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Post-Season Testing In Full Swing: Moto2 & Moto3 At Valencia, World Superbikes At Aragon, Day 1

Though testing for the MotoGP class has finished, motorcycle racers in other series still have plenty of work ahead of them. Both the World Superbike series and the Grand Prix support classes have been hard at work, ahead of a busy schedule of testing. The Ducati and Kawasaki World Superbike teams have been testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit, while Moto2 and Moto3 are back at Valencia.

At Aragon, Jonathan Rea made his long-awaited debut on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, alongside 2013 World Champion and fierce rival Tom Sykes. With the World Superbike teams adapting to the new regulations, the two Kawasakis were a little slower than the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. The day started off soaking, with journalists and test riders doing media laps on the 2014 bikes of Tom Sykes and David Salom. Once the track dried out in the afternoon, Kawasaki also joined the action. At the end of the day, both Ducati riders clocked up unofficial times of 1'51.3, while Sykes posted a 1'52.2 and Rea a 1'52.7. As an interesting note, they are running the track in its MotoGP configuration, using the long, sweeping double left hander as the final corner, rather than the longer version used by WSBK when the series races there, featuring the hairpin and then right and left combination leading back on to the front straight. Giugliano's best time is three seconds slower than the best time set by Andrea Dovizioso on the first day of practice for the MotoGP race at the circuit. 

At Valencia, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams reassembled, taking over from the Spanish CEV championship, which held its final round of the season there on Sunday. They had returned there from Jerez, where they had held their first test of the season under difficult conditions, with rain falling on and off and the track never really drying out. That meant that Moto2 rookies Alex Marquez and Alex Rins made their debut in the class on a damp and difficult circuit, making their first steps in the class difficult.

The weather has been much kinder at Valencia, the teams all testing under clear skies and on a dry track. In the Moto2 class, Tito Rabat was the fastest man after the first day, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Rabat was a tenth of a second quicker than Jonas Folger on the AGR Kalex, while Taka Nakagami showed some of the form from two years ago, grabbing the third spot, three tenths off the time of Rabat. Alex Rins was the faster of the two rookies setting the 14th fastest time, a tenth ahead of Alex Marquez, but over 1.5 seconds off the pace of Rabat.

In the Moto3 class, it was Karel Hanika who topped the timesheets, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider perhaps benefiting from being one of the very few riders not to be switching bikes and teams. He finished ahead of Juanfran Guevara on the Spaniard's first run out on the Mahindra, though Guevara later crashed and injured his foot. Niccolo Antonelli set the third fastest time on the Ongetta Honda, finishing ahead of the Moto3 rookie Gabriel Rodrigo, riding for Aleix Espargaro's RBA team. Spanish CEV Moto3 champion Fabio Quartararo got his first ride on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto3 Grand Prix bike, though no times were released for the Frenchman.

Below are press releases issued by some of the teams at the tests:


Rabat fastest on opening day at Valencia

Valencia, Spain – 17 November 2014: Tito Rabat was the fastest rider on track during the first of two days of testing at Valencia, where the weather was much improved compared to last week at Jerez.

The Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider completed an extensive test program aboard the 2015 Kalex Moto2 bike, declaring himself impressed with the latest variant of the bike on which he won the Moto2 World Championship this year.

For Alex Marquez, the familiarisation process continued today at Valencia, with the reigning Moto3 World Champion making the most of the sunny and dry conditions to improve his feeling with the Kalex Moto2 machine. The 18-year-old Spaniard ended the day 13th on the timesheet, less than 1.5s off the time of his teammate, despite a small crash at turn five this afternoon.

Tito Rabat // 1st // 1’35.287

“The feeling was good today and I’m very happy with the 2015 Kalex Moto2 bike. We tested a lot of things like suspension, brakes and riding position, everything we need to test and evaluate to improve the bike ahead of next season. I’m pleased with the progress we made today and I hope we can continue improving in the same way tomorrow.

Alex Marquez // 13th // 1’36.772

“I’m really pleased with the improvement we’ve made today in the dry conditions. I feel really good with the bike and the team also. We’ve done some good work today and for tomorrow we need to keep this line, to continue improving step by step. I’m also happy with the lap time, so it’s been a good day overall, even if I did have my first small crash on a Moto2 bike this afternoon.”

Naoya Kaneko // Chief Mechanic // Alex Marquez

“Alex has done a good job today, with the gap to the frontrunners smaller than it was in Jerez last week. His consistency on the bike is also good, with only two or three-tenths difference in lap times. His crash today means he also understands more the different character of the Moto2 bike compared to a Moto3 machine, which is important. From our side we’re trying to understand him better and also what he needs to give him more confidence on the bike. I think we’re heading in the right direction, making improvements step by step, but still there is a lot of space to improve so we need to work hard together before the first race in Qatar.”


ENEA BASTIANINI GETS FIRST TASTE OF HONDA NSF250RW MACHINE AT VALENCIA

The 2015 campaign of the team Gresini Racing Moto3 has officially started today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, where Eneas Bastianini was able to complete the first laps aboard the Honda NSF250RW machine that he will use the next year.

The 16-year-old rider from Rimini completed 53 laps with encouraging lap times, beginning to get to grips with the new bike and making the first changes to the set-up with the team.

Bastianini will return to action tomorrow for the second and final day of testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.

ENEA BASTIANINI

“I really enjoyed this first day of testing! The Honda is a completely different bike from the one I was used to ride, but today we could begin to get acquainted to it, doing the many kilometers and making a very good job. In particular, I immediately liked it the behaviour of the chassis; on this first day first we tried to find the feeling with the bike, then we have already started to make some changes to the set-up to adapt the bike to my needs. Tomorrow we will continue in this direction”.


SIMEON QUICKLY GET TO GRIPS WITH KALEX ON FIRST DAY OF VALENCIA TESTING

Just one week after the conclusion of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship 2014, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Team was back on track today at Valencia to take the first laps with the new Kalex which Xavier Siméon will ride in 2015.

A first contact in which the 25-year-old Belgian rider was able to complete no less than 69 laps of the Ricardo Tormo circuit, obtaining a good feeling and getting lap times already close to the ones set during the recent Grand Prix of Valencia.

The team will be back on track tomorrow for the second and final day of testing at Valencia.

XAVIER SIMEON

“It was a very positive first day, in which we basically started to get comfortable with the bike: in the beginning we used a standard set-up recommended by Kalex, then we moved in different directions in order to evaluate the behaviour of the bike in relation to the changes. The first impressions are good: it’s a sensitive bike with sincere reactions and as a result we already did similar lap times to those marked during the last Grand Prix of 2014, where we have been very competitive. We can be satisfied: tomorrow we will try to do even many kilometers in order to deepen the knowledge of the Kalex machine and to gain further experience”.


Scott Jones' Valencian Adventure - A View Of Race Day


Champions finish the season in the style they started it


The story of the Moto3 title race in a single frame: Jack Miller did all he could to win it, but he had only Isaac Viñales between himself and Alex Marquez


In the end, there were a lot of riders behind Valentino Rossi, and only one ahead


Remind me again, was this a job for duct tape, or WD40?


Nervous faces along pit lane as rain fell. In the end, only Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone came in to swap bikes


One of the most exciting spots on the calendar: Turn 14 at Valencia


A tale of two riders


Better luck next year, Mr Lorenzo


Andrea Iannone led during the early part of the race. He needs to learn to lead in the final laps


Dani Pedrosa's worst season in a while wasn't for want of trying


With every passing race, Gigi Dall'Igna looks more and more like Ducati's savior


Brothers at war: the Espargaros may love each other, but they love beating each other just as much


Moto3 produced a finale worthy of the best season of racing we have seen for a while


Funny that the future of MotoGP should include a 35-year-old. But he proved it does


HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto loves his riders. Above all, he loves his winners


#RufeaTeam


When the rain came, Jorge Lorenzo went backwards, and the Ducatis went forwards


2014 has been a great season for MotoGP, with close battles all through the field


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Out Of Focus And Badly Lit: David Emmett's Photos From The Valencia MotoGP Test


Compare and contrast: Suzuki's chassis provides outstanding handling and turning


Honda's super stiff 2015 RC213V. Incredible braking and turning


Michele Pirro's Ducati GP14: Stiff, excellent stability in braking, but turning, not so much...


The NGM Forward team tested Kayaba suspension ...


... Stefan Bradl was not at all impressed, and told reporters he did not want to waste any more time testing it ...


... in the end, it will come down to money. Will Forward take money from Kayaba, or pay for Ohlins?


The Forward Yamaha top yoke and Magneti Marelli spec dashboard


A young Australian rider with Cristian Gabarrini? How do you think that will turn out?


More power for Nicky Hayden from the RC213V-RS, but he'd still take even more


The Aprilia is stunning. Slow, but stunning


Spot the exhaust. Yamaha tested a new slash-cut pipe at Valencia


Ah, there it is. It was straight through and LOUD. Meant to help with engine response


Every racing series should have a rider called Maverick


The biggest visible difference between the 2014 and 2015 RC213V is in the air intake


The 2014 bike is an oval basking shark-style opening


The 2015 bike has a pinch in the middle, making it more of a lip formation


Put lipstick on that and I would definitely kiss it


For comparison, meet the Suzuki's unkissable mouth


Best thing about testing? Getting up close and personal with the most amazing motorcycles in the world


The 2015 RC213V


Dashboard, complete with blinkenlights. The analog rev counter means this is Pedrosa's bike


Attention to detail: Movistar TV Carles Perez pointed out to me that even the TV camera is beautifully integrated on the bike


Two Honda Open bikes: Laverty's RCV1000R...


... and Nicky Hayden's RC213V-RS


Scott Redding's main focus was finding his position on the bike. That meant playing with lots of foam and tank pads

 


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Grand Prix Commission Refines Jump Start And Corner Cutting Regulations

The Grand Prix Commission meeting at Valencia tied up a number of loose ends in the 2015 regulations, most to do with safety, some to do with basic practicalities of racing. 

The most significant changes are to the rule for jump starts and for exceeding track limits. Currently, the penalty for exceeding the track limit is a mandatory loss of position, but the races at Misano showed the impracticality of such a rule. Jonas Folger ran straight on at Turn 1, and had to drop back several seconds into the middle of a group battling for position. Race Direction now has the option of imposing other penalties based on their perception of advantage gained. The decision will allow the imposition of a time penalty, or any other penalty they wish.

The jump start procedure has also been changed, allowing a ride to move before the lights are out, and then stop again, and Race Direction once again decide whether they gained an advantage or not.

One change improving safety is forcing riders to wear helmets while riding the track on scooters. Given the speed which some riders reach on their familiarization laps, it is a much needed rule change. To save costs, riders will now also be allowed to rent dirt bikes or other machinery to use to get to know the track, rather than being forced to ship scooters around the world in team containers.

The press release from the FIM appears below.


FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
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 Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 8 November 2014 in Valencia, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

Effective 2015

  • Riders or other persons using scooters for track familiarisation must wear a crash helmet.
  • Use of motorcycles from other disciplines, (motocross, enduro, supermoto, etc.) may be used for track familiarisation away from events without restriction.
  • Teams in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, testing on either of their designated circuits, may not use a contracted rider from another team in the same class.
  • In a situation where a rider anticipates the start with a slight movement but then stops, and is stationary when the red light goes out, Race Direction will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained and if a penalty will be imposed.
  • When riders are adjudged to have exceeded the track limits during the race then Race Direction will decide what penalty is to be imposed. (Automatic drop of position is no longer the only possible penalty).
  • When a group of riders are being lapped and the blue flag is displayed then there can be no changes of position within the group of riders until the rider lapping them has passed.

Technical Regulations

Effective 2015

Moto3 and Moto2 Classes

  • Moto3 class engines are allocated randomly during the season in three separate batches. To ensure that engines in the different batches, from the same manufacturer, are of identical specification, an engine will be selected at random from each distribution and used as a reference to check randomly selected engines from subsequent distributions.
  • Permission has already been granted to Moto3 class teams to use their 2014 chassis in 2015 instead of buying new a chassis. However, to prevent any advantage by using higher specification components, not provided with the 2015 chassis packages, it was decided that any team taking this option may only use the standard front and rear suspension packages as supplied with the 2015 chassis.
  • The temperature of fuel used in Moto3 and Moto2 class machines may not be artificially reduced. Fuel must be at the ambient temperature as defined by the Technical Director.
  • Dell’Orto has been the exclusive supplier of ECU’s to the Moto3 class for the first three years of this class. Based on the good experience with the Dell’Orto hardware and knowledge gained by the Championship and teams on settings and data acquisition, it was decided to renew the contract with Dell’Orto for a further three years. This will also allow for continued use of existing product stock.

MotoGP Class

  • The details of the procedure for technical control of MotoGP class engines were confirmed. MotoGP class engines may be required to be dismantled for checking by the Technical Director. However, the team may then rebuild that engine, using new parts, and the engine may then be used for the balance of its normal life, determined as 3,600 km.

Other Matters

The Indianapolis Grand Prix was awarded the title of Best Grand Prix of 2014.

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

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regula...

Scott Jones' Valencian Adventure - Day 2 Photos


He gets stronger as he gets older


Last time on slow bikes for both Hayden and Redding


Bradley Smith's luck has been miserable in 2014. Do not ask him to buy you a lottery ticket


Hiroshi Aoyama was surprised at just how different the Honda RC213V-RS is to the RCV1000R


Last time out on the Desmosedici for Cal Crutchlow. He was fast enough, but happy to see the back of it


93 vs 68 style check


Andrea Iannone was fast in qualifying. The prospect of being a factory rider gave him a boost


Spanish skies


Valencia was a time for goodbyes. Stefan Bradl bid an emotional farewell to the LCR Honda team


Aleix Espargaro's sadness was tempered by his eagerness to ride the Suzuki


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Marco Melandri Completes Aprilia's MotoGP Line Up

Marco Melandri is to complete Aprilia's MotoGP line up for 2015. The Italian had been widely expected to switch back to MotoGP from World Superbikes, but confirmation came only on Monday at the Valencia test. Melandri will line up alongside Alvaro Bautista in the Gresini Aprilia team for next year.

The signing of Marco Melandri was not a surprise. The Italian still had another year to run on his contract to race in World Superbikes with Aprilia, but with the factory's decision to withdraw their factory team from WSBK, his options were less clear. Aprilia were keen for Melandri to move to MotoGP with the factory, but Melandri appeared to be reluctant to make the jump. After his options ran out in World Superbikes, he was left with nowhere else to go.

Below is the press release issued by Aprilia on Melandri's signing:


MARCO MELANDRI TO RACE WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGP

THE RIDER FROM RAVENNA WILL RACE UNDER THE ITALIAN TEAM'S COLOURS IN 2015

ROMANO ALBESIANO: "AN ITALIAN DUO TO TAKE ON APRILIA'S NEW CHALLENGE"

MARCO MELANDRI: "A VERY AMBITIOUS GOAL, BUT WE'RE READY"

Valencia, 10 November 2014 - The lineup is complete for the team that will take Aprilia into its rookie year in the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. After the announcement about Alvaro Bautista, today Marco Melandri has officially been signed, fresh from the conclusion of the 2014 Superbike season, also with Aprilia Racing, where he took 6 wins and another 5 podiums that contributed significantly to the WSBK Manufacturer Title that the Italian Brand won.

With these two new world titles earned in the recently ended WSBK season under its belt - Rider and Manufacturer - Aprilia now enters MotoGP a year ahead of the earlier announced schedule. As announced at the beginning of September, Aprilia Racing has signed an agreement with Gresini Racing, based on which Gresini Racing will mange the Aprilia bikes on the track in the MotoGP class for four years beginning with the 2015 season.

Born in 1982, Marco Melandri began his career at a very young age in minimoto, winning the Italian Championship in 1992 and 1994. Moving to 125 he became Italian Champion for the category in 1997, a title which allowed him to début in the "eighth litre" MotoGP class. Third in 1998 and second in 1999, Marco moved up a category to ride a powerful 250 two-stroke with Aprilia. This was the beginning of a Melandri-Aprilia match up where he finished fifth in the rider standings in 2000, third in 2001 and World Champion (with 9 wins and 2 podiums out of 16 races) in 2002.

Rising to the premier MotoGP category, Melandri immediately confirmed his competitiveness, finishing out the year in second place. In the various MotoGP categories Melandri has won 22 races and been on the podium 62 times.

In 2011 Marco Melandri moved over to World Superbike and was immediately a key player, so much that he was battling for the title from his rookie season, finishing the year in second place. Finishing third in the 2012 season, the rider from Ravenna was also a contender for the title in 2013, finishing out the season in fourth place. In SBK he has taken 19 wins and 31 podiums.

In its brief history, Aprilia boasts 54 World Titles (38 in MotoGP, 7 in Superbike and 9 in off-road disciplines) which make it one of the most victorious brands on a global level in motorcycle racing. Many recent protagonists in the motorcycle racing world have raced and won with Aprilia such as Biaggi, Capirossi, Rossi, Melandri, Simoncelli, Stoner and Lorenzo.

Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Director: "With Marco Melandri the last piece of the puzzle has been put into place for Aprilia's participation in next year's MotoGP season. These have been very intense and exciting days where in just a few hours we went from the last round of Superbike at Losail to this new adventure in MotoGP. We are very pleased to announce Marco's signing because this completes our team in the best way possible on the eve of a great challenge: with Melandri we now have an all-Italian bike-rider duo. We are moving into MotoGP a year ahead of schedule on wings of enthusiasm because of the double world Superbike championships we have just won. We moved our schedule up because we want the most demanding tracks and the most competitive championship in the world to gauge the quality of our work. Aprilia's 54 world titles, the hundreds of wins on tracks all over the world give proof of technical skills and a winning attitude that deserve the limelight of the most prestigious stage."

Marco Melandri: "I was offered the chance to develop a completely new project and it is something that I have not yet done in my career since I have always had 'inherited' bikes. Precisely for this reason I am very intrigued by this challenge. I am working with a company and a racing department which sought me out and with which I want to continue to work in order to develop and grow a great project. Aprilia Racing has always demonstrated their ability to make great bikes and make them fast. I'll put in my efforts. Our goal is quite ambitious: to grow a bike and at the same time to develop a new prototype that will race in 2016. It will be a demanding season and a lot of work but we are ready to take on these challenges."

World Superbikes To Race In Thailand In 2015

Motorcycle racing is expanding further into Asia. The World Superbike series has agreed a three-year deal with the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to stage a round of WSBK at the track. 

The track at Buriram was completed earlier this year, and had already staged several rounds of car racing, as well as a round of the FIM Asia Road Racing championship. After an inspection by Dorna and the FIM, the track was homologated earlier this year, and will now see a visit from World Superbikes. The WSBK round is seen by Dorna as a test for MotoGP, with a chance of the premier class visiting the circuit from 2016 onwards.

Though the facilities at Buriram appear to be first rate, the only concern about the track is it is in the middle of nowhere. Bangkok is four hours away, and the town of Buriram is home to 15,000. Accommodation, just for the teams, could be difficult, let alone the crowds they hope to have.

Thailand is one of three extra rounds expected to be added to the World Superbike schedule for 2015. The 12 races held this year will also feature on the calendar, with Thailand added and Dorna hoping to add two more races. The World Superbike schedule is expected to be published next Tuesday, 18th November.

Below is the official press release issued by Dorna:


WSBK to head to Thailand in 2015

Barcelona (Spain), Monday 10 November 2014 – Dorna WSBK Organization and the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) are glad to announce that a new circuit will enter the WSBK calendar in 2015.

Chang International Circuit, in Buriram, Thailand, will host the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the first time ever in the history of the competition, next 20-22 March 2015. The agreement between DWO and the local organiser consist in a 3-year contract.

Following their recent visit to the circuit, FIM and Dorna representatives could state that the homologation procedure was approved and could verify that both the track and the facilities are ready to welcome the world series.

Thailand is the 24th Country to be visited by the eni FIM Superbike World Championship and, as well as the whole Asian area, represents a strategic market for the production-based bikes championship and its sponsors and partners, and the interest of local fans in motorsports can guarantee a huge spectator attendance on site.

The Thai Round is joining the list of the 12 events held in 2014 which are already confirmed for the next season. Dorna and FIM are still working closely on a final calendar for the 2015 that will consist of a maximum of 15 rounds and which will be published next November, 18th.

Javier Alonso, Dorna WSBK Executive Director: “We are pleased to announce the introduction of the Thai Round in the calendar, as a clear evidence of our goal to reach new key markets for the motorcycle industry. Over the last two years the World SBK has accomplished to be present within important regions, such as the USA, Malaysia, Australia and Qatar with successful events, and we keep working in this direction.”

Vito Ippolito, FIM President: “One of the objectives of the FIM is to have races on every continent. The Asian people are very enthusiastic about motorcycling and having Thailand in the 2015 calendar is a real honour and achievement for all of us and very important for the sport!”

Newin Chidchob, Chang International Circuit President: “Chang International Circuit is located in Buriram, one of the northeastern provinces of Thailand, and can accommodate up to 40,000 spectators. The track is 4.554 km in length, and its 12 corners are designed to support the highest speeds. Last October the circuit hosted the Buriram United Super GT race, with a crowd figure of 131,000 spectators and hundreds of media covering the event. We look forward to hosting our first world competition for motorcycles and we are proud this will be the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.”

MotoGP To Race In Austria From 2016

MotoGP looks set to head to Austria from 2016. Today, Red Bull co-founder Dieter Mateschitz and Dorna reached an agreement to host an Austrian round of the series at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. The agreement is merely preliminary, and subject to the track gaining FIM homologating the track and granting it a license to stage a MotoGP race.

The Red Bull Ring - previously known as the A1 Ring, before being bought by Mateschitz - has been upgraded and this year hosted both a round of Formula 1 and a round of the Red Bull Air Race. It was also the scene of the last Austrian Grand Prix, held back in 1997. The race was dropped after that year due to poor spectator attendance.

Now, with increased visibility of the series, and especially increased involvement by Red Bull in MotoGP, stepping up sponsorship, the prospect is more attractive for both the organizers and Dorna. The inclusion of Austria from 2016 makes it almost certain that at least one Spanish round, and possibly Misano, could be dropped from the MotoGP schedule. Thailand looks a firm favorite to also host a round of MotoGP in 2016, and talks are continuing with Chile as well.

Scott Jones' Valencian Adventure - Friday Photos


Big day on Sunday. Jack Miller's ready


The new king of Spain. Arguably more popular than the current one


Randy's back. Been a tough, but interesting return for Suzuki


The other newcomer is the Honda RC213V-RS, getting its shakedown in the hands of Hiroshi Aoyama. It wheelies just fine


Information overload: everything you need to know about the state of a Yamaha M1 MotoGP motorcycle


Last time out for Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda


Last time out for Cal Crutchlow on the Ducati, too. Crutchlow will be happier than Bradl


Different bike means completely different settings. The RC213V-RS really is very different to the RCV1000R


This man wants second in the championship back


Next year's bike will be much faster, Scott Redding


Aleix Espargaro demonstrated the value of the Open class in 2014. He impressed enough people on the Forward Yamaha to get a Suzuki factory contract


The second half of 2014 has been tough on Dani Pedrosa


If it were any other circuit, Valentino Rossi would have second place in the championship in the bag


The underside of #38


Alex Marquez will face a stadium full of fans expecting him to be champion. There's a lot of pressure on young shoulders


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.

Aoyama Named As Honda Test Rider For 2015 - Will Race Honda RC213V-RS Open Bike At Valencia

Hiroshi Aoyama is to become a test rider for Honda in 2015. The future of the Japanese rider was uncertain after Eugene Laverty was signed to race with the Aspar team for next year, and Aoyama's options in the MotoGP paddock were limited. As a rider who has spent almost his entire career with Honda, including winning the last ever 250cc championship in 2009, Aoyama was the logical choice to take on a role as test rider.

Aoyama's work will commence on Friday at Valencia. Honda have brought the RC213V-RS to Valencia, the bike which is to replace the RCV1000R Open class Honda in 2015. Aoyama is to race the new bike, which features pneumatic valves and a more powerful engine, though it still does not have the seamless gearbox of the factory bikes. Aoyama's performance on the bike this weekend should give an idea of how much more competitive the Open class honda will be next year.

Aoyama will most likely not be Honda's only test rider. HRC are expected to reach an agreement with Casey Stoner to act as test rider for the factory. Aoyama is likely to take the place of one of Honda's other Japanese riders, Shinichi Itoh or Kousuke Akiyoshi.

The press release from Honda announcing Aoyama as a test rider appears below:


HRC announce Aoyama as test rider for 2015

Honda Racing Corporation confirmed they have signed Hiroshi Aoyama, 2009 250cc World Champion, as a test rider in 2015.

The first step of this new project will see Hiro riding the new Honda Open Class bike with pneumatic valve engine, the RC213V-RS, in Valencia this weekend for his final race with the Aspar Team.

In next week’s three day test the 2015 machine will be shared between Karel Abraham and Nicky Hayden.

Shuhei Nakamoto

HRC Executive Vice President

"We are very pleased to confirm Hiro as a test rider for next year. He’s done a very good job this year and especially in these final races. This is an important project for HRC and we believe that he will be a valued addition for the development of HRC machines in the future. We have a long relationship with Hiro, and we look forward to continuing this into the future."

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