Press releases from the MotoGP and WorldSBK teams after the final day of the Misano private test:
Testing has concluded at the Misano private test, with a few changes to the riders present on Thursday. KTM skipped the final day, while a group of WorldSSP riders entered the fray.
Aleix Espargaro was the fastest rider on the final day, getting to within a couple of hundredths of Miguel Oliveira's best time from the day before, demonstrating the potential of the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP. Espargaro was happy with both the speed and the pace of the bike, though the reliability of the bike remains a question mark, which will only be removed once the racing begins. The Aprilias were the lone MotoGP bikes on track on Thursday.
Bradley Smith closed the gap to the front by half a second, the Englishman preparing to take the place of Andrea Iannone for the first races of 2020, while the Italian is waiting for his appeal against a doping ban to be heard.
It has been a busy couple of days at Misano, with the KTM and Aprilia MotoGP teams, and test teams from Suzuki and Ducati, joined by WorldSBK representatives from the KRT Kawasaki squad, and a small army of Ducati teams. The MotoGP and WorldSBK riders have been able to try out the new asphalt at Misano in the blistering heat of an Italian summer.
Miguel Oliviera is fastest after the first two days, the Red Bull Tech3 rider just a couple of tenths faster on Wednesday than Pol Espargaro had been on Tuesday. Oliveira's best time of 1'32.9 is two thirds of a second off Maverick Viñales' pole time set last September, two tenths off the outright race lap record set by Andrea Dovizioso in 2018, and 1.3 seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo's pole record from the same year.
World championship motorcycle racing takes another step back to the season returning at Misano. The next three days sees both MotoGP and WorldSBK teams testing at the Italian circuit, preparing for the resumption of hostilities at Jerez in July and August.
Present are the MotoGP teams of KTM and Aprilia, allowed extra testing due to their status as concessions teams. Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith are riding for Aprilia, the second test for the Italian factory. Espargaro was forced to miss the first test, unable to travel to Misano, and so waited for this test to get back on track, as he explained to Tammy Gorali in an interview a week ago. He joins Bradley Smith, promoted from test rider to permanent rider for 2020, to replace Andrea Iannone, still suspended after a positive doping test.
After last week's MotoGP calendar, this week sees the release of another schedule. Today, the FIM published the provisional calendar for the WorldSBK series for the rest of this year, and also announced some big changes to the schedule of the weekend.
It is a very provisional calendar. Six rounds are confirmed - insofar as anything can be confirmed during the pandemic, as they are subject to cancellation or change should governments impose new restrictions - with four rounds in Spain, one in Portugal, and one in France. Two rounds are still subject to confirmation, at San Juan Villicum in Argentina, and at Misano in Italy.
After today's announcement of a MotoGP calendar for the remainder of 2020, Dorna and the FIM today also announced a schedule for the MotoE World Cup. The electric bike racing series, which sees a grid full of riders on Energica Ego Corsa machines competing at MotoGP rounds, will compete in seven races at three of the scheduled MotoGP rounds.
The MotoE series kicks off alongside the rest of the MotoGP paddock at Jerez, with races on the Sunday of the first two rounds of the season. They rejoin MotoGP at Misano in September, with one race at the first round in Misano, and two races, on the Saturday and Sunday of the second round. MotoE finishes at Le Mans, with another two races, one on Saturday, one on Sunday.
As with the MotoGP calendar, this schedule is provisional, and dependent on national and local governments allowing events to go ahead.
The calendar appears below:
There is a plan for the 2020 MotoGP season. With the COVID-19 outbreak receding all across Europe, Dorna have been given a second chance at setting a calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season.The newly published calendar will see 13 races held at circuits in Europe in the first instance, with the possibility of four overseas races being tacked on at the end of the year, if conditions permit. The calendar is explictly still provisional, subject to local rules and regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
The races will be held at 8 different circuits in 6 countries, with a number of circuits hosting races on two consecutive weekends, to maximize the number of rounds held, and minimize logistical complications. The races planned in Europe will all be held behind closed doors, with no fans or media present, and a very restricted number of paddock staff present.
The next wave of rolling race postponements due to the current COVID-19 pandemic has hit. Today, the FIM announced that the next three rounds of WorldSBK, at Imola, Aragon, and Misano, have been either moved or canceled. The WorldSBK grid is now due to assemble again at the UK round of WorldSBK, at Donington Park, from 3-5 July.
That the rounds in Italy and Spain should be affected is hardly a surprise. Although recent trends in infections and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak are looking positive for both countries, they are both still a long way from a return to normality. With the Imola and Misano rounds to be held in the middle of some of the hardest hit regions in Italy, they were unlikely to go ahead as planned.
The ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has forced yet another change to the MotoGP calendar for 2020. Due to the restrictions on movement imposed in Italy, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the US round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has been postponed until November.
The MotoGP paddock will gather in Austin on November 15th, instead of April 5th. November 15th was originally the date planned for the final round of MotoGP in Valencia, but to make way for Austin, Valencia has been pushed back a week, and will now be held on the weekend of November 22nd.
That means that as of today, March 10th, the MotoGP class will kick off their season at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on April 19th, with the paddock returning to Europe two weeks later for Jerez.
As one more championship in WorldSBK has now run its enormously unexpected final course, the off-season gives us time for both reflection and plotting a path forward.
OK, that’s the reflection over, what about 2020 and beyond?
The WorldSBK series does not quite restart its new season preparations just two days after the old season, as it does in MotoGP. In those terms it took a bit over two weeks to get WorldSBK bedded in again, but most teams are already getting into 2020 mode after two days of tests at Motorland Aragon.