November 6th, 2015

2015 Valencia Moto3 FP1 Results: Kent Leads Honda Rampage

Danny Kent has started the final weekend for Moto3 with a statement of intent, taking top spot in the first session of practice. It was a close run affair, however: Isaac Viñales, Hiroki Ono and Efren Vazquez all ended FP1 within a tenth of a second of the championship leader. The significance of having three Leopard Racing bikes in the top four will have been duly noted, Viñales the only KTM in the top six. Miguel Oliveira ended the session in 7th, ahead of Romano Fenati and Niccolo Bulega, Bulega making a very impressive debut in the Moto3 world championship.


2015 Valencia MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Strange Days In MotoGP

Thursday at Valencia was one of the strangest days in MotoGP that I have known since I first started covering the sport professionally. Maybe it's just the fact that the usual schedule was disrupted. Every race weekend has a rhythm: on Thursday, it's a late start, then rider debriefs, then a press conference, then work; on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it's an early start, watch practice, rider debriefs/press conferences and then work.

That rhythm was wildly out of sync at Valencia. Earlier start, Moto3 press conference, HRC press conference, a couple of rider debriefs. Then an unnatural lull, as the riders headed into the press conference room for their meeting with the Permanent Bureau, consisting of Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta and FIM president Vito Ippolito addressed the MotoGP riders and their team managers. Ten minutes after the riders started streaming through the paddock on their way to the meeting, they were all heading back out again.

What happened in the meeting with the Permanent Bureau? The first rule of meeting with the Permanent Bureau is don't talk about meeting with the Permanent Bureau, apparently, as no one was willing to tell us about it, apart from some platitudes from Jorge Lorenzo about it being interesting to get different perspectives from people to get new ideas. Not that anyone truly believed that the riders came out with new ideas, but still.

2015 Valencia MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the teams and Bridgestone ahead of the final round of MotoGP this weekend at Valencia:

Round Number: 

2015 Valencia Moto2 And Moto3 Preview Press Releases

Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:

Round Number: 

November 5th

Press Release: Statement From The Permanent Bureau

The Permanent Bureau issued the following official statement ahead of this weekend's race at Valencia:

FIM MotoGP World Championship
Statement from the Permanent Bureau

Dear all,

Please find below the statement issued by the Permanent Bureau during the meeting with the MotoGP riders at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana:

First and foremost, sport must prevail. This Sunday is the last race of the year, and it is sport that needs to win.

We are proud of the magnificent races you have given us this year. They continue to foster interest in our championship all around the world. We also want to thank you for that.

Over the past days, there have unfortunately been some controversies that have surpassed the limits of a healthy passion and, on occasions, logic itself. You have millions of followers all around the world. They watch and admire your achievements on the track. And they also listen closely to what you say.

What you do and say, could have consequences that are not in keeping with the noble values of our sport.

Round Number: 

CAS Press Release: CAS Dismisses Valentino Rossi's Request For A Stay Of His Penalty

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issued the following press release, after the CAS dismissed Rossi's appeal for a stay of his penalty at Sepang:


Lausanne, 5 November 2015 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Valentino Rossi’s request to stay the execution of the decision issued by the FIM Stewards on 25 October 2015. Accordingly, the decision of the FIM Stewards to impose 3 penalty points on Valentino Rossi’s record following an incident with Marc Marquez during the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix race held on 25 October 2015 stands and Valentino Rossi will commence the next (and last) event of the season, to be held in Valencia/Spain on 6-8 November 2015, from the last grid position.

Round Number: 

CAS Rejects Valentino Rossi's Request To Suspend Penalty: Will Start From Back Of Grid At Valencia

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected Valentino Rossi's request for a stay of his penalty, given to him at Sepang. The 3-point penalty, handed to him at Sepang for the incident he was involved in with Marc Marquez, means he will start from the back of the grid for the final race of the season at Valencia.

Rossi will still be entitled to participate in Q2, if he finishes in the top ten after the three sessions of free practice, but the position he secures in Q2 will not count for his grid position. Everyone who qualifies behind him will be moved forward one position on the grid.

The CAS ruling is only on Rossi's request to have the penalty suspended for Valencia. The full case will still be heard in front of the panel of arbitration, but that will still take between six and twelve months, and will have no impact on the outcome of the the 2015 championship. It also means that Rossi has now served his penalty, and he will not have to serve it again after the hearing has completed.

2015 Valencia MotoGP Preview: It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Here is the one thing which everybody has wrong about Valencia: the 2015 MotoGP championship isn't over by a very long chalk. Whether Lorenzo qualifies on pole or the front row, whether Valentino Rossi starts from his qualifying position or the back of the grid, the championship won't be done until the last rider gets the checkered flag. Everything is still to play for.

Why is the championship still wide open? Because Valencia is a fickle mistress, with a record of throwing up more than one surprise. Both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have won here, and both men have lost championships here. Both men have dominated, and both men have crashed out. Races at Valencia are rarely straightforward, throwing up startling results more often than not. Throw in a spot of unpredictable weather, and anything can truly happen.

The cause of those surprises? Running a race at the beginning of November in Valencia means the weather is always a gamble. Even when it is dry and sunny, as it is expected to be this weekend, the cold mornings and strong winds can cause tires to cool, turning Valencia's right-hand corners – few and far between – into treacherous affairs. If it rains or is damp, the wind means a dry line forms quickly, turning tire choice into a gamble.

Strangeness abounds

November 4th

World Supersport Class To Be Brought In Line With National Championships, Superstock 600 Class Axed

The FIM today announced a radical shake up of the World Supersport series. In an attempt to cut costs, the technical rules are to be changed to bring them in line with the rules used in most major national championships. Those rules are generally much closer to the existing Superstock regulations, though with a little more freedom to make modifications. 

The goal of the change is twofold. Firstly, to cut the costs of being competitive. History has shown that this aim is always very hard to achieve, with teams finding a way to spend the money they get in sponsorship. The second aim is to make the championship broader, and attract more wildcards at local rounds. This is a much more reasonable goal, and the fact that wildcard riders will be able to enter on the bike they have spent all season racing on in their national championships should make it easier for them to get up to speed and challenge the established riders for podiums and wins.

With the Supersport rules being revised to bring the technical level of the bikes to a lower spec, the Superstock 600 class is to be scrapped. Instead, a separate category is to be created inside the World Supersport class, open only to riders racing in the European rounds.

The press release from the WSBK press office, containing further details, appears below:

November 3rd

CAS Rejects Request By Lorenzo To Be A Party To Rossi's Appeal Case

One decision has come early in the hearing before Court of Arbitration for Sport on Valentino Rossi's appeal against his penalty at Sepang. Today, the CAS announced that it had rejected a request for intervention by lawyers representing Jorge Lorenzo. With that request rejected, the case will now be solely between Valentino Rossi and the FIM. The outcome of the preliminary hearing to suspend the penalty issued against Rossi will be made public by Friday, 6th November at the latest.

Lorenzo made a request to intervene in the proceedings under rule R41.3 of the CAS procedural rules. Lorenzo did so as a third party having a material interest in the outcome of Rossi's appeal, and more especially, his request for a stay of the penalty he had been given. Rossi appealed to the CAS in the hope of getting the three-point penalty imposed on him at Sepang suspended, so that he will not be forced to start from the back of the grid, and give him a better chance of defending his championshp lead. Lorenzo requested to intervene in that appeal as he has an interest in Rossi starting from the back of the grid, to give him the best chance of winning the championship at Valencia. The fierce battle the two men have fought out on track during the year has been extended into the courts.

WSBK Press Releases: Kawasaki And Yamaha Embark On Two-Day Test At Jerez

Testing for the 2016 World Superbike is underway, with Kawasaki and Crescent - now switched from Suzuki to Yamaha - taking to the track at Jerez for a two-day test starting Tuesday. The test marks Yamaha's return to World Superbikes for the first time since their departure at the end of 2011. 

The press releases issued by Kawasaki and Yamaha appear below:

Yamaha WSBK Returns to the Track with Lowes and Guintoli

Yamaha Motor Europe's new pairing of Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli will make their debut aboard the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1 at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain tomorrow in the opening test of the Japanese marque's return to the World Superbike Championship.

The 'stealth-black' Yamaha race machines will feature Pata branding for the first time, with the squad’s additional partners and final 'Racing Blue' livery to be revealed in January.

Located on the south-west coast of Spain, approximately 90kms south of Seville, the initial test at the 4,423m Andalusian circuit will focus on the basics - getting both racers comfortable with the new YZF-R1, making initial rider position adjustments and achieving a base setting for the machine in its first appearance under the WSBK regulations. However, the forecast of heavy rain and storms may disrupt plans for the opening day.


Movistar Yamaha Press Release: Official Statement On The Sepang Incident

In response to Honda's press release issued on Monday, Yamaha today issued the following press release on the incidents at Sepang:

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Official Statement

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 3rd November 2015

We refer to the press release issued by Repsol Media Service on Sunday 25th October 2015, titled “Pedrosa wins and Marquez crashes after unsportsmanlike kick from Rossi”, as well as the press release issued by Honda Racing Corporation on Monday 2nd November, titled “Q&A with Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President”.

Yamaha would like to express its disagreement with the words that have been used to report on the incident between riders Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.

Both press releases included words that accuse Valentino Rossi of kicking Marc Marquez‘s bike that is something not proven by the investigation of the Race Direction.

We therefore reject the wording used in the said published statements that do not correspond with the findings of the Race Direction.

Yamaha has no wish to enter into further discussion regarding this unfortunate affair and our desire is to conclude the 2015 MotoGP season in the best possible way.


Editor's Blog: MotoGP's Descent Into Madness, And How To Get Out Again

If what happened on lap seven at Sepang was bad for MotoGP, the events which have followed have made it infinitely worse. Rossi's single act of frustration has unleashed a tidal wave of insanity which has battered MotoGP, washing away the good and leaving it battered and stained. And every time you think it has finished, yet more madness emerges to engulf the sport, dragging it further down into the depths. It is a hard time to be a fan of the most exhilarating sport on the planet.

The incident itself was ugly, but it can hardly have come as a surprise. When Valentino Rossi launched his surprise attack on Marc Márquez in the press conference, accusing the Spaniard of trying to prevent him from becoming champion, a reaction from Márquez was inevitable. These are the two biggest egos in the MotoGP paddock, and with some justification. Rossi is the legend who both raised the profile of the sport and has dominated the sport for longer than any other rider in history. Márquez is the prodigy who set about smashing the record books on his entry into MotoGP, and is the man set to usurp Rossi's place in the history books. Neither man is willing to step aside, both feel they are deserving of exceptional respect.

So two angry men took to the track on Sunday, and inevitably, once their paths crossed, bad things happened. Márquez, apparently furious at being attacked on Thursday, raced Rossi as if it was the last lap of the race and the title depended on it. Rossi, unable to beat Márquez outright, lost his cool and ran the Spaniard wide and caused him to crash. It seemed like the lowest point in MotoGP for a very long time, but much worse was to come.

November 2nd

Carmelo Ezpeleta And Vito Ippolito To Address Teams And Riders Ahead Of Valencia

In another twist to the Rossi vs Marquez tale at Sepang, the FIM today announced that all of the teams and riders in MotoGP have been called to a special meeting with the Permanent Bureau on Thursday, ahead of the final round of MotoGP. The Permanent Bureau, consisting of the president of the FIM Vito Ippolito and the CEO of Dorna, Carmelo Ezpeleta, are to talk to the riders at 3:30pm local time on Thursday, in an attempt to calm the situation down. To further ensure that the situation is not made even worse, the pre-event press conference to be held on Thursday has been canceled.

The briefing is a sign of just how far out of hand the situation has gotten. Though the two protagonists have been laying low in recent days, the conflict still hangs in the air. Canceling the press conference is not likely to make the situation any better. Instead, riders will be given the chance to speak individually at their press debriefs, which may lead to even more inflammatory statements. Though the meeting will take place behind closed doors, what is said in the meeting is sure to leak out, especially as the camps around Rossi and Marquez will want to add their spin to what goes on.

Below is the press release from the FIM:

MotoGP™ riders and teams to be summoned by the Permanent Bureau 

2016 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Updated - Four Races Changed, Silverstone Moves To September

The FIM have released another provisional calendar for the MotoGP series, in response to yet another shake up of the F1 calendar by Bernie Ecclestone. With F1 and MotoGP having an informal agreement not to have their dates clash, and with MotoGP losing out in terms of TV audience whenever they do, the MotoGP calendar released in September had too many conflicts with F1.

As a result of those clashes, four races have now been moved to different dates. The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring has been shifted back a week to 17th July. Silverstone, scheduled to be held on the 17th, has been moved to the 4th September. The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang has been moved from the start to the end of the Asia-Pacific triple header, and will now be run on 20th October. That shift means that the Valencia race has been pushed back a week, to 13th November.