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The resurfacing of Phillip Island at the start of 2013 caused a massive problem in both MotoGP and Moto2 during last year's Australian Grand Prix. The vastly improved surface saw lap times drop and corner speeds go up dramatically. Marc Marquez' fastest race lap of the circuit was just over 2 seconds faster than Casey Stoner's best race lap the previous year, and just under Nicky Hayden's lap record of the circuit, which had stood since 2008.
The radically faster surface led to much greater heat build up in the tires, with the rear tires of both Moto2 and MotoGP bikes showing severe and dangerous degradation. The problems forced both Moto2 and MotoGP to be drastically reduced in length, the Moto2 race slashed from 25 to 13 laps, and the MotoGP race cut from 27 to 19 laps, with the added complication of being forced to come in and swap bikes, and hence rear tires. The compulsory pit stop caused a good deal of confusion, eventually leading to the disqualification of Marc Marquez for missing the compulsory pit window.
To avoid a repeat of the situation, both Dunlop and Bridgestone are bringing new tires to the track, with much harder compounds. Both tire manufacturers have been hard at work designing tires to cope with the surface, based on data collected at a test here in March, where the factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders, along with two top Moto2 teams tested a large range of tires. Dunlop and Bridgestone are both now confident that their tires will last the full duration of the race without any major problems.
More interestingly, Bridgestone are bringing a radical new front tire to handle the very particular demands of Phillip Island. The circuit consists of a lot of left handers, with the final section leading back onto the main Gardner Straight getting ever faster. This places a lot of strain on the left-hand side of the tires (it was this which caused the biggest problems in 2013 for the rear tires), while leaving the right-hand side relatively unstressed, and allowing it to cool off. The asymmetric rear tires have been designed to cope with this, but there were still an unusually large number of crashes at both the Honda Hairpin and MG Corners, the two slower right handers which appear after a long time on the left side of the tire. Then there's the mighty Doohan corner at Turn 1, a very fast corner approached at high speed.
Bridgestone have decided to address these problems by using an asymmetric front tire, with different compounds on the left and right sides of the tire. In the past, riders have rejected such tires, as providing the necessary stability under braking with asymmetric fronts is exceptionally difficult. That meant the front would squirm under braking, making corner entry that much more difficult.
Bridgestone believe they have now cracked that problem, and when the asymmetric fronts were tested earlier in the year, they met with broad approval. So the Japanese tire maker will be debuting the tires at Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix. For the moment, only the softest (extra soft) of the three choices available for the front tire will be asymmetric. This is the obvious choice, as it is especially in the coldest conditions where the problems are greatest. The other two choices (soft and medium) will be standard symmetric tires. All of the rear tires will all be asymmetric.
Below are the press releases on tires from Bridgestone and Dunlop on the special tires they have brought for Phillip Island:
Bridgestone develops new tyre allocation for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix
Wednesday, October 15 2014
Bridgestone will introduce a brand new tyre allocation for the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, including a newly-developed asymmetric front slick tyre as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ continues its efforts to develop technologies that further enhance rider safety.
New advances in tyre construction and compound technology have enabled Bridgestone to create a front slick tyre that maintains the braking stability of a symmetric tyre, but with enhanced warm-up performance and edge grip. The asymmetric front slick is composed of two different rubber compounds, with one shoulder composed of a softer rubber compound. In the case of Phillip Island where there are five right-hand corners compared to seven left-hand corners, this softer rubber zone will be on the right shoulder. The new zoning of different rubber compounds on the front slick means that when the rider reaches a lean angle of approximately 30° in right-hand corners, they begin to use the zone of softer rubber on the front tyre for greater safety and performance while cornering.
For the Australian Grand Prix, the asymmetric front slick will be in the soft specification; meaning the left shoulder will use Bridgestone’s soft rubber compound, while the lesser-used right shoulder will utilise the extra-soft rubber compound for superior warm-up potential. This asymmetric front slick will be offered as part of Bridgestone’s standard front tyre allocation for Phillip Island, with the other two options of front tyre in the allocation being conventional, symmetric slick tyres.
The rear slick tyres Bridgestone will allocate to riders at Phillip Island have been developed specifically for the severe demands the Australian circuit places on rear tyres, and will feature developments in construction and compound technology that are not featured at any other circuit on the MotoGP™ calendar. The three rear slick options for Phillip Island; the soft, medium and hard compound provide the optimal combination of safety, durability and performance to suit the new Phillip Island track tarmac following its re-surfacing in late 2012.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“After a concerted effort from our Technical Centre in Japan, we will introduce a brand new tyre allocation for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Since last year’s race at Phillip Island, we have tested at the circuit in a large variety of weather conditions to ensure our tyres will provide excellent durability and performance, while still providing good warm-up performance and usability for the riders. Such are the demands placed on the rear tyre at Phillip Island, that our rear slicks for this weekend use compound and construction technology that aren’t used at any other circuit on the calendar. Our test results with these new tyres were encouraging, and I am looking forward to seeing them in a race situation this weekend.
“Our new asymmetric front slick is the result of a long development programme and I am pleased to see this new technology makes its debut in the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. The innovative technology we’ve introduced on this asymmetric front slick will ensure that the riders will still enjoy the same high level of braking stability they associate with our symmetric front slick, but with better grip and warm-up performance while cornering. This development is yet another example of our commitment to continue developing new MotoGP tyre technology”
Dunlop Takes Bespoke High Performance Distance Proven Tyre Options To Phillip Island
After the resurfacing in 2013, high grip levels are expected again for this year’s Phillip Island round of the FIM Moto World Championships. The South-Eastern Australian venue is rated as one of the most aggressive in the world but a March tyre test at the track and bespoke Dunlop Moto2 development has produced race-distance proven special hard options for this visit.
Dunlop spent three days testing at the track in March with two teams and four riders focussing on durability and pace, establishing options that achieved race distance with faster lap times than 2013. In the all-important twisty sections, the Moto2 pace was faster than most MotoGP bike times. The new designs feature low heat generation and heat resistant compounds in addition to new tread constructions and belt materials. Three tyres from the test were agreed to be favoured options for the race from which Dunlop has selected the two most suitable for racing conditions at the track this weekend.
The 4,448 metre circuit has five right and seven left turns and the increased grip last year brought new lap records from the first practice sessions. Any track presents the task of balancing maximum speed potential with race distance needs and the Dunlop engineers will work particularly closely with the teams to help get optimum tyre and bike settings for the 25 lap Phillip Island race.
After success in Japan using the new Moto3 H2 front compound and construction Dunlop will allocate the same front tyre choice in Australia. Moto3 riders were able to increase their confidence with this harder tyre much more than in previous events. In Moto2, the medium and hard options will be available for the front with the two bespoke special hard specifications for the rear.
Tyre allocation and colour codes:
Fronts 120/75R17, 3 x 123 (hard - yellow Dunlop on black) and 5 x 302 (medium - black Dunlop on silver)
Rears, 195/75R17, ATR25 067 (Special Hard) x 5 – 195/75R17 Moto2 ATR26 4077 (Special hard2) x 4
Fronts: 95/75R17, 5 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver) and 3 x Hard H2 (yellow Dunlop on black)
Rears: 115/75R17 , 6 x Medium (black Dunlop on silver)and 3 x Hard (yellow Dunlop on black)
The riders will have three sets of wet tyres with an additional set being permitted if all sessions are declared wet.
Race Stat: Fastest Laps
Dunlop tyres are designed to perform as consistently throughout a race as possible. Motegi’s Moto2 race was an excellent example of performance with the fastest lap being set an impressive thirteen times throughout the 23 lap race. Luthi took seven of the fastest laps, Viñales four times, with Rabat and Kallio taking one each. Maverick Viñales set the final fastest time on lap 19, setting another new record for the track.
Clinton Howe, Operations Manager Motorcycle Grand Prix
“In March this year we tested at Phillip Island with Team Aspar and Marc VDS Racing. Riders Nico Terol, Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio and Tito Rabat were able to race at a very good pace for a race distance on both front and rear options and all agreed that the tyres we have brought here this weekend were the best options. Tito lapped at least half a second faster than the fastest 2013 fastest race lap on all three test days and beat all but two of the MotoGP sector one times. As well as pace we put in several race simulation runs and covered well over 800 laps so it will be great to see the tyres in race conditions after all the hard work and investment.
“As always here, the weather will probably be very mixed and it is unlikely that we will see fewer than three seasons worth of weather conditions. We have a good range that works well across changing conditions but the teams can need to make difficult decisions depending on weather forecasts.”
Randy De Puniet is to make a return to racing full time. As had been rumored for some weeks now, the Frenchman is to make the switch to the World Superbike series, where he will join the Crescent Suzuki team for 2015. De Puniet will race alongside Alex Lowes next year, aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
After losing his ride with the Aspar team at the end of 2013, De Puniet has spent 2014 as Suzuki's official test rider, helping to develop the bike now dubbed the GSX-RR. The only racing action he had seen was with the Yoshimura team during the Suzuka 8 Hour race, where he finished in second place with teammates Josh Waters and Takuya Tsuda. But De Puniet was keen to return to racing full time, and with no vacancies in MotoGP, the World Superbike series was the obvious choice. Racing with the Crescent team allows him to stay with Suzuki as a test rider, and retain his strong ties with the Japanese factories.
Alongside his duties in WSBK, De Puniet will continue development work on the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP machine, with a particular focus on 2016. De Puniet will mainly be working on getting the GSX-RR to work with the Michelin tires, due to replace Bridgestone at the start of the 2016 season. He will also be helping to make the bike work with the so-called unified software which is to be introduced at the same time.
The Crescent Suzuki press release announcing the signing of De Puniet appears below:
Randy de Puniet joins Crescent Suzuki World Superbike for 2015
Crescent Suzuki is delighted to announce its completed rider line-up for the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship as world-renowned competitor and current Suzuki MotoGP™ test rider Randy de Puniet joins the UK-based team alongside Alex Lowes.
A long-standing racer in Grand Prix, de Puniet has amassed 139 MotoGP race starts and five 250cc GP race wins during his 15 years on the world stage so far. During 2014, he has become instrumental to the development of Suzuki’s 2015 return to GP competition with the all-new GSX-RR.
The 33-year-old Frenchman will enter the World Superbike series full-time with his new Crescent Suzuki squad for the 2015 season but will also continue to test the Suzuki GP machine, with particular responsibility for matching the bike’s performance to MotoGP’s new 2016 tyre provider. De Puniet is very motivated for competitive action aboard the World Superbike specification GSX-R1000, after his successful second-place result as part of the Yoshimura team in the 2014 Suzuka 8 hour endurance race.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will complete its last race of the 2014 season with current riders Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes at the Losail International Circuit, in Qatar, on November 2nd, before beginning an extensive winter of testing and development with de Puniet and Lowes.
Randy de Puniet:
“I’m so happy to be joining Crescent Suzuki for the Superbike World Championship because my target for 2015 was to get back to competing on the race track. Testing for the past year was ok but of course what I really want is to race! I really enjoyed racing in Suzuka this year – to race, to fight and to be on the podium is everything to me. I had the opportunity to join the Crescent team for next year and I’m really happy; my first priority was to stay with Suzuki because I want to stay within this family, and for me this is a new challenge – a new championship, new bike, new tyre, everything is different and I have many things to learn but I am ready for that and I’m very confident. I will be joining a very strong team with a lot of experience and I think the bike will be good next year. We have a good test plan for this winter and I think we will be ready for the first race in Phillip Island next year.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We couldn’t be happier to have secured Randy’s agreement to compete in the 2015 World Superbike Championship on board our GSX-R1000. We needed a high quality rider to replace Eugene; Randy was the obvious choice, and we are very proud to have gained his trust and commitment to race with us next year.
“He has impressed Suzuki this year with his hard work and feedback as test rider on the Grand Prix GSX-RR, but Randy’s racing pedigree is also beyond doubt and his potential to succeed on the Superbike is clear. This is not a commercially driven deal – the primary motivation is simply to race! After an acclimatisation period to learn the GSX-R1000 and the Pirelli tyres, I see no reason why he won’t be an absolute front runner. Randy’s close working relationship with the Suzuki Factory can also only be positive for the World Superbike project, and the whole team is very excited about getting down to work, and turning 2014’s potential into solid results for both riders next season.”
The events of the previous MotoGP race at Aragon look set to have a major impact on tracks around the world in the near future. The crashes by Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone, both of whom lost control of their bikes when they hit the still wet astroturf which lines the outside of the outer kerbs, caused the subject to be raised in the MotoGP Safety Commission at Motegi. There, the Safety Commission decided to ask the circuits hosting MotoGP races to remove all of the astroturf from the run off areas around the track. Dorna Managing Director Javier Alonso told the MotoGP.com website that they would start talks with circuits to get them to remove the astroturf as soon as possible, starting with the most dangerous parts of the tracks.
The decision is a complete reversal of the earlier policy devised by the Safety Commission, the closed and private forum in which MotoGP riders can discuss safety issues and other concerns with the FIM and Dorna. As a result of a previous request, tracks had started putting in astroturf on the run off areas. That was in response to changes made primarily for car racing, where gravel traps on the outside of corners have been replaced with hard standing, such as asphalted areas. The astroturf was put in place to prevent riders using the run off as extra race track, allowing them to take corners faster.
The crashes at Aragon were just the latest in a long list of incidents involving the astroturf, and demonstrating its downside. The material becomes exceptionally slick and slippery when it gets wet, making it extremely dangerous and unpredictable when you touch it. Even in the dry it can be dangerous: Stefan Bradl got caught while sliding over the astroturf, and fractured his leg in the ensuing tumble. A case can be made that it was the astroturf which was responsible for Shoya Tomizawa's fatal accident at Misano, when he slid and fell back on the track, in front of other riders.
Those incidents meant that the subject of artificial grass in the run off area has been a recurring theme in the Safety Commission. The events at Aragon appear to have been the final straw, and the astroturf will now be removed again.
The question is, of course, what to replace it with? Most likely, the astroturf will simply be replaced by asphalt, once again opening the door for riders to use the extra run off as part of the track. That is already happening a lot with the kerbstones, riders using those as an extension of the track surface. More track space (either legal or illegal) will corner faster, requiring either more space or more airfence in the case of a crash. The faster riders crash, after all, the further they travel. And riders tend to slide much further over asphalt than they do over gravel.
If astroturf or gravel are not to be used to prevent exceeding the track limits, that will leave Race Direction with a lot more work. The current punishment for exceeding the track limits is to drop a place, even if no advantage is gained. That can lead to strange and sometimes dangerous situations, such as happened to Jonas Folger at Misano. The German missed Turn 1, as so many riders to at the track, and was penalized for cutting the track and forced to drop a place. The problem was, Folger was over five seconds ahead of a group battling for 8th, and he had to wait around for them to catch him, then try to rejoin amidst a pack of riders fighting for position. The situation was technically correct, but entirely unsound from a safety perspective. If Race Direction are to spend more time punishing infractions for exceeding the track limit, they will have to spend both a lot more time and effort monitoring riders' positions, and enforcing the penalties correctly and safely.
The Safety Commission also discussed the procedures around flag-to-flag races, though no satisfactory conclusion was reached, Javier Alonso told MotoGP.com. Flag-to-flag races are the best way of allowing a race to be run to completion, and keep it within its allotted time slot on TV. The alternative is to red flag a race once it starts to rain, and then restart a new, shortened race to run to completion. That, too, has its dangers, as the shortened races invite riders to take much more risk, and can be very confusing for TV viewers if they are run on the basis of aggregate times. Having race officials decide on when riders should come in to swap bikes and tires is also undesirable, as the riders have a better idea of the grip all around the track, not just in certain sections. The flag-to-flag procedure is to be reviewed, and any proposals to be discussed at further meetings.
The difference between a handshake an an officially signed contract is just under four weeks, it seems. Late on Sunday night after the race at Misano, the Marc VDS Racing team put a message on Twitter announcing they would be moving up to MotoGP for the next two years, racing a factory-backed Honda RC213V with Scott Redding aboard. Honda, however, was far from pleased with the team's adoption of 21st Century technology to communicate with fans and media, and the Tweet was quickly taken down. Though agreement had been reached at Misano on all of the details - a three-year deal to lease a factory-spec Honda RC213V, and putting Scott Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 seasons - HRC deemed that the deal was not yet ready to be announced. Though the contract was public knowledge, the team went silent on the deal.
Until now. Today, the Marc VDS Racing team finally officially confirmed what we have known for nearly a month. The team will be competing in MotoGP in 2015, with Scott Redding aboard a factory-spec RC213V. The deal will see Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 season, with the team having a bike at its disposal for a third season. The deal means that Redding is now free to abandon the Showa forks and Nissin brakes in favor of the Ohlins/Brembo combination favored by paddock groupthink. But it also poses the team with a minor problem, as they will have to assemble a team around Redding. His former crew chief, Pete Benson, is set to stay in Moto2 with Tito Rabat, the team unwilling to break up a combination which has proven to be capable of winning races and a championship. The obvious candidate to take the place as Redding's crew chief would be Naoya Kaneko, current crew chief to the departing Mika Kallio. Kaneko has MotoGP experience, having worked for Kawasaki during their period in MotoGP.
The move to MotoGP comes as an addition to, rather than a replacement for their Moto2 team. Tito Rabat will contest the Moto2 championship for the team again next season, and he will be joined by Alex Marquez, who is leaving Moto3 to race in the intermediate class. The Moto3 structure is to be dissolved, with the staff most likely redistributed among the Moto2 and MotoGP projects of the team.
Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team.
Marc VDS to move up to MotoGP
Motegi, Japan – 10 October 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team is pleased to announce that they will make the step up to the premier MotoGP class in 2015, after reaching an agreement with Honda Racing Corporation.
Marc VDS will field a factory specification Honda RC213V in the MotoGP World Championship, with Scott Redding returning to the team to lead the assault on the premier class in both 2015 and 2016.
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped us to achieve our aim of racing in the premier MotoGP class, with what is clearly the most competitive bike available. Without their help, and the continued support of Marc van der Straten, this move would have remained a dream for us, but now it is a reality. Obviously we are looking forward to welcoming Scott Redding back to the fold next year, but our focus for now must be on the Moto2 World Championship, which we are currently leading with both of our riders.”
Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team
“It is a great honour to be associated with Honda at the very top level of two-wheeled motorsport, especially as we are a relatively new team to the Grand Prix paddock. But, while newcomers we may be, I think we have shown quite clearly that we are there to race and there to win, which I believe reflects Honda’s philosophy also. I am excited about this new project, especially as it means a return to the Marc VDS racing family of Scott Redding, with whom we enjoyed a long and successful association in Moto2.”
More information and high resolution images are available on the Marc VDS Racing Team website at www.marcvds.com.
With new technical regulations set to come into effect for the 2015 season in World Superbikes, the Superbike Commission has decided to lift its customary testing ban. Instead of testing being prohibited for the months of December and January, the World Superbike and World Supersport teams will be allowed to continue testing, with only a short break over the holiday period. Testing will no be banned from 21st December 2014 to 4th January 2015.
The change was made at the request of the teams. With the technical regulations undergoing a radical overhaul for the 2015 season, the teams felt they needed a lot more testing time to identify and fix problems with the new bikes. Extracting sufficient horsepower while maintaining reliability, to comply with the limited engine allocation, had been a major concern. The extended period gives the teams a little more time to prepare for the 2015 season.
The current change has only been made for the 2015 season. With the rules set to stabilize for the future, a test ban is likely to be reinstated for the winter of 2015/2016.
You can read the text of the press release announcing the change on the FIM website (PDF document).
With MotoGP's silly season for 2015 nearing its conclusion, we can draw up a list of contracts signed for next year and beyond. Below is who is going where for 2015, along with what they will be riding and how long their contracts are for:
|Team||Rider||Bike||Duration||Status / Notes|
|Jorge Lorenzo||YZR-M1||2016||Believed to have an option to leave after 2015|
|Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati GP15||2016|
|Andrea Iannone||Ducati GP15||2015|
|Marc VDS Racing|
|Scott Redding||RC213V||2016||The Marc VDS Racing team has a contract for three years with HRC, and a contract for two years with Redding. The bike will be kitted with Ohlins and Brembo|
|Monster Tech 3 Yamaha|
|Drive M7 Aspar|
|Stefan Bradl||Forward Yamaha||2015|
|Loris Baz||Forward Yamaha||2015|
|Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia ART||2016|
|Marco Melandri||Aprilia ART||2015|
|Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki GSX-RR||2016|
|Maverick Viñales||Suzuki GSX-RR||2017|
|Yonny Hernandez||Ducati GP14.2||2015|
|Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP14||2016|
|Hector Barbera||Open GP14.2||2015||The Avintia Ducatis will run as full open class entries, and be used to develop the bike with the unified (spec) software.|
|Mike Di Meglio||Open GP14.2||2015|
|Alex De Angelis||Aprilia ART||2015|
Loris Baz has finally found his place in MotoGP. After being signed and then disposed of by the Aspar team, the Forward Racing team finally announced that they have signed the 21-year-old Frenchman for the 2015 season. Baz will line up alongside Stefan Bradl on board the Open class Forward Yamaha. The Forward Yamaha will be close to a 2014 spec satellite Yamaha M1, but using the Open software.
Baz' path into the premier class has not been easy. He was in talks with Aspar for several weeks, eventually signing a precontract which depended on Aspar not being able to sign Scott Redding. Once that deadline passed, Aspar the refused to honor the precontract, citing Baz' height - said to be 1.92m - as a reason to reject him.
When problems appeared with the Aspar deal, Baz turned to the Forward team, who were more willing to overlook his height. At a press conference at Aragon, where Forward and Yamaha presented their 2015 project, Yamaha boss told the press that he could not see Baz' height being a problem on the Yamaha.
There is good reason to suspect that Baz will find it easier on the Yamaha than he would have on the Honda. At Misano, several riders were asked for their opinions of the affair, and of tall riders. As he so often does, Bradley Smith expressed it most eloquently. When asked if being tall was an impediment to racing in MotoGP, Smith said that it depended on the bike. "If you're going to ride a Honda, yes. If you're going to ride a Yamaha, the Yamaha has been designed around a slightly taller rider, Valentino [Rossi] and Colin [Edwards] back in the day. So it fits."
In Smith's opinion, it would still be more difficult than for a smaller rider, however. "Road racing has always been like that, it's always been a smaller rider. In the current way of MotoGP, we haven't really seen big riders." The problem was mainly about the package which bike designers build, and as most riders are small, bikes are built for smaller riders, rather than tall riders. Tall riders would always face problems, Smith said. " Because you're adapting. This sport isn't about adapting, it's about designing a product and putting someone fast on that product, and staying within a box of design parameters. If Honda designed a bike around Loris Baz, Leon Camier, Scott Redding, the bike would be a lot different than designed around Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez."
With Baz now signed to Forward Racing, the chances of Mike Di Meglio retaining his seat at Avintia have grown slimmer. Dorna were known to be keen to have a fast young Frenchman riding in MotoGP, and had been offering to provide assistance for Baz in the series. With Baz signed, support for Di Meglio is no longer necessary, and Di Meglio will have to persuade Avintia to retain him on the strength of his performance, rather than his passport.
The Forward press release announcing the signing of Baz appears below:
Loris Baz joins NGM Forward Racing for the 2015 season
The NGM Forward Racing Team is delighted to announce to have signed an agreement with Loris Baz for the 2015 season. The 21 year old French rider completes the Forward Racing line up alongside of Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl on board of a Forward Yamaha. Loris Baz, who is currently riding for Kawasaki’s factory team in World Superbikes, will make his debut in the MotoGP World Championship with the NGM Forward Racing colours.
Loris Baz – Rider Profile
Date of birth: 01 February, 1993
Place of birth: Sallanches, France
2013: 8th in the World Superbike Championship with one win
2012: 13th in the World Superbike Championship with one win
2011: European Champion STK1000 Junior Championship BSB British Superbike with 7 Super poles in 7 races, Wild Card in the World Championship in 1000 STK
2010: 8th at the World Cup 1000 SuperStock
2009 8th at the World Cup 1000 SuperStock
2008: Youngest winner of the European Championship 600 SuperStock - 3 Victories, 8 podiums and 2 pole positions in 10 races
2007: Season Training in R6 600
2006: Catalan Championship and 125cc Spanish Championship
Giovanni Cuzari, Team Owner
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Loris Baz in our team. He is a young rider who has proved to be fast in World Superbikes and we would like to give him the possibility to show his talent also in MotoGP. I’m very happy to start this new adventure with Loris and bring this new rider in the premiere class, continuing our mission of talent scout team alongside of Yamaha. Loris will partner Stefan Bradl and we are delighted to line up a very young team with a 21 year old Frenchman and a 24 year old experienced German rider”.
MotoAmerica, the organization which replaces the DMG in running the US AMA series, has given their first peek into the future, by announcing the rules package. Though still not finalized, the package does give a very clear indication of MotoAmerica and KRAVE's thinking, and the direction they wish to steer motorcycle racing in America in.
Four classes have been announced, with two more currently being weighed. The series will feature two superbike classes, Superbike and Superstock 1000, which will run concurrently. There will also be two middleweight classes, Supersport and Superstock 600, which replace Daytona Sportbike and the Supersport series.
For the moment, the four classes will be very similar to the classes they replace, with the exception of Superstock 1000, which will be run along the same lines as the FIM Superstock 1000. But MotoAmerica make it very clear in their press release that the eventual goal is to bring the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 600 rules used at the world championship level, with the aim of bringing more American talent to world championship racing.
With that in mind, MotoAmerica had also been evaluating Moto2. The difficulty with that class, however, is that it is much harder to get backing to race in the class. Because Superstock, Superbike and Supersport classes all feature bikes from recognized manufacturers, importers, distributors and even individual dealerships are happy to provide support. As Moto2 machinery is based around specialist chassis manufacturers and generic engines, dealers and importers are far less interested in providing material support. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons Moto2 does not feature in the British BSB championship.
Of the two classes still under consideration, one is believed to be a spec bike series along the lines of the Red Bull Rookies and European Junior Cup. Informed opinion suggests that this could be based around the KTM RC390, KTM's small capacity pure sports machine. Given that KTM will be running the same class in BSB next year, this would make a lot of sense.
The final class still open could well end up being Moto3, or a class along Moto3 lines. The problem, once again, is expense, with full fat Moto3 machinery costing well north of 200,000 euros. The number of second hand bikes in circulation is still limited, as the class has only recently come into being, but MotoAmerica is believed to want at least one Grand Prix class in the series, to ready young Americans for that championship.
So far, the signs from MotoAmerica are very good. There is a clear focus that has been lacking in recent years, and the aim is very simple: to get American racers back to the two motorcycle road racing world championships. This is coming not just from Wayne Rainey and his group, but also very strongly from Dorna, who need Americans in MotoGP and WSBK to make the series attractive to TV channels. It has been a tough few years for the AMA, but things finally appear to be getting back onto the right path. There is still an awful lot to do, but the first steps have been taken.
Below is the press release issued by MotoAmerica announcing the classes for next year:
2015 Primary Motorcycle Racing Classes Announced
Costa Mesa, Calif. (October 3, 2014) - MotoAmerica has announced the primary racing class structure for the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Motorcycle Road Racing Championship season.
The premier class for the MotoAmerica Championship will be the Superbike class. The Superbike class will feature a rules package based on a combination of current AMA Superbike chassis and 2015 World Superbike Championship engine specifications. Racing alongside the Superbikes (but scored separately) will be the Superstock 1000 class. The Superstock 1000 class will be closely aligned to FIM Superstock 1000 rules, run on slick tires, and help to provide an action-packed race for MotoAmerica fans.
Middleweight road racing is one of the most exciting classes of racing worldwide. The primary MotoAmerica middleweight road racing class will be the Supersport class (formerly AMA Daytona Sportbike). The MotoAmerica Supersport rules have been designed to utilize 2014 AMA chassis rules, run on slick tires, and have engine rules aimed at moving toward FIM World Supersport Championship specifications. In addition to the Supersport class, MotoAmerica will also rename the current AMA Pro SuperSport class to be Superstock 600. The Superstock 600 class rules will be based on 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport rules and be closely aligned with FIM Superstock 600 regulations.
MotoAmerica is also currently in discussions for two additional racing classes in the MotoAmerica Championship and will be announcing that information as it becomes available. The MotoAmerica full technical rules will be released shortly.
“The 2015 MotoAmerica racing classes were designed to be more performance oriented and in line with FIM international road racing classes,” MotoAmerica partner Chuck Aksland said. “These new racing classes were created in collaboration with the AMA, FIM, and with input from key industry teams and partners. We are excited and looking forward to the 2015 MotoAmerica Motorcycle Road Racing Championship season.”
The 2015 MotoAmerica Road Racing Championship
- Chassis rules as AMA 2014
- Engine specs in line with the 2015 World Superbike Championship (gearbox as AMA 2014)
- Electronics as 2015 World Superbike Championship with a one-year option to run to AMA 2014 specs
- Use of two bikes will be allowed during each event
- Engine and chassis to be aligned with FIM Superstock 1000
- Brake system may be changed
- Superstock 1000 to run on slick tires
- Use of two bikes will be allowed during each event
n.b. Superbike and Superstock will run together but will be scored separately
Supersport* (formerly Daytona Sportbike)
- Chassis rules as AMA 2014
- Engine rules moved toward FIM World Supersport Championship specification
- Electronics as AMA 2014
- Supersport will be run on slick tires
- Use of one bike allowed during each event. Second bike may be built but not used until cleared by Technical Director
- Based on 600 class machines, including 675 triples
Superstock 600* (formerly AMA Pro SuperSport)
- Similar rules to 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport rules and aligned with FIM Superstock 600
Moto 2 will not be included in 2015 but will be re-evaluated for the 2016 season.
MotoAmerica are currently in discussions to run two additional classes in the series.
*The MotoAmerica full technical rules will be released shortly. MotoAmerica reserves the right to amend the above information and aims to develop all classes over the following seasons.
Another piece of the MotoGP puzzle has been fixed into place. It was widely known that Eugene Laverty would be riding a production Honda for the Drive M7 Aspar team in MotoGP next year, but official confirmation of the fact only came today. Laverty is to line up alongside Nicky Hayden aboard the uprated production Honda, now called the RC213V-RS, taking the place of Hiroshi Aoyama.
Laverty's path into the Aspar team was far from straightforward. The Irishman had been in talks with Aspar, who at the time were also talking to replacement rider Leon Camier and Frenchman Loris Baz. Aspar then signed a precontract with both Baz and Laverty, subject to the condition that Aspar could not secure the services of Scott Redding. Once the deadline for Redding's signature passed, Aspar found themselves with two contracts on their hands. They quickly moved to break the contract with Baz, declaring that they had not known that the Frenchman was 1.92m, despite the fact that Baz' height is a matter of public knowledge. That left Laverty in line to take the seat at Aspar, despite having offers from Ducati to ride at Pramac, and having had talks with Forward Yamaha.
Laverty returns to the Grand Prix paddock after six years in World Supersport and World Superbike. Laverty was twice runner-up in World Supersport, to Cal Crutchlow and to Kenan Sofuoglu, as well as finishing second in the World Superbike championship to Tom Sykes. After a hard year on the Suzuki in World Superbikes, Laverty has been looking for either a more competitive ride, or a switch back to MotoGP. The Honda RC213V-RS will have a 2014 Honda RC213V engine, without the seamless gearbox, but should be a much more competitive package than the current RCV1000R.
Below is the press release from the Aspar team announcing Laverty's signing:
DRIVE M7 Aspar Team strengthen MotoGP line-up as Eugene Laverty joins for 2015
Spanish team see Ireland's former World Supersport and World Superbike runner-up as a solid bet for their latest project
Whilst the 2014 season heads into its decisive phase, the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team is already shaping its plans for 2015 and is today pleased to announce the signing of Eugene Laverty for its MotoGP project. The current World Superbike rider began his international career in Grand Prix, competing in the 250cc category in 2007 and 2008, and he has gone from strength to strength since then, meaning that the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team will now welcome a talented and experienced rider back to the paddock.
Laverty, from Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, has twice finished as runner-up in World Supersport (2009 and 2010) and was also runner-up in World Superbikes in 2013. In six seasons of production racing the 28-year-old has ridden a host of different machinery for various manufacturers, winning races for all of them, showing his great adaptability as a rider. Aside from this obvious talent, the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team sees him as a gifted rider with the potential to continue improving, and is pleased to offer him the opportunity to ride a Honda in MotoGP next season.
Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “Eugene Laverty is a rider we were already in contact with last year, we tried to sign him then and even though we didn't manage it at the time he is a rider we have been interested in for a long time. I think he is a rider with great potential, he has produced some incredible races in Supersport and Superbikes, and he has a lot of wins on his record with a lot of different manufacturers, which says a lot about his capacity to adapt. Maybe he hasn't had the luck that you always need to win a world title but I am sure that he will be giving 100% to the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team. I am sure he will continue to develop as a rider and he can bring a lot to this team. He is ready to make the step to MotoGP. Next year we will have a new, more competitive Honda, and I have a lot of hope invested in our MotoGP project. I am sure we will achieve great results together.”