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Valentino Rossi Signs Two-Year Deal With Yamaha For 2015 And 2016

The news had been coming for a month or so, but at last it has been announced officially. Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year extension of his contract with the Movistar Yamaha team, and will race with them in MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. For the past few races, Rossi had said he had been close to signing a new deal, but had a few details still to clear up. Those details had been resolved at some point between the Barcelona and Assen rounds, with Rossi's new contract signed at Assen.

The new contract is a result of Rossi's very strong showing this season, a major improvement over 2013. Rossi has already matched the number of podium finishes he had last season, with four 2nd places and one 3rd, though he has not yet managed to win a race, as he did in 2013. Improved braking performance from Yamaha has helped make Rossi more competitive, as has a change in riding style. The gamble to replace Jeremy Burgess with Silvano Galbusera as crew chief has also paid off richly. Whether the improvement has come from technical improvement in set up, or a result of increased motivation from the pressure Rossi put himself under with the move remains to be seen.

With Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez now set for the two seasons, the waiting is for announcements of the second riders at both the Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha teams. Dani Pedrosa is reported to be close to renewing with Honda, with a deal likely to come either at the Sachsenring or shortly afterwards. Negotiations with Jorge Lorenzo are taking a little longer, though it seems almost certain that he too will stay where he is. Lorenzo's options are limited, with the only realistic alternative a seat at Ducati. That, however, is too much of a gamble for a rider chasing championships. 

To announce the contract renewal, Yamaha issued both a press release and a video announcement from Rossi himself. Both appear below:

Yamaha and Valentino Rossi Set to Continue with Two-Year Contract Extension

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 2nd July 2014

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is delighted to announce that it has signed a new two-year agreement with Valentino Rossi. The nine-time world champion will continue to race with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 MotoGP World Championship seasons.

The announcement comes midway through an excellent season for the MotoGP veteran. Rossi currently sits in second in the standings having taken four second place finishes and a total of five podiums from eight races so far this year.

Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing Lin Jarvis

“I am very happy that we have concluded the agreement with Valentino for 2015 and 2016. Since his return to Yamaha in 2013 it’s been a very positive experience for everybody involved. After two difficult years ‘away from home’ Valentino returned last year, not only to us but also to his beloved YZR-M1. Fans of racing across the world were happy to see him rediscover his competitive performance and witness him take pleasure in riding and having fun again on two wheels. The “fun factor” is crucial to Valentino to get results – in fact when he first joined us in 2004 one of the most important motivations for his move to Yamaha was his desire to create an environment where he could enjoy racing. His enjoyment is obvious to all who meet him at the MotoGP events or who see him race on TV and is reflected in his excellent race results this year where he is currently in second position in the World Championship. We look forward to the next two and a half years together and it is our intention that Valentino will remain with Yamaha until the end of his sporting career and beyond.”

46 Valentino Rossi

“I am very happy to announce that I have signed a new contract with Yamaha to continue together in MotoGP for the next two years. I am very proud of this announcement. It’s very important to me because I really enjoy working with my crew and all the guys from the team, both the Japanese and European members that have been with me almost my entire career. It’s great because this was my target; I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I’m motivated to keep giving my best. I am very happy that I can keep riding my YZR-M1, that has been my love for so many years and will still be my love this year and the following two seasons. A big 'Thank You' to everybody, I will try to keep giving the maximum to arrive in front and make good races. Enjoy!”

The news had been coming for a month or so, but at last it has been announced officially. Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year extension of his contract with the Movistar Yamaha team, and will race with them in MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. For the past few races, Rossi had said he had been close to signing a new deal, but had a few details still to clear up. Those details had been resolved at some point between the Barcelona and Assen rounds, with Rossi's new contract signed at Assen.The new contract is a result of Rossi's very strong showing this season, a major improvement over 2013. Rossi has already matched the number of podium finishes he had last season, with four 2nd places and one 3rd, though he has not yet managed to win a race, as he did in 2013. Improved braking performance from Yamaha has helped make Rossi more competitive, as has a change in riding style. The gamble to replace Jeremy Burgess with Silvano Galbusera as crew chief has also paid off richly. Whether the improvement has come from technical improvement in set up, or a result of increased motivation from the pressure Rossi put himself under with the move remains to be seen.

LCR Honda Secure New Sponsor - Prelude To A Two-Bike Team?

Stefan Bradl's LCR Honda is sporting a new livery at Assen, after the team secured a major new sponsorship deal. The tie up will see the bike in CWM's colors for three races in 2014, and will continue as a major backer in 2015.

The new sponsorship deal is so significant that it offers LCR Honda new possibilities. Lucio Cecchinello has made no secret of his desire to expand from a single bike to a two-bike team, but so far, the financial backing necessary has been missing. The deal with CWM World has the potential to be the key support which would allow Cecchinello to add a second, Open bike to his satellite Honda RC213V currently being ridden by Bradl.

Cecchinello denied that he was anywhere close to making a decision on expanding the team for 2015. 'We have only just started to talk,' Cecchinello told MotoMatters.com. He acknowledged that an extra bike was now a real possibility, however, if LCR and CWM can reach agreement on the necessary financial backing. He was keen to emphasize that things were still at a very early stage, however.

The problem Cecchinello faces is that Honda is not keen to build any more production Honda RCV1000R machines at the current price they are being offered to the teams, around 1 million euros a season. HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto told MotoMatters.com earlier this month that the costs of the production and satellite bikes are very similar. If Cecchinello wanted to run a production Honda, he would have to pay a sum similar to the amount paid for an RC213V. 'We understand we will have to pay the full price,' Cecchinello said. That is the subject which LCR is discussing with CWM World.

Cecchinello has not even started considering riders for a possible second bike yet. 'I do not want to tell them things I cannot deliver,' he said. The purpose of a second bike would be to act as a first step into MotoGP for young riders, coming through from Moto2. Running a Moto2 team himself was not an option at the moment, Cecchinello said. His first priority was to expand to a two-rider MotoGP team, and then look at adding a Moto2 team.

Below is the press release announcing CWM World as LCR Honda's new sponsor:


CWM WORLD JOINS MOTOGP TEAM LCR HONDA AS A MAJOR PARTNER

The LCR HONDA MotoGP Team and CWM World Corporate and Business Solutions enter into a dynamic new partnership for the rest of the 2014 MotoGP season and beyond.

The partnership will be inaugurated at the Dutch TT Assen MotoGP this coming weekend with LCR’s German rider Stefan Bradl pushing to break in to the top four.

The Dutch, Czech Republic and Australian Grand Prix will showcase the LCR HONDA racing bike sporting the CWMWORLD branding along with a presence in all the other races.

CWM’s branding will be displayed in every area of LCR HONDA’s race day exposure spanning from the rider suit, pit wall, garage and of course, the HONDA RC213V, signifying both the strength and future intention of this partnership.

As the MotoGP heads into the 8th round of the season, CWM World (www.cwmworld.com) enters as the lead title sponsor at three races this year, bringing with it a inspired, driven and unified brand that is at the forefront of the Global Corporate and Business Solutions Market.

A spoke person from CWMWORLD stated:

“We are delighted to start this relationship with LCR. We are looking to bring our brand to a worldwide audience and the fit with LCR is a positive step for us. Lucio and his team are successful and highly motivated. The synergy between our two brands and respective markets makes this a perfect partnership”

Lucio Cecchinello, Team principal of LCR Honda:

“As soon as I met CWM World and learned of their business, I could see the vision and drive and saw that it fitted in perfectly with our goals. With the support of CWM, we are aiming to take the CWM/LCR partnership to new heights and are really excited to be working alongside such a dynamic team”.

At the end of the 2014 MotoGP season, LCR Honda will look ahead towards 2015 during which they will deepen their partnership with CWM World, who will become the team’s title sponsor.

ABOUT CWM WORLD:

CWM World is a leader in international product development priding itself on its ability to bring high quality products and services to market with unrivaled drive and passion. We cover a wide range of demographic tailoring to support institutions, corporations and individuals. CWM has 13 subsidiaries servicing specific needs across medical, investment and online trading just to name a few. Together with CWM World’s vision and market position we build cutting-edge solutions and manage key assets worldwide.

http://www.cwmworld.com

ABOUT LCR HONDA:

Lucio Cecchinello (former 125cc class rider) founded the LCR Team in 1996 setting up his own organization and holding both roles of rider/manager. Over the years the LCR Team has gathered numerous successes in three different categories thanks to its collaboration with the major Manufacturers worldwide. Top level riders such as Noboru Ueda, Roberto Locatelli, Casey Stoner, Randy De Puniet, Carlos Checa, Toni Elias and so on lined up with LCR colors achieving important results culminating with the 250cc class Runner Up Award gained by the Australian talent C. Stoner in 2005. In 2006 LCR stepped up into the premier class with the support of Honda HRC and, in 2012, the Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl joined the Team conquering the “Rookie of the Year” title at his premier class debut. In 2013 the German riding the RC213V finally climbed the podium with an excellent 2nd place in Laguna Seca (USA).

http://www.lcr.mc

Stefan Bradl's LCR Honda is sporting a new livery at Assen, after the team secured a major new sponsorship deal. The tie up will see the bike in CWM's colors for three races in 2014, and will continue as a major backer in 2015.The new sponsorship deal is so significant that it offers LCR Honda new possibilities. Lucio Cecchinello has made no secret of his desire to expand from a single bike to a two-bike team, but so far, the financial backing necessary has been missing. The deal with CWM World has the potential to be the key support which would allow Cecchinello to add a second, Open bike to his satellite Honda RC213V currently being ridden by Bradl.Cecchinello denied that he was anywhere close to making a decision on expanding the team for 2015. 'We have only just started to talk,' Cecchinello told MotoMatters.com. He acknowledged that an extra bike was now a real possibility, however, if LCR and CWM can reach agreement on the necessary financial backing. He was keen to emphasize that things were still at a very early stage, however.

Testing Continues Unabated: Suzuki And Moto2 Stay At Barcelona, Yamaha Head To Aragon

Though most of the MotoGP teams packed up and headed to Assen after the MotoGP test on Monday, Suzuki and the Ducati test team remained. The two factories continued testing on Tuesday, in between tests with some of the top Moto2 teams, including Marc VDS, Aspar, AGR, and Technomag.

Suzuki continued the hard work of preparing for their return next year. They are continuing to work on a new engine, but the biggest headache they face is with the electronics. The process of porting and reengineering their software to work with the spec Magneti Marelli hardware is taking more time than they thought, and it still needs plenty of development before it is ready.

The Moto2 teams testing were working on performance for this year. No times were released, but according to the MotoGP.com website, Jonas Folger posted the fastest unofficial time, a lap of 1'45.6. Folger was working on the WP suspension his team uses, as well as on braking. Tito Rabat was second fastest with a 1'46.4, while Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio spent his time working with a new swingarm. For Maverick Vinales, the test was another chance to continue to work on set up and adapting to the Moto2 class.

Suzuki continue testing at Barcelona on Wednesday, while Yamaha are turning laps at Aragon. The test is behind closed doors, and officially they are testing parts for the 2015 bikes. The paddock was naturally ablaze with rumors, suggesting that the first version of the 2015 bike will make its appearance there, aimed at solving the problems Yamaha - and especially Jorge Lorenzo - have this season. 

Below are press releases from the Marc VDS and Aspar Moto2 teams after Tuesday's testing:


Positive test ends successful Barcelona visit for Marc VDS

Barcelona, Spain – 17 June 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto2 riders, Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio, today completed a successful one-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Rabat, who took his fourth win of the season at the circuit on Sunday, today focussed on working with his crew to further refine the set up of his Kalex Moto2 machine ahead of the next race in Assen.

Kallio also worked on set up over the course of the day, in a bid to improve the consistency of his lap times over full race distance. The 31-year-old Finn completed four race simulations in total, posting his fastest time on the final lap of the final run.

The two Marc VDS riders will return to action in just over a week at Assen, known as the Cathedral of Speed and the venue for round eight of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship.

Tito Rabat:

“Today we tested many things on the bike, with positive results. The changes weren’t big, but we did find a number of small improvements in a few areas and, in Moto2 where the bikes are so similar, even a slight advantage can make a big difference when it comes to racing for the win. I also enjoyed riding the bike at Montmeló without the pressure you get during a race weekend. I’m happy with what we achieved during today’s test and I’m now looking forward to the next race in Assen.”

Mika Kallio:

“The test today was quite positive. We found an improvement with the bike, mainly with the front and the rear grip, which allowed a faster, more consistent pace during the race simulations. However, it was a little disappointing that the improvements came today and not during the race weekend as, with today’s set up the race result would have been different. The same was also true at Mugello, where, again, we found the best set up during the post race test. In the future we maybe need to take bigger steps with the set up when we’re struggling during a race weekend; take more of a risk rather than trying to fix the problems with only small changes. Now we need to see what happens when we go to Assen, as we will start with the same set up there.”

Naoya Kaneko: Chief Mechanic, Mika Kallio

“Today’s test was very informative for us. Our focus was on finding a set up that would allow Mika to be more consistent over full race distance. We did four race simulations, making changes between each one based on the lap times, the data and Mika’s feedback. On the last lap of the last run Mika managed to improve his time by half-a-second, which is very positive. Looking at the data, the lap time came as a result of small improvements in a number of areas, rather than from a single change, and now we need to replicate these improvements in Assen and at future races.”


Productive test for Torres and Terol in Catalunya

MAPFRE Aspar find improved grip and lap times compared to Grand Prix weekend

Just two days after the Grand Prix of Catalunya a host of Moto2 riders were back on track in Barcelona today to test alongside the MotoGP factories of Suzuki and Ducati. The track was open to the intermediate category riders from 0900h until 1130h and from 1400h until 1630h. The conditions were cloudy and there was some rainfall at around 1100h but it wasn't enough to cause any breaks in the action on another hot day in Spain.

The MAPFRE Aspar Team continue their quest to solve their early season problems through a simple recipe of hard work, with Jordi Torres and Nico Terol today making full use of the available track time. The pair were able to improve their machine set-up as well as lowering their lap times with respect to the weekend's Grand Prix at the same circuit, with Jordi completing 80 laps as he worked to iron out some chatter problems through a combination of tyre and chassis tests. The Spaniard smashed his best lap from the weekend by almost a second, whilst Nico found the rear grip that he had been looking for over the weekend, taking half a second off his personal best time.

Jordi Torres 1.46.71 (80 laps): “We made the most of today to improve on the things we struggled with at the weekend. We did a lot of different rear tyre tests and by gathering a lot of information we were able to iron out the front chatter problems we had. We also played around with the rear end set-up and got the bike running more smoothly into the corners, improving our pace and consistency from the Grand Prix. I am happy because I really enjoyed riding today and I hope the work we have done proves useful at Assen.”

Nico Terol 1.47.70 (58 laps): “The test day here at the Circuit de Catalunya has been very productive. We have improved our lap times from the weekend and also my feeling with the bike. I felt comfortable this morning and it was just a shame that it started to spot with rain, slowing our progress slightly. Anyway, I am still happy because we have found some more rear grip and that makes the bike easier to ride. We still need to take another step but I am happy with the result of today. We have done a lot of tests and gathered a tonne of information. We still have some chatter on the front that makes me lose confidence in corner entry but other than that it has been a positive test.”


Though most of the MotoGP teams packed up and headed to Assen after the MotoGP test on Monday, Suzuki and the Ducati test team remained. The two factories continued testing on Tuesday, in between tests with some of the top Moto2 teams, including Marc VDS, Aspar, AGR, and Technomag.Suzuki continued the hard work of preparing for their return next year. They are continuing to work on a new engine, but the biggest headache they face is with the electronics. The process of porting and reengineering their software to work with the spec Magneti Marelli hardware is taking more time than they thought, and it still needs plenty of development before it is ready.The Moto2 teams testing were working on performance for this year. No times were released, but according to the MotoGP.com website, Jonas Folger posted the fastest unofficial time, a lap of 1'45.6. Folger was working on the WP suspension his team uses, as well as on braking. Tito Rabat was second fastest with a 1'46.4, while Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio spent his time working with a new swingarm. For Maverick Vinales, the test was another chance to continue to work on set up and adapting to the Moto2 class.

Scott Jones' Catalonia Dreamin' - Barcelona Race Day


Storm coming


Room for a little 'un?


The younger Marquez prepares for battle


Blue skies in the morning. The dark clouds would not appear until much later


Aleix Espargaro had a new paint job for his home race


Turn 1 and 2 are hard to get right ...


... as the riders demonstrated


Maverick Vinales has a massive following. And rightly so


Enea Bastianini. Remember the name. A podium in his seventh race is a big, big deal


How they all fit into one corner remains a mystery


Winner's circle. Though it didn't feel like a victory for everyone


Alex' second, Honda's first in thirty two races


His brother, meanwhile, bagged seven in a row


Tito Rabat owned Moto2 at Barcelona. He owned it so badly he had it packaged up and dressed with a little bow


Pedrosa's fans were out in force


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.

Storm coming Room for a little 'un? The younger Marquez prepares for battle

Scott Jones' Catalonia Dreamin' - Saturday At Barcelona


The fastest Marquez on the day: Alex


A new style from the old master


Where the old master got it from?


Rain. It almost held off on Saturday. Will it do the same on Sunday


Mono. Dovi. Desmo.


Lorenzo's helmet and number have been designed by Anna Vives, working for those with Downs Syndrome in Spain


Brad Binder has been fast all weekend in Moto3. Sometimes, too fast


Number 6? 4th!


Mojo located. Pedrosa bagged his first pole


Lightweight sprockets


Anything to escape the sweltering Catalonian heat


Yonny Hernandez, an impressively fast Colombian at Barcelona


Big Red


Bradley. Better than before


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

The fastest Marquez on the day: Alex A new style from the old master Where the old master got it from?

2015 World Superbike Regulations Released: EVO With Limited Tuning, Plus Price-Capped Electronics

The Superbike Commission, the body which runs the World Superbike championship, has finally agreed on a set of technical regulations for World Superbikes for 2015. The initial idea to switch to EVO regulations has now been dropped, with a compromise found to allow greater freedom of tuning, and retain more parity between production bikes. Electronics will remain open, though they will be regulated by price and must remain freely available.

The dropping of full EVO regulations came as a result of pressure from manufacturers such as Suzuki and Honda, whose current bikes are focused more on the road than, say, the Ducati and Aprilia. To remain competitive, they needed more freedom to tune the engine than the proposed Superstock regulations allow. Given the dominance of Ducati and Kawasaki in Superstock, the EVO regulations could have discouraged manufacturers from getting involved in World Superbike.

Engines will now be allowed limited modification, with teams forced to run stock valve springs and valves. They will be allowed to modify camshafts, and porting of cylinder heads will be allowed, though material can only be removed, not added by welding. Crankcases must remain standard, but teams will be allowed to swap con rods. The precise details have not been released yet, but con rods cannot be lighter than standard, and must be of 'similar' material. Only one set of gearbox ratios will be allowed all year, and performance balancing will be done by restrictors in future, and no longer by the addition of weight. Adding weight was always a problem for Ducati, as it made finding a balance more difficult. It also encouraged riders to simply lose the weight which had been added to the bikes, an unhealthy situation for already very thin riders.

The most interesting part of the regulations comes in the electronics. The MSMA has persuaded the Superbike Commission to allow them to continue to develop their own software strategies, leaving WSBK as the only championship where software development is allowed. To contain costs, a price cap of 8000 euros has been placed on ECU kits, and the factories must release their software to all of the teams running their bikes three times a season, preventing them from gaining too great an advantage. All ECU kits must contain all of the parts needed – sensors, actuators, etc – as well as the ECU itself. Allowing software development in World Superbikes makes more sense than in MotoGP, as the results are more directly applicable to the road machines sold by the factories. It is also easier to prevent costs spiralling out of control: with engine tuning limited, the advantages to be gained from software is smaller. As the marketing value of WSBK is smaller than in MotoGP, the manufacturers have fewer incentives to invest massive sums in software development, especially as they must give their developments away to all of their customer teams three times a year.

The full text of the press release is show below:


FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup

Decision of the Superbike Commission

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit on 12 June in the presence of Messrs Daniel Carrera (WSBK Championship Director) and Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK Sporting Director ).

The meeting focused on two points:

1. SBK Technical Regulations 2015:

The main pillars of the technical regulation 2015 were approved by majority inside the Superbike Commission.

In 2015 the Championship will return to one technical platform. The rules were previously agreed to be as the 2014 EVO regulations and they have formed the basis of the 2015 rules. However amendments have been made to ensure parity of performance across the diverse range of machines in the championship and the regulations are also aimed at both reducing annual costs and making the Championship more accessible to new teams.

Chassis Regulations:

Remain largely unchanged excepting some clarifications to several points. The tolerances applied in measuring frames have been removed.

Engine Regulations:

The previously agreed EVO regulations form the basis of the 2015 rules. However due to the very limited options available to ensure parity of performance between different motorcycles the level of tuning opportunities has been increased.

The notable points are:

  • Camshafts are free
  • Cylinder head porting is free but no welding
  • Valves, pistons and most major engine components must remain standard
  • Con-rods may be replaced with similar material but equal weight parts for safety
  • Crankcases standard
  • One set of racing gearbox ratios allowed for the whole season
  • Balancing rules no longer use weight, it will be intake restriction only

Electronic Regulations:

The FIM Superbike World Championship remains the last high level championship open to the manufacturers to develop their electronic control strategies. The manufacturers will therefore be allowed to continue to develop the electronic solutions but these systems must be available to all other teams using the same make of machine and it will be called the ‘’Superbike Kit System’’.

The notable points are:

  • Price limited Superbike Kit System available to all teams in World Superbike and other FIM championships
  • Only approved ECU’s may be used in these kits – they will be race ECU’s
  • The software of the factory team will be available to all other teams at three points during the racing season
  • The Superbike Kit System must include all of the electronic parts not fitted to the standard street machine and required for the system to be fully operational (except the wiring harness)
  • The selling price for the Superbike Kit System will be €8000
  • Alternatively the Superstock Kit ECU may be used as in the 2014 EVO regulations, this is to encourage wildcard participation

Throttle Body Regulations:

For the 2015 and 2016 season the regulations will continue to allow the addition of Ride By Wire (RBW) systems to the throttle bodies. These systems must become available to all the other teams using the same machines. They will work hand in hand with the ‘’Superbike Kit Systems’’. For the 2017 season and onwards the regulations will mandate the use of the standard throttle bodies.

The notable points are:

  • Ride by wire kits must be available to all teams in World Superbike and other FIM championships
  • Only the machine manufacturer or one appointed supplier will be allowed to provide the kit (for safety)
  • The price of the kits will be €2500
  • All non RBW machines currently utilise a solution and the control strategies are mature
  • Standard road bikes will adopt the use of this technology by 2017 meaning development continuity

*Complete provisional document will be available in the following days at FIM WEBSITE.

2. Additional engine allocation SBK category:

There was an official request from a team to slightly increase the number of engines available for 2014. The Superbike Commission refused this possibility by majority.

The Superbike Commission, the body which runs the World Superbike championship, has finally agreed on a set of technical regulations for World Superbikes for 2015. The initial idea to switch to EVO regulations has now been dropped, with a compromise found to allow greater freedom of tuning, and retain more parity between production bikes. Electronics will remain open, though they will be regulated by price and must remain freely available.The dropping of full EVO regulations came as a result of pressure from manufacturers such as Suzuki and Honda, whose current bikes are focused more on the road than, say, the Ducati and Aprilia. To remain competitive, they needed more freedom to tune the engine than the proposed Superstock regulations allow. Given the dominance of Ducati and Kawasaki in Superstock, the EVO regulations could have discouraged manufacturers from getting involved in World Superbike.

Scott Jones' Catalonia Dreamin' - Friday At Barcelona


Something old, something new ...


Scott Redding, by Scott Jones


Fastest man of the afternoon, Bradley Smith. He needed that.


Injured scaphoid, 20 horsepower down, but the Kentucky Kid still has it


Home boy. Even though he now lives in Andorra. For the training opportunities...


Careful preparation


Cal Crutchlow needs a weekend where everything goes to plan. Hasn't happened so far this year


The kerbs are a problem at Catalunya, because they are raised so much higher than at other tracks ...


... as you can see from the drop on the inside of the kerb


Number 7?


But can this man stop him?


Dovizioso. Ducati. For how long?


Dani Pedrosa needs a good weekend too. Things haven't been easy


The old man still has it


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

Something old, something new ... Scott Redding, by Scott Jones Fastest man of the afternoon, Bradley Smith. He needed that.

The Ronax: A 500cc GP Bike To Call Your Own

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It is not often that we have cause to write about road-going motorcycles, but this is something a little bit special. The German engineering company Ronax have released a 500cc two-stroke V4 track missile, a cross between a Honda NSR500 and Yamaha YZR500. The bike is an 80° V4 two-stroke featuring two counter-rotating cranks, a design similar to Yamaha's 500cc GP machine, the two counter-rotating crankshafts balancing each other's inertial torque out. The bike features electronic fuel injection, and comes in at a paltry 145kg dry weight. The weight is kept low due to extensive use of aluminium and carbon fiber parts, the bodywork, tank, rear seat unit and airbox all being produced from CF. Quoted power is 160bhp, a fair few short of the 200 generally ascribed to the last of the 500cc Grand Prix racers.

To call it a road-going motorcycle is something of a misnomer. There are fittings for lights, and a hanger for a license plate, all of which can be fitted quickly after use on a track. However, the limited production run - just 46 are to be made, a careful nod to the last 500cc champion Valentino Rossi, phrased to avoid the wrath of his mighty marketing machine - means that the bikes will not be homologated for full-time road use. A quirk in German transportation laws means that the bike can be ridden on German roads without a full technical inspection on special temporary transport plates. Specialist bikes in such small numbers are very expensive to homologate for road use, and even with fuel injection, question marks remain over whether the bike would pass emissions tests. The use of temporary plates neatly circumvents that little problem, though you will either have to move to Germany or find a similar loophole in your local legislation to enjoy the same privilege.

As you might expect, such a bike is not cheap. The asking price is €100,000, ex German VAT at 19%. For that money, however, you will own something utterly unique and very special indeed. At 160bhp and something in the region of 165kg fully fueled, it will make an extraordinary track day weapon. And you are unlikely to have to worry about ever seeing another pull up in the garage next to yours, something which can happen to owners of the more high-end sports bikes such as Ducati's Panigale 1199R.

Expensive, exclusive and impractical as it may be, there is one thing for certain about the Ronax 500. It is a thing of extraordinary beauty.

It is not often that we have cause to write about road-going motorcycles, but this is something a little bit special. The German engineering company Ronax have released a 500cc two-stroke V4 track missile, a cross between a Honda NSR500 and Yamaha YZR500. The bike is an 80° V4 two-stroke featuring two counter-rotating cranks, a design similar to Yamaha's 500cc GP machine, the two counter-rotating crankshafts balancing each other's inertial torque out. The bike features electronic fuel injection, and comes in at a paltry 145kg dry weight. The weight is kept low due to extensive use of aluminium and carbon fiber parts, the bodywork, tank, rear seat unit and airbox all being produced from CF. Quoted power is 160bhp, a fair few short of the 200 generally ascribed to the last of the 500cc Grand Prix racers.

Nicky Hayden Has Wrist Surgery To Clean Up Injured Joint

Nicky Hayden has had surgery on his right wrist to attempt to cure the continuing problems the American has had. On Tuesday morning, Dr Riccardo Luchetti performed arthroscopic surgery to remove floating material and clean up various arthritic build up which had occurred after previous injuries. Hayden also had anti-inflammatory drugs injected directly into the joint, in an attempt to reduce the swelling which was present.

Hayden is hoping to return to action at Barcelona, in just under two weeks' time.

Below is the press release issued by the team:


NICKY HAYDEN UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY IN ITALY

DRIVE M7 Aspar rider undergoes arthroscopic cleaning of right wrist, carried out by Dr Riccardo Luchetti

Nicky Hayden underwent surgery today to cure a niggling wrist problem that caused him to pull out of the recent Italian Grand Prix. The American had already ridden through the pain at the previous rounds in Spain and France, and falling on it again in Le Mans after the contact with Iannone did not help to his situation. But the discomfort proved too much at the more demanding Mugello circuit and the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider took the doctors' advice to take no further part in the Grand Prix and to go under the knife today. The operation started at 8:10am and took around an hour and a half.

Dr. Riccardo Luchetti was the man in charge of the operation, which was carried out at 'Casa di Cura Profesor Ernesto Montanari Spa' in Morciano di Romagna, Italy. An arthroscopic cleaning procedure was carried out on his right wrist and some floating matter was removed. Nicky was also injected with an anti-inflammatory to reduce the swelling and loosen the joint.

Following a brief spell of rest the DRIVE M7 Aspar rider will be discharged today and then he will rest and recover, with the hope of returning next week in time for the GP of Catalunya.

Nicky Hayden has had surgery on his right wrist to attempt to cure the continuing problems the American has had. On Tuesday morning, Dr Riccardo Luchetti performed arthroscopic surgery to remove floating material and clean up various arthritic build up which had occurred after previous injuries. Hayden also had anti-inflammatory drugs injected directly into the joint, in an attempt to reduce the swelling which was present.Hayden is hoping to return to action at Barcelona, in just under two weeks' time.Below is the press release issued by the team:NICKY HAYDEN UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY IN ITALYDRIVE M7 Aspar rider undergoes arthroscopic cleaning of right wrist, carried out by Dr Riccardo LuchettiNicky Hayden underwent surgery today to cure a niggling wrist problem that caused him to pull out of the recent Italian Grand Prix. The American had already ridden through the pain at the previous rounds in Spain and France, and falling on it again in Le Mans after the contact with Iannone did not help to his situation. But the discomfort proved too much at the more demanding Mugello circuit and the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider took the doctors' advice to take no further part in the Grand Prix and to go under the knife today. The operation started at 8:10am and took around an hour and a half.

Marc VDS, LCR Considering MotoGP Expansion For 2015, But No More Production Hondas Available

The 2015 MotoGP grid is shaping up to look even stronger than this season. There are increasing signs that the weaker teams on the grid are set to disappear, with the strongest teams in Moto2 moving up to take their place. In addition, there is a chance that some of the stronger existing MotoGP teams could expand their participation as well.

It is an open secret that the Marc VDS Racing team is weighing up a switch to MotoGP. Team boss Michael Bartholemy has had initial talks with the team owner Marc van der Straten about adding a MotoGP entry to their line up, but they are still a long way from making a decision. Bartholemy told MotoMatters.com that a decision on their participation would come at Assen at the earliest, but admitted that it was still a very serious option.

The end of June would be too late for Kalex to get a chassis ready in time for 2015 to accept a leased Yamaha engine, but Bartholemy explained that that need not be a problem. Kalex have got permission from Yamaha to start work on a frame already, and have the specifications they need to get started, Bartholemy said.

That did not necessarily mean that Marc VDS will be running a Kalex Yamaha if they do decide to make the switch. 'We will look to see which manufacturer offers us the best package,' Bartholemy said. Marc VDS is likely to receive some help from the factories, due to the clear strength of the team. 'If you were a factory, which Moto2 team would you choose to help?' The Marc VDS team asked rhetorically.

The LCR Honda team is also considering expansion, to run a two-bike team along the lines of Gresini Honda, with one factory RC213V and one RCV1000R production racer. Lucio Cecchinello confirmed that he was close to signing a new sponsorship deal for 2015 which should bring in enough cash to add a second bike. But Cecchinello was cautious, saying his plans were far from fixed for next year. 'It's too early to say about next year,' Cecchinello said. 'At Assen, we will know more.'

The problem for both Cecchinello and Marc VDS is that the production Honda may not be an option. Asked whether there were any plans to expand Honda's current line up of four RCV1000Rs, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto said there was not. 'We have two-year contracts with the teams. Next year, we will supply the same teams,' he told MotoMatters.com.

Honda's reluctance to supply more bikes came down simply to cost. 'The production racer is very expensive, similar cost to satellite bike,' Nakamoto said. HRC are shouldering the difference, to acquiesce with Dorna's demands to supply cheaper bikes. Honda would only be willing to supply more production racers if the new teams were willing to bear the full cost.

For 2015, that may not be such a bad deal. Honda will be bringing performance upgrades for the RCV1000R, rumored to involve the addition of pneumatic valves. Nakamoto confirmed that the bikes would have more horsepower and acceleration, but refused to be drawn on exactly how that extra power would be produced. 'Next year, more power,' was all that he would reveal.

The 2015 MotoGP grid is shaping up to look even stronger than this season. There are increasing signs that the weaker teams on the grid are set to disappear, with the strongest teams in Moto2 moving up to take their place. In addition, there is a chance that some of the stronger existing MotoGP teams could expand their participation as well.It is an open secret that the Marc VDS Racing team is weighing up a switch to MotoGP. Team boss Michael Bartholemy has had initial talks with the team owner Marc van der Straten about adding a MotoGP entry to their line up, but they are still a long way from making a decision. Bartholemy told MotoMatters.com that a decision on their participation would come at Assen at the earliest, but admitted that it was still a very serious option.The end of June would be too late for Kalex to get a chassis ready in time for 2015 to accept a leased Yamaha engine, but Bartholemy explained that that need not be a problem. Kalex have got permission from Yamaha to start work on a frame already, and have the specifications they need to get started, Bartholemy said.

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