Latest News

Marc Marquez Extends Deal With Repsol Honda for Two More Years

Marc Marquez has finally agreed terms with HRC to continue in the Repsol Honda team for two more years. Though the fact that Marquez will remain in Honda is not a surprise, there were a number of important details to finalize before Marquez could agree to the deal. In the press conference on Thursday ahead of the Barcelona race, the Spaniard said there were three main points which needed agreement: the technical package, the financial aspect, and ensuring that he kept his current team around him.

Marquez' deal, and the announcement by KTM that they have signed Pol Espargaro, leaves only a seat at Aprilia and a seat at Suzuki unfilled.

Below is the press release from the Repsol Honda team on Marquez' new contract:


Honda Racing Corporation renew with Marc Márquez through 2018

On the occasion of the Grand Prix de Catalunya, the home race for four-time World Champion Marc Márquez, Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce a contract extension with the 23-year-old Spanish rider that will see him continuing to race for the Repsol Honda Team for the next two years.

Marc is currently in his fourth season in the MotoGP class, always with the Repsol Honda Team. During that time, he has achieved two World Titles, in his rookie season in 2013, and again in 2014, whereas he finished third last year. Thus far, Márquez so far has won nearly half of the Premier-class races he has entered and has finished on the podium 73% of the time.

With six rounds having been completed in the 2016 season, Márquez arrives at this weekend’s Catalan GP second in the standings by just 10 points.

Marc Marquez

“I'm very happy to announce this renewal with HRC, especially coinciding with Grand Prix of Catalunya, my home GP, where I have some really good memories. HRC and I have a very strong relationship, and I’ve always wanted to continue being a part of the Repsol Honda Team. In three and a half years together, we’ve enjoyed some unbelievable moments, with great victories and two world titles, as well as a few challenging moments that I believe are making us stronger. We’re working very hard this year to regain the title. It’s a great honour to be a part of the Honda family, and I’m glad to remain with this special group of people for another two seasons.”

Shuhei Nakamoto
HRC Executive Vice President

“We’re honoured to have reached an agreement with Marc for two more years. There’s no doubt that he is the present and future of MotoGP! We know him well and he knows us well, and we both wanted to continue together; for this reason, we felt no rush for this renewal. Marc has grown a lot during almost four years with HRC, and now he’s an even more complete rider than in 2014, when he won 10 races in a row. Although he’s still very young, we already have a long relationship together, and we know that Marc's experience is very important for helping our engineers to develop our bike.”

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Pol Espargaro Signs Two-Year Deal with KTM

The next factory MotoGP seat for the 2017 season has been filled. Today, Pol Espargaro announced that he will be joining his current teammate Bradley Smith at KTM for the next two seasons. Espargaro's announcement means that both KTM seats are now filled, with only one seat at Aprilia and one seat at Suzuki still left open.

The KTM press release welcoming Pol Espargaro appears below:


Welcome & Vamos Pol Espargaro – KTM signs Spanish MotoGP star
MotoGP Announcement

KTM Factory Racing is delighted to announce that 24-year-old Spanish rider and former World Champion Pol Espargaro will race for the Austrian based MotoGP factory team in 2017/2018.

As important next step into the MotoGP Factory Racing project, KTM lines up with another top rated rider and hero of the MotoGP circus. Pol Espargaro, who took the crown in the Moto2 World Championship at the age of just 22, first raced in the World Championship in 2006 in the 125cc class. His outstanding road racing GP debut went into the record books, as Pol is the youngest rider ever to collect points in the world championship. The “boy” from Catalunya has gone on to have an impressive and successful career. He achieved overall 15 GP wins and topped the podium at the prestigious Suzuka 8 hours last season. Like his future teammate Bradley Smith he has also accrued valuable experience in the premiere MotoGP class since 2014.

Pit Beirer (Motorsport Director): “We’re more than happy that we’re now able to sign Pol Espargaro as a young rider of form and with MotoGP experience for this dynamic project. Both Pol and Bradley are well suited to KTM. Also in Mika Kallio we have an extremely motivated and competent test rider within the structure. We can grow together and continue to develop in all aspects. Now we hope for good conditions for the further tests and extend wishes to everyone for a successful rest of the season 2016.”

The newly formed KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team has already conducted four successful tests this year in Jerez, Valencia, Brno and Misano. Now, with the acquisition of both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith as riders, and Mika Kallio as the permanent test rider, the team is complete.

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Yamaha Announce Pol Espargaro to Leave at End of 2016 - Off to KTM?

The first official announcement of the Barcelona weekend has been made. Yamaha issued a press release today announcing that Pol Espargaro will not be riding for Yamaha in 2017. The Spaniard had a contract directly with Yamaha, but rode in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. He had three offers to continue - a one-year deal from Yamaha to continue at Tech 3, and multi-year deals from KTM and Avintia Ducati - and is due to announce his future soon. It is widely believed he will join Bradley Smith at KTM. 

Espargaro's departure leaves a seat open at Tech 3. While Yamaha has been pursuing Alex Rins for the seat, Rins is keen on joining a factory team, and looks bound for Suzuki. If Rins does not fill the seat, then the Frenchman Johann Zarco could join fellow rookie from Moto2 Jonas Folger in the team.

Below is the press release from Yamaha announcing the departure of Espargaro:


YAMAHA AND POL ESPARGARÓ TO END PARTNERSHIP AFTER 2016

Barcelona (Spain), 2nd June 2016

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announce that Yamaha and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team-rider Pol Espargaró will go their separate ways at the close of the 2016 MotoGP season, when the Spaniard will start new racing challenges.

Espargaró joined the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in 2014, following his championship victory in the Moto2 class the year before. The currently 24-year old adapted to the YZR-M1 quickly, as was displayed when he qualified second for the fifth race in Le Mans and claimed the accolade of ’rookie of the year‘ as well as ’top satellite MotoGP rider‘ with a sixth place overall finish.

Espargarò followed up this successful year by taking ninth place in the final rankings in the 2015 season, with the highlight of finishing as the highest satellite team rider in Assen and Valencia with two fifth places.

In addition to the MotoGP program, Espargarò also secured the win for Yamaha at the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race where he teamed up with Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Espargarò will team up once again this year with Katsuyuki Nakasuga and new rider Alex Lowes in an attempt to secure back-to-back wins for the Yamaha Factory Team.

So far this season Espargaró holds seventh place with 48 points in the 2016 MotoGP World Championship standings and has been the leading independent team rider since the start of the 2016 campaign, finishing three times as the best independent rider in Losail, Jerez, and Le Mans.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. look back with great appreciation on Espargaró's contributions to its racing successes over the past two and a half years and wish Espargaró the very best in furthering his racing career.

Yamaha and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team will continue to put their full efforts into finishing the 2016 season with Espargaró in the best possible manner and hope to share many more memorable moments during the upcoming twelve MotoGP rounds of the 2016 World Championship.

The 2017 Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team replacement for Pol Espargaró will be announced in due course.

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2016 Donington World Superbike In Pictures

Jonathan Rea, World Champion

World Champion Jonathan Rea made the best out of a tricky weekend.

MV Agusta

The MV Agusta is challenging the Ducati Panigale in the beauty pageant. 

Elbow down

Kyle Smith was one of a few riders to get his elbow down in World Supersport.

Cameron Beaubier

Cameron Beaubier on the grid for race two.

Jordi Torres

Jordi Torres has adapted well to the BMW.

Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden, a welcome addition to the World Superbike paddock.

Aprilia RSV4

Alex De Angelis's Aprilia RSV4.

Ayrton Badovini

Ayrton Badovini was without a ride at the beginning of the year but has settled in well on the World Supersport Honda.

Pirelli Tyres

Pirelli make some damned fine rubber.

Randy Krummenacher

Randy Krummenacher, hitting the bump before Goddards under braking.

Cameron Beaubier

Cameron Beaubier had a baptism of fire on his debut World Superbike weekend.

Tom Sykes power stance

The last eight races at Donington have all been won by Tom Sykes. 

Leon Camier

Leon Camier makes an under-developed bike look good.

Lorenzo Savadori

Lorenzo Savadori was the surprise of the weekend, qualifying on the front row against some very fast men.

Chaz Davies

Chaz Davies's Ducati Panigale would catch fire later this lap. At this point, he didn't know it had gone pop.

Viñales Confirmed at Yamaha, Iannone Confirmed with Suzuki for 2017 & 2018

The next two pieces of the MotoGP puzzle for the coming seasons have fallen into place. This morning, Yamaha announced that Maverick Viñales would be joining them for two years from Suzuki, and Suzuki announced that Andrea Iannone would be taking the place of Viñales. Both riders signed two year deals with their respective factories.

With the earlier announcements of Andrea Dovizioso at Ducati and Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda, the confirmed 2017 line up looks like this so far:

Movistar Yamaha
Valentino Rossi
Maverick Viñales

Ducati Factory
Jorge Lorenzo
Andrea Dovizioso

Repsol Honda
Dani Pedrosa

ECSTAR Suzuki
Andrea Iannone

Gresini Aprilia
Sam Lowes

KTM
Bradley Smith

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
Jonas Folger

The press releases announcing the deal are below


SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION AND MAVERICK VIÑALES TO PART AT THE END OF 2016

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 19, 09:00hrs (CET)

Suzuki Motor Corporation announces that its collaboration with Maverick Viñales will come to an end after the 2016 MotoGP season.

All the Suzuki family is extremely grateful to Viñales for his contribution to the growth of the MotoGP™ project and the development of the GSX-RR, as well as for the great results they have achieved together.

Since the 2016 season is still under way, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR and Suzuki Motor Corporation will continue their unconditioned support to Maverick, looking forward to even better results in the remaining MotoGP races.

We wish all the best to Maverick Viñales for a bright and successful future.


YAMAHA CONFIRMS MAVERICK VIÑALES FOR THE 2017 AND 2018 MOTOGP SEASONS

Barberino del Mugello (Italy), 19th May 2016

It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces the signing of Maverick Viñales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018.

Viñales, who is presently 5th in the MotoGP™ Championship standings, will partner 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March this year.

Maverick Viñales, born in Figueres (Spain) on 12th January 1995, made his World Championship debut in 2011 in the 125cc Class. His racing career highlights include the victory of the Moto3™ World Championship in 2013 as well as 3 ’Rookie of the Year‘ awards in 2011 (125cc), 2014 (Moto2™) and 2015 (MotoGP™).


ANDREA IANNONE TO BE SUZUKI FACTORY RIDER IN 2017-2018

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 19, 09:30hrs (CET)

Suzuki Motor Corporation is pleased to announce the agreement with Andrea Iannone as a Factory rider of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR for 2017-2018.

The Italian will ride the Factory GSX-RR in the MotoGP™ World Championship for the upcoming two years following the 2016 season.

Iannone was born on August 9th, 1989 in Vasto, Southern Italy. He started racing in the Italian and Spanish Championships in 2004 when he was 15 years old. He moved to the 125 World Championship in 2005, winning four races, before he stepped-up to Moto2 in 2010; always finishing in the top-three places in the Championship and winning eight races. He moved to MotoGP™ in 2013, and in 2015 – his third season - secured fifth place overall, recording one Pole Position and three podiums.

Davide Brivio – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Team Manager:

“We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our Team for the next two years. He is one of the top riders in MotoGP™ and he is also very passionate and motivated; which fits into our racing philosophy. Our technical project is continuously improving since our debut in 2015 and we are working hard to make our GSX-RR very competitive so that it can fight consistently close to top and victory as soon as possible. We wanted a rider that could help Suzuki continue its road to the top. Andrea is a fast rider who has the hunger for success and his riding style could suit our machine’s characteristics, therefore giving us good hopes for a positive partnership. Being in his fourth year in MotoGP™ he’s also an experienced rider from which the whole Team will benefit.”


The Choice is Made: Ducati to Keep Andrea Dovizioso for Two More Seasons

MotoGP's rider market has moved into overdrive this week. Over the weekend, reports came in from the Spanish media that Maverick Viñales had signed with Yamaha, with that deal to be announced at Mugello on Thursday. Confirmation that Viñales will be leaving Suzuki came from our friends over at Asphalt & Rubber on Monday. Later that day, Repsol Honda announced they had extended Dani Pedrosa's contract for a further two years, leaving another of the top seats filled.

The deluge of announcements continued today, with Ducati announcing that they have chosen one of the two Andreas to remain in Ducati and partner Jorge Lorenzo for the next two seasons. Unsurprisingly, Ducati have gone with Dovizioso to stay in the team, selecting the Italian's long experience of developing the bike over Iannone's raw, and sometimes uncontrolled, talent.

The announcement follows something of a reversal of fortune for Andrea Iannone, the Italian who will be losing his seat at Ducati. Iannone had been the early favorite to stay, with the framework of an agreement reached after Qatar, which was due to be announced at the Austin round in April. However, Iannone's ill-judged pass on his teammate in the penultimate corner, which took both him and Dovizioso out of a certain double Ducati podium, caused the Bologna factory to have a drastic rethink.

A podium at Austin won Iannone back some of the credit he had lost in Argentina, but the tide had turned. His crash at Le Mans appears to have been the last straw in the making of the decision, Ducati choosing to stick with the rider they can trust to bring the bike home.

It should not be underestimated just how big a role Dovizioso's experience over the past four years also played a role in the decision. The Italian has helped bring the bike from the badly understeering Desmosedici GP13 on to what is basically a very strong bike with excellent handling in the 2016 version of the machine. Though Dovizioso is said to run a very peculiar set up - a lot of weight on the front of the bike - his feedback is very precise, and he is capable of describing in great detail what is happening with the bike. Having a solid asset like that alongside the undoubted speed of Jorge Lorenzo should help Ducati turn the 2017 version of the Desmosedici into a bike which is capable of challenging for the championship.

Though Andrea Iannone is out of Ducati, he is still in high demand. Talks have been ongoing for sometime with Suzuki, and with Viñales now gone, Suzuki will be taking a long hard look at the Italian. But Iannone is also believed to have a very big money offer on the table to race for Aprilia. Iannone has strong links with the factory through his time in Moto2 with Speed Up, who had raced 250s with Aprilia before the switch to Moto2. But the Aprilia RS-GP is still very much a work in progress, and rumors so far suggest Iannone is less interested in taking that risk.

The Ducati announcement now leaves both Movistar Yamaha seats filled, and both factory Ducati seats. Dani Pedrosa will take one Repsol Honda seat, while Marc Marquez is almost certain to take the second seat. With Sam Lowes already having a contract with Aprilia next year, and Bradley Smith taking one seat at KTM, that leaves both Suzuki seats, and an open seat at both KTM and Aprilia left to fill of the factory seats.

The Ducati press release announcing Dovizioso's signing appears below:


Andrea Dovizioso confirmed in Ducati Team for 2017 and 2018

Ducati wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement with Andrea Dovizioso for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP seasons. The Romagna-born rider, who has been with Ducati since 2013, will team up with Jorge Lorenzo for the next two seasons aboard the Ducati Team’s Desmosedici GP bike.

Andrea Dovizioso: “I am very satisfied to have reached this agreement with Ducati and to be able to continue the adventure begun back with them in 2013. In the last few years we have worked with a lot of commitment and we have succeeded in taking the Desmosedici GP to an excellent competitive level, and so I am convinced that soon we will obtain the satisfaction that we deserve.”

The 2016 championship will therefore be Andrea Iannone’s final season with the Ducati Team. The Abruzzo-born rider, after two years in the “factory-supported” Pramac Racing outfit, moved to the factory team in 2015, immediately showing his great talent and pace, and he will undoubtedly give his utmost in the remaining rounds of the season in order to conclude his experience in Ducati in the best possible way.

Andrea Iannone: “Obviously I am sorry that my time with Ducati will draw to a close at the end of this season, but I am grateful to the Bologna manufacturer for the opportunity it has given me in the last few years. I made my MotoGP debut with Ducati and I have grown up with them, always succeeding in improving my level of performance. In the remaining races I will give my all, as I always do, because I am convinced that thanks to the competitiveness of the Desmosedici GP we can achieve some great results.”

Luigi Dall’Igna: “It’s never easy to take a decision like this one, especially when you have two great riders like the two Andreas in your team. We are very happy that Dovizioso has agreed to stay with us for the next two years, and together with him we can continue the successful work we began four years ago in order to reach the ambitious aims we have set for ourselves. We are sorry for Andrea Iannone, who at the end of the season will no longer be a part of the team. Andrea has carried out an important job in these years and has made a significant contribution to the development of the Ducati Desmosedici GP. For this reason we would like to thank him and we will provide him with our maximum commitment in the next rounds of the championship, in order to obtain the prestigious results that are for sure within his reach.”

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Jonathan Rea To Stay With Kawasaki For Two More Seasons

As the world of motorcycle racing has gone made with speculation over who is to replace Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha, and by extension, either Maverick Viñales at Suzuki or Dani Pedrosa at Honda, focus has also turned on the World Superbike paddock. There has been much talk of which riders could make the transition to MotoGP, and in turn, which MotoGP riders could try the switch to World Superbikes.

The one name that was consistently raised was reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea. Given Rea's previous experience standing in for an injured Casey Stoner in 2012, there had been much speculation that Rea had both the ability and the interest in making the switch to MotoGP. 

Today, Rea put an end to any such speculation. The man from Larne extended his contract with Kawasaki to remain in World Superbikes for another two years. Rea will now be racing for Kawasaki until at least the end of 2018.

That Rea should choose to stay in World Superbikes should come as no surprise. Rea made the decision to commit to a future in WorldSBK as part of the decision process to jump from Honda to Kawasaki. Kawasaki have repeatedly stated that they have no intention to return to MotoGP, after their costly experiment between 2002 and 2009. Kawasaki offered no path to MotoGP for Rea, and Rea has dedicated himself to winning races and championships in WorldSBK instead, taking his first world championship at the first attempt with Kawasaki.

Rea has also become a keen supporter and promoter of the series, believing that the level of racing and talent is woefully underrated. Changes made to the series appear to have helped start the process of turning the series around.

Rea's contract extension with Kawasaki could be the signal for a shake up in the WorldSBK paddock. The friction between Rea and teammate Tom Sykes has increased measurably this year, both men taking potshots at each other over the direction the bike is being developed. Sykes is believed to want out, his name being linked with the second seat at Ducati, alongside Chaz Davies, where Davide Giugliano's days are rumored to be numbered.

Suzuki is also expected to make a return to WorldSBK in 2017, with the Milwaukee SMR team the current favorite to take on that role. While Josh Brookes is certain to keep one of those seats, the second seat in the team could be an attractive option, as the brand new GSX-R1000 is expected to be the kind of quantum leap forward that the new Yamaha R1 was. Honda are also expected to be bringing a new bike, with much attention falling on Michael van der Mark and his future. Honda have been promising to bring out a much more competitive Superbike for several years now - their failure to do so was a big factor in Jonathan Rea's decision to head to Kawasaki after many years with Honda - but if they fail to do so for 2017, Van der Mark could decide to explore what options the interest he has generated in the MotoGP paddock.

Below is the press release from Kawasaki, announcing Rea's re-signing:


Jonathan Rea And Kawasaki Together For Two More Years

Reigning FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea has re-signed with Kawasaki’s official KRT effort to compete for two more years on the class-leading latest model Ninja ZX-10R.

Committing to extend their mutually beneficial partnership into the future, both Rea and Kawasaki aim to continue the kind of success that delivered Rea the championship in his first KRT season last year.

Jonathan leads the current WorldSBK championship standings by 35 points after five rounds of the 2016 season have been completed.

Jonathan Rea stated: “I am so happy to extend this partnership with the Kawasaki Racing Team and continue the great relationship I have with all the Kawasaki engineers and fans. It is clear that our objectives and way of working are very well matched so it makes perfect sense to extend this for two more seasons. With all the incredible memories we have made so far and are now creating, I am 100% confident that we will enjoy working together and develop the Ninja ZX-10R into the future. I would like to thank Kawasaki and all the KRT staff for their full support and belief in my potential. With this in mind I am now even more focused than ever to win the World SBK Championship in 2016 to make it back to back wins.”

Steve Guttridge, Racing Manager Kawasaki Europe, stated: “The successes Kawasaki have enjoyed with Jonathan and his relationship with our Kawasaki Racing Team over a relatively short time has been phenomenal to witness. Finding that complete chemistry in racing is very difficult. Team, bike and rider all need to be in harmony together and for sure with JR we have found that magic mix, so it's only logical to continue the great relationship. Jonathan is a racer who understands well the importance of the entire team around him; the full package. With Johnny wanting to stay for two more years inside our team and riding the new Ninja ZX-10R, we have a full package.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We have now two great riders in KRT. Two World Champions and the goal is to keep them for the next two years. Rea is an experienced rider with a young spirit and big motivation, open to learning and improving race-by-race. This gives us even greater potential to have an even better rider in two years’ time. His big credit in this KRT project is to give us the pressure to give the best to him. I know clearly that the mechanics, crew, technicians, team staff and all KHI engineers will do our best to cover his expectations.”

Ichiro Yoda, KRT Senior Engineer, stated: “The KRT project is based on development and information for KHI engineers to improve their knowledge and improve the development of future machines, working closely with the R&D department. We have re-signed a rider with commitment and skill who can push the limits of the bike to explain to the engineers his feelings. Jonathan has a good talent and speed, and we are very happy to use this energy to understand how the Ninja ZX-10R works at on-the-limit conditions. I’m sure in 2016, 2017 & 2018 we will have a strong package with him.”

The final word goes to Kenji Tomida, President of Kawasaki’s Motorcycle and Engineering Company.

“We were delighted to host the recent visit to KHI for 2015 WorldSBK Champion, Jonathan Rea. Our Ninja brand has been further enriched with the launch of the new Ninja ZX-10R on which Jonathan has already had much success this year. The whole Kawasaki family are understandably delighted that he has extended his relationship with the Kawasaki Racing Team and we wish him success both now and in the future.”


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Jonas Folger Joins Tech 3 In MotoGP For 2017

The next piece of the 2017 MotoGP Silly Season puzzle has fallen into place. Today, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team announced that they have signed the German youngster Jonas Folger for the 2017 season, with an option to keep him for a second year into 2018.

That Tech 3 should sign Folger is no real surprise. Hervé Poncharal made no secret of his opinion of Folger, mentioning the German in every conversation about finding riders for Tech 3. Poncharal had tried to sign Folger previously in 2014, hoping to get him into MotoGP in 2015, but the German was in the middle of a two-year deal, and unable to get out of it. Two year's later, Poncharal has his man.

Folger had also been a target for KTM. As a German speaker, Folger would have been a good fit with the Austrian manufacturer, and give them the young Moto2 rider they are looking for to slot in alongside Bradley Smith. The lure of a proven bike at Tech 3 may have been the deciding factor for Folger, though.

The question of who will join Folger at Tech 3 is still wide open. Bradley Smith is already headed to KTM, and Pol Espargaro's recent criticism of Yamaha have made it clear he has lost patience with the Japanese factory, and is looking for a change of manufacturers. As Espargaro is on a Yamaha factory contract - Yamaha have the right to place a rider with Tech 3, should they wish to - it has been widely assumed that Alex Rins will be the rider to fill Espargaro's seat. But Rins is still holding out for a seat in a factory team, and has so far turned down Yamaha's attempts to get him into the Tech 3 seat.

If Rins isn't placed in Tech 3, then the second rider could also come from Moto2. Poncharal has also spoken highly of Johann Zarco, and though Suzuki has an option on the Frenchman, he could find a home at Tech 3. Yamaha World Superbike rider Alex Lowes has also been linked to the seat, but Lowes has another year on his contract with the Pata Yamaha WSBK team, and Tech 3 could not afford to buy him out of that option. If none of these options work out, then keeping Pol Espargaro could be an option for the French MotoGP team.

Below is the press release from Tech 3 announcing the Folger signing:


Tech3 to join forces with German star Jonas Folger

The Tech3 team is excited to announce the signing of Moto2 front-runner and bright prospect, Jonas Folger for the future. The 22-year old has been competing in World Championship races since 2008 and he has since battled to 16 podiums and four race victories across all fields. The young Bavarian from Mūhldorf, who comes off the back of a second place finish at the previous GP in Jerez, will get his first taste of the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike at the post season-finale Valencia test in November. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team is delighted to announce the new signing for the 2017 season, which includes the option for an additional year for the promising youngster.

Jonas Folger :

“I am super excited about the news and I still can’t believe this is happening. I have been racing for years in the motorcycling World Championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true plus I'd like to thank all my sponsors that have stuck by me all these years. Furthermore, it’s an honour to make this step with Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock. I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I’m really looking forward to the new adventure. However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can’t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.”

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“It’s always a very important and tough decision to make when it’s time for us to choose a young rider to start his career in the MotoGP class. We have been thinking a lot about who has the best profile to replace Brad, who has done a great job with Tech3 for four years and is now ready to move to a full factory team. Having thoroughly checked all the names and details of the young riders in various championships, the name Jonas Folger came out on top. He’s a nice person, very fast and he is going to have a strong season in Moto2 this year, where he hopefully will win the title which would be the dream situation. I am really pleased to announce that Jonas will join us before our home GP in Le Mans. It may be difficult to predict what will happen, as some riders adapt instantly whilst others need some time, but I am certain that he will be fast, have fun and become a strong Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider. I’d like to welcome him and I want to assure Jonas that the whole team and Yamaha Factory Racing are very happy that he will join us and for sure, everyone will do their best to assist him in moving forward in the top class.”

24th Grid Slot for 2017 Withdrawn Due to Lack of Manufacturer Support

There will be only 23 bikes on the MotoGP grid in 2017. The FIM today officially announced that the 24th grid slot has been officially withdrawn, after manufacturers could not pledge to supply additional equipment.

There was plenty of interest in the grid slot. Five teams expressed an interest, and three teams submitted an official application for the 24th grid slot. Those teams are believed to have included Pons, LCR, and Ajo, all of whom had previously admitted publicly that they were keen to move up to MotoGP.

One of the main requirements put forward by the Selection Committee (comprising representatives of IRTA, Dorna and the FIM) was having a sound financial basis. Though Dorna will be offering €2.4 million in support for each grid slot, actually fielding a rider in MotoGP would cost at a very minimum €4 million a year, and most likely more. 

It was not the financial situation of the teams that was the problem, however. In the end, the decision to withdraw the 24th grid slot came down to a lack of competitive machinery. The manufacturers were not willing to supply extra bikes to a team to fill that slot. 

For Ducati, Honda and Yamaha, that is entirely understandable. Ducati have eight bikes on the grid, a veritable cornucopia of clearly competitive machinery. Yamaha are supplying four bikes, as they have done almost since the dawn of the four-stroke era. Honda are supplying five bikes, and though they could have added a sixth, the price cap to be introduced would have had an impact on that decision. Prices are capped at €2.2 million, but HRC are believed to be charging over €3.5 million for the RC213V, so a sixth Honda would have been a costly exercise for HRC.

That would leave Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia. 2017 will be KTM's first year in MotoGP, and will have their hands full developing the bike. A KTM would be a massive gamble for a satellite squad. Aprilia's RS-GP is clearly a much better package in 2016 than it was in 2015, but it is still some way off the pace. Here too, satellite squads would be wary of gambling on the bike. 

Suzuki's GSX-RR is a much more attractive prospect, but Suzuki have long been wary of supplying satellite teams. When asked about it in Austin, Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio told MotoMatters.com "we have no experience with satellite teams", expressing fears they would not be able to support a satellite team properly.

This goes against an agreement made between the factories and Dorna in 2015, however. In exchange for the change in financing, the factories committed to supplying bikes to satellite teams with bikes. Though it is unknown at this time whether any satellite team actually requested a bike from Suzuki, the rumors that Johann Zarco has been signed by Suzuki for 2017 suggest that they had. What impact that will have on Zarco's future remains to be seen.

Though the 24th slot has been withdrawn for 2017, this does not mean that the grid will not expand in the future. The FIM press release states that the grid slot could be offered again in the future, when factories may be more willing to supply competitive bikes.

Below is the FIM press release making the announcement:


MotoGP class entries from 2017

On the 21st of March it was announced that applications from existing MotoGP Championship teams to provide a 24th entry in the MotoGP class from 2017 would be invited. The deadline for applications was the 29th of April, on which date the Selection Committee, comprising delegates of FIM, IRTA and Dorna would consider the applications.

Expressions of interest were received from five teams who were then provided with more comprehensive details of the requirements and the financial conditions.

Three teams subsequently submitted official applications for consideration.

The Selection Committee considered the applications and concluded that all three had merit and each, in slightly different ways, had elements that could enhance the MotoGP class.

However, alongside the application process, discussions were also conducted with the Manufacturers to establish the likely availability of competitive machinery for the extra entry. The conclusion from these discussions was that there was reluctance amongst the existing Manufacturers to commit to making additional equipment available, at least for 2017.

It has therefore reluctantly been decided to postpone a decision on the allocation of the additional entry to a later season.

FIM, IRTA and Dorna wish to thank the teams who complied with the application process and apologise that the offer has had to be withdrawn.

Source: 

WSBK Calendar: No Replacement for Monza, Series Now 13 Rounds

The 2016 World Superbike calendar will have just thirteen rounds. Attempts at finding a replacement for the canceled Monza round have failed, causing the calendar to definitively lose a round.

Dorna had been in talks with several other circuits to replace the races at Monza, with the Estoril circuit being the most popular candidate. However, no agreement could be reached with any of the replacement candidates, and Dorna had no choice but to cancel. 

All hope is not lost for Monza, however. Work continues at the iconic Italian track, including efforts to make it suitable for motorcycle racing. The circuit could yet make a return, but not this year.

The cancellation of Monza does leave a gaping hole in the WSBK calendar. There is a gap of ten weeks between the US round of WSBK at Laguna Seca and the German races at the Lausitzring. That hiatus presents a serious problem for Dorna in maintaining interest in what is turning out to be a very good year for WorldSBK. It will need to be addressed for the 2017 calendar.

Updated 2016 World Superbike calendar

DATE COUNTRY CIRCUIT WorldSBK WorldSSP STK1000
26-28 February Australia Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit X X  
11-13 March Thailand Chang International Circuit X X  
1-3 April Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
15-17 April Netherlands TT Circuit Assen X X X
29-1 May Italy Autodromo Int. Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola X X X
13 -15 May Malaysia Sepang International Circuit X X  
27-29 May United Kingdom Donington Park X X X
17-19 June Italy Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’ X X X
8-10 July USA Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca X    
16-18 September Germany Lausitzring X X X
30-2 October France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X
16-18 October Spain Circuito de Jerez X X X
28-30 October Qatar Losail International Circuit X X  

 

Source: 

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