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Mika Kallio Signs As Test Rider For KTM MotoGP Project

Mika Kallio is to be KTM's test rider to help with the development of their MotoGP bike. The 32-year-old Finnish rider is to make a return to the Austrian manufacturer and work to get the KTM RC16 ready for its debut season in MotoGP in 2017. 

Kallio has a long association with the Austrian marque. He rode for them for four seasons both in 125s and 250s, finishing as runner up twice in the junior class, most controversially in 2005, when he lost out to Tom Luthi by five points after his erstwhile KTM teammate Gabor Talmacsi stole the win from him at Qatar. When KTM decided to pull out of Grand Prix racing at the end of the 2008 season, out of frustration at the decision to abandon two-stroke racing in the intermediate class, Kallio was forced to leave, moving up to MotoGP with Pramac Ducati.

After two years in Ducati, Kallio returned to Moto2, where he was once again championship runner up in 2014. He has not had the same level of success since leaving the Marc VDS team, despite starting the 2015 season on essentially the same bike. Approaching the age of 33, and with only mediocre results this season, Kallio may have decided he has a better future testing with KTM. From KTM's perspective, Kallio already has two years in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati, and worked as a test rider for the Suter MotoGP project which ran under the CRT rules in 2012.

Kallio is the latest in a list of names to come up for the position. Nicky Hayden had long been linked to the ride, but the American was keen to stay racing, and so joined the Ten Kate Honda team in World Superbikes for 2016. KTM had also been in talks with the AB Motor Racing team since Assen, with a view to taking Karel Abraham as a test rider, but Abraham was also keen to keep racing, and has a serious ankle injury that is still recovering.

Kallio will be joined by Alex Hofmann, former MotoGP rider and for the past few years, test rider for Aprilia in both MotoGP and World Superbikes. Hofmann joined KTM earlier this year, and will be taking the first ride on the RC16, giving it its first shakedown. Kallio will be charged with trying to push the limits of the bike, to help prepare the RC16 for its race debut in 2017.

Below is the press release from KTM on the signing:


Finland’s Mika Kallio returns to KTM next season as test rider for the MotoGP project.

KTM made the decision about one year ago to enter competition in the premier class of MotoGP as of the 2017 season. The company was then faced with the task of making all the preparations for a successful entry into this class of motorsport in a relatively short time. By securing the services of Mika Kallio, staffing for the test team is now completed. A new Motorsport Center, currently under construction will also be ready in mid-2016.

Pit Beirer (Motorsport Director): “In addition to the technical and infrastructure challenges, the topic of personnel was no less important in the first stage of the project. By hiring Mika Kallio we now have our core team for MotoGP and are able to take the next steps. In accordance with our planning, the motor has been running on the test benches since the beginning of July. The next step will be the first roll out with Alex Hofmann, former Grand Prix rider and now commentator for MotoGP on Eurosport.”

Mike Leitner (MotoGP Consultant): “We opted for Mika Kallio because of his successful past association with KTM and not least because of his experience and success in all classes. It is not only with us that he has proved his ability as an excellent racer and test rider. He wants, and above all can push himself to the limit and this can be decisive in the development of the KTM RC16.”

Mika Kallio: „KTM has played an important role in my career. When I first heard about their MotoGP 2017 plan, I realised that it might be a perfect chance for me to return to the Orange family. I am excited about our co-operation, since I respect KTM’s know-how and way of working. I am eager to use my vast riding experience and analytic skills to do an excellent job as their test rider. My heart is set on this project and even though I will miss racing next year, I believe the best times are still ahead.“

Mika Kallio joined KTM in the MotoGP World Championship in 2003 and went on to win two vice world championship titles in the 125cc class in 2005 and 2006 before he moved up to the 250cc class in 2007, also with KTM. After taking third in the world championship in 2008, he advanced to MotoGP in 2009, where he was named “Rookie of the Year” in his first season of competition. Following a protracted shoulder injury he returned to the new four-stroke Moto2 class, where he has been successfully competing since 2011 to become a vice world champion again in 2014.

Scott Jones Down Under: Saturday At Phillip Island

At a track which disguises the GSX-RR's weaknesses, both Suzuki riders were strong

Buried on the brakes

Chasing a dream

'T is but a scratch!

Jack Miller loves Phillip Island, and it showed

For the first time this year, Pol Espargaro consistently outperformed his Tech 3 teammate

Wheelie... whatever day it is today.

Still the most spectacular setting in the world

The wings worked on the Ducati, just not for Andrea Dovizioso

Pedrosa's Motegi revival was short-lived. He could get no drive out of the last corner at PI

Call a boy Maverick and he is sure to turn into a star

Fresh rubber. Time to go fast

Marc Marquez at full lean

The Pramac Ducatis did not have the pace at Phillip Island they have had elsewhere


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Forward Racing Out Of MotoGP, Collaborating With MV Agusta In WSBK

Since Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari was arrested on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion earlier this year, the team's places in MotoGP have been in jeopardy. Yamaha immediately stopped its support for the team, meaning that Forward did not have bikes for the 2016 MotoGP season. After his release from arrest, and, according to his lawyer, the dropping of the charges of corruption, Cuzari was confident he would be allowed back on to the MotoGP grid, and was in talks with both Aprilia and Ducati for the supply of bikes. His fate, Cuzari told us at Misano, was in the hands of Carmelo Ezpeleta.

The head of Dorna appears to have decided that Forward Racing's future does not lie in the premier class, at least for the foreseeable future. Today, Forward Racing announced they will not be racing in MotoGP, but will be turning their focus towards the World Superbike championship. Forward will be working with MV Agusta to assist with their World Superbike and World Supersport efforts from 2016. Cuzari has been appointed Team Principal for the team, and given responsibility for MV Agusta's racing department.

This is not Forward Racing taking over the running of the MV Agusta team, however, according to dedicated WSBK journalist Marien Cahuzak. MV Agusta have brought in the technical expertise of Forward - in the shape of mechanics and engineers - to help with the factory's own racing efforts. The MV Agusta team will remain a factory effort, but will be staffed by members of Forward Racing.

The press release issued by Forward Racing contained a few intriguing details. Marco Melandri has been engaged as a test rider for MV Agusta, to help develop the F4 RC. There is no mention of whether Melandri will be racing for MV Agusta next season. It is known that Melandri was looking for a ride in World Superbikes, after leaving Aprilia's MotoGP project and finding himself unwanted by any of the existing teams. His stated aim has always been to continue racing. Whether this deal will allow him to is unclear.

The other detail in the press release is the mention of a return to MotoGP. The Forward release makes specific mention of the rule changes in 2017. Those rule changes are chiefly to the way the teams are financed, making it cheaper for teams to compete. There are no new technical regulations expected in 2017, the biggest changes coming in 2016, with the introduction of spec electronics and the switch to Michelin tires. Whether a manufacturer of the scale of MV Agusta (sales projections are for 12,000 bikes in 2015) can compete with the likes of Honda and Yamaha, or even Ducati, which sold 45,000 bikes last year, is an open question. Costs have come down in MotoGP in recent years, but overall factory MotoGP budgets are still in the range of several tens of millions of euros, excluding rider salaries. With total sales projections of €120 million, it seems improbable that MV Agusta could afford something like a third of that to put into MotoGP. By comparison, Ducati, the smallest of the manufacturers involved in MotoGP, had a turnover of over €600 million in 2013. What's more, Ducati is believed to receive something north of €20 million in sponsorship from Phillip Morris, to help cover their costs. That kind of partnership is unlikely to happen for MV Agusta.

Forward Racing may have lost their grid slots in MotoGP, but their Moto2 team will continue in 2016. The press release from Forward Racing appears below.

Forward Racing in support of MV Agusta in WSBK and in WSS in 2016

The Swiss team, competing in Moto2 since 2009, in MotoGP since 2012 and Open World Champion in 2014, will provide to the racing department of the legendary Schiranna factory the experience gained in the top division to continue to succeed in WSS, grow in WSBK and in the future reach together the premier class of motorcycle racing. Both teams, in light of the regulations changes in 2017, aim to work to reach the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, where the Italian brand has built his legend by winning 75 world championships (38 riders and 37 manufacturers).

Forward Racing chairman, Giovanni Cuzari, will assume from next season the role of Team Principal of both teams competing respectively in WSBK and WSS Championship and will then have the full responsibility of the MV Agusta Racing Department.

In the coming weeks an exceptional test rider, one of the most beloved Italian racers, will start working on the project: Marco Melandri. The rider from Ravenna, former 250cc world champion, will join the development team of the 2016 F4 RC.

"I'm really pleased to announce that an agreement has been found with MV Agusta: for a long time we have been aiming to cooperate with an important manufacturer and we have finally succeeded. Working with one of the most iconic brand of Italian motorcycling is a great honor and a privilege for me. MV Agusta represents the best the Made in Italy can offer and this collaboration will surely be a great growth opportunity for all in order to reach the top of WSBK and to aim for MotoGP. I am also proud of sealing this agreement with Giovanni Castiglioni, longtime friend of mine as was his father Claudio.

Giovanni, who together with his family brought back the name of this historical reality from Varese, has put his trust on me and on the experience of our group and I am convinced we can achieve the goals we set ourselves".

Alex De Angelis Injury Update - Stable, And Cleared To Fly Home

More good news on Alex De Angelis' condition. Earlier today, the Ioda Racing team issued a press release announcing that De Angelis had been cleared to fly home by the doctors at the Dokkyo University Hospital. 

After eight days in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, doctors are no longer listing him as being in critical condition. With De Angelis no longer critical, he will be able to fly home to San Marino, where he will receive further treatment in the State Hospital in the tiny mountain microstate

The man from San Marino will not be able to fly straight away. The team announced that it will take up to ten days to prepare De Angelis for the long journey home, and arrange the details of his medical transport. He is still being assisted by Dr. Michele Zasa of the Clinica Mobile, who has stayed with De Angelis throughout.

In their statement, the team thanked the Dokkyo hospital for their care and treatment of De Angelis, but they also thanked Dr. Zasa and the Clinica Mobile for their care and assistance, and Dorna and IRTA for their help in arranging his care and transport. They also expressed their gratitude to the marshals and medical services at the Motegi Circuit.

Tito Rabat To Fly Home For Further Treatment, Will Miss Phillip Island And Sepang

Tito Rabat is to fly home for further treatment on the arm he broke in a training accident a week before Motegi. Rabat was  forced to skip the Japanese round of Moto2 due to a lack of strength in the arm, still weak from surgery to insert a plate over the fractured bone. 

Rabat was strong enough to start practice for the Australian round, the Marc VDS Racing rider suffered a big crash in the final corner at Phillip Island during FP2. Though initial examination showed he had suffered no further injury, a further examination revealed the possibility of a displaced bone fragment. With the title already settled in Johann Zarco's favor, Rabat decided to fly home for treatment to prepare himself for the final round of Moto2 at Valencia. This means he will miss both this weekend's race at Phillip Island, and the race next weekend at Sepang.

Though Rabat will want to be strong at his final race in Moto2, the other, more obvious reason for Rabat to concentrate on recovery is the fact that he is to switch to the MotoGP class for 2016 with the Marc VDS squad. The Valencia test - which starts on Tuesday rather than Monday, because of the many technical changes for 2016 - is the first chance Rabat will get to ride the Honda RC213V in 2016 spec, complete with spec software and Michelin tires. With the title gone, Rabat is now focusing on 2016.

Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team:

Rabat to fly home for further treatment

Phillip Island, Australia – 17 October 2016: Tito Rabat will tomorrow head home to Spain, where he will undergo further examination and possible surgery on the left arm injured two weeks ago in a training crash at Almeria.

The former Moto2 World Champion crashed heavily in the fast final turn at Phillip Island yesterday, during the second free practice session ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Precautionary x-rays showed no additional damage to the left arm injury, but the possibility of a displaced bone fragment was identified during a further examination today.

Rabat will return to Barcelona for a more detailed assessment of the injury and will miss the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, staying in Europe to recuperate fully ahead of the final race of the season in Valencia instead.

Tito Rabat:

“The crash yesterday left me with no other option; I need to return home for further treatment as soon as possible, so that I have the maximum amount of time to recover ahead of the final race of the season in Valencia. I would like to say thank you to the medical staff at the circuit here at Phillip Island and also to the MotoGP medical team for the good job that they’ve done, both with my rehabilitation from the original injury and for quickly identifying the possibility of further damage after my crash yesterday. Now my focus is solely on recovery, ready for the race in Valencia and the new adventure in MotoGP that starts the Tuesday after.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“The original injury wasn’t the problem for Tito here in Australia or in Japan, but rather it was a lack of strength in his left arm following the surgery. With the physiotherapy that Tito has been doing since the operation the strength was starting to return, so it made sense for him to come to the overseas races and test the injury on the bike. The crash yesterday has changed that, as there is a possibility that it dislodged a bone fragment in his damaged arm that may require further treatment. It’s disappointing for Tito, but the positive thing is that he will be sufficiently recovered to race in Valencia and then test the MotoGP bike on the Tuesday after the final race of the season.”

Scott Jones Down Under: Friday At Phillip Island

Funny what a special track and home motivation can do. Jack Miller was impressively quick on Friday

Marc Marquez, complaining about rear grip. Didn't stop him from being the fastest man on the day

The wind at Phillip Island makes aerodynamics difficult. Ducatis went out with no wings, just the upper wings, just the lower wings, and both sets

Jorge Lorenzo knows what he has to do, and is getting on with doing it

Look at the timesheets, and Rossi is in trouble. Look at race pace, and he's right there

Back in MotoGP, and not a million miles off the pace: Ant West

Phillip Island is a rider's track. Maverick Viñales is one hell of a rider

Big sky down under

Tires and brakes are the big talking point at PI. Blue stripe = asymmetric front. Brake is the high mass 320mm, but with brake cowling to keep the temperature in

Bradley Smith ahead of newly-named MotoGP Legend Nicky Hayden. The American is having a good weekend at a track he loves

Marc Marquez' hand injury may not have slowed him, but he still needs the special handlebar grip

Lean and gas it up, that's the secret. Cal Crutchlow shows how.

It's fair to say that Dani Pedrosa is back at last

Andrea Iannone, aboard Pegasus

Up and over Lukey Heights. One of the finest spots in racing

The Blue Flash

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Miller Moves To Marc VDS - 2016 MotoGP Grid Now Nearly Complete

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, in the press conference at Phillip Island, Jack Miller announced that he would be riding for the Marc VDS Estrella Galicia 0,0 team in 2016. It had long been known that Miller would end up at the team, but there was still the question of a few loose ends to tie up. With those tidied up, Miller's home GP was the obvious place to announce his future plans.

The Australian will move to Marc VDS along with his crew chief, Cristian Gabarrini, and the rest of his pit crew. As Miller is contracted to and paid for by HRC, it was a simple matter for them to move the mechanics and engineers from LCR to Marc VDS. Miller will have a standard satellite Honda RC213V next year, the same spec as that of his current teammate, Cal Crutchlow, and new teammate Tito Rabat. 

There were one or two obstacles to Miller's move to Marc VDS, not least the broken pre-contract the Australian signed with the team to race in Moto2. Miller was supposed to join Marc VDS in 2014, but Aki Ajo - also Miller's personal manager - persuaded him to stay in Moto3 with the Red Bull KTM team. The legal dispute over that contract is still ongoing, but will be much easier to put to an end now that Miller is with Marc VDS. 

The other obstacle to Miller's move was financial. Though Miller rides for HRC, Honda still wanted the team who took him to cover at least some of the costs. That was a problem for Marc VDS, as they had taken a financial hit moving up to MotoGP in 2015 with Scott Redding. As a new team in MotoGP, they were not eligible for financial support with transport costs or free tires. That imposed an extra financial burden - believed to be around €1.6 million a year - on the team. If Miller was to join Marc VDS, then they needed to be sure that both grid slots would be eligible for financial support, and they had to be sure that they could afford to pay Honda's asking price. After a period of negotiation, agreement has been reached on these issues.

With Miller confirmed alongside Tito Rabat, the 2016 MotoGP grid is nearing completion. The Repsol Honda, Movistar Yamaha, Ducati Factory, Gresini Aprilia and Suzuki ECSTAR teams all remain unchanged, as does the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha line up. Cal Crutchlow remains as the single rider at LCR, Lucio Cecchinello's dreams shattered by the legal problems of a former sponsor. Scott Redding replaces Yonny Hernandez at Pramac Ducati, the Colombian moving to Aspar, where he will line up alongside Eugene Laverty. If, that is, Aspar has the funds to run a second bike. With the Avintia Ducatis of Loris Baz and Hector Barbera, there will be a total of eight Ducatis on the grid next year.

The grid is likely to be a good deal smaller than in 2015. So far, it looks like there will be 21 riders instead of 25, with three teams likely to withdraw. Forward Racing have already been told they do not have grid slots in MotoGP, so they will continue in Moto2, and, if the reports are correct, race MV Agustas in World Superbikes. AB Racing also looks likely to make the switch to WSBK, though Karel Abraham is trying to remain in MotoGP. The Ioda Racing team is trying to hang on for one more year on a minimum budget, waiting for 2017 when the funding for teams increases radically. That looks like a tough task, however. 

Below is the 2016 grid as it stands at the moment, complete with the length of the contract for each rider. Underneath that is the press release from Marc VDS.

Team Rider Bike Contract Duration
Repsol Honda    
93 Marc Marquez Honda RC213V 2016
26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 2016
Movistar Yamaha    
46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 2016
99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha YZR-M1 2016
Factory Ducati    
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP16 2016
29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP16 2016
Gresini Aprilia    
19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia RS-GP 2016
6 Stefan Bradl Aprilia RS-GP 2018
Suzuki ECSTAR    
41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 2016
25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 2017
LCR Honda    
35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 2017
Marc VDS Racing    
53 Tito Rabat Honda RC213V 2017
43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V 2017
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha    
44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha YZR-M1 2016
38 Bradley Smith Yamaha YZR-M1 2016
68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14.2 2016
50 Eugene Laverty Ducati GP14.2 2016
Pramac Ducati    
45 Scott Redding Ducati GP15+ 2017
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP15+ 2016
Avintia Ducati    
8 Hector Barbera Ducati GP14.2 2016
76 Loris Baz Ducati GP14.2 2016

Below is the press release from Marc VDS announcing the deal with Miller:

Jack Miller joins the Marc VDS Racing Team for 2016

Phillip Island, Australia – 15 October 2015: Having reached an agreement with Honda Racing Corporation, the Marc VDS Racing Team can confirm that they will run two bikes in the MotoGP class in 2016.

Tito Rabat will step up from Moto2 to campaign a factory Honda RC213V in Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS colours, as previously announced. Riding alongside the former Moto2 World Champion will be 20-year-old Australian, Jack Miller, who will race in the traditional livery of the Marc VDS Racing Team.

Miller’s current crew, headed by experienced Chief Engineer Cristian Gabarrini, will join the Australian in the Marc VDS Racing Team for the 2016 season.

Like many Australians before him Miller, who hails from Townsville in North Queensland, started his racing career on dirt bikes. Having racked up six Australian titles on the dirt he then switched his attention to road racing, with similar success.

The success continued following a move to Europe, where Miller won the 2011 IDM 125cc Championship aged just 16 and was rewarded with a ride in the Moto3 World Championship the following season.

Miller joins the team for his second season in MotoGP, having jumped into the premier class in 2015 straight from Moto3, following a titanic season long battle that saw the Australian lose out on the World Championship title by just two points to eventual winner, Álex Márquez.

Jack Miller:

“I am very enthusiastic on this possibility with Honda and the Marc VDS Racing Team. I know Marc VDS is a good, strong and experienced team, and they can build a good structure for me to fight for good positions next year. As we both have already one year of experience from the top class, I feel that we can gain from the experiences we have to achieve good results together with Honda.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“It’s good to be able to finally welcome Jack to the Marc VDS Racing Team. We wanted Jack in 2013 because we could see he had the talent to succeed and that hasn’t changed. This was always going to be a difficult transition season for him, having jumped straight onto the MotoGP bike from Moto3, but he’s done a solid job so far. Next year Jack will benefit from having the Marc VDS Racing Team behind him and, together with a competitive bike, I’m confident that this is exactly what he needs to realise his full potential.”

Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team

“We are happy to welcome Jack to the Marc VDS family, even if he is 12 months late arriving! He comes to the team with a year of experience in MotoGP and I expect to see him well inside the top ten on a regular basis next season. For the team it is good to have two riders in the premier MotoGP class; they can learn from each other but, equally importantly, they can push each other every weekend. Both Jack and Tito are ultra-competitive and I expect we’ll see some exciting battles between the two of them next season!”

Alex De Angelis Injury Update - Stable, Outlook Improving

The Ioda Racing team have posted another update on Alex De Angelis' condition after his horrific crash at Motegi. Overall, it is good news, though there is still plenty of reason for caution.

De Angelis' condition is stable, though he still faces several threats to his health. The good news is that the intercranial hematoma has not grown, meaning it will probably be naturally absorbed by the body in the coming days. Doctors continue to monitor that situation. 

De Angelis remains immobilized due to the spinal injuries he suffered. The fractured vertebrae mean he is being forced to lie still while they start to heal. Luckily, he has not suffered any damage to the spinal cord, and has full sensation everywhere. But even after De Angelis is able to move, he will have to wear a brace to immobilize and support his spinal column for several weeks.

The most worrying part of De Angelis' condition is his lungs. He suffered a severe lung contusion in the crash, and until this clears, it remains a danger. Though he is absorbing oxygen well, there are areas of the lung showing signs of Atelectasis, or collapsed lung. The doctors are monitoring that situation closely, and it will remain a serious concern for the next two or three days.

De Angelis was joined by his family yesterday, who flew out to Japan to support him. Dr. Michele Zasa of the Clinica Mobile remains with De Angelis, to assist him with medical matters.

PJ Jacobsen Back In World Supersport With Ten Kate-backed Core Motorsports

American fans will have a lot of reasons to follow the World Superbike championship next year. After Nicky Hayden confirmed that he will be switching to WSBK with the Ten Kate Honda for 2016 and 2017, today, confirmation came that PJ Jacobsen is to remain in World Supersport for next year to take another shot at the championship.

The American is to stay with his current Core Motorsport Thailand team, riding a Honda CBR600RR. Both the team and the bike will get a major boost next year, however, as Ten Kate Honda have announced they will be partnering the team in 2016. Core and Ten Kate will be running the Honda World Supersport effort together, meaning that Jacobsen will have faster even better prepared CBR600RRs, and faster access to new and upgraded parts.

The goal of the team is to challenge Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel for the World Supersport title next year. Since the Kawasaki Intermoto team folded back in May, and Jacobsen replaced Ratthapark Wilairot in the Core Motorsports team, Jacobsen has finished on the podium in every race, including two wins at Sepang and Magny-Cours. In a stable environment and more competitive machinery, the American should be able to give the Sofuoglu and Cluzel a run for their money in 2016.

The press release from Honda announcing the new team structure appears below:

CORE” Motorsport Thailand heads into 2016 with Ten Kate and Honda

Honda is delighted that Thailand-based CORE” Motorsport has confirmed a strengthening of existing ties with Ten Kate Racing as it prepares for the 2016 World Supersport Championship season with Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen.

CORE” Motorsport Thailand began the 2015 season with a Honda CBR600RR prepared by Ten Kate Racing, the Netherlands team behind nine World Supersport Championship titles from Fabien Foret in 2002 to Michael van der Mark in 2014.

The squad took its first championship victory with Ratthapark Wilairot at Buriram in round two in March on the occasion of the championship’s very first visit to Thailand and the team was joined by Jacobsen at the end of May.

American Jacobsen has since finished on the podium in each of the five races he has contested on the CBR600RR, taking victory at Sepang in Malaysia and in the last round ay Magny-Cours in France. With the final round coming up this weekend at Losail in Qatar, the 22-year-old has already secured runner-up position in the series.

CORE” Motorsport Thailand will become a fully-fledged partner with Ten Kate Racing for the 2016 season with additional support from Honda through access to special parts and its wider bonus system.

Core Chematis is a nutraceutical manufacturer based in Thailand. Director Pawee Pandumrongsatid said of the agreement: “I’m really happy for this fantastic opportunity with Ten Kate Racing and Honda. Next season will be a great experience for us in world motorsport. Hopefully this will help to continue the development of motorsport in Thailand and in Asia.

“It’s great to have PJ on board again for 2016,” he continued. “He brings a lot of strength and confidence to the team and he has become one of the best riders in the championship. The team is like a family and we are really looking forward to sharing strong results again next season.”

Ronald ten Kate commented: “We’re very happy that one of our strongest satellite teams ever has forged even stronger ties with us for 2016. Together we will be running the Ten Kate Honda effort in the World Supersport championship

“Results from 2015 have already shown how strong the CORE” team is with PJ Jacobsen,” added ten Kate. “I think that, now we are joining forces, we will be even stronger for the future. Pawee is a huge fan of motorsport in general and is very passionate about going racing and winning, which completely matches the Ten Kate racing philosophy!”

Morbidell Joins Marquez In Marc VDS Estrella Galicia Moto2 Team

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS has taken a lot longer to take shape than expected. Though team manager Michael Bartholémy had agreed terms with his chosen rider quite quickly after the summer break, actually getting contracts signed has proven to be a much more difficult affair. Existing contract entanglements and haggling over contract extensions has meant that the original plans, to have Moto2 announced at Misano, and when that didn't happen, all of the team's riders announced after Aragon, have all gone awry.

Slowly, however, the Marc VDS team manager is managing to untangle the knotty web woven mainly by others. After announcing last week that Tito Rabat would be moving up to MotoGP with the team for 2016, this week, the team has announced their Moto2 line up. It comes as no surprise: Alex Marquez is to remain with the team for a second year in Moto2, while Franco Morbidelli is to join Marc VDS from the Italtrans team. After a difficult start to his rookie season, Alex Marquez has come good in the second half, becoming a regular fixture in the top 10. Morbidelli has completely outperformed his teammate Mika Kallio, an impressive feat given that Kallio was runner up in the Moto2 championship in 2014. 

There are still obstacles on the way to the remainder of the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS line up being announced. Jack Miller is to be placed in the Marc VDS MotoGP squad, to ride alongside Tito Rabat, but there have been discussions on how much of the tab HRC is to pick up for the rider they have signed to a contract. With the Australian Grand Prix up next at Phillip Island, it is likely that a deal for Miller will be announced there. 

The Moto3 squad is proving a little more problematic. Jorge Navarro is to remain with the squad, after an impressive display in his first full year of racing. But filling the seat of the departing Fabio Quartararo is proving decidedly thorny. Sources indicate that the team have already signed Enea Bastianini, but actually finalizing that deal is proving to be tricky. The problem, Spanish magazine Solomoto revealed, is that Fausto Gresini is trying to hold Bastianini to his contract. The team have a contract with Bastianini for 2015 and 2016, but Emilio Alzamora is trying to move Bastianini into Estrella Galicia, with the backing of HRC. Complicating the issue is the fact that Gresini looks likely to drop their Moto3 team for 2016, as Aprilia are unhappy to have the team which is running their MotoGP project have a formal association with HRC to run Hondas. According to Solomoto, Alzamora has got the team association IRTA involved trying to resolve the situation.

Below is the press release from Marc VDS announcing their 2016 Moto2 line up:

Márquez and Morbidelli confirmed at Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Motegi, Japan – 11 October 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS can confirm that Álex Márquez and Franco Morbidelli will be the two riders with whom the team will contest the Moto2 World Championship in 2016.

For Márquez it will be his second year with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in Moto2 and the reigning Moto3 world Champion will start the new season as one of the title favourites. However, the 19-year-old Spaniard can expect a serious challenge from his new teammate.

Morbidelli made his debut in the Moto2 World Championship as a replacement rider in 2013, the same season he was crowned as European 600 Superstock Champion. Top 20 finishes in the three races he contested that season were enough to secure him a permanent slot on the Moto2 grid for 2014.

The 20-year-old Roman, who is part of the VR46 Riders Academy project, secured his first podium finish in the Moto2 category at Indianapolis this year, finishing an impressive third after a titanic battle with Johann Zarco, Dominique Aegerter and Álex Rins.

Morbidelli has been absent from the Moto2 grid since fracturing his tibia and fibula in a training accident ahead of the Silverstone race, but he is now fully recovered and will return to the championship for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“Álex has shown with his progress since the summer break that he will be a contender next season, which was exactly how it was planned from the start. However, he won’t have it all his own way, of that I’m sure, because Franco is also one of the riders that I expect to see running at the front and challenging for wins next season. After all, that’s why we signed him! I think for the fans the 2016 Moto2 season will be an exciting one, as we have four or five riders in the class who are more than capable of fighting for the race win every weekend.”

Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team

“Álex has shown that he now has the measure of Moto2 and I expect we’ll see him get even stronger in the last three races of this season. Next year we have high expectations of him and I’m confident he will rise to the challenge and become a regular frontrunner in the championship. I am looking forward to Franco’s arrival in the team. We were lucky enough to spend some time with him recently and I was impressed by both his determination and his attitude. He will fit perfectly into our racing family and I’m confident he’ll realise his full potential with us in 2016.”