As expected, Romano Fenati has been formally released from his contract with the Sky VR46 team. The Italian was suspended from the team after an incident at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. That was a temporary measure, but it has now been made permanent.
The penultimate piece of the 2017 puzzle has fallen into place. Today, the Pull&Bear Aspar team announced that they have signed Alvaro Bautista to race for them for the 2017 season.
The deal had long been anticipated, Bautista confirming at the Sachsenring that he was in talks with Aspar, and expected a contract to be signed. The final details were sorted out in Austria, and an announcement made the day before the Czech Grand Prix is to get underway in Brno.
So much happened during the return of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at the Red Bull Ring in Austria that it took a mighty crew of four Paddock Pass Podcasters to cover it all. Ducati's return to winning ways, Jorge Lorenzo's return to form, Marc Marquez' maturity, ride throughs, dashboard messages: all this and more were topics for discussion between Roadracing World's Neil Morrison, top snapper Tony Goldsmith, MotoMatters.com's own photographer extraordinaire Scott Jones, and David Emmett.
From a hotel room in Vienna, where we assembled to record the lastest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, we talk at length about the circuit in Spielberg, and its outstanding facilities. Scott Jones and Tony Goldsmith give their unique perspective as photographers on the spectacular setting of the track, comparing it favorably to many other circuits. We also discuss the safety issues at the circuit, and what MotoGP expects to be done to help address them.
…maniac by nature. What’s the beef with Austrian GP winner Andrea Iannone?
I like Andrea Iannone. There, I said it. I like him because he is MotoGP’s pantomime villain, a bit like Captain Hook in Peter Pan.
He fitted the role particularly well after he secured pole position on Saturday, strutting and pouting his way around parc fermé like he owned the place, which he kind of did.
Sebastian Risse is the man behind the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike which was presented on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring. An automotive engineer by training, Risse has been with KTM since 2008. He started out as a crew chief and chassis analyst on KTM's now defunct RC8 Superbike project. When KTM returned to Grand Prix racing in 2012, Risse took charge of the Moto3 project, which has gone on to be the benchmark in the class.
Risse is currently head of all of KTM's roadracing activities, and has overseen and led development of the RC16 MotoGP bike. That machine has both interesting parallels and major differences with the other machines on the MotoGP grid: the bike uses a 1000cc 90° V4 engine housed in a tubular steel trellis frame, and a fairing that looks like an oversize version of the Moto3 bike's, and sits somewhere between the Honda RC213V and Kalex Moto2 designs. The bike will also use WP suspension, though as WP is a wholly owned subsidiary of KTM, it will basically be a dedicated factory suspension effort.
After the KTM RC16 was presented, we spoke to Sebastian Risse about the differences and design choices which went into the bike.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's historic race at the Spielberg circuit in Austria:
Fantastic 1-2 for Ducati Team riders at Zeltweg, as Iannone wins the Austrian GP ahead of team-mate Dovizioso. Pirro twelfth
The Ducati Team put in an outstanding performance today at the Austrian Grand Prix, round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship, held at Zeltweg’s Red Bull Ring.
Press releases from the teams after Sunday's exhilarating races:
Career Best sixth for Mahindra Aspar’s Martin
Spielberg, 14 August 2016:
Spanish teenager Jorge Martin (Team Aspar Mahindra) led the way to a double points-scoring finish for the official Mahindra team in the sunny Alpine foothills today, claiming a career-best sixth place. Team-mate Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia narrowly missed a double top-ten for the only Indian constructer in MotoGP racing, finishing 11th.
The rain finally come at 7:30pm, just as we were leaving the track. From Saturday night, the threat of rain at 2pm on Sunday – race time, local time – had hung over the Red Bull Ring in Austria, scaring riders at the prospect at racing on the circuit in the wet. Though everyone feared the effect of the rain on excessive asphalt run off, some were more worried than others. After two dismal results in the wet, Jorge Lorenzo had to get his championship back on track. In the cold and the wet, Lorenzo struggled. In the sun, Lorenzo could shine. Even against the Ducatis.
He got his wish, as did the reported 95,000 crowd which had flocked to the Austrian circuit for their first taste of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the country for the best part of twenty years. And what a taste it was. A brutal, thrilling opener of a Moto3 race, competitive to the line, with a new and popular winner. A fierce fight in Moto2 which took two-thirds of the race to settle. And a scintillating and intense MotoGP race which had the crowd holding their breath. The Spielberg track may not be a classic motorcycle track, but it produced some fantastic racing from the Grand Prix bikes.
MotoGP standings after Spielberg: