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Sepang Pre-Test Started - Ducati, Honda Test Riders On Track

While testing for the WorldSBK teams is in full swing at Jerez, halfway around the world, the MotoGP test teams are preparing for the start of the official IRTA test in Sepang, Malaysia. Test riders for all six factories are in Malaysia, putting in laps in what are for the moment still tricky conditions - rain in the morning and afternoon, with a dry spell in the middle of the day. 

For Ducati, Michele Pirro was present on Wednesday, to be joined by Casey Stoner on Thursday and Friday. For Honda, Hiroshi Aoyama was present for Honda, Takuya Tsuda for Suzuki, Katsuyuki Nakasuga for Yamaha, Mika Kallio for KTM, and Mike Di Meglio for Aprilia. Also present were a bunch of Suzuki riders, testing the new GSX-R1000 Superbike. Roger Lee Hayden and Toni Elias were over from MotoAmerica, as was Sylvain Guintoli, who will be campaigning the bike in BSB. Suzuki test rider Nobu Aoki also put in plenty of laps on the new machine.

But all eyes were on Ducati, who were at the test with two very different bikes. One was still sporting the 2016 wings and was painted in full Ducati colors. The second was in black carbon fiber, and did not have any wings on the bike. What the bike did have, though, is a rerouted rear exhaust, and a large box-like structure under the tail (for photos, see Ducati test rider joked with's Peter McLaren that it was "to put some salad inside, a hot dog, some coca cola" but refused to reveal the real purpose of the construction. 

What might it be? While the pictures coming back from Sepang are not clear enough to make a judgment, it seems likely to be related to weight distribution. Yamaha has previously had part of the fuel tank in roughly that location, though the structure does not look like a fuel tank. An alternative explanation could be a container for holding electronics of some sort. Judge for yourself by examining the various photos on the MotoGP Twitter page.

The test is set to continue for two more days, before the factory riders take over on Monday. Then, the 2017 MotoGP season will be well and truly underway.

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2017 MotoGP Calendar Now Confirmed

The 2017 MotoGP calendar is now officially confirmed. The FIM removed the provisional status of the calendar after Dorna finalized contracts with the two remaining circuits still left with an asterisk, Silverstone and Sepang.

The situation with Sepang had been settled earlier, with Sepang keen to retain a MotoGP race for the long term. Sepang has grown to become one of the best-attended races on the calendar. So large are the crowds that they now easily outnumber attendance for F1, which the circuit is trying to drop.

Silverstone was the last race to be finalized. Representatives from the Circuit of Wales, which holds the contract for the British round of MotoGP, had traveled to the Movistar Yamaha launch in Madrid, where they met with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. There, they finalized arrangements for this year's round of MotoGP. Despite the Circuit of Wales still only existing on paper, the British round will continue to be nominally hosted by the circuit for as long as they keep complying with their financial obligations to Dorna. Until the circuit is finished, the race is likely to stay at Silverstone.

Below is the now official MotoGP calendar for 2017:

Date Grand Prix Venue
26 March Qatar* Losail International Circuit
09 April República Argentina Termas de Río Hondo
23 April Americas Circuit of The Americas
07 May Spain Circuito de Jerez
21 May France Le Mans
04 June Italy Autodromo del Mugello
11 June Catalunya Barcelona - Catalunya
25 June Netherlands TT Circuit Assen
02 July Germany Sachsenring
06 August Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno
13 August Austria Red Bull Ring - Spielberg
27 August Great Britain Silverstone Circuit
10 September San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
24 September Aragón MotorLand Aragón
15 October Japan Twin Ring Motegi
22 October Australia Phillip Island
29 October Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
12 November Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo

* Night race


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2017 Ducati MotoGP Team Launch Photos

The launch of the Ducati MotoGP team was full of surprises and left plenty to talk about. There will be much more news on the site about that later today and tomorrow. For now, here is a massive gallery of launch photos, with a lot of close up shots of the bike.

The 2017 Ducati MotoGP team

The #04 bike

The #99 bike

Based on the chassis, this appears to be a 2017 chassis with 2016 bodywork in 2017 livery

All photos taken at a slight angle, to prevent other factories from measuring

Old fairing. Aero secrets to be revealed later

Mounting blank for tail camera

Carbon fiber goodness

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Launch Season Approaching - Yamaha, Ducati This Week, WorldSBK Teams In Two Weeks Time

With the first tests of 2017 fast approaching - track action gets underway next week, with the WorldSBK teams testing at Jerez, followed by MotoGP the week after - teams are presenting their new liveries, new sponsors and new teams for 2017.

This week sees two MotoGP factory teams unveil their new liveries and their new bikes for the 2017 season. The Movistar Yamaha team kick off proceedings on Thursday, 19th January, with the presentation of the 2017 Yamaha YZR-M1, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as their riders. The following day, Friday, 20th January, Ducati follow suit, presenting Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Both events will be streamed live, for fans all over the world to see.

The Yamaha launch is to be held in Madrid, at the head office of Telefonica Group, the telecom giant which owns the Movistar brand. The event starts at 11:30am CET, and will be streamed live on both the official Yamaha MotoGP website, and on The new livery is to be unveiled at noon CET, with a press conference to follow.

The next day, Ducati launch their 2017 campaign, at their Borgo Panigale factory near Bologna. That event starts at 10:30am CET, and will also be streamed live. The Ducati launch will be shown live on the Ducati website. The presentation will follow a familiar pattern, with interviews with Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna, and team bosses Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, as well as riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, and the new bike being displayed. The Ducati launch is particularly eagerly awaited, as it will be the first chance we will get to see whether Ducati have found a solution to the ban on wings in 2017.

The Suzuki team will be the next to launch their 2017 team. The new bike and new riders - Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins - will be officially presented in Sepang on the 29th January, the evening before the test starts in Malaysia. No details are currently available, but it is likely to be held in the early evening Malaysian time.

Repsol Honda will follow Suzuki, though their launch is after the test. The Repsol Honda team will present their new livery in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 3rd February. The Repsol Honda team remains unchanged for 2017, with Dani Pedrosa once again alongside reigning world champion Marc Marquez.

KTM will be the final factory to present their team. That launch will be held on 20th February in Salzburg, the home of Red Bull. There, the livery for the 2017 KTM RC16 will be presented, with Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro as riders. 

Salzburg is also the location for the launch of Honda's WorldSBK team. The location of the launch is Hangar 7, home of the Red Bull aircraft demonstration team, confirming that Red Bull is to be the main sponsor of the Ten Kate Honda team in WorldSBI in 2017. That launch is to be held on 6th February.

A day later, the Pata Yamaha squad will also launch their 2017 campaign, alongside the rest of Yamaha's global racing activities. On 7th February, Yamaha will present their entire racing program, with the exception of the MotoGP team, at Yamaha's base in Gerno di Lesmo, near Milan. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK squad will be presented alongside Yamaha's World Supersport, MXGP, MX2, Endurance World Championship, Enduro, and junior MX and enduro teams.

On 8th February, it is the turn of the Ducati team. The Ducati WorldSBK squad is to be presented in Arezzo, home of title sponsor There, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri will be presented to the world.

Further north, a Moto2 team will be launched. Also on 8th February, the Forward Racing team will present its Moto2 program in Milan, with riders Luca Marini and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Big things are expected of Baldassarri in 2017, while Marini will be aiming to grow into a regular candidate for top 5 finishes.


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Circuit News: Spa Looking To Host MotoGP, MSV Acquires Donington Lease

After last week's announcements from the Circuit of Wales and the Hungaroring, there comes news from two more circuits this week. Firstly, that the legendary Belgian Spa Francorchamps circuit is looking to host a MotoGP round. And secondly, that MSV has taken over the lease to run the Donington Park circuit, also possibly opening the door to a return for MotoGP.

The first news is perhaps the most exciting for MotoGP fans. In an interview with the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure, Spa Francorchamps boss Nathalie Maillet, said she hoped to bring MotoGP back to the iconic Belgian circuit within the next few years. She had spent a day in Madrid speaking to Dorna bosses, Maillet told DH, discussing the possibility of staging a race. "Making the changes needed to host a motorcycle race is not impossible," Maillet told DH.

The modifications are all part of a wider upgrading of the circuit. The most important for the fans is to have free publicly accessible WiFi throughout the circuit. Maillet said that she wants to have fiber optic cable throughout the circuit, to ensure better connectivity everywhere. "Francorchamps must become the best connected circuit in the world," she told DH. Further moves will see LED advertising panels with rotating adverts, as are used at other sporting venues, improving use of the circuit all year round, including during the winter, and providing more facilities for tourism.

The earliest Spa could host MotoGP would be in 2020, Maillet told DH, but she was taking a long-term view. Former racer and now TV commentator Didier de Radiguès described that time frame as "very optimistic". There is some merit to that: while Spa Francorchamps is arguably the finest racetrack on the face of the planet, there are a lot of points around the track which are extremely dangerous for motorcycle racing, corners where bikes pass at very high speed with very little run off. And being set in a forest, creating run off would require cutting down a lot of trees, robbing the track of some of its charm.

A bigger issue in hosting a MotoGP race is the number of circuits with existing long-term contracts and candidate circuits hoping to join the schedule. Twelve circuits (Qatar, Austin, Le Mans, Barcelona, Assen, Sachsenring, Brno, Misano, Aragon, Phillip Island, Sepang, and Valencia) have contracts until at least 2020. Of the six remaining tracks, only Jerez is uncertain of its place on the calendar in the long term. And of all eighteen tracks, nearly all are likely to extend their contracts at the end of them.

Then there is the list of candidates waiting in the wings. The Kymi Ring in Finland has a contract with Dorna to host a race from 2018. Last week, the Hungaroring expressed an interest in hosting MotoGP. Indonesia hopes to organize a race from 2018 or 2019. And there is talk of circuits in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and Kazakhstan. It is going to be almost impossible to fit another circuit in the existing schedule, and there are as many as nine potential candidates with a greater or less chance of securing a slot.

Another track which hosted MotoGP in the past was also in the news this week. Yesterday, MSV announced they had acquired the lease to run the Donington Park circuit from Kevin Wheatcroft, son of the man who first raised the circuit from the dead in the 1970s, Tom Wheatcroft.

The acquisition is undoubtedly good news for Donington Park. MSV, the group which owns Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, and Cadwell Park, also runs the British Superbike series BSB. Kevin Wheatcroft had saved Donington from going under when the company which formerly ran it, Donington Ventures Leisure, went bankrupt. But despite turning the circuit into a success, Wheatcroft lacked the financial clout to make the necessary upgrades to the circuit to bring it up to scratch for modern events.

MSV has that clout, and has already announced that further investment is to be made. In a press release announcing the deal, MSV boss Jonathan Palmer said "Donington is a good British circuit that deserves further investment, energy and expertise in order to make it truly outstanding, and MSV will provide this. We plan a great new era for Donington, with some exciting new events and much enhanced quality of experience for all of its customers, whether spectators, competitors and track day participants, together with even better value."

What those exciting new events are can only be guessed at, but with a few upgrades, Donington could easily be made fit for MotoGP. That would make life easier for the current rights holder to the British Grand Prix, the Circuit of Wales. If the FIM homologates Donington Park for MotoGP, then the Circuit of Wales would have an alternative to Silverstone to host the race until the Welsh track is built. Being able to play Donington off against Silverstone would allow them to negotiate a better deal.

The MSV deal does raise the question of control over the BSB series. With the acquisition of Donington Park, MSV now owns five of the nine circuits at which BSB holds rounds, as well as the rights to organize the series. Eight of BSB's twelve rounds are held at circuits owned by MSV. Of the circuits on the BSB calendar, only Assen, Silverstone, Knockhill and Thruxton are not owned by MSV.

Gathering the background information for long articles such as these is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting You can help by either taking out a subscription, buying the beautiful 2016 racing calendar, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page.


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2017 Racing News Round Up: Moto2, Hungaroring, Circuit of Wales, Galbusera Interview

The first week of 2017 has come and gone, and we are a week closer to the MotoGP bikes hitting the track again at Sepang for the first test of the year. Though little of consequence is happening publicly in the midst of the winter break, there are the first few signs of activity. So below is a round up of the news from last week: most of the things that matter, all in one place.

Triumph to Moto2

Though this has been covered in depth elsewhere, it is worth pointing out the biggest news of recent weeks. Rumors which emerged at Silverstone, that Triumph would be taking over as official supplier of Moto2 engines, gained further momentum this week, with confirmation that the British manufacturer is to supply a new 765cc triple engine for use in Moto2. Testing is due to start in 2018, with the new engine to replace the current Honda CBR600RR unit from the start of the 2019 season.

Track talk

The Hungaroring is the latest in a long list of tracks hoping to host a MotoGP race in the near future. The circuit is currently undergoing major upgrades to the pit complex, grandstand and track, with additional run off being created in some corners. Speaking to the Hungarian TV channel M1, the circuit CEO explained that the changes to the track were to be made in consultation with the FIM, to ensure that it complied with FIM standards for MotoGP. More on the upgrades to the Hungaroring on the Autosport website.

This is not the first time Hungary has aimed to host a MotoGP race. Work had started on the Balatonring in 2008, with the track due to host a round of MotoGP in 2009. The global financial crisis put an end to that plan, the Spanish construction firm building the track running into financial difficulty, and the Forint, the currency of Hungary, collapsing in value. The Motorland Aragon circuit initially took over as a temporary replacement for the Balatonring, but soon earned a permanent place on the MotoGP calendar. The Balatonring is now largely abandoned, as you can see from the Google Maps satellite image.

The Hungaroring previously hosted Grand Prix in 1990 and 1992. Mick Doohan won on a Honda in 1990, and Eddie Lawson won on a Cagiva in 1992.

Whether the Hungaroring will actually get a spot on the calendar remains to be seen. The tracks currently on the calendar nearly all have multi-year contracts to stage MotoGP rounds. In addition, there are at least five or six other circuits lining up to take a spot on the calendar. Dorna has reached agreement to stage a MotoGP round in Finland from 2018 at the Kymiring, some 110 kilometers from the Finnish capital Helsinki.

A new track is being built at Tailem Bend in Australia, which also hopes to secure MotoGP. Work continues on an Indonesian round of MotoGP, though it is still uncertain whether this will take place at an upgraded Sentul or a new circuit to be built at Palembang in South Sumatra. The Chang International Circuit in Thailand is also angling for a MotoGP round, and is hosting WorldSBK while it waits. Kazakhstan has a circuit ready and hopes to play home to MotoGP. And expansion in South America also remains a possibility, with a new circuit in Chile, talk of another track in Argentina, and continual rumors of a return to Brazil. Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has said that he believes that MotoGP could hold a maximum of 20 rounds each year, but there is a lot of opposition from riders to this, who do not want the series expanded beyond 18 races.

New partnerships, new surfaces

There was good news for the Circuit of Wales. The new circuit to be built near Ebbw Vale in South Wales announced a partnership with the leisure firm EXTREME. The British firm is planning to build an adventure sports park beside the circuit, housing a range of outdoor activities. The park would mountain park trails, a zip wire trail, paintball, a water park, and much more. There would also be restaurants and a hotel.

The circuit is still trying to reach a deal with the Welsh Government over underwriting the project. However, building an adventure park, which would attract visitors all year round, would be a significant contributor to the number of jobs in and around the Circuit of Wales.

Over in France, the Le Mans circuit was resurfaced before the winter break. There had been a lot of complaints about the old surface at the circuit, the track having lost most of its grip, and having a lot of ripples in several places, caused by the cars which also use the circuit. The new surface was laid in a three-week period, the process being completed last December. The new surface now has just three joints in the asphalt, whereas previously they littered the track.

Galbusera speaks to the Gazzetta

While everyone has been patiently waiting for the first interview with Jorge Lorenzo for the Spaniard to reveal all about his time at Yamaha, Ducati's new signing has been very quiet in the media. A sign, perhaps, that Lorenzo's departure from Yamaha was much more amicable than some had hoped.

If Lorenzo has not been interviewed – other than a few casual remarks to British publication Motorcycle News – others have spoken about him. Valentino Rossi's crew chief Silvano Galbusera was interviewed by the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, the highlights of which were published by the Corse di Moto website. Galbusera covered several subjects, stating that he expected the atmosphere within Yamaha to be a little more relaxed now that Maverick Viñales had taken the place of Jorge Lorenzo. Galbusera told the Gazzetta that was not sure how strong the Ducati would be with Lorenzo aboard. "There will be races he will do very well and can win. But fighting for the title will be difficult." Galbusera believes that Marc Márquez will once again by the most dangerous of Valentino Rossi's rivals for the title.

Ten Kate take delivery of new blades

Finally, news of what racing teams really do over the winter. At the start of the new year, the Ten Kate team took delivery of their first shipment of 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades. The new bike is more powerful than the machine it replaces, as well as being lighter, and uses revised engine internals aimed at making it more competitive. Ten Kate are now hard at work turning the road bikes that rolled into their workshops into WorldSBK spec machines ready for Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl for the 2017 season.

Gathering the background information for long articles such as these is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting You can help by either taking out a subscription, buying the beautiful 2016 racing calendar, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page.


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Triumph Set To Become Official Moto2 Engine Supplier From 2019

The future of the Moto2 class looks secure. Reports from the UK and Austria are suggesting that Triumph has finalized a deal to supply the Moto2 class when the current deal with Honda concludes at the end of 2018. From 2019, Triumph will supply a new three-cylinder engine, probably based on the new, larger sports triple they are building for release in 2017.

There had been uncertainty over the future of the Moto2 engine supplier since the beginning of this year. Honda had extended the deal to supply CBR600RR engines until the end of the 2018 season, but as the Japanese manufacturer was stopping production of its middleweight sports bike, it was clear that a replacement would have to be found. 

There had been speculation over who might take over the role of official engine supplier. It was clear that the class would remain single supplier - any move to change the current situation would have provoked a rebellion from the teams, who are enamored of the fact that Moto2 costs less to compete in than Moto3 - but the question was who would the supplier be. The candidates were Kawasaki, with the ZX-6R, MV Agusta, and Triumph. As we wrote back in September, in a piece exclusively for subscribers, Triumph were the favorites to secure the deal.

According to both, who were first to spot the deal, and, the deal with Dorna has now been signed, and Triumph is to become the new official engine supplier for Moto2 from 2019. The engine should be ready for testing during the 2018 season, in preparation for 2019.

German-language publication Speedweek claims that the engine is to be a new 750cc triple based on the Daytona 675R engine. However, it seems more likely that the engine will be based on the new 765cc triple rumored to be presented in a new sports-oriented bike at the MCN London Motorcycle Show in February.

A larger-capacity triple would be the ideal package for a new Moto2 machine. One of the main complaints with the Honda CBR600RR engine was that it was too wide. The Triumph should be slimmer, making it more suited to be packaged in a pure racing chassis. 

Two question marks hang over the use of the Triumph engine. The first is the serious question of reliability. The Triumph Daytona 675R is still raced in several national Supersport championships (though no longer in World Supersport), and although the bike is relatively nimble and quick, it also had a reputation for engine problems. As a spec engine supplier, Triumph will have to ensure that reliability is guaranteed. Fortunately, they will also have more control over the process, being able to monitor maintenance procedures and swap out engines more often than the three-race schedule currently in use, should it be needed.

The second issue with Triumph's current 675 engine design is the location of the engine mounts. The engine mounts are located on the cylinder head, very high up. This leaves chassis designers little material to work with when trying to engineer flex into the side struts. More modern engine designs have the forward engine mounts located closer to the cylinder base, rather than the cylinder head. Whether Triumph has modified the forward engine mount will become clear when the engine is presented in February.


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MotoGP Rules Update: Michelin To Automatically Display Tire Usage In MotoGP

The Grand Prix Commission has made a couple of minor changes to the MotoGP regulations for the 2017 season, and unlike many rule changes, at least one of them will be met with outright joy by most MotoGP fans. 

The biggest change to be announced is the adoption of Michelin's wireless technology that allows them to automatically identify which tire a rider is using, and pass that information back to the Dorna data feed. This data will then be available to all teams and riders, but far more importantly, it will also be available to TV broadcasters. No longer will they have to rely on the sterling work of pit lane reporters such as's excellent Dylan Gray, they will have the information at their fingertips.

Though the press release issued by the Grand Prix Commission does not mention it, fans will have to fervently hope that tire selection will also be made public on the official live timing website, and on the MotoGP mobile app. That would add an extra dimension to fan enjoyment of practice and the race.

The information on which tires are fitted to a bike is relayed though the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The information is then passed back to Race Direction (and then on to Dorna's data feed) through the full duplex communication channels in the circuit timing loops. Having the information available inside the ECU will also allow the tire information to be displayed on the dashboard of the bikes, removing any confusion over which tires are fitted to a particular bike.

However, this does not mean that the bikes will be able to automatically switch engine maps according to the tires fitted. This will only be possible if all six MotoGP manufacturers agree to updated the spec software to enable this. 

Additional soft tire in Q2

Tires are also central to the other tweak to MotoGP rules. From 2017, any rider passing into Q2 from Q1 will be given the option of swapping one of the harder compound tires in their allocation for a softer tire. The total number of rear tires allocated will not change, but allowing the riders coming through from Q1 gives them a better chance of being able to qualify well. 

This is only an advantage if riders still have enough tires to use in the race, however. If they are through their allocation of softer tires, but intend to race the harder compound, then they may not be willing to sacrifice one of their harder tires for an additional soft, and would be forced to use an already used softer tire to qualify. But as that is the status quo, there is no change.

An interesting alternative was offered by Rick Elliot on Twitter:

There is some merit to this argument. Factory riders have the data and support to manage their tire allocation better, and so should be able to manage with the existing allocation. If a rider from an independent team should make it through to Q2 from Q1, it would be an interesting proposition to allow them to have one extra tire in their allocation, instead of being allowed to swap a harder tire for a softer tire. That would be a very small concession to make to the independent teams, without radically interfering in the balance between factory and satellite teams. Whether the rule makers are willing to listen is another question altogether.

The official FIM press release containing the updated rules appears below:

FIM Grand Prix World Championship

Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in an electronic meeting held on 15th. December 2016, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations – MotoGP class

Effective Season 2017

Automatic Detection of Tyre Types

In collaboration with Michelin and the MotoGP class manufacturers a new system will be implemented that will enable automatic detection of the tyres that that riders are using and to make that information available to all riders and teams as well as to the TV broadcasters.

The tyre detection is made by means of wireless technology. The information is then fed to the unified ECU and routed to the track timing system which reports via an updated version of the unified software.

Tyre Allocations

To address the issue of a perceived disadvantage affecting riders who progress from QP1 to QP2, the two riders involved will now be able to choose an additional soft specification rear slick tyre. The total number of tyres available to such riders remains unchanged.

Addendum – Tyre Allocations

In the information released concerning decisions of the Grand Prix Commission in Madrid held on the 2nd. of December it was stated that the maximum number of wet and dry track tyres remains unchanged.

This was incorrect. The maximum number of wet weather tyres has been changed to five front and six rear. (Race Direction can still approve an additional allocation of one extra front and rear tyres when all free practice and qualifying is held in wet conditions).

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:


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2016 Superprestigio Entry Lists: Champions From Around The World Face Off In The Dirt

The final line up for Saturday night's Superprestigio indoor dirt track event, to be held at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, has been announced. As always, the big names at the event are reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez and former AMA Flat Track champion Brad Baker, with the event likely to see another run off in the Superfinal between the two.

As always, the field is divided into two classes: the Superprestigio class and the Open class. The Superprestigio class features stars from the world of road racing, including the Marquez brothers Marc and Alex, Jorge Martin, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Nico Terol, Toni Elias, with the big surprise being former World Superbike racer Ruben Xaus coming out of retirement to race on a Pursang, a revival of the classic bike from the 1960s and 1970s in flat track form. 

The Open class features starts of various off-road disciplines. Brad Baker is the main attraction, who was due to be joined by fellow AMA champion Jared Mees, until Mees suffered an injury. There are stars from the booming European dirt track scene, including Ferran Cardus, Ollie Brindley, Gerard Bailo and Alan Birtwistle, Speedway star Fredrik Lindgren, Supermotor champions Thomas Chareyre and Sylvain Bidart and more.

The event kicks off at 6pm CET, with the Superfinal being run at 9:10pm, and is due to be shown live on TV in 60 countries. US fans can watch on Fanschoice TV, with the event also being streamed live on Youtube. The full list of broadcasters is available on the DTX Barcelona website.

For an excellent preview of the event, see WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast contributor Steve English' look ahead over on the Asphalt & Rubber website. The full timetable of events is on the DTX Barcelona website.

Superprestigio class

  No Rider Nation Bike
1 1 Kyle Smith GBR Honda
2 2 Jesko Raffin SUI Yamaha
3 8 Jorge Martin ESP Honda
4 11 Vincent Philippe FRA Suzuki
5 12 Xavi Forés ESP Suzuki
6 15 Dani Ribalta ESP Honda
7 18 Nico Terol ESP Suzuki
8 19 Xavier Simeon BEL Suzuki
9 21 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Honda
10 23 Marcel Schrotter GER Suzuki
11 24 Toni Elias ESP Suzuki
12 29 Raul Fernandez ESP Husqvarna
13 31 Carmelo Morales ESP Yamaha
14 36 Joan Mir ESP Honda
15 42 Marcos Ramirez ESP Honda
16 60 Julian Simon ESP Yamaha
17 73 Alex Marquez ESP Honda
18 75 Albert Arenas ESP KTM
19 81 Jordi Torres ESP Honda
20 88 Ricky Cardus ESP Suzuki
21 93 Marc Marquez ESP Honda
22 97 Xavi Vierge ESP Tech3
23 111 Ruben Xaus AND Pursang

Open class

  No Rider Nation Bike
1 4 Thomas Chareyre FRA TM
2 6 Brad Baker USA Honda
3 10 Francesco Cecchini ITA TM
4 17 Gerard Bailo ESP Suzuki
5 20 Toby Hales GBR Husqvarna
6 30 Alan Birtwistle GBR Honda
7 34 Jordi Casas ESP Honda
8 38 George Pickering GBR KTM
9 48 Emanuele Marzotto ITA Yamaha
10 64 Sylvain Bidart FRA Honda
11 66 Fredrik Lindgren SWE Honda
12 70 Masatoshi Ohmori JAP Suzuki
13 72 Genis Gelada ESP Honda
14 77 Ferran Cardus ESP Suzuki
15 79 Josep Piedra ESP Husqvarna
16 87 Oriol Mena ESP Honda
17 121 Joan Noguera ESP Yamaha
18 124 Oliver Brindley GBR Kawasaki
19 179 Guillermo Cano ESP Honda
20 181 Gianni Borgiotti ITA Suzuki
21 213 Jaume Gaya ESP Honda
22 215 Ferran Sastre ESP Kawasaki
23 971 Tom Edwards AUS Suzuki



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Barcelona Circuit Modifies MotoGP Layout, Moves F1 Chicane

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home to the Barcelona round of MotoGP, has agreed a new track layout to be used for MotoGP from now on. After consultation with the FIM and the FIA, the circuit has settled upon a slightly revised version of the F1 layout used during the race at Barcelona this year, with the chicane at the (new) Turn 14 and Turn 15 having been moved several meters closer to the (new) Turn 13, providing more run off at the chicane.

The new layout confirms the use of the F1 layout after Turn 9, the right hander leading on to the back straight. The old layout of La Caixa, the long left hander of Turn 10, is to be replaced by the much sharper left of Turn 10, followed by a shallow flick of Turn 11. After the long right hander (now Turn 12 instead of Turn 11 on the classic MotoGP layout), the tighter entrance to Turn 13 follows, still following the layout used by F1. 

From Turn 13, the F1 and new MotoGP layouts differ, with Turn 14 moved closer to Turn 13, to allow more space at the side of Turn 14, and more runoff into the chicane. After the exit of Turn 15, the bikes head back to the glorious final corner and back on to the straight. The changes are illustrated in the image shared on Twitter by Movistar MotoGP journalist Izaskun Ruiz:

The changes have come in the wake of the tragic death of Luis Salom at the circuit during Moto2 practice on the weekend of the Barcelona round of MotoGP. Salom lost control of his Kalex exiting the old Turn 11 and slid across a tarmac section at Turn 12, hitting his own bike first, and then the barrier. There was neither gravel nor air fence at that point, because it was a highly unusual place for a rider to crash.

For the race weekend, the layout was changed to use the standard F1 layout, but the chicane at Turn 14 and Turn 15 was felt to be too close to the wall on the inside of Turn 14, and to not have enough runoff at Turn 15. That was solved temporarily by painting a line on the track to narrow the entry and slow the bikes down. 

The new layout is a more permanent fix to the problems at the circuit. The shorter run up to Turn 14 means the issues with runoff no longer exist. The earlier exit from Turn 15 should also make the final corner a little faster, and give back some of the speed along the straight. 

The change does mean a permanent end to two of the great corners in motorcycle racing. The old Turn 10, La Caixa, was a long, medium speed left hander with passing opportunities both on entry and in mid corner. The new Turn 10 features much harder braking, offering a passing opportunity on the brakes, but there is little chance to fight back on corner exit. The old corner was dropped because the turn was running out of runoff. Bikes that crashed there were starting to reach the barrier, and despite the air fence at the corner, this was a matter of concern for the Safety Commission and Race Direction. The new corner creates a lot more runoff.

The greatest loss is Turn 12, which was another fast right hander, the kind of corner for which the Barcelona circuit is famous. Though the lack of gravel and air fence were major contributors to Luis Salom's death, the main problem is that the grandstands are too close to the edge of the track at that point. The physical geography of the circuit makes alterations there very difficult, and very expensive. There is no real room to push the grandstands back, as there is an interior road behind it, set on a downhill slope. The only solution would be a raised grandstand in the style of Assen's GT grandstand, but that is a very expensive solution, one for which the circuit lacks the funds in the short term. 

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