July 26th, 2009
Results and summary of the 250cc race at Donington:
Results and summary of the 125cc race at Donington:
Results of the World Supersport Race at Brno:
Results of Brno World Superbike Race 1:
Casey Stoner dominated in the wet conditions of the Sunday morning warm up here at Donington. The Australian had been hoping for damp and cool conditions, as that helps him stay fit for longer, and his prayers were answered. With rain falling this morning, the track drying out but more rain likely to be on the way, it looks like being a very tricky MotoGP race for the entire field.
It was both expected and inevitable. After Carmelo Ezpeleta introduced a proposal to run prototype bikes powered by 1000cc production engines to the Grand Prix Commission meeting held at the Sachsenring last weekend, in an attempt to cut the astronomical costs in MotoGP, a response was sure to come from InFront Motor Sports, the body that owns the rights to World Superbikes.
It took just a week, but today, at the Brno round of World Superbikes, the Flammini brothers issued a statement to the effect that they would fight any such move with all the legal means at their disposal. The statement issued reads:
With reference to several declarations published recently by daily newspapers and weekly magazines, according to which the organizer of the Grand Prix World Championship is reported to be evaluating the possible participation of bikes equipped with production based 1000 cc engines in the MotoGP class, Infront Motor Sports wishes to make the following statement.
Infront Motor Sports does not consider a similar idea either to be realistic or feasible in view of the existing contracts between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports itself and in view of the specific characteristics of the World Superbike and MotoGP championships.
We believe therefore that such a project will not have any follow-up. Nevertheless, wherever future developments should render necessary any action of defense of the rights of Infront Motor Sports, as well as those of all the teams, manufacturers, riders, sponsors and media who have invested in the Superbike and Supersport World Championships, such action will be immediately set in motion at all levels.
Silly season for the MotoGP class is in a strange, almost schizophrenic state. The paddock is swirling with rumors - though admittedly, this is its usual state - yet few moves or announcements are forthcoming. Normally, we would be in the middle of rider announcements, but one man has been holding up all progress in the annual rider merry-go-round.
Jorge Lorenzo's contract with Yamaha is up at the end of the 2009 season, and the Spanish sensation is dragging his feet over a contract renewal and trawling the market to test his value. He has an offer on the table from Yamaha, but has been openly flirting with Honda, with talk of the Repsol Honda team being divided into two separate teams, along similar lines to the Fiat Yamaha garage now.
First, though, Lorenzo must decide whether his future lies with Yamaha or not. The Spaniard had a meeting with senior Yamaha executives Lin Jarvis and Masao Furusawa at Donington last night, where Yamaha and Lorenzo, together with his manager Marcos Hirsch, discussed the situation at great length.
Sunday is MotoGP's swansong at Donington, the last time that the world's premier racing series will ever visit the classic Leicestershire track. You would think that the circuit owners would want to make an extra effort, to make the final MotoGP meeting here go with a bang.
This is not the impression the riders got. Grip levels were low, according to several riders, with Valentino Rossi complaining the track was as slippery as it has ever been. "Usually when you go to a track, on the kerbs you have the paint, the asphalt is green, it is ready for the start," he told reporters. "Here it looks like they clean a little bit, say it's OK, go for the last time and on Monday, they start the work for the Formula 1."
The weather was also a factor, but the condition of the track made riding very difficult. "Also rain-sun-rain-sun, this year the grip is very bad." Rossi said. "Also in the wet, compared to the Sachsenring, at the Sachsenring it is possible to touch the knee, ride, make good angle, here is very very tricky to ride the bike." The condition of the track had Rossi concerned about lasting the distance on Sunday: "If I have to make 30 laps under this condition, in the wet, is very difficult. So we have to stay calm and concentrate for 30 laps, take the rhythm and go."
Words are tricky things. Immediately after the announcement of the so-called rookie rule, debate immediately broke out over the meaning of the words "rookie" and "factory team." The response of Dorna and the FIM has been a little too akin to that of Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass, insisting that when they use a word, it means exactly what they choose it to mean, neither more nor less.
Of course, this was not going to be a tenable situation for long. Speculation was rife in the press that factory teams could consider signing promising young stars such as Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista or Ben Spies for the last few races once they'd secured (or failed to secure) their current championships, then claim that because they'd been under contract in 2009, they should no longer be regarded as "rookies" and could go straight to factory teams for 2010.
So MotoGP's rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, has acted to prevent this and issued a definition of the term "rookie." The definition basically means that any rider who hasn't taken part in 9 races in the previous season must be considered a rookie, and will therefore not be eligible to race for a factory team. The definition is clearly designed to preempt any attempt at getting around the ban on rookies, as riders will basically have to compete for half a season before they are no longer rookies.
The definition issued by the FIM follows below:
Result of the 250cc qualifying practice at Donington:
Results of the MotoGP qualifying practice session at Donington: