Archive

December 10th, 2015

Valentino Rossi Withdraws Appeal Against Sepang Penalty, Case Now Formally Closed

Valentino Rossi has formally withdrawn his appeal against the three penalty points handed down to him in the clash at Sepang. The Italian had originally appealed the three points handed down by Race Direction for the incident with Marc Marquez at Turn 14 at Sepang, first to the FIM Stewards, and after the FIM Stewards had rejected his appeal, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

After filing the appeal to the CAS, Rossi then filed an appeal for a stay of the three-point penalty. If that stay had been granted, then Rossi would not have had to start from the back of the grid at Valencia. However, Rossi's request for a stay was rejected, and Rossi was left at the back of the grid. Finishing fourth meant he lost the 2015 MotoGP title to his Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

With the 2015 MotoGP title settled, Ross must have felt there was no point in continuing with the appeal. Even if the CAS ruled in Rossi's favor, all they could have done is reduced the number of penalty points he had been awarded. That would not have had a material outcome on the 2015 title, and given Rossi's otherwise near-impeccable record, it is unlikely to have an outcome in 2016.

Motor Sport Magazine's Hall Of Fame: Vote For The Greatest Motorcycle Racers To Be Inducted

The debate over who is the greatest racer of all time is one that rages on endlessly, with arguments being made for Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi as the two most successful riders, while others argue that it should be Freddie Spencer for winning in two categories at the same time in the modern era, or Casey Stoner for winning on the Ducati, a bike no one else could, or Mick Doohan, for dominating the class as no one has done since.

Instead of discussing which one rider is the greatest, the respected British publication Motor Sport Magazine has set up their own Hall of Fame, to honor many of the great legends of racing. As Motor Sport Magazine is primarily focused on four-wheeled sport, the Hall of Fame is currently filled mostly with the luminaries of Formula One, such as Jackie Stewart, Colin Chapman, Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda, along with a few of the greats from other branches of car racing, such as Colin McRae and Mario Andretti.

Michelin Schedules Extra December Tests To Prepare For 2016

Michelin is stepping up preparations for 2016 by scheduling an extra tire test in December. The French tire maker has invited the MotoGP factories to spend two days at Jerez before Christmas, testing new front tires in cold conditions, according to GPOne.com.

Three manufacturers have accepted, Ducati, Honda and Aprilia preparing to send their test riders to put in some laps on the latest iteration of tires at the Spanish circuit on 21st and 22nd of December. As the test falls in the middle of the winter test ban period, contracted riders - that is, riders who will be permanent MotoGP entries for 2016 - are forbidden from riding, and only the official test riders can take part. As a result, Michele Pirro will be attending for Ducati, Mike Di Meglio for Aprilia, and Honda will send both Hiroshi Aoyama and Takumi Takahashi.

The main objective of the test is to try out new tires in cold conditions, the situation in which the Michelins are struggling most at the moment. Michelin are keen to collect as much data as possible ahead of the winter break, in order to have tires ready to test at Sepang, and more importantly, at Qatar, where track and ambient temperatures are always relatively low due to it being a night race.

December 9th

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Lawson, Rainey and Doohan: giants of their era

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Lawson, Rainey and Doohan: giants of their era

I blame it on Kenny Roberts, but it would’ve happened anyway. When ‘King’ Kenny arrived in Europe in the late 1970s he upped the ante: he rode harder, trained harder and thought more about his racing than anyone else.

The arrival of bike racing’s all-American pro had an instant effect: it blew cigarette-smoking, girl-chasing Barry Sheene into the weeds. The longer-term consequence was the careers of Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Mick Doohan.

These men were the foundation of modern racing, because they took the sport forever beyond the point where cocaine-snorting hedonists and gym-shy child prodigies could win glory at the very top. They were also the giants of their era, winning 12 500cc world championships over a 15-year period: Lawson four, Rainey three, Doohan five.

December 7th

Nicolas Goubert Interview: Why Michelin Returned, And The Challenges They Face

The switch from Bridgestone to Michelin as the official tire supplier for MotoGP promises to be perhaps the most important change to the class for 2016, though the change to spec ECU software runs it a close second. Up until the Valencia tests, held after the final race of the year, the performance of the Michelins was still shrouded in mystery, the official riders contractually obliged to keep quiet about the French tires while Bridgestone was still the official tire supplier.

That all changed on the Tuesday after Valencia. With the handover to Michelin, the riders were free to speak, as were the principal players inside the French tire manufacturer. The teams had a lot of work to do, their job not made any easier by the fact that so many riders crashed at Valencia. Riding styles needed to change, as did the weight distribution of the bikes. But question marks remained over the performance of the Michelin front tire, especially, with so many riders lowsiding over the two days of the test.

On the Tuesday at Valencia, MotoMatters.com got a chance to speak with Nicolas Goubert, the head of Michelin's motorsports program, alongside Israeli TV5 commentator Tammy Gorali. Goubert gave an update on the progress of their MotoGP program so far, and addressed several of the issues they had faced during testing. Of course, Michelin were delighted to be back in the premier class again. "This is our first official test after seven years and it's great to be back in MotoGP," Goubert said. "With the exposure and the riders that we have here it's a great opportunity for Michelin. When you know some people from the past it's nice to work with them again but working with new people and new riders it's always interesting to see their reactions to a new tire that they haven't been working with but both cases have been very interesting."

December 6th

Casey Stoner - Private Tests Only For The Foreseeable Future

Casey Stoner will not be making any public appearances on the Ducati Desmosedici any time soon. Although the Australian has been formally announced as test rider for Ducati, he will not be riding at the official tests at Sepang at the beginning of February.

Speaking to Italian website GPOne.com, Ducati MotoGP boss Davide Tardozzi said "There are still some details to arrange, but for sure, Stoner will do his first test in Malaysia, before the first official test." Stoner will test alongside Ducati's long-time official test rider Michele Pirro, where he will give the Desmosedici GP16 its first run out. The Australian did the same thing at the beginning of 2015 for Honda, testing the RC213V ahead of the official test in early February.

The most important thing for Ducati was not that Stoner should be fast from the off, but that he should get used to the feel of the bike, and work his way towards being as fast as possible. "We don't want to force him too soon," Tardozzi told GPOne, "but when you can push at the limit as we know he can, his feedback will be very important to us. We are organizing a few tests with him so that he can understand the bike and get his confidence back."

December 4th

Suter Officially Withdraws From Moto2 - Three Chassis Manufacturers Remain

Suter will not be competing in the Moto2 championship in 2016. In an official statement on their Facebook page, the Swiss engineering firm announced they would not be applying for a constructor's license for Moto2 in 2016, and concentrating their efforts on working with Mahindra on their Moto3 machine, and supplying a range of parts for various teams and factories in the series.

The withdrawal from Moto2 was an inevitable consequence of the steady decline in the number of bikes Suter was producing for the class. After winning the first three manufacturer's championships, from 2010 to 2012, teams started switching en masse to Kalex. The rider's championship with Marc Marquez and manufacturer's title in 2012 was the high point of their stay in Moto2, but by then, the exodus was already underway. Despite some solid performances in 2014, in the hands of Tom Luthi, Dominique Aegerter and Johann Zarco, just two Suters lined up on the grid at Qatar in 2015.

December 3rd

The Ideal Winter Break? Barcelona Superprestigio Set For 12th December Again

The Barcelona Superprestigio race is becoming a regular fixture in the winter break, and this year is no exception. The third edition of the race is due to take place on 12th December in the Palau Sant Jordi, part of Barcelona's Olympic Ring up on the Montjuic hill which sits on southwest edge of Barcelona. Once again, the feature will pit some of the best MotoGP riders in the world against the cream of the US flat track scene, as well as top riders from many other motorcycling disciplines.

Star of the show is once again Marc Marquez, the man who helped organize the show after hearing about previous editions of the race which had been run in the 1980s and 1990s. Marquez lost out in the first edition of the race to Brad Baker, then beat Jared Mees to win the second edition in December of last year. Both Mees and Baker will be present again, representing the AMA Flat Track series. 

December 2nd

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Analysing MotoGP's crash stats

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Analysing MotoGP's crash stats

Call me sick and twisted, but I’ve been enjoying my favourite document of the year: the MotoGP crash report. This isn’t because I like to spend the winter hibernating beneath a cosy blanket of schadenfreude, but because the crash list tells you a great deal about what went on during the season.

If victory is the ultimate good for a rider, then crashing is the ultimate bad. No-one has ever explained this better than former 500 GP winner and World Superbike champion Carlos Checa.

Forward Press Release: Luca Marini To Join Forward In Moto2 In 2016

Forward Racing issued the following press release, announcing that Luca Marini will be riding for the team in Moto2 in 2016. Marini, who is Valentino Rossi's half brother, is a product of the VR46 Riders Academy, and that Academy will be providing support to the Forward Racing team.


Luca Marini in Moto2 with Forward Racing

Forward Racing is pleased to announce that Luca Marini, member of the VR46 Riders Academy, will wear the colors of Forward Racing in Moto2 from next season on. The promising 18-year old from Tavullia, who signed a multi-year contract with the team of Giovanni Cuzari, will join Lorenzo Baldassari riding the 2016 Kalex.

Marini will debut in the World Championship after a wild card in Moto3 in 2013, another one in the Moto2 Grand Prix of San Marino in 2015 and after finishing fifth overall in the Moto2 CEV Championship this season. The newcomer, in combination with the confirmation of Baldassarri, doubles the commitment of Forward Racing with the VR46 Riders Academy in Moto2 championship. Forward Racing fully supports and shares the aim of the Academy from Tavullia: the professional growth of young Italian riders in the world of motorcycling.

Giovanni Cuzari

Year: 
2016

Milwaukee Take BSB Champion Josh Brookes To World Superbikes With BMW

The World Superbike championship promises to bring new excitement for 2016. New bikes, and above all, new riders are adding an international flavor and much more interest to the series. WSBK had already gained a top-flight American rider, with Nicky Hayden joining the Ten Kate Honda team, but now they have a top Australian rider as well.

Today, the Milwaukee team run by Shaun Muir announced they will be making the switch from the BSB championship to World Superbikes, taking reigning BSB champion Josh Brookes along with them. Brookes had been angling for a ride in WSBK for a couple of seasons now, but with the Milwaukee team moving up, the choice was made very simple. Brookes was very impressive throughout his 2015 BSB campaign, lifting the title by a comfortable margin, despite the tortuous Showdown process used by BSB to settle the title.

Brookes will be joined by Karel Abraham, the Czech rider leaving the MotoGP paddock now that the AB Racing team have withdrawn from the premier class. Abraham is a Moto2 race winner, and spent the last five years riding a motley assembly of machinery in MotoGP.

November 30th

KTM 270hp RC16 MotoGP Bike Completes First Test At Valencia

After its earlier roll out in Austria, KTM has completed its first proper test with the RC16 MotoGP bike at Valencia. On Saturday and Sunday, test riders Alex Hofmann and Mika Kallio put the RC16 through its paces on the Spanish track. 

The test sees KTM stepping up the pace of development on the bike. Alex Hofmann has been used as a development rider, to verify the bike is working correctly and is being developed in the right direction. New hire Mika Kallio has been brought in as the performance rider, the 33-year-old Finn freshly retired as a full-time racer, and therefore having the speed to push the limits of the bike. Kallio also has more recent experience of MotoGP machines, having ridden for Pramac Ducati in 2010, and having tested the Suter CRT MotoGP machine in 2012. Kallio was known in his former teams for his attention to detail and ability to pinpoint areas that needed improvement.

November 28th

Jerez MotoGP Test Round Up: Redding Reveals Ducati Dominance, And Where Honda Is Going Wrong

So, testing is over and the winter test ban can start. Riders who intend to race in 2016 are banned from testing between 1st December 2015 and 31st January 2016. Engineers now have a long winter ahead of them to try to make sense of the data gathered at the test at Valencia and Jerez, or else send their test riders out in the chill of winter, as Aprilia intend to do at Jerez in a few weeks. Those engineers have an awful lot of work ahead of them.

The men and women at Ducati will be getting the most time off over the holiday period. It is clear from the first two tests that the Italian factory has hit the ground running with the new unified software, and have the systems working relatively well. One Ducati engineer reckoned that they were already at about 50% of the potential of the software, far more than the 10% MotoGP's Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli had estimated at Valencia. The fact that Scott Redding topped the final day of testing at Jerez on the Pramac Ducati GP15, a couple of tenths faster than Marc Márquez and the only rider to crack into the 1'38s, is proof enough that Ducati have the situation under control. (For a full list of unofficial times, see below).

Redding's Rocket

Redding has been impressive throughout the test, and was a very happy rider after Friday. "The good thing for me is that I feel comfortable on the bike," Redding said. "I know what's going to happen. Today I nearly crashed at the last corner because I tried to force the front a bit but it didn’t want to. The bike was talking to me. When you have a good feeling like this you also have a bit of confidence. You know what’s going to happen." Last year on the Honda, the RC213V did anything but talk to him. Whenever he tried to go faster, he would go slower. Now, on the GP15, he was fast, knew he could go faster if he pushed harder.

November 27th

MotoGP And WSBK Press Releases From The Final Day Of The Jerez Combined Test

Press releases from the MotoGP and World Superbike teams after the final day of testing at Jerez:

Year: 
2016

Jerez WSBK And MotoGP Test, Day 5: Sykes And Rea Obliterate The Superpole Record

Testing has finished at last at Jerez, with the onset of the winter test ban for both MotoGP and World Superbike teams. The final day of testing for the World Superbike squads ended as it had been all week, with the Kawasaki pair on top of the timesheets, and both men breathtakingly fast once the teams broke out the qualifying tires. It was Tom Sykes who walked away as fastest, the Yorkshireman obliterating the official Superpole record by just shy of a whole second. Sykes' fast lap left Jonathan Rea in second, though he was also no slouch. Rea ended eight tenths faster than the Superpole record. There is a chance he could have gone faster, but a crash in the afternoon put an end to his day's testing.

Xavi Fores made an impressive debut as a full time WSBK rider, ending the test as third fastest on the Barni Ducati, eight tenths behind Sykes but still well under the existing Superpole record, as was Nicky Hayden. The Ten Kate Honda rider made a strong impression on his second test on the Honda CBR1000RR, adapting well to the Pirellis and riding a production bike again. Hayden ended well ahead of Chaz Davies, the first of the factory Aruba.it Ducati riders, while Davide Giugliano made good progress on his return from a long layoff from injury. Leon Camier was the last of the WSBK riders, working on major electronics updates for the MV Agusta F4.

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