Jerez, Spain

2017 MotoGP Calendar Now Confirmed

The 2017 MotoGP calendar is now officially confirmed. The FIM removed the provisional status of the calendar after Dorna finalized contracts with the two remaining circuits still left with an asterisk, Silverstone and Sepang.

The situation with Sepang had been settled earlier, with Sepang keen to retain a MotoGP race for the long term. Sepang has grown to become one of the best-attended races on the calendar. So large are the crowds that they now easily outnumber attendance for F1, which the circuit is trying to drop.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How MotoGP engine-braking control works

High-performance MotoGP engines create a lot of negative torque on the overrun. It is the EBC’s job to control how much gets to the rear wheel

If you’ve been into MotoGP since the early days of 990cc four-strokes you will surely remember watching in delight as a rider braked hard with the rear wheel slewing this way and that, before flopping the bike into a corner.

These were the infant days of engine-braking control (EBC), when the hardware and software weren’t clever enough to reduce negative torque on the overrun, so the engine locked the rear wheel. The riders were left to cope with the consequences as best they could.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How MotoGP traction control works

It’s one of the great mysteries of modern racing: how does traction control work? We tell you how, with a little help from MotoGP electronics providers Magneti Marelli

Until last season the workings of MotoGP rider aids were unknown because the factories kept them a closely guarded secret. But the introduction of control software for the 2016 MotoGP championship changed all that.

Last summer all I had to do was walk into the Magneti Marelli truck and ask to see some data traces that would help me understand how MotoGP traction control, wheelie control, engine-braking control and launch control do their jobs. Vicente Pechuan-Vilar and Maurizio Scrignari at Magneti Marelli were only too happy to help, although they may have changed their minds when I took up hours of their time asking one stupid question after another.

Jerez Test Analysis: Would Jonathan Rea Really Beat The MotoGP Riders On His WorldSBK Kawasaki?

In a typically robust column written at the end of last week, David Miller, editor of Bikesportnews.com, suggested that the time which double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea had set on Thursday at the combined WorldSBK and MotoGP test at Jerez had made the MotoGP bikes look a bit silly. Rea had ended the day as the fastest rider on the day, setting a time of 1'38.721, nearly a quarter of a second faster than Alvaro Bautista, who was riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 at the track.

Rea had set the time on a modified version of a road bike, costing something in the region of €300,000, beating the satellite Ducatis (estimated lease price, just shy of €2 million), satellite Hondas (official lease price €2 million, actual cost to lease about 50% higher than that), and the factory Suzuki, KTM and Desmosedici GP17 ("I'm sorry sir, you'll have to put your checkbook away, this one isn't for sale").

Miller draws a number of conclusions from this, some sound, some based more on hyperbole than reality. The claim that MotoGP is no longer a prototype series is unfounded. MotoGP bikes (and their predecessors, the 500cc two strokes and four strokes from whence they came) have never been prototypes, as Grand Prix racing was hobbled by rules from the birth of the series in 1949. The ban on forced induction, imposed in the 1930s when the excess of horsepower made possible by supercharging far outweighed contemporary braking technology, was left in place.

Interview: Marco Melandri On His Return To World Superbikes

The return of Marco Melandri to WorldSBK in 2017 has been one of the biggest talking points in the series over the last few months. The Italian has won 19 races from 100 starts in the championship, and as a former 250GP world champion and 22 times Grand Prix winner his credentials are highly impressive.

The last two years have been a blot on his copybook however. Having enjoyed an exceptionally strong finish to the 2014 WorldSBK season Melandri looked well placed to finally win a second world title. Winning six races and finishing fourth in the standings looked to be a perfect springboard for a title run the following year.

Aprilia had other ideas, however, and with Melandri forced to race in MotoGP the relationship turned sour. The then 32 year old walked out of MotoGP and out of racing mid-season. In a forced retirement Melandri has had to keep busy and while he felt that he could still race at the front he sought other challenges including opening a shop with his sister.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

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