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Stefan Bradl Released By Forward, Aprilia Signing Imminent?

Stefan Bradl's period of enforced unemployment will be mercifully brief. Today, the Forward Racing team announced they had released him from his contract at his request, as the problems facing the team continue. Free from his contract, Bradl looks set to sign for the Gresini Aprilia squad for the rest of the season, replacing Marco Melandri.

Bradl has been caught up in a whirlwind of events since breaking his scaphoid at Assen. Two weeks later, at the Sachsenring, the German was in talks with the Forward Racing team to extend his contract to race the Open class Yamaha for the 2016 season. The day after the race in Germany, team owner Giovanni Cuzari was arrested on his return home to Ticino, Switzerland, on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. Because of the charges, the Swiss authorities seized the team's computers and financial administration, and froze their bank accounts. The arrest also prompted a number of sponsors to end their contracts, further endangering the future of the team. The team announced that they would not be competing at Indianapolis, and that they could also end up missing Brno.

All this uncertainty prompted Stefan Bradl to press for termination of his contract. The German was keen to find a new seat as quickly as possible, and secure his future in the series. With Aprilia still without a permanent replacement for Marco Melandri, who left the Gresini Aprilia squad after a miserable first eight races, Bradl is in a prime position to step into the the team. Rumors of a move by Bradl to Aprilia have been rumbling almost since the news that Forward were in problems, and have grown in strength in recent days. It now seems certain that Bradl will be stepping onto the Aprilia alongside Alvaro Bautista from Indianapolis onwards. That seat has temporarily been filled by current Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty.

Taking over the second seat at Aprilia also puts Bradl in the best possible position to secure the spot for 2016. Aprilia are known to be looking for a rider to help develop and race their brand new RS-GP due to make its debut next year. There have been rumors linking many names to that seat for 2016, including people such as Sam Lowes, but nothing concrete has so far emerged. Having Bradl on the Aprilia for 2015 puts him in the hot seat for next year.

Though the departure of Bradl will ease the financial burden on the Forward Racing team, it will also make things a little more difficult for them. Bradl was the team's big name rider who was appealing to sponsors. With temporary team boss Marco Curioni involved in searching for sponsors to help fund the remainder of the year, the departure of one of his biggest selling points is a blow. Just how big a blow remains to be seen. 

So far, only Stefan Bradl has been released by the team, while Loris Baz remains under contract for the MotoGP squad, and Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassari are still officially riders for the Moto2 team. Both Corsi and Baldassarri have been looking for options outside the team, but so far, the team has not released them from their contract. Corsi has had contact with the Italtrans squad, who could add the Italian to their current line up of Mika Kallio and Franco Morbidelli. As part of the VR46 riders academy, Baldassarri could be found a Moto2 ride under their umbrella. Nothing concrete has been settled for the two Italian riders yet, though.

Below is the press release from Forward Racing on Bradl:


Agreement reached between Forward Racing and Stefan Bradl

Forward Racing and Stefan Bradl have reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate the contractual obligations between the German rider and the Swiss team.

This difficult decision – the result of an agreement between the parties - has been taken in front of the concrete possibility for the rider to continue his participation in the World Championship and to ensure and protect his sport activity and his interests.

Forward Racing agreed to free him from the next race scheduled on August 9 and wishes Stefan all the best in his future endeavors.

Scott Jones In Saxony: Race Day At The Sachsenring


The return of the king


Jorge Lorenzo put up a brave defense, before having to admit defeat


Tito Rabat found himself being taken out by Franco Morbidelli in the last corner


The aftermath. Morbidelli looks on in disbelief at what he has wrought


Trying too hard? Bradley Smith doesn't think so


The master of Moto3


Behind Danny Kent, the scrap for second is serious


Maverick vs Petrux: there are great battles up and down the field in MotoGP


A long time coming: Belgium had been waiting for 32 years for victory, before Xavier Simeon finally delivered


The sweet taste of victory


Freight train coming


Jorge Lorenzo seized the lead of the MotoGP race with a brilliant move round the outside of Marquez into Turn 2


The GSX-RR Cup


Pol Espargaro follows where his teammate led


Dani Pedrosa stalked....


Then finally passed Valentino Rossi. The Hondas were strong at the Sachsenring


Still leading. And at his age. The hope of old guys everywhere

 

 


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Official: Forward Racing To Miss Indianapolis, Hopeful For Brno

Forward Racing will not be at Indianapolis for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. As was widely expected, the team formally announced today that they lacked the funds to take part in the race. The team is now focused on making it to the following round, at Brno in the Czech Republic. 

The team has been in severe financial difficulty ever since the arrest by the Swiss authorities of team owner Giovanni Cuzari on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. First, the team had all of its assets seized, as they were all in the name of Cuzari. Then, a number of its sponsors, including MotoGP title sponsor Athina, withdrew their support and stopped payment. With no access to existing funds and payment of new funds impossible, it was clear that making it to Indianapolis would be impossible.

Since the arrest of Cuzari, directly after the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring, team managing director, Marco Curioni, and the rest of the back office group have been hard at work trying to resolve the future of the team, both long term and short term. To ease the short-term financial problems, they set up new bank accounts and financial administration with permission from the Lugano prosecutor's office, which had ordered the seizure of existing accounts and admin. They have then been involved in talks with new and existing sponsors, to try to raise the funds needed to keep going until the end of the year. Curioni told Italian website GPOne that the team needed €2 million to make to the end of 2015, a mammoth task.

The long-term future of the team is a much more difficult prospect. The biggest problem facing the team is the contract with Yamaha for the supply of YZR-M1s for the 2016 season. Under normal circumstances, negotiations would be starting around now with Yamaha for the supply of bikes for next season, as the Japanese manufacturer needs a long lead time to ensure the production and supply of the necessary parts. Signing a deal will require financial guarantees being in place, something Forward is currently not in position to give. Until either the team secures a more solid financial footing, or Cuzari is released and acquitted of the charges, such guarantees will be hard to secure.

Curioni was at pains to express his gratitude to Dorna and IRTA. The two organizations behind the running of MotoGP have gone a long way towards helping the team, guaranteeing their grid slots in MotoGP even if they miss both Indy and Brno. IRTA have been working hard to find solutions to the logistical problems facing the team, and Dorna have shown willing to help. But the patience and assistance of both Dorna and IRTA have their limits. If the team cannot show progress towards putting themselves on a firmer financial footing in the next month or so, then IRTA may be forced to revoke the grid slots. It is believed that IRTA are exceptionally reluctant to do that, and view this measure only as the very last resort.

The decision to skip Indianapolis leaves Forward Racing's riders in a difficult situation. Moto2 riders Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassari are perhaps in the best situation, as both have proved capable of scoring solid points in the very tough Moto2 class. Finding another ride for 2016 will be difficult, but not impossible. The situation for MotoGP riders Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz is much more complicated. Bradl has had a very tough year in 2015, having difficulty getting to grips with the Open class electronics, and then breaking his scaphoid in a massive highside caused by the electronics at Assen. Bradl is a long way off his stated aim of winning the Open class this year. The 25-year-old German is being linked to Aprilia, who need a replacement for Marco Melandri for the rest of the season. Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty is currently filling in for Melandri on a race-by-race basis, but as he is also racing in BSB, Aprilia may feel that having a full-time rider who could continue into 2016 may be a better option. Bradl told Speedweek that he will be speaking with his lawyer this week to look at how to proceed. Loris Baz has done well in his first season in MotoGP, but has yet to make a lasting impression. His future in the class may rest more in the hands of current Moto2 leader Johann Zarco. If Zarco moves up to MotoGP, then Dorna will have their fast Frenchman, which would make Baz' services surpus to requirement.

Below is the press release issued by the team:


Forward Racing renounces to Indianapolis trip

In the aftermath of the arrest and the charges against Giovanni Cuzari, director and owner of Forward Racing, the Team, through its closest collaborators, has returned to work immediately to stem the possible consequences of this situation, in order to continue its sport activity and to end the current season, following also the desire of Giovanni.

Unfortunately, the reaction of the sponsors, the main source of income of an independent team, was immediate and resolute. Inevitably some of them canceled the existing contracts and interrupted payments, creating further financial troubles that could jeopardize completely the surviving of the Team.

The activity of these last days was therefore focused on rebuilding sponsor relationships, the Team was able to reach a consensus to regain some vital economic aid to cover the costs of the upcoming races. New processes of collection and payment were activated, the economic admin was rebuilt and new operational modalities were agreed with the Public Prosecutor of Lugano (Procura di Lugano).

The concrete possibility to start again and the hope to protect the interests of our riders, engineers, contractors and suppliers, led us to agree with IRTA, the International Racing Teams Association, not to deploy our riders at the start of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix ​​on August 9th, in order to gather all the resources and to better organize the upcoming trips.

This painful decision was necessary in order to try to ensure our participation to the World Championship until the end of the season. The work of the team will continue with the aim to get back on track at Brno for the bwin Grand Prix České republiky scheduled on August 16th.

Davide Giugliano To Miss Remainder Of 2015 World Superbike Season

2015 has not been kind to Davide Giugliano. The factory Ducati rider was already forced to miss the first four rounds of the season after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae in testing crash at Phillip Island, a week before the season began. Now he will be forced to miss the remainder of the season, after scans revealed a fracture of the thoracic vertebra D3, sustained in a crash at Laguna Seca.

Giugliano crashed during race 2 at Laguna Seca, cartwheeling spectacularly through the gravel at Turn 6 when a few spots of rain started to fall at the circuit. Though he was initially only diagnosed with some heavy bruising, upon his return to Italy, the Aruba.it Ducati man decided to have another scan, in part to ensure that no further damage had been done to the vertebrae he injured back in February. The scan turned up a fracture of a different vertebra, however, and Giugliano was told that the recovery period would be three months. That effectively put an end to his 2015 season, ruling him out of the remainder of the races.

With the Malaysian round of WSBK due to take place on 2nd August, there was not sufficient time to find a replacement for Giugliano. At the following round, on 20th September at Jerez, official Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will take the Italian's place. No decision has been taken on Giugliano's replacement at the final two rounds of the year, at Magny-Cours and Qatar, but as they are both in October, there is time for Ducati to choose a rider.

Below is the official press release on Giugliano's injury:


Davide Giugliano is forced to interrupt his 2015 SBK season

  • Further radiology tests reveal that Davide Giugliano has fractured the D3 vertebra
  • The official Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team rider will not be substituted for the Malaysian round at Sepang
  • Michele Pirro to ride the Panigale R at the eleventh SBK round at Jerez de la Frontera

Arezzo/Bologna (Italy), Friday 24 July 2015: A series of comprehensive and specialist medical checks have, unfortunately, revealed a fracture of the D3 vertebra for Davide Giugliano. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team rider, the victim of a crash in the second race of the American round at Laguna Seca, is therefore forced to interrupt his 2015 racing season, given the doctors’ prognosis of three months recovery time.

The fracture, not visible in the initial examination that took place at the racetrack, was a consequence of the crash that took place during race 2 on Sunday 19 July at Laguna Seca. Davide Giugliano was immediately examined by local doctors who also carried out a radiography of his spine but no serious injuries were identified, except for contusions to the left foot and right knee. Given the nature of the crash and the previous accident at Phillip Island – in which the rider suffered fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae, missing the first four rounds as a result – the rider, together with the Team, decided to undergo more in-depth tests on his return from the USA. Unfortunately the MRI and CAT scans carried out on Thursday 23 July have revealed a fracture of the D3 vertebra. The fracture will prevent Giugliano from riding his bike for three months, which means he will be unable to race for the remainder of the 2015 championship.

The Italian squad will not replace Davide for the upcoming event taking place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on 2 August, but has decided to entrust the second Panigale R to Michele Pirro, already a frontrunner when he participated as a wildcard at the Misano SBK round, for the following round, scheduled to take place at the Spanish track of Jerez de la Frontera on 20 September.

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team wishes Davide a speedy recovery.

Davide Giugliano

“I am of course extremely disappointed right now… Clearly 2015 was not my season. There is no point grieving over it anyway, that’s that and the important thing is that once again the trauma will not result in any long-term damage. It will take a bit more time, but I hope to recover quickly and be back riding my Panigale soon.”

Forward Racing: Solutions Being Sought For Indianapolis And Beyond - Updated

Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari remains under arrest in Lugano, Switzerland, and the team remain in doubt whether they will be able to participate in the next MotoGP round, scheduled for Indianapolis on 9th August. The biggest problem the team faces is that their bank accounts have been frozen, as part of the ongoing investigation into tax evasion, fraud and corruption which Cuzari and Libero Galli have been charged with by the Swiss authorities. The Open class Yamaha M1s and equipment belonging to the team is already in Indianapolis, having been flown there by IRTA after the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring. But without access to money to be able to pay for flights, hotels, car rental and all of the other sundry expenses which are necessary to allow a MotoGP team to actually go racing.

Forward Racing team manager Marco Curioni has called on the series organizers to help them make the race at Indy. MotoMatters.com has learned that the series organizers are working behind the scenes to try to allow Forward Racing to race at Indy. Both Dorna and IRTA recognize that the team finds themselves in a difficult situation not entirely of their own making. Although only the team owner has been arrested, this has had a much greater effect than if any other individual member of the team had been arrested. The team's accounts are frozen because they are in Cuzari's name, rather than because of anything the team as a whole is suspected of being involved with.

Marco Curioni has appealed to IRTA to cover their costs for Indianapolis, to allow the team to compete there, but that is not within the purview of the organization. Dorna, as series organizer, holds the funds to make such a decision, but MotoGP's rights holders are always afraid of setting a precedent for situations which may be much less exceptional than this. Forward are engaged with talking with sponsors about finding short-term solutions to allow them to continue until the situation has been resolved, or at least alleviated.

In theory, if Forward do not race at Indianapolis, they would be in breach of their contract and could have their grid slots taken away from them. That, however, will not happen, the series organizers showing the team clemency. The team have been assured that there grid slots are safe should they miss Indianapolis, Brno, or both. At the moment, the series organizers are proceeding in the expectation that Forward will be at Indy. The team is expected to make a decision on participation some time next week.

What this means for the rest of the season and for 2016 is unclear. The Forward Racing team is regarded as competent, the team having shown its potential last year with Aleix Espargaro. Nobody in the paddock wants to see the 40-odd team members, including riders, mechanics, hospitality staff, truck drivers and more, left high and dry before the end of the season. Forward have two realistic options: try to persuade their sponsors to stay on board for the rest of the year, or pass on their grid slots to another team for the remainder of 2015 and beyond. Lasting out the rest of the sason may be possible if the team gets access to the funds they already have, but having another team take their slots is unlikely, at least for this season. There are teams interested in moving up to MotoGP - the Pons Moto2 team is one, and Marc VDS is interested in taking a second slot in MotoGP - who may be willing to take over the grid slots for 2016.

What makes Forward's grid slots attractive to other teams is the fact that they are currently eligible for payment of travel allowance and free tires for both this year and next. With only 22 teams guaranteed subsidy next year, a newcomer would not receive such funds. Buying the slots of an existing team would change that, and with those slots worth roughly €1.4 million per rider, they are an attractive proposition indeed. With those grid slots as a bargaining chip, Forward Racing have a stronger position with interested teams, at least in the short term.


UPDATE

Speedweek, the German language website run by Stefan Bradl's manager, and consequently well-placed to comment, are reporting that Forward Racing will not be heading to Indy after all. Instead, they are trying to raise the funds to race at Brno, but with the team reportedly facing a backlog of payments of between €1.5 and €2 million, that may prove difficult to achieve.

At Home With Scott Jones - Laguna Seca World Superbike Race Day


Unstoppable. No one could stand in Chaz Davies' way at Laguna


Kawasaki introduced a new sport to Laguna Seca: Synchronized sliding


California has been suffering one the worst droughts in its history. Instant cure? Hold a motorcycle race!


Davide Giugliano proudly wears the #34. Good job it hasn't been retired in WSBK


The last time the pack saw which way Chaz Davies went


Ayrton Badovini hasn't been able to make the BMW fly this year


That #1 would look a hell of a lot better without the headlight stickers


There has been plenty of discussion over the Ducati's new exhaust. Silhouette has some shadowy interpretations


Niccolo Canepa has stepped in for Nico Terol and done well


Turn 2 proved tough to get through for quite a few WSBK men


Twice Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea went all the way to the line. Twice Sykes beat his teammate


Rain flags waved in race 2, but the rain never really settled in


It's been a long year for Randy De Puniet


Leon Camier has ridden just about every racing motorcycle known to engineering. A good fit on the MV Agusta


When we said we loved California skies, we meant the blue ones. Can we send these back?


The face of the future. Can Honda keep Michael van der Mark?


Take only memories, leave only footprints. Well, tire marks...


Some of the best battles at Laguna were in the middle of the pack


Take it to the bridge


The Corkscrew. Not Laguna's best corner, but it's most famous

 


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At Home With Scott Jones - Laguna Seca World Superbike Practice


Jonathan Rea, the leader of the WSBK pack


The Man Who Would Be Schwantz - Davide Giugliano


Aprilia's X Fighter


Alex Lowes is pushing the Suzuki GSX-R1000 about as far as it can go. Fortunately, there's a new bike due out next year


Van der Mark needs all of his magic at Laguna


WSBK's biggest surprise package: Jordi Torres


"The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will," as Aleister Crowley would put it


His Chazness, King of Laguna Superpole


Leon Camier, journeyman racer, has done well on the MV this year. Despite the MV.


Ron and Randy, racing royalty


Eat your heart out, Guy Martin


Tom Sykes has done everything in his power to try to beat his new teammate


The champ ponders his predicament


Whatever the opposite is of taking it easy, Chaz Davies did it


Fast and smooth does the trick


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

Misano Test Day 2 - Riders Suffer In Sweltering Heat

The second day of the Misano test took place under punishing heat, with temperatures rising to 37° and track temperatures of over 60°C. Despite the heat, times continued to drop as Suzuki, Honda and Ducati all worked further on improving their race set ups.

At Honda, both Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez tried the 2016 Honda RC213V, giving the bike its first run out ahead of next year. The aim of the test was to check the direction which development of the bike was taking. That, Marc Marquez said, was the wrong direction, but that is in itself useful information. Marquez also worked on a setting at the front end of the bike, which improved his feeling. The problems with braking remain, but are much improved. Marquez also crashed towards the end of the day, but it was a relatively harmless crash, which happened because he was pushing just a little too hard on exceptionally hot tarmac. For Dani Pedrosa, the work concentrated once again on finding a base set up, and a direction to pursue for the rest of the season. That had been a success, Pedrosa judged.

At Ducati, the two Andreas were also working on figuring out a base set up. Andrea Dovizioso was sanguine about the work of the past two days, saying they had not made huge progress, but had gathered a lot of data. They were definitely faster than the first part of the season, but there was still much work to do. Corner entry is the area which still needs work, according to Dovizioso. Teammate Andrea Iannone had his test cut short. The Italian was suffering with severe pain in the shoulder, the result of an earlier testing crash at Mugello back in May. Iannone will require surgery to fix the problem at the end of the year, but is engaged in an ongoing battle with his doctor, who wants him to have surgery to fix the problem sooner rather than later.

At Suzuki, the work was all on set up and geometry, with both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales pleased with what they had achieved. Espargaro was especially happy, having made progress with the bike to improve front grip, as well as working on traction control strategies. Both riders had improved their times, and felt their pace was much more consistent.

The teams all stay on for one more day, to test the Michelins ahead of next season. As with all Michelin tests this year, they are completely private affairs, with riders not allowed to talk to the press about them. After that, they all head off for a well-deserved rest and summer break.

Times from day 2:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:32.00    
2 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP15 1:32.50 0.50 0.50
3 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:32.66 0.66 0.16
4 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.70 0.70 0.04
5 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP15 1:32.70 0.70 0.00
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.80 0.80 0.10

Press releases from the teams appear below:


Repsol Honda resume testing in sweltering Italy

Today Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa continued their mid-season testing under incredibly hot conditions at the Misano circuit, Italy.

Both riders spend more time on the current 2015 RC213V Honda, to improve their base setup and also tested the new 2016 prototype machine, reporting positively. Marc completed a total of 86 laps with a best time of 1’32.00. Dani did 71 laps with his best time of 1’32.66.

Tomorrow is the final day of testing and both riders will focus on the 2016 tyre manufacturer.

Marc Marquez
1’32.00 [86 laps]

"I’m happy with these past two days, we have done a great job on the setup and now I feel more comfortable. Especially this morning when the temperature was a little bit lower we were able to find something that has improved my feeling and now we will have to see if this will work also in the coming circuits. I also tried the 2016 prototype finding something good, but we will test it again tomorrow with next year’s tyres to give the HRC engineers more data to work with. In the afternoon the track temperature was really too hot, but I am happy with the pace I was able to keep even in these circumstances. A big thanks to HRC and my team for the great job done! Tomorrow one more tough day and then we will deserve some days off!"

Dani Pedrosa
1’32.66 [71 laps]

"It’s been two hard but productive days of testing. We are happy as we have been able to work a lot on the current bike to find a setup that can be a good base for the coming GPs. It has been a very hard job as the temperature was really hot but I am happy. I also did a couple of exits with the prototype of the 2016 bike. It was important to give to the engineers some feedback about the direction we are heading. Tomorrow we will test it again with 2016 tyres as this bike will have to work on them!"


Ducati Team conclude two days of testing at Misano

Two days of private testing organized by the Ducati Team at the Misano World Circuit concluded today. In truly sweltering conditions (track 61°C/air 36°C), the two Ducati factory riders were mainly able to devote themselves to a back-to-back comparison of a variety of different set-up solutions.

Dovizioso stayed out on track until the end of the afternoon session, notching up a total of 132 laps in two days, while Iannone’s day was brought to an end at lunchtime due to a flaring up again of the pain in his left shoulder, which he injured during pre-race testing at Mugello.

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro was also present at Misano, and he continued his regular development work, focussing mainly on electronics.

Last Sunday’s race at the Sachsenring and this test conclude the first part of the 2015 season and the Ducati Team will next be back on track from 7 to 9 August at Indianapolis for the second race this year on US soil.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – best time 1’32.5 (total 132 laps)

“These two days of testing at Misano have been really useful, because we were able to do the set-up testing work that we were interested in. During race weekends, we never have the right amount of time to devote ourselves to this. We worked on fine-tuning, both the electronics and the set-up, and our pace is not bad at all: my quickest lap I did this morning with a used tyre, but in the afternoon it was really very hot and we didn’t try to improve our times, and even avoided using the soft tyres.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – best time 1’32.7 (total 101 laps)

“In one and a half days of testing, we only used a total of three tyres, all hard compound, and even this morning I never used soft tyres. Despite this we improved our pace over yesterday by more than half a second. This is important for us and I am pleased with how we went. I’m just disappointed I had to finish the test early, but unfortunately from this morning onwards my shoulder was hurting really bad and I was unable to lap quickly or push hard. Today however I had some good sensations on the bike, we did a good job and picked up a lot of important information for the future.”


POSITIVE TEST FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR IN MISANO

Team Suzuki Press Office – July 16.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has completed two days of intense testing at Misano in Italy today with positive results and crucial data aquired in the intense heat that reached 56°C on track.

Aleix Espargarò and Maverick Viñales continued the development of their Suzuki GSX-RRs and their engineers had the chance to verify all the information collected to date, and along with the progress made so far, it is going in the right direction, they believe.

At the same time both Spaniards tried new settngs and set-ups that will be put into action at future races this season; in particular Misano in September. The chassis set-up and electronics are the two main areas on which the team focused; trying several variations aimed at providing better traction and a better power delivery.

The other important job done by Espargarò and Viñales was to prepare for the race here in Misano later this year: The circuit has been laid with a new surface in recent months and the grip-level is notably increased; therefore it was important to take new points of reference for future base set-ups of their GSX-RRs.

Satoru Terada – Project Leader:

“This test has been very important to us, it allowed us to try all the things that we usually cannot try in the race weekend and it gave us some very important information. We focused mainly on finding a better way of approaching the chassis set-up, to find better traction. Both the riders improved their feelings with the bike and this is positive. To have more information is crucial for us and we also managed to finalise more options that we can exploit to find the base set-up in every race from here on. We also tried some improvements in electronics to improve the feeling with the power delivery and it gave positive results. We now have clearer ideas on where our main potential is and which are the areas that we can exploit most. We will try to take benefit from this for the second half of the season.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“One of the positives of this test is that both riders can now go on vacation with a positive mood and feeling: They both worked very hard in this heat and they both found a new feeling with their machines. It was important for us to take a break and analyse exactly where we are at the half-way point in the season, since we lacked some data that we needed time to dedicate away from a racing weekend to better understand where we are and where we can go. To have further options for the overall set-up and electronics is crucial for the development and on this matter we made a huge step forward.”

Maverick Viñales:
Day 1 – Laps; 82; best: 1'33.2
Day 2 – Laps; 84; best: 1'32.7

“I have the feeling that this test has been very useful for us, we understand better where we can improve and we have worked to prepare for the forthcoming races. I did many laps in a sort of race configuration with a full tank and dedicated set-up, and I felt better –and-better on every run. At the beginning I had a bad feeling with traction on the exit but also had trouble with being fast on the entrance into slow corners. We applied many improvements to the chassis and they gave positive results. Now we have many options that we already know can be useful or be adapted to every single circuit. For the feeling that I have now I wish Indy was next week, because with these improvements I feel very comfortable on my machine, but we also need some time to take a rest and – most importantly – to review all the data and consolidate our information."

Aleix Espargarò:
Day 1 – Laps; 69; best: 1'33.2
Day 2 – Laps; 52; best: 1'32.8

“The extremely hot weather conditions made this testing very hard, but I'm very happy for what we achieved. After Sachsenring it was important to get back some feeling with the front, especially in slow corners, and we could finally test several set-up configurations that at the end gave me very positive feelings. We have also improved with the electronics and worked in race configuration, verifying the consistency of performance with hard tyres, even though we didn't make any long runs or race simulations. The machine is reacting very well, the feeling I have is positive and the most important thing is that we could find different ways to approach the future races and set-up situations. This is important for a new team as we are. Now we switch off the mind for a while and enjoy a little break, but to be honest I'm looking forward to starting racing again because I feel the need to recover from the bad performance in Sachsenring.”


Forward Racing Boss Cuzari Arrested On Corruption And Fraud Charges - Team Faces Uncertain Future

The Forward Racing team faces an uncertain future. On his return from the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring, Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari was arrested by the Swiss authorities on charges of suspected corruption of a public official, and money laundering through sponsorship activities. Cuzari remains under arrest, and is expected to face a hearing on Friday or Saturday. That hearing will determine whether Cuzari will be released, or will have to remain under arrest while the investigation continues.

At the heart of the case are allegations that the head of the Ticino tax inspectorate, Libero Galli, accepted bribes in return for special treatment by the Swiss tax authorities. Libero is charged with abuse of authority, passive corruption and improper application of fiscal regulations. Galli is alleged to have received payments from Giovanni Cuzari in return for special treatment of sponsorship income of Media Action, the company owned and operated by Cuzari which manages the sponsorship money of Forward Racing. Both men have been arrested, and assets and bank accounts have been frozen, as the investigation continues.

Cuzari denies the charges, though he does not deny contact with Galli. According to the local paper Il Corriere Del Ticino, Cuzari claims only to have paid for a couple of lunches with Galli, a dinner at an event, and having invited Galli to a Grand Prix. The regional police in charge of tax fraud have frozen a range of assets to allow them to investigate this thoroughly, and are searching for cash or other asset flows which indicate collusion between the two. To that end, large amounts of documentation have been removed from the offices of both Media Action, Cuzari's company, and the home of Galli.

Cuzari remains in detention, and will appear before magistrates either on Friday or Saturday, to determine whether he will remain in preventitive detention or be released while the investigation continues. Even if Cuzari is released, that could cause problems for Forward, as the funds of the team have also been seized, and Cuzari is the only person authorized to dispense them. Without access to funds, the team will not be able to fly to Indianapolis and compete. The news that Cuzari has been arrested has also caused a number of the team's sponsors to reconsider their association with the team, putting further pressure on budgets. According to Speedweek, the German language website run by the manager of Forward Racing's MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl, neither riders, engineers, nor mechanics know yet if they will be heading to Indy in early August.

The news that Cuzari has been arrested does not come as a complete surprise within the paddock. Cuzari is no stranger to financial conflict, having been embroiled with chassis builder FTR early last year. Cuzari denied having failed to pay FTR at the time, though he switched to using independent chassis designer Mark Taylor later that year. Riders, too, have complained of not being paid by the Forward Racing boss. One rider would only comment off the record, saying that they were certain of being paid, but had taken recourse to legal action to ensure it. Aleix Espargaro had also not received full payment for his year at Forward until a week before Mugello this year, Espargaro's manager Albert Valera confirming to MotoMatters.com that Cuzari had only paid the salary owed at the end of May. A verbal agreement to pay Espargaro a bonus had not been honored, Valera added, though Cuzari was entitled not to pay it according to the letter of the contract between Espargaro and Forward Racing. One of the conditions that Yamaha had set out for supplying Forward Racing with bikes for the Open class was that they would be paid in full in advance for the equipment.

Misano Test Day 1 - Honda, Suzuki And Ducati Praise New Surface

While Yamaha and Aprilia's factory riders have already departed for a much needed vacation, the factory Honda, Suzuki and Ducati teams began three days of testing at Misano on Wednesday. Each of the three factories has their own area to work on ahead of the summer break, in preparation for the second half of the season, which resumes three weeks from now in Indianapolis.

Honda have a new motorcycle to try, though neither Marc Marquez nor Dani Pedrosa tried the 2016 version of the RC213V on Wednesday. That will have to wait until tomorrow, when both riders will get their first taste of next year's bike. The 2016 bike did hit the track today, in the hands of HRC test Hiroshi Aoyama. Calling it the 2016 bike is perhaps a misnomer. According to HRC team principal Livio Suppo, the bike consists of a new chassis, housing the 2015 engine. Changing one variable at a time was part of the strategy, Suppo told GPOne.com's Matteo Aglio. Using just the chassis and the 2015 engine meant they could make sure the chassis is a step in the right direction, before using the 2016 engine to make sure.

Testing the 2016 engine is a difficult proposition anyway. With the software for the current year frozen, work has only just begun on the 2016 spec software, which is expected to be a major step forward from the software currently being used by the Open teams in MotoGP. With software having such a massive effect on bike behavior and dynamics, using Honda's own software on the 2016 engine makes little sense.

While the 2016 bike awaits, Marquez and Pedrosa were focused on the rest of the season. For Pedrosa, the main objective was to make up for the time he lost during his absence after surgery. The team have been working on a base set up for Pedrosa to use for the remainder of the season. Primary focus was on the balance of the bike, and improving both corner exit and corner entry.

For Marquez, the main aim was to continue the improvements they made at Barcelona, Assen and Sachsenring. Misano is a good track to test the area the current version of the RC213V is struggling with most, hard braking and entry into corners where approach speed is high. They made a small step on Wednesday, and a direction they hope to pursue tomorrow. Part of that came from modiflying Marquez' riding position slightly, and in some changes to bike geometry. Both Marquez and Pedrosa were fast, and under the existing lap record: Honda reported Marquez as having posted a best lap of 1'32.31, Pedrosa as posting a 1'32.76. The existing pole record is 1'32.915, held by Marc Marquez.

At Suzuki, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales can still only dream of more horsepower and a seamless gearbox, their two biggest problems. At Misano, they were left to work on bike set up, mainly. Aleix Espargaro and his crew found improvements in front end feeling, a major issue at the Sachsenring. After the race in Germany, Espargaro had also named improving turning performance in the tighter corners, of which Misano also has its fair share.

Maverick Viñales, who has made an exceptionally impressive debut in MotoGP aboard the Suzuki, was concentrating on the other end of the GSX-RR. He and his team worked on improving the rear of the bike, which had been chattering badly in recent races. To that end, Viñales spent a good deal of time on a full fuel tank, which can exacerbate the problems at the start of a race. The two Suzuki men were credited with very similar lap times, Espargaro lapping in 1'33.2, Viñales in 1'33.17.

Set up was absolutely the main focus at Ducati. The GP15 first hit the track in February of this year, a completely new bike built from the ground up, and so both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone have been lacking a base set up. The two Italians were working on exactly this on Wednesday, running through a major program of set up changes in pursuit of data. The work they were doing was 'fundamental', Dovizioso told GPOne.com, aimed at understanding and analyzing the effect of set up changes on the bike and using that to find the direction they need to work in.

The work for Andrea Iannone was much the same. They had not tested any of the minor upgrades on Wednesday which Ducati had brought to the track. Instead, they had worked on set up, collecting data on various chassis changes in pursuit of future improvement. Neither Andrea was particularly satisfied with the time they posted, though they both emphasized that they were not chasing lap times, but doing longer runs of five or six laps with a specific set up. Dovizioso was reported as having clocked a 1'32.8, Iannone a 1'33.4. Also present was Danilo Petrucci, trying the GP14.2 of his teammate Yonny Hernandez. It was less difficult to ride fast, Petrucci said, the Italian setting a time of 1'33.4.

All of the riders were impressed by the newly resurfaced Misano, carried out by Studio Dromo, the company led by Jarno Zafelli, the man behind the layout of the Argentinian circuit at Termas de Rio Hondo. "The new asphalt is spectacular," Aleix Espargaro said. Marc Marquez concurred, describing the new surface as "excellent," and lapping very fast despite track temperatures of around 56°C. The new surface was so good that it actually made comparisons with data from last year very difficult. 

Below is the press release issued by the Repsol Honda team after testing on Wednesday:


Marquez and Pedrosa commence testing schedule in Italy

Fresh from their 1-2 finish in Germany last Sunday, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were back on track today in Misano, Italy to begin their 3-day test.

This first day was spent reacquainting themselves with the circuit and its new tarmac, and adapting their setups to suit this track. Both reported positively and that the track is faster than it was previously.

Tomorrow Marc and Dani will test the new 2016 prototype before spending Friday testing with the new 2016 tyre supplier.

Marc Marquez

1’32’.31 [84 laps]

"Today was a positive day. We have been working to adapt the setting to the new tarmac, that is very good by the way, and also on checking some different things for the riding position on the bike. In the afternoon we focused more on the setup of the bike as this is a good circuit to work on the issue we have of sliding with the rear entering some corner. We found something good but tomorrow we have to continue working on this area as I’m still not 100% happy. We will also test the 2016 prototype HRC have brought here."

Dani Pedrosa

1’32.76 [63 laps]

"The new surface is very good and much fewer bumps than before and I am happy with it - they have done a good job. It is very positive to have few days testing in this part of the season, trying to find a ‘base setup’ that can work everywhere as due to my injury that forced me to stop for 3 GPs, we still have some work to do comparing with a normal season. When we are here for the race the temperature won’t be so high and for sure the lap times will be better. I’m happy with the work done today and looking forward to check the new prototype tomorrow!"

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