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World Superbike Race Weekend Schedule Radically Revised

On the same day that the Grand Prix Comission met to discuss new rules on penalty points and Moto3 chassis prices, the equivalent body ruling the World Superbike series - the Superbike Commission - also met to discuss a raft of new measures. The meeting was part of a series of ongoing talks between the teams, Dorna and the manufacturers to establish a new set of rules for WSBK from 2015 onwards. At this meeting, the Superbike Commission established a new time schedule for each World Superbike weekend, as well as continuing talks on homologation and technical regulations.

With Dorna now in charge, one of the measures taken was to attempt to standardize the sporting regulations between the World Superbike and MotoGP series. In practice, that means that both series will have a common set of procedures and flags, which should make it a little easier for TV audiences to understand the differences between the two, with only the technical rules being different.

A much bigger change for TV audiences is the radically changed schedule for race day, with racing moved to the late morning and early afternoon to avoid clashes with major sporting events such as Formula One, MotoGP and European soccer matches. The day will now start very early, with a warm up for the World Superbike class at 8:40am, followed by Supersport warm up at 9:05am. The first World Superbike race of the day is at 10:30am (was previously 12 noon), the Supersport race is at 11:40am (was 1:30pm) and the second and final World Superbike race of the day is at 1:10pm (was 3:30pm). For most of the rounds taking place in Europe, this means that the second World Superbike race will just be finishing as Formula One or other major sporting events start at 2pm. The hope is that fans of both motorcycle racing and Formula One will tune in for the WSBK races before F1, offering a full day of motor sports action for race fans.

The change will be less positive for fans attending the races. They will have to get to the tracks earlier, and will see the main races of the day early on, while the support program shifts from before the main classes to afterwards. The Superstock 1000cc race has already been shifted from its morning slot to the time slot following WSBK race 2, and any national support classes are likely to follow suit. Event schedules for Saturday remain largely unchanged from previous years, with Superpole still taking place at 3pm, as before. How the schedule will run at overseas rounds, where TV clashes are less likely to happen, remains to be seen. It is likely the season opener at Phillip Island will run to the European schedule, as a 10:30am race local Melbourne time would start at half past midnight on Saturday night, a time when fans are more likely to watch than the previous 2am start.

One interesting detail from the Superbike Commission is the mention of discussions about homologation procedures, minimum sales numbers and, for the first time, a proposal to impose a maximum retail price for models to be homologated. With sales of sports bikes continuing to decline, even the relatively lowly numbers of 2000 units can be hard to achieve, especially for small manufacturers. With Buell set to enter for 2014, this has become a very relevant consideration. Reducing the homologation numbers risks seeing the return of the so-called 'homologation specials', bikes such as the Yamaha R7, which were close to being racing prototypes with lights and mirrors. The suggestion to impose a maximum retail price should reduce the temptation of factories to build homologation specials, as they have to be able to sell the base model at a reasonable price.

The interesting part will be the level at which the maximum retail price is set. Honda have admitted they are building a special V4 Superbike, but its introduction keeps getting put back, now being expected at the end of 2014. Insider reports suggested that bike would retail at a price around 75,000 euros, a price which would presumably be well above the proposed limit. With bikes such as Ducati's Panigale 1199R retailing for around 33,000 euros in Italy, it seems likely that a price would be set at around the 50,000 euro mark. The devil is in the detail, of course: to avoid manufacturers gaming the system, agreeing which market defines the retail price to be used for homologation purposes will be crucial.

Below is the press release from the FIM with the minutes of the Superbike Commission:


FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup
Changes to Regulations for 2014

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Dorna Headquarters in Madrid on 10 December 2013 in the presence of MM Daniel Carrera and Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK-Dorna), Corrado Cecchinelli (Consultant in Technology), Charles Hennekam and Paul Duparc (FIM).

The 2014 FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and Superstock 1000cc Cup Regulations were approved by the Commission. The Sporting Rules will be as similar as possible to the 2014 GP Regulations. The Technical Regulations were also accepted. Some minor details are still to be reviewed and the complete regulations will be available on the FIM website shortly.

A long discussion took place between the members to review the homologation procedure for 2015, especially to review the minimum number of machines to be produced by a manufacturer for the purposes of homologation and to fix the maximum retail price for a model to be homologated.

For the next season, the time-schedule of an entire SBK event will be as follows:

Friday
10.00 – 10.45 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 1
11.00 - 11.30 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 1
11.45 – 12.30 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 1
      TIMED FOR QUALIFYING (SUPERPOLE)
13.45 – 14.30 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 2
14.45 – 15.15 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 2
15.30 – 16.15 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 2
      TIMED FOR QUALIFYING (SUPERPOLE)
 
Saturday
09.00 - 09.30 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 3
09.45 – 10.30 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 3
      TIMED FOR QUALIFYING (SUPERPOLE)
10.45 – 11.30 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 3
12.30 – 13.00 30’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 4
      NOT TIMED FOR QUALIFYING (SUPERPOLE)
15.00 – 15.15 15’ SUPERBIKE SUPERPOLE 1
15.25- 15.40 15’ SUPERBIKE SUPERPOLE 2
15.55 – 16.40 45’ SUPERSPORT QUALIFYING PRACTICE
16.55 - 17.25 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 QUALIFYING PRACTICE
 
Sunday
08.40 – 08.55 15’ SUPERBIKE WARM UP
09.05 – 09.20 15’ SUPERSPORT WARM UP
09.30 – 09.40 10’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 WARM UP
10.30   SUPERBIKE   RACE 1
11.40   SUPERSPORT  RACE
13.10   SUPERBIKE   RACE 2
14.15   SUPERSTOCK 1000  RACE

 

THE COMPLETE SPORTING, TECHNICAL, DISCIPLINARY AND MEDICAL REGULATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE FIM WEBSITE SHORTLY.

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regula...

On the same day that the Grand Prix Comission met to discuss new rules on penalty points and Moto3 chassis prices, the equivalent body ruling the World Superbike series - the Superbike Commission - also met to discuss a raft of new measures. The meeting was part of a series of ongoing talks between the teams, Dorna and the manufacturers to establish a new set of rules for WSBK from 2015 onwards. At this meeting, the Superbike Commission established a new time schedule for each World Superbike weekend, as well as continuing talks on homologation and technical regulations.With Dorna now in charge, one of the measures taken was to attempt to standardize the sporting regulations between the World Superbike and MotoGP series. In practice, that means that both series will have a common set of procedures and flags, which should make it a little easier for TV audiences to understand the differences between the two, with only the technical rules being different.A much bigger change for TV audiences is the radically changed schedule for race day, with racing moved to the late morning and early afternoon to avoid clashes with major sporting events such as Formula One, MotoGP and European soccer matches. The day will now start very early, with a warm up for the World Superbike class at 8:40am, followed by Supersport warm up at 9:05am. The first World Superbike race of the day is at 10:30am (was previously 12 noon), the Supersport race is at 11:40am (was 1:30pm) and the second and final World Superbike race of the day is at 1:10pm (was 3:30pm). For most of the rounds taking place in Europe, this means that the second World Superbike race will just be finishing as Formula One or other major sporting events start at 2pm. The hope is that fans of both motorcycle racing and Formula One will tune in for the WSBK races before F1, offering a full day of motor sports action for race fans.

MotoGP Rules Update: Penalty Points Now Valid For A Year, Moto3 Chassis Price Capped

At its final meeting of 2013, the Grand Prix Commission has agreed changes to the regulations for the three Grand Prix classes, mostly minor, but a couple with much wider implications. Changes were agreed to the penalty points system, to the procedure for restarting interrupted races, for protests and wild cards. But the biggest changes made were to the Moto3 class. The loophole which allowed manufacturers to charge what they wanted for chassis has been closed, capping prices in Moto3 even further.

The biggest change to the sporting regulations is the extension of the penalty points system, to allow penalty points to be carried across between seasons. In 2013, the first year the system was used, penalty points accumulated during the season were only valid until after the final race of 2013 at Valencia was over. This posed a problem for Race Direction, as Mike Webb explained to MotoMatters.com in an interview at Valencia. It meant that any points awarded at the final races of the season had less effect on rider behavior than those early on in the season, and points awarded in the final race were completely meaningless. In his interview with this website, Mike Webb had already suggested giving points a limited lifetime, allowing them to be carried over from one season to the next.

That has now been agreed. From the start of next year, all penalty points issued by race direction will have a lifetime of a year (or rather, 365 days). This means that penalty points awarded later in the season, for example at races like Aragon in September, or Motegi in October, will be counted against the rider involved until September or October the following year. It means that penalty points can be issued with more consistency, as riders will carry points they pick up at the end of the season for the same duration as points early in the season.

This will make administering the points system a little more difficult, as a rider's points tally can go down as well as up during a season, as points accumulated in previous seasons expire. However, it will make it easier to maintain a consistent approach to penalties over multiple seasons.

The new system only comes into effect from 2014. This means that riders who were given penalty points during 2013 will still start the coming season with a clean slate, and a total of zero penalty points. The penalty points issued to Marc Marquez, Maverick Viñales, Rafid Topan Sucipto, Hector Barbera, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone, Ricky Cardus, Alessandro Tonucci, Sandro Cortese, Pol Espargaro, Isaac Viñales, Jack Miller and Damo Cudlin will all be scrapped, and they will all start 2014 with no points on their license.

The biggest technical change the Grand Prix Commission agreed to was the introduction of a price cap on Moto3 rolling chassis. From 2015 onwards, the cost of a rolling chassis - frame, swingarm, bodywork, seat and tank unit, suspension, brakes and wheels - is fixed at a maximum of 85,000 euros. Furthermore, from 2015, the cost of engines has been reduced as well, to 60,000 euros for the six engines required per season, although that does not include gearboxes, which are fixed at 1,500 euros each. It had already been agreed that the rev limit would be reduced from 14,000 to 13,500 for 2015.

Though the price of a rolling chassis is to be limited, this will not prevent teams from upgrading wheels, brakes and suspension. Chassis will be homologated complete with wheels, brakes and suspension (the precise wording is 'a complete rolling chassis, requiring only the addition of an engine, ECU, datalogger and transponder'), but teams will still be free to change parts as they see fit.

The introduction of a price cap on rolling chassis closes the loophole which KTM had exploited to charge teams exorbitant amounts for a complete bike, while still nominally staying inside the rules forcing factories to sell engines for a maximum price. KTM would not sell engines separately, but only as part of a complete bike. The engine was cheap, but heavily subsidized by the price of the chassis, which was often upwards of 200,000 euros.

This was a situation which Honda had protested bitterly, saying it violated the spirit of the rules. Unwilling to stand idly by and watch KTM dominate the Moto3 category, Honda found their own loophole, waiting to announce their new bike until the very end of the 2013 season, forcing other teams to sign with KTM and Kalex (KTM's only official chassis partner) out of fear that Honda would only support the uncompetitive NSF250R for 2014. The new bike Honda will be fielding in 2014 is said to be even more expensive than the KTMs - prices as high as 400,000 euros have been bandied about - with Honda forced to subsidize the Racing Team Germany and Ongetta teams who are staying with Honda. Honda had waited until so late to announce their plans, as they would not be able to supply the minimum of 15 riders required by the rules.

The Grand Prix Commission closed this loophole as well, creating a deadline of 31st August for manufacturers to announce their plans for the next season. The loophole is not completely closed, as the rules demand only that manufacturers announce that they are willing to supply riders. They do not have to specify what level of equipment will be on offer. This rule change appears to have been a concession to KTM, after they had agreed to the price cap on chassis. 

Even after these rule changes, it remains unclear whether Honda will continue to compete in Moto3 after 2014. Persistent and credible rumors in the paddock suggest that HRC had decided to go all out to win the Moto3 championship in 2014, to punish KTM for what Honda views as breaching the spirit of the regulations, before pulling out. If the new regulations for 2015 are successful in returning the Moto3 to its basic intent - providing an affordable entry class and a level playing field to help develop talent - then HRC are likely to want to stay.

Below is the press release from the FIM will the full details of the rule changes.


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 the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 10 December in Madrid, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

MotoGP Class - Effective Immediately

Nomination of Category

The deadline for final nomination of which riders will participate in which category, Factory or Open, will be 28 February, the normal closing date for entries.

All Classes - Effective 2014

Penalty Points

In 2013 any Penalty Points imposed were wiped from the record of the rider at the end of the season. From 2014 penalty points will remain on the record of the rider for 365 days after which they will be cancelled. This means that a rider will have a rolling tally of penalty points with new points being added as incurred and points being deducted on their anniversary.

Restarting Interrupted Races

It was recognised that there may be circumstances when an interrupted race is restarted that it might be necessary to interrupt the restarted race. Currently there are no provisions in the regulations to provide for this race to be restarted. From 2014 restarted races that are interrupted after less than five laps are completed will be restarted again. In the Moto3 and Moto2 classes there will be a maximum of two restarts. In the MotoGP class the Race Direction can authorise more than two restarts according to the circumstances.

The precise details of the lengths of the restarted races and the determination of the final race results will be published in the FIM regulations.

Protests

The deadline for registering a protest has been reduced from one hour after publication of the results to 30 minutes.

The party involved must announce their intention to protest within 30 minutes by verbally notifying Race Direction or IRTA. They then have a deadline of one hour from the publication of results to confirm their protest in writing or, indeed, to announce that they have decided not to proceed with their protest.

Wild Cards

Wild card entries that cancel their entry after acceptance, other than due to injury or other valid reason, will no longer be reimbursed the cost of the one event GP licence issued by the FIM.

Similarly, the entry fee paid by the wild card to cover the cost of the materials provided for his participation will not be refunded in full by IRTA unless the Federation can provide an alternate rider to take his place. If no replacement is provided by the Federation then only 50% of the entry fee will be refunded.

In future wild card entries will be allocated temporary pit box accommodation in the paddock alongside the pit boxes provided for contracted teams who have not qualified for a permanent pit box. The entry fee will be increased by €500.00 as a contribution towards the cost.

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class - Effective 2014

Fuel Temperature Testing

Following the earlier decision of the GPC concerning the protocol for fuel temperature testing, a standard container, approved by the FIM, will be produced which must be used by all teams.

Moto3 Class - Effective 2015

With the co-operation and agreement of the current Moto3 Manufacturers and the approval of the FIM, new regulations will be introduced from 2015 to control the costs of the rolling chassis and further reduce the cost of engines.

A). Rolling Chassis

The price of a complete rolling chassis, requiring only the addition of an engine, ECU, datalogger and transponder is capped at €85,000. The price includes the cost of any upgraded parts supplied during the season. Each part may only be upgraded once during the season and must be provided to all competitors at the same time.

The rolling chassis may only be provided by or via one of the manufacturers participating in the class.

The complete chassis, including components such as brakes and suspension, will be homologated but allowance will also be made to permit teams to use chassis from previous seasons.

Manufacturers intending to participate in this class must announce to the Grand Prix Commission by the deadline of 31 August that they will offer to supply machines to the Moto3 class in the following season. Teams then have until 15 September to place orders with confirmation of acceptance of orders by 30 September.

Teams who have placed orders that were not accepted by the deadline can then negotiate with alternate manufacturers.

ii). Engines

The maximum price for the package of six engines is reduced to €60,000. However, this price does not include the supply of any gearboxes. Teams may order the number of gearboxes they require, if any, which will be supplied at a cost of €1,500 each.

The full text of regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regula...

At its final meeting of 2013, the Grand Prix Commission has agreed changes to the regulations for the three Grand Prix classes, mostly minor, but a couple with much wider implications. Changes were agreed to the penalty points system, to the procedure for restarting interrupted races, for protests and wild cards. But the biggest changes made were to the Moto3 class. The loophole which allowed manufacturers to charge what they wanted for chassis has been closed, capping prices in Moto3 even further.The biggest change to the sporting regulations is the extension of the penalty points system, to allow penalty points to be carried across between seasons. In 2013, the first year the system was used, penalty points accumulated during the season were only valid until after the final race of 2013 at Valencia was over. This posed a problem for Race Direction, as Mike Webb explained to MotoMatters.com in an interview at Valencia. It meant that any points awarded at the final races of the season had less effect on rider behavior than those early on in the season, and points awarded in the final race were completely meaningless. In his interview with this website, Mike Webb had already suggested giving points a limited lifetime, allowing them to be carried over from one season to the next.

Looking Back At 2013 With Scott Jones, Part 3: Italian Passion


This was visit number 18 to Mugello for Valentino Rossi. Mugello is where his heart lies


Unfortunately, he would not get much further than this. Rossi and Alvaro Bautista took intersecting lines on the first lap, and both crashed out


Marc Marquez broke many records in his first year, including fastest crash, bailing at the end of Mugello's straight. He escaped relatively unhurt


The race in Italy would be a three-man affair, until Marquez crashed out, leaving Lorenzo and Pedrosa to slug it out


Scott Redding looked like a champion at Mugello. Tragically for the young British rider, his luck ran out at the end of the season


Joy for Ducati - Andrea Dovizioso bagged a front-row start at Mugello. Overall, they didn't do too badly at home


After a strong 2012, 2013 would turn out to be a very tough year for Randy de Puniet


Red lights in the morning, mechanics' warning


Ben Spies made an early return at Mugello, but quickly realized it was too early. He would not race


The hills mourn his passing

 


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.

This was visit number 18 to Mugello for Valentino Rossi. Mugello is where his heart lies Unfortunately, he would not get much further than this. Rossi and Alvaro Bautista took intersecting lines on the first lap, and both crashed out Marc Marquez broke many records in his first year, including fastest crash, bailing at the end of Mugello's straight. He escaped relatively unhurt

2014 MotoGP Calendar Changed, Japan, Australia, Malaysia Reshuffled

The first major change to the 2014 MotoGP schedule has been announced. Though the dates remain the same, the order of the Asian flyaway triple header has been reshuffled, with Sepang moving from first of the three to last. The Grand Prix classes will now head to Japan first, for the Japanese GP at Motegi on 12th October, before heading south to Australia for the Phillip Island round a week later, on 19th October. The weekend after that the MotoGP paddock visits Malaysia, for the last of the three overseas races at Sepang on 26th October.

The change is unlikely to be the last. It is widely anticipated that the new track in Brasilia will not be ready for the Brazilian round of MotoGP on 28th September, and that the Motorland Aragon race, due to take place on 21st September, will be rescheduled for a week later. That decision will not take place for some time, however, as the Autodromo Brasilia Nelson Piquet will be given a few more months before the mandatory circuit homologation inspection. 

Below is the updated, and still provisional, 2014 MotoGP calendar, with changes highlighted in bold. You can always find the latest, most up-to-date version including all changes on this page

Date Grand Prix Circuit
23 March Qatar* Doha/Losail
13 April Americas Austin
27 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
04 May Spain  Jerez de la Frontera
18 May France Le Mans
1 June Italy Mugello
15 June Catalunya Barcelona- Catalunya
28 June Netherlands** TT Assen
13 July Germany Sachsenring
10 August Indianapolis GP Indianapolis
17 August Czech Republic Brno
31 August Great Britain Silverstone
14 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Marco Simoncelli Misano
21 September Aragon MotorLand
28 September Brazil (STH) Brasilia
12 October Japan Motegi
19 October Australia Phillip Island
26 October Malaysia Sepang
09 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo-Valencia
 
* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
STH (Subject to the Homologation)

The 2014 MotoMatters.com Motorcycle Racing calendar is now on sale, containing an overview of both the MotoGP and World Superbike races, as well as the stunning photography of Scott Jones, a list of MotoGP tests, and birthdays of many prominent current and former MotoGP riders. Order yours now!

The first major change to the 2014 MotoGP schedule has been announced. Though the dates remain the same, the order of the Asian flyaway triple header has been reshuffled, with Sepang moving from first of the three to last. The Grand Prix classes will now head to Japan first, for the Japanese GP at Motegi on 12th October, before heading south to Australia for the Phillip Island round a week later, on 19th October. The weekend after that the MotoGP paddock visits Malaysia, for the last of the three overseas races at Sepang on 26th October.The change is unlikely to be the last. It is widely anticipated that the new track in Brasilia will not be ready for the Brazilian round of MotoGP on 28th September, and that the Motorland Aragon race, due to take place on 21st September, will be rescheduled for a week later. That decision will not take place for some time, however, as the Autodromo Brasilia Nelson Piquet will be given a few more months before the mandatory circuit homologation inspection. Below is the updated, and still provisional, 2014 MotoGP calendar, with changes highlighted in bold. You can always find the latest, most up-to-date version including all changes on this page. 

Erik Buell Racing To Field Geoff May And Aaron Yates In World Superbikes In 2014

Erik Buell Racing have officially confirmed they will be competing in the World Superbike championship in 2014. Today, EBR announced that they will be fielding Geoff May and Aaron Yates in the WSBK class, racing Erik Buell's EBR1190RX, an 1190cc 72° V twin, which has its roots in the Rotax-built machine produced when Buell was still part of Harley Davidson. Both May and Yates are long-term veterans of the AMA Superbike series, May having already raced for EBR in the AMA in 2013.

The EBR team will be backed by Hero, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer which is a minority shareholder in the EBR manufacturer. As a small manufacturer, EBR will need all the help they can get from Hero, as the homologation quantities required to be accepted for World Superbikes are sizable. EBR must have already produced 125 units before offering the EBR1190RX for homologation for the WSBK series. They must have produced a total of 500 bikes by 30th of June 2014, and 1000 in total by the end of 2014. They then have to produce another 1000 by the end of 2015, averaging three bikes a day, a real challenge for a small manufacturer. They also have to sell these units, and though the EBR1190RX has been favorably received by the press so far, there is no official word on sales figures at the moment. For more details on the homologation process and how it affects EBR, see this story on Asphalt & Rubber.

The addition of EBR brings the total number of manufacturers involved in WSBK up to eight. It also adds another country to the manufacturer list, with the USA joining Japan, Italy and Germany. The involvement of Hero is even more important, and a sign of the growing interest and importance of Asian markets for motorcycle racing. With Mahindra in Moto3, and Hero represented in World Superbikes (albeit by proxy via EBR), India is beginning to stretch its racing limbs.

Below is the official press release:


Team Hero EBR to contest the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Barcelona (Spain), Thursday 12 December 2013 - Dorna WSBK are pleased to announce that Team Hero EBR will make the switch from the AMA Superbike series to the Superbike World Championship in 2014. This will be a two rider team running the new 2014 EBR 1190RX, represented by riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates.

Both May and Yates make the move to the WSBK series after a number of successful seasons in the AMA Superbike series. May, who is an accomplished AMA rider, has ridden the EBR machine in the states for the past two seasons claiming a podium finish at the Sonoma Raceway circuit in 2012 on his way to 5th position overall in the rider classification. Yates, who has over 20 years racing experience, joined the squad for their 2013 AMA campaign finishing a respectable 8th overall in the final standings, one point ahead of May.

The team will be run by Claudio Quintarelli, Team Owner, and Giulio Bardi, Team Manager, both proud to field the first American motorcycle to contest the World Championship with two American riders.

Team Hero EBR is bringing back Erik Buell’s passion onto the world stage: the founder of the Buell Motorcycle Company is a pioneer of modern race motorcycle technology.

Former racer Buell has himself competed against some of the greats in the past, and is excited and optimistic about this challenge ahead:

“More than three decades of racing, engineering, and manufacturing experience goes into every EBR motorcycle” said Erik Buell, Founder, EBR Motorcycles. The EBR 1190RX has some very unique engineering technology, and how to optimize this for each race series is something that takes time to learn. With the winter testing ban, we will have to wait and see where we are in terms of current pace and performance. Nobody is expecting podiums, but we will be hard at work, learning and improving. We are confident EBR will bring a fun and exciting story to the series, and know the results will come.

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd: “We are delighted to be partnering with EBR at the Superbike World Championship this year. Hero is the first Indian two-wheeler brand to be associated with this event and this is also the debut year for Team Hero EBR at the series. This is in perfect sync with brand Hero’s fast-paced global expansion into new international markets. I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun and we do look forward to some exciting times at the championships this year.”

Javier Alonso, WSBK Executive Director: "It is a great pleasure for WSBK to welcome an attractive and unique brand like EBR to the series. The American Manufacturer is the eighth different brand to compete in this new and challenging edition of the Championship, and we are equally confident that their involvement will add to the show. Moreover, it is really good to have two American riders on the starting grid again representing a strong nationality in the history of the series.

The Team will launch a new website shortly.

About Hero MotoCorp

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in terms of volume units sold in a calendar year by a single company. Even in the midst of a highly-competitive market in India, Hero MotoCorp has retained clear leadership in the domestic motorcycle market with well over 50% share, selling a total of over six million two-wheelers in the financial year 2012-13. On July 1st this year, Hero announced acquiring a 49.2% stake of Erik Buell Racing.

Erik Buell Racing have officially confirmed they will be competing in the World Superbike championship in 2014. Today, EBR announced that they will be fielding Geoff May and Aaron Yates in the WSBK class, racing Erik Buell's EBR1190RX, an 1190cc 72° V twin, which has its roots in the Rotax-built machine produced when Buell was still part of Harley Davidson. Both May and Yates are long-term veterans of the AMA Superbike series, May having already raced for EBR in the AMA in 2013.The EBR team will be backed by Hero, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer which is a minority shareholder in the EBR manufacturer. As a small manufacturer, EBR will need all the help they can get from Hero, as the homologation quantities required to be accepted for World Superbikes are sizable. EBR must have already produced 125 units before offering the EBR1190RX for homologation for the WSBK series. They must have produced a total of 500 bikes by 30th of June 2014, and 1000 in total by the end of 2014. They then have to produce another 1000 by the end of 2015, averaging three bikes a day, a real challenge for a small manufacturer. They also have to sell these units, and though the EBR1190RX has been favorably received by the press so far, there is no official word on sales figures at the moment. For more details on the homologation process and how it affects EBR, see this story on Asphalt & Rubber.

PBM To Field Michael Laverty And Broc Parkes In MotoGP In 2014

One of the two final missing pieces of the 2014 MotoGP line up has been filled in. Today, the PBM team announced they would be back in MotoGP next season, with a two-rider team and additional help from Aprilia. The two riders will be Michael Laverty, who rode for Paul Bird's PBM team in 2013, and Broc Parkes, who has spent most of his career racing in World Supersport and World Superbikes.

Though the press release issued stated that the team will be racing 'PBM Aprilias', it is still uncertain exactly what Laverty and Parkes will be riding. Speaking to British site Bikesportnews, Laverty said that no decision had been made on whether they would be riding the full Aprilia ART package or the PBM chassis with an Aprilia engine. The team are due to test both packages back to back to assess development, and make a decision from there, Laverty said. What is clear is that Aprilia will be stepping up their support of the PBM team, after making a decision about the factory's future involvement in MotoGP.

The arrival of Parkes saves a long-standing record in the series. Australian riders have been a continuous presence in the premier class since 1983, and with the departure of Bryan Staring at Gresini, it looked like that run would come to an end. It seems likely that Dorna had a hand in keeping an Australian in the series, and the choice of Parkes is a good one in terms of name recognition. Parkes has been a very strong presence in the World Supersport series in recent years, racking up a total of 32 podiums and 6 wins. After a year racing World Endurance and in the Australian Superbike championship, Parkes returns to the world stage with PBM.

The announcement of PBM's rider line up ended the doubts of PBM's continued participation in MotoGP, and leaves only one space still open for 2014. The IODA racing team has yet to confirm their second rider for 2014, or whether they will field a second rider at all. IODA look set to also field Aprilia machinery, but that, too, will rely on investment from Aprilia. 

The press release from the PBM team on both their MotoGP and their British Superbike teams follows below:


PBM Announces Four Rider Team For 2014

Paul Bird Motorsport is pleased to announce that they will be contesting the MotoGP World Championship and the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship with a two rider team in each series in 2014.

Ulsterman Michael Laverty will continue for a second year in MotoGP where he will be joined by Australian Broc Parkes on board the team's PBM Aprilias. In BSB, triple champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne will be joined by reigning British Supersport champion Stuart Easton on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10Rs.

Laverty ended his debut season in the MotoGP World Championship in 25th overall with a best result of 13th at Jerez. Parkes, meanwhile, is a former runner-up in the World Supersport Championship and raced a Kawasaki for the PBM team in World Superbikes in 2009.

In the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Byrne was narrowly beaten to the title in the very last race of the season but became the most successful rider in BSB history taking his tally to 51 wins. Returning to the team he last raced with in 2012, Scotsman Stuart Easton is hoping to add to his success for the Cumbrian-based team.

All four bikes are expected to run in the traditional British Racing Green livery and the team will be officially unveiled at the London Motorcycle Show from February 14/16th.

Michael Laverty: "We learned so much in year one that I'm delighted Paul has continued his involvement with MotoGP and that he's given me the opportunity to continue with the project. Everyone has told me that year two is much easier so the aim is to put into place what we have learned and to raise our game accordingly. The class is going to be a lot tougher with the new production bikes but our aim is to consistently score points."

Broc Parkes: "Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thanks to Paul Bird for the opportunity to work with his team once again; I'm really looking forward to it. This is the premier class and it's every rider's dream to race in MotoGP. I know this is going to be a tough season but I'm certainly up for the challenge, I can't wait to get started."

Shane Byrne: "Paul and I agreed a deal ages back and I'm made up I'll be racing for the PBM Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team once again in 2014. We came so close to defending our title that it makes us even more determined to win it back this season and I know I've got the most competitive package to do that. We had a successful test in Spain earlier this week so I'm feeling confident already."

Stuart Easton: "I'm pleased to be back in British Superbikes and especially riding for PBM on the Kawasaki. It was brilliant to win the British Supersport title last year as it got me fit and back to form so now I feel I'm ready to step up to BSB again which is where I want to be. My first run out on the bike in Spain was very positive and I was on the pace so can't wait for another outing in preparation for the season ahead."

Paul Bird, Team Owner: "It's taken a little while but I've got the four riders I wanted in the two championships I wanted to race in. We've done a lot of spade work in MotoGP over the past two seasons so the plan is to build on that and work with our partners and Michael and Broc are very capable of delivering. As for BSB, it really hurt us losing our crown to Honda so Shakey's back to try and reclaim it and Stuart needed a year away from BSB and is now back in the big time with us. We have some wonderful and loyal sponsors with Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence specialists Rapid Solicitors and Fuchs Silkolene on board again and also, we'd like to welcome MAC Tools too. There's still some business to sort which will be of very big interest when we announce it so watch this space!"

The opening round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place at Qatar on 23rd March with round one of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship taking place at Brands Hatch on 21st April.

More information can be found at www.pbmuk.net or the official championship websites www.motogp.com and www.britishsuperbike.com.

One of the two final missing pieces of the 2014 MotoGP line up has been filled in. Today, the PBM team announced they would be back in MotoGP next season, with a two-rider team and additional help from Aprilia. The two riders will be Michael Laverty, who rode for Paul Bird's PBM team in 2013, and Broc Parkes, who has spent most of his career racing in World Supersport and World Superbikes.Though the press release issued stated that the team will be racing 'PBM Aprilias', it is still uncertain exactly what Laverty and Parkes will be riding. Speaking to British site Bikesportnews, Laverty said that no decision had been made on whether they would be riding the full Aprilia ART package or the PBM chassis with an Aprilia engine. The team are due to test both packages back to back to assess development, and make a decision from there, Laverty said. What is clear is that Aprilia will be stepping up their support of the PBM team, after making a decision about the factory's future involvement in MotoGP.

Looking Back At 2013 With Scott Jones, Part 2: MotoGP, Texas Style


Red, white and blue. With red, orange and black.


Stefan Bradl, ready for Texas


Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom would dominate the Moto3 championship in 2013


Marc Marquez made history at Austin, becoming the youngest ever winner of a MotoGP race. It would be the first record of many


99 problems, and the brakes were one


Austin was Ben Spies' home race. But Texas would only bring him a muscle injury, compensating for his recovering shoulder


Getting the light right, and the front light


The scuffed leathers tell the tale. Marc Marquez hit the tarmac 15 times during 2013. But only once in the race


Oh the runaway train comes over the hill...


Hold on, this could get ugly


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.

Red, white and blue. With red, orange and black. Stefan Bradl, ready for Texas Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom would dominate the Moto3 championship in 2013

Looking Back At 2013 With Scott Jones, Part 1: Shots In The Dark


Marc Marquez, on the grid at Qatar. Did he expect to be champion by the end of the year?


Jorge Lorenzo's second title defense would be tougher than he expected


All smiles at Qatar, but by season's end, Valentino Rossi would have ditched Jeremy Burgess


The first Moto2 race of the season, and Pol Espargaro had already signed a contract for MotoGP


Brother Aleix would be the best CRT rider by a long way. That would prove to be an expensive mistake


They see him rollin', he's Hayden


Moto3 would provide great racing once again, but only three men would dominate


Burn baby burn


Bradley Smith had an impressive rookie year, though overshadowed by Marc Marquez


Stefan Bradl, one wheel only


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.

Marc Marquez, on the grid at Qatar. Did he expect to be champion by the end of the year? Jorge Lorenzo's second title defense would be tougher than he expected All smiles at Qatar, but by season's end, Valentino Rossi would have ditched Jeremy Burgess

New Role For Alberto Puig: No Longer Pedrosa's Manager, Now Honda's Talent Spotter

Alberto Puig is to take on a new role inside Honda. Brought into HRC as advisor to Dani Pedrosa, the former 500cc race winner is to focus his efforts more on talent development for Honda, starting with the Asia Talent Cup.

Puig has a long and very successful history of spotting and developing talent. The Spaniard was the driving force behind the MotoGP Academy, the forerunner of Red Bull Rookies Cup, and before that, had worked with Telefonica Movistar in the Spanish championship. That work had produced a string of highly successful riders in various classes, including several world champions. Alongside Dani Pedrosa, Puig was responsible for Casey Stoner, Julian Simon, Bradley Smith, Joan Lascorz and Leon Camier.

Having Puig work in the Asia Talent Cup is a clever move for Honda. The Japanese company is keenly aware of the importance of the Asian market for its sales, and bringing on talent from the region will be a powerful marketing tool. HRC also has a long history of backing Japanese riders in Grand Prix racing, and after a relatively lean period for Japanese talent, having Puig help spot and develop them early should help bring more fast young Japanese riders into the sport.

The career switch for Puig means that he will no longer be at Dani Pedrosa's side at every race, bringing to an end a long period of collaboration. But as Pedrosa gained more experience each year, he had less need of Puig. In a recent interview with Israeli TV commentator and journalist Tammy Gorali, Puig explained that he had less and less to teach to Pedrosa. The riding ability of the triple world champion had long since exceeded Puig's ability to offer advice for improvement, and his racecraft and tactical knowledge had also surpassed that of Puig.

There has been a marked change in Pedrosa in the past couple of years, the Spaniard growing more confident and a little more relaxed, and that maturity is another factor in Pedrosa no longer needing the support of Puig. Pedrosa will not be alone at the track, as his father travels to every race with him.

Below is the press release issued by HRC on Puig's new role:

New role for Alberto Puig in Honda Racing Corporation

Alberto Puig, who has been working with HRC since 2006 as Dani Pedrosa's advisor, will face a new challenge starting from 2014.

Alberto will undertake a new role as a supervisor for several of HRC's activities including the Asia Talent Cup and recruitment and management of young riders. Due to his new role, Alberto won’t follow Dani during the race weekend where he's been a common figure alongside the Spanish rider, who he has tracked since the very beginning of his career. Apart from Alberto, Dani's team will remain same as in 2013.

Shuhei Nakamoto:

"We are very happy to increase Alberto's role in HRC and make use of his extensive knowledge in this World. He is a valuable asset to Honda Racing and we must utilise him and benefit from his wealth of experience. He is a respected member of the MotoGP paddock and I believe this will be good new challenge for him"

Alberto Puig:

“This is an exciting new challenge for me with HRC and i am very grateful for the opportunity. Initially i will focus on the new Asian Cup but then as my role grows and I will assist with young riders and I will do my best to help HRC as much as possible. Regarding Dani, I hope he can fulfil his dream, and looking back over these years I can only be proud of what is left behind with all the titles in the 125cc and 250cc class and all the MotoGP victories"

Dani Pedrosa:

"After many years working together on track with Alberto, next season he will not be by my side in the garage. He will be taking care of new projects and I feel that he has already given me so much that now it is time to change our relationship slightly. Anyway, I know that Alberto will be there for me if I need something, and this is the most important thing"

Alberto Puig is to take on a new role inside Honda. Brought into HRC as advisor to Dani Pedrosa, the former 500cc race winner is to focus his efforts more on talent development for Honda, starting with the Asia Talent Cup.Puig has a long and very successful history of spotting and developing talent. The Spaniard was the driving force behind the MotoGP Academy, the forerunner of Red Bull Rookies Cup, and before that, had worked with Telefonica Movistar in the Spanish championship. That work had produced a string of highly successful riders in various classes, including several world champions. Alongside Dani Pedrosa, Puig was responsible for Casey Stoner, Julian Simon, Bradley Smith, Joan Lascorz and Leon Camier.Having Puig work in the Asia Talent Cup is a clever move for Honda. The Japanese company is keenly aware of the importance of the Asian market for its sales, and bringing on talent from the region will be a powerful marketing tool. HRC also has a long history of backing Japanese riders in Grand Prix racing, and after a relatively lean period for Japanese talent, having Puig help spot and develop them early should help bring more fast young Japanese riders into the sport.

Adidas To Sponsor Yamaha MotoGP And Sky VR46 Moto3 Teams In 2014?

Yamaha's MotoGP team looks set to gain another sponsor for 2014. According to the PU24.it website - the same website which broke the news of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess - sportswear manufacturer Adidas is set to sponsor the factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo next season.

The deal is said to be part of a larger contract, which will involve the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad as well. The deal appears mainly aimed at the Italian market: according to the PU24 website, one of the benefits for Adidas will be better visibility for its ads on the Sky Italia channel, which will be broadcasting MotoGP in Italy next year, and which is also a co-sponsor of Valentino Rossi's Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad. The deal is rumored to be a two-year contract, though how much money is involved is currently unknown.

There is good reason to place some credence in this report. The record of the PU24.it website in matters related to Valentino Rossi is very good indeed. The website has links to Rossi's inner circle, which has helped it break news of Burgess' release, and of Rossi's switch to Ducati. But the deal makes sense from the perspective of Adidas as well. The German sportswear company has a long and bitter rivalry with Puma, the two companies the result of a bitter falling out between the two Dassler brothers who had originally formed the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in Herzogenaurach in the province of Bavaria in Germany. Both Puma and Adidas have spent a lot of money and energy competing against each other, and with Puma being involved with Ducati, providing teamwear for the Italian factory, it is hardly a surprise that Adidas should try to trump their rivals. Puma benefited from their association with Valentino Rossi when he was at Ducati, and by aligning themselves directly with Rossi and his Moto3 team, Adidas could once again go one up on Puma.

As yet, the news is just a rumor, albeit from very well-informed sources. The deal is said to have been concluded shortly before the presentation of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 team at Valentino Rossi's Tavullia ranch, but an announcement will probably only come in the first days of 2014, after current contracts expire on 31st December. Alpinestars currently supply the team clothing for Yamaha, as well as providing catering services for the team.

For an entertaining and interesting potted history of the dispute between Puma and Adidas, see this article from 2009 on the website of British newspaper The Guardian. There is also some background on the Wikipedia page of Adidas.

Yamaha's MotoGP team looks set to gain another sponsor for 2014. According to the PU24.it website - the same website which broke the news of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess - sportswear manufacturer Adidas is set to sponsor the factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo next season.The deal is said to be part of a larger contract, which will involve the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad as well. The deal appears mainly aimed at the Italian market: according to the PU24 website, one of the benefits for Adidas will be better visibility for its ads on the Sky Italia channel, which will be broadcasting MotoGP in Italy next year, and which is also a co-sponsor of Valentino Rossi's Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad. The deal is rumored to be a two-year contract, though how much money is involved is currently unknown.

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