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Michael van der Mark Confirmed at Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Squad for 2017

In the latest round of poorly-kept secrets emerging at last, Yamaha have announced that they have signed Michael van der Mark for the 2017 season. He will join Alex Lowes in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK squad for next year, replacing Sylvain Guintoli.

The move had been long expected. It became clear over the summer that Van der Mark would be leaving the Ten Kate Honda team, with whom he has had a long relationship. Once the signing of Stefan Bradl alongside Nicky Hayden at Honda was announced, there was only one destination Van der Mark could be heading.

Part of Van der Mark's motivation for moving has to do with MotoGP. The Dutchman is known to be keen to move to the Grand Prix paddock, but could not find a competitive package, or a deal with hopes of progressing towards a factory team. A switch to Yamaha may smooth his path in the future, though with the Tech 3 team having signed two rookies for 2017 and 2018, that route could also be more difficult.

Below is the press release announcing the move:

Van der Mark joins Lowes as Yamaha Young Guns Spearhead 2017 WorldSBK Attack

Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to announce its official challengers for the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as talented Dutchman Michael van der Mark joins current rider Alex Lowes in the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team. Continuing for his second season aboard the WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1, Lowes is eager to reap the rewards of 2016's developmental year, having assisted the Japanese marque as it returned to international Superbike competition. Alongside him, and showing consistently impressive pace throughout his career so far, 2014's Supersport World Champion van der Mark will move to Yamaha for his third season in the Superbike class.

25-year-old British rider Lowes secured an impressive victory in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race in late-July, competing as part of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team with MotoGP's Pol Espargaro and Japanese race and test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. 2016 has seen his notable pace and talent used to enhance and fine-tune the development of the YZF-R1 in its debut year in WorldSBK, with Lowes qualifying on the front row twice in the opening six rounds before a broken collarbone dampened his initial progress. The recent showing in Suzuka proving the former BSB Champion is back to full strength, Lowes is looking forward to continuing Yamaha's WorldSBK evolution in the latter part of the 2016 season before returning to the series in 2017, determined to challenge for victory.

Dutch rider van der Mark has achieved many successes in his 23 years, becoming champion in both the FIM European Superstock 600 and Supersport World Championship in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Progressing to World Superbike in 2015, he has secured eight podiums and one pole position to-date across the past two seasons and showed an increasing maturity, speed and hunger to win. Van der Mark's drive to succeed is a perfect complement to Lowes and the YZF-R1 for 2017, ensuring Yamaha has the best tools to fight for victories from the opening race.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and Yamaha Motor Europe would like to emphasise their full commitment to Sylvain Guintoli for the remaining four events of the 2016 WorldSBK season, continuing the partnership when the Frenchman returns from injury in Germany next month. Yamaha, the Crescent team and Title Partner Pata would like to thank Sylvain for his hard work in 2016 and wish him all the best in his future career.

Eric de Seynes – Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer

"Yamaha's new commitment to the Superbike World Championship has started in 2016, and now we look forward to using the lessons learned in this 'comeback season' and the increasingly strong relationship with our racing partner Crescent, in order to challenge for the top positions in 2017. Despite many challenges this year, we believe strongly in the speed and talent of Alex - as clearly shown by his superb performance in Suzuka - and Yamaha wants to see this talent develop and mature to the winning level together with us as we develop and improve the YZF-R1.

"We are also delighted and excited to have Michael joining Yamaha in 2017. At only 23 years of age, he is already a World Champion and is fighting at the front of WorldSBK - this is very impressive! Importantly, the rider line up demonstrates our philosophy of choosing two young riders, both who not only have the talent to fight for victory in WorldSBK but also the capacity to potentially grow their careers with Yamaha in the future. In this way, Yamaha would like to use the World Superbike series as a platform to demonstrate its racing spirit with the production based YZF-R1 and also to develop further the family of Yamaha riders - Michael is a perfect fit inside this philosophy and we are very excited to welcome him to the team.

"Finally, I would like to personally thank Sylvain for his partnership with Yamaha in 2016. He has suffered some very bad luck and some frustration since the beginning of the year and we hope that the end of this season will bring us some success and smiles together. I really wish Sylvain all the best wishes in his racing career and life in the future."

Michael van der Mark

"I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge with Yamaha. I could see the potential of the R1 during its first World Superbike season this year and I'm convinced that with further development and the full support of Yamaha and the team I will have the right package to fight for the World Superbike title next year.

"It is never an easy decision to leave a team and a manufacturer after so many years and successes, I will always remain grateful for the support received and I will give my maximum for the remainder of this season to get as many podiums as possible."

Alex Lowes

"Despite some challenges in the WorldSBK comeback season for Yamaha this year, it has been a pleasure to be part of the project from the start and I cannot wait to capitalise on the work we've all done when we start the 2017 season. The YZF-R1 is a magical bike to ride and we are now very close to a truly competitive level in this championship. I really feel part of the Yamaha family, the team is improving all the time and I couldn't be happier to continue together into 2017. Michael is a very fast rider, I am sure we will push each other all year, and I look forward to him joining the team."


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Alex Lowes to Replace Bradley Smith for Silverstone and Misano

A week after getting his first taste of a MotoGP bike, Alex Lowes has learned he will spend two full weekends on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha machine, replacing Bradley Smith. 

Smith injured himself when he crashed heavily during practice for the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championship. The Englishman had been drafted in to boister the YART Yamaha team, in response to a request by friend and former World Supersport racer Broc Parkes.

The aim was to help YART win the FIM EWC title, but Smith's assistance ended before the race had even begun. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider collided with another rider, suffering a very deep cut to his leg and damage to his knee. Fears of a broken femur proved unfounded, fortunately.

Smith's injury means he will miss both Silverstone and Misano. Alex Lowes was the obvious replacement for Smith, with rumors emerging that the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider would fill in for Smith over the weekend. Lowes has strong Monster backing, meaning no sponsor clash, and rides for Yamaha in the World Superbike championship.

Lowes is in Yamaha's good books for helping Pol Espargaro and Katsuyuki Nakasuga clinch their second successive Suzuka 8 Hours title in July. After that race, Espargaro spoke very highly of Alex Lowes, praising his speed and talent. The two things combined earned Lowes a spin on the Tech 3 bike during the MotoGP test at Brno on Monday.

That test did not go entirely to plan. The Pata Yamaha rider put in 15 laps, posting a best time of 1:59.558, just over four seconds off Jorge Lorenzo's fastest lap. His test came to an early end when he crashed the Tech 3 bike at Turn 3, losing the front and sliding into the gravel. The damage to both bike and rider was minimal, Lowes returning shamefaced to the Tech 3 pits shortly before the Yamaha M1 arrived. Lowes apologized repeatedly to the team for the damage to the bike.

The crash had come because Lowes felt he need to try to push the bike to try and understand it better. "The carbon brakes are a bit more grabby," he explained. "It was my last couple of laps of the day and I tried to push a bit much without understanding everything; tried to brake a bit more, lifted the rear a bit and when a bit wide. The track was a bit dirty and I just lost the front a little bit."

"I never know if I'll have another opportunity to ride the bike so I wanted to try and understand everything," Lowes said. That chance will come sooner than Lowes will have dared to hope. He will throw his leg over the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha again on Friday morning, during free practice at Silverstone.

Below is the Tech 3 press release announcing Smith's absence and Lowes' role as his replacement:

Injured Smith out for the back to back races Alex Lowes to replace him

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will unfortunately miss his home Grand Prix at Silverstone as well as the San Marino Grand Prix following a crash in the Oschersleben 8 Hours practice session last week which caused ligament damage to his right knee. As a result, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team announces that Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike Team rider Alex Lowes will fill in for Smith at both races, having recently sampled the Tech3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike for the first time at the post-Czech GP test. The talented 25-year-old from Lincoln in England is currently in his third full season in the World Superbike series, where he has achieved three podium finishes. Lowes was also part of the 2016 Yamaha Factory Racing Team, which dominated the Suzuka 8 Hour event. The Tech3 team wants to thank Paul Denning and the Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike Team for their cooperation in allowing Lowes to ride and would also like to wish Bradley Smith a quick and full recovery.


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Scott Jones Checking in from Brno - Part 2

Three laps can seem like a very long time when you're waiting for your team's first win in MotoGP

Still hungry as ever

Michelin. Hot topic after Brno

Andrea Dovizioso, symphony in red and white

Faster than the bike

Brad Binder and John McPhee were in a class of their own at Brno. McPhee was the smarter racer, and won

Good thing it rained for Moto2. Or Rins would have finished where Zarco did.


The eyes of a winner. Jonas Folger managed the Moto2 race to perfection

What's the first thing you do after winning your first MotoGP race? Phone your wife and new daughter

Key to the MotoGP race: it was wet early, and dried out slowly

Marc Marquez put in an incredible lap to take pole on Saturday

20 valuable points for Valentino Rossi

Ducati looked on course for their second win in two races in the early laps

But Cal Crutchlow was coming through

... to get the first British win in the premier class since 1981

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2016 Brno MotoGP Test Round Up - Not Everyone Likes Mondays

After a tough race on Sunday, managing tires on a drying track, around half of the MotoGP grid headed back to the track on Monday for a day of testing. Not everyone was enthusiastic about that. "Usually we hate Mondays, and this is a Monday that we hate," Danilo Petrucci told us with a wry grin on his face. He pinpointed why testing made a lot less sense for satellite riders than for factory teams. Satellite teams only really have set up changes to test, and the occasional tire, if the single tire supplier has something new. There was a real downside to working on set up at a track you have just raced at, Petrucci said. "If you are angry because you didn't get the best set up on Sunday, you getting more angry if you find it on Monday."

One of the reasons for Petrucci's ire was the loss of a lot of track time at the start of the test. A truck which had been taking down advertising hoardings around the circuit overnight had made a real mess of the track, and it took a couple of hours to clear it all up. Even then, the track remained dirty after a day and night of heavy rain, and it took a long time for the track to clean up enough for times to start to drop. In essence, only the last couple of hours of the test – extended to 6:30pm, to make amends for the loss of time earlier – which provided really useful data. 

Testing is worth it for factory teams, however. Because a factory team has new components to test, and a battery of staff to help analyze the results of testing. Some factories are forthcoming about what they are testing, others are more reticent. All, however, do not tell the media the full truth, a fact accidentally underscored by Valentino Rossi on Monday. In the chaos of impromptu media debriefs which accompany a test, when Rossi arrived at the appointed site between the Movistar Yamaha trucks, he first cast an inquiring look at the Yamaha press officer, who told him "swing arm, chassis, electronics". Which means that whatever the factory Yamaha team were actually testing (rumors of a new engine abounded), all Rossi would mention were those three things.

The Italian had tested a new chassis and a new swing arm, the chassis aimed at improving braking stability, the swing arm on improving grip on corner exit. They had both been a clear improvement, Rossi said, though the difference had been small. He was keen to get the new parts as soon as possible, which means they could see action within the next couple of races.

Jorge Lorenzo did not try the new chassis and swing arm, but not because he was leaving the team at the end of the season. The chassis was a development of the frame being used by Rossi, which Lorenzo had already rejected. "We have a different direction in chassis," Lorenzo said. "I understood that he tried another step, in his direction, with this new chassis. So Yamaha have no meaning for me to try this chassis. That's why I didn't try." If Lorenzo didn't like the chassis Rossi was already using, he would be even less likely to use the revised version.

Honda were even more tight lipped than Yamaha, with both Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa vague about exactly what they had tested, or even if those parts were new or not. Márquez and Pedrosa did let slip they had been working on the rear of the bike, with Pedrosa trying parts in the suspension linkage.

For Márquez, the focus was on trying to improve acceleration without sacrificing the braking stability which is the strength of the Honda. They went back and forth with the bike, trying things at the front end, then trying things at the rear end, looking for the right balance. They found some improvement in acceleration, which remains the weak point of the bike, and the biggest area of need.

Dani Pedrosa, meanwhile, spent most of the test working on a base set up, searching for something to give him confidence in the tires and in the bike. The changes Michelin have made to the tires have penalized Pedrosa the hardest, the Spaniard suffering his worst ever season in MotoGP so far. His team have gone back to basics, working on a base set up.

At Suzuki, only Maverick Viñales was testing, Aleix Espargaro sent off home to allow his broken finger a chance to recover. There was not a great deal for Viñales to test either, the Spaniard working on electronics in search of more grip in acceleration.

Aleix Espargaro was not the only absentee at the test. Both Aprilia and Ducati had also left on Sunday night, Ducati heading down to Misano for a private test at the track alongside their WorldSBK team, where Marco Melandri is making his debut on the Ducati Panigale R. The Aspar and Avintia teams were also absent, having little to test for the rest of the season.

The satellite Honda and Yamaha teams were present in Brno, but all they were testing was set up. For Bradley Smith, that was useful, as he has lacked a base set up for most of the year. They now have two different basic starting points for each race, one bike set up for turning, one bike set up for drive out of corners. His hope is that they can arrive at a race set up more quickly using one of the two base bikes.

It was not a fantastic day for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, however. Yamaha had given WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes with a brief test on the Yamaha M1, as a reward for winning the Suzuka 8 Hour race. But the factory Yamaha garage had too much to do, and so Lowes was handed one of Pol Espargaro's bikes for the end of the test. Lowes rode well, given such a short time on the bike, finishing 2.6 seconds shy of Espargaro's time, on a track he had not ridden at for a very long time. Unfortunately, he made a mistake at the end of his run, getting caught out off line and losing the front on the dirty section of the track. A shamefaced Lowes headed back to the pits, but he had enjoyed his first outing on a MotoGP bike.

Michelin had also brought new front tires to the test for the riders to try, and they were met with broad approval. The new tires were better in braking and offered more grip on the edge of the tire. There were two fronts to test, with most riders showing a preference for one of the new tires. It will not be available until next season, however.

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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Grand Prix Commission Clarifies Flag-to-Flag Regulations

The Grand Prix Commission has introduced a range of measures at their meeting in Brno. Among the most important are the switch from selling Moto3 engines to leasing them, and changing the flag-to-flag procedure, in an attempt to improve safety in pit lane.

Starting from next year, the flag-to-flag procedure has been revised. The number of mechanics assisting has been reduced, with only four allowed to assist in the bike swap. Those mechanics must now wear approved helmets, which will also make them easier to identify. 

There has also been a clarification of the rules on having the bike in neutral. At the Sachsenring, Race Direction introduced a rule that the bike the rider is swapping too must be in neutral, and only the rider is allowed to put it into gear. To avoid accidents, however, mechanics are allowed to hold the clutch of the bike in, just in case the rider accidentally kicks the gear lever while swapping bikes. The penalty for the mechanic putting the bike in gear is now disqualification, with Race Direction verifying that the bike was in neutral by checking the data from the second bike.

The change to the Moto3 engine arrangements is an interesting twist. So far, the manufacturers have been forced to sell their bikes, both chassis and engine, to the teams. Some manufacturers, however, have been reticent to sell the engines, asking them to be returned at the end of the year. The Grand Prix Commission has now made this situation more amenable to the manufacturers. From 2017, the factories will no long have to sell the engines, but will be able to lease them to the teams instead. The teams will then have to return the engines and gearbox at the end of the season, but keep the chassis.

The press release containing the details of the changes made by the Grand Prix Commission 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 Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 20 August at Brno, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

Effective Season 2017

Moto3 Engine and Gearbox Supply

Engines and gearboxes will no longer be sold to the participating teams but will be provided under a rental agreement with ownership retained by the manufacturer.

Moto3 Supply Requirements

Manufacturers participating in the Moto3 class must supply, if requested, machines and spare parts for 14 riders who have been selected for participation by the Selection Committee.

However, every manufacturer is required to supply engines and spare parts to a minimum of six riders as a condition of being an approved manufacturer for this class.

Post-Qualifying/Race Technical Control

Allowances will be made by the Technical Director when non-compliance with minimum weight or maximum noise has been caused by incidents in the qualifying session or race. This would include situations like fluid loss or missing bodywork parts affecting the weight and damage to or loss of exhaust components affecting noise levels.

Sporting Regulations

Effective Season 2017

Moto3 and Moto2 Testing Restrictions

Due to reduction in the number of days in the programme of official winter tests, testing in the period between the last Grand Prix and the end of November will no longer count towards the permitted maximum number of days available to each rider.

Change of Machines in MotoGP Class “Flag to Flag” Races

For safety reasons and to reduce the number of people in pit lane during machine changes, each rider may only be assisted by a maximum of four mechanics. Such mechanics must all wear an approved crash helmet which will also help to identify the authorised staff.

To avoid the possibility of accidental engagement of a gear during the machine change the mechanic holding the replacement machine may hold in the clutch lever. However, actual selection of the gear can only be made by the rider. Breach of this regulation, which can be determined from ECU data, will result in automatic disqualification.

Other Matters

Effective Season 2017

Fuel Handling Safety

Teams will be required to use anti-static mats and grounding wrist strap when decanting fuel.

Proprietary fuel dump/fuel tank fillers must be used when filling fuel tanks.

All such equipment used must be approved by the Technical Director.


The level of penalties for minor infringements that can be imposed by the FIM Stewards Panel without an automatic hearing has been increased. This avoids the current requirement for

teams or riders to pay a significant fee to have any appeal heard by the Court of Appeal. As is the current practice, the Stewards will always grant a hearing to any team or rider requesting one.


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Scott Jones Checking in from Brno - Part 1

First win was here, 20 years ago. Another one come Sunday?

Captain Scarlet? Or Captain Black?

Maverick is flying at Brno

#93. Left pinkie is bent like thta permanently. Perils of the job

Yes, Cal, we know the Honda likes to wheelie

A cheerful Bradley Smith. He's not always that cheerful

Honda bring a new air intake on the front of the RC213V. Different fairing shape too

For comparison, the standard factory fairing. Marquez is the test dummy, Pedrosa the benchmark

Back in the groove, and so smooth

Andrea Iannone's confidence has been visibly boosted since winning in Austria

Scott Redding looking at the future

Jorge Lorenzo often uses double thickness kneesliders, even in the dry

Situation normal, all crossed up

This is why photographers love Brno. Great images just waiting to be captured

Synchronized corner entry. A new Olympic sport?

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.

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Sky VR46 Fire Romano Fenati, Hire Lorenzo Dalla Porta

As expected, Romano Fenati has been formally released from his contract with the Sky VR46 team. The Italian was suspended from the team after an incident at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. That was a temporary measure, but it has now been made permanent.

Fenati was released for behavioral issues. The Italian had been abusive towards members of the team, and had not behaved in a professional manner. The incident in Austria was just the latest in a long line of breaches of behavioral conduct, which included confirmed reports of verbal abuse and unconfirmed and unsubstantiated reports of physical conflict. 

The Sky VR46 team have announced that they will be bringing Lorenzo Dalla Porta in to join Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega in the Moto3 team. Dalla Porta had strong results in the FIM CEV championship, and fits in with the ethos of the Sky VR46 team of bringing on young talent. The Italian will take Fenati's place from Silverstone.

What happens to Fenati is as yet unknown. His sacking has made him persona non grata with most of the teams, though there are rumors that Aki Ajo has an interest in the Italian. Ajo has had success in taming other wayward characters, making the team a good fit with Fenati. If Fenati is not picked up by another Moto3 team, his career in motorcycle racing could be in huge trouble.

Below is the press release announcing the cancelation of Fenati's contract:


Brno (Czech Republic), August 18th, 2016 - After the suspension at the Austrian GP, it breaks up permanently from Brno the relationship between Romano Fenati and the Sky Racing Team VR46. After three seasons of work and successes together, we wish Romano all the best for his future.

Sky and VR46 continue to work alongside the young Italian talents. Lorenzo Dalla Porta will join the Moto3 team, with Andrea Migno and Nicolò Bulega, until the end of the season. The guy from Prato, who made his debut in the World Championship in 2015 - after the experience at CEV - will be on the track from the Silverstone. There is no replacement for Brno.


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Aspar Signs Bautista For MotoGP - 2017 Line Up Almost Complete

The penultimate piece of the 2017 puzzle has fallen into place. Today, the Pull&Bear Aspar team announced that they have signed Alvaro Bautista to race for them for the 2017 season.

The deal had long been anticipated, Bautista confirming at the Sachsenring that he was in talks with Aspar, and expected a contract to be signed. The final details were sorted out in Austria, and an announcement made the day before the Czech Grand Prix is to get underway in Brno.

Like the Avintia Ducati team, Aspar will have two different bikes at their disposal for their riders. One rider will be given a Ducati Desmosedici GP16 for the season, while the other will have a Desmosedici GP15. In the Avintia team, it is Hector Barbera who will have the GP16, while Loriz Baz makes do with the GP15. In Aspar, it is Alvaro Bautista who has the GP16, while the second rider, still to be confirmed, will get to use the GP15.

Bautista's signing leaves one more seat to fill. The second seat at Aspar is still up for grabs, though Eugene Laverty has first refusal on it. The Irishman is still vacillating between the Aspar ride and a seat in WorldSBK with Aprilia. A decision on that shoudl be forthcoming very soon. If Laverty doesn't take the seat, then Yonny Hernandez will retain his seat in the Aspar squad.

Below is the table of signed riders and their contract lengths, while at the bottom is the press release from the Aspar team announcing the signing of Bautista:

Movistar Yamaha
Valentino Rossi 2017-2018
Maverick Viñales 2017-2018
Repsol Honda
Dani Pedrosa 2017-2018
Marc Márquez 2017-2018
Ecstar Suzuki
Andrea Iannone 2017-2018
Alex Rins 2017-2018
Gresini Aprilia
Sam Lowes 2017-2018
Aleix Espargaro 2017-2018
KTM Factory
Bradley Smith 2017-2018
Pol Espargaro 2017-2018
Factory Ducati
Jorge Lorenzo 2017-2018
Andrea Dovizioso 2017-2018
Pramac Ducati
Scott Redding 2017
Danilo Petrucci 2017
LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow 2017
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
Jonas Folger 2017-2018
Johann Zarco 2017-2018
Marc VDS Honda
Jack Miller 2017
Tito Rabat 2017
Avintia Ducati
Hector Barbera 2017
Loris Baz 2017
Aspar Ducati
Alvaro Bautista 2017
Eugene Laverty/Yonny Hernandez?

Below is the press release from the Aspar team announcing the deal:

Aspar Team and Álvaro Bautista to reunite in 2017

Spanish rider returns to the team where he was crowned 125cc World Champion in 2006 and 250cc runner-up in 2008

The Aspar Team and Álvaro Bautista will join forces again in 2017, the Spaniard (born 21st November 1984) returning to the team where he last raced between 2006 and 2009. Bautista's fifth season with the Aspar Team will also be his eighth season in MotoGP, this time riding aboard a Ducati GP16.

Álvaro Bautista touched the sky in his first season together with the Aspar Team in the 125cc World Championship in 2006. The rider from Talavera de la Reina picked up eight pole positions, eight victories, four second places and two thirds, taking 338 points from sixteen races on his way to a dominant title. Bautista was crowned champion in Australia, handing the Aspar Team its first World Championship with three rounds to spare.

Bautista moved up to the 250cc World Championship together with the Aspar Team, fighting for honours throughout three seasons that saw him come close to the title in 2008, when he finished runner-up. Bautista and the Aspar Team again recorded impressive figures in the intermediate class, with a total of eight wins, twenty podiums, nine poles and twelve fastest laps.

In 2010 he made the step up to MotoGP with Suzuki, spending two seasons with the Japanese factory team before switching to Gresini, where he currently rides an Aprilia after an initial period on a Honda. The 2012 season was Bautista's best so far in MotoGP, with two podium finishes and fifth overall in the championship.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “For the Aspar Team it gives us great pleasure in every sense to welcome Álvaro Bautista back. As a team we picked up our first World Championship title with him back in 2006 and we enjoyed some wonderful years together. Our professional and personal relationship with him is excellent and for the team and our sponsors this is great news. My hope and desire is that this brings great results for Ducati and for us. It is important for us to have a Spanish rider with his record and his professionalism. He can give us an advantage on track.”

Álvaro Bautista: “I am happy to be returning to what was my home for many years in the World Championship, where I enjoyed my best results including the 125cc World Championship title and fought for another title in 250cc. I am happy and motivated to be going back and especially to have another year in MotoGP, a new adventure. Over the years I have grown a lot and I have much more experience now. I am confident that with this team we can be competitive in 2017.”


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Scott Jones' Austrian Adventure, Part 2

Faster than he feared, not as fast as he hoped. Valentino Rossi needed more than fourth in Austria

Mountains, woods, bull, bikes. Spielberg

Just a week old, and Cal Crutchlow's daughter already has her own race logo

Fear the freight train: there was no escaping for Brad Binder at the Red Bull Ring


We all know who they mean ...

The old Jorge Lorenzo was back when the heat came

The rewards of hard work. Jorge Martinez and Gino Borsoi congratulate Phil Marron and Eugene Laverty's crew

Bradley Smith didn't have a bad weekend. But he didn't have a good weekend. Hence his frustration

Another Brit, Scott Redding, on his way to top independent rider

No so much of a maniac that he can't win races

There may not be very many corners, but you have to nail each and every one of them

Sadly, this relationship will end at the end of the season. Aleix Espargaro talking to crew chief Tom O'Kane

Norge. Flying.

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.


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Barbera and Baz Back With Avintia for 2017

The penultimate piece of the 2017 MotoGP puzzle has fallen into place. As had been widely expected, the Avintia Ducati team have announced that they will be keeping their current line up of Hector Barbera and Loris Baz for the 2017 season.

The Avintia team will have two different bikes at their disposal, one GP16 and one GP15. The current plan calls for Hector Barbera to be riding the GP16 next year, while Loris Baz will get a chance to ride the GP15. Given the exceptional season Barbera has had so far this year, it is unsurprising the Spaniard would be given the more competitive bike, though the difference between the two is marginal.

Below is the official announcement from Avintia:

Hector Barbera and Loris Baz sign with Avintia Racing for 2017

Avintia Racing takes great pleasure in announcing that Hector Barbera and Loris Baz will continue with the team in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. Hector Barbera already showed his level during the first half of the season. After nine races, he is the best Ducati rider and seventh in the standings, riding a Desmosedici GP14.2. Next year will be the fifth season for the Spaniard with Avintia Racing and thanks to his good results, he’ll have a Desmosedici GP in 2017, the same bike that the factory riders are using this season.

2016 has been the first season for Loris Baz with Avintia Racing after battling with Barbera in 2015 for the Open Class title. Although he didn’t get good results so far, the Frenchman showed his potential during the winter test and the first races of the season. The team is convinced that he is capable of fighting for Top 10 results, and next season, with a better package, he’ll have the chance to demonstrate his skills.

Hector Barbera

“I’m very happy because I think that we have shown a big progression over the last few years. In just three seasons, we managed to move from twentieth place to seventh in the standings, and we achieved this with an old bike. The team and I grew together over this period of time, so I’m extremely happy to sign a new contract for next season, especially because we’ll finally have a competitive bike, and we will be able to fight for something big. I have a really competitive team, we are like a big family and everybody is always looking for perfection. We help each other and that’s why we have grown so much together. Raul always has big dreams, he is ahead of the future, and without his passion, the experience of Bocha and the support from Antonio, all this wouldn’t be possible.”

Loris Baz

“First of all I want to say big thanks to the team for offering me another opportunity, because with the poor races we had so far, ninety per cent of the teams would have decided to sent me back home. But Avintia Racing showed that they trust me and gave me another chance. I also think that during the winter tests and the first few races I showed that I’m not so slow. Now we need to try to get back to that point and try to be as competitive as Hector. The fact that my future is now decided takes a lot of pressure from me, because after my injury it was not easy, so I want to thank Raul, Bocha and Antonio. I feel really good with the team and I think we can show more than what we have seen so far. I got injured in the worst moment of the season, but they always supported and reassured me to take the pressure off. I hope to be able to return the favour with some better results in the last nine races of this season, and even results again in 2017.”

Agustin Escobar (Team Manager)

“We are really happy to continue one more year with Hector and Loris, because they are good riders and even better persons. We have a professional team, but at the same time we are a big family, so that’s why we want to continue together next season. Hector is already showing his potential, and I think Loris can get the good feeling back that he had during the winter tests and show that he has more speed than what he had so far this season. I’m sure that next season, with the new bikes, both will get better results. I also want to thank Ducati for they support and I hope to reward them with great results.”


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