October 23rd, 2015
Jorge Lorenzo has topped the second sesson of free practice for the MotoGP class at Sepang. The Movistar Yamaha rider spent most of the session working on set up on used tires, before pushing at the end on fresh tires to take over at the top. Dani Pedrosa ended the session in 2nd, the Repsol Honda rider not quite able to match the pace of Lorenzo in the second half of the track.
Marc Marquez had led early, but could not quite find the pace of Lorenzo and Pedrosa, finishing the session in 3rd place, two tenths of a second behind Lorenzo. Andrea Iannone took 4th, the Ducati rider laying down a very consistent pace before shooting for a spot in Q2 on a fresh set of tires. Cal Crutchlow ended the session in 5th spot, nearly eight tenths slower than the fastest man Lorenzo, the LCR Honda rider pushing for a fast time at the end of the session.
Aleix Espargaro was the first of the Suzukis, though both Espargaro and Maverick Viñales showed solid pace on the GSX-RR. Espargaro was the only Suzuki man to make it to Q2 though upping the pace at the end of the session to take 6th, while Viñales dropped down to 11th, just outside the top 10. If it rains as expected on Saturday, improving times may be difficult for riders who missed out on Q2.
The pre-event press conferences held on the Thursday ahead of each MotoGP round can vary a good deal in interest. For the most part, they are full of pleasantries and platitudes, both riders and journalists doing their best to look interested and not start playing with their phones. After the utterly entrancing race at Phillip Island four days ago, we expected this to be one of the less interesting ones, the only mild interest being the dismal air quality in Malaysia.
How very wrong we were. Yes, there was the discussion of the obvious, of how the championship chances of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and of Danny Kent in Moto3 would play out. But there was also an explosion of interest once Rossi made accusations that Marc Márquez was trying to help Lorenzo win the championship, accusations he pressed home further once the press conference finished.
It first livened up once Andrea Iannone and Valentino Rossi were asked what they thought of the abuse which had been plastered all over the Facebook and Instagram feeds of Iannone after the race at Phillip Island, where Iannone finished ahead of Rossi and took valuable points in the championship. Iannone shook it off, saying that 90% were positive, and the rest were "just an opinion."
Rossi was much stronger in his condemnation of the behavior of people calling themselves his fans. "I think that in reality they are not my real supporters," he said. "Is a great shame, because these people are very stupid. Unfortunately, this is the time of the social network where everybody can say his idea, even if it's a very stupid idea. The people like to speak bad about other guys that are more lucky than them, with more talent, and more happy, because they do with their life what they want." Rossi pointed out that he held no grudge against Iannone for beating him. "He just did his race, and is normal that he try to beat me."
Mika Kallio is to be KTM's test rider to help with the development of their MotoGP bike. The 32-year-old Finnish rider is to make a return to the Austrian manufacturer and work to get the KTM RC16 ready for its debut season in MotoGP in 2017.
Kallio has a long association with the Austrian marque. He rode for them for four seasons both in 125s and 250s, finishing as runner up twice in the junior class, most controversially in 2005, when he lost out to Tom Luthi by five points after his erstwhile KTM teammate Gabor Talmacsi stole the win from him at Qatar. When KTM decided to pull out of Grand Prix racing at the end of the 2008 season, out of frustration at the decision to abandon two-stroke racing in the intermediate class, Kallio was forced to leave, moving up to MotoGP with Pramac Ducati.
After two years in Ducati, Kallio returned to Moto2, where he was once again championship runner up in 2014. He has not had the same level of success since leaving the Marc VDS team, despite starting the 2015 season on essentially the same bike. Approaching the age of 33, and with only mediocre results this season, Kallio may have decided he has a better future testing with KTM. From KTM's perspective, Kallio already has two years in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati, and worked as a test rider for the Suter MotoGP project which ran under the CRT rules in 2012.
2015 Phillip Island Moto3 And Moto2 Round Up - How The Championship Went Undecided, And Who Caused The Crash
If you thought the MotoGP race at Phillip Island was thrilling, you should have seen Moto3. Phillip Island is a track where it is almost impossible to escape on a Moto3 bike, the long fast straight, usually with a headwind, allowing a chasing group to draft each other forward and catch anyone trying to get away. The only hope is for something to happen, to split the group and force a break.
Boy, did something happen. There was only one crash all weekend in the MotoGP class; there was the grand total of seventeen crashes in Moto3, with just nineteen of the thirty five starters actually making it across the line to finish the race. The reason? The heady mixture of close racing and youthful exuberance inevitably leads to people taking too much risk, and taking either themselves or someone else out. Add in some tension over the 2015 Moto3 title, and you have an incendiary mix indeed.
And tension there was. Danny Kent started the race in Australia with a simple goal: finish ahead of Enea Bastianini if possible, and within five positions of Miguel Oliveira. That would see him finally wrap up the Moto3 title he could have had his hands on already, if he hadn't made a silly mistake at Aragon and crashed. Beating Bastianini should be easy: the Italian had a nightmare weekend at Phillip Island, unhappy with the bike from the very beginning, qualifying 28th and starting from 25th due to penalties for other riders.
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.
Inside the Rossi/Lorenzo garage
Here is photographic evidence of how nasty things are getting inside the Movistar Yamaha pit as the Rossi/Lorenzo title fight approaches its heart-pumping climax.
Above we see Rossi crew members Gary Coleman (left) and Alex Briggs (right) mugging Jorge Lorenzo mechanic Ian Gilpin in the paddock – the Northern Irishman never stood a chance against the Aussie pair.
It’s just as bad in the pits where the two opposing crews giving each other the dead-eye across the garage and plan their next act of sabotage or their piece snippet of misinformation…
No, I can’t keep this up. Let’s forget the tabloid fantasy and cut to reality…
Bridgestone today issued its customary post-race debrief with tire development boss Shinji Aoki. In this edition, Aoki discusses the performance of the asymmetric front tire, and why it was the unanimous choice among the riders this year, and explains how the location of Phillip Island makes selecting the right rear tires a difficult task.
Australian MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Tuesday, October 20 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Extra-soft, Asymmetric & Soft; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Round sixteen of the 2015 MotoGP™ season was the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island Circuit, where Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez won one of the most exciting contests in years ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone who claimed the remaining rostrum positions.
The weather at Phillip Island was unusually stable over the race weekend with all sessions being declared dry, including Sunday’s race where the track temperature remained steady in the high thirty-degrees Celsius range. A new overall race time record was set by Marquez, beating the old mark by thirteen seconds and the reigning champion also managed to set the quickest lap time of the race, clocking a 1’29.280 on the very last lap.
Since Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari was arrested on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion earlier this year, the team's places in MotoGP have been in jeopardy. Yamaha immediately stopped its support for the team, meaning that Forward did not have bikes for the 2016 MotoGP season. After his release from arrest, and, according to his lawyer, the dropping of the charges of corruption, Cuzari was confident he would be allowed back on to the MotoGP grid, and was in talks with both Aprilia and Ducati for the supply of bikes. His fate, Cuzari told us at Misano, was in the hands of Carmelo Ezpeleta.
The head of Dorna appears to have decided that Forward Racing's future does not lie in the premier class, at least for the foreseeable future. Today, Forward Racing announced they will not be racing in MotoGP, but will be turning their focus towards the World Superbike championship. Forward will be working with MV Agusta to assist with their World Superbike and World Supersport efforts from 2016. Cuzari has been appointed Team Principal for the team, and given responsibility for MV Agusta's racing department.
Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the final round of World Superbikes at Qatar:
It was the race we had been waiting for. We knew it had to be coming, but each time we thought, "this will be the race!" the magic dissolved into thin air after a few laps, and the race settled into a rhythm. Not this time. From start to finish, four of the best motorcycle racers in the world – three of the best the world has ever seen, and one candidate to be elevated to that elect club – fought a close quarters battle for victory, spiced up with a dash of very serious consequences for the championship. No more runaway victories, no more cat and mouse, no more stalking until the final lap. It was all-out war, from the moment the lights went out all the way to the checkered flag.
There was a rather keen irony that this race should be such a thriller. At Brno, at Misano, at Motegi, so often, the barnstorming race we had expected based on practice and qualifying failed to materialize once the flag dropped. At Phillip Island, the question on everyone's minds after Saturday night was more like how large Marc Márquez' margin of victory would be, and whether the battle for second would last longer than a few laps. How very wrong we were, and how very happy would we be to have been proven so.
Jorge Lorenzo's worst fears were confirmed from the start. On Saturday, he had been furious about Andrea Iannone's using him as a target during qualifying, and stealing second place on the grid. Iannone got the drag to the line and took off like a scalded cat. Lorenzo followed, and before the first lap was halfway done, we got a taste of what was to come. Lorenzo cut underneath Iannone at the Hayshed in a brilliantly audacious move at an unusual place to pass. It would not be the last brave move. It would not even be the best. We were in for a treat.