August 14th, 2015
Jorge Lorenzo ended the first session of free practice on top of the timesheets. The Movistar Yamaha rider was immediately into his stride, taking over at the top halfway through the session and leading to the end. Marc Marquez ended the session in 2nd, and started off fast. However, Marquez' session was marred by a minor fall. The Repsol Honda rider had trouble getting the bike stopped into Turn 13, ran into the gravel and tried to ride his way through it. He made it most of the way, but not quite out again, tipping over in a low-speed spill which did little harm to the bike and no harm to the rider.
Dani Pedrosa set the 3rd fastest time, just over a tenth of a second behind his teammate, clearly comfortable at a track he loves. Pedrosa was followed by the two Factory Ducatis, both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone sporting a narrower fairing and a new engine for better power delivery. Valentino Rossi grabbed 6th spot, though Bradley Smith made him fight for it, the pair swapping places in the final moments of the session.
Efren Vazquez has taken first blood at Brno, topping the first session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Brno. Vazquez put in a quick last lap to punch his way to the top of the timesheets, his Leopard Racing teammate Danny Kent adopting the same tactic but coming up short on Vazquez. Romano Fenati grabbed 3rd, leading a gaggle of KTMs all within a few hundredth of each other. Miguel Oliveira took 4th, ending ahead of the session's early leader Brad Binder.
It was a hectic trip across the Atlantic for many in the MotoGP paddock. The air at Brno was thick with tales of airport-based woe, of overbooked flights, bad weather delays, missed transfers and lost luggage. Despite the supposed privilege of platinum frequent flyer status – one of the side benefits of working for a MotoGP team is you rack up a lot of air miles – the staff of one MotoGP were stuck in one airport for over 24 hours, thrown out of the airport lounge and unable to leave. Chicago O'Hare was temporarily transformed into the motorcycle racing equivalent of purgatory: large numbers of riders, mechanics and other staff kicking their heels with nothing to do. That is especially tough on riders: most of them suffer from some form of hyperactivity or another. Few can sit still, and most are very outdoor types. L'enfer, c'est les aéroports, if you will forgive me paraphrasing Sartre.
But there was an overwhelming sense of contentment at being in Brno. The track is much loved, even among those who do not go particularly well here. It is wide, fast, and flowing, and allows the riders to play with the lines. Dani Pedrosa, who has won here twice in MotoGP, explained why he liked the track. "It's wide, and the corners are with a nice shape, so you can be precise," Pedrosa told us. "It's a track that demands that you are precise, and I like this. Also, you can try many things, one centimeter more out, one centimeter more in, later, deeper, or earlier. This gives you a gain to be able to adjust your riding lap by lap, and some tracks are just one line and one pace and you cannot change. Here you can play a little bit more and that's positive. I like it."
Various press releases ahead of this weekend's Czech Grand Prix at Brno:
Press release previews from the teams:
From one endangered race to another. The MotoGP paddock leaves Indianapolis, possibly for the last time, and heads to Brno, a race which has been on the endangered list for the past ten years. Not all of the paddock got out on time: overbooked flights and thunderstorms caused massive delays, and left riders, teams and media stuck hanging around in airports for many hours. Hardly the ideal way to adapt to a shift of time zones by six hours, but they have little choice. There will more than a few bewildered faces in the paddock at Brno, trying to figure out where they are and what day it is.
A quick glance around should be enough to remind them. Brno is a glorious circuit, set atop a hill in the middle of a forest. To reach the track, you drive up the narrow, winding, tree-lined roads that once formed the basis of the old street circuit. The closed circuit which replaced those roads still retains most of that character: fast, flowing, rolling up hill and down dale through the trees. Where the track really differs from the public roads is in how wide it is.
The space that creates is seized upon eagerly by the riders, using it to take a number of lines through each of its corners, giving plenty of opportunities for passing. The fact that the corners are all combinations helps: riders flick right-left, left-right, right-left again and again. Make a pass into one corner, and your rival has a chance to strike back immediately at the next. It is a track which is made for great racing, and great motorcycle racing at that. Riders, fans and media alike all hope fervently that the financial and political problems which have dogged the Czech Grand Prix can be resolved, and we can keep this spectacular circuit.
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.
When no-one knew who Honda was
When Marc Márquez swept to Honda’s 700th Grand Prix victory on Sunday he did so at the head of the factory Repsol Honda team, probably the biggest outfit in the paddock, with every member trained and drilled to deal with every eventuality.
It is a somewhat different set-up to the brave little crew that turned up for the company’s first world championship race, the Isle of Man TT in June 1959.
Indianapolis MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Tuesday, August 11 2015
Bridgestone slick options: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre options: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez won last Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix ahead of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi who finished in second and third places respectively.
After track temperatures reached almost sixty degrees Celsius on Friday afternoon, conditions for the race were much cooler with a peak track temperature of 38°C recorded. During the race, Marquez set a new Indianapolis Circuit Record Lap of 1’32.625 on the twenty-third lap and also set a new overall race time record of (41'55.371), beating the old record by twelve seconds.
Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
This is part two of our Indy round up, covering the excellent Moto2 race, and the intriguing Moto3 race. If you want to read about MotoGP, see part one.
The Moto2 race turned out to be a barnstormer, a welcome return for the class. Once, Moto2 was the best race of the weekend, but in the past couple of years, it has become processional, and turned into dead air between the visceral thrills of Moto3 and the tripwire tension of MotoGP. At Indy, Johann Zarco, Alex Rins, Franco Morbidelli, Dominique Aegerter and Tito Rabat battled all race long for supremacy. They were joined at the start of the race by a brace of Malaysians, Hafizh Syahrin running at the front while Azlan Shah fought a close battle behind. Sam Lowes held on in the first half of the race, but as he started to catch the leaders in the last few laps, he ended up crashing out.
In the end, it was Alex Rins who took victory, just rewards for the man who had been the best of the field all weekend. It was Rins' first victory in Moto2, and confirmation of his status as an exceptional young talent. MotoGP factories are showing a lot of interest in Rins, but having learned his lesson with Maverick Viñales, who left after just one year, Sito Pons has Rins tied down to a two-year deal. Will Rins be a comparable talent to Viñales? Many believe he will.
Rins wasn't the only young rider to make an impression. After crashing out trying to get on the podium at the Sachsenring, Franco Morbidelli finally succeeded at Indianapolis. The 21-year-old Italian made the transition from Superstock successfully, and is part of a growing revival of Italian motorcycle racing. He will hope that his first podium marks the step to being a permanent fixture at the front.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and the circuit after the race at Indianapolis:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races Indianapolis:
2015 Indianapolis Race Round Up, Part 1: Marquez Vs Lorenzo, Rossi Vs Pedrosa, And Why Ducati Is Going Backwards
Whether this is the last time MotoGP visits Indianapolis or not – the lack of an announcement on Sunday night suggests that this was the last time – the 2015 edition will certainly go down in history as memorable. Race day saw the biggest crowd since 2009 head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, though in a facility this vast, anything less than a quarter of a million fans is going to look empty, and all 67,000 were treated to some genuine racing spectacle. An upside down Moto3 race, where those bold enough to gamble on slicks were duly rewarded; an old-fashioned Moto2 dogfight, where a group of evenly matched riders brawled from start to finish; and a pair of exceptionally tense duels in MotoGP, with championship positions raising the stakes even further.
The race of the day? Hard to say. All three had their own appeal. Rain and a drying track made Moto3 a weird contest, with massive gaps between the leaders, and yet still strangely exciting, because of the potential effects on the championship. Moto2 harked back to the halcyon days of Márquez, Iannone, and Espargaro, and reminded us of why we used to love the class. And MotoGP was more about tension than straight up excitement, brains kept busy calculating the ramifications for the championship as the front four swapped positions.
Marc Marquez claimed victory Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after an epic, race-long battle with Jorge Lorenzo. It was Marquez’s fifth-straight MotoGP victory at Indy and his ninth-straight win on American soil. Jorge Lorenzo, who led all of the race but the final three laps, took second to close the championship gap to Valentino Rossi.
Rossi, who took third after his own race-long battle with Dani Pedrosa (4th), now leads the championship by nine points after ceding four points to Yamaha teammate Lorenzo. Rossi has finished on the podium every race this year. Pedrosa, who held third for much of the race, finished 15 seconds in front of fifth-place Andrea Iannone. Bradley Smith held tight on Iannone's tail but was unable to pass and so took sixth. Another nine seconds back were Pol Espargaro (7th) and Cal Crutchlow (8th) who partially made up for a lousy start that left the Briton in 13th early on.
Andrea Dovizioso, who ran wide on the race's first lap and dropped to last place, charged through the pack to reclaim ninth just in front of Danilo Petrucci (10th).
Rain was predicted mid-race for the circuit, so each team was ready with a rain-tire bike staged in pit lane when the contest began.