June 2020

Michael van der Mark To Leave Yamaha WorldSBK Team At The End Of 2020

Yamaha have announced that Michael van der Mark will be leaving their WorldSBK team at the end of the 2020 WorldSBK season. After what will be four seasons with the Pata Yamaha squad, the 27-year-old Dutchman has decided to leave for pastures new.

There is as yet no confirmation of where Van der Mark is heading, but reports on Speedweek suggest his destination is likely to be BMW. With Kawasaki already having signed Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, and little interest from either Ducati or Honda, BMW is the obvious choice.

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Andrea Dovizioso Has Collarbone Plated, Expects To Be Fit For Jerez

Andrea Dovizioso has been discharged from hospital after having surgery to fix the collarbone he broke in a regional MX race on Sunday. The Italian broke his left collarbone on a landing after a jump, and was taken to hospital in Modena, where he was operated on by a group of surgeons led by professor Giuseppe Porcellini on Sunday night.

Dovizioso suffered a displaced fracture, meaning the collarbone was broken completely at the end closest to the sternum, and the two sections had separated. Surgeons inserted a plate and six screws to bring the collarbone back to its original position and size, and declared themselves to be very happy with the outcome.

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Andrea Dovizioso Taken To Hospital With Suspected Collarbone Fracture After MX Crash

Andrea Dovizioso has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken left collarbone after crashing during a regional motocross race in Faenza, Italy.

The Italian had been given permission to take part by Ducati. The race, at the MX track in Faenza, was part of the regional MX championship of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. He had crashed on a landing after a jump, injuring his left shoulder. Dovizioso was taken to hospital in Forli, his home town, for further examination, and to confirm whether the collarbone is broken or not.

Dovizioso becomes the second rider to injure himself training ahead of the (re)start of the 2020 MotoGP season. Last week, Marco Bezzecchi injured his leg in a training accident.

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Money, Power, Expectations: Why Andrea Dovizioso And Valentino Rossi Have Yet To Agree A Deal

With three weeks to go to the official start of the 2020 season for the MotoGP class (Moto2 and Moto3 have already raced at Qatar back in March, lest we forget), the 2021 grid is starting to fill up. Of the 22 seats available next year, 12 have already been filled: Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo in the factory Yamaha team, Alex Rins and Joan Mir at Suzuki, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, and Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona in the factory and Tech3 KTM teams respectively, Marc Márquez at Repsol Honda, Jack Miller in the factory Ducati team, Aleix Espargaro with Aprilia, and Tito Rabat, who already had a contract before the start of the season.

There are a few more seats we can pencil in as near certainties: Pol Espargaro at Repsol Honda, Franco Morbidelli at Petronas, Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin in Pramac Ducati, Alex Márquez at LCR Honda. Cal Crutchlow is almost certain to be back, whether that be with LCR Honda or Aprilia – the Englishman appears to be giving serious consideration to what might be an attractive payday before he retires. Johann Zarco is likely to be on a Ducati again in 2021, the odds being that he is forced to accept another season at Avintia.

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Misano Private Test: Aleix Espargaro Fastest On Final Day, Redding Smashes WorldSBK Record

Testing has concluded at the Misano private test, with a few changes to the riders present on Thursday. KTM skipped the final day, while a group of WorldSSP riders entered the fray.

Aleix Espargaro was the fastest rider on the final day, getting to within a couple of hundredths of Miguel Oliveira's best time from the day before, demonstrating the potential of the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP. Espargaro was happy with both the speed and the pace of the bike, though the reliability of the bike remains a question mark, which will only be removed once the racing begins. The Aprilias were the lone MotoGP bikes on track on Thursday.

Bradley Smith closed the gap to the front by half a second, the Englishman preparing to take the place of Andrea Iannone for the first races of 2020, while the Italian is waiting for his appeal against a doping ban to be heard.

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MotoGP Silly Season Update: KTM Confirms Line Up, Stalemate At Ducati

KTM sporting director Pit Beirer (left) and Danilo Petrucci

That Danilo Petrucci was heading to KTM was an open secret, after the Italian and his manager, Alberto Vergani, visited the Austrian factory's race department in Mattighofen. That he would not be replacing Pol Espargaro in the factory Red Bull KTM team is a huge surprise. Instead, Petrucci is to switch to the Tech3 satellite team, and take the place of Miguel Oliveira, who is to be moved up to the factory squad.

According to Italian media, the reasons Petrucci is headed to the Tech3 team are twofold: firstly, as the KTM press release makes clear, because all four KTM RC16s will be full-factory spec, and with full factory support. And secondly, because Brad Binder had a clause in his contract stating he would be in the factory team in his second year.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 150: The Top Five Grand Prix Riders Of All Time

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is sure to generate debate. In episode 150, Steve English and David Emmett debate who are the best five Grand Prix riders ever to swing a leg over a racing motorcycle. Steve and David are unanimous on their choice for number one, but from there, it's all disagreement.

Out of that disagreement, however, comes an interesting discussion of exactly how we should think about talent, and how it should be evaluated. That throws up questions of comparing riders against their teammates, the development direction a rider wants to take the motorcycle in, and how difficult comparisons are when you can only judge riders against the people they raced against, a factor those riders have no control over.

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Misano Private Test: Oliveira Fastest After Two Days, Aprilia And Ducati Test New Aero

It has been a busy couple of days at Misano, with the KTM and Aprilia MotoGP teams, and test teams from Suzuki and Ducati, joined by WorldSBK representatives from the KRT Kawasaki squad, and a small army of Ducati teams. The MotoGP and WorldSBK riders have been able to try out the new asphalt at Misano in the blistering heat of an Italian summer.

Miguel Oliviera is fastest after the first two days, the Red Bull Tech3 rider just a couple of tenths faster on Wednesday than Pol Espargaro had been on Tuesday. Oliveira's best time of 1'32.9 is two thirds of a second off Maverick Viñales' pole time set last September, two tenths off the outright race lap record set by Andrea Dovizioso in 2018, and 1.3 seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo's pole record from the same year.

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