Bridgestone is to introduce an improved method of marking slick tires for 2014. A new system of color-coding will make distinguishing between the various options much easier for fans to identify who is using which tire. The four different compounds which could potentially be available at each round (two for the Factory Option category, two for the Open category) are identified using four different colors: red for hard, black (or no stripe) for medium, white for soft, and green for extra-soft. Below is the Bridgestone press release explaining the color-coding system:
Bridgestone introduces new slick tyre marking system for 2014 MotoGP™ season
Friday, March 7 2014
From the first race of the 2014 season, Bridgestone will employ a new colour marking system for its MotoGP™ tyres to make it easier for spectators to see which front and rear tyre options each rider is using at a given time.
MotoGP Rule Change Imminent: 'Intermediate' Category To Be Added Between Factory Option And Open Classes
The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the MotoGP.com website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.
It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.
Press releases from the teams, Bridgestone and Dunlop at the end of the three-day tire test at Phillip Island:
The five factory MotoGP riders and four Moto2 men have wrapped up the test at Phillip Island. The nine riders worked their way through the Sisyphean task of testing the vast mound of tires Bridgestone and Dunlop brought to the test, to assess compounds to be used in the race in October. The weather was very mixed on the final day, making for a more accurate reflection of the conditions likely to prevail during the race, after two days of hot, Australian summer on Monday and Tuesday.
Jorge Lorenzo was fastest man on the day, as he has been throughout the test, though the focus on the final day was on race simulations. Lorenzo did almost complete race distance at a very constant pace, though his teammate Valentino Rossi was faster over a shorter, half race distance run. Dani Pedrosa was forced to cut his race simulation run short with neck pain, brought on by having spent six of the past eight days testing a MotoGP bike. Cal Crutchlow also had to call an early halt to his race simulation, as his front tire suffered problems at the end of 17 laps. The front tires were not an issue at the race last year, this tire test having been called because of issues with the rear tire.
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Why the door was left Open for Ducati
Dorna’s Open plan is to get all the factories using their software to make MotoGP racing closer and safer. Open this, Open that, Open the other; that was all everyone was talking about at Sepang last week.
Aleix Espargaró ended the test at the sharp end and ahead of three of the four Factory-spec Yamahas on his Open-spec YZR-M1. It will be a huge thrill to have Espargaró battling up front, putting a few factory noses out of joint.
The even bigger deal at Sepang was Ducati deciding it’s no longer a factory team but is instead an Open team. Honda and Yamaha are raging about this because the whole point of the Open regs was to give poorer privateer teams a helping hand, not to help one factory outflank the others.
It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.
The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.
Press releases after the second day of the tire test at Phillip Island:
The tire test at Phillip Island continues, with a selection of MotoGP and Moto2 riders putting new specs of tires from Bridgestone and Dunlop through their paces in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of last October. After the first day of testing, where the riders tested a large selection of various compounds and constructions, the second day of testing concentrated on the tires which showed the most promise from the short runs on Monday.
Though Jorge Lorenzo was fastest on the day, his time was still over a second off the lap record set by Marc Marquez in October. But fast times were less important than tire enduranc, and Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow all posted long runs towards the end of the day. Pedrosa managed 20 laps, or just over two-thirds race distance, while Rossi and Crutchlow both did runs of half race distance. Lap times were consistent, with little drop off towards the end. Bridgestone were very happy with the data, and have narrowed the selection down to three possible tires, and hoping to leave with just two options for development ready for the race in October. Jordi Torres did a race simulation on the Moto2 Dunlops, but the tire did not produce the lap times which Dunlop had hoped. The data was useful nonetheless, as it provides further input for development.
Press releases at the end of the first day of the tire test at Phillip Island:
Times from Monday:
Italian rider Niccolo Antonelli was one of the revelations of Moto3 testing at Valencia and Jerez. Teammate Enea Bastianini was also notably quick. So the press release issued by the Go&Fun Gresini team featuring crew chiefs talking about the progress made so far with the KTM machines in preseason testing makes for interesting backround. The press release appears below:
MOTO3 PRE-SEASON TEST DEBRIEF WITH STEFANO RIMINUCCI AND FABRIZIO CECCHINI
Nine days of testing, divided equally between the circuits of Almeria, Valencia and Jerez have provided a first, interesting indication of the performance values ahead of the 2014 Moto3 World Championship campaign. During this trip across Spain, the Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 has became soon a protagonist, being costantly at the top of the timesheets: during all the testing sessions, Niccolò Antonelli has been always in the top three positions, resulting the fastest over the three days spent at Valencia.
The Repsol Honda team issued the following press release, announcing that they have secured the backing of Indonesian Honda distributor PT Astra Honda Motor for the 2014 season, after a year of absence:
HRC celebrate new collaboration with PT Astra Honda Motor, Indonesia
In an effort to inspire young Indonesian riders to achieve their highest racing dreams, PT Astra Honda Motor (AHM) have partnered up with the Honda factory racing team, Repsol Honda.
The One HEART and Satu HATI logos will be displayed on Honda’s RC213V bike (having already featured since the first Sepang test) and also on the leather suits of team riders Marc Marquez – 2013 MotoGP World Champion – and Dani Pedrosa, for the 2014 season.
This partnership, which also existed in 2011 and 2012, demonstrates AHM’s commitment to growing grass roots motorsport in Indonesia and supporting the development of young riders on both a national and international level. The training of young riders will be conducted through the Honda Racing School (HRS), using Honda’s sport motorcycle the CB150R StreetFire, meanwhile the development of racing teams will be conducted through Honda Technical Racing Training.
The Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 team issued a press release reviewing progress in testing so far. The crew chiefs of Xavier Simeon and Lorenzo Baldassari talk about the steps made at the two tests in Spain, and look ahead to the season to come. The press release appears below:
MOTO2 PRE-SEASON TEST DEBRIEF WITH TOMMASO RAPONI AND DAVID JABAL
Throughout February, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 carried out the first major phase of winter testing in preparation of the 2014 World Championship campaign: despite being forced to miss both Almeria and Valencia test, due to the injury suffered last February 6, Xavier Siméon was able to make the most of the recent Jerez test. The Belgian rider, alongside his crew chief Tommaso Raponi, went down to business working on the 2014 Suter chassis set-up reaching soon a good feeling, confirmed by the ninth overall fastest time in the combined standings, but especially by a very steady pace over the long distance.