Frenchman Johan Zarco has finished at the head of the time sheets following Moto2 FP1 at Silverstone, the Caterham Suter rider immediately looked comfortable around the fast and flowing circuit and blazed to a respectable time of 2:09.312. Simone Corsi finished a tenth behind Zarco but managed to edge out his Forward Racing team mate Mattia Pasini. Axel Pons put in one of his better performances of recent memory to claim fourth.
Maverick Vinales finished ahead of two fellow rookie riders in local hero Sam Lowes and Jonas Folger who set the sixth and seventh quickest lap times respectively. Italtrans racing's Franco Morbidelli ended in eighth while Takaaki Nakagami and Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio rounded out the top ten. Championship leader Tito Rabat had to settle for a disappointing twelfth place and 50 year old Moto2 wild card rider Jeremy McWilliams had a stark reality check as he took the local Taylor Made-Brough Superior machine to last place; over ten seconds behind Zarco.
Marc Marquez has dominated the opening MotoGP practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, however the cool session was interrupted by light rain and Marquez' lap was some three seconds slower than last year's quickest effort. The Repsol Honda rider was not deterred by the light sprinkle of rain midway through the session and posted a benchmark time of 2:03.208, which was over half a second quicker than Andrea Iannone. Fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso also put in a strong showing to make it two Ducatis in the top three as he edged out Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro.
Stefan Bradl posted the sixth quickest lap time to end up ahead of the factory Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi who appeared to struggle with the slippery mixed conditions. Yonny Hernandez put in another fine performance to finish in ninth place while Dani Pedrosa completed the top ten.
Championship leader Jack Miller has topped the opening Moto3 free practice session at a chilly yet sunny Silverstone. The Australian struggled to get to grips with the cool conditions early on, but found something in the closing stages. Miller finished ahead of the Spanish duo of Isaac Vinales and Alex Marquez by less than a tenth of a second, while Marquez' team mate Alex Rins posted the fourth fastest time followed by Championship rival Romano Fenati.
Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira sat perched at the top of the time sheets for a decent chunk of the session but eventually had to settle for the sixth quickest time. Niccolo Antonelli ended in seventh place after suffering from mechanical issues midway through the morning running. Niklas Ajo, Efren Vazquez and Enea Bastianini rounded out the top ten.
Silverstone has all the makings of being a very hectic weekend for a lot of people. Not so much because of the weather – things are looking up compared to a week ago, with just a few drops of rain forecast for Friday, and dry weather for Saturday and Sunday – but more because of the goings on behind the scenes. Thursday was the deadline for Moto2 and Moto3 entries to be submitted. The class looks to be oversubscribed again, with Dorna and IRTA left to whittle the entry list down to something of its present size. The extra entries are mostly expansion projects of existing teams, one-rider teams wanting to expand to two, or two-rider teams looking to become three-rider projects. The teams now have to stump up a deposit, before presenting their final rider lists at Aragon.
That has produced a certain pressure in the paddock for teams to sign riders for next year. The main players now know more or less where they are heading, though few will admit what their plans are. Most of the top Moto3 riders are off to Moto2, with those that remain filling the juiciest spots left open by those who are departing. The Estrella Galicia team of Alex Marquez and Alex Rins is to be split up, with one Alex rumored to be off to Marc VDS alongside Tito Rabat, while the other heads to the Pons team. Which Alex goes where is yet to be confirmed, but the smart money puts Marquez at Marc VDS, and Rins at Pons, in a charmingly consonant distribution of riders. Rins' slot depends on what happens with Jack Miller: if the Australian does not go to LCR Honda in MotoGP as rumored, he will take the spot vacated by Maverick Viñales. Miller's place at Red Bull KTM Ajo is to be taken by Brad Binder.
If the situation in Moto2 and Moto3 is close being settled, all is still up in the air in MotoGP. Before the summer break, not much was expected to change, but the impending loss of Go&Fun as sponsor to the Gresini team has thrown a spanner in the works. HRC has given Gresini until this weekend to place an order for the factory Honda RC213V, but without the backing of a major sponsor, Gresini will not be able to afford the bike. That would wreck Gresini's existing plans, and lead them on a search for alternatives, one of which could be running the factory Aprilia effort.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone previewing the British Grand Prix at Silverstone:
Preview press releases from the Moto3 and Moto2 teams, as well as Dunlop, ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone:
Kenan Sofuoglu is to switch teams for the remainder of the 2014 World Supersport season. From Jerez, Sofuoglu will ride the Kawasaki ZX-6R for the San Carlo Puccetti Racing team, leaving the Mahi Racing Team India squad.
The move is a result of financial problems for the Mahi Racing team. By switching to the Puccetti team, Sofuoglu and Kawasaki were assured that the Turkish World Supersport champion could continue to compete for the remainder of the season. Sofuoglu is currently fourth in the World Supersport championship, but lost any hope of a fourth World Supersport title when the South African round was canceled, as he trails championship leader Michael van der Mark by 77 points.
Below is the press release from Kawasaki:
Kenan Sofuoglu To Join San Carlo Puccetti Racing At Jerez
Three-time FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu will compete on a Ninja ZX-6R inside the San Carlo Puccetti Racing set-up at the next round of the championship, after an amicable parting with his previous Mahi Racing Team India squad.
Sofuoglu, a superstar in his native Turkey and WSS champion for Kawasaki in 2012, was victorious at the Motorland Aragon round in April and has claimed two further podiums since then. He is currently fourth in the championship after his most recent top three finish at Portimao in July.
Silverstone sees the traditional Day of Champions event for the Riders for Health charity, providing primary health care to remote areas in Africa. The unmissable event takes place today, Thursday 28th August, and features a host of activities, including the Riders for Health auction, in which some fantastic memorabilia is sold to fans. Full details in the Riders for Health press release below:
MotoGP™ stars come together to support health workers in Africa
Thousands of MotoGP fans are heading to Silverstone today for one of the best loved events on the MotoGP calendar, and to help raise money to support health workers across Africa.
Nearly 4,000 fans are expected to attend Day of Champions, which takes place every year before the British MotoGP™ and is the flagship fundraising event of MotoGP’s official charity, Riders for Health.
Tickets for Day of Champions cost £18 and are free for children aged 15 and under. They can be purchased from the main gate at the Silverstone race circuit.
The FIM today issued a press release announcing that Bimota will play no further part in the World Superbike series. The small Italian specialist was unable to produce the 125 units for sale to production. Market conditions continue to be very difficult in the sports bike segment, especially for minor manufacturers.
The FIM announced that Bimota has been suspended, not excluded. Once they reach the 125 unit target, they will be allowed to participate again, with the following target being 250 units after one year, and 1000 bikes by the end of the second year. The press release appears below:
Bimota halted from further competition in FIM Superbike World Championship rounds
The Italian manufacturer reappeared under new management and showed promise when they announced their new model, the Bimota BB3 at the EICMA show in Milan last November. Plans for participation in the 2014 FIM Superbike World Championship emerged and they were in contact with the FIM and Dorna.
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.
Leon Camier has made an impressive debut in MotoGP, replacing Nicky Hayden while the American recovers from wrist surgery. Camier has been competitive on the Honda RCV1000R since he first flung a leg over the bike, despite having no previous experience of either the bike, nor the Bridgestone tires, nor even the Indianapolis circuit, where he first rode the bike. To celebrate Camier's success, the Drive M7 Aspar team issued the following press release, containing an interview with the Englishman:
“The first thing I thought when I saw the Honda was that I wouldn't fit!”
Leon Camier is a true Brit, resident in Andorra, who looks like he could have been anything other than a motorcycle racer. A towering 190 centimetres tall, with a youthful smile and good English manners, Camier prefers to do his talking on the track. He recently made his MotoGP debut at the ripe age of 28, stepping in for the injured Nicky Hayden at the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team, and he has impressed everybody with his adaptation to Grand Prix machinery. A former 125cc youngster but a Superbike rider for the majority of his career, Camier has slotted in smoothly with the Spanish team and not only managed to finish the race at Brno but he did so in the points. Now he returns home to Silverstone with another chance to impress.
First obvious question... what's the difference between a MotoGP and a Superbike?
The electronics in MotoGP are much more advanced, the anti-wheelie control is incredible. MotoGP is also less physical than Superbikes, not just because the bike is lighter but also the way you ride it is completely different, you can rely a lot on the electronics. The tyres are also totally different, you have to find the limit in MotoGP and work out how to get the best out of the rubber. The suspension helps with this but there is just so many things, so much information... but basically the main difference lies in the electronics, tyres and suspension.
2014 Silverstone MotoGP Preview - Yamaha Territory, Racing At Home, And The Future Of The British Grand Prix
Since the beginning of the season, as he racked up one victory after another, Marc Marquez faced the same question over and over again: can you keep on winning? And over and over again, Marc Marquez gave the same answer: one day, he would not win. On that day, he added, it would be important to think of the championship, and get on the podium if possible.
That day came 10 days ago, at Brno. After struggling all weekend with a lack of rear grip on his Repsol Honda, Marquez couldn't match the pace of his teammate Dani Pedrosa, and the two Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Fourth was all that Marquez could manage.
The measure of a champion is not just how he wins, but also how he handles defeat. As Marquez rolled back into his garage after the race – a rare occurrence indeed, this the first time Marquez finished off the podium in his MotoGP career – there were no tantrums, no anger, no shouting. He patted his mechanics on their shoulders, sat down in his seat, and immediately started analyzing the defeat he had just suffered with his team. This was clearly not an experience he was keen to replicate any time soon. If any doubt still lingered, the eagerness with which he attacked the official test at Brno on the Monday after the race quickly removed them.
The factory Ducati team eschewed the official IRTA test at Brno last week, in favor of a private test in Misano. There, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow got to work on the Desmosedici GP14, with Dovizioso continuing to work on the new developments of the bike, while Crutchlow focused on finding a base set up with the machine. After the test, Ducati issued the following press release:
Ducati Team wrap up two-day test at Misano
Today saw the conclusion of two days of testing organized by the Ducati Team at Misano World Circuit in preparation for the Grand Prix of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini, scheduled for the Italian circuit on September 14th. Present at the test were the factory Ducati riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, as well as Andrea Iannone of the Pramac Racing Team and test-rider Michele Pirro.
Dovizioso took part in one and a half days’ testing at Misano, concluding his test schedule early this afternoon, while Crutchlow only went out on track in Monday’s sessions, before returning to the UK to undergo checks on his left shoulder, which was still painful after his crash during the Czech Republic GP at Brno two weeks ago.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’33.91 (116 laps)
Interview: Nicolas Goyon, Pol Espargaro's Crew Chief, On Developing The Yamaha M1 To Exploit The Strengths Of Moto2 Riders
Many MotoGP followers, both inside and outside the paddock, were sceptical when news leaked that Yamaha had signed Pol Espargaro to a factory contract early in 2013. A year later, and halfway through his first MotoGP season, that scepticism has been replaced with admiration. The younger of the two Espargaro brothers is the best satellite rider in the championship standings, and has been competitive from the start of the season.
Yamaha clearly had a plan with Pol Espargaro. The riding style which young racers develop in Moto2 is very different from the style which came from the 250cc class. Where Moto2 racers use a sliding rear tire to help turn the bike into the corners, the 250 two-strokes rewarded riders who could brake early and carry as much corner speed as possible. The Yamaha YZR-M1 has been primarily developed around the 250cc style, but as riders schooled in the Moto2 class enter MotoGP, Yamaha realized they will have to adapt their bike to this new generation of young riders. By signing the reigning Moto2 champion, Yamaha have started to seriously examine how the new intermediate class is affecting MotoGP bike development.
Leading this development has been Pol Espargaro's crew chief, Nicolas Goyon. The Frenchman has been a data and electronics engineer in MotoGP since 2003, the first year in which the class switched over fully to four strokes. With the departure of Daniele Romagnoli, who followed Cal Crutchlow to Ducati, Goyon was given the role of crew chief to MotoGP rookie Espargaro. Since then, Goyon has been working with the Moto2 champion and Yamaha to explore how the Moto2 style can be made to fit to the Yamaha M1. We spoke to Goyon after the Brno test, to ask him about how he had adapted the bike and the feedback Pol Espargaro was providing.
MotoMatters.com: We know what the Yamaha style is to be as smooth as possible and to carry as much corner speed as possible and not upset the bike. That means braking in a straight line, keeping your wheels in line as much as possible. A few times, Pol Espargaro has been riding in more of a Moto2-style. First of all, why did he decide to do it, and did he talk to you about it?
Nicolas Goyon: Yes, of course. This is one direction Yamaha wanted to try, and obviously, Pol is the first Moto2 world champion working with Yamaha, and so Yamaha is really interested in this new style. We realize that all the Moto2 riders, the new generation of riders, they have a specific style, one we all know, they have the elbow on the ground, their bike is shaking from the rear on braking. Pol is really the first guy with this style working with Yamaha.
The Silverstone circuit issued the following press release, containing a list of activities going on this weekend at the British Grand Prix:
MotoGP™ rider appearances top off a fantastic weekend of entertainment at the British Grand Prix
The FIM MotoGP™ World Championship returns to Silverstone this weekend (28-31 August) for the Hertz British Grand Prix. Five Brits – Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding, Michael Laverty and Leon Camier – will line up on the starting grid alongside legends of the sport including Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who will all be pushing for maximum points in front of the passionate Silverstone crowd.
As well as the breathtaking on track action, which includes MotoGP™ and the highly-competitive Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes, Silverstone has lined-up a packed schedule of entertainment for the whole family, throughout the weekend.