May 14th, 2015
Previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's race at Le Mans:
Press releases from the teams and Dunlop ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix at Le Mans:
It is ironic that now we are getting into the meat of the motorcycle racing season, there should be so little news to speak of. But perhaps it is a matter of perspective: there is plenty of real news to be found in motorcycle racing, but it is to be found and read where you would expect to find it, in the middle of every race weekend. That is especially true now that MotoGP and World Superbikes have returned to a more fan-friendly schedule, the two world championships alternating weekends again, with BSB, the CEV and MotoAmerica filling in any gaps when they appear.
Then again, at this stage of the season, all of the focus is on the coming races, rather than next year. It is too early for silly season, especially as all the factory rides are locked up for 2016, and even Jorge Lorenzo's option to leave early removed. There are plenty of attractive seats to be filled for 2016: the contracts of both Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders are up at the end of the year, Cal Crutchlow is on a one-year contract, Yonny Hernandez has a one-year deal at Pramac, and the seats at Forward and Aspar are all being filled by riders with one-year contracts. Speculation about those seats will only start in earnest around mid-season, once team managers have half a season's worth of results to start drawing conclusions, and see who might be available to make the move up from Moto2.
Below is a press release issued by the Ducati MotoGP team after two days of private testing at Mugello. The pole lap record for Mugello is held by Dani Pedrosa, at 1'47.157, and the race lap record is held by Marc Marquez, 1'47.639.
Two days of private testing for Ducati Team conclude at Mugello with excellent times for Iannone and Dovizioso
Two days of private testing for the two Ducati Team riders at Mugello concluded today at 1 pm in the afternoon. Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso focussed their efforts above all on the search for the right settings and electronic strategies for the Italian GP, which takes place on this circuit at the end of May, while further positive tests were carried out with the chassis modifications introduced at Jerez, which did not produce the expected results on the Spanish track.
Dani Pedrosa is to return to racing at the Le Mans round of MotoGP. His return brings to an end an extended absence following surgery to cure a persistent arm pump problem. Pedrosa missed three rounds in total, skipping Austin and Argentina, then making a last-minute decision to withdraw from the Jerez round.
That decision was regarded with some suspicion. Jerez is a track where Pedrosa has performed very strongly in the past, and missing a home GP is a major wrench of any MotoGP rider. However, after testing his forearm by riding a supermoto bike, Pedrosa was concerned that his arms were not recovering as hoped. Now, with two weeks more rest, Pedrosa believes his arms will be strong enough to withstand the stresses of racing a MotoGP bike.
The MotoGP grid is looking in surprisingly good health in 2015. The series has come a long way in the five years since 2010, when there were just 17 full-time entries on the grid, and Suzuki was teetering on the brink of withdrawal. Dorna's CRT gambit has paid off: the much-maligned production-based bikes may not have been competitive, but they did spur the manufacturers into action to actually supply more competitive machinery to the private teams. The CRT bikes became Open class bikes, and Dorna's pet project of standardized electronics has been adopted into the MotoGP rules. From 2016, there will be one class again (well, sort of, the concessions – engine development, unlimited testing, more engines – for factories without regular podiums are to remain in place), with everyone on the same electronics, the same fuel allowance, and the same tires.
A bigger change is coming for 2017. From the outside, the 2017 grid will be indistinguishable from the one in 2016, but the changes behind the scenes will significant, and be a step towards securing the long-term future of the series. The position of the private teams is to change from 2017, ensuring financial security, a fixed price for competitive machinery, and securing their slots on the grid.
The change encompasses a number of key elements, all of which revolve around the independent teams. The first, and most important, is that the grid size will be fixed at 24 riders, each of whom will receive financial support from Dorna. Those grid slots will be awarded to the existing teams – the IODA team, as a one-rider outfit, are likely to be the squad which loses out – and they are guaranteed to keep those places. No new teams will be admitted to the MotoGP class, unless one of the existing teams pulls out. If a new factory wants to enter MotoGP, they will have to do so through an existing team, as Aprilia did in 2015, rather than through their own structure, as Suzuki did. KTM, who are expected to enter in 2017, and are considering entering as a factory, according to a story on Speedweek, will have to partner with an existing squad. Speedweek mentions the Aspar team; given the financial struggles of the Valencia-based team, that would make a lot of sense, for both parties.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at Imola:
World Superbike race two would start with only twenty riders, Canepa not qualifying and Salom out with an injured wrist and elbow from his crash in race one. It would finish with far fewer.
World Supersport has given us close races all year, and this weekend in Imola would be no different.
An early 22ºC morning in Imola, with a 32ºC track and 21 bikes on the grid.
Press releases from the series organizer and from some of the teams after qualifying for Sunday's World Superbike and World Supersport races at Imola:
The weather in Italy was as one can expect this time of year, with 25ºC sunshine and fluffy Poplar seeds in the air.
Superpole opened on schedule, not affected by the morning's delay from the Superstock 600 qualifying's oil spill. Niccolo Canepa would not make the start as he contracted gastro enteritis, putting him in twentieth place before the session started.