If you think that silly season has been a bit quiet this year, you'd be right. Normally by now, we would have passed through the stage of outrageous fabrication, left the wildly inaccurate rumors behind us, and be well into probable rider signing scenarios. This year, the annual merry-go-round has barely registered, with very little sign of who may end up where for the 2016 season.
What makes for great racing? Many things, but great last corners really help. A great last corner, or sequence of corners, allows riders to attack the bike ahead of them, and take one final shot at victory. Even better is when the option to attack offered by the final corner comes with some risk attached: getting ahead is one thing, but staying ahead to the line is quite another.
MotoGP moves from one track with a last corner which guarantees spectacle to another. The final GT chicane at Assen produced fireworks with the clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez, and the last two corners at the Sachsenring offer similar opportunities. At Assen, the hard-braking right corner is followed by a quick flick left, giving the defending rider the chance to counterattack if he is passed.
At the Sachsenring, the long drop down the steep, steep hill provides the ideal platform to launch an attack from, diving up the inside on the brakes on the way into the penultimate left hander. That line comes at a price, though, as it forces the attacker to run wide on the exit. That opens allowing the defending rider to strike back up the inside on the approach to the final turn, the last left uphill towards the line. Even entering that corner ahead is no guarantee of the win: like Turn 12, Turn 13 offers two lines, inside and outside, both of which can be used to pass.
The only other place to pass at the Sachsenring is the first corner, at the end of the front straight. The rest of the track is so tightly coiled that the bikes are spending too much time on their sides to try to line up a pass. If you're lucky, you can try to figure something out through the section between turns 7, 8, and 9, but from that point on, your mind is focused just on one thing. The crest of the hill just after Turn 10 and then the lightning fast flick right at Turn 11 heading down the Waterfall, and towards the last two turns again.
Marco Melandri has had his last race for Aprilia in MotoGP. The two parties have at last reached agreement to go their separate ways. Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty will replace Melandri for the rest of the 2015 season.
Press releases from the teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's exhilarating Dutch TT at Assen:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Conquers the Cathedral with Fifth Consecutive Double Podium
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi came out victorious today after a stunning race at TT Circuit Assen, that was decided in the final meters before the flag. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also gave a strong performance to secure third.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and others after qualifying at Assen:
Rossi Claims Phenomenal Pole Position at the Cathedral
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi gave a stunning performance today to claim a perfect pole position for tomorrow's TT Assen, setting a new circuit best lap record. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a competitive pace but was pushed down the order in the final stages of the session and qualified on the third row.
Press releases from the teams, Bridgestone and others previewing the Dutch TT at Assen:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Carries Title Chase Forward to the Cathedral
After a perfect one-two in Catalunya two weeks ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team heads to TT Circuit Assen for the eighth round of the MotoGP championship held this Saturday.
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 23rd June 2015
After a brilliant weekend in Catalunya a fortnight ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team arrives in the Netherlands for the prestigious TT Assen.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Barcelona:
HISTORIC 1-2 FOR SUZUKI IN CATALUNYA QUALIFYING
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 13.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR grabbed a historic result today during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Catalunya as they took first-and second places on the grid for tomorrow’s race with riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales.
Press releases from the teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Barcelona:
ESPARGARO & SUZUKI LEAD CATALUNYA GP 1ST DAY
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 12.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargarò and Maverick Viñales both put in stunning performances at the Catalan Grand Prix opening day in Spain with both riders secure in the top-five positions for almost the duration of both FP1 and FP2.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's round at Barcelona:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Continue Championship Quest in Catalunya
After scoring strong results at Valentino Rossi‘s home race in Mugello, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP heads to Jorge‘s home race in Montmeló for this weekend‘s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 10th June 2015
On the day after the Italian Grand Prix, the MotoGP riders were back testing at Mugello. This time, however, it was only the factory riders who remained, to give the Michelin tires another run out. The last time they took to the track on the Michelins was at Sepang, and Michelin had brought the latest iteration of their tires to test.
Due to the commercial sensitivities involved, there was no official timing, and the riders were not allowed to speak to the media about the test. Unsurprisingly: Bridgestone hold the single tire contract for the 2015 season, having spent a lot of money for the privilege, so they do not want Michelin stealing their PR thunder. Nor do Michelin really want to be subject the intense scrutiny which official timing would impose while they are still in the middle of their development program.
That does not mean that the small band of journalists who stayed at the test did not learn anything, however. Michelin had brought four front tires to the test, and the factory men spent the morning and the early afternoon selecting their favorite from the four. The plan was for the riders to then try that tire in a full race simulation, to see how the tire stood up to a race distance of 23 laps.
That plan was quickly canceled. There had been no falls during the morning and early afternoon, but on the first laps of his long run, Jorge Lorenzo crashed out at Materassi. Once the track was cleared, it was the turn of Marc Márquez to go out, but on the second lap of his run, he too crashed, this time at Arrabbiata 1. With the debris of the Repsol Honda out of the way, Valentino Rossi followed, the Italian falling at Correntaio. At that point, the plan was abandoned.