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Phillip Island Likely To Start MotoGP Season From 2012

The cold temperatures at Phillip Island two weeks ago once again raised the issue of whether it is wise to stage the Australian Grand Prix there right at the tail end of the Antipodean winter, when the weather can be very cold and wet. Valentino Rossi led the calls for the race to be moved to the start of the MotoGP season, which would be the Australian late summer.

Dorna CEO was very receptive to the idea of moving the race to earlier in the year, but his hands are tied by a couple of factors, meaning that this change is unlikely to happen for 2011. However, in an interview with Israeli TV journalist Tammy Gorali, Ezpeleta revealed that he will by pushing to make the change for the 2012 season. "For sure, we will change this for the following year if we can't change for next year," Ezpeleta told Gorali, adding that his preference would be for the race to start the season.

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Carmelo Ezpeleta Interview: Manufacturer Contracts, Electronics And Moto2 Entries

While much of the current focus in the MotoGP paddock is on 2011, and the impending rider switches in the paddock - including Valentino Rossi's move to Ducati, Casey Stoner's switch to Honda and Ben Spies' promotion to the factory Yamaha team - there is a bigger change on the horizon, the return to 1000cc in the MotoGP class, the arrival of the 250cc Moto3 class and the introduction of the CRT concept, where 1000cc production engines will be allowed to compete in prototype chassis in the hands of private teams. These seismic changes are in the hands of the Grand Prix Commission, consisting of the manufacturers' association MSMA, the teams' representative IRTA, the FIM sanctioning body and Dorna, the commercial rights holders.

At Estoril, MotoMatters.com had the chance to spend 10 minutes with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and ask a few questions about the changes due to happen in 2012. We were particularly interested in the relationship between Dorna and the MSMA, given the fact that the contract between the two parties is also up for renewal at the start of the 2012 season. So that's where we started:


MotoMatters.com: I'd like to talk about the changes that are going to happen to MotoGP in 2012. MotoGP goes to 1000cc, and at the same time, the contract with the MSMA finishes, and you have to negotiate a new contract with the MSMA. Can you talk about that contract and how you expect that to change?

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Fuel Pressure Limited In MotoGP. Again.

With the Grand Prix Commission meeting what feels like every race weekend nowadays, it's hardly surprising that readers of the press releases issued get a sense of déjà vu from time to time. Today's FIM press release detailing the latest decision of the Grand Prix Commission is no exception. MotoGP's rule-making body - consisting of the organizers (Dorna), the teams (IRTA), the sanctioning body (FIM) and the manufacturers (MSMA) - introduced new restrictions on fuel pressure, limiting the pressure in fuel lines to a maximum of 10 Bar. If that had a familiar ring to it, it is because exactly the same rule was introduced for 2010 at a previous meeting of the GP Commission back in December of 2009, a rule that was quietly dropped before the start of the 2010 season.

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Return Of Four-Practice Schedule Confirmed By FIM Announcement

As reported this weekend, the four-practice schedule used at Aragon was a huge hit with the teams and riders. The general consensus was that the chance to try out big changes between sessions more than outweighed the shorter time during the session to make changes. As a result, the teams asked for a return to the four-practice schedule (FP1 and FP2 on Friday, then FP3 and QP on Saturday), preferring four 45-minute sessions to three sessions of 1 hour. Saturday's meeting of the Grand Prix Commission rubber-stamped the change, and so at the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril and the Grand Prix of Valencia, four sessions of practice will be run, with the same schedule likely to return for the whole of next year.

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Time Schedule For Aragon MotoGP - Practice Reshuffled

The move to drop Friday morning practice - introduced for the 2009 season as a cost-cutting measure - has never been popular among either riders or fans. The riders and teams feel they are wasting their time, sitting around on Friday morning kicking their heels waiting for the afternoon session to kick off, and the fans miss out on an opportunity to watch the bikes out on track. Rookies, such as Interwetten Honda's Hiroshi Aoyama and his crew chief Tom Jojic, also lamented the lack of an extra session of practice, as the time between the sessions allowed the riders and their crews to go over the data collected.

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Transcript Of The Race Direction Press Conference On The Tomizawa Accident At Misano

Immediately after the MotoGP post-race press conference at Misano, Race Direction held a press conference to explain their actions, how they had handled the situation and what had been done to try to save Tomizawa's life. Speaking at the press conference were Race Director Paul Butler, Claude Danis of the FIM, MotoGP's Safety Officer Franco Uncini, Doctor Claudio Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile, and Javier Alonso from Dorna.  A shortened transcript of the press conference appeared on the Dorna website, along with the full video available for viewing. However, with Dorna's ever-infallible aim when it comes to the internet, the MotoGP.com website managed to shoot itself squarely in the foot by only making the video available to people with a MotoGP.com subscription. Naturally, this has been explained by some of the more radical fringes of the internet as a conspiracy by Dorna to make more money, but having had some experience of Dorna's attitude to the internet, MotoMatters.com is about 99.9% certain that this was down to incompetence rather than conspiracy. It is unlikely that anyone gave any thought to making this a free video, and it ended up automatically behind Dorna's video paywall.

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Unchanged 2011 MotoGP Calendar Likely To Be Announced In Mid-September

While Silly Season for MotoGP seems to start earlier and earlier, the announcement of the calendar seems to get pushed back every year. 2011 is no exception, and even though September has started, there is still no provisional MotoGP calendar for next year, something which is normally published around the time of the Brno MotoGP weekend.

The reason for this year's delay is that the calendar faces a number of complications: Firstly, most people in the paddock are unhappy with the date of the opening MotoGP round at Qatar. While MotoGP fans had to wait until the second week of April for the season opener, the World Superbike series had already been underway for six weeks, and was entering its third weekend of racing. Then there is the issue of the Hungarian MotoGP round that went missing, the option of running Laguna Seca and Indianapolis back-to-back to help save money, and a host of other unresolved questions.

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Indianapolis GP Confirmed For 2011 - But Not Back-To-Back With Laguna Seca

Dorna and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have just confirmed that MotoGP is to be back at Indy for 2011. The deal sees MotoGP returning for a single year in 2011, with a review to take place in light of the changes due to happen from 2012 onwards. The renewal sees the Indy GP scheduled for the same weekend next year as this year, with the race to be run on August 28th.

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MotoGP Worth 210 Million Euros A Year

The standard joke in motorsports paddocks around the world is that the way to make a small fortune in motor racing is to start off with a large one. MotoGP - like all other forms of motorsports - costs a lot of money, and somebody has to pay for it. The question of how much MotoGP costs - and how much money it generates - is an interesting one, and not one to which many people have a ready answer.

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MotoGP's Big Problem: Not Enough Cheats Making The Rules

When the Grand Prix Commission met at Brno to officially confirm the replacement of the 125cc class - an 81mm 250cc four-stroke single, provisionally being named Moto3 - it was clear that keeping costs down was right at the top of their agenda. Instead of a spec engine as used in Moto2, the proposal included measures to prevent a horsepower war driving spending on the engines out of control, by requiring that any manufacturer wanting to produce engines for the class must sell the engines for a maximum of 10,000 euros and be prepared to supply at least 15 riders with bikes.

The good news in that announcement is that the Grand Prix Commission is thinking seriously about how to prevent the class once again being dominated by a single manufacturer charging monopoly prices to selected teams for the best bikes. That, at least, is progress, as so many of the recent rule changes have been so clearly open to manipulation, and a first step has been taken to prevent that. The bad news is that as they stand, the suggested solutions are so woefully inadequate for their intended aim that they more likely to encourage manipulation rather than reduce it.

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