As expected, times have dropped substantially since the lunch break here in Austin, where the temperature is flirting with 80 degrees (F). The Hondas have made more progress in the Spring sunshine, with Marquez dropping over 4 seconds from his previous pace. The Yamahas have trimmed their times, but to lesser degrees.
On a breezy morning in Austin, riders logged tentative laps to get a feel for the layout at Circuit of the Americas. Until the sun does more work to counteract the brisk wind, the morning track has been slippery. The riders all seem guardedly positive about the track. Comments range from Jorge's "all the track is tricky" to Marquez's note that the post T1 series of flip-flops are quite challenging. Pedrosa reserved commentary on the layout until he gets more time on a warmer track.
When the news that Dorna would be taking over World Superbikes broke, there was a wave of outrage among fans, expressing the fear that the Spanish company would set about destroying the series they had grown to love. So far, Dorna have been careful not to get involved in debates about the technical regulations which seem to be so close to fans' hearts, their only criteria so far appearing to be a demand that bikes should cost 250,000 euros for an entire season.
In the midst of motorcycle racing's launch season comes an interesting project. The CAME IODA Racing team was launched last night in Rome - featuring a night-time ride by Danilo Petrucci on the IODA TR003 bike used last year through the streets of the Eternal City, as part of the three-day Moto Days exhbition in Rome - at which the MotoGP pairing of Petrucci and Lukas Pesek were presented, along with Johann Zarco, will be riding the team's Suter Moto2 bike this season.
It has been a busy week for the medical staff of motorcycle racers. In Switzerland, Interwetten rider Thom Luthi underwent a second operation to sort out the elbow and shoulder he damaged during testing at Valencia, while Nicky Hayden had minor surgery to clean up some old scar tissue from his injured wrist.
With the 2013 MotoGP season due to start in just four weeks' time, it's time to take a trip down memory lane and get ourselves excited about this season's racing. To do so, over the next few weeks, we will be running an occasional series of shots by MotoMatters.com star shooter Scott Jones, taken at some of the rounds he attended last season. His stunning photos are a reminder of why we love motorcycle racing so much.
As well as speaking to Scott Redding about his aims for 2013 at the Marc VDS launch in Belgium, we also had the opportunity to interview Marc VDS Racing boss Michael Bartholémy. The German-speaking Belgian had a lot to say on his expectations, not just for Scott Redding and Mika Kallio in Moto2 this year, but also of the high hopes he has for Livio Loi, the 15-year-old Belgian youngster who will be racing in Moto3 for the team.
The NGM Forward racing team were pioneers of the CRT concept. It was the NGM Forward team who were the first to present their plans to race the bikes presented as an alternative to the cripplingly expensive factory prototypes, launching their 2012 campaign with Colin Edwards at Misano in 2011. Edwards had an excruciating year aboard the Suter BMW, jumping ship to the Kawasaki-powered FTR for the 2013 season.
The Repsol Media Service issued yet another video today, this time containing a brief double interview with Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez. In the interview, the two men talk about what it means to them to be racing in Repsol colors, and more particularly for Repsol Honda, and their memories of former Repsol Honda champions such as Mick Doohan and Alex Criville. The press release and video are show below:
The Repsol Honda team according to Pedrosa and Marquez
The NGM Forward Racing team issued the following press release after their team launch in Milan:
NGM Mobile Forward Racing presents their 2013 team in Milan
The NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team presents its 2013 team in Milan. The team presented its six riders; Colin Edwards, Claudio Corti in MotoGP and Simone Corsi, Alex De Angelis, Mattia Pasini and Ricky Cardús in Moto2.