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Bradley Smith Extends Contract With Tech 3 For 2016

Bradley Smith has signed on for another season with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. The British rider has extended his contract, and will continue to ride for the team in 2016.

The announcement and its timing had been widely expected, coming as it does just days before the start of the British round of MotoGP at Silverstone. Smith had made it clear since before the summer break that he wanted to stay with Tech 3, but the contract took longer to put together than hoped. Smith spoke of his frustration about the situation at Indianapolis, though by Brno, some progress appeared to have been made. The deal was finalized shortly after the Czech round of MotoGP, just in time to be announced at his home race.

The stumbling block to a new contract was ensuring that Smith received equal treatment with Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro for 2016. This had been a thorn in Smith's side throughout the season, as upgrades such as a new chassis arrived on Espargaro's side of the garage, but were not available for Smith. As the Englishman has lead his teammate in the championship throughout the 2015 season, Smith felt that he too deserved better treatment from Yamaha. Talks with the factory at Indianapolis helped clear the air, opening the way for a deal to be signed.

Smith deliberately chose to sign just a one-year deal, to put him in sync with the rest of the MotoGP field. At the end of 2016, both Yamahas, both Hondas, both Ducatis, at least one Suzuki and one Aprilia seat will be open, as well as both seats at Tech 3, and possibly other satellite rides as well. If Smith, or any other young rider, has any hope of a factory contract, the 2017 season will be their first shot at obtaining one. Silly season for 2017 is likely to start very early next year, and get very silly indeed in its early stages.

Smith is unlikely to be the only British rider announcing a contract in the run up to the Silverstone round of MotoGP. Cal Crutchlow is believed to be very close to announcing a two-year extension of his contract with Honda, while Danny Kent and Sam Lowes could also make announcements on their future. Scott Redding could also clinch a new deal at Silverstone, but any possible switch from the Marc VDS team is still a long way from being agreed.

Below is the press release from Tech 3 on the deal:

Smith signs with Monster Yamaha Tech3 for 2016

Bradley Smith and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team are delighted to have reached an agreement that will see the British rider remain with the team for the 2016 season aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The contract extension comes as Smith is currently undertaking his most successful MotoGP season to date, where he has finished no lower than 8th so far. Furthermore, he stands in fifth position and at the head of the satellite rankings in the championship after some highly impressive performances. Next season will be the British stars fourth season in the premier class with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and his sixth in total after joining the Tech3 Racing Moto2 Team in 2011. In his first term in MotoGP, Smith finished collecting more points than any other British rookie and he followed that success with another hard fought campaign in 2014 with a personal highlight of a superbly executed podium at Phillip Island. Furthermore, the Briton was part of this year's Suzuka 8 hour conquering team with Yamaha Factory Racing who won the elite event after 19 years. Smith will now focus on the remaining rounds in this season and will seek to battle as close as possible to the Factory MotoGP bikes before aiming to challenge for podiums in 2016 aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

Bradley Smith

"Obviously, I am really pleased to be able to continue this journey with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and it's fantastic news to resign for another season. We will be going into our sixth year together and I must say that it is certainly nice to be giving the guys the results and performances that they deserve at the moment. So far in 2015, I have been finishing where we want to be which is very positive, as I'm sure that I am in debt to them for the first two years in the premier class! Everyone in the team has put their faith in me again and we know that 2016 will be tricky due to the changes in regulations, however, I am optimistic that this will give the satellite riders more of a chance to be competitive. Therefore I am confident about going into next year, as I know that everything will be fairer so we will continue to work together and we fully intend to take our sponsors onto the podium. 2016 will be exciting and I am more than pleased about being able to ride aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team."

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"I am super happy and proud to finally announce that Bradley Smith will remain with our team for one more year. Brad will hold the record with Colin Edwards for the amount of time in the premier class with Tech3, which is four years and this shows that he will be a very important rider in the team's history. Of course, he deserves to be given the opportunity by the team together with Factory Yamaha to ride an M1 for another season after having had a fantastic first part of the year. In addition, the incredible win that he achieved with Pol and Nakasuga at the Suzuka 8 Hours was really impressive and he made us proud. Now we hope that the fact that his future is sorted will give him a big boost for his upcoming home GP and I am sure that he is going to be even stronger in the final rounds of the 2015 season compared to what we have seen so far."

The 2016 MotoGP Season - What We Know, What We Expect

With the news that the Brno round of MotoGP has been handed to a consortium consisting of local and regional governments, and that they are working to secure the long-term future of Brno, a major piece of the puzzle surrounding MotoGP's schedule for 2016 slotted into place. Brno, along with Indianapolis, had been the two biggest question marks still hanging over the calendar.

Most of the schedule fell into place once Formula One announced its calendar several weeks ago. The combination of an unusually late start (F1 kicks off in Melbourne on 4th April, two weeks later than last year) and an expansion of the schedule to 21 races has left few gaps for MotoGP to fit into. The upside to F1's late start is that MotoGP can get a head start on its four-wheeled counterpart, and kick the season off before F1 begins.

Preseason testing is slightly altered for 2016. Instead of two tests at Sepang, the MotoGP teams will head from Sepang to Phillip Island, and then on to Qatar, for a final test before the start of the season. Testing starts on the first three days of February, spending the 1st to the 3rd at Sepang, for the first start of the year. From there, the circus moves to Australia, for a three-day test at Phillip Island from 17th to the 19th February, before heading back across the equator to Qatar. MotoGP will test at the Losail circuit on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of March.

Two weeks later, the paddock returns to Qatar for the start of the season proper. Racing starts under the floodlights as usual on 20th March, with practice starting on Thursday, as it has done for some time now. Two weeks later, the circus crosses the Atlantic to Austin, the likely sole US round to be held on 3rd April. From there, MotoGP heads south to Argentina, the Termas de Rio Hondo round due to be held on 10th April.

Those three dates are set, but beyond that, the calendar is yet to be finalized. Sources at Brno suggested that the 2016 calendar would mirror the 2015 schedule, with most of the races moved a week earlier to fit in with F1. Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona would follow two weeks apart, with a three-week break between Barcelona and Assen, which will take place on 26th June, having been moved from Saturday to Sunday. It is possible that Barcelona could be moved up a week to 12th June, as that would put an extra week between the MotoGP and the F1 races, and be run on the same weekend as the Montreal F1 race, which starts in the evening European time. The date for the Assen round of MotoGP clashes with the British F1 round at Silverstone, but in that case, MotoGP will start earlier, probably at 1pm, with Moto3 taking place after MotoGP has finished. From there, MotoGP will head to Germany for the Sachsenring race, likely to be held on 10th July.

The month of August was the hardest part of the puzzle for Dorna to put together. Brno and Indianapolis were the two stumbling blocks: Brno had not paid monies owed from 2014 and 2015, and Indianapolis was not disposed to pay the sanctioning fee asked by Dorna. Dorna, for their part, were not willing to lower the sanctioning fee, as the amount the circuit has paid so far does not cover the cost of staging the race in the Midwest. When MotoGP was still racing at Laguna Seca, Transatlantic freight costs could be shared between two races. MotoGP backed out from Laguna, after the circuit was unable to pay the already heavily discounted sanctioning fee, and Indy has been left to cover the full cost of flying the entire circus back and forth across the Atlantic. It is not a cost which the circuit seems disposed to bear.

Brno signing up meant that Indy has almost certainly forfeited its place, though officially, nothing has been agreed yet. What is certain is that MotoGP will be heading to the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg in Austria, on either the first or the second week of August. Dorna are believed to want to run Austria back-to-back with Brno, but the Brno circuit would like a week's grace between the two races, fearing reduced attendance at the Czech round. The Red Bull Ring and Masaryk Circuit at Brno are just over 320 kilometers apart, and will be drawing from a very similar pool of fans. German fans from the Munich area will be able to choose between two races roughly equal distances apart. Austria and Brno are likely to take on two of the weekends between 7th and 21st of August.

The British round of MotoGP is likely to take place on the August Bank Holiday once again, the 28th August being the most likely date. That would see it clash with the Belgian F1 Grand Prix at Spa, meaning that the British race would either have to start at 12 noon UK time, to start before F1, or at 3pm local time, once the race has finished. Officially, the race should take place at the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale, but it looks unlikely that the track will be ready in time. Silverstone is the most likely candidate to host the race once again.

From Silverstone, MotoGP will probably head to Misano and Aragon once again, at two week intervals. That would put Misano on a weekend without an F1 weekend on 11th September, and Aragon on the 25th, when F1 is at Sepang in Malaysia, and on much earlier in the morning. After that, it is off to the three flyaways once again in Japan, Australia and Malaysia, before heading back to the final round of the season at Valencia.

All of these dates are far from fixed, with the exception of the first three races of the season and Assen, and are definitely subject to change. An official provisional calendar is expected soon, possibly as early as Misano. 

2016 is likely to be the last year of the current shape of the calendar. From 2017, Thailand is expected to join the schedule, MotoGP heading to Buriram in the wake of World Superbikes. A round at Sentul in Indonesia is expected to be put on the calendar in the near future, though whether it will be ready in time for 2017 or not remains to be seen. 

Though Carmelo Ezpeleta has said that the calendar could be expanded to 20 races, that will meet with opposition from the riders. The 18-race calendar is punishing enough, adding two more would be too much to ask, the riders feel. Injury and physical and mental exhaustion would make a 20-race schedule unsafe.

That would mean dropping races from the calendar, and with four rounds in Spain, those are the races most under threat. The tourism ministry in Andalucia is keen to keep the race in Jerez, as it brings in a lot of money to an economically depressed region, and Jerez has tried to profile itself as the city of motorsports. Aragon has a long-term contract, and strong support from regional government for much the same reason as Jerez, for the employment the circuit brings. Valencia and Barcelona are the two events most under threat, mostly as a result of local politics. The regional government in Valencia is still embroiled in the aftermath of a financial scandal surrounding the running of the F1 race at the street circuit in the city, and there is constant pressure to both clean up its act and reduce spending. The new mayor of Barcelona, elected on an anti-austerity platform, has stated publicly that she believes that the highly successful MotoGP race at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona is capable of paying its own way, and that she would rather spend the money paid to Dorna on helping to house the homeless in Barcelona, rather than subsidize a profit-making enterprise. One or both of those rounds could be dropped, the other alternative being to alternate the race between the two venues.

2017, though, is still a very long way away. First, there is the small matter of the rest of the 2015 season.


Czeching In With Scott Jones: Race Day At Brno

Marquez stalked, but Lorenzo was not for stalking

Niccolo Antonelli. Yes, he does a bit.

Rossi finally qualified on the front row at Brno. It didn't help him much

The new Ducati. Much narrower around the fairing, with wider wings. Dovizioso liked it

Iannone didn't. Left the new bike, right the old

Attention to detail: moulded cover for TV camera, complete with aerials

The champ and his mentor: Tito Rabat with crew chief Pete Benson

Unstoppable. And an unfortunate helmet design for the 70th anniversary of VJ Day

Not so pretty in pink. Worth it to get such a close up view of the bikes, though

Yes, that's the kind of elevation change we are talking about at Brno

Noblesse oblige. Karel Abraham wasn't really fit enough to ride, but he had to, and acquitted himself admirably under the circumstances

Stefan Bradl has come into Aprilia and immediately started making life difficult for Alvaro Bautista

Former teammates, still fierce rivals. The Alexes Rins and Marquez

New leads old, but not for long

Moto3 produced another thriller, though championship leader Danny Kent was less than thrilled about it

Moto2 may not have had the thrills at the front, but the spectacle is still there further back

Mr Reliable. Bradley Smith was best satellite rider once again at Brno

The second half of the season has been tough on Aleix Espargaro

Things could be worse. Scott Redding has had a nightmare season in 2015

Once again, a Honda tried to kill Dani Pedrosa. Once again, the toughest nut on the grid did not crack

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.

Brno Michelin Test A Washout

The post-race Michelin tests have been something of a frustration for journalists following MotoGP. With riders barred from speaking publicly about the tires, and no official timing for the tests, it has been hard to make sense of the events. Today's Brno test was even more frustrating. Rain all day, alternating between heavy downpours and a very light drizzle meant that the track was more or less wet all day. The riders stayed in their garages and race trucks, for the most part, with a handful of riders putting in a handful of laps.

Though the test was mostly a washout for Michelin, the French tire manufacturer did get some useful data from the test. Riders went out on three types of tire: slicks, wets, and intermediates, in varying conditions. The return of the intermediates is an interesting step, a tire which uses the hard rain compound with a minimal tread compound. ace shooter Scott Jones snapped photos of both the intermediate and wet rears for comparison, and posted them on Twitter:

Despite the fact that the factory Honda and factory Yamaha riders were present - Yamaha even had a 2016 prototype at the test - none of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi or Jorge Lorenzo put any laps in. Pedrosa was of course already injured, and Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez are all engaged in the fight for the championship, and cannot afford to take risks in tricky conditions for the sake of some tire testing. MotoGP's other factories did send their riders out, Andrea Dovizioso going out on the Ducati, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista on the Aprilia, and Aleix Espargaro on the Suzuki.

Most of the laps were put in by the satellite riders, though, with the two Tech 3 riders, Cal Crutchlow and the Pramac men circulating sporadically. The Pramac Ducati riders appeared to do the most laps, though given the absence of timing, this is more judging by appearance than by actual numbers.

Fortunately, the next time there is a public test of the Michelins, there will be full live timing available. That will be at the Valencia test, the Monday after the 2015 season ends. That sees the dawning of the new Michelin era, and a rather sad goodbye to Bridgestone.

Czeching In With Scott Jones: Saturday From Brno

Valentino Rossi is always fast on Sunday. This time, he was fast on Saturday too

Fast at Brno? A sign of the work Honda has done to solve the RC213V's problems

Fast, bumpy and hot. The Brno track caused problems for many, including Pol Espargaro

"I looked like an amateur," Pedrosa said of riding with a badly injured foot. A very fast amateur, though

I've seen the future, and its name is Maverick Viñales

This is what a lap record looks like before it happens

Rolling thunder through rolling hills

Mr Reliable. You would never have thought you would be calling Andrea Iannone that.

6 looks good on an Aprilia

This is Brno. Trees, hills, bikes. And we're back here for another five years

Dani Pedrosa is not the only rider to struggle with injury. Karel Abraham is not really fit, but wants to ride at home

King of the Open Class. Hector Barbera has done well

That Honda RC213V ain't easy



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.

Brno MotoGP Round Secures 5-Year Deal, 2016 MotoGP Calendar Becomes Clearer

The future of the MotoGP round at Brno has finally been secured. The regional authorities have stepped in to secure funding for the Czech Grand Prix for the next five years, starting from 2016. A deal has been struck with the Czech Ministry of Education and Sports, the City of Brno, and the Moravian regional government to ensure that the Czech round stays for the foreseeable future.

The round had been in doubt for some time, as haggling over finances between the circuit, the city council and the regional government saw the sanctioning fee go partially unpaid for the past several years. The rights to the round have now been placed with a new and separate organization, run by the various regional and national governments involved, who will organize the round at the Brno circuit. With the financing in place, the race will continue for at least the next five years, and probably beyond.

With a deal for the Brno round now wrapped up, the 2016 MotoGP calendar has taken a step closer to be announced. The order of the races will remain largely unchanged, though the moving of the F1 calendar means that the races are to start earlier. The season will kick off at Qatar as usual, probably on the 20th of March. From there, the paddock heads overseas to Austin and Argentina, before returning to Europe for the remainder of the season. The changes to F1 mean most of the races will be a week earlier than they were last year, though the dates are completely settled.

Brno was part of the summer puzzle which needed to be sorted out before the calendar could be finalized. The Austrian round at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg will be held back-to-back with Brno, the question mark being if and where Indianapolis will fit in. The ball is in Indianapolis Motor Speedway's court, IMS having to decide whether they can afford to host a round of MotoGP next year. That decision will have to be made soon, and will depend to an extent on funding. If Indy returns, there will be an 19-round season, if not, it will remain at 18 rounds.

Bigger changes are expected in 2017, when Thailand is expected to make its debut, along with the possibility of a round in Indonesia. A lot has to happen before that can take place, however. 

Below is the press release announcing the deal with Brno:

MotoGP™ to return to Brno in 2016 and beyond

MotoGP™ rights holder Dorna Sports SL reached a deal with the Czech authorities in order to secure the Czech GP presence on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar for at least the next five years. A joint effort of the Moravian government and the city of Brno will lead to the creation of a new body acting as the promoter of the event and working alongside Dorna Sports towards MotoGP™ return to the iconic Czech venue in 2016 and beyond.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, declared: "The Czech GP is one of the highlights of the Championship as it's been on the calendar for 50 years and as we see this weekend again, it's a very popular event. We are very happy to reach an agreement with the Czech authorities that will ensure the future of the Grand Prix in the Czech Republic for at least the next five years."

Czech ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Katerina Valachova, commented: "We're proud to announce that Brno will host MotoGP again in 2016 and the four following years, thanks to the creation of a new public body involving the Meridional Moravia Government and the City of Brno."

The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held at Brno in 1965, on the original 13.94 km long road circuit. The current circuit was first used for grand prix racing in 1987 and hosted the Czechoslovakian GP through until 1991. Brno did not appear on the calendar for 1992, but the event was revived in 1993 as the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic and has taken place every year since.

Czeching In With Scott Jones: Friday From Brno

Could Jorge Lorenzo be King of Brno on Sunday?

Marc Marquez is determined to stand in his way

The aftermath...

... of this. The oil leak that scuppered Pedrosa's chances at Brno

The Suzuki loves the corners at Brno, hates the hill

You can never be too careful

Forward. Back. For the next three races at least.

Heat plus heavy braking = the need for brake cooling. This is how Ducati does it.

Stefan Bradl has hit the ground running on the Aprilia. Unfortunately, the Italians have already signed Sam Lowes for next year...

Mr Reliable. The Maniac. Cognitive dissonance.

Top satellite rider. Tech 3 say he has a contract waiting for him. Smith says he hasn't seen it. The sooner it is settled, the better

A seemingly innocent crash at Barcelona put Abraham out of action for a long time. A rider's career hangs by a silken thread

Trees, hills, motorcycles. That's Brno

A new motor, a new fairing, a new Desmo Dovi?

Fresh from victory at Suzuka, Pol Espargaro had a disastrous morning and an outstanding afternoon

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.

The First Piece Of The Puzzle - Pol Espargaro To Remain At Tech 3 Yamaha For 2016

The first part of MotoGP's truncated silly season has fallen into place. As expected, Yamaha today announced that they have extended their deal with Pol Espargaro for another year. Espargaro will race a factory-backed Yamaha M1 with the Monster Tech 3 M1 season in 2016.

The news had been widely trailed, and is a sensible choice for the Spaniard. Though Espargaro is rumored to be taking a significant pay cut for next season, signing a one-year deal puts him in step with the factory riders, whose contracts are all up for renewal at the end of 2016. It means that he will be in a position to take advantage of any openings which arise in a factory squad.

The next move expected is for Bradley Smith to renew with Tech 3. Smith has his contract directly with the team, rather than with Yamaha like Pol Espargaro, and has been stuck in talks with the team for some time now. Current paddock opinion expects a deal to be announced soon, either this weekend or perhaps at Brno.

Below are the press releases issued by both Tech 3 and Yamaha:

Pol Espargaro reconfirmed to remain with Monster Yamaha Tech3 for 2016

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team is delighted to announce that current rider and 2013 Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro will remain with the team for next season aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. The Spanish star will be contracted to Yamaha once again and will ride in Tech3 colours in what will be his third year of MotoGP. Espargaro, who clinched the leading satellite MotoGP bike title in his first season in the premier class, has produced some notable performances including qualifying in second position at the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s home Grand Prix at Le Mans last year. In addition, he has determinedly finished in fifth place twice this season in the fiercely competitive class. Furthermore, the 24 year old further highlighted his potential by storming to the race victory at the legendary Suzuka 8 Hour race as well as setting the pole position time and shattering the lap record. Espargaro will now continue his relentless battle to fight as close as possible to the factory MotoGP bikes for the rest of this year and in 2016.

Pol Espargaro

"I’m happy, because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic. Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season. This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year. However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier. From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals. This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence. Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now."

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"I am obviously more than delighted to announce that Pol Espargaro is going to remain with us for a third year in MotoGP. We have had an incredible two seasons together and for me personally, it is like Pol has been here forever and certainly is a big part of our team. We love him and I really hope that next year he can show his true potential and get as close as possible to the top of the MotoGP World. Now, we hope that we can have a strong second half to 2015 in order to prepare for next season, which will be a key year for him and all of us. It goes without saying that we are very happy and proud that Pol will race in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 colours for one more year.”

Yamaha Announces Continuation of Contract with Pol Espargaró for 2016

Indianapolis (USA), 7th August 2015

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. confirms the extension of its Agreement with MotoGP rider Pol Espargaró for a further 1 year. As a result of this Agreement the 24-year-old will continue his MotoGP career for another year with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

Espargaró joined the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team for his rookie season in the premier class in 2014, following his championship victory in the Moto2 class the year before. He immediately adapted to the MotoGP class achieving sixth position in the championship to claim the accolade of ’Rookie of the Year‘ as well as ’Top Satellite MotoGP Rider‘.

Espargarò currently stands 9th in the 2015 championship.

In addition to the MotoGP program Espargarò recently teamed up with teammate Bradley Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga to win the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance race and give Yamaha its 5th victory in the history of this prestigious event.

Lin Jarvis

Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing

"I am very pleased that Pol will remain with Yamaha for next season. Pol is one of the pool of very talented young riders that will surely have a big future in the MotoGP class in years to come. His 2014 debut season was very strong and he achieved 6th place at the end of the year behind the riders of the Factory Teams. He has faced many difficulties in the first half of 2015 but we are still convinced that he has a big potential and remains one of the most exciting, young talents for the future. With his plans for next season now confirmed he can focus on putting together a strong second half of the 2015 championship with more to come next year."

Pol Espargarò

MotoGP Rider

“I‘m happy because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic. Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season. This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year. However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier. From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals. This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence. Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now.”

Forward Racing To Return At Brno, But Doubts Beyond That

The Forward Racing team have found a temporary lifeline, and will be back in action at Brno. The MotoGP team of Loris Baz and replacement rider Claudio Corti, and Moto2 men Lorenzo Baldassarri and Simone Corsi will be racing in the Czech Republic, as the team have found the finances for that race at least.

Beyond Brno, however, the question marks remain. The press release issued only mentions Brno, and not the races beyond that. However, racing at Brno will buy current team boss Marco Curioni more time to go looking for more sponsors to try to fund the remainder of the season. Racing at Brno will also show the team's commitment to both IRTA and Dorna about their willingness to try to find a solution, and perhaps buy them more breathing space.

Meanwhile, the problems for team owner Giovanni Cuzari continue. Cuzari remains under arrest on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax fraud, along with Ticino tax inspector Libero Galli. In recent days, prosecutor John Noseda, who is investigating the case, has widened his net, arresting Mario Rezzi, the former CFO of Media Action, the company involved in the sponsorship under investigation, and Pier Luigi Corrotto, a former colleague of Cuzari's in the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian police force charged with investigating financial crime. It looks unlikely that Cuzari will be released in the near future.

Below is the press release from Forward Racing:

Forward Racing will get back on track at Brno

We are pleased to announce that Forward Racing will get back on track from the Brno Grand Prix scheduled on August 16th on the Czech circuit.

Following the arrest and the charges against Giovanni Cuzari, director and owner of Forward Racing, we agreed with IRTA - International Racing Teams Association - not to deploy our riders at the start of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 9th, in order to gather all the resources and to better organize the upcoming trips. This painful decision was necessary in order to try to ensure our participation to the World Championship until the end of the season.

Thanks to DORNA and IRTA and some partners and sponsors, who despite the objective concerns, they continued to support us – today we are proud to announce that we will get back on track, in both categories, from the bwin Grand Prix České republiky.

In MotoGP Loris Baz will ride the Yamaha Forward alongside his new teammate Claudio Corti, who will replace Stefan Bradl. For the Italian rider this is a return in the premier class of motorcycle racing, after the Sachsenring race in July, where he replaced the injured Stefan Bradl. Corti has already been with Forward in 2010 in Moto2 riding a Suter bike and in 2013 in MotoGP with Colin Edwards riding a FTR-Kawasaki.

In Moto2 we are proud to confirm the Italian duo composed by Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassarri on Kalex.

Stefan Bradl Released By Forward, Aprilia Signing Imminent?

Stefan Bradl's period of enforced unemployment will be mercifully brief. Today, the Forward Racing team announced they had released him from his contract at his request, as the problems facing the team continue. Free from his contract, Bradl looks set to sign for the Gresini Aprilia squad for the rest of the season, replacing Marco Melandri.

Bradl has been caught up in a whirlwind of events since breaking his scaphoid at Assen. Two weeks later, at the Sachsenring, the German was in talks with the Forward Racing team to extend his contract to race the Open class Yamaha for the 2016 season. The day after the race in Germany, team owner Giovanni Cuzari was arrested on his return home to Ticino, Switzerland, on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. Because of the charges, the Swiss authorities seized the team's computers and financial administration, and froze their bank accounts. The arrest also prompted a number of sponsors to end their contracts, further endangering the future of the team. The team announced that they would not be competing at Indianapolis, and that they could also end up missing Brno.

All this uncertainty prompted Stefan Bradl to press for termination of his contract. The German was keen to find a new seat as quickly as possible, and secure his future in the series. With Aprilia still without a permanent replacement for Marco Melandri, who left the Gresini Aprilia squad after a miserable first eight races, Bradl is in a prime position to step into the the team. Rumors of a move by Bradl to Aprilia have been rumbling almost since the news that Forward were in problems, and have grown in strength in recent days. It now seems certain that Bradl will be stepping onto the Aprilia alongside Alvaro Bautista from Indianapolis onwards. That seat has temporarily been filled by current Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty.

Taking over the second seat at Aprilia also puts Bradl in the best possible position to secure the spot for 2016. Aprilia are known to be looking for a rider to help develop and race their brand new RS-GP due to make its debut next year. There have been rumors linking many names to that seat for 2016, including people such as Sam Lowes, but nothing concrete has so far emerged. Having Bradl on the Aprilia for 2015 puts him in the hot seat for next year.

Though the departure of Bradl will ease the financial burden on the Forward Racing team, it will also make things a little more difficult for them. Bradl was the team's big name rider who was appealing to sponsors. With temporary team boss Marco Curioni involved in searching for sponsors to help fund the remainder of the year, the departure of one of his biggest selling points is a blow. Just how big a blow remains to be seen. 

So far, only Stefan Bradl has been released by the team, while Loris Baz remains under contract for the MotoGP squad, and Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassari are still officially riders for the Moto2 team. Both Corsi and Baldassarri have been looking for options outside the team, but so far, the team has not released them from their contract. Corsi has had contact with the Italtrans squad, who could add the Italian to their current line up of Mika Kallio and Franco Morbidelli. As part of the VR46 riders academy, Baldassarri could be found a Moto2 ride under their umbrella. Nothing concrete has been settled for the two Italian riders yet, though.

Below is the press release from Forward Racing on Bradl:

Agreement reached between Forward Racing and Stefan Bradl

Forward Racing and Stefan Bradl have reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate the contractual obligations between the German rider and the Swiss team.

This difficult decision – the result of an agreement between the parties - has been taken in front of the concrete possibility for the rider to continue his participation in the World Championship and to ensure and protect his sport activity and his interests.

Forward Racing agreed to free him from the next race scheduled on August 9 and wishes Stefan all the best in his future endeavors.