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Tito Rabat To Remain With Marc VDS In Moto2 For 2015

As expected, Tito Rabat has confirmed he will stay with the Marc VDS Racing team for 2015, and spend another year in Moto2. The Spaniard had an option in his contract which would allow him to leave for a MotoGP team if he were to win the Moto2 title and he had an offer from a factory team. With few factory option bikes on offer next year, and with the MotoGP rules set to change in 2016, Rabat elected to stay in Moto2 for another year, and if he wins the title, become the first ever Moto2 champion to defend his crown.

The announcement also confirms Marc VDS' intention to remain in Moto2 and not move up to MotoGP, as we have been reporting for some time. The deadline for the team to make a decision to move up to MotoGP was at Assen, with chassis builder Kalex needing confirmation from either Marc VDS or Pons before they could start to go ahead and build chassis for the Yamaha engines available for lease. With the introduction of a single set of electronics, and Michelin replacing Bridgestone, moving up to MotoGP in 2015 was a risk. Waiting for a year will allow teams such as Marc VDS to judge which is the most competitive package, and which manufacturer appears to be adapting to the new tires best.

With Rabat confirmed, the next step is to wait for who will join him in the team. Despite the fact that he is currently second in the championship and challenging his teammate for the title, Mika Kallio looks set to lose his ride in favor of a youngster coming up from Moto3. Or possibly even two youngsters, with both current Estrella Galicia riders Alex Marquez and Alex Rins being linked to the ride. Marc VDS also has Jack Miller under contract, but the contract dispute between Marc VDS and Miller's manager Aki Ajo has soured relations between the two parties. Miller is still being linked to a ride in MotoGP with LCR Honda, but he could also move up to the Pons Moto2 team, where he could replace another Ajo protege Maverick Viñales.

The press release announcing Rabat's contract appears below"


Rabat confirmed at Marc VDS for 2015 season

Gosselies, Belgium – 17 July 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team is pleased to announce that Tito Rabat will remain with the team for the 2015 season.

Rabat, who is currently leading the Moto2 World Championship, having won four of the nine races so far, had an option in his contract that would see him released from the team to make the move up to MotoGP should he be crowned World Champion this season.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has decided against exercising this option and, instead, has committed himself to a second season in Moto2 with the Marc VDS Racing Team.

Should Rabat achieve his goal and win the championship this season, 2015 will be the first time the reigning Moto2 World Champion has returned to defend the title since the intermediate class switched from 250cc two-strokes to 600cc four-strokes in 2010.

Tito Rabat

“I’m happy to stay with Marc VDS in 2015 for a number of reasons, but the main one is because they are as committed to winning races as I am. I have a good team of people around me and they ensure I have everything I need to win, so why would I go anywhere else? Now everything is sorted we can focus on doing what we set out to do at the beginning of the season, which is to win races and the championship. Nobody has ever won the Moto2 World Championship and then returned the following year to defend the title, so I hope I will be the first.”

Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal

“Obviously I’m pleased that Tito will remain with the Marc VDS Racing Team next year, as I know he’s had quite a few offers to make the step up to MotoGP next season. That he’s made the decision to remain with the team now, rather than waiting, also shows just how committed he is to the job at hand. With the decision about his future made, he can focus completely on his main goal for this season; winning his and the team’s first ever World Championship title.”

Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team

“When you have a rider in your team that isn’t just leading the championship but pretty much dominating it, then you know that MotoGP teams are going to be knocking on his door, and that’s exactly what’s happened with Tito this season. But, despite the offers, he’s made the decision to remain with the Marc VDS Racing Team for another season and I’m proud that he feels his future lies with us.”

As expected, Tito Rabat has confirmed he will stay with the Marc VDS Racing team for 2015, and spend another year in Moto2. The Spaniard had an option in his contract which would allow him to leave for a MotoGP team if he were to win the Moto2 title and he had an offer from a factory team. With few factory option bikes on offer next year, and with the MotoGP rules set to change in 2016, Rabat elected to stay in Moto2 for another year, and if he wins the title, become the first ever Moto2 champion to defend his crown.The announcement also confirms Marc VDS' intention to remain in Moto2 and not move up to MotoGP, as we have been reporting for some time. The deadline for the team to make a decision to move up to MotoGP was at Assen, with chassis builder Kalex needing confirmation from either Marc VDS or Pons before they could start to go ahead and build chassis for the Yamaha engines available for lease. With the introduction of a single set of electronics, and Michelin replacing Bridgestone, moving up to MotoGP in 2015 was a risk. Waiting for a year will allow teams such as Marc VDS to judge which is the most competitive package, and which manufacturer appears to be adapting to the new tires best.

Carbon Fiber Brough Superior Moto2 Bike To Make Debut At Silverstone

Despite some early promise, there has been much complaining of a lack of innovation from chassis builders in Moto2. the bikes have followed the same basic layout as all modern race bikes since the late 1980s: aluminium twin spar chassis and conventional suspension arrangements.The only real interest has come from wildcards. At Le Mans, the French Promoto Sport team raced their Transfiormer chassis, with some solid results. Beyond that, the bikes have been pretty much identikit.

At Silverstone, another interesting wildcard will get its first public running. The British round of Moto2 will see the Brough Superior make its debut in a competitive race, after making an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year. The bike is a rebrand of the design by John Keogh and Taylormade Racing, discussed on MotoMatters.com last year. The bike uses a monocoque chassis design made fully from carbon fiber, with integral fuel tank. The front suspension is a single wishbone with damping in the forks, while the rear swingarm is also fully carbon fiber. The radiator has been moved to the rear of the bike, to allow the machine to be narrower and free up space in front of the engine.

The Brough Superior is to be raced by Luke Mossey, currently competing in the British Supersport championship. The effort is to be backed by British insurance giant Bennetts, one of the largest specialist motorcycle insurers in the UK. The press release announcing the deal appears below:

 


Bennetts Back Racing Return of British Icon

Insurance specialists to sponsor Brough Superior project at British MotoGP round

Bike insurance specialists Bennetts are backing the return of the iconic British Brough Superior brand by sponsoring the reborn marque’s one-off entry into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next month.

Bennetts Brough Superior, as the team will be known, will enter the Moto2 class with rider Luke Mossey competing on board the team’s innovative British-designed carbon fibre Carbon 2 machine.

The project is headed by California-based Brits Paul Taylor and John Keogh, who are running the team on behalf of the soon-to-be relaunched Brough Superior brand. The bike, which has won national level races in the United States, features a unique carbon fibre monocoque design and has received input from famed Formula One engineers John McQuilliam and Steve Nichols. Like all bikes on the Moto2 grid, the Brough Superior will be powered by the standard specification 600cc four-cylinder Honda engine.

Dubbed the ‘Rolls Royce of motorcycles’ Brough Superiors were rare and expensive machines during their 20 year production run from 1920. Famous for their association with Lawrence of Arabia, Broughs acheived numerous race wins and speed records in the 1920s and 1930s. The brand was bought by British engineer Mark Upham in 2013 and the company has plans to sell its new SS100 model early next year, the first new motorcycles to go on sale wearing the famous name in 75 years.

Mossey, a front runner in the British Supersport championships, has already tested the bike in America, before giving the Carbon 2 a first run out on British soil at Silverstone yesterday. The team is planning to undergo one further test, before making its world championship debut at the Northamptonshire circuit on the weekend of 29-31 August.

Paul Taylor, CEO, Taylormade Racing said: “It is really exciting to be partnering with Bennetts to bring the Brough Superior Carbon 2 to the track at Silverstone. The bike has been in development and testing for a number of years and as befitting the iconic Brough Superior name, this is the state of the art in chassis design. We’ve been able to benefit from Formula 1 expertise here in the UK and hope that will make for a very competitive package first time out. Luke has taken well to the bike so we are really looking forward to mixing it up with the regular Moto2 competition to see how good it is.”

Luke Mossey, Bennetts Brough Superior Carbon 2 rider, said: “I can’t wait to race the Bennetts Brough Superior Carbon 2. I’ve ridden it in California and really like the bike - it reminds me of riding my 250GP bikes. I’ve done well at Silverstone, its one of my favourite tracks, so think we can be competitive even though have had less track time than our competitors. Roll on August!”

Mark Upham, CEO of Brough Superior, said: “We are proud to be partnering with Bennetts, a long-established company that George Brough would have known, to show why Brough Superior is an iconic British name! The Carbon 2 is everything George Brough would want in a motorcycle and I’m sure he and TE Lawrence wil be watching from on high and cheering Luke on as his namesake rolls out in front of the British MotoGP fans.”

Paul Taylor, PR and Sponsorship Manager at Bennetts, said: “We are delighted to be working with the team and are looking forward to seeing what they can do at Silverstone. There is a lot of romance around Brough Superior and the project is sure to attract attention around the world, but as much as anything we are just excited to be backing British engineering and design. When it was introduced in 2010, we expected Moto2 to be a place for chassis innovation. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case and we’re proud to be backing this original design in an otherwise homogenised field. There are no results expectations from Luke and the team, we’re just thrilled to be flying the flag for Britain. There’s no doubt that we are the underdogs, but we like that and hope that the British public will get behind this exciting project.”

Image credit: Double Red

Despite some early promise, there has been much complaining of a lack of innovation from chassis builders in Moto2. the bikes have followed the same basic layout as all modern race bikes since the late 1980s: aluminium twin spar chassis and conventional suspension arrangements.The only real interest has come from wildcards. At Le Mans, the French Promoto Sport team raced their Transfiormer chassis, with some solid results. Beyond that, the bikes have been pretty much identikit.At Silverstone, another interesting wildcard will get its first public running. The British round of Moto2 will see the Brough Superior make its debut in a competitive race, after making an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year. The bike is a rebrand of the design by John Keogh and Taylormade Racing, discussed on MotoMatters.com last year. The bike uses a monocoque chassis design made fully from carbon fiber, with integral fuel tank. The front suspension is a single wishbone with damping in the forks, while the rear swingarm is also fully carbon fiber. The radiator has been moved to the rear of the bike, to allow the machine to be narrower and free up space in front of the engine.

Scott Jones At Laguna - World Superbikes In The USA


Big sky at Laguna Seca


Tom Sykes. Not quite as unbeatable as Marc Marquez, but there's not a lot in it


His Chazness. Laguna Seca was tough on the Welshman


I can save this, I can save this, I can save this ...


The office


Alex Lowes discovers the Corkscrew


Fast genes. The Haslam family


Toni Elias has found a second home in World Superbikes. Pirellis suit him better than Bridgestones, it seems


Rolling Monterey County


Johnny & Ronnie


Silver Sylvain Guintoli


Ready


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Big sky at Laguna Seca Tom Sykes. Not quite as unbeatable as Marc Marquez, but there's not a lot in it His Chazness. Laguna Seca was tough on the Welshman

Dani Pedrosa Signs For Two More Years With Repsol Honda

As expected, Dani Pedrosa has signed on for another two years with HRC, and will remain in the factory Repsol Honda team until the end of 2016. Reports from Spain suggested that a deal was close to completion at Assen, and the details have now been finalized. The deal means that the Repsol Honda team will remain unchanged for a further two years, with Pedrosa lining up alongside 2013 world champion Marc Marquez until the end of the 2016 season.

The deal between Pedrosa and Honda had taken a little while to complete, with Pedrosa briefly flirting with Suzuki, who are set to make a return to MotoGP in 2015. That flirtation was never completely serious, and given the salary Pedrosa was rumored to be demanding to ride for Suzuki - said to be 8 million euros - Pedrosa was not keen to leave Honda. Staying at Honda does come at a price, however. Rumors in the Spanish media suggest that Pedrosa was forced to take a cut in base salary, with compensation coming in the form of performance-based bonuses. The veracity of such claims is hard to test, as HRC did not disclose any of the details of the contract with Pedrosa. Keeping salaries secret is common practice in MotoGP, teams and factories fearing it could unleash a bidding war.

Pedrosa's signing means that both factory Honda and one factory Yamaha seat are now fixed for the next two season. Pedrosa and Marquez will continue at Repsol Honda, while Valentino Rossi will stay at Movistar Yamaha. That leaves Jorge Lorenzo with fewer options than before, making a contract extension with Yamaha look more likely. Lorenzo's only other option would be the factory Ducati team, but that is a big gamble at the moment.

If Lorenzo stays at Yamaha, then that would lock up the four top bikes until 2017, making it hard for some young riders to progress. Riders such as Scott Redding and Stefan Bradl are left on satellite rides, and if Maverick Vinales enters MotoGP in 2016, he too will have to wait a year for a factory ride. That opens up a fierce battle for the top bikes in 2017, when the top riders from Moto3 - Alex Rins, Alex Marquez, Jack Miller, Romano Fenati - all head for the premier class.

With Pedrosa, Marquez and Rossi signed, and Lorenzo looking likely to remain, that leaves the factory Ducati riders next in line for renewal. Cal Crutchlow has to make a decision by the end of the month whether he will stay with Ducati, or try his luck at Suzuki. Andrea Dovizioso has a similar decision to make, though he appears to be more inclined to remain with Ducati than to take a risk. Suzuki are dependent in part on what happens at Ducati. If one of the two factory riders at Ducati don't jump ship to Suzuki, then Pramac rider Andrea Iannone will be high on their priority list, as will Forward Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro. Talks will continue at the Sachsenring, with more news likely to emerge either after Germany, or before the season resumes at Indianapolis in early August.

The press release from Honda appears below.


Honda Racing Corporation sign with Pedrosa until 2016

Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to officially announce an agreement has been reached with Dani Pedrosa that will see the Spanish rider remain in the factory Honda team for a further two years, until the end of 2016.

Dani, who currently lies third in the World Championship – level on points with second place Rossi – as the season reaches the halfway point, will extend his contract with Honda with whom he has raced with his debut in the World Championship in 2001. Dani is a three time World Champion (2003 in 125cc, 2004 and 2005 in 250cc) and made his debut in MotoGP in 2006 in the Repsol Honda Team, claiming the Rookie of the Year title and fifth position in the Championship. He has been both runner up and third in the premier class on six occasions (three each).

Dani Pedrosa World Championship Statistics:

MotoGP
Starts: 141
Podiums: 90 (25 x 1st, 35 x 2nd 30 x 3rd)
Poles: 27
Fastest Race Laps: 40
Best World Championship positions: 2nd (2012, 2010, 2007), 3rd (2013, 2009, 2008)

250cc
Starts: 32
Podiums: 24 (15 x 1st, 8 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd)
Poles: 9
Fastest Race Laps: 15
World Champion: 2005, 2004

125cc:
Starts: 46
Podiums: 17 (8 x 1st, 4 x 2nd, 5 x 3rd)
Poles: 9
Fastest Race Laps: 5
World Champion: 2003

Shuhei Nakamoto
HRC Executive Vice President

“We are very pleased to renew our contract with Dani. He is enjoying a very strong season and is currently tied with Rossi in the Championship, we are very happy with his performance. The partnership of Dani and Marc has proven to be successful and we look forward to another two years of success”

Dani Pedrosa

"I'm very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team, and grateful to Honda for the trust they have shown in me for for a further two years. It’s the best way for me to continue in my racing career, together with the company I was with in my very first race. I am very excited to give my 100% and continue to work together with everyone at Honda Racing Corporation”

As expected, Dani Pedrosa has signed on for another two years with HRC, and will remain in the factory Repsol Honda team until the end of 2016. Reports from Spain suggested that a deal was close to completion at Assen, and the details have now been finalized. The deal means that the Repsol Honda team will remain unchanged for a further two years, with Pedrosa lining up alongside 2013 world champion Marc Marquez until the end of the 2016 season.The deal between Pedrosa and Honda had taken a little while to complete, with Pedrosa briefly flirting with Suzuki, who are set to make a return to MotoGP in 2015. That flirtation was never completely serious, and given the salary Pedrosa was rumored to be demanding to ride for Suzuki - said to be 8 million euros - Pedrosa was not keen to leave Honda. Staying at Honda does come at a price, however. Rumors in the Spanish media suggest that Pedrosa was forced to take a cut in base salary, with compensation coming in the form of performance-based bonuses. The veracity of such claims is hard to test, as HRC did not disclose any of the details of the contract with Pedrosa. Keeping salaries secret is common practice in MotoGP, teams and factories fearing it could unleash a bidding war.

The Curious Case Of Jack Miller: Marc VDS Issues Press Release Clarifying Contract Situation

Jack Miller is a rider in demand. The current leader in the Moto3 world championship has been linked to several top teams, and has been openly flirting with a step up to MotoGP, skipping Moto2 altogether. The fly in the ointment for Miller is the pre-contract he signed with the Marc VDS Racing team in 2013, securing his services for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Under the terms of the contract, Miller was released to ride for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto3, as Miller was keen to have a shot at the Moto3 title before moving up a class.

That situation appears to have caused some confusion. Jack Miller told the media as recently as Assen that he has no contract to ride for 2015, and is free to race wherever he wants. That is a position which was earlier laid out in a press release from the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, in which Miller made the same statement. Marc VDS Racing and their team manager Michael Bartholémy insist that this is not the case, and the situation has gotten so far out of hand that the Marc VDS team has issued a press release of their own, clarifying the deal which they have with the Australian.

The press release sets out Marc VDS Racing's perspective on the deal. A binding, three-year deal was agreed between Miller and Marc VDS, laid down in the form of a pre-agreement. The full details were to be fixed in a final contract, which was agreed in full with Miller and his parents. but Marc VDS claim that Miller and his management team - Red Bull KTM Ajo team manager Aki Ajo - have failed to sign the final document. According to the Marc VDS team, this is not a problem, as the pre-agreement already signed by Miller and his family means that they are bound by contract to ride for the team.

The situation will have to be resolved quickly, one way or another, as both Miller and Marc VDS will want some clarity about the future. It would be unwise for Marc VDS to force Miller to race for them if he does not want to, but Marc VDS is also unable to negotiate contracts with other riders until the situation with Miller is resolved. If the situation is as Marc VDS claims, then Miller will either have to race for the team, or buy his way out of the contract. The press release from Marc VDS is shown below:


Marc VDS confirm binding contract with Jack Miller

Gosselies, Belgium – 4 July 2014: While the Marc VDS Racing Team would prefer to keep confidential their negotiations and agreements with riders, circumstances dictate that the team clarify their position with regards to Jack Miller.

Jack Miller recently stated on the official Ajo Motorsport website that he has no contract for the future. This statement is inaccurate. Jack Miller signed a binding three-year contract with the Marc VDS Racing Team for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Under the terms of this six-page contract, the Marc VDS Racing Team negotiated on Jack Miller’s behalf to secure him a Moto3 World Championship ride with the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team in 2014.

During the course of these negotiations Ajo Motorsport team owner, Aki Ajo, was made aware of the contract between Jack Miller and the Marc VDS Racing Team and also that, under the terms of this contract, Jack Miller would contest the Moto2 World Championship for the Marc VDS Racing Team in 2015 and 2016.

The three-year contract was in the form of an extensive pre-agreement, covering the relevant key points such as exclusivity, payment conditions and technical support. Nowhere was there a clause related to early release from the contract should Jack Miller receive an offer for MotoGP in 2015. Following the signing of this pre-agreement a final contract was negotiated and agreed between the parties, with the key elements remaining unchanged.

This final agreement was not signed and all requests by the Marc VDS Racing Team for a meeting with Jack Miller, his parents and his management team, to clarify the situation with regard to Jack Miller’s contractual obligations for 2015 and 2016, have gone unanswered.

In the absence of a signed final agreement, the signed pre-agreement remains extant and binding on both parties.

“It is regrettable that we’ve had to make public this situation, but we really were left with no option,” stated Michael Bartholemy, Team Principal of the Marc VDS Racing Team. “We have a contract with Jack Miller and we are already preparing for his arrival in the team for the 2015 season because, for us, a deal is a deal. If Jack has changed his mind and doesn’t want to ride for us next year then he or his management team need to come and talk to us, rather than simply ignoring our numerous requests for a meeting to clarify the situation. We are not interested in playing games; we just want the situation sorted out expeditiously. Until it is resolved we cannot move forward with our own plans for the 2015 season, as we have no intention on reneging on the agreement by offering Jack Miller’s place in the Marc VDS Racing Team to another rider.”

Finally, the Marc VDS Racing Team would like to wish Jack Miller the best of luck with his 2014 Moto3 World Championship campaign.

More information and high resolution images are available on the Marc VDS Racing Team website at www.marcvds.com.

Jack Miller is a rider in demand. The current leader in the Moto3 world championship has been linked to several top teams, and has been openly flirting with a step up to MotoGP, skipping Moto2 altogether. The fly in the ointment for Miller is the pre-contract he signed with the Marc VDS Racing team in 2013, securing his services for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Under the terms of the contract, Miller was released to ride for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto3, as Miller was keen to have a shot at the Moto3 title before moving up a class.That situation appears to have caused some confusion. Jack Miller told the media as recently as Assen that he has no contract to ride for 2015, and is free to race wherever he wants. That is a position which was earlier laid out in a press release from the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, in which Miller made the same statement. Marc VDS Racing and their team manager Michael Bartholémy insist that this is not the case, and the situation has gotten so far out of hand that the Marc VDS team has issued a press release of their own, clarifying the deal which they have with the Australian.

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?

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