While the Aspar team was making its presentation in Valencia, the Forward Racing Team took advantage of the heavy press presence at Jerez for the Moto2 IRTA test to launch its 2012 challenge in Moto2 and Moto3, in the spectacular setting of the VIP "saucer" which hangs above the circuit. The presentation got underway very late, as bad weather delayed Edwards' departure from the US, the Texan rushing straight from the airport to the track for the launch.
At the presentation, Edwards talked to the press about the state of development of the BMW Suter CRT project. The bike had made a lot of progress, though they were still a way from being 100% competitive. The electronics had improved a lot, he said, though the improved electronics had caused a recurrence of the chatter problem. The CRT machines were still outgunned, though, Edwards said. "The MotoGP bikes are a 50 caliber, and we're a 308," the Texan quipped.
Just how much different a less power-hungry circuit makes will be apparent from Friday, when all of the CRT bikes face the MotoGP factory prototypes at Jerez for the final test of the season.
Below is the NGM Mobile Forward Racing press release from the launch:
NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team Presentation: "The Future is FORWARD"
The FIM today released the provisional entry lists for all three Grand Prix classes, and the grids are looking remarkably healthy. Some 21 riders will line up in the MotoGP class, the Moto2 grid has been shrunk to a more manageable 33 entries, and 32 riders will be at the start for the inaugural season of racing in the Moto3 class, the grid the same size as it was for last year's 125cc class, which Moto3 replaces.
There are no surprises in the MotoGP class. As expected, there are 21 entries: 12 factory prototype entries and 9 CRT entries. Of the factory prototypes (which includes satellite machines), the three factory teams remain unchanged with the exception of the reduction of the Repsol Honda squad from three riders to two, Andrea Dovizioso having been dropped, despite finishing 3rd in the championship in 2011 ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who retains his seat. Dovizioso joins Cal Crutchlow at Monster Tech 3, Yamaha maintaining its commitment at 4 YZR-M1 machines. Both Honda and Ducati have cut back to just two satellite bikes apiece, with the bikes spread over four different teams. Stefan Bradl, whose usual number, 65, was retired in honor of Loris Capirossi, has elected to use the number 6.
The latest provisional entry list of Moto2 riders for the 2012 season:
The official press release from the Gresini Press Office announcing they will be racing at Valencia:
A long time ago, when I worked at a software company, we had a timekeeping system that consumed hours of our productive time as we tried to keep track of the projects we had worked on every week. One member of our team was smarter than the rest of us, however. He figured he knew roughly what projects he would be working on for the next couple of months, and would fill in his timesheets about 6 weeks in advance. He saved himself a whole heap of time doing that, while we struggled.
Compare and contrast the lot of a MotoGP headline writer. The way things are looking so far, we could fill in the headlines for all of the practice sessions and races for the next three or four MotoGP rounds well in advance, and get about 90% of them absolutely spot on. Put the following words in any order: Stoner, Repsol Honda, Pedrosa, Dominate, Clean Sweep. Throw in a couple of conjunctions, and you are set to go for quite some time.
It goes without saying that the Honda camp are happy, with both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa half a second ahead of the rest. Stoner confessed to having spent some time watching videos from the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons, in which Mick Doohan, Alex Criville and Tady Okada battled all year long for the championship aboard Repsol Hondas. There was even a Yamaha fly in the ointment, in the shape of Max Biaggi, Jorge Lorenzo's hero as a child.
Below is a selection of press releases received after the latest Moto2 test at Valencia:
Marc Márquez sets record pace in Valencia
Valencia has not so far been a lucky venue for Tech 3's Moto2 team. The team was scheduled to test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in December, and were confronted with snow, a rarity in this part of Spain. Returning to the track for this week's test alongside some of the World Superbike teams, they were spared snow, but instead had to deal with two days of rain and a cold and wet track. So when the sun came out on Thursday morning, the team breathed a collective sigh of relief. As Herve Poncharal put it: "We got here on Monday and since then we have only had 4 hours on track, but finally we got some work done."
Poncharal was delighted with the way the final day of testing went for Tech 3's own bike. "I am very, very happy, we made a big step forward," the Tech 3 team boss told MotoMatters.com. "We didn't find any chatter with the chassis, which was a problem we had at earlier tests." The chatter had been solved at a previous test with a revised chassis, but the conditions were such that the team hadn't been able to confirm the changes had fixed the problem entirely. In the better conditions - "Not good, only decent," Poncharal qualified - neither Yuki Takahashi nor Raffaele de Rosa encountered the chatter.