an enormous partner that is not just Spanish like me but also that shares a big history in the past of the motorsport, especially in motorcycling. Now they’re back in MotoGP and more importantly, they have made a perfect marriage with Yamaha! It’s great to see such an important company as Movistar make a return to motorcycle racing with such a large scale sponsoring activity. I know we can have a great journey battling for the championship alongside them and looking into the future we will do a great job together to achieve loads of success. Welcome Movistar again to this amazing sport that we love, and of course welcome to the Yamaha family!

VALENTINO ROSSI
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Rider

It’s really a great pleasure to know that Movistar will be joining Yamaha Factory Racing in MotoGP. I am also very happy that Yamaha have a new title sponsor! It will be a very important season for me and for Yamaha. We have always been very motivated but this news has brought new enthusiasm and this is a very positive thing. At this time the team is very busy in the pre-season tests, we are working very hard because we want to make a fantastic season. This goal I believe is important for our new sponsor. We will definitely try our best to be protagonists at every race. I give my best wishes to Movistar for this new adventure!

Movistar

Movistar is the commercial brand which Telefonica operates in Spain and 13 other Latin American countries.

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. From this outstanding position in the industry, and with its mobile, fixed and broadband businesses as the key drivers of its growth, Telefónica has focused its strategy on becoming a leading company in the digital world.

The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts more than 323 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4.551.024.586 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.

It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.

Andrew Gosling Shoots The Phillip Island Tire Test, Day 2


The Honda exhaust remains a work of eye-watering beauty


Brighter later


Tito Rabat, the fastest man in Moto2. So far...


Jorge Lorenzo has been testing a new fairing, to deal with the wind at PI


It has a significantly different nose


With a protruding lower lip


And much narrower profile


Valentino Rossi, new style - body well off the bike, less far forward


Compare and contrast with Jorge Lorenzo


Meet the new boss - Davide Tardozzi perfecting the team boss stare


Testing is all about data


and more data


One of a growing band of women in the paddock. Andrea Canto Pastor was Livio Loi's data engineer in Moto3 last year, has moved up to Moto2 this season


Mika Kallio in one of his more expressive moods


Cal Crutchlow, caught in thought


Silvano Galbusera, Rossi's new crew chief, and one of the palest men in the paddock


Still no match for Tito 'The Ghost' Rabat, though...


Martina - Nico's new ride


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 from the test, head on over to Andrew Gosling's website and he'll be happy to help.

The Honda exhaust remains a work of eye-watering beauty Brighter later Tito Rabat, the fastest man in Moto2. So far...

Andrew Gosling Shoots The Phillip Island Tire Test, Day 1


To test tires, you must have tires to test


Deeply unhappy at Sepang, on top at Phillip Island. Funny things, tires


Ducati competing in the Open class hasn't stopped Cal Crutchlow from getting some serious lean


Dani Pedrosa has lean angle covered too


Communing with the motorcycling gods. Valentino Rossi's pre-ride ritual


Real improvements at Ducati: fit and finish is improved. Seams now have virtually no gap


And the carbon fiber rear swingarm has been dropped in favor of aluminium


Waiting to be shod


99 problems, but Phillip Island ain't one


Ever the showman


As he matures, Dani Pedrosa is learning to relax. More smiles than five years ago


Moto2 are at PI as well, testing Dunlops. Nico Terol plays to the crowds


Ready


No Movistar. Yet.


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 from the test, head on over to Andrew Gosling's website and he'll be happy to help.

To test tires, you must have tires to test Deeply unhappy at Sepang, on top at Phillip Island. Funny things, tires Ducati competing in the Open class hasn't stopped Cal Crutchlow from getting some serious lean

IODA Announce Single Rider For 2014 - Petrucci Stays, Camier Left Without A Ride

IODA Racing will field just Danilo Petrucci in MotoGP in 2014, leaving Leon Camier without a ride. Rumors of financial problems for the teams had been circulating for several days, but now IODA has confirmed officially that they are down to just a single rider. 

The team will still be racing Aprilia ART machines entered under the Open regulations, but with just a single rider, progress will be slower. Danilo Petrucci has soldiered on with the team for the past two years, riding first the underpowered IODA machine using a stock Aprilia RSV4 engine, and then the Suter BMW which was quickly ditched by the teams which had been using it. Petrucci's patience has been rewarded with a much better machine in 2014, though the level of support Aprilia will be providing remains unclear.

Though the press release says that the team are working to find sponsorship to keep Camier on board, the Englishman will only be able to compete if he is effectively able to pay for his ride. If Camier cannot raise the funds, he will be forced to look for other options, but in a difficult market, those options are severely limited, and he could be forced to take a year out of racing.

The withdrawal of Camier leaves just 23 riders on the MotoGP grid for 2014. And with the switch by Ducati from Factory Option status to Open, there are now just 8 Factory Option entries, Honda versus Yamaha. For the full, updated entry list, see our entry list page. Below is the press release from IODA:


IODARACING PROJECT PRESS RELEASE

Terni, February 28, 2014 - Iodaracing Project srl will begin the 2014 season with a only rider in MotoGP.

Will be the Italian Danilo Petrucci to be deployed with the Iodaracing Team's ART in MotoGP class starting in the next IRTA test in Qatar scheduled 6 to 9 March. The swiss rider Randy Krummenacher remains confirmed in Moto2.

Iodaracing Project continues to work to be able to have even his second rider, the Britain's Leon Camier.

GIAMPIERO SACCHI - IODARACING PROJECT TEAM OWNER - "Our priority is to start working with Aprilia for the development of the bike according to the steps that we have set. We are still working to be able to line up a second MotoGP during the season".

IODA Racing will field just Danilo Petrucci in MotoGP in 2014, leaving Leon Camier without a ride. Rumors of financial problems for the teams had been circulating for several days, but now IODA has confirmed officially that they are down to just a single rider. The team will still be racing Aprilia ART machines entered under the Open regulations, but with just a single rider, progress will be slower. Danilo Petrucci has soldiered on with the team for the past two years, riding first the underpowered IODA machine using a stock Aprilia RSV4 engine, and then the Suter BMW which was quickly ditched by the teams which had been using it. Petrucci's patience has been rewarded with a much better machine in 2014, though the level of support Aprilia will be providing remains unclear.Though the press release says that the team are working to find sponsorship to keep Camier on board, the Englishman will only be able to compete if he is effectively able to pay for his ride. If Camier cannot raise the funds, he will be forced to look for other options, but in a difficult market, those options are severely limited, and he could be forced to take a year out of racing.

Ducati Announce They Will Be Racing As Open Class Entries In MotoGP In 2014

Ducati have officially confirmed that they will race as Open class entries in the 2014 MotoGP season. Speaking to the media at Sepang, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced that all four Ducati machines will be entered under Open regulations. The decision has been the worst-kept secret in the paddock for some time, with rumors emerging earlier this year that the Italian manufacturer would abandon Factory Option status to switch to the freer Open class.

Dall'Igna described the switch as 'the most interesting option for Ducati in the current situation'. Given the nature of Ducati's problems, they were left with virtually no option but to switch to the Open class. The engine freeze in place for Factory Option entries make it impossible to make significant changes to the bike layout, as the engine cases are fixed, right down to the engine mounting points. The freeze limits both engine development and chassis development as a result.

The disadvantage to choosing to go the Open route is that teams are limited to the spec software supplied by Magneti Marelli. Having tested with the software at Sepang with both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Ducati found that the disadvantages are far outweighed by the advantages of more testing and engine development. The spec software - referred to inside the paddock as the championship software - is already very sophisticated, despite it being less complex than the software used by the factories.

Ducati had already caused a bit of a stir prior to the second Sepang test. A new software update was made available to all of the Open teams ahead of the second test, which was such a large step several of the teams had been daunted by its complexity. The file containing the specifications of the software which Magneti Marelli sent out to the teams still had the words 'Ducati Motor Holding' in the header, Magneti Marelli having neglected to delete the name from the file. There is nothing in the rules preventing Ducati making their software available to Magneti Marelli, the only proviso being that the same software is available to all teams equally. However, as a factory, Ducati has both the experience and the electronics engineers to get the most out of the more sophisticated software, something which the smaller teams simply cannot afford.

Below is the official press release announcing Ducati's decision to go Open:


Ducati Team to compete in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship under the Open option

  • Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will race their Desmosedici GP14 in the Open configuration.
  • Open option gives more freedom for development during the year.
  • Ducati Corse to keep developing their bikes during the championship to improve competitiveness.

Ducati Team has announced today that they will compete in the 2014 MotoGP Championship, taking advantage of the Open option.

The new MotoGP regulations, introduced this year, give each manufacturer the possibility to choose between two technical options: Factory and Open.

While in 2014 all bikes in the championship – Factory and Open - must use exactly the same Magneti Marelli ECU, the Open option also includes the obligation to use the standard DORNA software, however allowing more freedom in terms of engine development.

Ducati, after carefully considering the two options, has decided that the most suitable one for the current needs of the Bologna-based manufacturer is the Open one, which gives the possibility to the race department to continue the development of the bike and the engine throughout the entire season.

Recent tests carried out in Sepang by the Ducati Team riders, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, gave a positive feedback to the Ducati engineers and therefore, on the deadline of February 28, both riders have been entered into the championship with their Desmosedici GP14 bikes selecting the Open option.

The other Ducati contracted rider, Andrea Iannone, will also race for Pramac Racing Team with the same bike and option as the Ducati Team riders.

Luigi Dall'Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, commented: "We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation. This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs. We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and DORNA has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes".

Ducati have officially confirmed that they will race as Open class entries in the 2014 MotoGP season. Speaking to the media at Sepang, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced that all four Ducati machines will be entered under Open regulations. The decision has been the worst-kept secret in the paddock for some time, with rumors emerging earlier this year that the Italian manufacturer would abandon Factory Option status to switch to the freer Open class.Dall'Igna described the switch as 'the most interesting option for Ducati in the current situation'. Given the nature of Ducati's problems, they were left with virtually no option but to switch to the Open class. The engine freeze in place for Factory Option entries make it impossible to make significant changes to the bike layout, as the engine cases are fixed, right down to the engine mounting points. The freeze limits both engine development and chassis development as a result.

Marquez To Miss The Phillip Island Test, Will Next Ride At Qatar

Marc Marquez will not ride at the Phillip Island test, scheduled for next week, and will only return to riding at the first race of the season at Qatar. After meeting with Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona today, Marquez was told it would be better to rest and recuperate as fully as possible before attempting to ride a MotoGP bike again.

The decision to wait until the race at Qatar also settles a potential argument over testing at Phillip Island and Qatar. HRC had been contemplating sending Marquez to test with the satellite and Open class riders at Qatar, rather than the factory riders at Phillip Island, where they are testing tires for Bridgestone. Honda asked Race Direction for permission to allow Marquez to test at Qatar, but Yamaha and Ducati lodged an objection.

The split between factory and non-factory testing had been agreed at the end of last year, to give Bridgestone a chance to test tires, but Yamaha and Ducati feared that Marquez would gain an unfair advantage if he was allowed to test at Qatar just a week ahead of the season opener. If Marquez was to test at Qatar, Yamaha said, then Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi would test at Qatar as well, abandoning the tire test.

Paolo Ciabatti, head of Ducati's MotoGP project, told GPOne that allowing Marquez to test at Qatar would not be fair. They had put themselves at the disposal of the championship, to assist Bridgestone with the tire test, Ciabatti said. The Italian factory had originally proposed to test at Phillip Island only with their test riders, but Bridgestone had requested they send their factory riders, to provide the best data possible. Ducati had agreed, and they did not want to be punished by giving away an advantage to Marquez.

With Marquez now deciding to return only at the first race, the situation has been resolved. It also means that the reigning world champion has more time for his fractured fibula to heal. The official press release from Honda on the situation appears below:


Marquez to miss Phillip Island test

It is now confirmed that Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who broke his fibula last Wednesday in a training accident, will not be fit enough to test before the first race of 2014.

After a check-up today with Dr. Mir in Barcelona, it was advised that Marc takes this opportunity to rest, rather than risk further injury, in order to prepare for the Qatar GP, which will begin in just three weeks.

Marc Marquez

“I’m obviously disappointed that I’m not in Sepang at the moment and to miss Phillip Island is also unfortunate, but we believe it is the best decision. After my meeting today with Dr. Mir, although he was happy with the general situation of my leg after only seven days since the accident, he advised against taking unnecessary risk. So I will take time to rest and get myself as fit as possible to return to Qatar for the first race in the best shape possible”

Marc Marquez will not ride at the Phillip Island test, scheduled for next week, and will only return to riding at the first race of the season at Qatar. After meeting with Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona today, Marquez was told it would be better to rest and recuperate as fully as possible before attempting to ride a MotoGP bike again.The decision to wait until the race at Qatar also settles a potential argument over testing at Phillip Island and Qatar. HRC had been contemplating sending Marquez to test with the satellite and Open class riders at Qatar, rather than the factory riders at Phillip Island, where they are testing tires for Bridgestone. Honda asked Race Direction for permission to allow Marquez to test at Qatar, but Yamaha and Ducati lodged an objection.The split between factory and non-factory testing had been agreed at the end of last year, to give Bridgestone a chance to test tires, but Yamaha and Ducati feared that Marquez would gain an unfair advantage if he was allowed to test at Qatar just a week ahead of the season opener. If Marquez was to test at Qatar, Yamaha said, then Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi would test at Qatar as well, abandoning the tire test.

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