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MotoMatters.com On A Brief Hiatus - Full Service To Be Resumed Next Week

You may have noticed a distinct lack of articles over the past few days. That is in part because there is nothing much happening - motorcycle racers are hard at work training, while factory race departments are frantically working on the last details of their 2015 machines - and so there is not much to report. It is also in part because we are having a well-earned break, and are spending some time away from our computers.

We will start to provide coverage of World Superbike testing, which starts later this week, while normal service will be resumed from Monday, 19th January, when we are back at our desks. From then, we will also resume our review of 2014, before looking forward to 2015. We apologize for not providing you with anything to help fill the empty weeks of January, but hope to make up for it once we return, together with some new initiatives.

Thanks for your patience!

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 6 - Phillip Island


Ready to rumble, down under


Stopping power. But dissipating heat wasn't the problem, disks got brake covers to keep the heat in


Team Rossi - Matteo Flamigni and Silvano Galbusera played a key role in Rossi's revival. Though not as great a part as Rossi himself


Famous name, a lot to live up to. Remy Gardner gets a shot in the big leagues in 2015


Oh I do like to be beside the seaside


Oh I do like to be beside the sea ...


Phillip Island was another step in the rehabilitation of Cal Crutchlow. Until almost the last lap


War in Moto3. 'T was ever thus


Jack Miller came out on top, thrilling the Australian crowds


Ohlins trickery from Dovizioso's Ducati


Danilo Petrucci worked hard, suffered through a tough year, and was rewarded with a Ducati ride for 2015


Phillip Island. Sea, sky, sonic assault


Photographers love PI


Mr White


It was a tough weekend for Marc Marquez, crashing out using the asymmetric tire


His loss was Valentino Rossi's gain, the Italian getting his second win of the season


Behind them, PI produced some fantastic racing


Jack Miller, mastering the leg thing


The best front end in MotoGP? Got to be close


Farewell tour for the Leitner/Pedrosa partnership


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.

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 5 - Silverstone


There is no part of a Honda racing motorcycle that is not beautifully made


A study in yellow, white and blue


Scott Redding takes racing in front of his home crowd very seriously


Stefan Bradl, knee down...


... elbow down, forearm down ...


... and sometimes, everything down.


Marc Marquez, looking in the direction his competitors are usually to be found.


Johann Zarco had a very strong season in 2014, yet the Moto2 teams all abandoned Suter for 2015


Tires, suspension, front wheel buried under braking


'T was a cold and misty morning


Andrea Iannone was sometimes impressive, but still too inconsistent in 2014


Alvaro Bautista demonstrates "the stoppie"


The Doctor's Office


If your tires look like this, you should consider a career in motorcycle racing


Moto3: the race of the weekend, every weekend


Like I said, 't was a cold and misty morning


Even the welding is a work of art


Aleix Espargaro gets physical with his Forward Yamaha


An inch above the ground


Not an inch above the ground

 


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.

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 4 - Barcelona


You can teach old dogs new tricks, if they are willing to learn


... and here's one of the things the old dog learned: a radical new body position


Redding on red


The wheels on the bike go round and round ...


Barcelona was Alex Marquez' first win of the year. More would follow


Bike swap time


Pol Espargaro, all smiles


A sense of the scale of the Montmelo circuit


Is their generation about to be pushed aside?


Where's the wipers?


Enea Bastianini, Italy's next great hope


TV talk


Yonny Hernandez did such a good job on the GP13 that he earned himself a factory contract


They don't like it up 'em


Red on Red


Brad Binder goes just a little bit too far


Dani Pedrosa, always pushing to excel at home


It's been quite the learning curve for Bradley Smith


Formic


The hardest part of racing. Getting up when you go down


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.

World Superbike Private Testing Schedule - Testing Starts Mid-January - UPDATED

Though tracks around the world have fallen silent over the winter break, testing is due to resume shortly. From mid-January, the World Superbike teams will resume their preparations for the 2015 season at circuits in Spain and Portugal. Testing starts at Portimao, where the Pata Honda team will be the first to hit the track on 14th January. The team then moves to the Motorland Aragon circuit near Alcañiz, where they will be joined by Kawasaki and Grillini, before the action moves back to Portimao for a test including Ducati, BMW Italian, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Althea Ducati and EBR.

After Portimao, the teams head east to Jerez, where from 26th January the circuit will see Ducati, Red Devils, MV Agusta, BMW Italia, Honda, Suzuki, Althea Ducati and EBR joined by the Kawasaki World Supersport team and Ducati's MotoGP test team. A day later, the Kawasaki World Superbike squad will take to the track. From then, they pack up ready to fly the teams and equipment to the Southern Hemisphere, ready for the start of the season at Phillip Island. Testing for the MotoGP class resumes on 4th February at Sepang.

Full private testing schedule for the World Superbike class, as announced so far:

Date Circuit Teams
14-16 January PORTIMAO WSBK: Pata Honda (Sylvain Guintoli, Michael van der Mark)
19-20 January MOTORLAND WSBK: Kawasaki KRT (Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes), Grillini Kawasaki (Santi Barragan, Christophe Ponsson), Pata Honda (Guintoli, VD Mark)
21-22 January PORTIMAO WSBK: Ducati (Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano), MV Agusta (Leon Camier), BMW Motorrad Italia (Sylvain Barrier), Red Devils Aprilia (Haslam, Torres), Crescent Suzuki (Lowes, De Puniet), EBR (Niccolo Canepa, Larry Pegram), Althea Ducati (Matteo Baiocco, Nico Terol)
WSS: MV Agusta, Puccetti Kawasaki (Kenan Sofuoglu, Marco Faccani)
26-27 January JEREZ WSBK: Ducati (Davies, Giugliano), Red Devils Aprilia (Haslam, Torres), MV Agusta (Camier), BMW Motorrad Italia (Barrier), Pata Honda (Guintoli, VD Marck), Crescent Suzuki (Lowes, De Puniet), EBR (Canepa, Pegram), Althea Ducati (Baiocco, Terol)
WSS: MV Agusta, Puccetti Kawasaki (Sofuoglu, Faccani)
MotoGP: Ducati (Test team)
27-28 January JEREZ WSBK: Kawasaki KRT (Rea, Sykes)

 

Thank You And Happy New Year To All Our Readers!

We wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year, and good health, happiness, and success in 2015!

Thanks to all our readers for your support in 2014. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of MotoGP and World Superbikes this year, and will continue to support us again in 2015. A special thanks to everyone who has become a site supporter and taken out a subscription, without your financial support we would have had to stop a long time ago. Thanks also to everyone who bought a calendar in 2014, and who bought one for 2015, the proceeds from calendar sales are also a key factor in keeping the site running. If you woud like to support us, you can buy a 2015 calendar here, or join the growing band of site supporters. Thanks also to the many people who donated money to keep the site running, their contributions made a big difference.

Thanks to Pole Position Travel for their continuing support, to Alpinestars for their help and assistance, to all of the riders, mechanics, team managers, press officers who helped us keep you informed throughout the year. Thanks also to the staff in the many hospitality units who kept us supplied with coffee (essential fuel for a sports writer!), snacks and food. Thanks to the staff at Dorna, who provided many essential services behind the scenes, and to the staff at circuits around the world, who are almost unfailingly helpful. 

A very special word of thanks to the people who keep the site running. To Scott Jones, arguably the finest photographer working in the paddock today. To Jared Earle, for his tireless coverage of World Superbikes and World Supersport. To Mike Lewis and Jacob Leech, for covering practice and the races, giving me a chance to get out and collect more information. 

But above all, thanks to you, readers, for following and supporting the site, but also for the many intelligent comments which all too often put the content of the site to shame. May 2015 bring a fantastic year of motorcycle racing, and give us more than enough to write about and discuss!

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 3 - Le Mans


#93


Pro tip: how to keep your clutch plates in order


Le Mans turned out some good battles. Dovizioso led a close group early on ...


... while Rossi took over at the front a few laps later


The official Moto2 and Moto3 tire supplier even has a bridge and corner named after them...


Mika Kallio shows emotion. A rare sight from the cool Finn


Comfort is everything, next to protection


One of the most famous sights in all of motor sports


Every race track should have a big wheel


The Hayden Hustle


A glimpse of the future: Le Mans was one place where Pol Espargaro could play with a Moto2 style on the Yamaha


Marc Mirage


His second podium of the season, Le Mans was the point at which we knew Valentino Rossi was back


Ready for Raccordement


Job done


Miller vs Rins was as tough as Miller vs Marquez


Mechanics always manage to retain a remarkable sense of calm when riders bring their bikes back like this


Everything else is just waiting


Now try to clear your mind


Le Mans was a tale of two Yamahas


Mr Miller


Alvaro Bautista had good days and bad days in 2014. A podium meant that Le Mans was a good day


Brake, turn, release. Jorge Lorenzo makes it look much simpler than it is


Stefan Bradl, getting ready to stand it up and fire it along the front straight

 


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.

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 2 - Austin


Jorge Lorenzo's season went from bad to worse at Austin, with a jump start of almost comical proportions


By the end of 2014, two of the three Americans in this picture wouldn't be racing. It was a tough year for Americans in GP


Austin was still not a Yamaha track in 2014


Welcome to Texas, Mr Pasini


Up close and personal with a Yamaha YZR-M1 clutch


This would be Colin Edwards' last race in the USA


And that, my friends, is why riders do dirt track


Once upon time, American racers ruled the world


This was one of them. Settled law suits meant that Kevin Schwantz was allowed back into CotA


Ready?


Turn One was the scene of much carnage in Moto2


Boxing? No, taping up palms to prevent blisters


Colorful Fenati


Andrea Dovizioso scored Ducati's first dry-weather podium since 2010 at Austin. Signs of real progress


Desmosedici GP13 vs Desmosedici GP14


Riding the wave


Andrea Iannone aims high


Toughest braking spot of the year: uphill into Turn One


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.

Scott Jones 2014 Retrospective: Part 1 - Qatar


Class of '14


Old man? Maybe, but he keeps getting faster


Just a few weeks after breaking his leg, Marc Marquez made his intentions all too clear at Qatar


Herding cats takes a very particular skill


Few had Tito Rabat as their favorite for the 2014 Moto2 title at Qatar. That would change


Gigi Dall'Igna would bring real change at Ducati


While Silvano Galbusera made a big difference to Valentino Rossi


It would be a long year at Ducati for Cal Crutchlow


24 liters of fuel for the Open bikes livened things up a bit


Qatar: as the sun sets, a roar fills the night sky


A taste of things to come. Jack Miller and Alex Marquez would scrap for the Moto3 title all the way to Valencia


The MotoGP race at Qatar turned into a war of attrition. Stefan Bradl crashed out of the lead, just as Jorge Lorenzo had.


A time for regrets


Jorge Lorenzo simmered with rage at Qatar, unable to get to grips with the new Bridgestone rear


After a season of disgruntled comments about bike set up, Mike Leitner would leave Dani Pedrosa's side


Change came often to the Ducati GP14, though the revolution was forced to wait


Intensity: Alex Marquez has it


2014 would not be the year Nicky Hayden had intended


The calm before the storm


We knew Maverick Viñales was good, but just missing out on a podium at the first attempt was a sign of something more than good


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.

Updated World Superbike Rules: Balancing And Electronics Clarified, And A New Global Entry Class Mooted

At the last meeting of the Superbike Commission, the body which makes the rules for the World Superbike series, representatives of Dorna, the FIM and the factories agreed a number of measures which provide yet another step on the path to the future of the series. There were a couple of minor technical updates, and two changes which point the way to the series' long term future.

The changes to the technical regulations were relatively simple. The balancing rules, aimed at allowing different engine designs to be competitive against each other, received a number of minor tweaks resulting from the fact that those rules will now be carried on from one season to the next. In practice, this means that results for either twins or fours will be carried over between seasons, creating a rolling balancing scoreboard, which should create a better balance between fours and twins.

The other change to the technical rules allow a manufacturer to revert to their 2014 electronics for the first two races of 2015, should the 2015 electronics cause them problems. Basically, this will give the teams a fallback position and give them a little more time to develop the electronics. As the first two round are in Australia and Thailand, the risk of struggling with a system which is not completely ready to race during a period when it is impossible to test has been reduced.

The changes to the sporting regulations are more interesting, and point the way to the future of the series. First of all, the sporting, disciplinary and medical regulations will be harmonized with the rules for MotoGP wherever possible, creating a single set of regulations across both series. This will make it easier for teams and riders to switch between series, but more importantly, it should also make it easier for circuit and medical staff. With a single set of rules, marshals, event organizers and circuit medical staff will find it easier to switch between MotoGP and World Superbike events, which should in turn help keep costs down. It will also make it easier for circuits to either switch between series or host both series, without having to go over the differences between the two.

Most interesting of all, however, is the announcement that the Superbike Commission is to create a working group to look at a new entry level class. That class will be based on what they describe as the Supersport 300 class, the range of small capacity sports bikes which is growing in popularity. The class will features machines such as the KTM RC390, the Kawasaki Ninja 300, and the Yamaha YZF-R3. British site Visordown has a rundown on the bikes which could be allowed. The decision to consider such a class builds on initiatives in countries such as the USA, UK, Germany and the Netherlands to feature a KTM RC 390 cup series, which will allow young riders to compete at a very low cost. Perhaps more importantly, initiatives in key markets such as India, Thailand and Malaysia could see such bikes being raced. With the same class running as a support series at World Superbike events, the new class could provide a stepping stone from nations across all of Asia into world championship motorcycle racing.

The change seems a key part of Dorna's strategy to create a broader base for motorcycle racing around the world. With a more homogenous set of rules across several world championship, national and regional series, the cost of moving up to the World Superbike paddock should be lowered, and wildcard entries at various rounds should also be easier. At the same time as the WSBK rules were being announced, the AMA was announcing a few changes to the MotoAmerica AMA series, bringing their Superbike and Superstock regulations even more into line with World Superbike and Superstock rules.

There appears to be a concerted move to help broaden the base of motorcycle racing, and open up World Superbike racing to a broader audience and a broader range of entry. It is a hopeful development, and one which the series badly needs after a steady decline in the past few years.

The FIM press release containing the rule updates is shown below:


FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup
Decision of the Superbike Commission - 2014 final meeting

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Dorna Headquarters in Madrid on 16 December 2014 in the presence of MM Daniel Carrera and Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK-Dorna), Scott Smart and Paul Duparc (FIM).

During the 2014 final meeting, the SBK Commission has agreed as follows:

  1. The Sporting, Disciplinary and Medical Regulations will be harmonised as much as possible with the 2015 Grand Prix Regulations.
  2. After the approval of the main pillars of the SBK Technical Regulations 2015 last June 12th , two main points of discussion have been clarified:
    • The Superbike Commission agreed to amend the details of the Superbike Balancing rules to improve the clarity of the application of the balancing method. Changes for the 2014 season included the balancing level being carried from one season to the next and this had resulted in other small details needing updates.
    • For safety reasons, The Superbike Commission agreed to consider, individually, any manufacturers request to use their 2014 season electronics packages during the first two championship rounds 'as is', in case of any issues arising from the changes in the electronics concept in the 2015 regulations. Should this arise then the Manufacturer must make available to all 'customer' teams on the same brand of machinery the same 2014 electronics so as not to disadvantage them.
  3. The Superbike Commission approved assembly of a working group comprising of any interested machine manufacturers to develop a class structure for an entry level category. The category would be based on the burgeoning Supersport 300 class machinery and would aim to include varied capacities and engine configurations, with the aim to provide a low cost platform to develop new talent. The class would be raced in many domestic championships with the goal being to bring the 'stars of the future' to the premier events running alongside the World Championship series.

The full 2015 Regulations will be available on the FIM website shortly.

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/regulations-and-documents/superbike/

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