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MotoGP Silly Season's First Crazy Rumor: Lorenzo Agrees Precontract With Ducati For 2015?

MotoGP silly season this year is expected to be pretty frenetic, with just about all of the riders either out of contract or with escape clauses written into their contracts allowing them to leave at the end of 2014. But even by those standards, the first shot in the battle sounds like madness. According to a report on the Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Ducati have tempted Jorge Lorenzo into agreeing to a precontract to race for the Italian factory from 2015 onwards.

According to the report, Ducati Corse's new boss Gigi Dall'Igna phoned Jorge Lorenzo personally to persuade him to sign for the Italian factory. The contract on offer is reported to be tempting: Onda Cero claim that Ducati offered Lorenzo 15 million euros a season to race for them. Lorenzo is reported to be racing for 9 million a year with Yamaha, plus a 2 million euro bonus if he wins the championship. Both Honda and Yamaha are also chasing Lorenzo's signature for 2015, both claimed to have offered him 12 million euros a year.

How much stock should be placed in this report? It is hard to say. The interest in Jorge Lorenzo comes as no surprise, given that he is one of only three men capable of challenging for the championship. Lorenzo was the only rider to match the pace of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, on what is widely acknowledged to be a lesser bike. HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto has made no secret of his desire to sign Jorge Lorenzo, having already made a major play for Lorenzo the last time his contract was up, at the end of the 2012 season. Likewise, Ducati have also previously made moves for Jorge Lorenzo, having offered the Spaniard some 8 million euros to join Ducati during Casey Stoner's absence through illness in 2009. That move proved at the time to be the catalyst for Stoner's departure to Honda.

What is surprising is the timing of this report. Jorge Lorenzo has only just landed in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he and Valentino Rossi are due to present the 2014 livery of the Yamaha MotoGP team tomorrow. Allowing such news to leak ahead of such an important occasion would not be well received in the Yamaha camp, though it would provide a very useful way of putting pressure on the factory. Yamaha are already struggling to pay the salary currently demanded by Lorenzo, and stretching it much further could put him out of reach of the Japanese factory. Yet Yamaha know they have no choice, as Lorenzo has proven to be the only Yamaha rider currently capable of challenging for the title. If leaking the news is a negotiating tactic, it is a very crude instrument.

The biggest question mark remains what reason Lorenzo would have to go to Ducati, beyond the simple question of money. At the moment, Ducati is a far from promising prospect, the bike still a long way from being competitive. In fact, so far off is the current bike that Ducati look set to switch to becoming an Open entry, racing with the spec Dorna software on the Magneti Marelli ECU. Though the great raft of changes currently being pushed through at Ducati by Gigi Dall'Igna are widely regarded as necessary steps to a return to competitiveness, they will still take a long time to take effect. The Desmosedici will surely be better by the first race of 2015, but whether it is championship material remains to be seen.

The fear must be that Ducati is trying to fix their problems in the same way they did last time: by signing a rider of exceptional talent to ride a bike beset by problems. Such a move could come at the behest of Ducati's main benefactor Philip Morris, who are demanding results after three years of mediocrity following the departure of Casey Stoner. Whether Lorenzo could overcome the problems the current bike has, as Stoner did in the past, is open to question. Lorenzo has a radically different riding style to Stoner, thriving on smoothness and his ability to carry corner speed, rather than bully the bike into doing what he wants, as Stoner did. Corner speed is very much the weakness of the Ducati, as its vicious power delivery, all of which run totally counter to Lorenzo's strongest point, his fluid smoothness.

If anyone can persuade Lorenzo, then it is surely Gigi Dall'Igna. The pair had a strong relationship during Lorenzo's 250cc period, when he won two championships for Aprilia, where Dall'Igna was head of the racing department. Lorenzo knows what Dall'Igna is capable of, but he also knows the challenges which he would face there. All he needs to do is look across at the other side of the garage, at teammate Valentino Rossi. The prospect of spending two years in the wilderness as Rossi did cannot be an attractive one for a man so clearly addicted to winning. Choosing to ride for Ducati would require a massive leap of faith.

~~~ Update ~~~

As might be expected, Ducati has already denied the rumors they have reached an agreement with Jorge Lorenzo. Speaking to GPOne.com, Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali joked sarcastically 'yes, and we've signed Marquez too, it's cheaper than developing the bike.' The focus, Paolo Ciabatti reaffirmed, was on developing the Desmosedici. 'Our riders are not the problem,' Ciabatti told GPOne.com.

MotoGP silly season this year is expected to be pretty frenetic, with just about all of the riders either out of contract or with escape clauses written into their contracts allowing them to leave at the end of 2014. But even by those standards, the first shot in the battle sounds like madness. According to a report on the Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Ducati have tempted Jorge Lorenzo into agreeing to a precontract to race for the Italian factory from 2015 onwards.According to the report, Ducati Corse's new boss Gigi Dall'Igna phoned Jorge Lorenzo personally to persuade him to sign for the Italian factory. The contract on offer is reported to be tempting: Onda Cero claim that Ducati offered Lorenzo 15 million euros a season to race for them. Lorenzo is reported to be racing for 9 million a year with Yamaha, plus a 2 million euro bonus if he wins the championship. Both Honda and Yamaha are also chasing Lorenzo's signature for 2015, both claimed to have offered him 12 million euros a year.

2014 World Superbike Testing Schedule - Preseason Kicks Off in Portugal and Spain

The long wait for motorcycle racing fans is over. The winter test ban for the World Superbike ends today, and a number of teams will take to the track in Spain and Portugal over the next four days, weather permitting.

The World Superbike paddock is split between Portimao in Portugal and Almeria in southern Spain for the next few days, with Aprilia, Pata Honda and Ducati heading to Portimao, while Kawasaki and Voltcom Suzuki start at Almeria. Suzuki will pack up after two days at Almeria and join Aprilia, Honda and Ducati at Portimao until the 20th of January. The Yakhnich MV Agusta team will also be testing at Portimao, as will the World Supersport teams of PTR Honda and Mahi Kawasaki.

Kawasaki and Honda will be back in southern Spain in early February, with the factory Kawasaki team being joined by the Pedercini squad and Pata Honda for two days at Jerez. Everyone then packs up and heads much further south, to Australia, for the season opener at Phillip Island on 23rd February.

Below is the preseason testing schedule for the World Superbike, World Supersport and Superstock teams for the next few weeks:

Portimao      
16-20th January   Aprilia Marco Melandri, Alex Hofmann
16-18th January   Pata Honda Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, Michael vd Mark, Lorenzo Zanetti
17-20th January   Ducati Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano
19-20th January   Voltcom Suzuki Eugene Laverty, Alex Lowes
    MV Agusta YMS Claudio Corti, Jules Cluzel, Vladimir Leonov
    PTR Honda Jack Kennedy, Nacho Perez, Ratthapark Wilairot
    Mahi Kawasaki Fabien Foret, Kenan Sofuoglu
    DMC Lorenzini Kev Coghlan, Vladimir Ivanov
 
Almeria      
16-17th January   Kawasaki Tom Sykes, Loris Baz, David Salom
    Voltcom Suzuki Eugene Laverty, Alex Lowes
    Team Pucetti Kawasaki Roberto Tamburini
 
Jerez      
5-6th February   Kawasaki Tom Sykes, Loris Baz, David Salom
    Pata Honda Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, Michael vd Mark, Lorenzo Zanetti
    Team Pedercini Alessandro Andreozzi, Mark Aitchison, Lorenzo Savadori, Balasz Nemeth, Romain Lanusse
   

 

The long wait for motorcycle racing fans is over. The winter test ban for the World Superbike ends today, and a number of teams will take to the track in Spain and Portugal over the next four days, weather permitting.The World Superbike paddock is split between Portimao in Portugal and Almeria in southern Spain for the next few days, with Aprilia, Pata Honda and Ducati heading to Portimao, while Kawasaki and Voltcom Suzuki start at Almeria. Suzuki will pack up after two days at Almeria and join Aprilia, Honda and Ducati at Portimao until the 20th of January. The Yakhnich MV Agusta team will also be testing at Portimao, as will the World Supersport teams of PTR Honda and Mahi Kawasaki.Kawasaki and Honda will be back in southern Spain in early February, with the factory Kawasaki team being joined by the Pedercini squad and Pata Honda for two days at Jerez. Everyone then packs up and heads much further south, to Australia, for the season opener at Phillip Island on 23rd February.Below is the preseason testing schedule for the World Superbike, World Supersport and Superstock teams for the next few weeks:

FIM Releases Updated Entry Lists: Leon Camier to Join IODA Racing in MotoGP?

The FIM released an updated entry list for the three Grand Prix classes yesterday. Though the list was not much changed from the previous version published in November, there were one or two notable changes. In the MotoGP class, Leon Camier was listed as the second rider at the IODA Racing team; in Moto2, Franco Morbidelli and Roman Ramos filled the last two vacant slots at Italtrans and QMMF respectively; and in Moto3, the winter signings of Ana Carrasco, Isaac Viñales, Scott Deroue and Enea Bastianini were added to the list.

The biggest news the list contains is the inclusion of Camier in the MotoGP line up. The Englishman has been linked with the IODA ride since November last year, when it became clear that Alex Lowes and Eugene Laverty would be filling the Voltcom Suzuki slots in World Superbikes. Though the IODA Racing team has yet to confirm the signing, Camier spoke to British publication MCN confirming the deal today. The good news for Camier is that the team is now listed as running ART machines, suggesting that IODA has gained support from Aprilia for their project. This support appears to have come at the expense of the PBM team of Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes, who are now listed as racing PBM machinery, rather than the PBM/ART which the original list showed.

The changes to the Moto2 entry list were also broadly expected. Franco Morbidelli has been linked with a Moto2 ride for a while, and with Julian Simon already signed up for one of the Italtrans riders, it was probable that the Italian team would be looking for an Italian rider. After a couple of strong years in the European Superstock 600 Cup, a championship he won last year, Morbidelli was being hotly tipped for a ride to Moto2. The inclusion of Roman Ramos at QMMF is similarly unsurprising. After winning the Spanish CEV Moto2 championship, moving up to the world championship is a natural step.

The changes to the Moto3 line up are largely cosmetic, other than confirming the signings announced over the winter. The biggest changes seem to be in the numbers riders will be using, with Scott Deroue, Francesco Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini, Hafiq Azmi and Bryan Schouten all changing their numbers. 

The entry lists are testament to a strong field. Twenty-four riders will contest the 2014 MotoGP championship, thirty-five riders wll line up at the start of the Moto2 season, and thirty-three riders are entered for Moto3. Testing resumes in just over two weeks' time, when the MotoGP riders take to the track at Sepang.

The FIM released an updated entry list for the three Grand Prix classes yesterday. Though the list was not much changed from the previous version published in November, there were one or two notable changes. In the MotoGP class, Leon Camier was listed as the second rider at the IODA Racing team; in Moto2, Franco Morbidelli and Roman Ramos filled the last two vacant slots at Italtrans and QMMF respectively; and in Moto3, the winter signings of Ana Carrasco, Isaac Viñales, Scott Deroue and Enea Bastianini were added to the list.

Davide Tardozzi Returns To Ducati As Team Manager

It was a move which had been rumored since the middle of last year, but today, Ducati finally confirmed that Davide Tardozzi will return to the Italian factory to manage the MotoGP team. Tardozzi has a long and successful career with Ducati in World Superbikes, before leaving to run the BMW World Superbike program. After BMW pulled its factory program, Tardozzi was left sitting at home, leading to widespread speculation of a Ducati return.

Tardozzi's signing reunites several key players from the most successful period in Ducati's past, with Tardozzi working alongside Paolo Ciabatti. Tardozzi will be taking over the role vacated by Vitto Guareschi, who left to run the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad.

Below is the official press release from Ducati:


Davide Tardozzi returns to Ducati to coordinate Ducati Team organization and logistics in MotoGP

  • Tardozzi to be in charge of organization and logistics and will report to Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director and MotoGP Programme Director
  • Former racer returns to Ducati after success as team manager in Superbike

Ducati Corse wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement with Davide Tardozzi, who returns to work again with the Borgo Panigale, Italy based manufacturer after a period of four years.

Tardozzi, born in Ravenna on January 30th 1959, will have an important role within the Ducati Team and will be in charge of the organization and logistics of the Italian squad in the MotoGP World Championship.

The former racer had a very successful career as Ducati team manager in Superbike, collaborating with champions of the calibre of Fogarty, Bayliss, Corser, Toseland and Hodgson, and contributing to the conquest of seven Riders’ titles in the production-based racing series.

Davide Tardozzi will report directly to Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director and MotoGP Programme Director, and will begin his new role in the Ducati Team starting with the first MotoGP test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia from February 4th to 6th.

It was a move which had been rumored since the middle of last year, but today, Ducati finally confirmed that Davide Tardozzi will return to the Italian factory to manage the MotoGP team. Tardozzi has a long and successful career with Ducati in World Superbikes, before leaving to run the BMW World Superbike program. After BMW pulled its factory program, Tardozzi was left sitting at home, leading to widespread speculation of a Ducati return.Tardozzi's signing reunites several key players from the most successful period in Ducati's past, with Tardozzi working alongside Paolo Ciabatti. Tardozzi will be taking over the role vacated by Vitto Guareschi, who left to run the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad.Below is the official press release from Ducati:Davide Tardozzi returns to Ducati to coordinate Ducati Team organization and logistics in MotoGP Tardozzi to be in charge of organization and logistics and will report to Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director and MotoGP Programme Director Former racer returns to Ducati after success as team manager in SuperbikeDucati Corse wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement with Davide Tardozzi, who returns to work again with the Borgo Panigale, Italy based manufacturer after a period of four years.

2014 Superprestigio Barcelona Dirt Track Race - Baker Wins As Marquez Crashes Out

Brad Baker walked away as winner of the Superprestigio flat track race at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Saturday night. After a hectic evening's racing in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, Baker shook off a challenge from Marc Marquez to take a comfortable win, adding the Superprestigio final win to a win in his Open category.

The event saw riders compete in two categories, the Open class, containing the cream of European flat track racers - still an almost entirely amateur sport - and AMA Grand National champion Brad 'The Bullet' Baker, and the Superprestigio class, consisting of current and former Grand Prix and World Supersport riders. Baker blasted through his heats with ease, winning the Open final almost completely unchallenged, and qualifying for the Superfinal, between the top four in the Open class and the top four from the Superprestigio class.

Marc Marquez had dominated most of the Superprestigio races, the four-race final format allowing the 2013 MotoGP champion to make a couple of mistakes along the way. He ended up winning the Superprestigio final, passing into the Superfinal with Tito Rabat, Kenny Noyes and Aleix Espargaro.

The Superfinal had been billed from the beginning as a battle between Marc Marquez and AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker, and that is exactly what ensued. The contrasting styles of the two men made for a fascinating duel, but the more ragged style of Marquez meant that in the end, he came off worst. Marquez leaned on Baker as he passed underneath, and Marquez found himself crashing out. After a quick glance behind him to see what had happened to Marquez, Baker was gone, taking glory in the Superfinal to a remarkably warm reception from the crowd, most of whom had come to see Marquez. Tito Rabat took second spot, after a very strong evening of racing, while former dirt track racer and owner of the Noyes Camp dirt track school at Motorland Aragon Kenny Noyes grabbed the final podium spot. 

The evening was deemed a success, with a crowd officially given as 8,000, a little over half capacity in the Palau Sant Jordi indoor stadium. Marquez immediately confirmed his intention to organize the event again next year, and Brad Baker jumped at the chance to come back again in 2015.

Video of the Superfinal is here, which may or may not work, depending on your geographic location.

Results Superfinal

Pos No Rider Nationality
1 1 Brad Baker USA
2 53 Tito Rabat ESP
3 9 Kenny Noyes USA
4 41 Aleix Espargaro ESP
5 3 Jose Pedro Gomez ESP
6 78 Merle Scherb USA
7 15 Dani Ribalta ESP
8 93 Marc Marquez ESP

 

Results Superprestigio

Pos No Rider Nationality
1 93 Marc Marquez ESP
2 53 Tito Rabat ESP
3 9 Kenny Noyes USA
4 41 Aleix Espargaro ESP
5 7 Lorenzo Baldassari ITA

 

Results Open final

Pos No Rider Nationality
1 1 Brad Baker USA
2 3 Jose Pedro Gomez ESP
3 78 Merle Scherb USA
4 15 Dani Ribalta ESP
5 68 Tom Neave GBR

 

Brad Baker walked away as winner of the Superprestigio flat track race at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Saturday night. After a hectic evening's racing in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, Baker shook off a challenge from Marc Marquez to take a comfortable win, adding the Superprestigio final win to a win in his Open category.The event saw riders compete in two categories, the Open class, containing the cream of European flat track racers - still an almost entirely amateur sport - and AMA Grand National champion Brad 'The Bullet' Baker, and the Superprestigio class, consisting of current and former Grand Prix and World Supersport riders. Baker blasted through his heats with ease, winning the Open final almost completely unchallenged, and qualifying for the Superfinal, between the top four in the Open class and the top four from the Superprestigio class.Marc Marquez had dominated most of the Superprestigio races, the four-race final format allowing the 2013 MotoGP champion to make a couple of mistakes along the way. He ended up winning the Superprestigio final, passing into the Superfinal with Tito Rabat, Kenny Noyes and Aleix Espargaro.

So You Want To Watch The Superprestigio Live?

So you live in the US, have heard about the awesome Superprestigio indoor dirt track race in Barcelona, and you want to watch Marc Marquez, Alvaro Bautista, Maverick Vinales, and Brad Baker go at it, but don't know how? Never fear, Cycle World has sprung into the breach and pulled a rabbit out of the hat. The event will be streamed on the Cycle World website, from 9am Pacific. You can find a link to the stream here.

Tip of the hat to Mark Gardiner of Motorcycle USA, for persuading Brad Baker to fly across the Atlantic to take on the challenge.

So you live in the US, have heard about the awesome Superprestigio indoor dirt track race in Barcelona, and you want to watch Marc Marquez, Alvaro Bautista, Maverick Vinales, and Brad Baker go at it, but don't know how? Never fear, Cycle World has sprung into the breach and pulled a rabbit out of the hat. The event will be streamed on the Cycle World website, from 9am Pacific. You can find a link to the stream here.Tip of the hat to Mark Gardiner of Motorcycle USA, for persuading Brad Baker to fly across the Atlantic to take on the challenge.

Countdown To The Superprestigio: Marc Marquez Goes Training With Brad 'The Bullet' Baker

Normally, motorcycle racing fans face a long and empty wait between the last tests in November and the first tests in late January and early February. Fortunately, this year, it's different, thanks to the revival of the Superprestigio brand by Jaime Alguersuari, father of the Formula One driver of the same name, and founder of Spanish magazine Solomoto. Alguersuari has pulled off a massive coup by getting 2013 MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez involved, and getting him to front the race. On Saturday, 11th January, some of the best riders in the world will race on an indoor dirt track oval at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona's Olympic Park.

The Superprestigio was always a chance of the best American riders to test themselves against the top Spanish riders, and Alguersuari has arranged for this to happen again. With Marquez already involved, AMA flat track champion Brad 'The Bullet' Baker responded to a challenge from American writer Mark Gardiner on Twitter, and has traveled to Barcelona to race at the event. Baker will be racing in the Open class against the cream of the European dirt track scene, while Marquez will take on top names from the Grand Prix and World Superbike paddocks in the Superprestigio class. Currently signed up are Alvaro Bautista, Pol and Aleix Espargaro, Christian Iddon, Maverick Vinales, Marcel Schrotter, Jonas Folger, Julian Simon, Alex Rins, Tito Rabat, Kenny Noyes, and many more. The top riders from both classes will meet in a grand final at the end of the evening.

With Baker already in Spain, Marquez invited the American champion for a training session at Rufea, a facility some 170km from Barcelona. There, Spanish magazine Solomoto captured the pair of them training, getting ready for the event on Saturday night. The event itself is to be televised by Spanish TV, which will be streaming it live on their website. The action starts at 6pm, and ends with the grand final at 8:44. If you're in Barcelona, it should be a fantastic way to spend the night.

Below is the video of Brad Baker and Marc Marquez training, made by Solomoto:

Normally, motorcycle racing fans face a long and empty wait between the last tests in November and the first tests in late January and early February. Fortunately, this year, it's different, thanks to the revival of the Superprestigio brand by Jaime Alguersuari, father of the Formula One driver of the same name, and founder of Spanish magazine Solomoto. Alguersuari has pulled off a massive coup by getting 2013 MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez involved, and getting him to front the race. On Saturday, 11th January, some of the best riders in the world will race on an indoor dirt track oval at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona's Olympic Park.

Ducati Considering Racing MotoGP As Open Entries For 2014?

After a year of evolution in MotoGP which brought them few rewards, Ducati looks set for a radical shake up for next season. Respected Italian website GPOne.com is reporting that Ducati is considering racing in MotoGP as an Open entry, instead of under the Factory option. In practice, Ducati would be free of the engine freeze in place for Factory Option teams in 2014, have 24 liters of fuel instead of 20, and twelve engines per season instead of just five. In addition, they have more freedom to test with factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. In exchange, they will have to forego the freedom to develop their own software, and will run the spec Dorna-supplied software instead.

GPOne's source is impeccable, quoting Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso. The two bikes - the GP13 in factory configuration, and in the Open configuration with more fuel and the spec software - have already been tested back-to-back, at the test in Jerez in November. However, those bikes were ridden by test riders, and not by Ducati factory men Dovizioso and Crutchlow. 'The real test will come when we test the bike,' Dovizioso told GPOne.com. That test is set to happen at Sepang, at the first test of the 2014 season from 4th to 6th February. One of the things which was said to be improved was the engine response when running with more fuel. An aggressive throttle response is something which Ducati riders have all complained of in the past, and having more fuel available could alleviate.

Switching to an Open entry offers Ducati a lot of advantages, which far outweigh the disadvantage of losing the use of their own software. Right now, what Ducati needs is testing and development, and by removing the software from the equation, Ducati are free to concentrate on engine and chassis. The fact that Open entries are not subject to the engine freeze in place on all engine internals for 2014 for Factory Option bikes means that Ducati are free to change engine configurations and internals when they want. With twelve engines for the season, they can test a lot more variables, playing with crankshaft masses, valve timing and sizes, the configuration of the V, tilting it backwards and forwards, and rejigging the layout of gearbox shafts, should they so wish. In effect, Ducati can circumvent the engine freeze imposed on factory entries and try to catch up with Yamaha and Honda. To catch the two Japanese factories, Ducati have a lot of development work to do, and the engine freeze is a massive impediment to doing just that.

Racing as an Open entry has two more major benefits. The first is testing, which Open entries have much more freedom in. Dovizioso and Crutchlow would be free to test at any circuit they like, rather than having to rely on test riders at all but the official test days, as Factory option entries must. Though there is a minor difference in tire allocations for testing, the net result is the same, with 120 testing tires each for Dovizioso and Crutchlow.

The race tire allocation is the other benefit of being an Open entry. So far, it looks like Bridgestone will continue to supply the softer option rear tire for the Open entries, which is not open to Factory option entries. The softer tire offers more rear grip and more performance, and allowed Aleix Espargaro to be extremely competitive last year on the underpowered Aprilia ART bike. No decision has yet been made on the softer tire for the Open class, as Bridgestone has concerns over the durability of the tire when used by the new Open class bikes, which are much more powerful than the old CRT machines. A final decision is set to be made after the Sepang tests, once more data has been collected.

If Ducati do decide to enter as Open entries, this looks like a stroke of genius by new Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna. There are many benefits to be had from racing in the Open class, especially in the field of engine development, which is what Ducati needs most right now. Given that the bike is a long way from being competitive right now, they have very little to lose by giving up the right to use and develop their own software. With Dorna and IRTA pushing for all entries to use the spec software from 2017 onwards, this also gives Ducati a head start on the possible new rules. This is a sign that Ducati are very serious indeed about trying to return to the front.

After a year of evolution in MotoGP which brought them few rewards, Ducati looks set for a radical shake up for next season. Respected Italian website GPOne.com is reporting that Ducati is considering racing in MotoGP as an Open entry, instead of under the Factory option. In practice, Ducati would be free of the engine freeze in place for Factory Option teams in 2014, have 24 liters of fuel instead of 20, and twelve engines per season instead of just five. In addition, they have more freedom to test with factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. In exchange, they will have to forego the freedom to develop their own software, and will run the spec Dorna-supplied software instead.GPOne's source is impeccable, quoting Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso. The two bikes - the GP13 in factory configuration, and in the Open configuration with more fuel and the spec software - have already been tested back-to-back, at the test in Jerez in November. However, those bikes were ridden by test riders, and not by Ducati factory men Dovizioso and Crutchlow. 'The real test will come when we test the bike,' Dovizioso told GPOne.com. That test is set to happen at Sepang, at the first test of the 2014 season from 4th to 6th February. One of the things which was said to be improved was the engine response when running with more fuel. An aggressive throttle response is something which Ducati riders have all complained of in the past, and having more fuel available could alleviate.

Scott Deroue Joins Ana Carrasco At RW Racing In Moto3 For 2014

The penultimate piece of the 2014 Moto3 puzzle has fallen into place today, with the announcement that Scott Deroue will be joining Ana Carrasco at RW Racing GP. The Dutch youngster has signed a two-year contract to race for the Dutch team, and will contest the 2014 season on a Kalex KTM Moto3 machine.

Deroue has spent the last three season racing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he has posted some impressive results, taking a total of four victories. He has also raced in both the Dutch ONK and German IDM Moto3 championships, winning in both those series, as well as competing in selected rounds of the Spanish CEV championship. That Deroue should step up to Moto3 with the RW Racing GP team comes as no surprise, as the young Dutchman has been riding for the RW Racing junior team in the Dutch and German championships. RW Racing had been expected to announce the move much earlier, but Deroue had suffered a slump in form last season, the team attributing his problems to puberty. Deroue has since started to display a little more maturity, and this could be the catalyst for RW Racing's decision to promote Deroue to the Grand Prix team.

Deroue will be the second Dutchman racing in Moto3, with Bryan Schouten already having signed for the CIP team. Deroue's signing leaves no place for Jasper Iwema, who struggled throughout the 2013 season after suffering a major concussion in a massive crash at Austin. Iwema returned to action too early, suffering concentration problems, tiredness and headaches, but soldiered on. That decision may have blighted his results; if he had elected to skip a couple of races, he could have returned in better shape, and his results might have benefited. As it was, Iwema was a victim of the pressure all riders are under to return to racing as quickly as possible. Where Iwema will end up in 2014 is unknown.

The signing of Deroue leaves just a single seat open, the second seat at Gresini. For a full and up-to-date list of all the riders and teams, see our 2014 Moto3 rider line up page.

Below is the press release issued by the RW Racing GP team on Iwema's signing:


Scott Deroue to race in world championship with RW Racing GP

Scott Deroue is the second rider for RW Racing GP in the 2014 Moto3 world championship. The team has signed the 18 year old Dutchman for two years. Deroue makes his way to Moto3 after three years in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, in which he finished as runner up in 2012 and gained four victories. A few weeks ago RW Racing GP already contracted 16 year old Spanish rider Ana Carrasco.

Giving Dutch talent the chance to race at the highest level has always been one of the main purposes of RW Racing GP since its foundation in 2011. Therefore the team already began working with Scott Deroue last year, as RW Racing GP Junior Team in the Dutch, German and Spanish open championships.

RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen: “Scott has won races in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, so we know what he is capable of. This definitely is a big chance for Scott and we truly hope he will grab it with both hands. Scott has just turned 18 and 2014 will be a learning year for him. We have not set any specific goals, as in finishing at a certain position or number of championship points. The only pressure will be to show an upward trend.”

Scott Deroue: “I can’t imagine a better way to start the new year as when RW Racing GP called me to tell we will be in the world championships together. To be honest I had not counted on it anymore and we were already focussing on racing in the CEV Spanish championship. This opportunity opens a new chapter in my racing career and my personal life. I realise it will be tough but I’m ready to work hard to achieve the best possible results. I have faith in the team and our new challenge, as we have worked together already and know each other well. I’d like to thank RW Racing GP for believing in me and my sponsors and family who have supported me over the years and whose support I will need now more than ever to make this dream come true.”

RW Racing GP team owner Roelof Waninge: “As a Dutch team we feel we have an obligation and responsibility to support Dutch talents and give them a chance to develop and race at a high level. Scott is one of those special talents we believe in. We think he is ready to step up. He has built up a huge amount of international racing experience already at this age. Although there still is a challenge to secure the budget – for Scott as well – we prefer a Dutch talent over a second foreign rider.

Signing Scott means RW Racing GP and Jasper Iwema part ways after only one season. We are sorry to see Jasper leave. Unfortunately we could not find enough support to continue. Both Jasper and his management as RW Racing GP have tried hard, because we all believe there was more in it than last season showed. We consider Jasper part of the family. We hope he can find his way in a competition that suits him, because he is true racer and a fighter. We wish him all the best.”

Scott Deroue

Born: 23 december 1995
Lives: Nijkerkerveen (Netherlands)

2013 7th in Red Bull Rookies Cup, with a victory in Silverstone and podium finishes at Sachsenring and Aragon.
Two victories in the Dutch open championship (ONK) Moto3, two victories in the international German championship(IDM) Moto3 and one in the Dutch series fot the Moriwaki Cup.
2012 2nd in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Best results: double victory in Estoril and a win at the Sachsenring.
4th in Dutch championship (ONK) Moto3/125, with one second place and two third places.
2011 15th in first season Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Best result: 3rd at the Sachsenring and Brno.
4th Dutch 125cc championship (ONK) Best result 2nd at Hengelo.
Best result for the international German championship (IDM) 14th at Hockenheim.
2010 13th Dutch 125 Championship (ONK), best result 5th at Assen.
Best result for the IDM 22th at Oschersleben.
2009 1st Molenaar Honda NSF100 Championship
2008 1st Dutch Pocket Bike Championship, GRC, Class Junior Open.
2007 1st Dutch Pocket Bike Championship, Blata, Class Junior B.
2006 Dutch Pocket Bike Championship, Blata, Class Junior B.
2005 1st Dutch Pocket Bike Championship, GRC.

 

The penultimate piece of the 2014 Moto3 puzzle has fallen into place today, with the announcement that Scott Deroue will be joining Ana Carrasco at RW Racing GP. The Dutch youngster has signed a two-year contract to race for the Dutch team, and will contest the 2014 season on a Kalex KTM Moto3 machine.Deroue has spent the last three season racing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he has posted some impressive results, taking a total of four victories. He has also raced in both the Dutch ONK and German IDM Moto3 championships, winning in both those series, as well as competing in selected rounds of the Spanish CEV championship. That Deroue should step up to Moto3 with the RW Racing GP team comes as no surprise, as the young Dutchman has been riding for the RW Racing junior team in the Dutch and German championships. RW Racing had been expected to announce the move much earlier, but Deroue had suffered a slump in form last season, the team attributing his problems to puberty. Deroue has since started to display a little more maturity, and this could be the catalyst for RW Racing's decision to promote Deroue to the Grand Prix team.

Looking Back At 2013 With Scott Jones, Part 5: Laguna, For The Last Time


Second in flight: Andrea Dovizioso gets airborne through Turn 1


Over the crest for the last time: money problems and safety issues mean no more Laguna Seca


Nicky Hayden had a special helmet for Laguna, and as ever, it was superb


Laguna Seca would be the battle of the collarbones. Jorge Lorenzo hurt his at Assen and the Sachsenring


While Dani Pedrosa had fractured his in Germany


Cal Crutchlow hoists the front


Bautista's Beautiful Backdrop. We'll miss the scenery at Laguna


Bradley Smith was doing OK for a first timer at Laguna, but he would not last the full race


Laguna Seca saw Valentino Rossi get his third podium in a row. That had been a while


If proof were needed of Marquez' remarkable season, winning at Laguna at the first attempt there was surely it


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.

Second in flight: Andrea Dovizioso gets airborne through Turn 1 Over the crest for the last time: money problems and safety issues mean no more Laguna Seca Nicky Hayden had a special helmet for Laguna, and as ever, it was superb

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