Silverstone, Great Britain
Championship leader Jack Miller has topped the opening Moto3 free practice session at a chilly yet sunny Silverstone. The Australian struggled to get to grips with the cool conditions early on, but found something in the closing stages. Miller finished ahead of the Spanish duo of Isaac Vinales and Alex Marquez by less than a tenth of a second, while Marquez' team mate Alex Rins posted the fourth fastest time followed by Championship rival Romano Fenati.
Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira sat perched at the top of the time sheets for a decent chunk of the session but eventually had to settle for the sixth quickest time. Niccolo Antonelli ended in seventh place after suffering from mechanical issues midway through the morning running. Niklas Ajo, Efren Vazquez and Enea Bastianini rounded out the top ten.
Silverstone has all the makings of being a very hectic weekend for a lot of people. Not so much because of the weather – things are looking up compared to a week ago, with just a few drops of rain forecast for Friday, and dry weather for Saturday and Sunday – but more because of the goings on behind the scenes. Thursday was the deadline for Moto2 and Moto3 entries to be submitted. The class looks to be oversubscribed again, with Dorna and IRTA left to whittle the entry list down to something of its present size. The extra entries are mostly expansion projects of existing teams, one-rider teams wanting to expand to two, or two-rider teams looking to become three-rider projects. The teams now have to stump up a deposit, before presenting their final rider lists at Aragon.
That has produced a certain pressure in the paddock for teams to sign riders for next year. The main players now know more or less where they are heading, though few will admit what their plans are. Most of the top Moto3 riders are off to Moto2, with those that remain filling the juiciest spots left open by those who are departing. The Estrella Galicia team of Alex Marquez and Alex Rins is to be split up, with one Alex rumored to be off to Marc VDS alongside Tito Rabat, while the other heads to the Pons team. Which Alex goes where is yet to be confirmed, but the smart money puts Marquez at Marc VDS, and Rins at Pons, in a charmingly consonant distribution of riders. Rins' slot depends on what happens with Jack Miller: if the Australian does not go to LCR Honda in MotoGP as rumored, he will take the spot vacated by Maverick Viñales. Miller's place at Red Bull KTM Ajo is to be taken by Brad Binder.
If the situation in Moto2 and Moto3 is close being settled, all is still up in the air in MotoGP. Before the summer break, not much was expected to change, but the impending loss of Go&Fun as sponsor to the Gresini team has thrown a spanner in the works. HRC has given Gresini until this weekend to place an order for the factory Honda RC213V, but without the backing of a major sponsor, Gresini will not be able to afford the bike. That would wreck Gresini's existing plans, and lead them on a search for alternatives, one of which could be running the factory Aprilia effort.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone previewing the British Grand Prix at Silverstone:
Preview press releases from the Moto3 and Moto2 teams, as well as Dunlop, ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone:
Silverstone sees the traditional Day of Champions event for the Riders for Health charity, providing primary health care to remote areas in Africa. The unmissable event takes place today, Thursday 28th August, and features a host of activities, including the Riders for Health auction, in which some fantastic memorabilia is sold to fans. Full details in the Riders for Health press release below:
MotoGP™ stars come together to support health workers in Africa
Thousands of MotoGP fans are heading to Silverstone today for one of the best loved events on the MotoGP calendar, and to help raise money to support health workers across Africa.
Nearly 4,000 fans are expected to attend Day of Champions, which takes place every year before the British MotoGP™ and is the flagship fundraising event of MotoGP’s official charity, Riders for Health.
Tickets for Day of Champions cost £18 and are free for children aged 15 and under. They can be purchased from the main gate at the Silverstone race circuit.
2014 Silverstone MotoGP Preview - Yamaha Territory, Racing At Home, And The Future Of The British Grand Prix
Since the beginning of the season, as he racked up one victory after another, Marc Marquez faced the same question over and over again: can you keep on winning? And over and over again, Marc Marquez gave the same answer: one day, he would not win. On that day, he added, it would be important to think of the championship, and get on the podium if possible.
That day came 10 days ago, at Brno. After struggling all weekend with a lack of rear grip on his Repsol Honda, Marquez couldn't match the pace of his teammate Dani Pedrosa, and the two Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Fourth was all that Marquez could manage.
The measure of a champion is not just how he wins, but also how he handles defeat. As Marquez rolled back into his garage after the race – a rare occurrence indeed, this the first time Marquez finished off the podium in his MotoGP career – there were no tantrums, no anger, no shouting. He patted his mechanics on their shoulders, sat down in his seat, and immediately started analyzing the defeat he had just suffered with his team. This was clearly not an experience he was keen to replicate any time soon. If any doubt still lingered, the eagerness with which he attacked the official test at Brno on the Monday after the race quickly removed them.
The Silverstone circuit issued the following press release, containing a list of activities going on this weekend at the British Grand Prix:
MotoGP™ rider appearances top off a fantastic weekend of entertainment at the British Grand Prix
The FIM MotoGP™ World Championship returns to Silverstone this weekend (28-31 August) for the Hertz British Grand Prix. Five Brits – Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding, Michael Laverty and Leon Camier – will line up on the starting grid alongside legends of the sport including Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who will all be pushing for maximum points in front of the passionate Silverstone crowd.
As well as the breathtaking on track action, which includes MotoGP™ and the highly-competitive Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes, Silverstone has lined-up a packed schedule of entertainment for the whole family, throughout the weekend.
Another hallowed name is to make a return to the Grand Prix paddock. At Silverstone, Dakota Mamola, son of famed former 500 GP winner Randy Mamola, is to replace Nico Terol. Terol is absent due to illness, the Spaniard suffering a mystery metabolic disorder which is causing extreme muscle fatigue. While Terol undergoes treatment, Mamola will take his place, with Terol hoping to make a return at Misano, two weeks after Silverstone.
Mamola has been racing in the Spanish CEV Moto2 championship with the GRT racing team. The 19-year-old is currently in 11th place, having scored 18 points at two races at the Motorland Aragon circuit. In 2013, Mamola raced in the European 600 Superstock championship, ending in 19th place with 28 points. The youngster has been receiving technical support from Aspar in the CEV, so he is a natural choice to replace Terol.
Jeremy McWilliams is to make a return to Grand Prix racing at the ripe old age of 50. The Northern Irish racer is to ride the Brough Superior Moto2 machine at Silverstone as a wildcard.
It will be McWilliams' first Grand Prix since 2007, when he rode the ill-fated Ilmor, which was withdrawn after just one race due to a failure to raise sponsorship. Since then, McWilliams has been active in both the US and Ireland, racing in the XR1200 championship which serves as a support race to the AMA, and racing on the roads in Northern Ireland. Before leaving Grand Prix racing, McWilliams had a long career in both the 250cc and MotoGP classes. His most memorable rides were with the QUB TSR-Honda in 250s, aboard the Aprilia 500cc twin at the start of the century, and riding the Proton KR bike in MotoGP. McWilliams won the 250cc race at Assen in 2001 aboard the Aprilia.
Nico Terol has decided to sit out the Silverstone round of Moto2. After enduring a dismal year with a mystery ailment, Terol has been forced to withdraw and focus on locating the source of his problems, so that he can return to racing in full health.
Terol was expected to challenge for the title in 2014, after scoring three wins and one podium last season with the Mapfre Aspar team. But there had been warning signs of something amiss previously. In the middle of last year, Terol was suspected of suffering late onset lactose intolerance, exactly the same condition that affected Casey Stoner during the 2009 season. Treatment for that appears not to have had the desired effect, as Terol has suffered all this year with extreme fatigue and elevated testosterone levels.
The issue has now reached the point where Terol can no longer be competitive in his current condition. Terol and the Mapfre Aspar team have decided that the Spaniard should sit out Silverstone while undergoing a battery of tests to locate the source of the problem. Though the press release issued by the team speaks solely of Silverstone, it is not completely certain Terol will be back at Misano.
Below is the press release issued by the Aspar team:
Nico Terol to miss British Grand Prix
The British Grand Prix is to move, if everything goes to plan. At a press conference held today, Dorna and the management of the Circuit of Wales announced that a deal had been reached that will see the track, to be built in Ebbw Vale in South Wales, will host the race for the next five seasons, with an option to extend the contract for another five years after that, until 2024.
The only problem is that the Circuit of Wales does not exist yet. The track is part of a £ 315 million project aimed at regenerating the Blaenau Gwent region, a once-prosperous region that has lost most of its employment since the coal and steel industries closed. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company have set up a scheme to create a major motorsports industry hub centered around an FIM and FIA homologated race track, capable of hosting world championship racing.
Forward Racing have issued a formal press release, announcing Colin Edwards' early retirement from motorcycle racing. Edwards will not compete at Brno, but it is not entirely clear exactly what other races he will compete in this season. In the press release, Edwards insists that he will race at Silverstone, but after that, nothing is clear. Edwards himself had mentioned racing at Valencia, but that was not certain. The press release itself does not make the situation much clearer. You can read the press release below:
NGM Forward Racing and Colin Edwards announce the American’s retirement from racing competition
NGM Forward Racing and Colin Edwards announced that the American will not be racing in Brno and in the second part of the 2014 season
The two- time World Superbike Champion (2000 and 2002), 1992 AMA Champion and MotoGP protagonist will continue to be part of the NGM Forward Team as a key figure of the team, contributing to the development of the machine and doing some wild cards.
Colin Edwards To Enter Semi-Retirement Early: Will Race Indy, Silverstone And Valencia, And That's It?
Colin Edwards will contest only three more MotoGP rounds in the 2014 season. The Texan is to race at Indianapolis, Silverstone and Valencia, before hanging up his helmet. From Brno, Alex De Angelis will take Edwards' place, and Edwards will race as a third rider for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team in the UK and at the last race of the year.
Edwards' final year in MotoGP has not gone according to plan. The Texas Tornado had hoped that the arrival of the Yamaha Open class bike at Forward, to replace the Kawasaki-powered CRT machine would spark a revival in his fortunes. When Edwards finally got to ride the Open class Yamaha, however, he found to his dismay that he could not get on with the Yamaha chassis, and was unable to get the bike to turn. He had pinned his hopes on the arrival of a chassis from FTR, but financial problems for the British chassis manufacturer meant he was left to struggle with the Yamaha frame until Mugello. When a new chassis did arrive, fresh from the drawing board of now ex-FTR designer Mark Taylor, it did not see Edwards drastically improve his pace.
Despite some early promise, there has been much complaining of a lack of innovation from chassis builders in Moto2. the bikes have followed the same basic layout as all modern race bikes since the late 1980s: aluminium twin spar chassis and conventional suspension arrangements.The only real interest has come from wildcards. At Le Mans, the French Promoto Sport team raced their Transfiormer chassis, with some solid results. Beyond that, the bikes have been pretty much identikit.
At Silverstone, another interesting wildcard will get its first public running. The British round of Moto2 will see the Brough Superior make its debut in a competitive race, after making an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year. The bike is a rebrand of the design by John Keogh and Taylormade Racing, discussed on MotoMatters.com last year. The bike uses a monocoque chassis design made fully from carbon fiber, with integral fuel tank. The front suspension is a single wishbone with damping in the forks, while the rear swingarm is also fully carbon fiber. The radiator has been moved to the rear of the bike, to allow the machine to be narrower and free up space in front of the engine.
The FIM has today released the final, official version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar. As expected, the Brazil round has been dropped, after it became clear that construction work at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia would not be completed in time for the September round. To ease the congestion in that part of the season, the date of the Aragon round has now been pushed back a week, and will take place on 28th September, the date originally scheduled for Brazil.
The dropping of the Brazil round had been expected almost from the moment it was placed on the schedule. There were serious doubts that the circuit would be able to make the necessary changes in time for September 2014, and teams were informed of the doubts which Dorna and IRTA had. The inclusion of Brazil was a statement of intent, with both Dorna and the manufacturers keen to return to South America, as both Brazil and Argentina are key markets. Actually racing in Brazil will depend one of the circuits still in the country being able to make the necessary modifications to make it safe enough for Grand Prix motorcycles.
Below is the official, finalized version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar: