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MSMA Agree To Freeze Electronic Development Ahead Of 2016 Switchover

With the MotoGP series due to switch over to standard software for the spec Magneti Marelli ECU in 2016, there comes a point at which it makes no sense for the factories to continue developing their own electronics. There is, after all, little point in spending money on software which will be discarded all the way to the last race of 2015, especially as the factories will need to start work on the shared electronics package for 2016 and beyond.

GPOne.com is reporting that the factories have finally agreed a date for an electronics freeze to commence. From the 2015 Assen round of MotoGP, all development of factory software will be frozen, Ducati, Honda and Yamaha racing the rest of the 2015 season with the software they have developed up until that point. Ducati had initially opposed the software freeze, GPOne.com reports, but finally settled for the Assen date.

From that point on, the factories in the MSMA will concentrate their attention on the collaborative effort to develop the standard software to be used by all of the MotoGP bikes from 2016 onwards. Development is to be done via a common portal under the control of Dorna, with all of the factories contributing functionality and code for everyone to review and use.

The one detail missing from the electronics freeze is how that will be enforced, as GPOne.com points out. It is hard to see how a development freeze is to be enforced without each of the factories handing over their software to Dorna, but that seems like an inconceivable option for the factories.

With the MotoGP series due to switch over to standard software for the spec Magneti Marelli ECU in 2016, there comes a point at which it makes no sense for the factories to continue developing their own electronics. There is, after all, little point in spending money on software which will be discarded all the way to the last race of 2015, especially as the factories will need to start work on the shared electronics package for 2016 and beyond.GPOne.com is reporting that the factories have finally agreed a date for an electronics freeze to commence. From the 2015 Assen round of MotoGP, all development of factory software will be frozen, Ducati, Honda and Yamaha racing the rest of the 2015 season with the software they have developed up until that point. Ducati had initially opposed the software freeze, GPOne.com reports, but finally settled for the Assen date.

Scott Jones In Austin - Visions Of Texas, Part 2


The Ducati's getting closer. Could Dovizioso win a race this year?


Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?


Everything's bigger in Texas. Even the kerbs.


Body language


Up one week, down the next. There is still work to be done for Alvaro Bautista


Taking no prisoners


Bowing out


Let's roll


Stefan Bradl stepped it up a notch in Texas


Maniac Joe is finding his feet. So you better beware


Factory life is tough, but Crutchlow's adapting


Rabat, ready to rock


Fastest proddie Honda. Redding is impressing on his debut


Red McComb looked at a sketch of the tower on paper, and knew COTA had to have it


Bradley Smith. Taking care of business in Texas


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 Ducati's getting closer. Could Dovizioso win a race this year? Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Everything's bigger in Texas. Even the kerbs.

Scott Jones In Austin - Visions Of Texas, Part 1


Goodbye, and thanks for everything


Sideways. Just because


Anything he can do, I can do better


In the eye of the storm


Benvenuto a Texas, Mattia!


Second race, and fastest production Honda. Not bad for a new boy, Scott Redding


Seamless gearbox inside


The Ducati train


Wayne Rainey, living legend


Rossi's boys. Romano Fenati on the Team Sky VR46 KTM


One fast German


Not as fast here as at Qatar, but Aleix Espargaro didn't test here beforehand


Dreaming of pneumatic valves


Americans. MotoGP and World Superbikes need more of them


Mnemonic: #68 is 2013, #29 is 2014


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.

Goodbye, and thanks for everything Sideways. Just because Anything he can do, I can do better

Russian World Superbike Round Canceled Due To Political Situation Surrounding Ukraine

The Russian round of World Superbikes, due to be held at Moscow Raceway on 21st September, has been canceled. Citing the political iinstability caused by the situation in Ukraine, Dorna announced that the round would be canceled for this year, though the intention is to continue to run the race next year and for the rest of the contract. The situation surrounding Ukraine and the Crimea has made it impossible for several companies involved in organizing the Russian race to guarantee they can be ready in time for the race in September.

The press release issued by Dorna appears below:


WSBK Russian Round cancellation

Barcelona (Spain), Saturday 12 April 2014 - DWO and YMS Promotion have decided to cancel the WSBK Russian Round which was scheduled to be held at Moscow Raceway on September 21st 2014.

The current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event.

Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail.

It is a common intention to continue with the organisation of the WSBK Russian Round in 2015 and for the remainder of the contract period up to 2021.

The Russian round of World Superbikes, due to be held at Moscow Raceway on 21st September, has been canceled. Citing the political iinstability caused by the situation in Ukraine, Dorna announced that the round would be canceled for this year, though the intention is to continue to run the race next year and for the rest of the contract. The situation surrounding Ukraine and the Crimea has made it impossible for several companies involved in organizing the Russian race to guarantee they can be ready in time for the race in September.The press release issued by Dorna appears below:WSBK Russian Round cancellationBarcelona (Spain), Saturday 12 April 2014 - DWO and YMS Promotion have decided to cancel the WSBK Russian Round which was scheduled to be held at Moscow Raceway on September 21st 2014.The current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event.Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail.It is a common intention to continue with the organisation of the WSBK Russian Round in 2015 and for the remainder of the contract period up to 2021.

Riders Unhappy With Return Of 2013 Bridgestone At Austin

Bridgestone's decision to bring the 2013-spec medium compound rear tire to the Austin round of MotoGP has met with near universal displeasure among the MotoGP riders. The Japanese tire company was forced to revert to the 2013-spec tire, without the added heat-resistant layer, after a production issue with the 2014 tires meant that they were unable to bring enough of the new spec tires to the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin.

That decision was cause for much disappointment among MotoGP riders. 'I'm not happy to use the old tire,' Valentino Rossi told the press conference. 'I don't like it. I want to use the new one, and what Bridgestone did this weekend, bring the old tire after we worked a lot on the bike to make it use the new tire, this is something that sincerely I don't understand.'

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez concurred with Rossi. 'I don't agree with it,' Marquez said. 'I don't understand, honestly. Some riders complained. Not many, but some, and now here we will have the 2013 [tire],' Marquez said. It was unlikely to be too much of a problem for the Honda, though, he added. 'We raced the hard tire in Qatar, and here it looks like it will be warm, so we will try to manage.' The hard tire had worked well at Austin last year, giving Marquez hope he would be able to use the harder rubber.

Jorge Lorenzo rejected suggestions that the switch to the 2013 tire was related to the bitter complaints the Spaniard had aimed at the new, 2014 tire at Qatar. The decision had not been made by the company he worked for, Lorenzo said. 'I will race the tire we have,' Lorenzo said. 'I have to work with whatever Bridgestone bring.'

Bradley Smith was the most outspoken of the riders with his criticism of the move. Using the 2013 tires would help clarify the situation for Bridgestone, Smith said, giving the tire manufacturer and the teams a better look at the old tire. 'The new 2014 tires are much better, especially in race conditions,' Smith said. 'So I think this will shut up some riders from whingeing.'

Smith later explained his veiled barb at Jorge Lorenzo, the only rider to have been so vocal in his rejection of the tires. While Lorenzo had put off working with the new generation tires, Smith had started adapting to the 2014 tires as soon as possible.

The reasons the 2014 tires, which lack the edge grip of the previous year's rubber, don't work for Lorenzo's style were self-evident, Smith explained. 'He [Lorenzo] relies on corner speed, relies on angle, relies on the Yamaha to ride with his style. He's perfected his style, and I can understand his frustration, because in the final six races last year, he finally figured out how to make the bike go faster than the Honda. Then you start the season and you find out your style no longer works.'

Smith was sympathetic of Lorenzo's plight. 'I rode for all of last year knowing my style didn't work. It killed me that it didn't, but I had to modify it.' The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider explained where his style diverged from Lorenzo's. 'I ride differently. I don't commit to the corner as early as he does, I don't carry the angle that he does for half of the time, and when I touch the throttle I pick up the bike a few degrees more than him, rather than keeping it on the angle. All those small details are where he's suffering,' Smith explained.

Testing had helped him adapt to the new medium rear, Smith said. 'I've figured out how to work [the new tire]. I did two extra days in Malaysia on those tires, where they decided, 'OK, we're just going to run the old tires, because that's what we're going to do.' I threw mine away, and said, OK, give me all the new ones and let me try to figure it out. It meant that I rode two seconds slower than they did, but I had two days more there. I also got the three days in Qatar that they didn't have, because when they rode in Phillip Island, they didn't test anything really on those tires, they had other tires. So I've had five days more experience on those tires than they have.'

That experience had ultimately benefited Yamaha's factory team, however. 'They were looking a lot into my settings, they looked a lot into tire temperatures and everything I was gaining because I have more information,' Smith said. 'I think that's what also helped a little bit towards Valentino's good performance in the race. But it's swings and roundabouts as well, I had their data to work with last year in many situations. I'm just happy that maybe for once, I've helped the factory team.'

Bridgestone's decision to bring the 2013-spec medium compound rear tire to the Austin round of MotoGP has met with near universal displeasure among the MotoGP riders. The Japanese tire company was forced to revert to the 2013-spec tire, without the added heat-resistant layer, after a production issue with the 2014 tires meant that they were unable to bring enough of the new spec tires to the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin.That decision was cause for much disappointment among MotoGP riders. 'I'm not happy to use the old tire,' Valentino Rossi told the press conference. 'I don't like it. I want to use the new one, and what Bridgestone did this weekend, bring the old tire after we worked a lot on the bike to make it use the new tire, this is something that sincerely I don't understand.'

Colin Edwards Announces His Retirement: 2014 To Be His Last Season Racing

Colin Edwards has announced that he is to retire from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2014 season. The 40-year-old Texan told a shocked press conference that he had decided to hang up his helmet for good, after finding it increasingly harder to be competitive, and struggling to make the family sacrifices with children growing up.

Edwards seemed uncharacteristically at a loss for words as he made his announcement. The Texan has always been outspoken, and never afraid to speak his mind, yet this announcement was hard. 'I don't even know how to say it, I rehearsed it so many times,' Edwards hesitated. '2014 will be my last year racing motorcycles.' It was a tough decision to make, he said. He has been racing in Europe since 1995, and been away from his family an awful lot. With his kids reaching the age where they are becoming much more active, Edwards hinted that it was getting hard to keep missing big moments in their lives.

The biggest factor was his struggle to be competitive, however. After a difficult year on the Suter-BMW, then a slightly better year on the FTR Kawasaki, Edwards had high hopes for 2014. The return to a Yamaha M1-powered bike meant he would no longer have to fight a lack of horsepower, but Edwards could never really get to grips with the Yamaha M1 chassis. 'Preseason was a little tough, testing was a little tough. I wasn't really getting the results that I wanted, and I realized I had to really change my body, my style. 'Trying to do that was…I was like man I don’t know if I can do this,' he told the press conference.

The Texan had been thinking about retirement for a while - though he laughed off question from a French reporter, who he had told he would keep racing for a while just last week. 'If I'd have told you, you would have told everyone,' he joked. 'My wife hadn't asked me [about retiring] for a couple months, we had talked a little bit about it, and then finally last week she's like 'are you going to retire on Thursday?' and I said 'yes' and she said 'shit, I didn't want to ask!' because…my whole life has been racing motorcycles,' Edwards said.

Asked about the best memories of his career, Edwards immediately pointed to his 2002 World Superbike title, which he clinched in one of the most thrilling races of recent years. The battle came down to the final race at Imola, where he beat Troy Bayliss in dramatic fashion to take the race win and the title. Edwards also highlighted his wins at the Suzuka 8 Hour races in 2000 and 2001.

Colin Edwards started his professional racing career in 1992, racing a 250. For the following two years, Edwards raced for the factory Yamaha team in the AMA Superbike series. In 1995, he switched to World Superbikes with Yamaha, but did not make the impact he hoped. He switched to Honda for 1998 after sitting out most of the 1997 series with injury. Edwards scored his biggest successes with Honda, first on the four-cylinder RC45, then on the V-twin RC51, clinching the title in 2000 and 2002. He switched to MotoGP in 2003, racing the vicious Aprilia RS3 Cube, then jumping ship to ride a Honda in 2004. In 2005, he joined Valentino Rossi at the factory Yamaha squad, having his best season with the factory in 2006, where he came within a corner of winning the Dutch TT at Assen. Edwards remained in the factory team for 2007, before switching to Tech 3 in 2008 to make way for Jorge Lorenzo. Edwards stayed with Tech 3 until the end of 2011. For 2012, he switched to the Forward Racing team, where he has remained ever since.

The loss of Colin Edwards is a double blow for MotoGP. Edwards is one of just three American riders in the Grand Prix paddock, along with Nicky Hayden and Josh Herrin, meaning there will be fewer US riders on the grid next year. Most of all, though, Edwards' personality will be missed. Quick-witted, and with a colorful (if often unprintable) turn of phrase, Colin Edwards was one of the old school of riders who are not afraid to speak their minds. Edwards spoke freely, and without concern for his sponsors or his employers. His openness and lively turn of phrase made him massively popular with fans and press alike, his popularity more than compensating for the fact that he refused to toe the corporate line. 

Edwards will be sorely missed. We can only hope that other young riders will cultivate character and personality over corporate and sponsorship demands. Motorcycle racing is a highly individual sport, where much revolves around the personality of the rider. Without personalities, the popularity of the sport suffers massively.

 

Colin Edwards has announced that he is to retire from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2014 season. The 40-year-old Texan told a shocked press conference that he had decided to hang up his helmet for good, after finding it increasingly harder to be competitive, and struggling to make the family sacrifices with children growing up.Edwards seemed uncharacteristically at a loss for words as he made his announcement. The Texan has always been outspoken, and never afraid to speak his mind, yet this announcement was hard. 'I don't even know how to say it, I rehearsed it so many times,' Edwards hesitated. '2014 will be my last year racing motorcycles.' It was a tough decision to make, he said. He has been racing in Europe since 1995, and been away from his family an awful lot. With his kids reaching the age where they are becoming much more active, Edwards hinted that it was getting hard to keep missing big moments in their lives.

Red Bull To Leave F1 And Buy MotoGP Series - Dorna Ousted As Bridgepoint Cashes Out

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As many of you will have spotted, this was in fact an April Fool's story. Though Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz has made vague threats to pull out of F1 over the new rules, as quoted in the Kurier story, there are no signs that Red Bull is looking to expand its presence inside MotoGP, beyond expanding the number of riders it backs. Red Bull's strategy continues to be to back individual athletes in motorcycle racing, as fans tend to follow riders rather than teams. However, that Bridgepoint will at some point sell its remaining stake in Dorna is a certainty. The question is, who they will sell it to, and at what price. Private equity firms are always seeking large returns on medium-term investments. Bridgepoint have owned Dorna now for 7 years, and so a sale is likely in the next two or three years. In the meantime, both the MotoGP and World Superbike series must be made as profitable as possible, which means cutting costs and raising revenues. The shift to pay-per-view broadcasting deals is possibly one strand of that strategy. Arguably, if Red Bull were to produce content and stream it free over the internet, it could help to grow the sport enormously, especially outside of the established markets. That is one area where Dorna's twin strategies - striking deals with PPV broadcasters, and expanding its online video offering - collide and conflict. Free, and freely shareable online content will remain a difficult subject for Dorna, unfortunately.

Now that April Fool's Day is over, we will once again focus on trying to ensure that all of the stories on the website are as accurate as possible. Normal service has now been resumed... 

Red Bull are poised to make two dramatic announcements over the next two weekends, MotoMatters.com can exclusively reveal. At next weekend's Bahrain F1 race, the Austrian energy drink firm will announce its withdrawal from the premier four-wheeled racing series at the end of 2014. A week later, at the Austin MotoGP round for which it is the title sponsor, Red Bull is to announce that it is to purchase Bridgepoint Capital's remaining stake in MotoGP, and take over the running of the series.

Sources in the private finance industry with knowledge of the situation say that Bridgepoint has been looking to rid itself of its motorcycle racing business for some time. The private equity firm had acquired 71% of Dorna in 2006, at the peak of MotoGP's popularity, reputedly for GBP400 million. Since then, they have seen the value of their investment drop, and have been looking to get their money back from the deal ever since. The sale of a 39% stake in Dorna to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment board was the first step in recouping their investment. That deal was rumored to be worth 400 million euros, or just over 70% of their initial outlay. Sources with knowledge of the situation say that Red Bull is to acquire the remaining 32% of Dorna for around 300 million euros, but with full control over the series.

That was a condition for Dieter Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire owner of the energy drink giant, to pull his investment from F1 and take over control of world championship motorcycle racing. Mateschitz had been unhappy with the direction F1 had been taking for some time now, and the debacle at the opening race of the year had prompted the Austrian to drop the first hints that he would withdraw from the series entirely. Speaking to the Austrian newspaper Kurier, Mateschitz had said 'The point of F1 is neither to set new records for fuel economy, nor to allow people to have whispered conversations during a race.' He suggested that there were better ways to get a return on investment. 'GP2 partially provides more racing and fighting and almost equal lap times as F1 with a small fraction of the budget.'

But mention of the open wheel support series to F1 was merely subterfuge, MotoMatters.com has exclusively learned. For a sum equivalent to a little more than the annual budget of the Red Bull F1 team, Mateschitz is able to obtain not just a team, but an entire race series. What is more, MotoGP is a better fit for Red Bull's target audience than F1, fans being generally younger and more open to new experiences than the older, more staid F1 audience. Though Red Bull had refrained from sponsoring a team directly, the energy firm had been slowly extending its reach in motorcycle racing, backing more and more riders, as well as three MotoGP rounds.

Mateschitz had reportedly been displeased at the way in which rival Monster had been expanding in to MotoGP more and more aggressively, snatching top riders away from under their noses. By buying both the MotoGP and World Superbike series outright, Red Bull controls the series completely. Though existing energy drink sponsorship deals will be allowed to stand, all bikes and riders will be obliged to carry the Red Bull logo on both leathers and fairings. The deal hits Yamaha most heavily, with Monster sponsoring both the factory team and Tech 3 satellite squad. Tech 3 is to be renamed 'Red Bull Tech 3 Monster',  a further blow to the US-based energy drink firm. 

The Red Bull takeover will also have far-reaching consequences inside of Dorna. With the F1 team to be disbanded, senior personnel are to be given key positions overseeing both the MotoGP and World Superbike series. The biggest change is the most controversial: Carmelo Ezpeleta, who has run MotoGP since 1992, when Dorna first acquired the sport through the former Banesto bank, is to be removed from MotoGP and sent to run the World Superbike series. In Ezpeleta's place, Mateschitz is to put F1 team principal Christian Horner, MotoMatters.com has learned. Though Horner has no experience of running a race series, the young Englishman is known to be a great organizational talent and extremely ambitious.

There will be major technical changes as well. Red Bull designer Adrian Newey is to take charge of the technical side of the series. The manufacturers are to be encouraged to focus on World Superbikes, one of the reasons Ezpeleta is to be placed in charge there, as Ezpeleta has long experience of managing the relationship with the factories. Newey is to focus on managing a new set of technical regulations, based around a tightly-controlled engine specification. MotoMatters.com understands that the bikes are to be powered by normally aspirated 1400cc four-stroke triples, to be housed in prototype chassis using spec electronics. Newey's long experience in F1 and with the engineering firms based in the UK's 'F1 corridor' is hoped to bring fresh blood into the series, managing costs while still presenting significant engineering challenges to frame builders wishing to get involved.

The sale could be good news for MotoGP fans around the world who currently have no access to the sport. MotoGP would be a keystone of Red Bull's promotional platform, featuring heavily on the Red Bull TV channel. Vast amounts of content would be released online, making it freely available to everyone with an internet connection. With fears that the many TV deals done with pay-per-view broadcasters could see the popularity of the sport take a nosedive, having a large amount of content freely available - and in easily sharable format, with strong Red Bull branding - should increase the profile of the sport.

Red Bull's acquisition of Dorna is the logical extension of the ever-greater reliance of motorcycle racing on energy drink sponsorship. Mateschitz is believed to see owning and running the race series as the best way to circumvent any attempts to regulate promotion of the highly caffeinated sugary drinks. By creating an overwhelming association between motorcycle racing and Red Bull, the Austrian billionaire is hoping that if the advertising of energy drinks is limited, the promotion of MotoGP will trigger subconscious associations with Red Bull, and maintain sales among the key younger demographic. The fear for MotoGP fans must be that if Red Bull decides to sell its share in Dorna once again, there will be no more sponsors left to invest in the sport. Motorcycle racing never really learned the lesson of the years of tobacco sponsorship; the takeover of the sport by energy drinks puts it right back where it started.

As many of you will have spotted, this was in fact an April Fool's story. Though Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz has made vague threats to pull out of F1 over the new rules, as quoted in the Kurier story, there are no signs that Red Bull is looking to expand its presence inside MotoGP, beyond expanding the number of riders it backs. Red Bull's strategy continues to be to back individual athletes in motorcycle racing, as fans tend to follow riders rather than teams. However, that Bridgepoint will at some point sell its remaining stake in Dorna is a certainty. The question is, who they will sell it to, and at what price. Private equity firms are always seeking large returns on medium-term investments. Bridgepoint have owned Dorna now for 7 years, and so a sale is likely in the next two or three years. In the meantime, both the MotoGP and World Superbike series must be made as profitable as possible, which means cutting costs and raising revenues. The shift to pay-per-view broadcasting deals is possibly one strand of that strategy. Arguably, if Red Bull were to produce content and stream it free over the internet, it could help to grow the sport enormously, especially outside of the established markets. That is one area where Dorna's twin strategies - striking deals with PPV broadcasters, and expanding its online video offering - collide and conflict. Free, and freely shareable online content will remain a difficult subject for Dorna, unfortunately.Now that April Fool's Day is over, we will once again focus on trying to ensure that all of the stories on the website are as accurate as possible. Normal service has now been resumed... Red Bull are poised to make two dramatic announcements over the next two weekends, MotoMatters.com can exclusively reveal. At next weekend's Bahrain F1 race, the Austrian energy drink firm will announce its withdrawal from the premier four-wheeled racing series at the end of 2014. A week later, at the Austin MotoGP round for which it is the title sponsor, Red Bull is to announce that it is to purchase Bridgepoint Capital's remaining stake in MotoGP, and take over the running of the series.Sources in the private finance industry with knowledge of the situation say that Bridgepoint has been looking to rid itself of its motorcycle racing business for some time. The private equity firm had acquired 71% of Dorna in 2006, at the peak of MotoGP's popularity, reputedly for GBP400 million. Since then, they have seen the value of their investment drop, and have been looking to get their money back from the deal ever since. The sale of a 39% stake in Dorna to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment board was the first step in recouping their investment. That deal was rumored to be worth 400 million euros, or just over 70% of their initial outlay. Sources with knowledge of the situation say that Red Bull is to acquire the remaining 32% of Dorna for around 300 million euros, but with full control over the series.That was a condition for Dieter Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire owner of the energy drink giant, to pull his investment from F1 and take over control of world championship motorcycle racing. Mateschitz had been unhappy with the direction F1 had been taking for some time now, and the debacle at the opening race of the year had prompted the Austrian to drop the first hints that he would withdraw from the series entirely. Speaking to the Austrian newspaper Kurier, Mateschitz had said 'The point of F1 is neither to set new records for fuel economy, nor to allow people to have whispered conversations during a race.' He suggested that there were better ways to get a return on investment. 'GP2 partially provides more racing and fighting and almost equal lap times as F1 with a small fraction of the budget.'But mention of the open wheel support series to F1 was merely subterfuge, MotoMatters.com has exclusively learned. For a sum equivalent to a little more than the annual budget of the Red Bull F1 team, Mateschitz is able to obtain not just a team, but an entire race series. What is more, MotoGP is a better fit for Red Bull's target audience than F1, fans being generally younger and more open to new experiences than the older, more staid F1 audience. Though Red Bull had refrained from sponsoring a team directly, the energy firm had been slowly extending its reach in motorcycle racing, backing more and more riders, as well as three MotoGP rounds.

Bridgestone To Bring 2013-Spec Tires To Austin For MotoGP

Bridgestone is to bring its 2013-spec tires for the MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Production delays meant that the Japanese tire manufacturer was unable to guarantee a full allocation of the 2014 spec medium rear tires with the heat-resistant treatment being supplied to all of the MotoGP riders. Research and inspection of data from 2013 showed that there would be no problem with the tires without the heat-resistant treatment, and so it was decided to supply everyone with the 2013-spec medium rear tires.

The alternative to this would be having two different specifications of the medium compound available to the riders in Austin. A Bridgestone spokesperson told MotoMatters.com, 'Bridgestone felt this was a better option than having riders end up with non-heat resistant and heat-resistant tyres in the same compound option at a race weekend.' The 2013 tires will only be used at Austin, however, resulting from a production issue. 'This is a one-off situation, the 2014 specification slicks will be offered at all other venues,' the spokesperson said.

The announcement will be welcome news to the Movistar Yamaha and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teams. All four riders have struggled with the reduced edge grip produced by the heat-resistant layer in the 2014-spec tires, Jorge Lorenzo being perhaps the loudest critic of the change. It is no magic bullet, however: the Austin circuit proved to strongly favor the Honda riders in 2013, and though the addition of the seamless gearbox should level the playing field a little in Texas, the layout will likely still benefit Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, rather than Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

Real progress may come at Le Mans, when Bridgestone will be bringing a modified medium rear for the MotoGP riders. That tire still uses the heat-resistant treatment to prevent problems with the tire under high temperatures and difficult conditions, but a modified process restores some of the edge grip. The same process was applied to the hard rear tires at the end of last year, and the change was given a positive reception, turning the hard rear tire into a viable race option at some tracks.

Bridgestone is to bring its 2013-spec tires for the MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Production delays meant that the Japanese tire manufacturer was unable to guarantee a full allocation of the 2014 spec medium rear tires with the heat-resistant treatment being supplied to all of the MotoGP riders. Research and inspection of data from 2013 showed that there would be no problem with the tires without the heat-resistant treatment, and so it was decided to supply everyone with the 2013-spec medium rear tires.The alternative to this would be having two different specifications of the medium compound available to the riders in Austin. A Bridgestone spokesperson told MotoMatters.com, 'Bridgestone felt this was a better option than having riders end up with non-heat resistant and heat-resistant tyres in the same compound option at a race weekend.' The 2013 tires will only be used at Austin, however, resulting from a production issue. 'This is a one-off situation, the 2014 specification slicks will be offered at all other venues,' the spokesperson said.

Peace Breaks Out: Kevin Schwantz Named Ambassador To Circuit Of The Americas In Austin

The long-running dispute between Kevin Schwantz and the Circuit of the Americas has finally come to an end. Today, the circuit in Austin, Texas and the 1993 500cc World Champion announced that the two sides had reached an amicable settlement, and that Schwantz would act as motorcycle racing ambassador for COTA.

The split between Schwantz and the track emerged after Schwantz accused the then owner of the track, Steve Sexton, of agreeing a deal with Dorna to promote the race behind Schwantz' back, when Schwantz already had a 10-year contract to organize the Texas MotoGP round. Schwantz sued COTA to get the rights back from the circuit, and the circuit countersued for costs and fees. Schwantz had been involved in the circuit from its very inception, having acted as an advisor to Hermann Tilke, the German designer of the track. The Texan had worked tirelessly to bring the race to his native state, and when he fell out with circuit management, it was a blow both to Schwantz and to the circuit and the status of the race.

Schwantz was a prominent absentee at the first running of the Austin MotoGP round, despite having been instrumental in it coming about, and despite the presence of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, in which he also plays a prominent role. For 2014, Schwantz is to be the Grand Marshal for the race, and will help promote the event in the two weeks before the race happens.

Terms of the settlement were not agreed, but the changes appear to be part of a number of recent changes at the track, which have been undertaken to make both the facility and the events held there more attractive to the public and the locals. It also removes probably the biggest public relations problem facing both the track and the race. Having Schwantz on board and promoting the race is a major boost for all concerned.

The press release issued jointly by COTA and Kevin Schwantz appears below:


Kevin Schwantz joins Circuit of The Americas™ as motorcycle racing ambassador

AUSTIN, Texas (March 27, 2014) – Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and motorcycle racing legend Kevin Schwantz have amicably settled their legal differences and have reached a new agreement to collaboratively promote motorcycling racing at the Austin circuit and across the United States. Schwantz will serve as an official ambassador for COTA and work to promote the upcoming Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas MotoGP™ event set for April 11-13, 2014.

“Kevin is a great champion and partnering with him gives us an opportunity to learn from his deep knowledge, as well as continue to celebrate his accomplishments,” Circuit Chairman Bobby Epstein said. “Kevin and I have always shared the desire to see him be a part of COTA, and it's awesome to finally see it become a reality. A great American track and a great American champion in the same city can't be kept apart. As a result, casual riders, current racers, future stars and the fans all win.”

"I look forward to being the ambassador for two-wheel racing for COTA, especially as the 2014 MotoGP season begins and returns to Texas,” Schwantz said. “Grand prix motorcycle racing has been my life, and to help COTA market and promote that moving forward is exciting!"

As a COTA ambassador, Schwantz will play a prominent role in a variety of promotions for the upcoming Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas event in April, including media availabilities and fan activities. For example, Schwantz will serve as Grand Marshal for the MotoGP race on Sunday, April 13, and will lead the parade laps scheduled for COTA’s personal seat license holders on Friday, April 11, between grand prix practice sessions.

Additionally, COTA will work with Schwantz to raise money for an important charity he supports, the Simoncelli Foundation, which was established in memory of Schwantz’s good friend, Marco Simoncelli, a MotoGP competitor from Italy who will be inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as a MotoGP Legend this May. Simoncelli died after an accident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Today through Friday, April 4, COTA will donate $1 for every ticket purchased for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas to the Simoncelli Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting humanitarian projects that benefit the disadvantaged.

"I am thankful for COTA's support of the Simoncelli Foundation, a charity that's important to all of us who knew Marco personally and fans that followed his career," Schwantz added. “Marco was a great competitor and a very special friend. Now racing fans everywhere can honor his memory and help a cause important to Marco by purchasing a ticket to Austin’s MotoGP race."

Tickets for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas start at $39 and are available for purchase at http://circuitoftheamericas.com/motogp/. Children ages 12 and under receive free general admission with a ticketed adult.

Terms of the legal settlement between COTA and Kevin Schwantz were not disclosed.

About Kevin Schwantz

One of the most popular motorcycle racers of all time, 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz is one of just 20 riders to have earned the status of MotoGP Legend.

Born to parents who ran a Texas motorcycle shop, Schwantz learned to ride at a very young age, and he soon began competing in observed-trials events, where he developed a fine sense of balance. Unsatisfied with the slow speeds in trials, he quickly moved on to hare scrambles, flat track and motocross racing, but following a bad crash at a 1983 supercross race in Houston he began road racing in the competitive WERA series.

Schwantz immediately earned a reputation for riding any motorcycle at the absolute limit, and in 1984 he caught the attention of journalist/racer John Ulrich, who arranged a test ride with Yoshimura Suzuki. That led to a spot on the team in the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) national series the following year, and even an appearance in a Japanese race at Suzuka, where Schwantz finished second.

Schwantz continued in the AMA for the next two years, although Suzuki also sent him to Europe on several occasions for wildcard appearances in the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship. Upon winning the AMA’s season-opening Daytona 200 in 1988, Schwantz was promoted to Suzuki’s grand prix team full time.

The late 1980s and early 1990s are generally considered to be the Golden Era of grand prix road racing, in which Schwantz had epic battles with his arch-rival Wayne Rainey and other motorcycling heroes like Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan. Schwantz soon attracted a legion of enthusiastic fans who were inspired by his charismatic personality, his aggressive style aboard a bike that was often slower than those of the competition, and his propensity for spectacular crashes.

Between 1989 and 1992, Schwantz finished the season fourth, second, third and again fourth in the final standings, while Rainey collected a trio of crowns. Finally, Schwantz landed the 500cc World Championship in 1993. An injury-plagued title defense saw him finish fourth, and the Texan participated in the first three races of the 1995 season before announcing his retirement from grand prix racing, at which point his racing number, 34, was also retired from grand prix competition. This was the first time in the history of the sport that a rider had been so honored.

Currently seventh on the list of premier-class grand prix race winners, with 25 victories, Schwantz remains a favorite with the fans, many of whom have benefited from his riding instruction at the respected Schwantz School. He was named to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and the MotoGP Hall of Fame in 2000.

Still an active racer, Kevin entered the prestigious 2013 Suzuka 8 Hours with Yukio Kagayama and Noriyuki Haga, finishing on the podium. In June 2014, at the age of 50, Schwantz will return to the race with a special Yoshimura Suzuki “Legends Team” that will pair him with Satoshi Tsujimoto, with whom he finished on the podium in the 1986 Suzuka 8 Hours.

Kevin Schwantz Personal Information

  • Birthdate: June 19, 1964
  • Birthplace: Houston, Texas, USA
  • Residence: Austin, Texas, USA
  • Kevin Schwantz Racing Accomplishments
  • First Grand Prix (500cc): 1986, Netherlands
  • First pole position (500cc): 1989, Australia
  • First fastest race lap (500cc): 1988, Japan
  • First podium result (500cc): 1988, Japan
  • First GP victory (500cc): 1988, Japan
  • GP starts (500cc): 105
  • GP victories (500cc): 25
  • GP podiums (500cc): 51
  • GP pole positions (500cc): 29
  • GP fastest race laps (500cc): 26
  • World Championships (500cc): 1 (1993)
  • Last GP victory (500cc): 1994, Great Britain
  • Last Grand Prix (500cc): 1995, Japan
  • AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame - 1999
  • MotoGP Hall of Fame - 2000
The long-running dispute between Kevin Schwantz and the Circuit of the Americas has finally come to an end. Today, the circuit in Austin, Texas and the 1993 500cc World Champion announced that the two sides had reached an amicable settlement, and that Schwantz would act as motorcycle racing ambassador for COTA.The split between Schwantz and the track emerged after Schwantz accused the then owner of the track, Steve Sexton, of agreeing a deal with Dorna to promote the race behind Schwantz' back, when Schwantz already had a 10-year contract to organize the Texas MotoGP round. Schwantz sued COTA to get the rights back from the circuit, and the circuit countersued for costs and fees. Schwantz had been involved in the circuit from its very inception, having acted as an advisor to Hermann Tilke, the German designer of the track. The Texan had worked tirelessly to bring the race to his native state, and when he fell out with circuit management, it was a blow both to Schwantz and to the circuit and the status of the race.

Nakagami Disqualification - Team Had Used Filter Since 2012 Without Comment

The Idemistu Honda Team Asia today issued a press release with a clarification on Takaaki Nakagami's disqualification after the Moto2 race at Losail. Nakagami's Kalex was found to be fitted with an illegal air filter during a technical inspection, as Race Director Mike Webb explained to the MotoGP.com website. Webb acknowledged that the error was entirely unintentional, and was a result of misinterpreting the technical rules.

Tady Okada, the former 500GP racer winner who now runs Idemitsu Team Asia, explained in the press release that they had failed to interpret the rules correctly. At the time the team took part in the first test, at the end of 2012, the foam air filter which is part of the HRC race kit was legal. The team fitted this part for testing, and continued to use the part throughout the 2013 season and the first race of 2014. However, for the 2013 season, the use of a standard paper filter was made compulsory, and the use of the foam filter was banned.

The team's use of the foam filter went undetected in 2013, as neither Yuki Takahashi nor the man brought in to replace him, Aslan Shah, managed to score any points. When Takaaki Nakagami got on the podium during his first outing of the season, his bike was subjected to an automatic inspection by the technical scrutineers. The use of the filter was spotted immediately, and an automatic disqualification followed, the rules leaving no room for interpretation. ' In technical issues it’s black and white, it either passes the test or it doesn’t, and it didn’t pass, it’s not within the specification so there is no choice. It’s disqualification,' Mike Webb told MotoGP.com.

The team accepted the disqualification, but in the press release, they say their confusion stems in part from the wording of the rules, and the diagrams used to explain them. The diagrams issued by IRTA, the team claims, come from the papers supplied with the HRC race kit. The team believed that this meant use of the HRC race kit and foam filter was therefore still legal.

The press release issued by Idemitsu Honda Team Asia is show below:


Usage of a non-regulation air intake system at the opening round in Qatar

To those concerned,

The opening round of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship was held in Qatar on March 23 in 2014.

The team, under new team structure, has started out a great start since the winter tests at Valencia and Jerez in Spain on February to set out a victory at the first Grand Prix in Qatar.

The team, which established last year, has earned a pleasing first ever Championship points and the second place. But after the race a technical control detected Nakagami’s bike the use of a non-regulation air intake system. Then the team has been handed Nakagami’s disqualification.

We sincerely apologize for this consequence for Sponsors, our supporter and fans.

The statement which has been pointed, the team conflict with the breach FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations 2.5.3.6.10. (Airbox: Only the standard airbox supplied by the official Supplier (including air filter and secondary injectors) may be used. No modifications, alterations or additions to this airbox is allowed, expect as described in Art 2.5.3.6.11 below). The fact is the team has used a Race kit (a sponge type air filter) which is sold by Honda Racing Corporation instead of an air filter of the air filter of the production machine Honda CBR600RR.

The team acknowledged that the sponge type of air filter from HRC Race kit was allowed to use according to the information International Racing Team Association (See following page within the framework of red).

The team followed the decision of the Race Direction to obliged to use the standard airbox supplied.

However, this regulation and the information from IRTA are conflicting and difficult to comprehend. Therefore, the team will suggest to ITRA to provide teams an understandable information.

The whole team staff work will make concerned effort. We would appreciate for your continued support.

Information from IRTA and its ART

According to FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, the airbox supplied by IRTA which may be used (See Art.1 and Art.2 in the framework of red).


Art.1: Diagram of the HondaCBR600RR air cleaner box

 


Art.2: Race kit parts (Art.1 in the framework of red) IRTA use the diagram of HRC Race kit parts

 

 

  • HRC air cleaner of the HRC Race kit parts is a sponge type.
  • Supplied product according to the Race regulations is a paper type of Honda CBR600RR

 

Art.3: The parts (Air filter) which was pointed -> Same diagram with Art.2

Context of the misunderstanding of the team

Arise from a lack of regulations understanding

  • The regulations define to obliged to use a paper type air cleaner box form 2013.
  • The team continued to use the HRC Race kit since tests in the end of 2012, at the time of the inauguration of the team.

Lack of the information from IRTA

  • Replaced to Race Kit seems to allow to use HRC Race kit and the team in fact used.
  • The diagram which IRTA used (Diagram from HRC Race kit) caused to bring about the mess.
  • There is no parts number indication.

Suggestion to IRTA from the team

  • The team will suggest to IRTA to add to write about description within the framework in red that ONLY air funnel is allowed to replace and write about parts number.
The Idemistu Honda Team Asia today issued a press release with a clarification on Takaaki Nakagami's disqualification after the Moto2 race at Losail. Nakagami's Kalex was found to be fitted with an illegal air filter during a technical inspection, as Race Director Mike Webb explained to the MotoGP.com website. Webb acknowledged that the error was entirely unintentional, and was a result of misinterpreting the technical rules.Tady Okada, the former 500GP racer winner who now runs Idemitsu Team Asia, explained in the press release that they had failed to interpret the rules correctly. At the time the team took part in the first test, at the end of 2012, the foam air filter which is part of the HRC race kit was legal. The team fitted this part for testing, and continued to use the part throughout the 2013 season and the first race of 2014. However, for the 2013 season, the use of a standard paper filter was made compulsory, and the use of the foam filter was banned.

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