Valencia, Spain

Official: Casey Stoner Leaves Honda, Becomes Test Rider And Brand Ambassador For Ducati

Casey Stoner is to leave Honda and work with Ducati as a test rider and brand ambassador from 2016. Two press releases, one from Honda and one from Ducati, today confirmed the rumor which had emerged at Valencia during the race weekend, and especially after the test. Honda thanked Stoner for five years of collaboration, including two years of racing, during which he won fifteen races and a MotoGP championship. After his retirement, at the end of 2012, Stoner continued as a test rider for HRC, but rode only sporadically, no more than a couple of days a year.

MotoGP Tech Director Corrado Cecchinelli: "The Unified Software Is At About 10% Of Its Potential"

The Valencia test saw two of the major changes for the 2016 MotoGP season make their public debut. Testing with the Michelin tires has been going on since Sepang in February, though Valencia was the first time the riders were allowed to speak about them. The 2016 spec electronics package, the so-called unified software, made its first appearance on track in public, it having only previously been used by test riders at private tests.

The unified software was met with a mixed reception among the riders who used it. Though everyone said it was very much a step back in time, some riders were fairly happy with it, while others were much less so. The main criticisms leveled at it were that it reacted inconsistently, and it was difficult to get a handle on exactly how the software would react from one lap to the next. Whether this is fundamental to the software, or related to the fact that this was the first real outing on the software, and the factory software and engineers needed time to sort the electronics out will only become clear as the season progresses.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP's big 2016 change 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.

MotoGP's big 2016 change

At Valencia last week Michelin more or less matched Bridgestone’s lap times, albeit at the cost of a pile of trashed carbon-fibre and scuffed leathers.

Making exact comparisons between lap times with the French tyres and the Japanese tyres is fruitless, because most riders were also testing Dorna’s compulsory software.

In brief, Marc Marquez was the fastest man on Michelins, four tenths quicker than his best race lap, but half a second off his qualifying best. Maverick Vinales was the best improver: second fastest in the tests, 1.6 seconds better than in the race and two tenths quicker than in qualifying. Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi struggled most, both slower than their race pace.

Scott Jones Shoots The Grand Finale: Race Day Photos From Valencia

It's never been this busy at the back of the grid

Alex Rins, treading in the footsteps of Maverick Viñales in every way

Cal Crutchlow gets a push to his grid position

Jerez Moto2 Test Friday Times: Lowes Finishes Fastest, Kent Up To Speed Already

A few Moto2 and Moto3 riders stayed on for a final day of testing at Jerez on Friday, using the clear skies and good weather to put in a few more laps ahead of the 2016 season. Sam Lowes topped the timesheets on the final day of testing, though his advantage over Taka Nakagami was just a few hundredths of a second. Danny Kent made major steps forward on his second day on the Kalex Moto2 bike, getting within a quarter of his fellow countryman Lowes, and ahead of Moto2 veteran Luis Salom. Moto2 rookie Miguel Oliveira was over a second slower than his teammate, but still made good progress in his adaptation.

Lowes' time was impressive, but he still could not match the time set by Alex Rins on Thursday, Lowes coming up just under a tenth of a second short.

Times at the end of Friday from Jerez:

2015 Valencia Post-Race Day 2 Round Up: New Electronics, New Systems, And A Pleasant Distraction

The final day of testing at Valencia was a repeat of the first day: a lot of crashes on the Michelin tires, the factory Hondas, Yamahas and Ducatis working on the brand new spec electronics, the satellite bikes and the Suzukis working on their own 2015 electronics. For the Suzukis, that was not such a problem. The new electronics were likely to be an improvement on their own electronics, both Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro said, so missing out now was not such a problem. Suzuki have another test planned at Sepang at the end November, at which they plan to switch the 2016 unified software. With two days of Michelin testing under the belt, testing the spec software should be easier.

Choosing to wait until Sepang could be a smart strategy. There, with more time and test riders to help, Suzuki will have the resources to make quicker progress with the spec software. Honda, but especially Yamaha, showed that progress was possible, both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi saying that their second day on the spec electronics had been much better than the first day. "Yesterday, the thing was it was just a check out of the system to understand how they work in which corner, but the power was not done to have the best performance," Jorge Lorenzo said. "We work on that for the next morning and I felt it was much better and I improved during all the day quite a bit." Valentino Rossi agreed. "From yesterday to today already the situation improved a lot. It is still not at the same level for sure, but it looks like we can improve I think quite quickly."

2015 Valencia Post-Race MotoGP Test Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the two-day test at Valencia:


2015 Valencia Post-Race Day 2 Test Times Final: Marquez Leads Viñales

Marc Marquez has ended the final day of testing at Valencia, lapping under the race lap record using the 2016 electronics and Michelin tires, and swapping back and forth between a 2015 and 2016 spec engine. Both Repsol Hondas were fast, Dani Pedrosa setting the third fastest time, also spending the day setting up the 2016 spec electronics. Maverick Viñales sandwiched himself between the two Repsol Hondas, while Aleix Espargaro ended up behind Pedrosa, both Suzuki riders concentrating solely on getting accustomed to the Michelin Tires.

Jorge Lorenzo finished as fifth fastest, having ridden the 2016 Yamaha M1 prototype for most of the day, also focusing on the 2016 electronics. Cal Crutchlow set the sixth fastest time, Crutchlow only having a chassis used by Marc Marquez to test, riding the 2015 Honda and 2015 electronics. Valentino Rossi found a bit of pace towards the end of the day on the 2016 Yamaha M1, having a fraction more difficulty to adapt to the new electronics and the Michelins, but finding a big improvement from the first day.


2015 Valencia Post-Race Tuesday Round Up: New Rules, New Tires, Difficult Electronics

The 2016 MotoGP season got underway this morning, as the sound of MotoGP bikes out on track echoed round the amphitheater of the Valencia circuit, chasing away much of the bitterness and recriminations left hanging there in the wake of the 2015 season showdown. With new bikes, new tires, new electronics, and new and old riders on new and old bikes, there was much to look forward to. It felt like MotoGP had a future again.

With new tires and new electronics, many teams had chosen to forego too many changes to their bikes, but there were still some novelties out on track. Honda had brought a 2016 bike, complete with a new engine. Factory Yamaha had an intermediate version of their 2016 bike, complete with fuel tank moved to the rear of the bike. Despite Gigi Dall'Igna's assurances yesterday that they would be testing nothing new to concentrate on the Michelins, Andrea Dovizioso confirmed that he had tried a new chassis.

At Suzuki, they spend the day working on adapting to the tires, and gathering more data for the 2016 bike. Engineers in Hamamatsu are getting that ready for the Sepang test – at least, that is what Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro are hoping – a bike that will produce more horsepower and have a fully seamless gearbox.

There was some shuffling of faces and equipment in the satellite teams, with bikes being wheeled from garage to garage, and a few riders moving along with them. The happiest moment of all for riders like Eugene Laverty and Jack Miller was to wave goodbye to the Honda RC213V-RS, a bike which one rider referred to as "a piece of ****". Miller jumped onto the standard RC213V, and was immediately delighted by Honda's electronics. Laverty, meanwhile traded his Honda Open bike for a Ducati GP14.2, and was immediately impressed by the red-shirted Ducati staff who had invaded the Aspar garage, a real contrast with the Honda. That had been a real customer bike: you paid your money, and you took your bike, and you were left to get on with it on your own.

2015 Valencia Post-Race Test Tuesday Press Releases

Press releases from the teams after the first day of testing at Valencia:


Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - What really happened in MotoGP’s 2015 finale 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.

What really happened in MotoGP’s 2015 finale

I’ve never done this before, but I think now the time is right. It’s time to come out: as a Valentino Rossi fan. Social media has been so poisoned by Rossi fanatics in recent weeks that I’ve been judged guilty a thousand times for the crime of trying to be objective in the face of the facts. I’m not the only one. Many other MotoGP journalists, respected for years and years by their readers, have been subjected to the same abuse for the same crime of attempting to uncover the truth.

2015 Valencia Post-Race Test Times Final: Marquez Leads Iannone And Pedrosa

Final times at the end of a full day of testing:

2015 Valencia Post-Race Test Times 3pm: Marquez Leads Iannone As Yamahas Roll

Testing continues at Valencia, as do the front end crashes. Teams are working on bike set up and weight distribution, to adapt to the tires, but that is taking some time.

Times at 3pm:

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