After his seat in the IODA Racing team fell through due to a lack of funds, Leon Camier is to race in MotoGP in 2014 after all. The Englishman is to replace Nicky Hayden on the Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R for both the Indianapolis and Brno rounds of MotoGP.
Hayden had surgery last week to remove a row of bones in his right hand, including the scaphoid he injured in a crash in 2011. On Tuesday, Hayden was examined for the first time after surgery, and although his recovery is going well, he will require an extended period of rehabilitation before he is ready to return to race. As a result, Hayden will be forced to skip both the Indianapolis and Brno rounds of MotoGP, in the hope of returning to action at Silverstone at the end of August.
In the meantime, Camier is to ride his production RCV1000R for the two rounds, making his debut in the premier class at last. The Englishman will face an uphill task at Indianapolis, acclimatizing to the Bridgestone tires at a notoriously difficult circuit, and one which he has never ridden. A week later, Camier will face a slightly easier challenge, racing at Brno which he knows from his time in World Superbikes.
Silly Season Update - Ducati Confirmed, Suzuki Announcement Imminent, And Will Aprilia Be Back Sooner?
The Danish physicist and father of quantum physics Niels Bohr is reputed to have said "Prediction is hard, especially about the future." Just a few days after our comprehensive silly season update was posted, at the World Ducati Weekend event, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow all confirmed they would be staying at Ducati for next season, throwing our predictions into disarray. None of the Ducati riders were leaving for Suzuki - or in Cal Crutchlow's case, a satellite Honda - meaning that the Japanese factory was forced to make a few adjustments to their plans. And not only Suzuki: since the Ducati announcement, more of the pieces of the 2015 MotoGP puzzle have started to fall into place. Time to revisit what we know so far, and what we expect in the next few days.
With nearly four weeks of rest between the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring and the round at Indianapolis, riders are taking advantage of the break to have surgery. On Tuesday, Cal Crutchlow had surgery to relieve arm pump, and help reduce the swelling in his forearms. Crutchlow had had swelling in his forearms since crashing at the Sachsenring in 2013, a situation which previous surgery has done little to relieve. Though he posted a picture of himself on Twitter with both arms in bandages on Tuesday, he was fit enough to type several messages on the social media website a day later. Crutchlow is expected to be fully fit and back in action at Indianapolis.
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed their three-day test at Brno. The final half-day of the test was used to further work on set up and new parts for the 2014 bike, though Marc Marquez also put in five laps on the 2015 machine.
The Repsol Honda riders also tested a thumb-operated rear brake at Brno, similar in set up to the system used by Mick Doohan. The system was being tested because of the extreme lean angles modern MotoGP bikes are achieving, Pedrosa told MCN's Matt Birt. Birt also reported that Honda have no intention of racing the system, but wanted to try it.
Below is the press release issued by HRC after the three-day test:
Three-day test concludes in Czech Republic
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed the private Honda test in Brno. Both riders used these three days to prepare themselves for the second half of the season and also had the chance to ride the first version of the 2015 machine. On this final day, both riders finished testing at lunchtime with Dani stopping first after 16 laps on the 2014 machine. Marc completed 41 laps on the 2014 bike and 5 laps on the 2015 prototype.
The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More
This year's silly season – the endless speculation about who will end up riding where next year – has not so far lived up to the expectations from the start of the year. With all four factory Honda and Yamaha riders out of contract at the end of 2014, real fireworks were expected in the battle to secure signatures. That bidding war never unfolded, and with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa back with Repsol Honda, Valentino Rossi already signed up to Movistar Yamaha, and Jorge Lorenzo looks likely to finalize his deal – a two-year contract with some kind of option to depart after a year – before the season resumes again in Indianapolis.
But silly season has been far from a disappointment. Over the past couple of weeks, the jostling for the remaining seats in MotoGP has really taken off, with the promise of wholesale changes taking place up and down the grid. With the exception of Pol Espargaro, who is expected to remain at Tech 3 for the second year of his two-year contract with Yamaha, just about every other seat on the grid could see a new occupant. The arrival of Suzuki and, it now appears, Aprilia offers four new factory seats to vie for, opening up new opportunities for the current crop of riders. The upgrading of Honda's RCV1000R makes the production Honda a more attractive proposition. And there looks set to be an influx of young talent into the class. The 2015 MotoGP grid could look very different, once you look past the top four.
While the factory line ups at Honda and Yamaha will be unchanged for next year, the factory Ducati team is likely to sport two new faces for 2015. Although Cal Crutchlow has a year to go on his contract with the Italian factory, neither party is particularly happy with the arrangement. Crutchlow has never really got over the shock of just how poorly the Ducati turns compared to the Yamaha he left behind, and has found it hard to keep his criticism to himself. Ducati, in turn, are not enamored of Crutchlow's forthright manner of speaking, nor of his criticism of the bike. Crutchlow's results have also been a disappointment to Ducati, although the Italian factory must bear some of the blame, given the many mechanical and electronics issue the bike has suffered. Ducati point to the performance of both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, though conceding that the two Italians have already had a year on the bike. For anyone who rode the Desmosedici GP13, the GP14 is a huge improvement. For anyone who rode a 2013 Yamaha M1, it is a complete disaster.
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed the second day of their test at Brno. Though most of the day was spent testing their current bike, both Pedrosa and Marquez also rode the preliminary version of the 2015 RC213V. Visually, there are few differences with the 2014 bike, though there are a few details visible. Dani Pedrosa told MCN's Matt Birt that the main difference was in the frame, which was aimed at improving corner entry. Motocorse blogger Manziana noticed the most obvious difference was in the rear subframe mounting point. Moving that mount suggests that fuel tank has also been moved, something which would certainly have an effect on braking and corner entry. The press release from Honda appears below:
Marquez and Pedrosa have first outing on 2015 machine
After yesterday’s tricky weather conditions, today Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa had their first taste of next year’s bike.
At the start of the summer break, Repsol and HRC announced they will be extending their sponsorship agreement for the next three seasons. The Spanish oil giant will continue to back the factory Honda team until the end of the 2017 season, continuing a partnership which first started in 1995, the year after Mick Doohan won his first title for Honda.
The press release announcing the deal appears below:
Repsol and Honda extend MotoGP collaboration through to 2017
Since 1995 Repsol has been the title sponsor of the factory Honda MotoGP team and after 20 years of sporting success and technological development, a new three year agreement will see Honda and Repsol continue their special partnership through to the end of 2017.
This is the longest running sponsor-factory agreement of its kind in the history of the motorcycle World Championship, and has converted the Repsol Honda bikes into icons within the motorsport world. Reigning World Champion, Marc Marquez, together with teammate and Honda stalwart Dani Pedrosa, will continue to represent these two prestigious brands as the factory riders.
The Repsol Honda team today started a three-day test at the Brno circuit. The team issued the following press release after the first day of testing:
Constructive first day in Brno despite temperamental weather
Fresh from their fantastic 1-2 finish in the German GP on Sunday, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were back on track in Brno today on day one of the three-day test.
Although the weather was bright and sunny first thing, a heavy rain shower at 11.30am drenched the track and left the Honda riders no option but to try some wet settings on their RC213V machines, Marc suffering a small crash in turn five after losing the front. The track slowly dried and by mid-afternoon it was dry enough to resume the testing program, but with very low grip. Marc and Dani remained on their current 2014 machines for the duration of the day working on general bike settings with both riders recording 49 laps each.
Tomorrow the plan will be to continue their schedule and also test the 2015 machine for the first time.
Marc Marquez - 49 laps
Press releases from the World Superbike teams and series organizer after Sunday's incident-packed races at Laguna Seca:
2014 Sachsenring Sunday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez' Perfect Record, Dangerous Starts, And A Spaniard-Free Zone
The former England soccer player Gary Lineker once described the sport as follows: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." It feels somehow fitting to paraphrase that quote on the day that the Germans play in the World Cup final. Motorcycle racing is a simple sport, where 23 people ride a MotoGP bike as fast as they can, and Marc Marquez always wins.
He found yet another way to win at the Sachsenring. A heavy rain shower between the Moto2 race and the sighting lap for MotoGP left the grid in disarray, with about three quarters of the field heading in to swap from their wet to their dry bikes at the end of the warm up lap. That left fourteen riders to start from pit lane, five abreast, after jostling for position. At that point, the race should have been red flagged – more on that later – but instead, they all got out of pit lane safely. Just.
Marquez showed himself to be a master of improvisation, pitting quickly, swapping bikes and elbowing his way to the front of the pits. He took advantage of the chaos, exited pit lane first, and led the charge towards the shellshocked remainder of the pack who had started from the grid proper. He was 8.5 seconds behind the leader Stefan Bradl by the end of the first sector, a deficit which he had cut to 7.7 seconds by the end of the first lap. Before the sixth lap was completed, he had caught and passed the LCR Honda man, going on to win his ninth straight MotoGP race with relative ease. He faced an early challenge from his teammate Dani Pedrosa, but Marquez was more aggressive in getting past Bradl, where Pedrosa hesitated for a second. Pedrosa pushed hard once past, nearly caught Marquez, but faded towards the end.
Press releases from Bridgestone and the MotoGP teams after Sunday's strange German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the series organizer and World Superbike teams after Saturday's qualfying at Laguna Seca:
2014 Sachsenring Saturday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez On Pole, Silly Season Shenanigans, And The Dangers Of Skipping Moto2
After he missed out on pole at Barcelona, and then again at Assen, people were starting to wonder if cracks were starting to appear in Marc Marquez's hegemony in MotoGP. His performance in qualifying may have faltered, but his reign remained intact when it counted, winning the first eight races in a row. On Saturday, Marquez hammered home his supremacy once again, taking pole by three tenths of a second – an eternity at the short and tight German circuit – and breaking Casey Stoner's pole record for the circuit from 2008, a record set on super-sticky qualifying rubber, tires which disappeared with the introduction of the spec tire a year later. Once again, Marquez moved the bar, posting the first ever sub 1'21 lap of the Sachsenring.
It was a goal he suspected was possible when he posted a 1'21.5 on used tires during FP4. Already fast on his first run, everything slotted into place on his second, and the new record was his. "I felt everything was perfect with the second tire, and I could get the record," Marquez said. His seventh pole of the season also sets him up to retain his perfect win record on Sunday. Starting on the front row is crucial at the Sachsenring. The track is tight, and passing places are few and far between. Starting from pole, especially for a relatively poor starter like Marquez, gives him a head start for tomorrow's race.
So who can challenge Marquez on Sunday? The list of candidates is short. There is of course his teammate, Dani Pedrosa always having been fast here at the circuit. Pedrosa post a fast lap on his first qualifying run, and looked set to improve it as he exited the pits for his second attempt. He was perhaps a little too eager, however, and the Repsol Honda man folded the front going into Turn 1 just as he started his second flying lap. "I think I hit a bump under braking," Pedrosa said. His race pace throughout practice was good, but could not match the pace of Marquez.