Press releases after the three-day test at Jerez for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Moto2 times from the last day of testing
Improving weather saw lap times drop at Jerez, allowing lap records to fall in both Moto2 and Moto3 classes. In Moto2, it was Sam Lowes setting the pace, the Speed Up rider knocking four tenths of a second off Mika Kallio's pole record. Lowes spent most of the day using the carbon fiber swing arm the team used last year, with the aluminum swing arm still to be tried. The aluminum item is believed to be the better of the two, offering more improvement to come when the team gets a chance to try it out.
Behind Lowes, several riders made some big steps forward. Luis Salom finally beat his rookie teammate, ending the day in 2nd just a tenth behind Lowes. Johann Zarco remains fast, ending up 3rd and ahead of reigning Moto2 champion Tito Rabat, while Axel Pons had a good day to end 5th. Three tenths separated the top five, offering prospects of a very competitve season in 2015. Revelation of yesterday Alex Rins had a steadier day today, dropping down the order to finish 9th, while Alex Marquez showed good improvement, jumping up to 12th place, a second off the pace of Lowes, and just behind Mika Kallio. The battle between the two Alexes promises to be just as good as it was in Moto3.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of testing at Jerez:
The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2015, updated on 11th February, when Silverstone was confirmed as replacing Donington:
The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.
The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.
The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.
2015 WSBK Calendar update
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2015 calendar, 11 February
After a major highside at the start of the Jerez test, in which Sylvain Guintoli landed on his head and shoulder, straining his neck and bruising his shoulder, the Pata Honda rider was forced to miss the remainder of the test. Pata Honda have now issued the following press release, updating the reigning world champion's condition:
Sylvain Guintoli – injury update
Following his crash at turn one at Jerez in Spain on Monday 26 January at the start of a pre-season test, Pata Honda rider Sylvain Guintoli chose to return to the UK for complete assessment of his injuries.
Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 January) the reigning World Superbike champion underwent an MRI scan on his neck and back and had a further X-ray on his right ankle.
Despite severe bruising and some discomfort, it was confirmed that Guintoli sustained no fractures and the 32-year-old has begun his rehabilitation with physiotherapy and the use of a hyperbaric chamber.
“The back is still quite painful,” said Guintoli, “but I can put some pressure on the ankle and I’m happy that there are no breaks. The treatment has started and although it will take a while to settle down, I’m confident about being fit and ready to start the season at Phillip Island next month.”
Several World Superbike teams issued press releases after the last test in Europe at Jerez. The press release appear below:
Rather perversely, a lot of the talk at the World Superbike test at Jerez has not been about World Superbikes at all. Which is a shame, as the 2015 World Superbike championship promises to be particularly fascinating, with testing times very close indeed.
Instead, there was a real kerfuffle about the slowest bike on the track, the one being ridden by Kenny Noyes and Dominique Aegerter. The cause of the fuss? The fact that it was a Kawasaki, a further development of the Open class bike raced by the Avintia Racing team in MotoGP last year, has generated a mountain of speculation that Team Green is preparing a comeback to MotoGP, bringing all four major Japanese factories back into the premier class.
The truth was a good deal more prosaic. As Gilles Bigot, the crew chief working on the project, told Spanish website Motocuatro, this was a private project of engine tuner Akira, who has been involved in engine preparation for Kawasaki's previous MotoGP effort and their World Superbike engines. The company were also behind the development of the Open class bikes used by the Avintia MotoGP team in 2014, and the engines for the FTR bikes which preceded them in 2013. Not wanting to allow two years' work to go to waste, Akira is continuing to develop the bike, looking to learn where there is room for development.
Davide Giugliano has topped the second and final day of the Jerez World Superbike test, the Aruba Ducati rider leading a frantic charge at the end of the day as the riders slipped on qualifying tires to set a fast time. Giugliano ended the day a third of a second quicker than Kawasaki's Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, and seven tenths faster than his teammate Chaz Davies.
Giugliano was quick to head the timesheets, posting a fast lap very early on in the session, but he followed that up with a huge crash, which damaged his bike and left him stuck in the garage while it was repaired. Sykes, Rea, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes were all fast during the day, found themselves knocked out of the top slots as the qualifiers went on, but regained those slots once they took their turn on soft rubber.
Despite the new technical rules for 2015, the new bikes are faster than they were last year. Giugliano took nearly a second off the pole record set by Loris Baz in September last year, and several riders were lapping consistently under Tom Sykes' race lap record on both days of the test. Less power may have made the bikes a little easier to ride, which can be an advantage at a tighter track like Jerez. Giugliano was faster round Jerez on qualifying tires than Marc Marquez was during the race on a Honda RC213V.
2015 Jerez World Superbike Test, Day 1 Times - Rea Fastest, Guintoli Crashes, Kawasaki MotoGP Bike Confuses
The weather gods have finally decided to smile on the World Superbike paddock. At Jerez, the teams were greeted by sunny and dry weather, and decent temperatures, allowing them to catch up on some of the work they had missed out on at Portimao and Aragon.
Fastest man on the day was Jonathan Rea, the Ulsterman quickly up to speed on his new Kawasaki, and topping the timesheets for most of the day. His Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes was less than a tenth behind, and had held on to 2nd spot for most of the day, only being deposed by Alex Lowes near the end of the session, when the Crescent Suzuki rider put in a very fast lap to take 2nd, demoting Sykes to 3rd. The two Ducatis followed, David Giugliano just ahead of teammate Chaz Davies, though the gap between the two is small. The Ducatis are close behind the Kawasakis and Lowes, just two tenths covering the top five friders.
Sylvain Barrier put the BMW into 6th slot, just ahead of Randy De Puniet on the second Suzuki and Michael van der Mark on the Pata Honda. Newcomer Jordi Torres was 9th quickest, and the last rider within a second of Rea, the Red Devils Roma Aprilia rider making the transition from Moto2 to World Superbikes, while Matteo Baiocco rounded out the top 10 on an Althea Ducati.
What is the difference between winning in Moto3 and finishing at the back? The glib answer is "about 50 seconds", but there must be an explanation for that gap. It is a question which many have pondered, and to which there are few easy answers. Clearly, there is a difference in equipment, level of ability, and the ability of the team to get the set up right. But is there anything we can identify directly?
The one factor which we might be able to see in the lap times is the effect of hard work. Motorcycle racing is (paradoxically) a physically demanding sport, and physical fitness is one factor which a rider has in their own hands. Training, and dedication to training, could be a factor which makes a difference. It may not be the difference between first and last, but it could well be the difference between finishing in the points and finishing at the very tail end of the field.
If fitness is a significant factor, then it should be visible in the lap times. As the race goes on, the less fit riders should get slower, while the fitter riders manage to maintain the same pace. That should be most clearly visible between the riders who finish at the front, and the riders who finish at the back. (For a fuller explanation of this hypothesis, see below.)
This is not an idea I came up with on my own. Motorcycle racers are obsessed with fitness and hard work, though some work harder than others. In various conversations with riders and team staff, especially in Moto2 and Moto3, the issue of fitness was one which cropped up surprisingly often. Managers and engineers would frequently criticize riders who they felt were not doing enough to work on their fitness. Clearly, they believe it is a factor.
With preseason testing for the World Superbike teams kicking off in Spain and Portugual, the Crescent Suzuki team issued the following press release:
Crescent Suzuki heads to Southern Europe for pre-season tests
Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team begins its Championship preparations in earnest this week with two back-to-back tests scheduled in the Iberian Peninsula before the opening round of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship in little over a month’s time.
Randy de Puniet and Alex Lowes’ first port-of-call for the two-day tests aboard their Yoshimura-powered GSX-Rs is Portugal’s 4,592m Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Located 20km to the north-west of Portimao, the circuit is a favourite of Lowes - after his impressive rookie performances in last season’s January tests and July races. De Puniet, having yet to experience ‘the rollercoaster’ layout despite his 15-year top-flight career, is eager to acquaint himself with the Portuguese track while gaining more all-important time on his new Suzuki Superbike.
Though tracks around the world have fallen silent over the winter break, testing is due to resume shortly. From mid-January, the World Superbike teams will resume their preparations for the 2015 season at circuits in Spain and Portugal. Testing starts at Portimao, where the Pata Honda team will be the first to hit the track on 14th January. The team then moves to the Motorland Aragon circuit near Alcañiz, where they will be joined by Kawasaki and Grillini, before the action moves back to Portimao for a test including Ducati, BMW Italian, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Althea Ducati and EBR.
After Portimao, the teams head east to Jerez, where from 26th January the circuit will see Ducati, Red Devils, MV Agusta, BMW Italia, Honda, Suzuki, Althea Ducati and EBR joined by the Kawasaki World Supersport team and Ducati's MotoGP test team. A day later, the Kawasaki World Superbike squad will take to the track. From then, they pack up ready to fly the teams and equipment to the Southern Hemisphere, ready for the start of the season at Phillip Island. Testing for the MotoGP class resumes on 4th February at Sepang.
Full private testing schedule for the World Superbike class, as announced so far: