Archive - Aug 2008

August 31st

MotoGP Standings after Round 13, Misano, San Marino

Championship standings for round 13, 2008

2008 Misano Grand Prix Results

Full results of the Grand Prix of San Marino and the Riviera di Rimini at Misano:

Pedrosa To Get Bridgestones After Misano - UPDATED: Now It's Official

Motorcycle News' Matthew Birt is reporting that Dani Pedrosa will be switching to use Bridgestone tires effective immediately after the Misano race. It was widely anticipated that the Repsol Honda team - or at the very least, Dani Pedrosa's side of the garage - would be switching to the Japanese rubber for next season, after Pedrosa expressed his disgust with Michelin's failures in no uncertain terms after the Brno round. Pedrosa's unhappiness went so far that his manager, Alberto Puig, even tried to organize a boycott of the Brno GP by the Michelin riders, on the rather questionable grounds of safety. Michelin dismissed this claim, saying that the tires may have been off the pace, but there were no safety issues. MCN also revealed that HRC's manager Masumi Hamane was actually behind this attempt.

Now, in a shock and unprecedented move, Pedrosa will switch tire brands in the middle of the season. Pedrosa and Repsol Honda organized the deal with Bridgestone and Dorna to allow the Spaniard to make the move immediately. Dorna needed to be involved, as the rules state that the FIM and Dorna must be informed if teams decide to switch tire makers mid-season. Again, according to MCN, only Pedrosa will switch to Bridgestones, with Pedrosa's ostensible team mate Nicky Hayden remaining on Michelins.

Hayden To Miss Misano Race

Nicky Hayden is to skip Sunday's race at Misano. After skipping Sunday morning's warmup, the American elected to skip the race. Hayden is still suffering too much pain from the heel injury he sustained at the X Games Supermoto event, and was a couple of seconds off the pace.

Hayden is hoping that skipping the Misano race will allow him to heal more quickly, leaving him in a better position to contest the next event, the Indianapolis GP. Hayden regards this as his home GP, being the nearest race to his native Owensboro, Kentucky, and is determined to do well there.

2008 Brno Warmup Times - Stoner Fastest, Hayden Sits Session Out

Nicky Hayden took no part in proceedings during warmup, electing to sit out the session to spare his heel injury. He is likely to race. Casey Stoner was in obvious pain from his wrist, but that didn't stop him from stomping all over the opposition again.

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Fast Lap Diff Diff Previous
1 1 Casey STONER DUCATI 1'34.644    
2 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1'35.388 0.744 0.744
3 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1'35.395 0.751 0.007
4 24 Toni ELIAS DUCATI 1'35.563 0.919 0.168
5 2 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'35.600 0.956 0.037
6 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'35.604 0.960 0.004
7 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 1'35.658 1.014 0.054
8 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 1'35.681 1.037 0.023
9 48 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'35.755 1.111 0.074
10 56 Shinya NAKANO HONDA 1'35.823 1.179 0.068
11 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1'35.825 1.181 0.002
12 33 Marco MELANDRI DUCATI 1'35.902 1.258 0.077
13 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'36.089 1.445 0.187
14 21 John HOPKINS KAWASAKI 1'36.200 1.556 0.111
15 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 1'36.331 1.687 0.131
16 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI DUCATI 1'36.656 2.012 0.325
17 13 Anthony WEST KAWASAKI 1'37.685 3.041 1.029

August 30th

Misano MotoGP Race On Speed In US, Not CBS

The fact that four MotoGP races are being broadcast on network television in the US is great for the profile of the sport, but not so good for regular fans. For it means searching about on schedules to find exactly when the race is going to be broadcast.

Fortunately, there's the TV Racer website, which was evidently created to cope with exactly this kind of problem. And it tells us that the Misano MotoGP round is to be broadcast in the US on Speed, rather than on CBS. Broadcast time is 11pm EDT. So set your DVRs accordingly.

2008 Misano Qualifying Practice Report

The weather has been a factor at just about every race so far this season, usually by being treacherous, changeable and unreliable, so the relief with which several days of calm, predictable and warm weather is being greeted is entirely understandable. With no exceptionally cool mornings, or dry days followed by wet days, teams and tire makers are glad to be able to work consistently on a setup, and getting ready for the race.

Casey Stoner would probably be fine without the setup time. Stoner was back to his old tricks in the free practice sessions, taking just 4 laps to get onto the top of the timesheets, and relinquishing that position only very briefly during all three sessions. So it was hardly a surprise to see Casey Stoner taking provisional pole on his 3rd lap out of the pits, and cracking into the 1'34 bracket - faster than anyone but himself had been so far this weekend - on the next lap.

By the end of his first run, Casey Stoner held provisional pole with a lap of 1'34.763, nearly half a second ahead of the rest of the field. Stoner was once again exerting his authority on the rest of the field, and setting the mark to measure the rest of the field by.

Behind Stoner, things were a good deal more interesting. Fortunately for Michelin, their tires were working well at the circuit, as Jorge Lorenzo and Randy de Puniet were mixing it up near the top of the timesheets, and were obviously competitive with the Bridgestones. With quarter of the session gone, Lorenzo held the 2nd fastest time on his Fiat Yamaha, while Alice Ducati's Toni Elias showed that his good result in Brno was a sign of more to come, with the 3rd fastest time, ahead of Valentino Rossi.

But the times were pretty close. Apart from Casey Stoner, who was over 0.4 seconds ahead as the session approached the halfway mark, just half a second covered the 2nd to 10th spots on the grid. It was clear that once the qualifiers went on, a tenth of a second could be the difference between being on the front row or the third row of the grid. The wait was on for the first rider to go out on soft rubber.

2008 Misano Qualifying Practice Times Day 2 - A Welcome Return

Full results of the Qualifying Practice for the Grand Prix of San Marino and the Riveria di Rimini at Misano.

2008 Misano FP3 Times Day 2 - Stoner Dominates, Fiat Yamahas Follow

Pos.No.RiderManufacturerFast LapDiffDiff Previous
11Casey STONERDUCATI1'34.365  
246Valentino ROSSIYAMAHA1'35.0760.7110.711
348Jorge LORENZOYAMAHA1'35.1600.7950.084
47Chris VERMEULENSUZUKI1'35.3620.9970.202
55Colin EDWARDSYAMAHA1'35.4251.0600.063
62Dani PEDROSAHONDA1'35.5201.1550.095
765Loris CAPIROSSISUZUKI1'35.5341.1690.014
856Shinya NAKANOHONDA1'35.5491.1840.015
914Randy DE PUNIETHONDA1'35.6281.2630.079
1015Alex DE ANGELISHONDA1'35.7391.3740.111
114Andrea DOVIZIOSOHONDA1'35.8021.4370.063
1224Toni ELIASDUCATI1'35.8531.4880.051
1352James TOSELANDYAMAHA1'36.0471.6820.194
1450Sylvain GUINTOLIDUCATI1'36.0891.7240.042
1569Nicky HAYDENHONDA1'36.2031.8380.114
1633Marco MELANDRIDUCATI1'36.2731.9080.070
1713Anthony WESTKAWASAKI1'36.9572.5920.684
1821John HOPKINSKAWASAKI1'37.3462.9810.389

Circuit Records: New circuit (alterations at Turn 3)

August 29th

2008 Misano Day 1 Roundup

The first day of practice at Misano took place under a hot Italian summer sun, heralding what looks like the first race weekend with completely predictable weather conditions for a very long time this year. No prizes for guessing who as fastest in both sessions, as Casey Stoner did what he always does: riding out of pit lane to the top of the timesheets.

There can be no doubt that Stoner is fast - during the afternoon session, he was once again regularly nearly a second clear of the field - but there's a problem. The Australian opened an old injury doing something as innocent as adjusting his back protector. The injury he aggravated was his scaphoid, the bone in his hand, a common racer's injury, and incredibly painful when riding. The injury didn't seem to slow him in the afternoon, but it may cause him problems over the full length of a race.

Valentino Rossi was 2nd fastest, though still 4/10ths behind the champion. Despite the gap to Stoner, Rossi was confident they could pick up the time he is losing through the 4th and final sector on Saturday, putting him in place to race.

Next fastest is Loris Capirossi, with both Suzukis quick after trying a new chassis. Capirossi is only a tenth off Rossi, and on current form, could be capable of staying with the two title contenders.

2008 Misano FP2 Times Day 1 - Stoner Up To His Old Tricks, Rossi Following

John Hopkins chose to sit out the session again, presumably as a result of the pain from his rib injury.

Pos.No.RiderManufacturerFast LapDiffDiff Previous
11Casey STONERDUCATI1'34.806  
246Valentino ROSSIYAMAHA1'35.2240.4180.418
365Loris CAPIROSSISUZUKI1'35.3770.5710.153
414Randy DE PUNIETHONDA1'35.6200.8140.243
57Chris VERMEULENSUZUKI1'35.7430.9370.123
648Jorge LORENZOYAMAHA1'35.7660.9600.023
715Alex DE ANGELISHONDA1'35.8611.0550.095
85Colin EDWARDSYAMAHA1'35.9131.1070.052
956Shinya NAKANOHONDA1'36.1001.2940.187
1052James TOSELANDYAMAHA1'36.1051.2990.005
1169Nicky HAYDENHONDA1'36.1891.3830.084
122Dani PEDROSAHONDA1'36.2191.4130.030
134Andrea DOVIZIOSOHONDA1'36.3561.5500.137
1424Toni ELIASDUCATI1'36.4251.6190.069
1550Sylvain GUINTOLIDUCATI1'36.6191.8130.194
1633Marco MELANDRIDUCATI1'37.0962.2900.477
1713Anthony WESTKAWASAKI1'38.2393.4331.143

Circuit records: New circuit

Hopkins Misses Misano FP1 Due To Rib Injury

John Hopkins' absence from the first session of free practice at Misano was down to a rib injury he picked up at Brno. Hopkins woke in pain, after having displaced the rib again overnight. Hopper elected not to have pain killing injections, but instead, to sit out FP1 and try riding this afternoon.

He is currently receiving treatment from his personal physiotherapist, Dean Miller.

2008 Misano FP1 Times Day 1 - Stoner Fastest, But Only Just

John Hopkins did not start.

Pos.No.RiderManufacturerFast LapDiffDiff Previous
11Casey STONERDUCATI1'35.422  
25Colin EDWARDSYAMAHA1'35.4240.0020.002
315Alex DE ANGELISHONDA1'36.1450.7230.721
448Jorge LORENZOYAMAHA1'36.3750.9530.230
546Valentino ROSSIYAMAHA1'36.4641.0420.089
669Nicky HAYDENHONDA1'36.5181.0960.054
74Andrea DOVIZIOSOHONDA1'36.6021.1800.084
87Chris VERMEULENSUZUKI1'36.6081.1860.006
952James TOSELANDYAMAHA1'36.7401.3180.132
1056Shinya NAKANOHONDA1'36.8831.4610.143
1124Toni ELIASDUCATI1'37.0991.6770.216
1214Randy DE PUNIETHONDA1'37.1961.7740.097
1365Loris CAPIROSSISUZUKI1'37.3551.9330.159
142Dani PEDROSAHONDA1'37.3801.9580.025
1550Sylvain GUINTOLIDUCATI1'37.5342.1120.154
1633Marco MELANDRIDUCATI1'37.6692.2470.135
1713Anthony WESTKAWASAKI1'37.9292.5070.260

Circuit Records:

Hopkins Out Of Misano?

Only 17 men took to the track at Misano on Friday morning, with John Hopkins absent from the proceedings. There is no news yet of a reason for his absence, though Hopkins' broken ankle which is still healing after his crash at Assen would seem to be the obvious answer. We will keep you up to date as soon as we find out what is going on.

August 28th

2008 Misano Preview - History In The Making

In most countries, the place you put a race track is somewhere nice and quiet, a long way from civilization - or at least neighbors who might complain. You may, like the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, locate it a couple of miles from the nearest town, and well out of earshot of the local residents. Alternatively, like Donington, you may choose to situate it under the flight path of a regional airport, to ensure that any noise problems are rendered irrelevant by the air traffic overhead.

But not in Italy. To say that Italians are keen on motorsports is like saying squirrels are not averse to the odd nut or two. Take a trip around Italy and you won't be able to avoid the sights and sounds of motorized racing of one form or another. Posters and photographs of racers on both two wheels and four adorn the walls of bars the length and breadth of the country, and almost every village has someone riding around on an immaculate example of race-bred exotica.

This love of motor racing results in some remarkable locations for race tracks. Perhaps the most remarkable of all is Monza, which sits in a spacious and beautiful town park, right in the middle of a large suburb of Milan. One minute, you're watching a young couple jog past, and enjoying the rhythmical clip-clop as a horse and rider trots by, the next the shriek of a four-cylinder superbike shatters the sylvan serenity, closely followed by the rabid bark of a 90 degree twin being thrashed within an inch of its life.

Sun, Sea, And Strokers

Having seen Monza, Misano is barely a surprise. Located just a few hundred yards from one of the busiest and most glamorous resorts along Italy's Adriatic riviera, in any other country, the circuit's location would be utterly insane. In motorcycle-crazy Italy, it is just the opposite. After all, what could be better than to spend the morning lounging on the beach, head off to the track to watch some world-class racing in the afternoon, to return for a quick dip in the sea to cool off, and finish up the evening with some outstanding Italian food and wine at a restaurant overlooking the beautiful Adriatic sea. To the Italians, it makes perfect sense, and frankly, it's hard to fault their logic.

If the surroundings of the Misano circuit approach perfection, the track itself is a little bit of a letdown. The location itself plays a part here: built at the edge of wide, flat expanse of the Po valley, the track is pretty well flat, with no elevation changes to speak of. What's more, since the direction of the track was reversed in an attempt to improve safety - a concession to get MotoGP to return after a crash there in 1993 left Wayne Rainey in a wheelchair - the circuit has lost many of the other features that gave it its character and made it special.

Before the changes, the Curvone was the final part of a sequence of fast left handers opening up and getting ever faster, before braking hard for the long hairpin of Tramonto. Since 2006, with the track running in the opposite direction, those fast lefts have become a series of ever slower rights, as the riders scrub off speed all the way into the very tight right hander at Carro. No longer does the Curvone demand the utmost of a rider's courage, instead, it taxes their ability to brake while leaned hard over, and still maintaining corner speed.

All Change

Reversing the track has had an even bigger effect on the final turn. Before the track was reversed, the Variante del Parco was the final corner, a right-left chicane leaving room for braking before heading off to the line. But now the last has become first, and the Variante is the first obstacle the riders have to tackle after rocketing away from the line.

The wisdom of having a chicane as the first corner was thrown into doubt during last year's race at Misano, when an overly enthusiastic Randy de Puniet entered the Variante far too hot to make it through safely, and took out himself and Dani Pedrosa, while at the same time forcing Nicky Hayden off the track and out of contention. Like the first corner at Le Mans, Misano's initial chicane seems destined to take riders out of the race right from the start.

But Misano is not a boring track, by any stretch of the imagination. The fast back straight provides an ideal opportunity for passing into the Quercia hairpin, and the difficult sequence of rights after Curvone can provide opportunities to the brave for passing as they enter the Carro hairpin. Add to this the chicane and the combinations round the Curva del Rio, and the track has a few spots that can offer some interesting racing.

The History Man

If the track layout lacks that certain special something, Sunday's race could more than make up for it. For Misano could be on the brink of seeing history being made this weekend, with a record which has stood for a 32 years being equaled. If Valentino Rossi wins on Sunday, it will be his 68th win in motorcycle racing's premier class, equaling his fellow Italian Giacomo Agostini's record, set way back in 1976.

Meeting such a milestone would, on its own, be a memorable achievement, but to do so at Misano would make it unforgettable, for a number of reasons. First of all, the Misano circuit is less than 10 miles from Valentino Rossi's home town of Tavullia in Italy, a town he has returned to live in after a period in London. The entire population of the town will be at the track, joining thousands of other Rossi fans to cheer their hero on.

Secondly, Misano is the one track that Rossi hasn't won at yet, a fact that stings a man so deeply aware of his record and his place in history. After taking victory at Laguna Seca in July, Misano is the only track left where Rossi has ridden, but not won. That is a blemish he feels he needs to remove from his record.

Race results and championship standings