August 2018

Busy Days And Record Times At Aragon Private MotoGP Test

A number of the MotoGP teams have had a busy test at the Aragon circuit over the past two days. This is the test which played a role in not being able to move the Silverstone race to the Monday, a public holiday in the UK, as the trucks needed to travel the 2000km from Towcester to Alcañiz and set up ready for testing.

On Wednesday, Suzuki, Yamaha, and KTM were the factories taking to the track, with the Pramac Ducati squad also present. Thursday saw Yamaha and Pramac depart to make way for the factory Ducati squad. The teams were met with much better weather than at Silverstone, allowing two full days of testing, with the track improving as it got cleaned up with bikes circulating.

No press releases were issued after the test, though plenty of riders posted images on Social Media (such as Jorge Lorenzo, Maverick Viñales, Alex Rins, Bradley Smith, and KTM substitute test rider Randy De Puniet). But Italian website GPOne.com spoke to Alma Pramac team manager Francesco Guidotti after the test.

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer On Silverstone, Rider Power, And The Race That Never Happened

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

Despite the fact that there wasn't a race at Silverstone, Freddie Spencer has plenty to say about the event. The former world champion starts off with a recollection of his own about the miserable weather at the Northamptonshire track, and about how he used terrible conditions in the 250cc race to his advantage in the 500cc race. He wonders why puddling on the track, which he saw back in 1985, is still a problem.

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2019 Calendar To Be Announced At Misano: 19 Races, No Mexico, No Finland

We are a week away from being able to book (provisionally, with free cancellation) to see a race in 2019. The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2019 is due to be published at the Misano round in just under 10 days' time. 

As the official MotoGP.com website revealed over the weekend, there will only be 19 rounds in 2019. The numerical symmetry of that may be pleasing, but there were plans to have 20 races next season. The debut of the Kymiring in Finland has been delayed by a year to 2020, as the circuit will not be ready in time for a 2019 date. And the planned round in Mexico at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City has been dropped, unless the circuit is prepared to make changes.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 81: WorldSBK Interview Special

Episode 81 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in this edition, Steve English and Jensen Beeler get together to talk a little bit more World Superbike action, before the season returns from its nearly two-month long summer break.

In the show, the boys talk about some of the big stories going on in the World Superbike Championship right now, and we chased down a number of riders to get their perspective while at the Laguna Seca round.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Is MotoGP’s tail wagging the dog?

Should the riders have raced on Sunday? Do they have too much say in their own safety?

MotoGP has always existed on a knife edge, which is why we love it. And despite safer tracks, better riding gear and everything else, the riders exist on that knife edge more now than in many a year, because getting them and their 220mph motorcycles around a racetrack with no major injuries or fatalities is quite a feat, even on a sunny day. This miracle occurs almost every race, which fools some people into thinking that MotoGP can’t be that dangerous. But believe me, Race Direction leaves the track most Sunday evenings with a huge sigh of relief: we got away with it again!

However, sometimes things do go wrong.

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2018 Silverstone MotoGP Race Abandoned: A Bad Weekend Turns Disastrous For Everyone

On Saturday evening, Stuart Pringle, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuit, told a small group of journalists that the delays and problems caused by the wet track during FP4 were due to the unusually heavy rainfall, and not the resurfaced track. "It was a Biblical downpour," he told us. "It was more like a monsoon you’d see in Malaysia than heavy, normal rain. The drainage on the circuit is very good." He was not worried about racing on Sunday, because although rain was forecast, it was not a deluge. "It’s heavy rain, but it’s not the kind of cloud burst stuff we saw earlier. Is it going to be more of a challenge if it’s wet? All circuits are more challenging in the wet than the dry. So I think we’re set for a good race tomorrow."

Sunday proved Stuart Pringle wrong. It wasn't the quantity of water which caused the problems. It was the fact that water simply wasn't being drained fast enough to allow riders to ride safely, or as safely as can reasonably be expected of traveling at over 300km/h on a wet track, braking as late as possible in a close pack, as 23 riders battle for position in the opening laps. There was standing water in just about every section of the track, causing the MotoGP bikes to aquaplane while on their sighting lap, a lap taken usually at nine tenths, rather than ten tenths. They were aquaplaning while accelerating, at speed, and while braking.

Bikes aquaplaning had caused Tito Rabat and Franco Morbidelli to crash while braking for Stowe. But Morbidelli had crashed after Rabat, and the Italian's Honda had flown across the gravel and struck Rabat as he sat in the gravel trap, breaking the femur, tibia and fibula in his right leg, and putting him out of action for months rather than weeks. Nobody who saw that wanted to suffer the same fate. Or worse.

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Official Statement By Davide Tardozzi Of Ducati On Safety Commission Meeting At Silverstone

Today, Ducati issued an official statement regarding the events surrounding the calling of the impromptu Safety Commission Meeting on Sunday afternoon at Silverstone, at which the riders decided th

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All Races Canceled At Silverstone MotoGP Round

Track conditions have forced the cancellation of the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The original schedule had been changed after problems with standing water during the FP4 session for the MotoGP class on Saturday afternoon, with the MotoGP race moved to an 11:30 start and the first race of the day. But after a series of delays due to water on the track, the races were officially canceled after a meeting of the Safety Commission at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.

The circuit had been hopeful of being able to hold the races. The MotoGP warm up had started in the dry, the first spots of rain starting to fall during the Moto3 warm up. The rain fell steadily, but not heavily, and the riders who returned from the sighting lap when they went to the grid reported aquaplaning all around the track. On Saturday, there had only been problems at the entry to Stowe and to Vale. On Sunday, there were problems everywhere.

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