Sepang, Malaysia

Suzuki Press Release: Viñales Tests Seamless Gearbox, 2016 Electronics At Sepang

The Suzuki MotoGP squad held a two-day private test at Sepang on Monday and Tuesday. At the test, Maverick Viñales tested a seamless gearbox and the 2016 electronics, as well as continuing to work with the Michelin tires. Aleix Espargaro was absent from the test, having suffered a back injury in a training accident a few days ago. 

Suzuki issued the following press release after the test:


Team Suzuki Press Office – November 24.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has completed a successful private test session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia today, where Maverick Viñales and the test team debuted Suzuki’s new seamless gearbox on the GSX-RR.

Viñales was supported in the two-day test by Takuya Tsuda and Nobuatsu Aoki, who ran many laps to supply Suzuki’s R&D department in Japan with useful information and data before the winter break.

Unfortunately, Aleix Espargaró couldn’t join in because of the injury he suffered recently while training that caused him a flexion fracture to a vertebrae and required a two-to-three-week lay-off.


Aleix Espargaro Injures Back, Will Miss Private Sepang MotoGP Test

Aleix Espargaro has fractured a vertebra in a training accident. The factory Suzuki rider was out training on an off road bike, when he landed heavily from a jump, and felt pain in his back. He was taken to hospital, where an MRI scan revealed a flexion fracture of the vertebra, forcing him to miss the Sepang test planned for next week.

The injury suffered by Espargaro should not see him out of action for long. The Spaniard was discharged from hospital on Friday morning, and will now have to rest for a two to three week period to allow him to recover. No further complications were found when he was examined, and rest and physiotherapy should see him make a quick and full recover.

Espargaro's injury does mean that he will miss out on his first chance to try the new spec, or unified software to be used in MotoGP for 2016. At the Valencia test, both Espargaro and Viñales concentrated on learning to use the new Michelin tires, with their first run on the unified software scheduled for a private test at Sepang next week. Now, only Viñales will test it, along with Suzuki's test riders Takuya Tsuda and Nobu Aoki.

The press release from Suzuki appears below:


Team Suzuki Press Office – November 20.

2016 World Superbikes Provisional Calendar Released: 14 Rounds, Monza Returns

The FIM today released the provisional 2016 calendar for the World Superbike championship. There is good news and bad news in the calendar, with Portimao disappearing from the calendar, but Monza making a welcome return. World Superbikes will also be returning to Germany, with the entire circus turning up to the Lausitzring, just north of Dresden. The best news is that there are no direct clashes with MotoGP, but WSBK will be running on the same date as F1 for nine rounds, though only the Donington and Monza rounds happen in the same timezone. Given the different time schedules for F1 and WSBK, bike racing fans should not have to miss any of the action.

The Lausitzring was not the only option considered when WSBK looked at returning to Germany. The series was also in talks with the Sachsenring, as the MotoGP round is immensely popular there. In the end, Lausitz was chosen, WSBK having raced there previously from 2005 to 2007.

CAS Rejects Request By Lorenzo To Be A Party To Rossi's Appeal Case

One decision has come early in the hearing before Court of Arbitration for Sport on Valentino Rossi's appeal against his penalty at Sepang. Today, the CAS announced that it had rejected a request for intervention by lawyers representing Jorge Lorenzo. With that request rejected, the case will now be solely between Valentino Rossi and the FIM. The outcome of the preliminary hearing to suspend the penalty issued against Rossi will be made public by Friday, 6th November at the latest.

Lorenzo made a request to intervene in the proceedings under rule R41.3 of the CAS procedural rules. Lorenzo did so as a third party having a material interest in the outcome of Rossi's appeal, and more especially, his request for a stay of the penalty he had been given. Rossi appealed to the CAS in the hope of getting the three-point penalty imposed on him at Sepang suspended, so that he will not be forced to start from the back of the grid, and give him a better chance of defending his championshp lead. Lorenzo requested to intervene in that appeal as he has an interest in Rossi starting from the back of the grid, to give him the best chance of winning the championship at Valencia. The fierce battle the two men have fought out on track during the year has been extended into the courts.

Movistar Yamaha Press Release: Official Statement On The Sepang Incident

In response to Honda's press release issued on Monday, Yamaha today issued the following press release on the incidents at Sepang:

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Official Statement

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 3rd November 2015

We refer to the press release issued by Repsol Media Service on Sunday 25th October 2015, titled “Pedrosa wins and Marquez crashes after unsportsmanlike kick from Rossi”, as well as the press release issued by Honda Racing Corporation on Monday 2nd November, titled “Q&A with Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President”.

Yamaha would like to express its disagreement with the words that have been used to report on the incident between riders Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.

Both press releases included words that accuse Valentino Rossi of kicking Marc Marquez‘s bike that is something not proven by the investigation of the Race Direction.

We therefore reject the wording used in the said published statements that do not correspond with the findings of the Race Direction.

Yamaha has no wish to enter into further discussion regarding this unfortunate affair and our desire is to conclude the 2015 MotoGP season in the best possible way.


Editor's Blog: MotoGP's Descent Into Madness, And How To Get Out Again

If what happened on lap seven at Sepang was bad for MotoGP, the events which have followed have made it infinitely worse. Rossi's single act of frustration has unleashed a tidal wave of insanity which has battered MotoGP, washing away the good and leaving it battered and stained. And every time you think it has finished, yet more madness emerges to engulf the sport, dragging it further down into the depths. It is a hard time to be a fan of the most exhilarating sport on the planet.

The incident itself was ugly, but it can hardly have come as a surprise. When Valentino Rossi launched his surprise attack on Marc Márquez in the press conference, accusing the Spaniard of trying to prevent him from becoming champion, a reaction from Márquez was inevitable. These are the two biggest egos in the MotoGP paddock, and with some justification. Rossi is the legend who both raised the profile of the sport and has dominated the sport for longer than any other rider in history. Márquez is the prodigy who set about smashing the record books on his entry into MotoGP, and is the man set to usurp Rossi's place in the history books. Neither man is willing to step aside, both feel they are deserving of exceptional respect.

So two angry men took to the track on Sunday, and inevitably, once their paths crossed, bad things happened. Márquez, apparently furious at being attacked on Thursday, raced Rossi as if it was the last lap of the race and the title depended on it. Rossi, unable to beat Márquez outright, lost his cool and ran the Spaniard wide and caused him to crash. It seemed like the lowest point in MotoGP for a very long time, but much worse was to come.

2016 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Updated - Four Races Changed, Silverstone Moves To September

The FIM have released another provisional calendar for the MotoGP series, in response to yet another shake up of the F1 calendar by Bernie Ecclestone. With F1 and MotoGP having an informal agreement not to have their dates clash, and with MotoGP losing out in terms of TV audience whenever they do, the MotoGP calendar released in September had too many conflicts with F1.

As a result of those clashes, four races have now been moved to different dates. The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring has been shifted back a week to 17th July. Silverstone, scheduled to be held on the 17th, has been moved to the 4th September. The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang has been moved from the start to the end of the Asia-Pacific triple header, and will now be run on 20th October. That shift means that the Valencia race has been pushed back a week, to 13th November.

HRC Press Release: Shuhei Nakamoto On Sepang Clash, Confirms Brake Spike In Telemetry

In the ongoing controversy surrounding the incident between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi at Sepang, Honda Racing Corporation have found it necessary to issue the following press release, in which HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto gives Honda's side of the events.

Q&A with Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President

“First of all, we would like to state that we believe it is very important to speak about the facts, not about assumptions. A fact is a fact and there is only one interpretation. Assumptions can be translated in different ways, depending on which side you are. For the good of our sport, we would like everybody to just consider the facts that occurred and these are clearly the following:

– Marc Marquez won the Australian GP, overtaking Jorge Lorenzo on the last lap, and therefore taking away 5 points from him in the Championship.

– On Thursday prior to the Malaysian GP in the Pre-Event Press Conference, Valentino Rossi accused Marc of racing against him in Phillip Island to help Jorge Lorenzo.

– In the Malaysian GP, Rossi intentionally pushed Marc out of the racing line which caused him to crash. Race Direction gave him a penalty for this action, confirmed by FIM.

Round Number: 

Valentino Rossi Appeals Sepang Penalty To CAS, Asks For Suspension Of Penalty At Valencia

Valentino Rossi has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the penalty imposed upon him at Sepang for his role in the incident between Marc Marquez and himself. Rossi has asked the CAS to issue a stay of the penalty, effectively suspending it until the full case can be heard before the court. A ruling on the stay is to be issued by 6th November.

The penalty was imposed on Rossi after he and Marquez collided on lap seven of the Sepang round of MotoGP, causing Marquez to crash. At the time, Race Direction ruled that Rossi was to blame for the crash, and imposed three penalty points on Rossi. That brought his points total to four, meaning that he must start at Valencia from the back of the grid, regardless of the position he obtains in qualifying. Rossi immediately appealed against the penalty to the FIM Stewards, who sit in judgment at every MotoGP round to rule on Race Direction penalties.

With the Race Stewards upholding the Race Direction penalty, Rossi could no longer take his appeal any further within the FIM. However, he did have the possibility to take the case to the CAS, which rules on conflicts between interested parties (usually athletes) and the international federations and governing bodies of sports. Rossi had five days to submit an appeal, deciding to go ahead with the appeal on final day.

Bridgestone Press Release: Masao Azuma On Coping With The Heat At Bridgestone

After a tempestuous Sepang round of MotoGP, Bridgestone issued their customary post-race press release on how their tires held up at Sepang. In this issue, Masao Azuma describes coping with tropical conditions at Sepang, and explains the difference in performance between the race and the test back in February.

Malaysian MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Tuesday, October 27 2015

Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)

Last Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was the penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP™ season and was won by Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa ahead of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi who finished in second and third place respectively.

Round Number: 

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The Sepang incident is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

The Sepang incident

I wish Hunter S Thompson was still alive for many reasons. I particularly wish he had been at Sepang, because no other writer could have written better about MotoGP’s weirdest weekend.

Thompson’s most famous novel – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – had his alter-ego Raoul Duke covering the Mint 400 motorcycle race outside Las Vegas. Thompson also did newspaper work, covering the Watergate hearings that led to the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency.

On the Watergate job the gun-toting acid casualty spent most of his time in the hotel swimming pool, doing lengths and occasionally stopping at one end, where he had placed a portable TV and a bottle of bourbon. The hearings were broadcast live, so whenever the coverage suggested things were about to get interesting, Thompson made his way over the road to the courtroom and took his reserved seat, no doubt scaring colleagues with his fumy breath.

What would Hunter have made of Sepang? The weekend had everything that got him excited: speed, paranoia, a fight and explosions (at up to 16,000 a minute).

2015 Sepang MotoGP Round Up: Heroes Who Have Feet Of Clay

Seven days ago, we were talking about how the 2015 MotoGP season will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time, with the Australian Grand Prix as its glittering highlight. A week later, we saw its low point. There were some truly remarkable and admirable performances in all three classes. Dani Pedrosa confirmed his return to form with a formidable victory, his second of the season. The arm pump surgery has been a huge success, and if Honda can resist the temptation to build an unrideably powerful engine, Pedrosa will be back in title contention again next year. Johann Zarco proved once again he is the class of the Moto2 field, stalking Tom Luthi all race and riding to the very limit of physical endurance to snatch victory from what seemed like a foregone conclusion. And Miguel Oliveira demonstrated that he is capable of dominating the second half of the Moto3 season the way that Danny Kent dominated the first half, denying the Englishman the title and taking the championship to Valencia.

The trouble is, those stunning performances were overshadowed by one of the ugliest weekends of racing we have seen in a very long time. The tragedy may not have been physical this time, but it was tragic nonetheless. Three great champions let their masks slip at Sepang, revealing the egotism, spitefulness and petty rivalries that underly their success. And the fans added insult to injury, booing at a result they did not like.

So we shall skip past the victory by Dani Pedrosa, failing to shower him with the praise which he deserves. We shall overlook the stunning ride by Jorge Lorenzo, passing riders at will and subduing everyone but Dani Pedrosa. Instead, we must focus on the battle for third, the clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez. On the breathtaking battle that went sour, after Rossi finally lost his cool at Márquez' provocation and unwillingness to surrender, and precipitated Márquez' crash.

Valentino Rossi Given Three Penalty Points For Marquez Clash - Will Start From Back Of Grid At Valencia

Valentino Rossi has been given three penalty points for his clash with Marc Marquez during the MotoGP race at Sepang. The pair tussled after Jorge Lorenzo passed Marquez for second place early in the race, but Marquez put up a much stiffer battle against Rossi. The pair swapped places starting on lap three, the battle getting tougher as the race went on. Marquez did everything in his power to stay ahead of Rossi and slow him up - well outside the spirit of the rules, but still inside the letter of the rules - treating the spectators to fifteen passes in just a couple of laps, culminating in nine passes in just a single lap. Rossi grew increasingly frustrated, and in his frustration, tried to push Marquez out wide, slowing all the time. As Marquez turned in, the two made contact, and Marquez crashed.

2015 MotoGP Championship Standings After Round 17, Sepang, Malaysia

MotoGP Championship standings for round 17, 2015

2015 Sepang MotoGP Race Result: Race Clash Overshadows Dominant Win

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Sepang:

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