November 25th, 2015

Repsol Honda Press Release And Photos: Day 1 Of Jerez Private Test

The Repsol Honda team issued the following press release after the first day of testing at Jerez, complete with photos:

Repsol Honda Team commence final test of year

With the testing ban coming into effect of 1st December, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa took to the track today in Jerez for the first day of the three-day test.

A cold fresh morning greeted them but they were blessed with good weather all day remaining dry and sunny until the end of testing. Both Marc and Dani spent this first day comparing different engines and working on the electronics set up.

Marc finished the day with a best time of 1’39.92, completing 65 laps in total. Dani, who missed the race here this year due to injury, managed 56 laps and his fastest time was 1’40.12. He had a small crash on the last exit in the final corner, but escaped unhurt.


Jerez WSBK And MotoGP Test, Day 3: Hayden Fastest, Pedrosa Crashes

The third day of the combined World Superbike and MotoGP test at Jerez saw a lot more action on track at the Spanish circuit, as some teams left and several more arrived to start testing. The BMW Althea and Kawasaki teams were the absentees, while the Ten Kate Honda teams, Barni Ducati and Ducati teams, Leon Camier at MV Agusta, and the Crescent Yamaha World squad all joined the World Superbike fray. The Repsol Honda and Gresini Aprilia teams were both out with their official MotoGP riders, while Michele Pirro was on testing duties for Ducati. The Aspar Ducati team were also circulating, with Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernandez out working on the GP14.2.

Despite the (relatively) heavy traffic on track, the timing sheets remained relatively empty. Only the Ten Kate Hondas, the Ducati Panigales and Leon Camier's MV Agusta F4 were fitted with transponders relaying official timing back to the circuit systems. The Yamahas of Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli, as well as all of the MotoGP bikes, were out without any official timing, and so no lap times were reported.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Duke, Sheene and Dunlop: three great British bikers is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

Duke, Sheene and Dunlop: three great British bikers

Sheene, Dunlop, Duke… it would be difficult to find three more different motorcycle racers, let alone three more different human beings.

We all know the iconic images of these three late, great Britons: Duke waving a jolly hello, his hair painstakingly groomed and Brylcreemed; Sheene topless and in cut-off jeans, sucking on a filter-less Gitanes, one arm around Stephanie MacLean; Joey nursing a pint and puffing on a fag from under that lank thatch of hair.

Duke came from a different age, not only of motorcycles but also of society and culture. He surely would’ve been mortified if he had stumbled into one of Joey’s ale-fuelled lock-ins at The Saddle pub in Douglas, even more so if he had mistakenly walked into Sheene’s hotel bedroom.

November 24th

Jerez WSBK Test - Althea BMW Press Release

The Althea BMW World Superbike team issued the following press release after their two-day test at Jerez:

The Althea BMW Team makes its track debut.

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) 24 November 2015

The Althea BMW Team concludes two days of testing at the Spanish circuit of Jerez de la Frontera.

With cool temperatures but sunny conditions, the Team was able to work on different set-up solutions for the new BMW S1000 RR bikes. Riders Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger each used various configurations as they worked to find a level of performance that can serve as a base for the future development of the Bavarian company’s machines.

Both of the Althea BMW Team riders were able to achieve solid results and, though lap times were not crucial this week, both Torres and Reiterberger were nevertheless able to lap consistently fast, with times that were very close to both the track record and those set by their strongest rivals present on track. Final lap times – a 1'40.531 for Reiterberger and 1'41.002 for Torres – serve as an immediate injection of faith that will boost the whole Team, with all parties working closely together to find the right direction in which to continue. The Italian and German engineers were coordinated by new Technical Director Jan Witteveen with a very positive outcome.


Jerez WSBK Test, Day 2: Rea Leads, Reiterberger Impresses

Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has once again topped the timesheets on the second day of the combined WSBK/World Supersport test at Jerez, the Kawasaki man putting in a scorching lap at the end of the day to assert his authority, demoting his teammate Tom Sykes into second spot, over a third of a second behind him. Sykes was hampered by a small crash in the Michelin corner, and was unable to improve his time at the end. German IDM Superbike champion Markus Reiterberger set a very impressive pace, ending his second day with the Althea BMW team just two hundredths of a second slower than the 2013 WSBK champ Sykes, and nearly half a second faster than his teammate Jordi Torres. Reiterberger still has a lot to learn in World Superbikes, the IDM technical rules a lot more restrictive than those in WSBK.

James Ellison improved his time from Monday by over half a second, the BSB rider joined by his GBMoto teammate Peter Hickman. Hickman's times were nowhere near that of Ellison's, but given that Hickman is fresh off the plane from Macau, where he won his first Macau GP, that is hardly surprising.

Suzuki Press Release: Viñales Tests Seamless Gearbox, 2016 Electronics At Sepang

The Suzuki MotoGP squad held a two-day private test at Sepang on Monday and Tuesday. At the test, Maverick Viñales tested a seamless gearbox and the 2016 electronics, as well as continuing to work with the Michelin tires. Aleix Espargaro was absent from the test, having suffered a back injury in a training accident a few days ago. 

Suzuki issued the following press release after the test:


Team Suzuki Press Office – November 24.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has completed a successful private test session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia today, where Maverick Viñales and the test team debuted Suzuki’s new seamless gearbox on the GSX-RR.

Viñales was supported in the two-day test by Takuya Tsuda and Nobuatsu Aoki, who ran many laps to supply Suzuki’s R&D department in Japan with useful information and data before the winter break.

Unfortunately, Aleix Espargaró couldn’t join in because of the injury he suffered recently while training that caused him a flexion fracture to a vertebrae and required a two-to-three-week lay-off.


November 23rd

Jerez WSBK Test, Day 1: Rea Edges Sykes On First Day

Monday saw the first day of a week of action for various classes at Jerez, with testing scheduled for the Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati World Superbike teams, as well as Ducati, Aprilia and Honda's MotoGP teams later in the week. 

For the first day of action, the Kawasaki World Superbike and World Supersport teams were joined by the Althea BMW squad, MV Agusta's WSS effort, and James Ellison of the BSB GBMoto squad. Jonathan Rea ended the day as the fastest man, a little way off the Superpole time from the race in September, just beating out his teammate Tom Sykes at the end of the session. The two Kawasakis swapped fastest times at the end, Rea prevailing at the flag. Althea made their debut on BMW S1000RRs, German IDM champion Markus Reiterberger making an impressive test debut, finishing ahead of his new teammate Jordi Torres. BSB rider James Ellison was the slowest of the Kawasakis, his lower spec BSB ZX-10R 1.6 seconds off the pace of Rea's WSBK machine.

Kenan Sofuoglu was the fastest World Supersport rider, his countryman and Superstock 600 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu a second behind him. Razgatlioglu is making the switch to the Superstock 1000 class for 2016. Randy Krummenacher made his World Supersport debut at Jerez, ending the first day 1.6 seconds behind Sofuoglu. 

Official: Casey Stoner Leaves Honda, Becomes Test Rider And Brand Ambassador For Ducati

Casey Stoner is to leave Honda and work with Ducati as a test rider and brand ambassador from 2016. Two press releases, one from Honda and one from Ducati, today confirmed the rumor which had emerged at Valencia during the race weekend, and especially after the test. Honda thanked Stoner for five years of collaboration, including two years of racing, during which he won fifteen races and a MotoGP championship. After his retirement, at the end of 2012, Stoner continued as a test rider for HRC, but rode only sporadically, no more than a couple of days a year.

November 20th

MotoGP Tech Director Corrado Cecchinelli: "The Unified Software Is At About 10% Of Its Potential"

The Valencia test saw two of the major changes for the 2016 MotoGP season make their public debut. Testing with the Michelin tires has been going on since Sepang in February, though Valencia was the first time the riders were allowed to speak about them. The 2016 spec electronics package, the so-called unified software, made its first appearance on track in public, it having only previously been used by test riders at private tests.

The unified software was met with a mixed reception among the riders who used it. Though everyone said it was very much a step back in time, some riders were fairly happy with it, while others were much less so. The main criticisms leveled at it were that it reacted inconsistently, and it was difficult to get a handle on exactly how the software would react from one lap to the next. Whether this is fundamental to the software, or related to the fact that this was the first real outing on the software, and the factory software and engineers needed time to sort the electronics out will only become clear as the season progresses.

Aleix Espargaro Injures Back, Will Miss Private Sepang MotoGP Test

Aleix Espargaro has fractured a vertebra in a training accident. The factory Suzuki rider was out training on an off road bike, when he landed heavily from a jump, and felt pain in his back. He was taken to hospital, where an MRI scan revealed a flexion fracture of the vertebra, forcing him to miss the Sepang test planned for next week.

The injury suffered by Espargaro should not see him out of action for long. The Spaniard was discharged from hospital on Friday morning, and will now have to rest for a two to three week period to allow him to recover. No further complications were found when he was examined, and rest and physiotherapy should see him make a quick and full recover.

Espargaro's injury does mean that he will miss out on his first chance to try the new spec, or unified software to be used in MotoGP for 2016. At the Valencia test, both Espargaro and Viñales concentrated on learning to use the new Michelin tires, with their first run on the unified software scheduled for a private test at Sepang next week. Now, only Viñales will test it, along with Suzuki's test riders Takuya Tsuda and Nobu Aoki.

The press release from Suzuki appears below:


Team Suzuki Press Office – November 20.

November 19th

2016 World Superbikes Provisional Calendar Released: 14 Rounds, Monza Returns

The FIM today released the provisional 2016 calendar for the World Superbike championship. There is good news and bad news in the calendar, with Portimao disappearing from the calendar, but Monza making a welcome return. World Superbikes will also be returning to Germany, with the entire circus turning up to the Lausitzring, just north of Dresden. The best news is that there are no direct clashes with MotoGP, but WSBK will be running on the same date as F1 for nine rounds, though only the Donington and Monza rounds happen in the same timezone. Given the different time schedules for F1 and WSBK, bike racing fans should not have to miss any of the action.

The Lausitzring was not the only option considered when WSBK looked at returning to Germany. The series was also in talks with the Sachsenring, as the MotoGP round is immensely popular there. In the end, Lausitz was chosen, WSBK having raced there previously from 2005 to 2007.

November 18th

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP's big 2016 change is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

MotoGP's big 2016 change

At Valencia last week Michelin more or less matched Bridgestone’s lap times, albeit at the cost of a pile of trashed carbon-fibre and scuffed leathers.

Making exact comparisons between lap times with the French tyres and the Japanese tyres is fruitless, because most riders were also testing Dorna’s compulsory software.

In brief, Marc Marquez was the fastest man on Michelins, four tenths quicker than his best race lap, but half a second off his qualifying best. Maverick Vinales was the best improver: second fastest in the tests, 1.6 seconds better than in the race and two tenths quicker than in qualifying. Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi struggled most, both slower than their race pace.

November 17th

Aragon World Superbike Test Press Releases

Press releases from the World Superbike teams after testing at Aragon:


Circuit Of Wales Clears Final Planning Hurdle

The proposed Circuit of Wales has cleared the final planning hurdle left standing between it and the start of construction. After an eight-day public inquiry, the decision was taken to approve the deregistering of common land needed for construction of the site. That clears the way for construction work to start once financing is in place.

The request to deregister common land was approved on the basis of extra land - 320 hectares, or some 800 acres - being provided to replace the deregistered land. The Planning Inspector charged with examining the proposal judged that the overall effect of the land swap would benefit the nature conservation efforts in the area. 

Aragon WSBK Test: Better Weather Sees Times Improve

Jonathan Rea leaves the Motorland Aragon circuit as the fastest man from the two-day World Superbike test at the circuit. Rea spent the day working on the engine management and electronics. The 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R has shown itself to be a powerful machine, but the acceleration is not as easy to manage as the 2015 bike. Rea's Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes also lapped Aragon on Tuesday, after choosing to sit out the first day of the two-day test due to the weather conditions.

Chaz Davies was reported as being second fastest, though no official timing was available. According to the German-language website Speedweek, the Ducati rider posted a lap of 1'51.0, 0.7 slower than the time set by Rea. Davies tested electronics strategies, as well suspension components, in search of more precise steering. Javi Fores took the second Ducati out, standing in for the still injured Davide Giugliano.

Alex Lowes was the faster of the two Pata Yamaha bikes, 1.4 seconds quicker than his new teammate Sylvain Guintoli. The Pata Yamaha pair are still working mainly on getting used to the YZF-R1, running a bike basically in BSB spec, development a priority for later.