Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of testing at Valencia:
Marc Marquez topped the timesheets on the second day of the MotoGP test at Valencia, the newly-crowned world champion posting a very fast time at the end of the day to open a gap between himself and Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo had been closing the gap on Marquez, but in the end, the Repsol Honda man was over two tenths faster than the Yamaha man. Marquez had divided his time between three bikes: the 2013 machine, the 2014 bike as tested at Misano, and a brand new version of the 2014 bike. Lorenzo, in turn, had alternated between 2013 and 2014 versions of the Yamaha M1.
Dani Pedrosa ended the day in 3rd, having spent his time working on electronics for the 2014 bike, though he spent plenty of time on the 2013 machine as well for comparison. Pedrosa headed up the two satellite Hondas, Stefan Bradl close on Pedrosa's time, Alvaro Bautista a fraction further back. Bradley Smith tested the 2013 Yamaha ridden by Cal Crutchlow at the end of the season, the bike with the modified fuel tank. He pronounced the bike a big improvement, and was fast enough to end the test in front of Valentino Rossi. Rossi had spent some time on the 2014 bike, and had spent a lot of his time working on fuel consumption, the drop to 20 liters being a major issue for the Yamaha, and especially for taller and heavier riders such as Rossi.
The Bridgestone press office issued the following press release, detailing the performance of the new hard rear tire the firm brought to Valencia, and their testing plans for the 2014 season:
Valencia MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Monday 11 November 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
The MotoGP™ season finale at Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo was an exciting contest, with Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo winning his third consecutive race ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez. Marquez’s third place was enough to secure the MotoGP™ World Championship title at his first attempt.
In contrast to recent Grands Prix at Valencia, weather conditions on all three days of the race weekend were fine and dry, with track temperatures in the afternoon sessions of around 30°C. The fine weather conditions and a revised tyre allocation from Bridgestone resulted in the pace at Valencia being extremely quick, with new qualifying and race lap records being set, and the overall race time bettering the old record by over thirty seconds.
There is a lot of activity out on track at Valencia, with nineteen riders having lapped since 10am this morning. After four hours of testing, Marc Marquez has the top time, having posted a blistering lap early in the day. Marquez sits ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, with the two satellite Hondas of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl just over half a second off the time of Marquez.
Valentino Rossi leads a brace of Yamahas, a cecond behind Marquez and a tenth of a second ahead of Bradley Smith, while Andrea Iannone is once again top Ducati.
Nicky Hayden has made his debut on the Honda production racer, but has as yet only turned 19 laps on the bike, where the others have already done at least twice that. The Forward Yamaha has also made its debut, Aleix Espargaro turning some laps on the FTR-built Yamaha-powered machine. The bike looks very different to the factory Yamaha, despite the chassis, swingarm and engine coming from the factory bike.
Times at 2pm:
2013 Valencia Post-Race Test Day 1 Round Up: Rossi's New Crew Chief, Crutchlow's Strong Debut, And Gigi Dall'Igna On Ducati's Future
Having a test on the Monday after the last race of the season is a rather cruel punishment for the MotoGP riders. The Sunday night after Valencia is usually a rather festive affair, with teams holding parties to mark either the departure of one rider, the arrival of a new one, celebrating success or drowning their sorrows. For those 'lucky' enough to go to the FIM Gala awards, a stately and formal affair, there is also the need to blow off some steam afterwards, riders never very good at sitting still for a couple of hours while official presentations are made. Most people in the paddock are usually a little worse for wear on Monday morning.
Several years ago, the riders were given respite on Monday as journalists were allowed to ride the bikes, but as technology and tires have moved on, just getting the tires to work requires the kind of commitment and riding talent sorely lacking among the denizens of the media center (though they would only admit it under severe torture). Tired of spending many thousands of euros to repair the damage done after the inevitable crashes, that idea was abandoned, freeing up the Monday testing slot. The last couple of years, it was filled by the Moto2 and Moto3 tests, but a single day was not much use, and so the Moto2 and Moto3 teams will now test separately.
So the start of testing saw quite a few bleary-eyed riders turn up for work on Monday afternoon, the test supposed to start at noon. Though the track was clear, and the weather was perfect - warm, dry, with thin clouds preventing the track temperatures from going sky high - much of the action was confined to pit lane, where hordes of reporters thronged around the Ducati, Gresini and Tech 3 garages, where Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding and Pol Espargaro were due to make their debut. There was also plenty of ogling at Yamaha's 2014 machine, though there were virtually no discernible differences between it and the 2013 bike it replaces. MotoGP bikes tend to change in small evolutionary increments - a different frame wall thickness here, a weld moved a couple of millimeters there, or even more intangible, the invisible world of bits and bytes that control so much of MotoGP performance nowadays - so of the thirty of forty people milling around Jorge Lorenzo's 2014 bike, there may only have been two or three which could genuinely spot the differences. I was not one of them.
Press releases after the first day of testing after Valencia:
2013 Valencia Post-Race Test Day 1 Times: Yamahas Lead, Hondas Absent, Crutchlow Quickly Up To Speed
Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man on the first day of the Valencia test, finishing a short afternoon's work ahead of his factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi. The test took place under excellent conditions, but started only at noon, allowing the riders a bit of a rest at the end of the 2013 season, before the first test for 2014.
Both Lorenzo and Rossi spent time on both the 2013 bike and an evolution of the 2014 bike, with Rossi saying the new bike was a big improvement. Rossi also spent time working with new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, who was getting up to speed on the Yamaha MotoGP bike. Lorenzo, still suffering from a lack of sleep, also liked the 2014 bike.
Stefan Bradl was third fastest, heading up a trio of Ducatis with an impressive Andrea Iannone faster than the two factory men. Andrea Dovizioso had a new fairing to test, while Cal Crutchlow spent his day getting used to the new bike. Crutchlow made an impressive debut, just a tenth off the time of his teammate, and eight tenths behind Lorenzo.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the race on Sunday at Valencia:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Valencia:
The Yamaha Factory team have announced that Silvano Galbusera will be crew chief to Valentino Rossi for next season. Galbusera worked with Rossi briefly once before, when Rossi tested the World Superbike Yamaha YZF-R1 to test his fitness after breaking a leg at Mugello. More reaction when we get it, the press release from Yamaha appears below:
Silvano Galbusera Confirmed as Crew Chief of Valentino Rossi for 2014
Valencia (Spain), 11th November 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing can confirm that Silvano Galbusera will join the Team from today in the position of Crew Chief for rider Valentino Rossi for the 2014 MotoGP season.
The appointment follows the announcement that Jeremy Burgess would no longer continue with Team following the Valencia Grand Prix weekend.
Silvano began his career in motorcycle racing in 1979 with Gilera, spending 14 years working on both road racing in the 250cc world championship with riders such as Alessandro Gramigni and Paolo Casoli and also worked off road on African Rallies such as the Paris-Dakar with Michele Rinaldi. He then moved to Cagiva in 1994 and worked in the 500cc world championship with John Kocinski.
I knew it was going to be a big day at Valencia when I found myself taking two hours to get into the circuit on Sunday morning instead of twenty minutes. After years of relatively light traffic on the back roads, I took a wrong turning and found myself on the main motorway going from Valencia to Madrid, which was packed with cars and motorcycles heading to the circuit near Cheste. The sun was shining, two titles were to be decided between five Spaniards, and that had brought the fans out in force. I was stuck in the middle of them, reminding myself once again that the best way - the only way - to visit a motorcycle race is on a motorcycle. These were big, big crowds who had come to see a show.
And what a show they got. The Moto3 race took a while to come alight, but once it did it was explosive. The first casualty was Luis Salom, the championship leader falling shortly after the halfway mark. It was his second unforced error in consecutive races, surprising given that Salom is the oldest and most experienced of the three men in the running for the Moto3 title. That left Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales, and with four laps to go, the battle started hotting up in earnest. Viñales was pushing, getting past Rins only to run wide and let the Estrella Galicia rider back through. He looked wild, off line, barely in control, and liable to crash out at any time. But he didn't, he held on, diving past Rins in the final corner to take the lead and leaving him nowhere to go. At Saturday's qualifying press conference, Rins predicted the Moto3 title would be decided in the last corner. He was right, though he had probably hoped that it would be him deciding it in his favor.
Viñales was the first deserved winner of the day, and the first title to be settled. Despite having the fewest wins of the three title contenders, the Team Calvo rider held his nerve, profited from the mistakes of Salom and Rins, and when it counted, pushed home his advantage. Before Motegi, he had given up on winning the Moto3 title, he said after the race. But when Salom and Rins crashed out, he believed it was possible. He had complained about his bike all season, that it didn't have enough power and he couldn't keep up with his two main rivals. At Valencia, his team had given him the best bike of the year, and Viñales had repaid them with a win and a title. After Viñales tantrums at the end of 2012, when he refused to race and walked out of his then team, he had looked to be more trouble than he was worth. But team manager Pablo Nieto had decided he was worth a second chance. At Valencia, Nieto's faith was repaid with interest.