Barcelona Private Test: Marquez Fastest As Riders Slate Chicane

What had originally been planned as a two-day private test for Ducati grew into something rather larger, with Honda and Aprilia also joining the fray. At the end of two days, it was Marc Marquez who ended the test as fastest, a couple of tenths quicker than Jorge Lorenzo on the Ducati, while Alvaro Bautista was third fastest on the Aspar bike. 

The test at Barcelona gave the riders a chance to test two of the most important changes for the series. First, the new, much shorter chicane being used instead of the F1 chicane, replacing Turn 12 where Luis Salom tragically lost his life during practice last year. And second, the riders got a chance to test the stiffer front tire (the '70') which will be used from Mugello onwards, and will therefore be used in Barcelona during the race.

The verdict on the chicane was universal, and the language used to describe it colorful and filled with expletives. Aleix Espargaro was the least unprintable of the riders there, telling Crash.net's Neil Morrison, "It's not fun to ride." The Barcelona track had once been one of the best in the world to ride, Espargaro said, and now it was just another track. MotoGP would be OK, Espargaro's Aprilia team mate Sam Lowes said, but it would cause carnage in Moto2 and especially Moto3, if a large group of riders tried to all get through there at the same time.

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer's Rider Insights On Le Mans, And Tribute To Nicky Hayden

MotoMatters.com, in association with Motor Sport Magazine, is proud to feature the rider insights of 1983 and 1985 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer. Every week after each MotoGP race, Fast Freddie will share what he saw and learned from the race.

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Press Release: Honda WorldSBK Team Pays Tribute To Nicky Hayden

The Red Bull Honda WorldSBK Team issued the following press release today, paying tribute to Nicky Hayden:


Honda WorldSBK management pay tribute to the late Nicky Hayden

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team offers its most heartfelt condolences to Nicky’s family, his fiancée Jackie, his friends, fans and everyone who has been touched by the passing of one of the racing world’s most loved sons.

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Press Release: Ducati Riders Remember Nicky Hayden

After the test at Barcelona today, Ducati sent out the following press release, where their riders speak about Nicky Hayden:


Ducati Team riders express their condolences over the passing of Nicky Hayden

The riders of the Ducati Team, currently taking part in a two-day private test at the Circuit de Montmelò on the outskirts of Barcelona, have expressed their condolences over the loss of their former MotoGP fellow racer, Nicky Hayden, who yesterday afternoon succumbed to injuries he received while out training on his bicycle in Italy last Wednesday.

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Press Release: Marking The Passing Of Nicky Hayden

Press releases from a variety of teams and organizations marking the tragic death of Nicky Hayden:


Tragic death of Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Imola circuit - 13 May 2017

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of the American motorcycle champion Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) following a cycling incident along the Riviera di Rimini on Wednesday 17 May.

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2017 Le Mans Sunday Round Up: An Age Of Champions

It sucks being the best rider in the world. Just as you believe you have everything under control and can dominate your rivals, along comes some jumped up kid with ideas above his station, determined to administer a king-sized kicking to your behind. That kid has answers to all the tricks you learned to use to beat your rivals, and now you have to reinvent yourself, push harder than you wanted just to stay in the game.

Back in 1998, for example, a cocky Italian swaggered into the 500cc class and threatened the supremacy of Mick Doohan. Doohan finished Max Biaggi off at the end of that year, but he had to dig deep. After Doohan retired, another cocky Italian took his place to rough Biaggi up, just as the Roman Emperor thought he owned the premier class. After a string of titles, Valentino Rossi, the cocky Italian in question, found himself facing a couple of rookies giving him real trouble. Casey Stoner beat him at the second time of asking in 2007, then Jorge Lorenzo took the fight to him inside Rossi's own team, getting the better of him in 2010.

Just as Lorenzo was settling in to take what he considered as his rightful place atop the MotoGP pile, along came a cheeky-faced Spanish youngster on a record-breaking spree, winning his second race and the title at his first attempt. After winning two titles in a row, then an impressive third last year, Marc Márquez suddenly finds himself grappling with an improbably fast Yamaha rider with steel in his soul and the name of a warrior (albeit a fictional one). And in addition to Maverick Viñales, Márquez has to contend with Johann Zarco, who has sprung from Moto2 like a jack-in-the-box, scaring the living daylights out of the regulars.

This is the circle of racing. Every racing series is in a state of permanent revolution, where the newcomers dream up new ways of usurping the established riders, and the old guard have to adapt or die. The moment you get comfortable is the moment your era has passed. The ultimate reward for being top dog is to ride around with a massive target on your back.

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Aspar To Continue With Ducati For 2018

The Pull&Bear Aspar Team will continue to race with Ducatis for the 2018 season. At Le Mans, the team signed a one-year extension of their deal with Ducati, which will see the Italian factory continue to supply satellite bikes to the team for next year.

Exactly what spec machinery the team will run is still to be decided. Depending on budget and the riders Aspar can sign, the team will either run two Desmosedici GP17s, or one GP17 and one GP16. 

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