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Brno MotoGP Round Secures 5-Year Deal, 2016 MotoGP Calendar Becomes Clearer

The future of the MotoGP round at Brno has finally been secured. The regional authorities have stepped in to secure funding for the Czech Grand Prix for the next five years, starting from 2016. A deal has been struck with the Czech Ministry of Education and Sports, the City of Brno, and the Moravian regional government to ensure that the Czech round stays for the foreseeable future.

The round had been in doubt for some time, as haggling over finances between the circuit, the city council and the regional government saw the sanctioning fee go partially unpaid for the past several years. The rights to the round have now been placed with a new and separate organization, run by the various regional and national governments involved, who will organize the round at the Brno circuit. With the financing in place, the race will continue for at least the next five years, and probably beyond.

With a deal for the Brno round now wrapped up, the 2016 MotoGP calendar has taken a step closer to be announced. The order of the races will remain largely unchanged, though the moving of the F1 calendar means that the races are to start earlier. The season will kick off at Qatar as usual, probably on the 20th of March. From there, the paddock heads overseas to Austin and Argentina, before returning to Europe for the remainder of the season. The changes to F1 mean most of the races will be a week earlier than they were last year, though the dates are completely settled.

Brno was part of the summer puzzle which needed to be sorted out before the calendar could be finalized. The Austrian round at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg will be held back-to-back with Brno, the question mark being if and where Indianapolis will fit in. The ball is in Indianapolis Motor Speedway's court, IMS having to decide whether they can afford to host a round of MotoGP next year. That decision will have to be made soon, and will depend to an extent on funding. If Indy returns, there will be an 19-round season, if not, it will remain at 18 rounds.

Bigger changes are expected in 2017, when Thailand is expected to make its debut, along with the possibility of a round in Indonesia. A lot has to happen before that can take place, however. 

Below is the press release announcing the deal with Brno:


MotoGP™ to return to Brno in 2016 and beyond

MotoGP™ rights holder Dorna Sports SL reached a deal with the Czech authorities in order to secure the Czech GP presence on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar for at least the next five years. A joint effort of the Moravian government and the city of Brno will lead to the creation of a new body acting as the promoter of the event and working alongside Dorna Sports towards MotoGP™ return to the iconic Czech venue in 2016 and beyond.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, declared: "The Czech GP is one of the highlights of the Championship as it's been on the calendar for 50 years and as we see this weekend again, it's a very popular event. We are very happy to reach an agreement with the Czech authorities that will ensure the future of the Grand Prix in the Czech Republic for at least the next five years."

Czech ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Katerina Valachova, commented: "We're proud to announce that Brno will host MotoGP again in 2016 and the four following years, thanks to the creation of a new public body involving the Meridional Moravia Government and the City of Brno."

The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held at Brno in 1965, on the original 13.94 km long road circuit. The current circuit was first used for grand prix racing in 1987 and hosted the Czechoslovakian GP through until 1991. Brno did not appear on the calendar for 1992, but the event was revived in 1993 as the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic and has taken place every year since.

Czeching In With Scott Jones: Friday From Brno


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Marc Marquez is determined to stand in his way


The aftermath...


... of this. The oil leak that scuppered Pedrosa's chances at Brno


The Suzuki loves the corners at Brno, hates the hill


You can never be too careful


Forward. Back. For the next three races at least.


Heat plus heavy braking = the need for brake cooling. This is how Ducati does it.


Stefan Bradl has hit the ground running on the Aprilia. Unfortunately, the Italians have already signed Sam Lowes for next year...


Mr Reliable. The Maniac. Cognitive dissonance.


Top satellite rider. Tech 3 say he has a contract waiting for him. Smith says he hasn't seen it. The sooner it is settled, the better


A seemingly innocent crash at Barcelona put Abraham out of action for a long time. A rider's career hangs by a silken thread


Trees, hills, motorcycles. That's Brno


A new motor, a new fairing, a new Desmo Dovi?


Fresh from victory at Suzuka, Pol Espargaro had a disastrous morning and an outstanding afternoon


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The First Piece Of The Puzzle - Pol Espargaro To Remain At Tech 3 Yamaha For 2016

The first part of MotoGP's truncated silly season has fallen into place. As expected, Yamaha today announced that they have extended their deal with Pol Espargaro for another year. Espargaro will race a factory-backed Yamaha M1 with the Monster Tech 3 M1 season in 2016.

The news had been widely trailed, and is a sensible choice for the Spaniard. Though Espargaro is rumored to be taking a significant pay cut for next season, signing a one-year deal puts him in step with the factory riders, whose contracts are all up for renewal at the end of 2016. It means that he will be in a position to take advantage of any openings which arise in a factory squad.

The next move expected is for Bradley Smith to renew with Tech 3. Smith has his contract directly with the team, rather than with Yamaha like Pol Espargaro, and has been stuck in talks with the team for some time now. Current paddock opinion expects a deal to be announced soon, either this weekend or perhaps at Brno.

Below are the press releases issued by both Tech 3 and Yamaha:


Pol Espargaro reconfirmed to remain with Monster Yamaha Tech3 for 2016

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team is delighted to announce that current rider and 2013 Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro will remain with the team for next season aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. The Spanish star will be contracted to Yamaha once again and will ride in Tech3 colours in what will be his third year of MotoGP. Espargaro, who clinched the leading satellite MotoGP bike title in his first season in the premier class, has produced some notable performances including qualifying in second position at the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s home Grand Prix at Le Mans last year. In addition, he has determinedly finished in fifth place twice this season in the fiercely competitive class. Furthermore, the 24 year old further highlighted his potential by storming to the race victory at the legendary Suzuka 8 Hour race as well as setting the pole position time and shattering the lap record. Espargaro will now continue his relentless battle to fight as close as possible to the factory MotoGP bikes for the rest of this year and in 2016.

Pol Espargaro

"I’m happy, because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic. Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season. This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year. However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier. From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals. This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence. Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now."

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"I am obviously more than delighted to announce that Pol Espargaro is going to remain with us for a third year in MotoGP. We have had an incredible two seasons together and for me personally, it is like Pol has been here forever and certainly is a big part of our team. We love him and I really hope that next year he can show his true potential and get as close as possible to the top of the MotoGP World. Now, we hope that we can have a strong second half to 2015 in order to prepare for next season, which will be a key year for him and all of us. It goes without saying that we are very happy and proud that Pol will race in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 colours for one more year.”


Yamaha Announces Continuation of Contract with Pol Espargaró for 2016

Indianapolis (USA), 7th August 2015

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. confirms the extension of its Agreement with MotoGP rider Pol Espargaró for a further 1 year. As a result of this Agreement the 24-year-old will continue his MotoGP career for another year with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

Espargaró joined the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team for his rookie season in the premier class in 2014, following his championship victory in the Moto2 class the year before. He immediately adapted to the MotoGP class achieving sixth position in the championship to claim the accolade of ’Rookie of the Year‘ as well as ’Top Satellite MotoGP Rider‘.

Espargarò currently stands 9th in the 2015 championship.

In addition to the MotoGP program Espargarò recently teamed up with teammate Bradley Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga to win the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance race and give Yamaha its 5th victory in the history of this prestigious event.

Lin Jarvis

Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing

"I am very pleased that Pol will remain with Yamaha for next season. Pol is one of the pool of very talented young riders that will surely have a big future in the MotoGP class in years to come. His 2014 debut season was very strong and he achieved 6th place at the end of the year behind the riders of the Factory Teams. He has faced many difficulties in the first half of 2015 but we are still convinced that he has a big potential and remains one of the most exciting, young talents for the future. With his plans for next season now confirmed he can focus on putting together a strong second half of the 2015 championship with more to come next year."

Pol Espargarò

MotoGP Rider

“I‘m happy because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic. Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season. This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year. However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier. From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals. This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence. Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now.”

Forward Racing To Return At Brno, But Doubts Beyond That

The Forward Racing team have found a temporary lifeline, and will be back in action at Brno. The MotoGP team of Loris Baz and replacement rider Claudio Corti, and Moto2 men Lorenzo Baldassarri and Simone Corsi will be racing in the Czech Republic, as the team have found the finances for that race at least.

Beyond Brno, however, the question marks remain. The press release issued only mentions Brno, and not the races beyond that. However, racing at Brno will buy current team boss Marco Curioni more time to go looking for more sponsors to try to fund the remainder of the season. Racing at Brno will also show the team's commitment to both IRTA and Dorna about their willingness to try to find a solution, and perhaps buy them more breathing space.

Meanwhile, the problems for team owner Giovanni Cuzari continue. Cuzari remains under arrest on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax fraud, along with Ticino tax inspector Libero Galli. In recent days, prosecutor John Noseda, who is investigating the case, has widened his net, arresting Mario Rezzi, the former CFO of Media Action, the company involved in the sponsorship under investigation, and Pier Luigi Corrotto, a former colleague of Cuzari's in the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian police force charged with investigating financial crime. It looks unlikely that Cuzari will be released in the near future.

Below is the press release from Forward Racing:


Forward Racing will get back on track at Brno

We are pleased to announce that Forward Racing will get back on track from the Brno Grand Prix scheduled on August 16th on the Czech circuit.

Following the arrest and the charges against Giovanni Cuzari, director and owner of Forward Racing, we agreed with IRTA - 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.

Thanks to DORNA and IRTA and some partners and sponsors, who despite the objective concerns, they continued to support us – today we are proud to announce that we will get back on track, in both categories, from the bwin Grand Prix České republiky.

In MotoGP Loris Baz will ride the Yamaha Forward alongside his new teammate Claudio Corti, who will replace Stefan Bradl. For the Italian rider this is a return in the premier class of motorcycle racing, after the Sachsenring race in July, where he replaced the injured Stefan Bradl. Corti has already been with Forward in 2010 in Moto2 riding a Suter bike and in 2013 in MotoGP with Colin Edwards riding a FTR-Kawasaki.

In Moto2 we are proud to confirm the Italian duo composed by Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassarri on Kalex.

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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