Jonathan Rea has ended the Barcelona WorldSBK test at the top of the timesheets, after a battle of wills with Ducati's Scott Redding. The pair chased each other to impressive heights during the morning session, throwing new tires at fast times until Redding decided that focusing on used tires was a more productive use of his time than continuing to chase Rea's fast time. "It was fun, it was spicing up the day, but I said, OK, one of us is going to end up with a big crash, because we keep going faster and faster and faster!" Redding commented afterwards.
Silly Season in MotoGP just seems to be getting wilder. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Neil Morrison and Steve English get together to discuss the newest round of rumors on who goes where, in both MotoGP and WorldSBK.
Steve and Neil first take a deep dive into the growing rumors that Cal Crutchlow could join Aprilia for 2021. They discuss the situation at Honda, why Crutchlow would leave LCR rather than Takaaki Nakagami, why Crutchlow would consider taking the ride at Aprilia, and what to expect at Aprilia.
Testing is underway again for the WorldSBK series, with the main protagonists assembled at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona. Scott Redding ended the day as fastest, the Aruba.it Ducati rider getting up to speed quickly again, finishing nearly two tenths faster than reigning champion Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki.
The Grand Prix of the Americas will not happen in 2020. Today, in a post on social media which has since been deleted, the Circuit of The Americas announced that the Austin round of MotoGP had been canceled, and a date set for the 2021 edition, to be held on April 18th.
The news hardly comes as a surprise, given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas, and the growth in cases in the US in general. That has prompted the EU countries to put the US on a list of countries from which all non-essential travel is still banned, with no sign of that being lifted.
Five years ago, on July 5th, 2015, at the Motorland Aragon circuit, reigning Spanish Superbike champion Kenny Noyes was getting ready for that weekend's round of the CEV Spanish Superbike championship. The American, son of veteran US journalist Dennis Noyes, and former Moto2 rider, had work to do to cut his deficit in the standings to current leader Carmelo Morales.
Noyes would not get a chance to close the gap. During the Sunday morning warm up session, the Kawasaki rider crashed. It was a bad crash. Very bad. So bad, in fact, that Noyes was left in a coma, and taken to hospital with suspected severe brain trauma.
In hospital, his coma was assessed as being very bad. His score on the Glasgow Coma Scale was 3, the lowest possible score, and the most severe condition of unresponsiveness which is only distinguished from death by basic functions of lung and heart. After a long coma, and then a long period of what is called "minimal consciousness" which is basically a vegetative state, Noyes began moving up the scale.
The American is dogged and persistent, however. As his condition improved, he sunk his teeth into rehabilitation with the determination you would expect of a motorcycle racing champion. Now, after five years, he is walking unassisted with difficulty, speaking with difficulty, but with cognitive functions and memory restored.
It is a truly astonishing turnaround for Kenny Noyes. In the days after the crash, his family were preparing to accept that he would not make it. Now, five years later, he continues to make progress towards an amazing recovery. The fight goes on working with expensive therapies and therapists in Barcelona.
One of the many good things about being a MotoGP rider is that you get offered a lot of free stuff. Take a careful look at the social media feed of any rider and you will see stickers and logos on display, discretely or blatantly, on all sorts of items: caps, sunglasses, t-shirts, jeans, jackets, bicycles, underwear, motorcycles, leathers, MX gear, helmets. You name it, and some brand or other will have given it to a rider to show off on their social media.
As racing draws near, the rider market is starting to pick up, with KTM announcing their entire rider line up, and Michael van der Mark moving from Yamaha to BMW in WorldSBK. So the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Neil Morrison, Steve English, and David Emmett debate exactly what has been going on, and how.
First of all, we take a deep dive into the situation at KTM. Was Petrucci the right choice, and how will he feel about taking a seat in a satellite team. We look at the alternatives, and how KTM's system is producing homegrown talent. Then we examine the Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi situations. Why haven't they signed yet, and when can we expect an announcement?
Two unnamed riders have been caught infringing the Grand Prix testing and practice regulations. In a press release issued today, the FIM announced that breaches of the rules had been reported, which would be investigated during hearings to be held at the (re)opening of MotoGP at Jerez, on July 19th.
Though neither the names nor the specific infraction were mentioned in the press release, the wording of the announcement makes clear that the incident involves either Moto2 or Moto3 riders, and that they are accused of having used bikes which were not eligible to be used for training.
Since circuits opened again, and training restarted, riders have flocked to tracks all over the world to get back the feeling of speed. They have taken every opportunity to ride at tracks like Barcelona, Misano, and Jerez, to prepare for the restarting of a packed schedule.
BMW today announced that they have signed Michael van der Mark for the 2021 WorldSBK season.
The WorldSBK rumour mill spun into action by the news that Michael van der Mark would leave Yamaha at the end of this season. The Dutchman has enjoyed a very successful three seasons with the Crescent Racing-run operation, and there’s little to suggest that he won’t be winning races this year.
The news was first broken by Speedweek, with Ivo Schutzbach reporting that Van der Mark would switch to BMW. The website has always had their finger on the pulse of what’s happening at BMW, so it would be little surprise if this rumour turns into fact very soon. The news, though, is still a surprise.
How did it all come to this?
Van der Mark and Yamaha had seemed like a perfect match for much of their time together. The 2014 Supersport World Champion arrived and formed one of the strongest line-ups in WorldSBK when he was paired with Alex Lowes. There was little friction between the two, and their relationship grew into one of great respect and, as much as is possible in racing, friendship.