Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the final test ahead of this weekend's season opener at Phillip Island:
Press releases from some of the teams after the first day of testing at Phillip Island:
This is the first in a series of weekly round ups of motorcycle racing news from around the world. Every Wednesday, we will bring a brief summary of stories that did not warrant a full article of their own. So here are some stories you may have missed, for the week preceding 11th February 2015.
Ducati Desmosedici GP15 to be presented on line
It is becoming something of a tradition among the MotoGP factories: launching their MotoGP teams online. Two weeks ago, the Movistar Yamaha launched their 2015 livery in Madrid. On Monday 16th February, Ducati will be officially presenting their bikes and riders to the fans and media live on the Ducati website.
The Ducati launch is a little more significant than Yamaha's presentation, however. While the Movistar Yamaha presentation was mostly about showing off the new color scheme the factory team is to use in 2015, Ducati will be presenting the Desmosedici GP15 online. The first bike to come from the pen of Gigi Dall'Igna, this is the machine which Ducati hope will finally allow them to be fully competitive with the factory Hondas and Yamahas. The bike is expected to feature a new, more compact engine, though still a 90°V4 using desmodromic valves, fitted in a smaller chassis.
The presentation starts at 11am CET on the Ducati website. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone will get their first ride of the bike on 23rd February, when the second Sepang test gets underway.
Should Melandri stay or should he go?
Given that Aprilia's return to MotoGP was both earlier than anticipated, and embarked upon at a very late stage, their initial times at the Sepang test could be regarded as acceptable. The new engine – with an 81mm bore and pneumatic valves – proved to be reasonably reliable, and though still down on power, at least closer to the fastest bikes. The new chassis was much less of a success, both Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri preferring to stay with the 2014 bike, rather than switch to the new RS-GP, as it has been dubbed.
The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.
The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.
The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.
2015 WSBK Calendar update
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2015 calendar, 11 February
The FIM today announced the provisional line up for the World Supersport class. The field will see 24 riders line up on the grid, with one name still to be announced in the Yakhnich team. Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel are likely to be the title favorites, while American rider PJ Jacobsen will be hoping to capitalize on a strong rookie year to mount a challenge.
The provisional line up appears below:
Davide Giugliano has topped the second and final day of the Jerez World Superbike test, the Aruba Ducati rider leading a frantic charge at the end of the day as the riders slipped on qualifying tires to set a fast time. Giugliano ended the day a third of a second quicker than Kawasaki's Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, and seven tenths faster than his teammate Chaz Davies.
Giugliano was quick to head the timesheets, posting a fast lap very early on in the session, but he followed that up with a huge crash, which damaged his bike and left him stuck in the garage while it was repaired. Sykes, Rea, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes were all fast during the day, found themselves knocked out of the top slots as the qualifiers went on, but regained those slots once they took their turn on soft rubber.
Despite the new technical rules for 2015, the new bikes are faster than they were last year. Giugliano took nearly a second off the pole record set by Loris Baz in September last year, and several riders were lapping consistently under Tom Sykes' race lap record on both days of the test. Less power may have made the bikes a little easier to ride, which can be an advantage at a tighter track like Jerez. Giugliano was faster round Jerez on qualifying tires than Marc Marquez was during the race on a Honda RC213V.
2015 Jerez World Superbike Test, Day 1 Times - Rea Fastest, Guintoli Crashes, Kawasaki MotoGP Bike Confuses
The weather gods have finally decided to smile on the World Superbike paddock. At Jerez, the teams were greeted by sunny and dry weather, and decent temperatures, allowing them to catch up on some of the work they had missed out on at Portimao and Aragon.
Fastest man on the day was Jonathan Rea, the Ulsterman quickly up to speed on his new Kawasaki, and topping the timesheets for most of the day. His Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes was less than a tenth behind, and had held on to 2nd spot for most of the day, only being deposed by Alex Lowes near the end of the session, when the Crescent Suzuki rider put in a very fast lap to take 2nd, demoting Sykes to 3rd. The two Ducatis followed, David Giugliano just ahead of teammate Chaz Davies, though the gap between the two is small. The Ducatis are close behind the Kawasakis and Lowes, just two tenths covering the top five friders.
Sylvain Barrier put the BMW into 6th slot, just ahead of Randy De Puniet on the second Suzuki and Michael van der Mark on the Pata Honda. Newcomer Jordi Torres was 9th quickest, and the last rider within a second of Rea, the Red Devils Roma Aprilia rider making the transition from Moto2 to World Superbikes, while Matteo Baiocco rounded out the top 10 on an Althea Ducati.
Pata Honda Press Release: World Superbike Team Launched, And Kyle Smith Announced As World Supersport Entry
The Pata Honda team issued the following press releases, officially presenting their 2015 World Superbike team of Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli, and announcing that Kyle Smith will be racing in the World Supersport championship for them:
Pata Honda's 2015 WSBK riders presented in Italy
The Pata Honda line-up for the 2015 World Superbike championship was officially unveiled at Verona in Italy today when Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark were presented to a large and enthusiastic crowd of Italian fans and media.
The two riders – both world champions in 2014 - have already tested their 2015-specification Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP race machines this year at Portimao, Portugal and, earlier this week, at Aragon in Spain.
In spite of less-than-favourable weather conditions, both riders declared themselves happy with the development of the CBR, on which their Netherlands-based team has worked hard to meet revised technical regulations for the 2015 WSBK season.
Reigning World Superbike champion, Guintoli, 32, and his 22-year-old Pata Honda team-mate, van der Mark, who won last season’s World Supersport crown, will return to Spain tomorrow for a two-day test at Jerez on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Though tracks around the world have fallen silent over the winter break, testing is due to resume shortly. From mid-January, the World Superbike teams will resume their preparations for the 2015 season at circuits in Spain and Portugal. Testing starts at Portimao, where the Pata Honda team will be the first to hit the track on 14th January. The team then moves to the Motorland Aragon circuit near Alcañiz, where they will be joined by Kawasaki and Grillini, before the action moves back to Portimao for a test including Ducati, BMW Italian, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Althea Ducati and EBR.
After Portimao, the teams head east to Jerez, where from 26th January the circuit will see Ducati, Red Devils, MV Agusta, BMW Italia, Honda, Suzuki, Althea Ducati and EBR joined by the Kawasaki World Supersport team and Ducati's MotoGP test team. A day later, the Kawasaki World Superbike squad will take to the track. From then, they pack up ready to fly the teams and equipment to the Southern Hemisphere, ready for the start of the season at Phillip Island. Testing for the MotoGP class resumes on 4th February at Sepang.
Full private testing schedule for the World Superbike class, as announced so far:
Testing at Jerez has wrapped up completely, with the final day once again plagued by heavy rain, cold temperatures and high winds. A slight improvement at the end of the day saw the two MV Agusta World Supersport bikes get a little closer to a normal lap time, though both Lorenzo Zanetti and Jules Cluzel were still 4 seconds slower than they were on Wednesday, when the bikes were out on a dry track. Nothing can be read into the times of the World Superbike riders, however, as neither Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier nor Tom Sykes completed more than ten laps, and most of their track time was focused on starts.
Ducati's MotoGP team were also present on the final day, but no reports of their times will emerge, as they were testing the new Michelin tires. Under the terms agreed by Bridgestone when they announced that they would be withdrawing as single tire supplier to MotoGP, the factories are not allowed to comment on the Michelin tires until next year, when the first full year of testing starts ahead of the switch to Michelin in 2016.
Times from Friday:
Rain hampered the fourth day of the combined World Superbike, MotoGP and Moto2 test at Jerez. The circuit in Southern Spain was hammered by rain, high winds and cold temperatures, rendering the times set far from instructive. While the Ducatis continued to circulate without transponders, Tom Sykes was the fastest of the officially timed riders, though he was lapping over ten seconds slower than in the dry, the day before.
Testing is set to continue on Friday, but rain continues to plague the circuit. The Ducati MotoGP team is set to test Michelins, and due to the contractual situation with current single tire supplier Bridgestone, those times will be kept confidential.
Below are the times set on Thursday: