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No Points Compensation For Loss Of South African World Superbike Round - Three Rounds Left In 2014 Championship

The loss of the South African round of World Superbikes, when the safety improvements to the Welkom circuit could not be completed in time for homologation, meant that the WSBK calendar had lost two rounds from its 2014 calendar, with both South Africa and the Moscow Raceway event having been scrapped. Two rounds meant the loss of two World Supersport races and four World Superbike races, a total of 50 points for WSS and 100 points for WSBK.

The loss of those points left both championships much closer to being decided. Tom Sykes leads the World Superbike championship by 44 points with 150 points stil at stake, while Michael van der Mark is even closer to the World Supersport championship, leading Jules Cluzel by 53 points with just 75 points left. The teams, but most especially the riders, felt that they had had a chance to try to reopen the championship races taken away from them.

Dorna, the teams, the manufacturers and the FIM tried to find a solution to this quandary. Various proposals were made, including adding an extra round at another track, adding extra races on the existing three weekends left, and scoring double points at one of the last rounds. Finding a track willing and able to host a round of World Superbikes at very late notice was a non-runner from the start, leaving only an extra race or extra points.

Today, the Superbike Commission, WSBK's governing body, announced that the teams, factories and Dorna had failed to come to an agreement over proposals to compensate for points. The teams and manufacturers rejected the proposal from Dorna to hold an extra race at the final round of WSBK in Qatar. No agreement could be arrived at to compensate in other ways, such as extra points.

This means that the final three rounds of World Superbike will be run as projected. WSBK will visit Jerez on 7th September, Magny-Cours on 5th October, with the final round of the series being held under the floodlights at the Losail circuit in Qatar, on 2nd November.

How many rounds there will be in 2015 remains to be seen. The 2014 season was largely dictated by contracts signed with World Superbikes' previous owners, the Flammini brothers and InFront Motor Sports. 2015 will be the first year in which many of the contracts will fall free for Dorna to negotiate themselves. A provisional calendar is not expected until much later this year.

The loss of the South African round of World Superbikes, when the safety improvements to the Welkom circuit could not be completed in time for homologation, meant that the WSBK calendar had lost two rounds from its 2014 calendar, with both South Africa and the Moscow Raceway event having been scrapped. Two rounds meant the loss of two World Supersport races and four World Superbike races, a total of 50 points for WSS and 100 points for WSBK.The loss of those points left both championships much closer to being decided. Tom Sykes leads the World Superbike championship by 44 points with 150 points stil at stake, while Michael van der Mark is even closer to the World Supersport championship, leading Jules Cluzel by 53 points with just 75 points left. The teams, but most especially the riders, felt that they had had a chance to try to reopen the championship races taken away from them.Dorna, the teams, the manufacturers and the FIM tried to find a solution to this quandary. Various proposals were made, including adding an extra round at another track, adding extra races on the existing three weekends left, and scoring double points at one of the last rounds. Finding a track willing and able to host a round of World Superbikes at very late notice was a non-runner from the start, leaving only an extra race or extra points.

Dakota Mamola To Make Moto2 Debut At Silverstone

Another hallowed name is to make a return to the Grand Prix paddock. At Silverstone, Dakota Mamola, son of famed former 500 GP winner Randy Mamola, is to replace Nico Terol. Terol is absent due to illness, the Spaniard suffering a mystery metabolic disorder which is causing extreme muscle fatigue. While Terol undergoes treatment, Mamola will take his place, with Terol hoping to make a return at Misano, two weeks after Silverstone.

Mamola has been racing in the Spanish CEV Moto2 championship with the GRT racing team. The 19-year-old is currently in 11th place, having scored 18 points at two races at the Motorland Aragon circuit. In 2013, Mamola raced in the European 600 Superstock championship, ending in 19th place with 28 points. The youngster has been receiving technical support from Aspar in the CEV, so he is a natural choice to replace Terol.

The interesting question is under what nationality Dakota Mamola will be entered. The youngster is racing in the CEV under a Belgian license, as his mother is Belgian, and organizing the paperwork to compete in the CEV is easier with a European license. When Mamola raced in the European Superstock license, he raced with a Spanish license, having done most of his racing in Spain. Given Randy Mamola's fame throughout the world as an American racer, doubtless Dorna would like to have Randy's son Dakota racing on his American passport. Whether this can be arranged in time for Silverstone remains to be seen.

Below is the press release from the Aspar team announcing Mamola's ride:


Dakota Mamola to replace Nico Terol at Silverstone

After making his CEV debut earlier this season, the American-Belgian youngster is now preparing for his Grand Prix debut in place of Nico Terol

Earlier this season, on the 22nd May to be precise, the Aspar Team announced that they would provide the technical support for Dakota Mamola to make his debut in the Spanish Championship with the GRT Racing Team. Now, after just three rounds competing at national level, the American-Belgian rider is set to make his World Championship debut with the MAPFRE Aspar Team in place of Nico Terol, who is recovering from muscle fatigue issues that have dogged him all season.

Mamola, son of four-time 500cc World Championship runner-up Randy, will contest his maiden Grand Prix in MAPFRE Aspar Team colours in this weekend's Moto2 race at Silverstone, with Terol hoping to be fit to return to action for the following round at Misano. It is a huge opportunity and challenge for Dakota, who will be making the step up to World Championship level just months after taking his bow on the national stage.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “We are delighted to offer another opportunity to Dakota Mamola. At the end of May we decided to support him in the CEV and he has shown the potential that he possesses as a rider. He is progressing quickly and we are sure he will continue to do so. He can go out and enjoy Silverstone because he is not under any pressure. The idea is that he continues to build his confidence on the Moto2 bike in preparation for the final few rounds of the Spanish Championship. Whilst we are delighted to have Dakota with us in Silverstone, we want to make it clear that the MAPFRE Aspar Team's official rider is Nico Terol, who is currently in a process of recovery, and we hope that process is swift so that he can return to racing as soon as possible.”

Dakota Mamola: “First of all I would like to wish Nico a swift recovery. Thanks to him and the MAPFRE Aspar Team I have this incredible opportunity and I would also like to thank the GRT team for their support in the CEV. To compete in the World Championship is a dream come true, we didn't expect it to happen this year but this is the way it's worked out. It is going to be a completely new experience for me and it will be a good opportunity for me to learn about Moto2. It will also be a chance to build my confidence ahead of the next round of the Spanish Championship at Navarra. I am really happy, it's a great honour that the MAPFRE Aspar Team have turned to me as Nico's replacement for this race. I know that they will help me a lot, I am not under any pressure and the objective is to enjoy the experience.”

Another hallowed name is to make a return to the Grand Prix paddock. At Silverstone, Dakota Mamola, son of famed former 500 GP winner Randy Mamola, is to replace Nico Terol. Terol is absent due to illness, the Spaniard suffering a mystery metabolic disorder which is causing extreme muscle fatigue. While Terol undergoes treatment, Mamola will take his place, with Terol hoping to make a return at Misano, two weeks after Silverstone.Mamola has been racing in the Spanish CEV Moto2 championship with the GRT racing team. The 19-year-old is currently in 11th place, having scored 18 points at two races at the Motorland Aragon circuit. In 2013, Mamola raced in the European 600 Superstock championship, ending in 19th place with 28 points. The youngster has been receiving technical support from Aspar in the CEV, so he is a natural choice to replace Terol.

50-Year-Old Jeremy McWilliams To Race Brough Superior In Moto2 At Silverstone

Jeremy McWilliams is to make a return to Grand Prix racing at the ripe old age of 50. The Northern Irish racer is to ride the Brough Superior Moto2 machine at Silverstone as a wildcard.

It will be McWilliams' first Grand Prix since 2007, when he rode the ill-fated Ilmor, which was withdrawn after just one race due to a failure to raise sponsorship. Since then, McWilliams has been active in both the US and Ireland, racing in the XR1200 championship which serves as a support race to the AMA, and racing on the roads in Northern Ireland. Before leaving Grand Prix racing, McWilliams had a long career in both the 250cc and MotoGP classes. His most memorable rides were with the QUB TSR-Honda in 250s, aboard the Aprilia 500cc twin at the start of the century, and riding the Proton KR bike in MotoGP. McWilliams won the 250cc race at Assen in 2001 aboard the Aprilia.

The Brough Superior McWilliams is to ride has been discussed here before. The bike is a carbon monocoque frame and carbon fiber swingarm, and uses a wishbone front fork, not unlike the Telelever set up to be found on some BMW road bikes. The bike has been designed and built by Paul Taylor of TaylorMade Racing, and will be backed by British insurance firm Bennett's. The Brough Superior will be the second bike to feature an unconventional front suspension set up, the other being the Transfiormers bike being raced by Lucas Mahias in the Promoto Sport team. That bike features a Hossack-style Fior front end, ironically the other style of front end used on BMW road bikes, but marketed as a Duolever.

Jeremy McWilliams is to make a return to Grand Prix racing at the ripe old age of 50. The Northern Irish racer is to ride the Brough Superior Moto2 machine at Silverstone as a wildcard.It will be McWilliams' first Grand Prix since 2007, when he rode the ill-fated Ilmor, which was withdrawn after just one race due to a failure to raise sponsorship. Since then, McWilliams has been active in both the US and Ireland, racing in the XR1200 championship which serves as a support race to the AMA, and racing on the roads in Northern Ireland. Before leaving Grand Prix racing, McWilliams had a long career in both the 250cc and MotoGP classes. His most memorable rides were with the QUB TSR-Honda in 250s, aboard the Aprilia 500cc twin at the start of the century, and riding the Proton KR bike in MotoGP. McWilliams won the 250cc race at Assen in 2001 aboard the Aprilia.

Tom Sykes Signs On For Two More Years In World Superbikes With Kawasaki

Tom Sykes will be staying on with Kawasaki for two more seasons. Kawasaki today announced that the Yorkshireman has signed a contract to remain with the Japanese factory in World Superbikes for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. 

The announcement does not come as a surprise. Sykes has known great success with Kawasaki since leaving Yamaha after his first year in World Superbikes. All of Sykes' wins in the class have come aboard a green machine, and the Yorkshireman won his first World Superbike title with Kawasaki last year. Currently leading the 2014 championship by 44 points, his second successive title is within grasp. The Kawasaki ZX-10R remains a highly competitve package, and Sykes is a good fit inside the team.

Unlike many of his fellow WSBK riders, Sykes was never in the frame for a MotoGP ride. Sykes had shown little interest in making the jump to MotoGP, unless he could be on top-flight machinery. With all of the factory bikes tied up, and the satellite slots largely spoken for, there was little room for Sykes, even if he had been interested in a move. Instead, Sykes preferred to stay on in World Superbikes, and chase more WSBK titles.

Below is the press release issued by Kawasaki on the Sykes signing:


Tom Sykes To Remain With KRT For Two More Years

Reigning World Champion Tom Sykes has recently signed an agreement to continue as an official Kawasaki Superbike World Championship rider for two more years, covering the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Yorkshireman Sykes (29) won the title with Kawasaki in 2013 and is currently in a commanding 44-point lead in the 2014 championship as Kawasaki continues its ‘Ninja 30’ anniversary celebrations throughout the year. Having competed on official Kawasaki machinery since the 2010 season Tom has become ‘Mr Kawasaki’ in the eyes of not only his many fans but also the Kawasaki family and the world at large.

Sykes has won all of his 22 career WSBK race victories to date with Kawasaki and is the most successful rider in Superpole qualifying in the modern era, with 23 Superpole wins - again all on Ninja ZX-10R machines. In 151 race starts in WSB Sykes has taken 46 podiums and 21 fastest laps.

The 2015 season and beyond will present a new challenge for all involved in the KRT effort, as the technical regulations will change in some significant ways, but Sykes and Kawasaki are confident that the class-leading Ninja ZX-10R will be a competitive package in any form of production-derived racing.

Tom Sykes: “I am very excited to re-sign and the decision was quite easy. I am looking forward to another two years with a great manufacturer. Kawasaki and I already have quite a good history. This is my fifth year as a rider with the brand, my fourth year with the current model of the Ninja ZX-10R, so for me it was an easy decision to continue.

I have put so much work into the bike I would not want to give my baby to someone else! We have been in discussion for a while but we have had really good success in recent years and continuing our relationship gives us an opportunity to take the story forward again. I sat at home and went through the pros and cons, like you do with a lot of things in life, and the pros for re-signing were almost endless.

I am very happy because Kawasaki and I have a high level of mutual respect and trust. The team is doing a great job so it is great to have two more years of continuity. I am relaxed now I know that I am moving on again with a great brand and a great team around me. I feel proud to have been involved in helping the development direction of the Ninja, so I am very happy to be staying where I am.”

Steve Guttridge, Racing Manager Kawasaki Motors Europe: “I'm so pleased that we have come to an agreement with Tom to continue the great job that he has been making in World Superbike on our Ninja ZX-10R over the past few seasons. He's our World Champion and a great ambassador for our brand too. At this moment we are very committed to continuing our dominance in Superbike racing and Tom is the man to help Kawasaki do just that."

Guim Roda, Team Manager Kawasaki Racing Team: “It is very good that Kawasaki and Tom have signed again for 2015 and 2016 as it is a very good point to work towards the new rules coming in 2015, and make another strong season in 2016. Tom knows the bike and team very well and I can guarantee he has still not arrived at the limit of his full potential. This is a very good opportunity to continue with great stability so we can improve the package and be even stronger next year.

The show will go on! I’m sure this is very good news for all Kawasaki fans and we want to say thanks for all the support shown to the KRT team and riders. I hope now we can enjoy a nice holiday during the current summer break and that Tom rests enough to remain very strong in the last part of the season.”

Tom Sykes will be staying on with Kawasaki for two more seasons. Kawasaki today announced that the Yorkshireman has signed a contract to remain with the Japanese factory in World Superbikes for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The announcement does not come as a surprise. Sykes has known great success with Kawasaki since leaving Yamaha after his first year in World Superbikes. All of Sykes' wins in the class have come aboard a green machine, and the Yorkshireman won his first World Superbike title with Kawasaki last year. Currently leading the 2014 championship by 44 points, his second successive title is within grasp. The Kawasaki ZX-10R remains a highly competitve package, and Sykes is a good fit inside the team.Unlike many of his fellow WSBK riders, Sykes was never in the frame for a MotoGP ride. Sykes had shown little interest in making the jump to MotoGP, unless he could be on top-flight machinery. With all of the factory bikes tied up, and the satellite slots largely spoken for, there was little room for Sykes, even if he had been interested in a move. Instead, Sykes preferred to stay on in World Superbikes, and chase more WSBK titles.Below is the press release issued by Kawasaki on the Sykes signing:Tom Sykes To Remain With KRT For Two More Years

Health Issues Force Nico Terol To Sit Out Silverstone

Nico Terol has decided to sit out the Silverstone round of Moto2. After enduring a dismal year with a mystery ailment, Terol has been forced to withdraw and focus on locating the source of his problems, so that he can return to racing in full health.

Terol was expected to challenge for the title in 2014, after scoring three wins and one podium last season with the Mapfre Aspar team. But there had been warning signs of something amiss previously. In the middle of last year, Terol was suspected of suffering late onset lactose intolerance, exactly the same condition that affected Casey Stoner during the 2009 season. Treatment for that appears not to have had the desired effect, as Terol has suffered all this year with extreme fatigue and elevated testosterone levels.

The issue has now reached the point where Terol can no longer be competitive in his current condition. Terol and the Mapfre Aspar team have decided that the Spaniard should sit out Silverstone while undergoing a battery of tests to locate the source of the problem. Though the press release issued by the team speaks solely of Silverstone, it is not completely certain Terol will be back at Misano.

Below is the press release issued by the Aspar team:


Nico Terol to miss British Grand Prix

MAPFRE Aspar rider to take time out to recover from physical issues that have dogged him all season

MAPFRE Aspar rider Nico Terol ended last season in good form, with three victories and a podium, despite some physical problems arising from premature muscle fatigue. This year Nico started out strongly during winter testing but once the season started the muscle fatigue returned and with eleven races already gone in the championship he has been advised by doctors to take a break from racing so that he can be properly examined again and treated.

The decision to follow the doctors' advice means that Nico will definitely miss the next round of the season, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Since he started with these symptoms Nico has been in the hands of Dr. Ángel Charte, head of the Internal Medicine team at the Instituto Universitario Dexeus and also part of the rapid response medical team at the MotoGP events. Terol has already undergone a host of examinations and over the next few days he will be subjected to an exhaustive run of tests to try and detect the cause of his muscle fatigue.

The decision to take this break in the middle of the season has been taken jointly by the MAPFRE Aspar Team and Nico Terol. Nico has the full support of the team during the time he needs to make a full recuperation.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “It has been hard to take this decision alongside Nico and those closest to him but we have to accept that at the moment he is not 100% fit and the best thing for him is to recover. As a rider myself it hurts me to see my riders, and people that I have affection for, suffering with physical problems. Even though he is going through a tough period Nico is a fighter and he will work hard to recover as soon as possible. He has the full backing of everybody at the MAPFRE Aspar Team, and we just want to wish him well with his recovery.”

Nico Terol: “After eleven tough races because of my health I am going to take some time off to analyse every detail and find the origin of this physical problem so that we can tackle it. I had a few episodes last season but they were only occasional and I was able to recover, even winning some races. The doctors think that with some quiet time away from racing we can find the root of the problem. I have spoken with Jorge and I want to thank him for his understanding at this time. I'm sad for my team, my sponsors and my supporters and I'm also upset because we had high expectations for this season. After winning races last year we thought we would be very competitive this time around.”

Nico Terol has decided to sit out the Silverstone round of Moto2. After enduring a dismal year with a mystery ailment, Terol has been forced to withdraw and focus on locating the source of his problems, so that he can return to racing in full health.Terol was expected to challenge for the title in 2014, after scoring three wins and one podium last season with the Mapfre Aspar team. But there had been warning signs of something amiss previously. In the middle of last year, Terol was suspected of suffering late onset lactose intolerance, exactly the same condition that affected Casey Stoner during the 2009 season. Treatment for that appears not to have had the desired effect, as Terol has suffered all this year with extreme fatigue and elevated testosterone levels.The issue has now reached the point where Terol can no longer be competitive in his current condition. Terol and the Mapfre Aspar team have decided that the Spaniard should sit out Silverstone while undergoing a battery of tests to locate the source of the problem. Though the press release issued by the team speaks solely of Silverstone, it is not completely certain Terol will be back at Misano.Below is the press release issued by the Aspar team:Nico Terol to miss British Grand Prix

GPC Introduces The Quartararo Rule - Minimum Age Limit Scrapped For CEV Moto3 Winner

The minimum age limit for the Moto3 class is to dropped for the winner of the Spanish CEV Moto3 championship. In a meeting at Brno, the Grand Prix Commission approved a proposal for the winner of the CEV Moto3 to be allowed to compete in the Moto3 world championship the season after winning the CEV. 

The rule change will mean that Fabio Quartararo, the young Frenchman currently leading the CEV Moto3, will be allowed to start in Moto3 in 2015. The Frenchman is currently 15, and does not turn 16 until 20th April. If this rule had not been changed, then Quartararo would have been forced to miss the first two races of the 2015 season. 

The official justification for the rule change is that the CEV is now a championship run under the auspices of the FIM, and therefore has a higher status than a normal national championship. The level in that championship is clearly high, as demonstrated by the results of Jorge Navarro in Moto3, drafted in to replace Livio Loi.

The suspicion remains in the paddock that this was a rule change made at the behest of certain Spanish teams. Quartararo currently rides for Emilio Alzamora's Estrella Galicia Junior team alongside Maria Herrera. It is believed that Alzamora plans to move both riders up to Grand Prix for 2015, when Alex Marquez and Alex Rins move on to Moto2. Having Quartararo miss the first two opening rounds would have put the team in a difficult situation.

The age change was not the only rule change made by the Grand Prix Commission. A change was also made to the starting grid procedure, forcing riders to switch off their engines and be pushed to their grid positions. That rule is aimed at reducing the speeds at which riders cut through what is often a very busy grid, with team members, photographers, journalists and guests all wandering around the grid.

A number of changes to the Moto3 technical regulations were also made, all of them pertaining to costs. The aim of the changes is in closing some of the loopholes by which manufacturers have been circumventing the price caps on parts. Whether this will be successful remains to be seen.

The press release from the FIM appears below:


FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 16th. August 2014 in Brno, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

Effective 2015

Age Limits in the Moto3 Class

The winner of the FIM CEV Moto3 Championship is permitted to compete in the Moto3 class of MotoGP in the following season, even if the rider had not reached the minimum age for the class. (Currently 16 years).

Start Grid Procedure – All Classes

To reduce the risk of accidents and possible injuries to workers and guests on the starting grids the following regulation was approved.

At the completion of his sighting laps the rider must stop at the rear of the grid and cut his engine. There are then two options available:

  1. The rider may dismount and his machine may then be pushed at a walking pace by his mechanic to his grid position where the rider may re-join and mount his machine, or
  2. The rider may remain seated on the machine and, guided by another person, he and the machine may then be pushed at walking place to his grid position.

Technical Regulations

Moto3 Class - Effective 2015

Following agreement by the manufacturers involved, additional regulations, mainly concerning the supply and costs of material for this class, were approved. Main points include:

GENERAL

The minimum numbers of machines that each manufacturer is required to supply, if requested, is reduced to 12. (Based on one machine per contracted rider).

ENGINE AND GEARBOX

Throttle Bodies

Two throttle bodies must be included in the engine package which comprises six engines. Extra throttle bodies will be charged for.

Manufacturers may choose to make a maximum of one upgrade to throttle bodies during the season. If an upgrade is produced then one throttle body must be supplied at no cost to each contracted rider at the same time. Extra, upgraded throttle bodies will be charged for.

Gearbox

Contracted riders are permitted to purchase a maximum of six complete gearboxes in each season at the contracted price of €1,500 each. Additional gearboxes will be charged for at the normal list price.

Upgrades to gearboxes or gearbox components are permitted only once during the season and must be available to all contracted riders at the same time.

If the manufacturer introduces an upgraded complete gearbox during the season then the contracted riders are then permitted to purchase a maximum of eight complete gearboxes in each season at the contracted price of €1,500 each. Additional gearboxes will be charged for at the normal list price.

In the case that the upgrade consists of one or more components rather than the whole gearbox then the parts will be charged for at the normal list prices.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Homologation of Complete Rolling Chassis

Each Manufacturer is permitted to homologate only one version of its own chassis and only one version of any third party brand of chassis they wish to make available. (It was already agreed that teams can homlogate chassis used in 2014 to be used in 2015)

Once a Manufacturer has submitted a rolling chassis price list for homologation it is not permitted to change the Supplier/Brand of any of its parts.

Sensors

Each Manufacturer manufacture is required to define which sensors they will supply with their Machine. Changing of Manufacturer/ brand of sensors, either by the Manufacture or the rider, is not permitted.

Setting Parts

Each Manufacturer may define a list of chassis setting parts. The rolling chassis provided within the maximum price will include one of each of the setting parts.

Manufacturers may also produce different versions of each setting part providing that the material and basic structure/dimensions are the same. These variants of the original setting parts may be supplied to contracted riders at normal list prices.

The only setting parts that may be supplied are:

  • Handle bar clamps
  • Foot peg plates
  • Seat pads
  • Headstock insert
  • Pivots
  • Linkages
  • Triple Clamps
  • Windscreen
  • Wheel Sprockets

Suspension

All suspension components must be included within the maximum homologated chassis package price.

Internal setting parts are not controlled and are not subject to homologation. Internal setting parts may be may be modified or replaced at any time by the team or suspension manufacturer.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:

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

The minimum age limit for the Moto3 class is to dropped for the winner of the Spanish CEV Moto3 championship. In a meeting at Brno, the Grand Prix Commission approved a proposal for the winner of the CEV Moto3 to be allowed to compete in the Moto3 world championship the season after winning the CEV. The rule change will mean that Fabio Quartararo, the young Frenchman currently leading the CEV Moto3, will be allowed to start in Moto3 in 2015. The Frenchman is currently 15, and does not turn 16 until 20th April. If this rule had not been changed, then Quartararo would have been forced to miss the first two races of the 2015 season. The official justification for the rule change is that the CEV is now a championship run under the auspices of the FIM, and therefore has a higher status than a normal national championship. The level in that championship is clearly high, as demonstrated by the results of Jorge Navarro in Moto3, drafted in to replace Livio Loi.

Brno Set To Continue As MotoGP Venue For 2015 And Beyond

MotoGP looks certain to be returning to the Brno circuit for 2015, after the local region of South Moravia guaranteed financing for the race for next year. In addition, talks are continuing to extend financing for the race beyond the 2015 season.

The race in Brno had been in doubt for some time now. The circuit, owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Cardion AB rider, has struggled to pay the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna, despite being the best-attended round of the series (over 142,000 turned up to watch the race in 2013 at the spacious, wooded Czech circuit). The circuit has previously received funding from the Czech government, but that has been withdrawn.

Now, the South Moravian region has stepped in to guarantee the 2.5 million euro sanctioning fee. The event reportedly generates around 35 million euros in revenue for businesses in the area, and is an important contributor to the local economy. Keeping the MotoGP round at the circuit is key for the regional authorities.

The deal agreed guarantees funding for the 2015 round, but talks will continue for future races. Both Dorna and the circuit intend to sign a long-term deal to keep the race at the track.

Below is the press release issued by Dorna explaining the situation:


Brno closing in on fresh MotoGP™ race deal

The legendary Brno Circuit is set to remain on the MotoGP™ calendar for the coming years following negotiations between Dorna Sports, commercial rights holder of the FIM MotoGP World Championship, and officials at the venue this weekend.

The Czech event was first part of the series in 1965, while racing on the modern-day circuit took place from 1987. As MotoGP gathered at Brno for this year’s bwin Grand Prix České republiky, officials looked to secure the immediate future of the event. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta met with Mr.Stanislav Juranek, Vice-governor of the South Moravian Region and Mrs. Ivana Ulmanova, CEO Brno Circuit, concluding that funding will soon be in place for at least the 2015 race.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, declared: “I appreciate the decision of The Council of South Moravian Region and personal initiative of the South Moravian governor Mr. Michal Hasek to guarantee funding of the Czech Grand Prix in 2015. I must express my thanks to the vice-governor of the South Moravian Region, Mr. Stanislav Juranek, who informed me about the decision made by the Council. We also discussed the principle of securing the guarantee. The positive information I have received this weekend comes in complete contrast to the information we had received at Sachsenring and therefore completely changes the situation. I consider it to be very positive; it will now be necessary to discuss further steps with the Brno Circuit and with other partners. I cannot predict our final decision at this very moment, but I can assure all MotoGP fans and visitors to the Czech Grand Prix that our primary interest is to keep the MotoGP race in Brno as one of the traditional and highly appreciated events on the World Championship calendar. Further negotiations with regards to firm details of the co-operation with the South Moravian region will be held after the South Moravian assembly, which must approve the decision of the Council. We expect this to happen in the second half of September.”

Mrs. Ivana Ulmanova, CEO, Brno Circuit commented: “I highly appreciate Mr. Ezpeleta’s willingness to meet representatives of the South Moravian Region and accept their guarantee of the MotoGP race at the Brno Circuit. The previous statement we made to Dorna was influenced by the current uncertainty about funding a MotoGP race for 2015. I must express my thanks to Carmelo Ezpeleta for waiting on a final decision about the Czech GP until almost the last possible day. This gives us enough time to negotiate and finally to find a solution. We now have renewed positivity that we can guarantee next year’s MotoGP race. I hope that the effort we spend in keeping live the tradition of the Czech Grand Prix event will be the best evidence for Dorna Sports representatives that we are prepared to stay in the World Championship as a one of the best organised and most popular MotoGP events.”

MotoGP looks certain to be returning to the Brno circuit for 2015, after the local region of South Moravia guaranteed financing for the race for next year. In addition, talks are continuing to extend financing for the race beyond the 2015 season.The race in Brno had been in doubt for some time now. The circuit, owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Cardion AB rider, has struggled to pay the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna, despite being the best-attended round of the series (over 142,000 turned up to watch the race in 2013 at the spacious, wooded Czech circuit). The circuit has previously received funding from the Czech government, but that has been withdrawn.Now, the South Moravian region has stepped in to guarantee the 2.5 million euro sanctioning fee. The event reportedly generates around 35 million euros in revenue for businesses in the area, and is an important contributor to the local economy. Keeping the MotoGP round at the circuit is key for the regional authorities.The deal agreed guarantees funding for the 2015 round, but talks will continue for future races. Both Dorna and the circuit intend to sign a long-term deal to keep the race at the track.Below is the press release issued by Dorna explaining the situation:Brno closing in on fresh MotoGP™ race deal

Circuit Of Wales Signs 5-Year Deal To Organize British MotoGP Round

The British Grand Prix is to move, if everything goes to plan. At a press conference held today, Dorna and the management of the Circuit of Wales announced that a deal had been reached that will see the track, to be built in Ebbw Vale in South Wales, will host the race for the next five seasons, with an option to extend the contract for another five years after that, until 2024.

The only problem is that the Circuit of Wales does not exist yet. The track is part of a £ 315 million project aimed at regenerating the Blaenau Gwent region, a once-prosperous region that has lost most of its employment since the coal and steel industries closed. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company have set up a scheme to create a major motorsports industry hub centered around an FIM and FIA homologated race track, capable of hosting world championship racing.

So far, however, the ambitious project has run into a series of delays. First, it faced problems over the purchase of common land needed to complete the project. More importantly, there are still major financial question marks hanging over the project. Michael Carrick, chief executive of the HVDC, has said that less than 10% of the project funds will come from public sources. So far, however, the HDVC has been cagey about investment from private sources, telling reporters only that talks with potential investors are ongoing.

These delays mean that the circuit will not be ready to host the race in 2015, with some concerns that it could be 2017 before the first race can be held on the circuit. In the meantime, the Circuit of Wales will have to strike a deal with either Donington or Silverstone to host the race next year. A decision on where that race is to be held will be made within the next month, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told reporters.

Silverstone put out a press release saying that the Northamptonshire circuit was sorry to lose the British round of MotoGP, but said it had no choice given the sanctioning fee being asked by Dorna. That, the statement said, was at an 'unsustainable' level, and that Silverstone were keen to continue hosting the race if agreement could have been reached over a lower fee.

There is also disagreement between Silverstone and the Circuit of Wales over the use of public funds to build the Ebbw Vale track. The Circuit of Wales is looking for substantial public investment, promising returns for the region in terms of tourism, employment and tax income. The experience of other circuits around the world confirms their projections: the Circuit of the Americas has calculated that the MotoGP race there generates around $50 million for the Austin region. The Brno race generates around 1 billion Czech crowns for the Moravian area. And the Aragon regional government claims returns of between 50 and 60 million euros from MotoGP at the Motorland Aragon circuit.

For further reading on the subject, see the list of links after the press releases. Above that are the press releases put out by Dorna and Silverstone on the announcement.


Dorna Sports and Circuit of Wales sign historic MotoGP™ agreement

The Circuit of Wales is set to host the British round of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship until 2024 after agreeing a five-year contract with the option for further five year extension with the Championship’s commercial rights holders, Dorna Sports S.L. The collaboration will begin in 2015 with next year’s Grand Prix which could be staged at an alternative British venue.

The agreement will bring the British Motorcycle Grand Prix to the innovative new Circuit of Wales near Ebbw Vale. The development is a flagship for the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent area in a project that includes a focus on youth employment, education, academy structures and an investment in motorsport, one of the UK’s key industrial sectors.

“Our agreement with Dorna is a significant landmark in the development of the Circuit of Wales,” said Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of the Circuit of Wales. “MotoGP is the pinnacle of global motorcycle racing and expectations within the series and of its millions of fans worldwide are for a truly world class event at iconic and state-of-the art venues. We look forward to meeting those expectations when we welcome MotoGP to Wales from 2016 and we are now working closely with Dorna and the FIM, MotoGP’s governing body, with regard to the 2015 British round of the MotoGP World Championship.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, the Chief Executive Officer of Dorna Sport S.L., commented: “We are excited to be working closely with the Circuit of Wales after being involved with the project for more than four years. The commitment to MotoGP is obviously a catalyst to a wide range of exciting projects aimed at contributing to the regeneration of the area, while we work together with MotoGP governing body the FIM in relation to the full homologation of the circuit.”

Ezpeleta continued: “The commitment to youth, to employment opportunities for the area, to its academy plans – linked to our own FIM CEV Repsol series – and the general investment in motorsport infrastructure will ensure very exciting times are ahead for Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding areas.”

The Circuit of Wales is a £280 million project to develop a purpose-built hub for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track, Britain’s first purpose-built motorcycle Grand Prix circuit, with unrivalled facilities for visiting fans. Sitting on the fringe of the picturesque Brecon Beacons, the Circuit of Wales will be a major catalyst for business, leisure and tourism as it spearheads the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent region.

The first phase of the multi-purpose development will be the construction of an international specification motor racing circuit and world championship facilities, hotel, commercial and retail complexes. The facility is designed to host international motorsport events and will be a centre for motorsport-related industries.

Plans include a 3.5-mile track that takes advantage of the natural flow of the unique topography of the area, an indoor academy training facility, motocross, trials and enduro venues, an international kart circuit and driver training facilities as well as a variety of leisure and cultural amenities.

The automotive park will be one of the world’s leading sustainable developments, targeting the growth of low-carbon industries and events. It will be a hub for research and development companies that are seeking to push the boundaries in environmental technology and energy solutions. The park will showcase the latest technologies that capture and generate energy for the facility.

The race academy and training facility to develop future Welsh and UK talent will work in unison with the motor racing circuit and with Dorna. Commercial, industrial and leisure developments will be at the heart of the project, providing opportunities for the growth of advanced engineering, technology, education and sustainable transport-related businesses.

Councillor Hedley McCarthy, the Leader of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, commented: “On behalf of the community in Blaenau Gwent, we are absolutely delighted that Dorna is bringing the British Motorcycle Grand Prix to the Circuit of Wales. The MotoGP series is an amazing championship that has provided a stimulant and confidence for the growth of infrastructure in a number of similar areas to ours around the world in recent years. We look forward to welcoming the teams, riders, officials, media and fans to Blaenau Gwent.”


Silverstone disappointed not to extend MotoGP contract

Having invested heavily in its circuit and facilities, specifically to host the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship alongside Formula 1®, and developed the British round of the series into a highly successful event, Silverstone is disappointed not to be extending its MotoGP™ contract with Dorna.

Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “We have expressed our desire to keep MotoGP™ at Silverstone, but the event is not sustainable at the fee level Dorna was proposing. Any future deal had to make economic sense and sadly we reached an impasse. The Circuit of Wales obviously believes it can make the finances work.”

Looking at the immediate future for the British Grand Prix, Phillips added, “Should the Circuit of Wales project be successful, it is unlikely that it will be ready before 2017. A venue for 2015 needs to be agreed as soon as possible to avoid having a negative impact on the success of next year’s British Grand Prix. Silverstone remains the ideal venue to stage MotoGP™; last year’s record crowds are testament to the excellent British Grand Prix experience provided by Silverstone.”


The British Grand Prix is to move, if everything goes to plan. At a press conference held today, Dorna and the management of the Circuit of Wales announced that a deal had been reached that will see the track, to be built in Ebbw Vale in South Wales, will host the race for the next five seasons, with an option to extend the contract for another five years after that, until 2024.The only problem is that the Circuit of Wales does not exist yet. The track is part of a £ 315 million project aimed at regenerating the Blaenau Gwent region, a once-prosperous region that has lost most of its employment since the coal and steel industries closed. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company have set up a scheme to create a major motorsports industry hub centered around an FIM and FIA homologated race track, capable of hosting world championship racing.

Bradley Smith Retains Tech 3 MotoGP Ride For 2015

Bradley Smith is to keep his MotoGP ride with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for another season. After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Smith's place in the MotoGP team had been in doubt, as this was the year when the Englishman had been expected to deliver. Smith had shown glimpses of his potential at a number of rounds, often being fast in practice. But several crashes and poor race results have seen Smith fall short on Sunday, when it counts.

Smith keeping his place is in part due to team boss Herve Poncharal keeping faith in the young Briton, who has raced for Tech 3 in Moto2 and MotoGP since 2011. But the lack of a suitable replacement was also a reason for Poncharal to retain Smith. Poncharal told MotoMatters.com at Assen that he had no interest in current riders in MotoGP other than Smith, but was looking to Moto2, and even Moto3. Credible reports suggested that Yamaha was keen on bringing Alex Rins in to MotoGP straight from Moto3, but Rins turned down the offer, preferring to go to Moto2 instead. Poncharal was also interested in Jonas Folger and Maverick Viñales, but Folger is in the middle of a two-year contract in Moto2, while Viñales elected to sign for Suzuki.

Below is the press release issued by Tech 3 on Bradley Smith's new contract:


Smith and Monster Yamaha Tech3 to continue long term partnership into 2015

Monster Yamaha Tech3 are pleased to announce that current British rider Bradley Smith will remain with the French squad next season having signed for a further year to compete in MotoGP aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

23 year old rider Smith initially joined the team in 2011 for his inaugural Moto2 season aboard the team’s self designed and built Mistral 610, having won races in the 125 cc class. After competing in the Moto2 class for two seasons and achieving some memorable results, such as fighting to a superb 2nd placed home podium at Silverstone in 2011 from 28th on the grid, Smith moved up to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team in 2013. He accomplished a successful first year in the premier class which included three 6th place finishes and is currently in his second year, where he has achieved such honours as qualifying on the front row for the first round of the World Championship in Qatar. The British rider will continue into his fifth year with Monster Yamaha Tech3 in 2015 as he intends to resume challenging for the accolade of the leading satellite MotoGP bike.

Bradley Smith

"It’s difficult to explain exactly how I feel right now but I am just overly thankful to Yamaha and Herve as well as the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for believing in me and enabling me to continue riding here for another year. I really do love working with this team plus the Yamaha YZR-M1 and it’s crazy to think that this well be our fifth year together although it still feels like the second! There’s been a lot of emotion in resigning so I’m really happy with the end result and that everything is finally sorted. Also, it’s positive mentally to have next year clear whilst going into the second half of this season. For me personally, it’s now time to start achieving and performing at my full potential, which I don’t believe we have seen yet. I know that with this team they can support me to get where I am capable of being and beyond plus furthermore, get the results that I need not only for myself, but for the sponsors and everyone involved in this elite operation. In addition, riding with Pol is great fun as it creates a strong atmosphere in the team and together we are very competitive which aids us in pushing as well as motivating each other in every session. For Pol and I to finish 5th and 6th is back where Monster Yamaha Tech3 deserves to be and everyone can expect more of the same in the next 18 months. I am very happy and look forward to the rest of the season as well being very excited for 2015."

Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager

"I am very pleased to announce that Bradley Smith will remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for one more year. We know each other well plus he is part of the family so this will be the fifth year of us working together and he will be the second longest serving Tech3 rider behind Olivier Jacque. This year has not been easy for him so far due to the high expectations after the winter test and the first race in Qatar. But he never gave up, so together with Yamaha and Tech3 we believe he is the best choice of rider for 2015. I believe that him and Pol are getting on really well together and will push each other the strong results. I am very happy to welcome Bradley back for one more year and I hope this agreement will not only help him to finish the second half of the year in a more relaxed state of mind, but also make things exciting for the MotoGP fans watching him."

Bradley Smith is to keep his MotoGP ride with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for another season. After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Smith's place in the MotoGP team had been in doubt, as this was the year when the Englishman had been expected to deliver. Smith had shown glimpses of his potential at a number of rounds, often being fast in practice. But several crashes and poor race results have seen Smith fall short on Sunday, when it counts.Smith keeping his place is in part due to team boss Herve Poncharal keeping faith in the young Briton, who has raced for Tech 3 in Moto2 and MotoGP since 2011. But the lack of a suitable replacement was also a reason for Poncharal to retain Smith. Poncharal told MotoMatters.com at Assen that he had no interest in current riders in MotoGP other than Smith, but was looking to Moto2, and even Moto3. Credible reports suggested that Yamaha was keen on bringing Alex Rins in to MotoGP straight from Moto3, but Rins turned down the offer, preferring to go to Moto2 instead. Poncharal was also interested in Jonas Folger and Maverick Viñales, but Folger is in the middle of a two-year contract in Moto2, while Viñales elected to sign for Suzuki.Below is the press release issued by Tech 3 on Bradley Smith's new contract:

PBM Selling MotoGP Grid Slots, Focusing On BSB

The PBM Team is set to leave MotoGP at the end of the 2014 season, and return to the British Superbike championship. Owner of the eponymous team Paul Bird has decided to expand his presence in BSB to add a second team, and withdraw from MotoGP altogether.

Bird spoke to both the British publication MCN and the German-language website Speedweek about his reasons for switching to BSB. Most of the backing for the PBM team comes from British sponsors, such as Rapid Solicitors. Bird told MCN that their sponsors would rather see PBM in BSB, as a British team with British sponsors. But Bird also mentioned to Speedweek the difficulties of competing in MotoGP as a private team. Those problems had been there in 2012, when PBM first joined MotoGP, but the situation is worse now. Without factory backing, it was impossible to be competitive, he said.

There is also a financial motive for leaving. With both Suzuki and Aprilia joining MotoGP in 2015, grid slots are at a premium. Bird had tried to sell his grid slots for this season in 2013, without much success. At the time, he was rumored to be asking for 3 million euros for the two places, but the buyers, rumored to include Marc VDS Racing, were not forthcoming. Bird has more hope of finding a buyer this time around, though the asking price is now nearer to 2 million euros for the pair. PBM will not be selling them directly, but instead, will auction them off through IRTA, the teams association which handles all entries into MotoGP.

There were two reasons for Bird to sell his slots indirectly via IRTA, rather than dealing directly with Aprilia. The first was that he believed he would get more money for the slots by allowing IRTA to auction them, rather than trying to do it himself. The second was that he was not keen to deal with Aprilia directly, as felt the Italian factory had let his team down this year. "They [Aprilia] would rather talk to Dorna than to me," Bird told Speedweek. "Apart from that, they have given us zero help this year." Promises of assistances made over the winter and during the season had not been fulfilled.

The PBM Team is set to leave MotoGP at the end of the 2014 season, and return to the British Superbike championship. Owner of the eponymous team Paul Bird has decided to expand his presence in BSB to add a second team, and withdraw from MotoGP altogether.Bird spoke to both the British publication MCN and the German-language website Speedweek about his reasons for switching to BSB. Most of the backing for the PBM team comes from British sponsors, such as Rapid Solicitors. Bird told MCN that their sponsors would rather see PBM in BSB, as a British team with British sponsors. But Bird also mentioned to Speedweek the difficulties of competing in MotoGP as a private team. Those problems had been there in 2012, when PBM first joined MotoGP, but the situation is worse now. Without factory backing, it was impossible to be competitive, he said.

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