Estoril, Portugal

Subscriber Feature: 2006 vs 2016 - Did Mugello Cost Rossi The 2016 Title?

In two races, Valentino Rossi has cut his deficit to Marc Márquez by 35 points. He now trails the Repsol Honda rider by 42 points. All of a sudden, Márquez' lead in the championship looks a good deal less dominant, despite the Spaniard already having wrapped up the 2016 title at Motegi. Márquez' crashes at Phillip Island and Sepang have kicked off a whirlwind of "what ifs" among Valentino Rossi fans. The elusive tenth title suddenly seems a good deal closer than it was four or five races ago.

The one "what if" on the tip of fans' lips is the engine blow up at Mugello. The two Movistar Yamahas had a small but comfortable gap over Marc Márquez, and Rossi was clearly stalking Jorge Lorenzo. It was a matter of when, not if Rossi would pass his teammate. But on lap 8, Rossi's engine let go, just as Lorenzo's had in the morning. He was out of the race, and went from trailing Márquez by 7 points to being 27 points behind the Spaniard. Had Rossi won at Mugello, he would have gained 29 over Márquez (25 for the win, plus the 4-point differential between second and third for Márquez). That would have given the 2016 title a very different aspect.

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Monza Round of World Superbikes Canceled, Estoril as Replacement?

The Monza round of World Superbikes has been canceled. The rumors that Monza would be taken off the calendar have been circulating since early February, but the cancellation was only officially confirmed today. Unofficially, the circuit has known longer: last week, the circuit replied to an email from a MotoMatters.com reader that the race would not be going ahead, and he would not be able to purchase tickets for the event on 22nd-24th July.

The reason the circuit has lost the WSBK round is because the track could not obtain FIM homolgation in time. Discussion is ongoing over exactly how the circuit needs to change to allow motorcycles to race there safely, but a satisfactory solution is yet to be agreed upon. In their statement, Dorna made it clear that they had hoped that some agreement could be reached, and that Monza could once again make its return to the WSBK calendar.

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Mike Webb On Cheating In Moto2: "If Anyone Is Cheating, They're Not Very Good At It"

Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn't prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.

The finger of blame is inevitably pointed at the most successful riders, and in recent months, it has been pointed mainly at Catalunya CX rider Marc Marquez. Marquez has a number of strikes against him, making him a popular target for rumors of cheating; firstly, Marquez is Spanish, and as Moto2 is a Spanish-run series, the non-Spanish teams are all fervently convinced that Spanish teams are not monitored as closely as they are. Secondly, Marquez has the backing of Repsol, one of the more powerful sponsors in the paddock, exerting influence not just over Marquez' Monlau Competicion team, but also over the much more important factory Repsol Honda team; the power of Repsol, the gossips suggest, exerts undue influence on the policing process. Thirdly, and most obviously, Marquez is fast, almost suspiciously so. The Spaniard's bike is always one of the fastest through the speed traps, and accelerates hardest off the corners. His team put it down to hard work at finding exactly the right set up for Marquez to excel. One of the lighter Moto2 riders on a well-prepared bike, ridden by a fast and talented rider? That, Marquez' supporters argue, is reason enough for him to be fastest.

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Colin Edwards: Collarbone Surgery Successful, Le Mans Replacement To Be Announced Wednesday

Colin Edwards has successfully undergone surgery to fix the collarbone he broke at Estoril. The NGM Forward Racing rider had a titanium plate inserted by Dr Javier Mir in Barcelona, to fix the left collarbone he fractured during practice in Portugal. The surgery has been ajudged a success, and the Texan will now undergo a period of recovery.

In consultation with the team and his doctors, Edwards has decided to skip the next race in 12 days time at Le Mans. The team has elected to field a replacement rider, and are in talks with a number of candidates. The chosen replacement is to be announced on Wednesday.

Below are the press releases on the subject from the team:


Successful surgery for Colin Edwards

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Estoril Post-Race MotoGP Test Canceled Due To Severe Weather Conditions

After three days of improving weather, the rain returned to Estoril with a vengeance, falling heavily all Sunday night and throughout the morning on Monday. Conditions at the circuit were simply too difficult to do any testing at all, and so the MotoGP test scheduled for Monday was officially canceled, sending the teams packing up early, a thankless task in the pouring rain.

The loss of the test is a blow to all three factories, as they all had important new parts to test at Estoril. For Honda, the main emphasis is to try to cure the chatter that has plagued the bikes since they first tested their 1000cc bike. Yamaha had a  new engine spec to test, along with new electronics and a new chassis. For Ducati, they had a new engine to test, with a significantly changed power delivery, making it smoother and less aggressive. The factories all really need a dry track to test what they have and produce useful data. 

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