2014 Assen World Supersport FP1 Results: Michael Van Der Mark Leads At Home

Michael Van Der Mark opened the weekend with the fastest time, over four tenths quicker than Kenan Sofuoglu and the only rider under the 1'39 mark.

Results:

2014 Argentina MotoGP Preview - A Long Awaited Visit To The Middle Of Nowhere

Why on earth would you organize a MotoGP race in what is effectively the middle of nowhere? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: money. Dorna are being well paid by the circuit to bring the three Grand Prix classes to the little town of Termas de Rio Hondo in the heart of the Argentinian pampas. (And in case you should start to rail against Dorna's greed, it is fair to point out that a significant part of that money will also go to the teams, to pay transport costs and to cover at least part of their annual budget. Some of that money, but not all.)

A more relevant question might be why would a circuit in the middle of nowhere pay Dorna a massive amount of money to come race there? If it's in the middle of nowhere, then surely they are unlikely to make back at the gate what they paid to Dorna to organize the race? They won't, but that is not necessarily the point. The circuit, after all, is not paying most of the fee. The vast majority of the cash (indeed, probably all of it) is being paid by the regional authorities, with help from the central government. The regional tourism promotion council is counting on the increased profile of the Santiago del Estero province attracting more visitors to the region, and to Argentina in general.

2014 Argentina MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Argentinian MotoGP round at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit:

Round Number: 
3
Year: 
2014

2014 Argentina Moto2 And Moto3 Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and Dunlop ahead of the inaugural races at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina:

Round Number: 
3
Year: 
2014

2014 Assen World Superbike Preview Press Releases

Press release previews from the series organizers and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's races at Assen:

Round Number: 
3
Year: 
2014

2014 Moto2 And Moto3 - Looking Back To Austin And Forward To Argentina

Two races in, and patterns are already starting to emerge in Grand Prix's junior classes. In Moto2, preseason favorite Tito Rabat is living up to expectations as his challenges fall by the wayside. In Moto3, Jack Miller has a far firmer stranglehold on the class than expected, while the new Honda NSF250RW is proving that when HRC put their minds to building a factory race bike, the competition had better watch out.

Austin, Texas, proved to be a case in point. A bizarre start to the Moto2 race saw a massive pile up at the treacherous first corner, the run up the hill combining with the massive nerves of a Moto2 start – arguably motorcycle racing's most rabid class – to produce chaos. Josh Herrin, feeling the strain of coming in as reigning AMA Superbike champion to find himself running anonymously in mid-pack in Moto2, ran in to Turn 1 too hot, try to jam his Caterham Suter into a spot which wasn't there, and ended up taking down half the field. Herrin was understandably nervous in front of his home crowd, and feeling the pressure of being the ambassador for American racers, but he did himself and any AMA hopefuls looking to Moto2 a disservice. Herrin fractured a collarbone whle training, and so will have to wait until Jerez to start to make amends.

Championship leader Tito Rabat also got a mediocre start from pole, then dropped back a long way in the first couple of laps, before starting to fight his way forward again. Xavier Simeon looked like making it a very big day for Belgium for most of the race, before massively outbraking himself on the way into Turn 1 as he came under press from Dominique Aegerter and Maverick Viñales. Aegerter led for a while, but he could offer no resistance to Viñales. The reigning Moto3 champion quickly opened a gap and crossed the line with a comfortable margin to spare.

Aspar Press Release: 20 Years Since Jorge Martinez' Last Victory In Argentina

The return to Argentina marks 15 years since Grand Prix motorcycle racing last visited the South American country. But it also marks another anniversary, which the Aspar team chose to celebrate in a press release. 20 years ago, at the Buenos Aires circuit, Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez took his final Grand Prix victory, winning the 125cc race on a Yamaha. The press release looking back at that occasion appears below:


The final victory of a Champion

“It is twenty years ago now but when I think about my races they feel like only yesterday. I can still remember which gear I took in which corner at every circuit. I even surprise myself.” These are the words of one of the greatest World Champions of all time, Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’. This season is the twentieth anniversary of his final victory, in Argentina, a country that welcomes the return of motorcycle Grand Prix racing this weekend. Aspar’s last ever win came in the capital city of Buenos Aires, whilst this weekend's racing takes place many miles away at the remote but spectacular Termas de Río Hondo circuit.

It is impossible for the Spanish legend to forget that moment in Argentina, the final time he stepped onto the top of a World Championship podium. Not that he knew it at the time, of course, but that win would be the cherry on the cake of an incredible career and a statistic that would go down in history. The season was 1994: “A year I remember very fondly. We did a great job, enjoyed ourselves a lot and had some good results although the victory was very hard to come by,” reflects ‘Aspar’.

Yamaha were as honest as their bikes: reliable, with good acceleration but a top speed deficit to their great rivals Honda of almost twenty kilometres per hour. It was a handicap that would prove almost impossible to overcome, even for the best rider in the world. ‘Aspar’ knew that the strength of his machine was in the chassis, perfect for the faster corners, and stable under heavy braking. If there was one thing he was good at it was braking and with certain limitations on engine performance it was clear that this would be his greatest weapon.

Year: 
2014

The Termas De Rio Hondo Circuit in Argentina: Facts and Figures

The Argentinian round of MotoGP will be the first time a major racing series has visited the Termas de Rio Hondo, the brand new circuit in northern Argentina. As the track is still so new, the circuit designers - Dromo Racetrack Design from Italy - have produced some background material containing key facts about the circuit.

Alongside the list of facts, there are also a couple of interesting infographics giving a better idea of what the track is like. There is a track map showing the elevation change on the circuit. But most interesting of all, is the map created using simulation software to estimate which corner will be taken in which gear, and what speeds will be reached. 

As a primer to getting an idea of what to expect this weekend, these infographics, along with the press release from Marc VDS Racing and video lap, are great place to start. Action starts in Argentina on Thursday.


Termas de Rio Hondo MotoGP Lap Time - Simulated with DroCAS™ [Infographic]

Using DroCAS™ simulators, Dromo designed the racetrack as per vehicle dynamics and to enhance rider's skills capabilities.

The result is a fast flowing racetrack as provided in the infographics.

Cal Crutchlow To Miss Argentinian MotoGP Round, Pirro To Substitute

Cal Crutchlow is to miss the Argentinian round of MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. The Factory Ducati rider is still recovering from surgery on the hand he injured during the race at Austin, and is not yet fit enough to race. Crutchlow will be replaced by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro in Argentina.

After his crash at Austin, Crutchlow was originally diagnosed with just a dislocated little finger on his right hand. However, when the swelling on the hand refused to subside, Crutchlow went in for further scans on his right hand in California. There it was found that the finger was still dislocated and was also broken. Crutchlow had surgery to insert a  pin into the broken bone to stabilize it. Despite that operation, the 28-year-old Englishman's hand is still swollen, and is in too much pain for him to be competitive. Instead, Crutchlow will fly home to the Isle of Man to continue his recovery, and will prepare for his return at Jerez.

Marc VDS Press Release: Exploring The Autódromo Termas De Rio Hondo In Argentina

With the MotoGP circus about to visit Argentina for the first time in 15 years, it's a good time to take a look at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, the brand new circuit added to MotoGP calendar for the 2014 season. A handful of riders rode at the circuit last year, including Tito Rabat, Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl, to gather some data for the tire firms involved in MotoGP. Bearing that experience in mind, the Marc VDS Racing team today issued a press release in which Tito Rabat gives his impression of the circuit. Rabat's description gives a good general sense of how the layout will work during racing.

To go along with Rabat's description of the track, a Youtube video of a lap of the circuit has been added. Though the video is taken from onboard of a Kawasaki ZX-6R ridden by Argentinian Supersport rider René Zanatta, it still gives a good idea of the layout of the circuit. The video appears below the press release from Marc VDS Racing:


Tito’s take on Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo

Gosselies, Belgium - 21 April 2014: While most of the Moto2 riders will get their first glimpse of the all-new Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo on Wednesday, Tito Rabat was one of only two Moto2 riders that travelled out to Argentina last year to spend two days testing on the track.

The Moto2 championship leader was impressed with both the layout of the circuit and the enthusiasm of the Argentinian race fans he met during his visit.

Round Number: 
3
Year: 
2014

Interview: Alberto Puig On The Asia Talent Cup And Developing Young Rider Talent

Alberto Puig has a knack for discovering and nurturing talent. From the point he was forced to retire from racing due to injury, the former 500cc rider has been involved in finding and bringing on new young riders. He has been involved in one way or another with many of the current riders in MotoGP, and more than one world champion. Though he is best known for being the man behind Dani Pedrosa, Puig has also discovered and supported Casey Stoner, Toni Elias, Bradley Smith, Leon Camier, Chaz Davies, Julian Simon, Joan Lascorz, Efren Vazquez and many more. Puig was one of the key figures behind the MotoGP Academy and the Red Bull Rookies, which continues to fill the ranks of MotoGP's three classes.

So it was a natural choice for Dorna to turn to Puig when they needed help to run the Asia Talent Cup, a series set up to bring on talent from Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. Dorna and Honda have set up the series together, and Puig's strong ties to both organizations made him the best man for the job. The fact that he is no longer so closely involved with Dani Pedrosa meant he had more free time on his hands to get involved in the Asia Talent Cup. 

With Asia being an absolutely vital market for both Dorna and the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, we were keen to learn more. Scott Jones spoke to Alberto Puig at Austin, where he gave us a fascinating insight into the series, his role in it, and how it came about.

End In Sight For Bridgestone As MotoGP Tire Supplier?

Big changes look to be coming to MotoGP's spec tire system. Now in the sixth season of having a single official supplier, MotoGP is moving closer to seeing the number and variety of tires drastically expanded. With the contract with Bridgestone due to expire at the end of 2014, there is even a serious chance that a new manufacturer could take over from the Japanese tire firm.

A report in the latest issue of the Spanish magazine Motociclismo (available via the Zinio platform), the magazine is reporting that Dorna is looking to change the way that the single tire supply works. Dorna representative Javier Alonso told Motociclismo that negotiations had been opened with several suppliers, including Michelin, Pirelli and Dunlop, as well as current supplier Bridgestone. Dorna had presented Bridgestone with a list of conditions drawn up by the Safety Commission, the liaison body in which the riders discuss safety issues with representatives of Dorna, hosted by safety officer Loris Capirossi.

Though Alonso does not explicitly name the conditions, he does give Motociclismo some context behind their thinking. The idea is to expand the range of tires available at each race, as it has been all too common in recent history for riders to turn up at a particular track only to find that just one of the two compounds available will work. Though the Bridgestone tires have proven to be excellent in terms of both grip and durability, Alonso said, they had proven to be 'difficult for riders to understand sometimes.' The spec tire has also been blamed for creating problems for Ducati. The current tire forces manufacturers to pursue a particular direction in chassis design, which has favored Yamaha and Honda. The intention is not to force Bridgestone to design tires especially for each manufacturer, as Pirelli does in World Superbikes, but to at least provide a much greater spectrum in terms of carcass stiffness and compounds. Senior Ducati personnel believe that a large part of their understeer could be solved by simply having a very different tire available. 

Suzuki Press Release: MotoGP Test Concludes At Austin, De Puniet Posts 2'05.9

Suzuki wrapped up their test at Austin on Wednesday, with Randy De Puniet concluding with a best lap of 2'05.85. Below is the press release they issued after the test:


SUZUKI MOTOGP CONCLUDES AUSTIN TEST

Team Suzuki Press Office – April 17.

The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team has concluded its Circuit of the Americas test at Austin in Texas after finding new direction and improvements to take to its next test in Argentina at the end of the month.

Test riders Randy De Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki were again joined on-track by former World Champion Kevin Schwantz and shared the test with the Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Superbike team as track temperatures climbed to 39 degrees; slightly higher than the previous day, but not as high as the previous weekend’s MotoGP second round.

De Puniet completed a total of 62 laps of the 5,315m circuit with a best lap-time of 2’05.85; just-over half-a-second quicker than his previous day’s best time.

Year: 
2014

Casey Stoner: I Miss Racing, But Not Enough To Return

Casey Stoner will not be returning to MotoGP any time soon. In an interview with the Italian magazine Vogue, Stoner said that he wanted to spend more time with his family and experience life outside the paddock.

There has been a constant stream of rumors that Stoner could return to MotoGP almost since the day the Australian hung up his helmet. They have grown in intensity at several points in time, most notably when Honda announced that Stoner would be working for HRC as a test rider in 2013. HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto has made no secret that Honda would welcome the prodigal Australian back with open arms, and credible sources in Spain have reported that much work has been done to make a comeback possible, and to try to persuade Stoner to make a return.

News that Stoner was to attend the Austin round of MotoGP reignited a firestorm of further speculation that he could stage a comeback at some point in the future. That speculation was tempered by the fact that Stoner spent most of the weekend in Seattle, where he watched his friend Ryan Villopoto try to wrap up the 2014 Supercross title. Stoner made it to Austin on Sunday, where he paid a very low-key visit to MotoGP*, catching up with his former teammates.

Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki MotoGP Bike, Randy De Puniet Matches Pace Of Open Bikes

Suzuki's MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit the team had not yet tested the bike at, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015.

Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday's race. But testing resumed in earnest on Tuesday, with Randy De Puniet running through testing electronics and another back-to-back test of the two chassis options Suzuki has been working on. De Puniet racked up a total of 56 laps on Tuesday, eventually putting in a lap of 2'06.41. That is roughly on pace with the Open class Honda RCV1000R machines, though De Puniet faced much worse track conditions than the Open class machines due to the aftermath of the weather.

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