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Michelin Test At Sepang - Secrecy Prevails But Times Suggest Work To Be Done

Though the riders competing in the 2015 MotoGP championship have all departed, the factories stayed on at Sepang for another day of testing. For the fourth day of the first Sepang MotoGP test was designated as a test day for Michelin, who are due to take over as official tire supplier from 2016.

The legal complications of the change from Bridgestone to Michelin mean that the tire test is shrouded in confidentiality, rather than secrecy. This test features only the test riders, all of whom have been barred from talking to the press about the tires. Times were not recorded, and definitely not released, though a handful of hardy journalists stood at trackside with handheld stopwatches (or smartphones) and tried to time riders that way. The secrecy is understandable: Michelin are at a very early stage of their development, and Bridgestone are paying Dorna a hefty sum to be official tire supplier, and want to reap the marketing benefits that should bring. 

Yet there were things to be learned from the Michelin test at Sepang today. Unofficial timing from people at the track suggests that riders were lapping somewhere between 1 and 2 seconds slower than they were on Bridgestones. Hiroshi Aoyama was the best benchmark, having ridden throughout the previous three days on a Bridgestone-shod Honda RC213V factory bike. His pace suggest that he is a little over a second a lap slower on the Michelins than on the Bridgestones. Given the newness of the project, and how much data and development Bridgestone have, Michelin appear to have done a pretty good job.

More worrying were the number of crashes at the test. Riders on Hondas, Yamahas and Suzukis all went down hard at Turn 5, the fast left hander at the back of the circuit. Michelin had told the teams to take it easy through that corner, but the riders still went down. The problem appears to have been the front tire in that section, which was wanting to tuck through the corner.

The purpose of the test is to narrow down the selection of tires to bring to the next test at Sepang, when the official riders will get their chance to try the tires. Michelin manager Piero Taramasso told a group of reporters that they had brought seven different front tires and five different rear tires, with the objective of whittling that down to three fronts and three rears for the factory riders to use at the second Sepang test. The feedback from the factory riders will then help define the direction which Michelin will follow for their further development. The basic construction of the tires - casing, compounds, profiles - will be finalized in July. For 2016, Michelin hope to bring three different compounds front and rear for each rider to use at each Grand Prix.

2015 MotoGP Sepang 1 Test Gallery - Poorly Framed And Out Of Focus Photos From Day 1


The biggest change on the 2015 Honda RC213V, the rear subframe mount points


Yamaha's exhaust is slightly different to the one trialed in Valencia. Looks good, sounds fantastic


Matteo Flamigni and his magical laptop


Suzuki have brought a new exhaust system, which is shorter


Suzuki's frame is very slim above the swingarm pivot


The Ducati GP14.3 - A number of small but subtle differences


The GP14.3, a closer look. The most visible change is a narrower waist around the seat, the chassis curving inward as it rises


Just visible, if you look closely, the curve of the upper part of the chassis


The geometry has changed a little too. The front forks are barely poking through the top yokes on the new bike, less than the old


For comparison, here is Danilo Petrucci's Pramac GP14. He has 6+cm of fork through the top yoke


That puts the bike very much on its nose


The Aprilia is the most changed bike since Valencia. New chassis, revised engine. It looks more like a prototype now


No seamless gearbox yet, though. That is likely to come later in the year


It is a good-looking machine. This is test rider Michael Laverty's bike


A wet clutch is something of an oddity on a racing motorcycle


The Aprilia, unclothed


Tech 3's new exhaust sponsor means that they cannot follow the design of the factory bike


Ohlins goodies for Pol


The #25 bike awaits Maverick


Suzuki's 4-2-1 exhaust


The rear end of the Honda RC213V is very special indeed


Serpentine elegance


Attention to detail: the onboard camera and rain lights are both enclosed in bodywork on the factory Hondas


The Open Honda looks almost cheap by comparison


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Photo Gallery: Up Close With The 2015 Repsol Honda RC213V


The close-up photos of the 2015 Honda RC213V speak for themselves. Look closely at the fit and finish, and marvel at a piece of precision engineering


Note the analog rev counter on Dani Pedrosa's dashboard


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2015 Moto2 Provisional Entry List Updated - 23 Kalexes, 2 Suters, 3 Tech 3s, 3 Speed Ups

The FIM today issued an updated entry list for the 2015 Moto2 season. The list has only minor changes to the original line up, with teams now having to enter a chassis name. The Kalex domination of the series is nearly complete, with 23 out of 31 entries. Speed Up and Tech 3 each have 3 entries to their names, while Suter retains just two riders, both rookies. Florian Alt has at least raced in the Moto3 series, while Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi is completely new to the series.

No Rider Nationality Team Machine
1 Tito Rabat SPA Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex
2 Jesko Raffin SUI SAG Team Kalex
3 Simone Corsi ITA NGM Forward Racing Kalex
4 Randy Krummenacher SUI Jir Moto2 Kalex
5 Johann Zarco FRA Ajo Motorsport Kalex
7 Lorenzo Baldassari ITA Forward Racing Kalex
8 Gino Rea GBR AGT Rea Racing Kalex
10 Thitipong Warokorn THAI APH PTT The Pizza SAG Kalex
11 Sandro Cortese GER Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
12 Thomas Luthi SUI Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex
19 Xavier Simeon BEL Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex
21 Franco Morbidelli ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
22 Sam Lowes GBR Speed Up Speed Up
23 Marcel Schrotter GER Tech3 Tech3
25 Azlan Shah MAL Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex
30 Takaaki Nakagami JPN Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex
36 Mika Kallio FIN Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
39 Luis Salom SPA Paginas Amarillas HP40 Kalex
40 Alex Rins SPA Paginas Amarillas HP40 Kalex
49 Axel Pons SPA AGR Team Kalex
51 Zaqhwan Zaidi MAL JPMoto Malaysia Suter
55 Hafizh Syahrin MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex
60 Julian Simon SPA QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
66 Florian Alt GER OCTO Iodaracing Team Suter
70 Robin Mulhauser SUI Technomag Racing Interwetten Kalex
73 Alex Marquez SPA Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex
77 Dominique Aegerter SUI Technomag Racing Interwetten Kalex
88 Ricky Cardus SPA Tech3 Tech3
94 Jonas Folger GER AGR Team Kalex
95 Anthony West AUS QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
96 Louis Rossi FRA Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Tech3

 

2015 Moto3 Provisional Entry List Update - 34 Riders In Total

An updated version of the Moto3 entry list was issued today, including 34 riders. Brazilian rider Eric Granado has lost his place, with Maria Herrera taking the seat at the Laglisse team. Remy Gardner, son of former 500cc champion Wayne Gardner, joins the grid, ensuring an Australian successor for Jack Miller in the Moto3 championship.

No Rider Nationality Team Machine
2 Remy Gardner AUS CIP Mahindra
5 Romano Fenati ITA Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM
6 Maria Herrera SPA Husqvarna Factory Laglisse Husqvarna
7 Efren Vazquez SPA Leopard Racing Honda
9 Jorge Navarro SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
10 Alexis Masbou FRA Saxoprint-RTG Honda
11 Livio Loi BEL RW Racing GP Honda
12 Matteo Ferrari ITA San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra
16 Andrea Migno ITA Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM
17 John McPhee GBR Saxoprint-RTG Honda
19 Alessandro Tonucci ITA Outox Reset Drink Team Mahindra
20 Fabio Quartararo FRA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
21 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Mapfre Mahindra Team Mahindra
22 Ana Carrasco SPA RBA Racing Team KTM
23 Niccolo Antonelli ITA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda
24 Tatsuki Suzuki JPN CIP Mahindra
29 Stefano Manzi ITA San Carlo Team Italia Mahindra
31 Niklas Ajo FIN RBA Racing Team KTM
32 Isaac Vinales SPA Husqvarna Factory Laglisse Husqvarna
33 Enea Bastianini ITA Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda
40 Daryn Binder RSA Outox Reset Drink Team Mahindra
41 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
44 Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
52 Danny Kent GBR Leopard Racing Honda
55 Andrea Locatelli ITA Junior Team Gresini Moto3 Honda
58 Juanfran Guevara SPA Mapfre Mahindra Team Mahindra
63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin MAL Sepang International Circuit KTM
65 Philipp Oettl GER Schedl GP Racing KTM
76 Hiroki Ono JPN Leopard Racing Honda
84 Jakub Kornfeil CZE Sepang International Circuit KTM
88 Jorge Martin SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 Mahindra
91 Gabriel Rodrigo ARG RBA Racing Team KTM
95 Jules Danilo FRA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda
98 Karel Hanika CZE Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM

 

The Season Begins - Private MotoGP Testing Starts At Sepang

Officially, testing for 2015 MotoGP season starts in five days time, on Wednesday, 4th February. Unofficially, it started yesterday, when Yamaha and Honda's test teams gathered at Sepang to pre-test a number of parts and prepare the way for the arrival of the factory riders, who arrive in Malaysia next week.

Normally, test teams test in secret - a local journalist and photographer was told in no uncertain terms he would not be welcome at the track - which means their work goes unnoticed. Unfortunately for Honda - or perhaps fortunately, depending on your perspective - HRC had a very high-profile test rider at Sepang. Casey Stoner spent a couple of days on the 2015 Honda RC213V, and though no press release has yet been issued, a couple of posts on his Instagram and Twitter accounts gave a few clues about the test.

The weather has mostly cooperated, though rain on Thursday meant that Stoner could no do the laps he wanted, he posted on Twitter. Friday was a better day, with a lot of work done. From the photo he posted on Instagram, it was clear that Stoner was being assisted by Cristian Gabarrini, his former crew chief, and now crew chief to Jack Miller at LCR. Also present at Sepang was Andrea Zugna, the brains behind Honda's extremely advanced electronics package. Though this may be the last year in which the factories are completely free to develop their own electronics, the software in the system remains a crucial part of the racing package, and development continues apace.

Yamaha, too, were present, though with their far less famous test riders. Yamaha have also so far failed to issue a press release, though from comments made by Kouichi Tsuji at the launch of the Movistar Yamaha team earlier this week, we can make educated guesses at some of the things being tested. Tsuji hinted that Yamaha's fully seamless gearbox was to be tested this week, ahead of being trialed by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at the second Sepang test at the end of February. There is a chance that Yamaha's test riders will continue testing the gearbox during the first official test next week, and as we shall be present at that test, we will be keeping an ear out to try to spot the difference in sounds between the bikes.

2015 World Superbike Rider Line Up Announced

The FIM today announced the provisional rider line up for the 2015 season. The grid will see up to 26 riders line up for the start, on motorcycles from 7 different manufacturers. The list includes one TBA, in the Pedercini Kawasaki team, which could end up going unfilled. The other question mark is over the JR Racing Team of Toni Elias and Ayrton Badovini. Though the team is on the entry list, persistent reports of financial problems suggest that they will struggle to race at all this year. They will not be present in Australia for the season opener, and suppliers report not having been paid.

The provisional rider line up is as follows:

  No. Rider Nat. Bike Team 
1 81 Jordi Torres ESP Aprilia RSV4 RF ** Aprilia Racing Team Red Devils
2 91 Leon Haslam GBR Aprilia RSV4 RF ** Aprilia Racing Team Red Devils
3 65 Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki ZX-10R Kawasaki Racing Team
4 66 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX-10R Kawasaki Racing Team
5 1 Sylvain Guintoli FRA Honda CBR1000RR SP PATA Honda World Superbike Team
6 60 Michael van der Mark NED Honda CBR1000RR SP PATA Honda World Superbike Team
7 7 Chaz Davies GBR Ducati Panigale R ** Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
8 34 Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati Panigale R ** Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
9 14 Randy De Puniet FRA Suzuki GSX-R1000 VOLTCOM Crescent Suzuki
10 22 Alex Lowes GBR Suzuki GSX-R1000 VOLTCOM Crescent Suzuki
11 15 Matteo Baiocco ITA Ducati Panigale R ** Althea Racing
12 18 Nicolas Terol ESP Ducati Panigale R ** Althea Racing
13 44 David Salom ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R Team Pedercini
14 TBA* TBA* TBA* Kawasaki ZX-10R Team Pedercini
15 23 Christophe Ponsson LUX Kawasaki ZX-10R Grillini SBK Team
16 51 Santiago Barragan ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R Grillini SBK Team
17 2 Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta 1000 F4 ** MV Agusta Reparto Corse
18 10 Imre Toth HUN BMW S1000 RR BMW Team Toth
19 75 Gábor Rizmayer HUN BMW S1000 RR BMW Team Toth
20 36 Leandro Mercado ARG Ducati Panigale R ** BARNI Racing Team
21 20 Sylvain Barrier FRA BMW S1000 RR BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team
22 24 Toni Elias ESP BMW S1000 RR JR Racing Team
23 86 Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW S1000 RR JR Racing Team
24 40 Roman Ramos ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R Team Go Eleven
25 59 Niccolò Canepa ITA EBR 1190 RX Team Hero EBR
26 72 Larry Pegram USA EBR 1190 RX Team Hero EBR

*TBA: To be announced 
** For 2015 models: Aprilia RSV4 RF, Ducati Panigale R and MV Agusta F4 are in the process of homologation.

2015 World Supersport Rider Line Up Announced

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:

  No. Rider Nat. Bike Team 
1 111 Kyle Smith GBR Honda CBR600RR PATA Honda World Supersport Team
2 14 Lucas Mahias FRA Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
3 99 Patrick Jacobsen USA Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
4 16 Jules Cluzel FRA MV Agusta F3 675 ** MV Agusta Reparto Corse
5 87 Lorenzo Zanetti ITA MV Agusta F3 675 ** MV Agusta Reparto Corse
6 6 Dominic Schmitter SUI Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Go Eleven
7 11 Christian Gamarino ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Go Eleven
8 32 Sheridan Morais RSA Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
9 36 Martin Cardenas COL Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
10 74 Kieran Clarke GBR Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
11 84 Riccardo Russo ITA Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlords Insurance Honda
12 5 Marco Faccani ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
13 54 Kenan Sofuoglu TUR Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
14 44 Roberto Rolfo ITA Honda CBR600RR Team Lorini
15 81 Alessandro Nocco ITA Honda CBR600RR Team Lorini
16 61 Fabio Menghi ITA Yamaha YZF R6 VFT Racing
17 19 Kevin Wahr GER Honda CBR600RR SMS Racing
18 68 Glenn Scott AUS Honda CBR600RR AARK Racing
19 10 Nacho Calero ESP Kawasaki ZX-6R CATBIKE/exit
20 24 Marcos Ramirez ESP Kawasaki ZX-6R CATBIKE/exit
21 9 Ratthapark Wilairot THA Honda CBR600RR CORE" Motorsport Thailand
22 65 Vladimir Leonov RUS Honda CBR600RR Moscow Region Yakhnich Motorsport
23 TBA TBA TBA Honda CBR600RR Moscow Region Yakhnich Motorsport
24 25 Alex Baldolini ITA MV Agusta F3 675 ** Race Department ATK#25

*TBA: To be announced 
** For 2015 model: MV Agusta F3 is in the process of homologation.

Movistar Yamaha 2015 MotoGP Bumper Photo Gallery


The new, lower exhaust


The new air intake retains the lip which appeared late last year


Swingarm and rear wheel


An abundance of sponsors


The business end


Bridgegestone/Ohlins/Brembo, industry standard


Note the mount for the rear-facing camera on the right. Honda's is integrated into the bodywork


Exhaust close up


Clutch, side vent, exhaust


Right side, wider angle


Sensors adorn the front wheel


Lots of shots of the right of the bike, few of the left...


One of the few close up images of the left side


Got to put those sponsor logos somewhere ...


Fiat is back, in a limited way


Nicely integrated tail light


Stoppers


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.

Yonny Hernandez Injures Shoulder In Training Accident, Will Miss Sepang 1

Yonny Hernandez is to miss the first Sepang test. The Colombian rider crashed while riding dirt track, falling heavily on his left shoulder, and dislocating the shoulder. As a result, Hernandez will not be able to ride at Sepang, and will be replaced by Ducati's test rider, Michele Pirro.

The good news for the Pramac Ducati rider is that the damage was mainly microfractures, and the ligaments and tendons were undamaged. The shoulder is a very complex joint, held together by a complicated network of tendons, cartilege and ligaments which allow it to move freely, but is vulnerable to damage. Damaging the connecting tissue in a shoulder can severely hamper riding ability and even end careers, as it did for Ben Spies. Hernandez' injury is nowhere near as severe, and should allow him to take part in the second test at Sepang.

The press release from Pramac Racing appears below:


Yonny Hernandez to miss Sepang 1 test due to shoulder injury

Pramac Racing announces that Yonny Hernandez can't participate for the Sepang test scheduled in February 4th to 7th.

During a Dirt Track training session, the Colombian rider was involved in a crash and suffered of left shoulder dislocation. The exams showed microfractures without any lesion to ligaments and tendons. Recovery times are estimated in three weeks. Yonny Hernandez will be available for the second test session at Sepang scheduled in February 23rd to 26th. Pramac Racing also announces that Michele Pirro, official Ducati test-rider, will replace Yonny Hernandez in the first test session test in Malaysia.

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