October 12th, 2010
At Sepang on Sunday, Jorge Lorenzo committed what a very large group of motorcycle racing fans consider the most heinous of crimes: Taking a MotoGP championship from Valentino Rossi. The fact that Lorenzo took that championship by dominating the series all season, finishing off the podium only twice all year and off the front row just once, despite starting the year with an injury, is irrelevant, it seems; by becoming champion, Lorenzo has upset The Natural Order.
Lorenzo's crime was compounded by his reported behavior a week earlier at Motegi. After a bitter and physical two-lap battle with Rossi, which provided some of the most exciting and intense action of the year but which Lorenzo should never have allowed himself to be drawn into, the Spaniard spoke to Yamaha management about the passes made by Rossi. Rossi, who reports would have us believe is Lorenzo's teammate at Fiat Yamaha, was then called in by Yamaha's bosses and asked not to jeopardize Yamaha's chances of lifting the individual, team and manufacturer's championships for 2010. Lorenzo's request and Yamaha's response saw both parties vilified across large parts of the internet, and lampooned in the Italian press.
Carlos Checa confirmed today that he is seriously in contention to ride the Pramac Ducati at Estoril and Valencia in place of Mika Kallio. In a video posted on Twitter, Checa is shown testing the Ducati Desmosedici GP10 at Mugello today, evaluating whether he is ready to race the GP10 or not. A decision is expected sometime shortly after the test.
Below is the video Checa just posted:
A little over a week ago, the BMW World Superbike team dropped a bombshell on the WSBK paddock by releasing team manager Davide Tardozzi, one of the most widely respected team managers in World Superbikes - and beyond - and widely credited with much of the success of Ducati's World Superbike success, where he was team manager before joining BMW. Tardozzi was released over "differences of opinion about the way the team should be organized," with rumors that Tardozzi and BMW Motorsport Director Berthold Hauser were clashing over the way the team should be run.
Tardozzi was not the only victim of that encounter, it has now emerged. The BMW team today issued a press release announcing that Hauser is also to be replaced, with immediate effect. Hauser's place is to be taken by Bernhard Gobmeier, a former engineer who is currently in charge of chassis development at BMW Motorrad. The move is part of a "fundamental realignment," as the press release describes it, which suggests that more staff may be affected in future.
Below is the official press release from BMW:
Changes at the top at BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
The fractured collarbone Dani Pedrosa sustained at Motegi could not have come at a worse time for the Repsol Honda rider. Pedrosa and his team had finally sorted the Honda RC212V, and with Pedrosa on blistering form, were starting to reel in Jorge Lorenzo. Actually snatching the championship from the Fiat Yamaha rider looked to be almost impossible, but they were going to make it as tough as possible for Lorenzo all the way to the end. The crash also came at the first of three flyaway races on three consecutive weekends, giving Pedrosa virtually no time to recover from the triple fracture. Complicating things further was the distance Pedrosa would have to travel to seek medical assistance, flying from Japan back to Barcelona for surgery, and then back out to Malaysia or Australia for his next race.
In the end, Pedrosa decided to skip the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, but the Repsol Honda team have just announced that Pedrosa will be back at Phillip Island. The Spaniard was due to fly out to Australia on Monday, giving him as much time to recover and prepare for the race as possible. Pedrosa's fractured collarbone is healing well, the titanium plate holding the fragments together doing its job perfectly. But the Repsol Honda man is still suffering with stiffness in his neck and shoulder, and will be receiving physiotherapy in Australia to help deal with the problem. Pedrosa's objective is to hold on to his 2nd place in the MotoGP Championship, where he leads Valentino Rossi by 47 points. With just three races to go, that should be an achievable goal, though Pedrosa will have to score points consistently to ensure his place in the standings is safe.
After a promising rookie year in MotoGP, Mika Kallio has struggled in 2010 on the Pramac Ducati. So mediocre has his form been the past six month, that Kallio has decided to call it quits early. According to reports in the Spanish media, Kallio will not be riding the last two races of the season for the Pramac Ducati squad, and his season will end after Sunday's race at Phillip Island.
Taking his place will be yet another Spaniard: After an outstanding year in the World Superbike championship aboard a Ducati 1198R, finishing 3rd behind Max Biaggi and Leon Haslam, and well ahead of the factory Xerox Ducatis of Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, the 38-year-old veteran Carlos Checa is to replace Kallio at Estoril and Valencia. Checa last rode in MotoGP back in 2007, when he raced for the LCR Honda squad currently fielding Randy de Puniet, after which the Spaniard moved to World Superbikes.
With MotoGP grid sizes currently shrinking almost on a daily basis, judging by the news from Sepang, it was clear that something would have to be done to stem the losses. The latest count was just 15 bikes on the grid in 2011, with Pramac and Suzuki down to one bike each, and Interwetten Honda out altogether.
The latest paddock rumors from Sepang - assembled by our friends over at GPOne.com - suggest that Dorna is stepping in to shore up grid numbers for next year, by providing support in a couple of key situations. The first move is to help get Toni Elias back into MotoGP. The way that Elias has dominated the brand new Moto2 championship, culminating in the 2010 title he secured at Sepang, has generated a huge call for the popular Spaniard to be given a ride in MotoGP. Elias' options looked very good, either taking the second bike at Suzuki, replacing the departing Loris Capirossi, or else taking over Randy de Puniet's seat at LCR Honda, should the Frenchman have plumped for the Suzuki seat before Elias. Once the second bike at Suzuki disappeared - looking more like a racing certainty with every passing day - that plan fell through, leaving Elias to look for a ride in Moto2.
Official quotes from Yamaha on Jorge Lorenzo's championship:
QUOTES FROM JORGE LORENZO FOLLOWING HIS CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY
"This is my first title in the premier category and my dream has come true! This is really the maximum a motorcycle rider can achieve in his career so we have to celebrate and enjoy these hours, minutes and seconds like it's the end of the world. You imagine this moment in your head your whole life but when it comes you don't know how to act or what to say. I am trying to be relaxed, to speak clearly and not say anything crazy! I'm so tired right now; I just need to be alone in a room for a few minutes, just thinking about what I've done!
I want to thank so many people, it's difficult to find the words but I have to mention Yamaha, all my team, Bridgestone and everyone involved. And of course thank you very much to my fans, who have been with me every step of the way.
The perfect situation today would have been to win, but it wasn't to be this time. I made a good start and was riding well and I thought I could go away from Andrea at one point, but then he overtook me and then Valentino as well, and I thought there were too many risks today to fight for the victory; it was better to wait until the end of the race.
Official MotoGP.com profile of Jorge Lorenzo:
Jorge Lorenzo - 2010 MotoGP World Champion
Jorge Lorenzo’s route to MotoGP glory has been paved with record-breaking achievements, and first began with an encounter with minicross competitions aged just three. Lorenzo competed in this format in addition to trial, minimoto and junior motocross in his native Mallorca over the next few years, then followed up a 50cc Copa Aprilia title by entering the Spanish Championship with special permission, aged just thirteen.
Setting a record unlikely to ever be broken, Lorenzo subsequently became the youngest ever rider to enter a World Championship race. Turning fifteen – the minimum age for Grand Prix participation back then - on the second day of practice for the 2002 Spanish race at Jerez, he made his debut onboard a Derbi 125cc at a track where he would enjoy much success over the next few years.
In just his second season he took his first Grand Prix victory at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where his impressive “round the outside” overtaking manoeuvre on Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa won him the nickname “Por Fuera”. In 2004 he sealed a further three triumphs, before making the move up to the 250cc category a year later and taking four poles and six podiums in his maiden season.
Official MotoGP.com profile of Toni Elias:
Toni Elías - 2010 Moto2 World Champion
Growing up in the family bike shop in Manresa as the son of a ten-times Spanish motocross champion, Toni Elias was destined for a career on two wheels. His early forays into the sport came in pocket-bike and scooter racing, before he began his pro career in the Spanish 125cc Championship in 1998. After finishing third in the national series the following year he won a ride on a Honda for his first full Grand Prix season in 2000.
It was in 2001, however, when the teenager became the revelation of the year after signing up to ride with the junior project run by Alberto Puig, battling for the lower cylinder category title until the end of the season. He won two races and finished an impressive third, up to this year his equal-best championship finish.
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Sepang:
2010 Sepang Moto2 Race Result - Drama-Filled Race Throws Up Surprise Winner And Settles Championship
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Sepang:
Results and summary of the 125cc race at Sepang: