Latest News

2015 Moto3 Provisional Entry List Announced - 33 Riders With Few Surprises

The FIM has finally released the provisional entry lists for the 2015 season. The Moto3 entry list shows a field of 33 riders, with only a single seat still unnamed, the second bike in the Sepang International Circuit team, which is likely to go to a young Malaysian or Asian rider.

With most of the current top riders leaving, off to Moto2 or, in the case of Jack Miller, to MotoGP, the field looks very open for 2015. Romano Fenati and Enea Bastianini remain in their current teams, Bastianini switching from KTM to Honda. Brad Binder takes the place of Miller at Red Bull KTM Ajo, making him one of the favorites for next year. 

Fabio Quartararo is the most highly-anticipated entry into the Moto3 championship, Monlau team manager Emilio Alzamora even managing to persuade the FIM to change the rules to allow the French youngster to take part in the first three races, despite not reaching the minimum age of 16 until 20th April, the day after the Argentina round. He will be joined at the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team, not by Maria Herrera, as was widely expected, but by Jorge Navarro, currently riding for the Marc VDS Racing team in Moto3. There will be one female rider, however, as Ana Carrasco will be riding for the Boe41 RBA team, being entered by Aleix Espargaro. She will be joined there by Niklas Ajo and the young Argentinian Gabri Rodrigo.

The Moto3 entry list appears below:

No Rider Nationality Team Machine
5 Romano Fenati ITA Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM
9 Scott Deroue NLD RW Racing GP Honda
10 Alexis Masbou FRA Saxoprint-RTG Honda
11 Matteo Ferrari ITA San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra
16 Andrea Migno ITA Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM
17 John McPhee GBR Saxoprint-RTG Honda
19 Alessandro Tonucci ITA Ambrogio Racing Mahindra
20 Fabio Quartararo FRA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
21 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 Mahindra
22 Ana Carrasco SPA Boe41 RBA Team KTM
23 Niccolo Antonelli ITA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda
24 Tatsuki Suzuki JPN CIP Mahindra
29 Stefano Manzi ITA San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra
31 Niklas Ajo FIN Boe41 RBA Team KTM
32 Isaac Vinales SPA Calvo Team Husqvarna
33 Enea Bastianini ITA Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda
40 Daryn Binder RSA Ambrogio Racing Mahindra
41 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
44 Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
50 Hiroki Ono JPN Kiefer Racing Honda
52 Danny Kent GBR Kiefer Racing Honda
55 Andrea Locatelli ITA Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda
57 Eric Granado BRA Calvo Team Husqvarna
58 Juanfran Guevara SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 Mahindra
63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin MAL Sepang International Circuit KTM
65 Philipp Oettl GER TT Motion Events KTM
84 Jakub Kornfeil CZE CIP Mahindra
88 Jorge Martin SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 Mahindra
91 Gabriel Rodrigo ARG Boe41 RBA Team KTM
95 Jules Danilo FRA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda
98 Karel Hanika CZE Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
99 Jorge Navarro SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
  To Be Confirmed   Sepang International Circuit KTM

 

The FIM has finally released the provisional entry lists for the 2015 season. The Moto3 entry list shows a field of 33 riders, with only a single seat still unnamed, the second bike in the Sepang International Circuit team, which is likely to go to a young Malaysian or Asian rider.With most of the current top riders leaving, off to Moto2 or, in the case of Jack Miller, to MotoGP, the field looks very open for 2015. Romano Fenati and Enea Bastianini remain in their current teams, Bastianini switching from KTM to Honda. Brad Binder takes the place of Miller at Red Bull KTM Ajo, making him one of the favorites for next year. Fabio Quartararo is the most highly-anticipated entry into the Moto3 championship, Monlau team manager Emilio Alzamora even managing to persuade the FIM to change the rules to allow the French youngster to take part in the first three races, despite not reaching the minimum age of 16 until 20th April, the day after the Argentina round. He will be joined at the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team, not by Maria Herrera, as was widely expected, but by Jorge Navarro, currently riding for the Marc VDS Racing team in Moto3. There will be one female rider, however, as Ana Carrasco will be riding for the Boe41 RBA team, being entered by Aleix Espargaro. She will be joined there by Niklas Ajo and the young Argentinian Gabri Rodrigo.

Scott Jones On The Island: Race Day Photos From Australia


Attack vector: Rossi about to try to pass Lorenzo at MG


The new Cal Crutchlow is a completely different kettle of fish to the old one


After faltering in the last few races, Jack Miller got it perfectly right at home


The tale of the race? Marc Marquez dived into the lead from the start...


... built a massive lead ...


... but it ended in tears when temperatures dropped and grip disappeared


Maniac Joe lived up to his name in Australia. Two dodgy moves, the last ending with him in the gravel


It also ended Dani Pedrosa's race, Iannone having damaged the rim of Pedrosa's rear wheel


Phillip Island produces great racing. Fantastic battles up and down the grid...


... an insanely intense Moto3 race ...


Even Moto2 was worth watching


Maverick, Master of Moto2


Pick a winner. Moto3 was a free-for-all


Rossi's win was almost as popular with the crowd as Miller's in Moto3


Some spectators were just happy to have survived the weekend without incident


A forest of photographers


The runaway train went over the hill...


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

Attack vector: Rossi about to try to pass Lorenzo at MG The new Cal Crutchlow is a completely different kettle of fish to the old one After faltering in the last few races, Jack Miller got it perfectly right at home

Scott Jones On The Island: Saturday Photos From Australia


Free of pressure, and fast as ever


There's nothing quite like a 99 by the seaside


Cal Crutchlow has finally figured the Ducati out: ride it like you stole it


Stefan Bradl, up and over Lukey Heights


Unlike Motegi, Valentino Rossi didn't get qualifying right at the Island. He's still fast though


It's Andrea Dovizioso's turn to struggle on the Ducati this weekend


Phillip Island. Hard work.


My kind of energy drink. In the background, not the foreground


The Maniac


Dani Pedrosa looked lost all weekend, but things came together during qualifying


Aleix Espargaro was fast during qualifying, but can he make his tires last in the race?


The quick Brit: Bradley Smith is looking much more capable in Australia


His teammate is having a little less joy


In a blur


Fastest open Honda: Hiroshi Aoyama surprised a fair few in Q1


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

Free of pressure, and fast as ever There's nothing quite like a 99 by the seaside Cal Crutchlow has finally figured the Ducati out: ride it like you stole it

Scott Jones On The Island: Friday Photos From Australia


The circuit in the middle of nowhere. And all the more beautiful for it


Surplus to requirements at Phillip Island. Not enough hard braking to get the high mass disks up to temperature


Could this be the new King of the Island? Jorge Lorenzo is off to a good start so far


But if Lorenzo has any illusions of victory, he'll have to get past this man first


Parting of the ways: Mike Leitner informed Dani Pedrosa that he wouldn't continue as his crew chief in 2016


Could it work out? It did when Silvano Galbusera came in to work with Valentino Rossi


Nicky Hayden held the lap record for Phillip Island until last year. Fastest of the production Hondas on Friday


Moto2 flashback


Founding of a new dynasty? 1987 500cc champ Wayne Gardner's son Remy has a wildcard at Phillip Island


Apparently, Tech 3 Moto2 rider Marcel Schrotter is from Germany


The Repsol Hondas, using the least brake to get the most deceleration


When the weather cooperates, PI is the best place on earth


Alex Marquez, the 2014 Moto3 world champion? He's getting close


Because Ohlins


Cal Crutchlow gets faster as the season end draws near.


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

The circuit in the middle of nowhere. And all the more beautiful for it Surplus to requirements at Phillip Island. Not enough hard braking to get the high mass disks up to temperature Could this be the new King of the Island? Jorge Lorenzo is off to a good start so far

Bridgestone And Dunlop Bringing New Tires To Phillip Island To Avoid A Repeat Of 2013

The resurfacing of Phillip Island at the start of 2013 caused a massive problem in both MotoGP and Moto2 during last year's Australian Grand Prix. The vastly improved surface saw lap times drop and corner speeds go up dramatically. Marc Marquez' fastest race lap of the circuit was just over 2 seconds faster than Casey Stoner's best race lap the previous year, and just under Nicky Hayden's lap record of the circuit, which had stood since 2008. 

The radically faster surface led to much greater heat build up in the tires, with the rear tires of both Moto2 and MotoGP bikes showing severe and dangerous degradation. The problems forced both Moto2 and MotoGP to be drastically reduced in length, the Moto2 race slashed from 25 to 13 laps, and the MotoGP race cut from 27 to 19 laps, with the added complication of being forced to come in and swap bikes, and hence rear tires. The compulsory pit stop caused a good deal of confusion, eventually leading to the disqualification of Marc Marquez for missing the compulsory pit window.

To avoid a repeat of the situation, both Dunlop and Bridgestone are bringing new tires to the track, with much harder compounds. Both tire manufacturers have been hard at work designing tires to cope with the surface, based on data collected at a test here in March, where the factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders, along with two top Moto2 teams tested a large range of tires. Dunlop and Bridgestone are both now confident that their tires will last the full duration of the race without any major problems.

More interestingly, Bridgestone are bringing a radical new front tire to handle the very particular demands of Phillip Island. The circuit consists of a lot of left handers, with the final section leading back onto the main Gardner Straight getting ever faster. This places a lot of strain on the left-hand side of the tires (it was this which caused the biggest problems in 2013 for the rear tires), while leaving the right-hand side relatively unstressed, and allowing it to cool off. The asymmetric rear tires have been designed to cope with this, but there were still an unusually large number of crashes at both the Honda Hairpin and MG Corners, the two slower right handers which appear after a long time on the left side of the tire. Then there's the mighty Doohan corner at Turn 1, a very fast corner approached at high speed.

Bridgestone have decided to address these problems by using an asymmetric front tire, with different compounds on the left and right sides of the tire. In the past, riders have rejected such tires, as providing the necessary stability under braking with asymmetric fronts is exceptionally difficult. That meant the front would squirm under braking, making corner entry that much more difficult. 

Bridgestone believe they have now cracked that problem, and when the asymmetric fronts were tested earlier in the year, they met with broad approval. So the Japanese tire maker will be debuting the tires at Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix. For the moment, only the softest (extra soft) of the three choices available for the front tire will be asymmetric. This is the obvious choice, as it is especially in the coldest conditions where the problems are greatest. The other two choices (soft and medium) will be standard symmetric tires. All of the rear tires will all be asymmetric.

Below are the press releases on tires from Bridgestone and Dunlop on the special tires they have brought for Phillip Island:


Bridgestone develops new tyre allocation for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix

Wednesday, October 15 2014

Bridgestone will introduce a brand new tyre allocation for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, including a newly-developed asymmetric front slick tyre as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ continues its efforts to develop technologies that further enhance rider safety.

New advances in tyre construction and compound technology have enabled Bridgestone to create a front slick tyre that maintains the braking stability of a symmetric tyre, but with enhanced warm-up performance and edge grip. The asymmetric front slick is composed of two different rubber compounds, with one shoulder composed of a softer rubber compound. In the case of Phillip Island where there are five right-hand corners compared to seven left-hand corners, this softer rubber zone will be on the right shoulder. The new zoning of different rubber compounds on the front slick means that when the rider reaches a lean angle of approximately 30° in right-hand corners, they begin to use the zone of softer rubber on the front tyre for greater safety and performance while cornering.

For the Australian Grand Prix, the asymmetric front slick will be in the soft specification; meaning the left shoulder will use Bridgestone’s soft rubber compound, while the lesser-used right shoulder will utilise the extra-soft rubber compound for superior warm-up potential. This asymmetric front slick will be offered as part of Bridgestone’s standard front tyre allocation for Phillip Island, with the other two options of front tyre in the allocation being conventional, symmetric slick tyres.

The rear slick tyres Bridgestone will allocate to riders at Phillip Island have been developed specifically for the severe demands the Australian circuit places on rear tyres, and will feature developments in construction and compound technology that are not featured at any other circuit on the MotoGP™ calendar. The three rear slick options for Phillip Island; the soft, medium and hard compound provide the optimal combination of safety, durability and performance to suit the new Phillip Island track tarmac following its re-surfacing in late 2012.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

“After a concerted effort from our Technical Centre in Japan, we will introduce a brand new tyre allocation for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Since last year’s race at Phillip Island, we have tested at the circuit in a large variety of weather conditions to ensure our tyres will provide excellent durability and performance, while still providing good warm-up performance and usability for the riders. Such are the demands placed on the rear tyre at Phillip Island, that our rear slicks for this weekend use compound and construction technology that aren’t used at any other circuit on the calendar. Our test results with these new tyres were encouraging, and I am looking forward to seeing them in a race situation this weekend.

“Our new asymmetric front slick is the result of a long development programme and I am pleased to see this new technology makes its debut in the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. The innovative technology we’ve introduced on this asymmetric front slick will ensure that the riders will still enjoy the same high level of braking stability they associate with our symmetric front slick, but with better grip and warm-up performance while cornering. This development is yet another example of our commitment to continue developing new MotoGP tyre technology”


Dunlop Takes Bespoke High Performance Distance Proven Tyre Options To Phillip Island

After the resurfacing in 2013, high grip levels are expected again for this year’s Phillip Island round of the FIM Moto World Championships. The South-Eastern Australian venue is rated as one of the most aggressive in the world but a March tyre test at the track and bespoke Dunlop Moto2 development has produced race-distance proven special hard options for this visit.

Dunlop spent three days testing at the track in March with two teams and four riders focussing on durability and pace, establishing options that achieved race distance with faster lap times than 2013. In the all-important twisty sections, the Moto2 pace was faster than most MotoGP bike times. The new designs feature low heat generation and heat resistant compounds in addition to new tread constructions and belt materials. Three tyres from the test were agreed to be favoured options for the race from which Dunlop has selected the two most suitable for racing conditions at the track this weekend.

The 4,448 metre circuit has five right and seven left turns and the increased grip last year brought new lap records from the first practice sessions. Any track presents the task of balancing maximum speed potential with race distance needs and the Dunlop engineers will work particularly closely with the teams to help get optimum tyre and bike settings for the 25 lap Phillip Island race.

After success in Japan using the new Moto3 H2 front compound and construction Dunlop will allocate the same front tyre choice in Australia. Moto3 riders were able to increase their confidence with this harder tyre much more than in previous events. In Moto2, the medium and hard options will be available for the front with the two bespoke special hard specifications for the rear.

Tyre allocation and colour codes:

Moto2:

Fronts 120/75R17, 3 x 123 (hard - yellow Dunlop on black) and 5 x 302 (medium - black Dunlop on silver)

Rears, 195/75R17, ATR25 067 (Special Hard) x 5 – 195/75R17 Moto2 ATR26 4077 (Special hard2) x 4

Moto3:

Fronts: 95/75R17, 5 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver) and 3 x Hard H2 (yellow Dunlop on black)

Rears: 115/75R17 , 6 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver)and 3 x Hard (yellow Dunlop on black)

The riders will have three sets of wet tyres with an additional set being permitted if all sessions are declared wet.

Race Stat: Fastest Laps

Dunlop tyres are designed to perform as consistently throughout a race as possible. Motegi’s Moto2 race was an excellent example of performance with the fastest lap being set an impressive thirteen times throughout the 23 lap race. Luthi took seven of the fastest laps, Viñales four times, with Rabat and Kallio taking one each. Maverick Viñales set the final fastest time on lap 19, setting another new record for the track.

Clinton Howe, Operations Manager Motorcycle Grand Prix

“In March this year we tested at Phillip Island with Team Aspar and Marc VDS Racing. Riders Nico Terol, Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio and Tito Rabat were able to race at a very good pace for a race distance on both front and rear options and all agreed that the tyres we have brought here this weekend were the best options. Tito lapped at least half a second faster than the fastest 2013 fastest race lap on all three test days and beat all but two of the MotoGP sector one times. As well as pace we put in several race simulation runs and covered well over 800 laps so it will be great to see the tyres in race conditions after all the hard work and investment.

“As always here, the weather will probably be very mixed and it is unlikely that we will see fewer than three seasons worth of weather conditions. We have a good range that works well across changing conditions but the teams can need to make difficult decisions depending on weather forecasts.”


The resurfacing of Phillip Island at the start of 2013 caused a massive problem in both MotoGP and Moto2 during last year's Australian Grand Prix. The vastly improved surface saw lap times drop and corner speeds go up dramatically. Marc Marquez' fastest race lap of the circuit was just over 2 seconds faster than Casey Stoner's best race lap the previous year, and just under Nicky Hayden's lap record of the circuit, which had stood since 2008. The radically faster surface led to much greater heat build up in the tires, with the rear tires of both Moto2 and MotoGP bikes showing severe and dangerous degradation. The problems forced both Moto2 and MotoGP to be drastically reduced in length, the Moto2 race slashed from 25 to 13 laps, and the MotoGP race cut from 27 to 19 laps, with the added complication of being forced to come in and swap bikes, and hence rear tires. The compulsory pit stop caused a good deal of confusion, eventually leading to the disqualification of Marc Marquez for missing the compulsory pit window.To avoid a repeat of the situation, both Dunlop and Bridgestone are bringing new tires to the track, with much harder compounds. Both tire manufacturers have been hard at work designing tires to cope with the surface, based on data collected at a test here in March, where the factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders, along with two top Moto2 teams tested a large range of tires. Dunlop and Bridgestone are both now confident that their tires will last the full duration of the race without any major problems.

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:

GTranslate