Motorcycle racing paddocks have never been good at keeping secrets, but this year seems to be particularly bad. As predicted by MotoMatters.com on Thursday, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team have confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will be riding their MotoGP bike next year. Crutchlow and Tech 3 have agreed a two-year deal for 2011 and 2012, giving Crutchlow a chance to get accustomed to MotoGP machinery without the immediate pressure to perform. The switch back to 1000cc for 2012 should also make Crutchlow's job in his second year a little bit easier, the bikes expected to be a little more like the Sterilgarda Yamaha World Superbike he has raced this season.
Below is the press release from Tech 3:
Cal Crutchlow joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team
Summary to follow:
Tragedy has struck the motorcycle racing community for the second time in 8 days. Technomag CIP rider Shoya Tomizawa died in hospital of injuries sustained in a crash during the Moto2 race at Misano.
The crash happened on lap 12 of the 26 lap race. Tomizawa lost the rear while pushing hard through turn 11, falling in front of Alex de Angelis and Scott Redding. Neither rider could avoid the fallen Tomizawa, striking him hard at the fastest part of the track. Both men also fell, De Angelis escaping uninjured, while Redding suffered injuries to his hips. Because he was struck by two bikes, Tomizawa suffered blunt force trauma to the cranium, thorax and abdomen.
Tomizawa was taken straight from the track to the Hospital of Riccione, but the 19-year-old Japanese rider was suffering from severe cardiac instability, and Tomizawa eventually died of heart failure.
Another small piece of the puzzle slots into place in MotoGP's rider merry-go-round. The Pagina Amarillas Aspar Ducati team announced a contract extension with Hector Barbera, which will see the Spaniard return for another season on board the Aspar Ducati. The move had been widely expected, with Barbera living up to the expectations of the team.
It's been clear for some time now that Marco Melandri's career in MotoGP is over. The Italian shone brightly for a couple of years on the 990 MotoGP bikes, but his fortunes have faded since the switch to 800cc, and especially since his disastrous year on the Ducati in 2008. A return to the Gresini Honda team in 2010, the team that he scored his most famous victories with, could not turn Melandri's MotoGP career around, and the Italian is now headed for World Superbikes.
It had generally been expected that Melandri would be joining BMW's World Superbike squad for 2011, taking the place of the disappointing Ruben Xaus. But Italian site GPOne.com is reporting that Melandri will not be heading for the German manufacturer, but will instead take a seat in the Sterilgarda Yamaha squad. According to GPOne.com, Melandri's manager met with Lin Jarvis and Laurens Klein Koerkamp of Yamaha, and has agreed terms for 2011. An official announcement is expected to be made tomorrow after the World Superbike race at the Nurburgring in Germany.
After Andrea Dovizioso set the 2nd fastest time during FP1 at Misano behind his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, MotoMatters.com went along to find out just why the Hondas were so fast. As we were the only English-language publication present, we had Dovizioso to ourselves. Here's what he had to tell us:
MotoMatters: So, 2nd.
Andrea Dovizioso: Not bad!
MM: Not bad at all. The only bad point is that your 0.6 behind Dani.
AD: Yes, exactly. I'm really happy about the 2nd position and how we made the session. But sure, six tenths from Dani is not really a small gap, and we need to improve. I think there are a few reasons for this: First is because he's a little bit faster than us; second, is also a consequence of the victory in Indy; third, is also I think the setup of the bike. His position on the bike is different to mine, there's a big difference. And maybe in this track this can be better. But we have tomorrow to try to see if we are going in the right way and how much we can improve.