The Tech3 team's decision to switch from Yamaha to KTM is having major consequences. With the Yamaha satellite bikes available, and with Suzuki ready to step up and supply a satellite team with bikes, teams are having to make choices they have never considered before. This luxury is indicative of the current health of the MotoGP grid: once upon a time, a satellite Yamaha or Honda team would never even consider switching to another manufacturer. Now, there are four competitive satellite bike suppliers to choose from.
So who will end up with the satellite Yamahas for 2019 and beyond, and where does that leave Suzuki? Speaking to some of the protagonists involved in the situation, it seems that although nothing is settled as of this moment, a decision is likely to be taken soon. Meetings are planned for Jerez which will play a crucial role in sorting out the satellite bike shuffle for next season.
The key player in all of this is the Marc VDS MotoGP team. The Belgian team has the financial resources, the staff, and the riders which allow them to pick and choose their partners. They have made no secret of their intention to leave Honda, after disappointment over the level of support they have received. But they have been caught between Yamaha and Suzuki now for the past couple of months.
MotoGP has only just started its second season with radical aerodynamics but most manufacturers are already against aero devices
Aerodynamics has been MotoGP’s biggest tech talking point of the past few seasons, if only because it’s easier to spot a redesigned winglet or aero surface than a rewritten traction-control map.
Perhaps not for much longer. It seems that most of the factories have had enough of MotoGP’s new-age aero – mainly because they think they are spending too much money for too little gain.
There are currently two reports being compiled: one by Dorna’s technical staff and the other by the MSMA (the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association). Both may offer the same conclusion: to ban aerodynamics in its current form and return to the conventional bodywork of a few years ago, before Ducati got clever with its winglets. The main concern is cost – a lot of money can be spent on aero development, which is still very much a nebulous science in motorcycle racing.
Press releases from the teams and Michelin after the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, Texas:
Marquez remains unbeaten at COTA, impressive Pedrosa takes seventh
Competing in his 93rd MotoGP race, Marc Marquez rode the RC213V to his sixth straight win of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP, the Spaniard having been unbeatable at COTA since the circuit was added to the calendar in 2013. It was also Marc’s 12th consecutive victory on U.S. asphalt, an amazing statistic.
Press releases from the teams after the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas:
INCREDIBLE VICTORY OF FRANCESCO BAGNAIA AT AUSTIN
After a wonderful battle with Alex Marquez, the rider of the Sky Racing Team VR46 crosses the finishing line in front of everyone at COTA and returns to the top of the World Championship. 13th Luca Marini.
Austin (Texas), April 22nd 2018 - Second win of the season for Francesco Bagnaia and the Sky Racing Team VR46 at the GP of the Americas.
Press releases from the teams and organizers after the Dutch round of WorldBK at Assen:
#DutchWorldSBK Day 3 - Commanding Sykes storms to Assen win
Flag to flag lead for KRT rider as Rea’s Dutch streak is broken
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was delighted to take his first win of 2018
Making predictions for races in WorldSBK 2018 can be a fool's errand. The form book has been thrown out the window on a couple of occasions and that was certainly the case once again at the Assen TT Circuit.
The Magic is still there
Michael van der Mark may no longer go by the moniker of Magic Michael but there was definitely magic in the air at Assen. The Dutch star claimed a double podium at his home round and showed once again that he is a force to be reckoned with. Pressuring Jonathan Rea and beating Chaz Davies in a straight up fight in Race 1 was impressive, but his Race 2 performance shouldn't be underestimated. The pressure was on the 25 year old. A bumper crowd of over 62,000 turned up to cheer him on and VDM didn't disappoint.
His third place finish on Sunday was another example of being able to keep a cool head. Tom Sykes was clear from the field and for Van der Mark the goal became to stand on the rostrum. That meant beating the Ducatis of Xavi Fores and Chaz Davies. The Yamaha rider duly delivered and moved into fourth in the championship standings. Mission accomplished.
There is a lot to love about the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin. As an event, it is fantastic: the facilities at the track are great, the city of Austin is a wonderful place to visit, with a lively party atmosphere downtown, and a million other things to do. The landscape the track sits on is great for spectators, and the surrounding countryside is charming.
It is a race the riders love, and they have grown to love the track. "I like this track very much, it's very good," Valentino Rossi says of the Circuit of the Americas. "It's good to ride because it's very difficult, you have emotional corners, so it's good." The bumps around the track have made it much tougher to ride, but the layout is still a favorite among many of the MotoGP paddock. It is highly technical and has a bit of everything: hard braking, hard acceleration, fast corners, slow corners, flowing combinations of corners which reward precision.
As great at the track is, it still produces rather lackluster races. The average margin of victory over all six editions has been 3.458 seconds, and that is discounting the time lost to the inevitable easing off to celebrate in the certain knowledge that victory is in the bag. The gap has never been under 1.5 seconds, and there has never been a closely fought battle for victory, or even the podium spots, in the history of racing at the track. The result of the MotoGP race in Austin is usually set in stone before the halfway mark.
Even the normally mental Moto3 races are decided by seconds rather than hundredths. Only two of the six Moto3 races run so far were won by a margin of less than a second. In Moto2, the winning margin has only once been under two seconds. That was in 2015, when Sam Lowes beat Johann Zarco by 1.999 seconds. The result in Moto2 has never been close.
MotoGP standings after Austin:
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at COTA:
Moto2 standings after the Austin race:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at COTA:
Moto3 standings after the third race of the season:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race at COTA:
WorldSBK standings after the second race in Assen: