|Pos.||No.||Rider||Manufacturer||Fast Lap||Diff||Diff Previous|
For the past few years, Suzuki has been using the slogan "Own The Racetrack" to market its legendary and long-running GSX-R sports bikes line. Of course, when they use the phrase "own the racetrack" they mean it in a metaphorical sense, of being the best bike out on the circuit, rather than the literal sense of actually paying money to own and operate a racing facility for your own personal use.
A year on, and the more that things change, the more they stay the same, at least in MotoGP land. Paolo Scalera is reporting that once again, Dorna are threatening to impose a single tire rule at a meeting to be held at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
The problem, according to Dorna, is one of safety. The competition between Bridgestone and Michelin has reached such a peak that corner speeds are increasing almost month by month, and with them, the speeds at which riders are crashing. The only way to reduce corner speeds, or at least stop them from increasing, is to put an end to the competition between tire brands.
The general assumption is that any single tire contract will be awarded to Bridgestone, but Ezpeleta denied this. The contract to supply tires for the series will be opened up for general bidding, with the main stipulation being that all teams will have access to the same tires, and tires will be supplied to the teams for free.
But much to the dismay of Bridgestone's current crop of riders, Bridgestone have repeatedly stated that they have no real interest in being the single supplier for MotoGP. The Japanese tire maker see little advantage in producing tires in a series with no competition, and one which would cost them significantly more money without aiding tire development. Michelin would be the obvious candidate for the role, having currently been forced out of most other motorcycle racing series by the imposition of a single tire rule there.
As expected, the Chinese round of MotoGP at Shanghai is off the calendar, and as predicted earlier this week, the Hungarian Grand Prix will take place in late summer. But the calendar has a lot of significant shakeups: Motegi moves from late September to the spring, June is a lot less busy, with only 2 lots of back-to-back races in 2009, rather than three pairs which we saw this year. The British Grand Prix moves from June to late July, and Estoril switches back to October.
|May 17th||France||Le Mans|
|July 5th***||United States||Laguna Seca|
|July 26th||Great Britain||Donington Park|
|August 16th||Czech Republic||Brno|
|September 6th||San Marino & Riviera di Rimini||Misano|
|October 18th||Australia||Phillip Island|
|November 8th||Valencia||Ricardo Tormo - Valencia|
* Evening race
** Saturday race
*** Only MotoGP class
This will likely appear to be a paid commercial for a video game. Sorry for that, but I assure you, it isn't. Rather, I beg your indulgence to consider one of the best ways to keep your mind racing while the sport is on its long hiatus. As I sit to write this, the game is at least a year-and-a-half old, and it was probably considered outdated when I started playing it just under a year ago. I insist that you trust me: this is much more than simply a video game with which you can avoid reality and otherwise escape being productive.
Tourist Trophy was a product developed, in conjunction with the last generation of Gran Turismo for the PlayStation 2 platform. GT4, like its predecessors, was the best vehicle dynamics simulation available (prior to PS3 and GT5) without a race team contract or a manufacturer's super-computer. This point alone, could be labored over for an entire column, and certainly has been elsewhere, so I will not do that here. Suffice to say, Tourist Trophy picks up in the GT4 world with a physical model for motorcycles that hasn't existed anywhere in the public. Said another way: to be any good at this, you must actually know how to ride and race at a rather cerebral level.
If you are already familiar with Gran Turismo, then I don't have to sell you any more than this. Better yet, if you are familiar with GT4, then you are already prepared for much of the circuits you will see in Tourist Trophy. And, if you are already a veteran - or even a novice - of TT, please read on and consider if there isn't more to do.
Three weekends. Three races. Three winners. The story of the flyaway races seems simple, put like that. But like so many simple tales, this does the story no justice: There is so much more to tell.
It all started at Sepang on Friday. From the start, Loris Capirossi seemed set to continue the dominance he had shown in Brno and impose his will at Malaysia, as he had done the previous year. The only person who looked capable of getting close was Dani Pedrosa. But then, during the second qualifying practice, Pedrosa suffered what looked at first a fairly innocent fall, catching his knee on the curbstones, and sliding off into the gravel. But it transpired that in catching his knee, he had badly gashed it, and broken his toe to boot. His injuries were so serious that there was some doubt that he would be able to make the race, dealing his title aspirations a severe blow.
The Power Of Numbers
Numerologists, and others who seek deeper meaning in numbers, of which there are many inside the MotoGP paddock, will be delighted this weekend. For, after a 3 week break, MotoGP returns for 3 races in 3 weekends, traveling 9000 miles to do so, in a series of races spread around the Pacific, calling at Sepang in Malaysia, Phillip Island in Australia, and Motegi in Japan.