Cal Crutchlow has been confirmed as test rider for Yamaha's MotoGP project. The press release from Yamaha appears below:
Valencia welcomed the premier class back, this time with a dry albeit overcast circuit, encouraging the premiers class to find quick improvements on last weekend’s times. Pol Espargaro and Franco Morbidelli traded top spot for the early part of FP1, but then Takaaki Nakagami took over halfway through proceedings and ended the morning one tenth ahead of his rivals. Morbidelli kept second position, while colleague Maverick Vinales made a late jump on fresh rubber into the top three, demoting the younger Espargaro to fourth.
It is Groundhog day one last time. The last of the back-to-back races at the same tracks beckons, the riders returning to the scene of last week's triumphs and tragedies. Will we see a repeat of last week? Will there be another Suzuki Ecstar 1-2? Will the KTMs be at the front again? Will Ducati have another worrying weekend? Does Yamaha face disaster again?
The weekend certainly kicked off with a repeat performance of Valentino Rossi's Covid-19 saga. Last Thursday, news started to leak that Valentino Rossi had failed a Covid-19 test, and would not be able to travel to Valencia for the European round of MotoGP. In the end, he had two positive tests 24 hours apart and missed only the Friday sessions, taking to the track on Saturday morning for FP3. That gave American rider Garrett Gerloff his time in the sun, or rather, the rain, the spray, and the sun, the weather wreaking havoc last weekend.
Valentino Rossi had a narrow escape this week, after initially failing another Covid-19 test. The Italian produced two more negative tests, and has been cleared to race at the Valencia round of MotoGP.
The Italian had flown back to Italy on Sunday night, and on Tuesday had a PCR test. That test came back positive with a very low viral load, a result which can occur with people who have had Covid-19 and have had symptoms. Rossi's doctors recommended he do two more tests, and after the first test came back negative, he flew to Valencia to wait for the results of the second test taking 24 hours later. When that test came back negative, he was cleared to race.
How do racers like Joan Mir cope with pressure? Some chill out, others work themselves into a frenzy
I don’t know about you but I get pre-race butterflies whenever a MotoGP season draws towards its climax. I know it’s ridiculous, because I’m sat comfortably where no harm can come to me, but I’m nervous for what might happen, for what might go wrong.
Perhaps it’s some kind of nervy leftover from racing all those decades ago. For those that haven’t raced it’s probably difficult to imagine what racers feel like on Sunday mornings. There’s so much adrenaline pumping around your body that you sometimes feel sick and faint, so you’re just dying for the race to start, so you can stop feeling so rank.
Different riders have different ways of dealing with those feelings, but I can’t even begin to imagine how MotoGP riders cope with the stress and pressure of battling for the championship. That’s another level altogether.
Andrea Dovizioso has confirmed he will be taking a sabbatical after the end of the 2020 season. As reported on Monday, the Italian has rejected multiple offers to be a test rider, in favor of a year of racing motocross and hoping for a better project in 2022. Below is the post he made announcing the move on Instagram:
Marc Marquez has finally confirmed what had long been known. The Repsol Honda rider announced via social media - and the Repsol Honda team confirmed it in a press release - that he will not make a return to racing in 2020. He is focused on his recovery, and will attempt to be fit for the start of the 2021 season.
The problem for the Spaniard has been the rate at which his arm is recovering from injury. The humerus, the bone in his upper right arm, which he broke at Jerez, is taking a very long time to grow back and heal sufficiently for him to race. Repeated scans of his arm have shown the slow rate of his recovery, and consequently, after consulting with multiple medical experts, Marquez has decided to skip the last two races in the hope of giving himself more time to recover.
Andrea Iannone has lost his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his suspension for failing a drug test. The CAS ruled that Iannone had failed to prove that he had ingested drostanolone, the banned substance which had appeared in the urine sample taken from him after the Sepang race, as a result of eating contaminated meat.
Both Iannone and the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) had appealed against the 18-month suspension imposed by the FIM's International Disciplinary Court (CDI). Iannone was asking to have the ban dropped, claiming that he had failed the drug test because he had eaten some contaminated meat. WADA wanted the 18-month ban extended to four years, which is the mandatory suspension for violating the WADA doping code.
For most of the 2020 Grand Prix season, nobody has wanted to win a championship. Every time someone has taken a lead at one race, they have found ever more creative ways to throw it away at the next. Fabio Quartararo got off to a lightning start, winning the first two races of the season. Then he let his lead slip away, Andrea Dovizioso making inroads into the Petronas Yamaha rider's advantage.
Behind the leaders, Maverick Viñales made a strong charge, then faded away, then came back again with a win at Misano 2. Jack Miller started off strong, had a DNF, then a run of good results and another DNF and has been up and down (literally, in a couple of cases) ever since. Takaaki Nakagami closed in relentlessly by finishing inside the top ten every race, until he crashed out of the lead at Aragon 2.
It was hard to see who was in the driving seat of the championship. Quartararo took back the lead at Barcelona, but hasn't finished any better than eighth since then. Dovizioso has slowly slipped further out of reach, while Maverick Viñales has barely stayed in touch with the top of the championship. Franco Morbidelli has won two races to close the gap, but had some poor finishes and a DNF as well.
Throwing it away