Latest News

Penalties Galore: Takaaki Nakagami Disqualified For Illegal Air Filter, Penalty Points For Cortese And Simeon

Race Direction were busy at Qatar. Penalties were handed out for one incident during Moto2 qualifying practice on Saturday and two incidents during the Moto2 race on Sunday. Sandro Cortese and Xavier Simeon were handed one penalty point a piece, while Takaaki Nakagami was disqualified for using an illegal air filter in his Idemitsu Honda Moto2 machine.

The disqualification of Nakagami was the most far-reaching of the punishments. During the standard technical inspection after the race, Takaaki Nakagami's Kalex Honda was found to be using an illegal air filter. Under Moto2 regulations, only the standard filter supplied with the spec Moto2 engine may be used. Though the error by Nakagami's crew was believed to have been an honest mistake, the rule book is very clear. The Idemitsu Honda team appealed against the penalty, but their appeal was rejected.

The disqualification is a major blow for the Japanese rider, robbing him of a 2nd place finish and 20 valuable points. His removal from the standings move all those behind him up a position, putting Mika Kallio into 2nd and Tom Luthi into 3rd. Given how tight the Moto2 championship is likely to be, the points lost by Nakagami and gained by Kallio and Luthi could well play a significant part in the outcome.

Belgian rider Xavier Simeon was awarded a penalty point for an incident earlier in the race. Simeon went down in a first-lap clash with Josh Herrin, Johann Zarco and Alex de Angelis, and pushed Herrin in an altercation while the two were standing in the gravel. Simeon was judged to have acted in a way prejudicial to the sport, and awarded a single penalty point.

Yesterday, Sandro Cortese was also handed a penalty point for slowing down on the racing line in the last minutes of qualifying. The incident caused a collision between Cortese and Jordi Torres, with both men falling. Cortese was judged to have been at fault, and punished with penalty points. Cortese came off worst from the incident anyway, breaking a bone in his ankle.

Race Direction were busy at Qatar. Penalties were handed out for one incident during Moto2 qualifying practice on Saturday and two incidents during the Moto2 race on Sunday. Sandro Cortese and Xavier Simeon were handed one penalty point a piece, while Takaaki Nakagami was disqualified for using an illegal air filter in his Idemitsu Honda Moto2 machine.The disqualification of Nakagami was the most far-reaching of the punishments. During the standard technical inspection after the race, Takaaki Nakagami's Kalex Honda was found to be using an illegal air filter. Under Moto2 regulations, only the standard filter supplied with the spec Moto2 engine may be used. Though the error by Nakagami's crew was believed to have been an honest mistake, the rule book is very clear. The Idemitsu Honda team appealed against the penalty, but their appeal was rejected.

Scott Jones In Qatar: Friday Night In The Desert


Night becomes day for Cal Crutchlow


Meet the new boss. Aleix Espargaro has blown everyone away at Qatar


Valentino Rossi's led-lit helmet looks great under the floodlights


Not a happy bunny. Lorenzo will have to wait for Le Mans for some help with the tires


Mike Leitner, a big part of Dani Pedrosa's 25 MotoGP wins


This is a big year for Stefan Bradl. Podium or bust


Broke his leg 6 weeks ago, and straight back to the top. No stopping Marc Marquez


Crazy Joe casts a long shadow in the Losail Night


The joy of having fuel to burn. Still among the slowest along the straight


Penny for your thoughts, Scott Redding?


Danilo Petrucci raises sparks in the night


Nicky Hayden in green. Takes some getting used to


Testing at Qatar is paying dividends for Alvaro Bautista


Don't mess with Texas


Dirt tracking - that's how Marquez broke his leg last time...


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.

Night becomes day for Cal Crutchlow Meet the new boss. Aleix Espargaro has blown everyone away at Qatar Valentino Rossi's led-lit helmet looks great under the floodlights

Scott Jones In Qatar: Opening Night


Here's to a colorful 2014


Winning is one thing. Defending, though ...


It takes plenty of cat-herding...


... to get racers to sit still for five minutes


Taka Nakagami's Idemitsu Honda Kalex looks stunning under the lights. Fast too.


Episode IV: A New Hope


Rossi has some new hope too


Tito Rabat, human spider


Jack Miller, the man who would be Moto3 champ


Worried faces over tires and fuel


Because this man can't get edge grip from the heat-resistant 2014 tires


It's a steep learning curve for Scott Redding. Technical problems don't really help


Dani Pedrosa is so often overlooked. Until you look at his record.


Maverick Viñales has taken no time at all to get up to speed in Moto2


Silvano Galbusera, who replaced Jerry Burgess as Rossi's crew chief. So far, so good.

 


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.

Here's to a colorful 2014 Winning is one thing. Defending, though ... It takes plenty of cat-herding...

Factory 2 Rules Adopted For 2014, Spec Software Compulsory In MotoGP From 2016 Season Onwards

After a week of debate and discussion, the Grand Prix Commission has finally reached an agreement on the Factory 2 class. It took many hours of phone calls, and full agreement was not reached until late on Monday afternoon, but the agreement contains some significant changes to the long-term future of the MotoGP championship. The Factory 2 proposal has been adopted in a slightly modified guise, with any manufacturer entering in the Open class liable to lose fuel and soft tires should they win races. But the bigger news is that the full MotoGP class will switch to use the spec software and ECU from the 2016 season, a year earlier than expected. 

The proposals adopted by the GPC now lays out a plan for MotoGP moving forward to 2016. In 2014 and 2015, there will be only two categories - Open and Factory Option - with the set of rules agreed at the end of last year. The new proposal sees manufacturers without a dry weather win in three years to compete as Factory Option entries, but with all of the advantages of the Open class - more fuel, more tires, no engine freeze and unlimited testing. However, should they start to achieve success, they will start to lose first fuel, and then the soft tires. If Ducati - for it is mainly Ducati to which these rules apply, as they are currently the only manufacturer who are eligible at the moment - score 1 win, 2 second place finishes or 3 third places during dry races, then all bikes entered by Ducati will have their fuel cut from 24 to 22 liters for each race. Should Ducati win 3 races in the dry, they will also lose use of the softer rear tires which the Open category entries can use. If Ducati were to lose the extra fuel or tires during 2014, they would also have to race under the same conditions in 2015.

The concession is similar to that made for Suzuki after the engine durability rules were first introduced. Suzuki was struggling to last a season with just the 6 engines allowed at the time (now reduced to 5). As Suzuki had not won a dry race for several years, an exception was made for any manufacturer who had remained winless to use more engines. This is that principle, applied in reverse. Ducati is allowed to effectively run under Open category rules, to allow them to develop their engines, but once they catch up, they will be subject to an extra limitation, first of fuel, then of tires. The loss of fuel and tires will be applied and judged per manufacturer. In other words, if Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone achieve the 2 second places or 3 thirds between them, then they will all be subject to restrictions. 

With Ducati now back as a Factory Option entry (but with the advantages of the Open category) they are once again free to use their own software, but with the extra fuel allowance of the Open category. This advantage will be offset if they are too successful, by the reduction to 22 liters of fuel. At Ducati's MotoGP launch in Munich last week, Gigi Dall'Igna had told the media that he believed 22.5 liters could prove to be a disadvantage at some tracks using the championship software. Even the latest, 2014 version would not allow them enough control to manage on that little fuel. Now, running their own software, they can manage less fuel. It also means that the Open entries will all be on the same, less complex 2013 software which they had been using throughout testing. The rule change also allows Suzuki to return as a Factory Option entry in 2015, and yet still enjoy the same benefits as the Open teams.

The much bigger announcement made in the FIM press release was that the introduction of spec software has been both approved and brought forward a year, to 2016. That spec software would be proposed was well known, as Dorna has made it clear that this was the path they wanted the championship to head down for the past four years. Carmelo Ezpeleta had tried to push the GPC to accept spec software at the time of the switch to 1000cc, at the start of the 2012 season. The factories rejected that idea, however, and Dorna introduced the CRT category instead, to help fill the grids which had dwindled to just 17 full time entries. The switch to a single ECU for the 2014 season helped persuade Ducati to make the switch to the new Open class, but the Japanese factories - and especially Honda - resisted any attempt to impose the spec championship software on all entries. HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto had threatened multiple times that Honda would pull out of MotoGP if the spec software were to be adopted.

Whether HRC has changed its position or not remains to be seen, but as the GPC proposal was adopted unanimously, it means that at least two of the three manufacturers in MotoGP approved adopting the spec software a year earlier than projected, starting in 2016, rather than a year later, when the current contracts between Dorna and the MSMA factories all expire. What could have persuaded the MSMA to accept the spec software proposal was the way the software is to be handled. All of the factories competing in MotoGP will have an input on the development on software, and be able to monitor progress. This could allow factories to still pursue some R&D goals indirectly with electronics, rather than being excluded altogether.

This does raise the prospect of software becoming too complex, but Dorna will be gambling on two things. Firstly, that as all code is visible to all of the manufacturers, no factory will introduce its most complex and advanced ideas, for fear of other factories copying the concept in their own road bikes. And secondly, because Dorna still controls exactly what actually goes into the software, they will still be able to reject ideas which they believe could drive costs up too much for private teams.

The question is, whether this agreement is the end point for discussions on the championship software for MotoGP, or whether this is a point along the road. In extensive discussions with key stakeholders in the rulemaking process, MotoMatters.com has been told many times that the final goal for Dorna and IRTA is to have a rev limit in place, and software which is simple enough for privateer teams to be able to learn quickly and use properly. Getting all entries to use the championship software means that it will become possible to enforce a rev limit simply and quickly. Reducing the complexity of the software could be a process which takes several years to accomplish.

The real victory of the agreement is that from 2016, MotoGP will have a single set of rules again. There will be one category, with everyone running under the same rules: spec software, 24 liters of fuel, 12 engines. As of 2014, the extra bike in Parc Ferme will disappear, the best Open bike only appearing in Parc Ferme if it gets onto the front row during qualifying or the podium during the race. From 2016, that question won't even be asked, as there will only be a single, MotoGP class again.

The full text of the press release from the FIM appears below:


FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix

Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in an electronic meeting held on 18 March 2014 in Qatar, unanimously approved the following matters concerning the MotoGP class.

  1. The Championship ECU and software will be mandatory for all entries with effect from 2016.

    All current and prospective participants in the MotoGP class will collaborate to assist with the design and development of the Championship ECU software.

    During the development of the software a closed user web site will be set up to enable participants to monitor software development and to input their suggested modifications.
     

  2. With immediate effect, a Manufacturer with entries under the factory option who has not achieved a win in dry conditions in the previous year, or new Manufacturer entering the Championship, is entitled to use 12 engines per rider per season (no design freezing), 24 litres of fuel and the same tyres allocation and testing opportunities as the Open category. This concession is valid until the start of the 2016 season.
     
  3. The above concessions will be reduced under the following circumstances:

    Should any rider, or combination of riders nominated by the same Manufacturer, participating under the conditions of described in clause 2 above, achieve a race win, two second places or three podium places in dry conditions during the 2014 season then for that Manufacturer the fuel tank capacity will be reduced to 22 litres. Furthermore, should the same Manufacturer achieve three race wins in the 2014 season the manufacturer would also lose the right to use the soft tyres available to Open category entries.

    In each case the reduced concessions will apply to the remaining events of the 2014 season and the whole of the 2015 season.

After a week of debate and discussion, the Grand Prix Commission has finally reached an agreement on the Factory 2 class. It took many hours of phone calls, and full agreement was not reached until late on Monday afternoon, but the agreement contains some significant changes to the long-term future of the MotoGP championship. The Factory 2 proposal has been adopted in a slightly modified guise, with any manufacturer entering in the Open class liable to lose fuel and soft tires should they win races. But the bigger news is that the full MotoGP class will switch to use the spec software and ECU from the 2016 season, a year earlier than expected. The proposals adopted by the GPC now lays out a plan for MotoGP moving forward to 2016. In 2014 and 2015, there will be only two categories - Open and Factory Option - with the set of rules agreed at the end of last year. The new proposal sees manufacturers without a dry weather win in three years to compete as Factory Option entries, but with all of the advantages of the Open class - more fuel, more tires, no engine freeze and unlimited testing. However, should they start to achieve success, they will start to lose first fuel, and then the soft tires. If Ducati - for it is mainly Ducati to which these rules apply, as they are currently the only manufacturer who are eligible at the moment - score 1 win, 2 second place finishes or 3 third places during dry races, then all bikes entered by Ducati will have their fuel cut from 24 to 22 liters for each race. Should Ducati win 3 races in the dry, they will also lose use of the softer rear tires which the Open category entries can use. If Ducati were to lose the extra fuel or tires during 2014, they would also have to race under the same conditions in 2015.

'Factory 2' Situation To Be Resolved On Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentino Rossi Opens VR46 Academy To Nurture Italian Talent

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

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

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

Below is the press release from the VR46 Riders Academy:


VR46 Riders Academy

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

An Italian academy for young Italian rider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech 3 Press Release: Ricky Cardus To Replace Alex Mariñelarena

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


Ricky Cardus announced as Tech3’s Moto2 replacement for Mariñelarena

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

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

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

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

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

Ricky Cardus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

LIN JARVIS
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing

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

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

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

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

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

DANTE CACCIATORE
Director of Communication and Customer Experience, Telefónica Spain

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

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

JORGE LORENZO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider

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

VALENTINO ROSSI
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Rider

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

Movistar

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Gosling Shoots The Phillip Island Tire Test, Day 2


The Honda exhaust remains a work of eye-watering beauty


Brighter later


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


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


It has a significantly different nose


With a protruding lower lip


And much narrower profile


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


Compare and contrast with Jorge Lorenzo


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


Testing is all about data


and more data


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


Mika Kallio in one of his more expressive moods


Cal Crutchlow, caught in thought


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


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


Martina - Nico's new ride


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots from the test, head on over to Andrew Gosling's website and he'll be happy to help.

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

GTranslate