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Forward Racing: Solutions Being Sought For Indianapolis And Beyond - Updated

Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari remains under arrest in Lugano, Switzerland, and the team remain in doubt whether they will be able to participate in the next MotoGP round, scheduled for Indianapolis on 9th August. The biggest problem the team faces is that their bank accounts have been frozen, as part of the ongoing investigation into tax evasion, fraud and corruption which Cuzari and Libero Galli have been charged with by the Swiss authorities. The Open class Yamaha M1s and equipment belonging to the team is already in Indianapolis, having been flown there by IRTA after the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring. But without access to money to be able to pay for flights, hotels, car rental and all of the other sundry expenses which are necessary to allow a MotoGP team to actually go racing.

Forward Racing team manager Marco Curioni has called on the series organizers to help them make the race at Indy. has learned that the series organizers are working behind the scenes to try to allow Forward Racing to race at Indy. Both Dorna and IRTA recognize that the team finds themselves in a difficult situation not entirely of their own making. Although only the team owner has been arrested, this has had a much greater effect than if any other individual member of the team had been arrested. The team's accounts are frozen because they are in Cuzari's name, rather than because of anything the team as a whole is suspected of being involved with.

Marco Curioni has appealed to IRTA to cover their costs for Indianapolis, to allow the team to compete there, but that is not within the purview of the organization. Dorna, as series organizer, holds the funds to make such a decision, but MotoGP's rights holders are always afraid of setting a precedent for situations which may be much less exceptional than this. Forward are engaged with talking with sponsors about finding short-term solutions to allow them to continue until the situation has been resolved, or at least alleviated.

In theory, if Forward do not race at Indianapolis, they would be in breach of their contract and could have their grid slots taken away from them. That, however, will not happen, the series organizers showing the team clemency. The team have been assured that there grid slots are safe should they miss Indianapolis, Brno, or both. At the moment, the series organizers are proceeding in the expectation that Forward will be at Indy. The team is expected to make a decision on participation some time next week.

What this means for the rest of the season and for 2016 is unclear. The Forward Racing team is regarded as competent, the team having shown its potential last year with Aleix Espargaro. Nobody in the paddock wants to see the 40-odd team members, including riders, mechanics, hospitality staff, truck drivers and more, left high and dry before the end of the season. Forward have two realistic options: try to persuade their sponsors to stay on board for the rest of the year, or pass on their grid slots to another team for the remainder of 2015 and beyond. Lasting out the rest of the sason may be possible if the team gets access to the funds they already have, but having another team take their slots is unlikely, at least for this season. There are teams interested in moving up to MotoGP - the Pons Moto2 team is one, and Marc VDS is interested in taking a second slot in MotoGP - who may be willing to take over the grid slots for 2016.

What makes Forward's grid slots attractive to other teams is the fact that they are currently eligible for payment of travel allowance and free tires for both this year and next. With only 22 teams guaranteed subsidy next year, a newcomer would not receive such funds. Buying the slots of an existing team would change that, and with those slots worth roughly €1.4 million per rider, they are an attractive proposition indeed. With those grid slots as a bargaining chip, Forward Racing have a stronger position with interested teams, at least in the short term.


Speedweek, the German language website run by Stefan Bradl's manager, and consequently well-placed to comment, are reporting that Forward Racing will not be heading to Indy after all. Instead, they are trying to raise the funds to race at Brno, but with the team reportedly facing a backlog of payments of between €1.5 and €2 million, that may prove difficult to achieve.

At Home With Scott Jones - Laguna Seca World Superbike Race Day

Unstoppable. No one could stand in Chaz Davies' way at Laguna

Kawasaki introduced a new sport to Laguna Seca: Synchronized sliding

California has been suffering one the worst droughts in its history. Instant cure? Hold a motorcycle race!

Davide Giugliano proudly wears the #34. Good job it hasn't been retired in WSBK

The last time the pack saw which way Chaz Davies went

Ayrton Badovini hasn't been able to make the BMW fly this year

That #1 would look a hell of a lot better without the headlight stickers

There has been plenty of discussion over the Ducati's new exhaust. Silhouette has some shadowy interpretations

Niccolo Canepa has stepped in for Nico Terol and done well

Turn 2 proved tough to get through for quite a few WSBK men

Twice Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea went all the way to the line. Twice Sykes beat his teammate

Rain flags waved in race 2, but the rain never really settled in

It's been a long year for Randy De Puniet

Leon Camier has ridden just about every racing motorcycle known to engineering. A good fit on the MV Agusta

When we said we loved California skies, we meant the blue ones. Can we send these back?

The face of the future. Can Honda keep Michael van der Mark?

Take only memories, leave only footprints. Well, tire marks...

Some of the best battles at Laguna were in the middle of the pack

Take it to the bridge

The Corkscrew. Not Laguna's best corner, but it's most famous


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.

At Home With Scott Jones - Laguna Seca World Superbike Practice

Jonathan Rea, the leader of the WSBK pack

The Man Who Would Be Schwantz - Davide Giugliano

Aprilia's X Fighter

Alex Lowes is pushing the Suzuki GSX-R1000 about as far as it can go. Fortunately, there's a new bike due out next year

Van der Mark needs all of his magic at Laguna

WSBK's biggest surprise package: Jordi Torres

"The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will," as Aleister Crowley would put it

His Chazness, King of Laguna Superpole

Leon Camier, journeyman racer, has done well on the MV this year. Despite the MV.

Ron and Randy, racing royalty

Eat your heart out, Guy Martin

Tom Sykes has done everything in his power to try to beat his new teammate

The champ ponders his predicament

Whatever the opposite is of taking it easy, Chaz Davies did it

Fast and smooth does the trick

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.

Misano Test Day 2 - Riders Suffer In Sweltering Heat

The second day of the Misano test took place under punishing heat, with temperatures rising to 37° and track temperatures of over 60°C. Despite the heat, times continued to drop as Suzuki, Honda and Ducati all worked further on improving their race set ups.

At Honda, both Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez tried the 2016 Honda RC213V, giving the bike its first run out ahead of next year. The aim of the test was to check the direction which development of the bike was taking. That, Marc Marquez said, was the wrong direction, but that is in itself useful information. Marquez also worked on a setting at the front end of the bike, which improved his feeling. The problems with braking remain, but are much improved. Marquez also crashed towards the end of the day, but it was a relatively harmless crash, which happened because he was pushing just a little too hard on exceptionally hot tarmac. For Dani Pedrosa, the work concentrated once again on finding a base set up, and a direction to pursue for the rest of the season. That had been a success, Pedrosa judged.

At Ducati, the two Andreas were also working on figuring out a base set up. Andrea Dovizioso was sanguine about the work of the past two days, saying they had not made huge progress, but had gathered a lot of data. They were definitely faster than the first part of the season, but there was still much work to do. Corner entry is the area which still needs work, according to Dovizioso. Teammate Andrea Iannone had his test cut short. The Italian was suffering with severe pain in the shoulder, the result of an earlier testing crash at Mugello back in May. Iannone will require surgery to fix the problem at the end of the year, but is engaged in an ongoing battle with his doctor, who wants him to have surgery to fix the problem sooner rather than later.

At Suzuki, the work was all on set up and geometry, with both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales pleased with what they had achieved. Espargaro was especially happy, having made progress with the bike to improve front grip, as well as working on traction control strategies. Both riders had improved their times, and felt their pace was much more consistent.

The teams all stay on for one more day, to test the Michelins ahead of next season. As with all Michelin tests this year, they are completely private affairs, with riders not allowed to talk to the press about them. After that, they all head off for a well-deserved rest and summer break.

Times from day 2:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:32.00    
2 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP15 1:32.50 0.50 0.50
3 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:32.66 0.66 0.16
4 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.70 0.70 0.04
5 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP15 1:32.70 0.70 0.00
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.80 0.80 0.10

Press releases from the teams appear below:

Repsol Honda resume testing in sweltering Italy

Today Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa continued their mid-season testing under incredibly hot conditions at the Misano circuit, Italy.

Both riders spend more time on the current 2015 RC213V Honda, to improve their base setup and also tested the new 2016 prototype machine, reporting positively. Marc completed a total of 86 laps with a best time of 1’32.00. Dani did 71 laps with his best time of 1’32.66.

Tomorrow is the final day of testing and both riders will focus on the 2016 tyre manufacturer.

Marc Marquez
1’32.00 [86 laps]

"I’m happy with these past two days, we have done a great job on the setup and now I feel more comfortable. Especially this morning when the temperature was a little bit lower we were able to find something that has improved my feeling and now we will have to see if this will work also in the coming circuits. I also tried the 2016 prototype finding something good, but we will test it again tomorrow with next year’s tyres to give the HRC engineers more data to work with. In the afternoon the track temperature was really too hot, but I am happy with the pace I was able to keep even in these circumstances. A big thanks to HRC and my team for the great job done! Tomorrow one more tough day and then we will deserve some days off!"

Dani Pedrosa
1’32.66 [71 laps]

"It’s been two hard but productive days of testing. We are happy as we have been able to work a lot on the current bike to find a setup that can be a good base for the coming GPs. It has been a very hard job as the temperature was really hot but I am happy. I also did a couple of exits with the prototype of the 2016 bike. It was important to give to the engineers some feedback about the direction we are heading. Tomorrow we will test it again with 2016 tyres as this bike will have to work on them!"

Ducati Team conclude two days of testing at Misano

Two days of private testing organized by the Ducati Team at the Misano World Circuit concluded today. In truly sweltering conditions (track 61°C/air 36°C), the two Ducati factory riders were mainly able to devote themselves to a back-to-back comparison of a variety of different set-up solutions.

Dovizioso stayed out on track until the end of the afternoon session, notching up a total of 132 laps in two days, while Iannone’s day was brought to an end at lunchtime due to a flaring up again of the pain in his left shoulder, which he injured during pre-race testing at Mugello.

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro was also present at Misano, and he continued his regular development work, focussing mainly on electronics.

Last Sunday’s race at the Sachsenring and this test conclude the first part of the 2015 season and the Ducati Team will next be back on track from 7 to 9 August at Indianapolis for the second race this year on US soil.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – best time 1’32.5 (total 132 laps)

“These two days of testing at Misano have been really useful, because we were able to do the set-up testing work that we were interested in. During race weekends, we never have the right amount of time to devote ourselves to this. We worked on fine-tuning, both the electronics and the set-up, and our pace is not bad at all: my quickest lap I did this morning with a used tyre, but in the afternoon it was really very hot and we didn’t try to improve our times, and even avoided using the soft tyres.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – best time 1’32.7 (total 101 laps)

“In one and a half days of testing, we only used a total of three tyres, all hard compound, and even this morning I never used soft tyres. Despite this we improved our pace over yesterday by more than half a second. This is important for us and I am pleased with how we went. I’m just disappointed I had to finish the test early, but unfortunately from this morning onwards my shoulder was hurting really bad and I was unable to lap quickly or push hard. Today however I had some good sensations on the bike, we did a good job and picked up a lot of important information for the future.”


Team Suzuki Press Office – July 16.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has completed two days of intense testing at Misano in Italy today with positive results and crucial data aquired in the intense heat that reached 56°C on track.

Aleix Espargarò and Maverick Viñales continued the development of their Suzuki GSX-RRs and their engineers had the chance to verify all the information collected to date, and along with the progress made so far, it is going in the right direction, they believe.

At the same time both Spaniards tried new settngs and set-ups that will be put into action at future races this season; in particular Misano in September. The chassis set-up and electronics are the two main areas on which the team focused; trying several variations aimed at providing better traction and a better power delivery.

The other important job done by Espargarò and Viñales was to prepare for the race here in Misano later this year: The circuit has been laid with a new surface in recent months and the grip-level is notably increased; therefore it was important to take new points of reference for future base set-ups of their GSX-RRs.

Satoru Terada – Project Leader:

“This test has been very important to us, it allowed us to try all the things that we usually cannot try in the race weekend and it gave us some very important information. We focused mainly on finding a better way of approaching the chassis set-up, to find better traction. Both the riders improved their feelings with the bike and this is positive. To have more information is crucial for us and we also managed to finalise more options that we can exploit to find the base set-up in every race from here on. We also tried some improvements in electronics to improve the feeling with the power delivery and it gave positive results. We now have clearer ideas on where our main potential is and which are the areas that we can exploit most. We will try to take benefit from this for the second half of the season.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“One of the positives of this test is that both riders can now go on vacation with a positive mood and feeling: They both worked very hard in this heat and they both found a new feeling with their machines. It was important for us to take a break and analyse exactly where we are at the half-way point in the season, since we lacked some data that we needed time to dedicate away from a racing weekend to better understand where we are and where we can go. To have further options for the overall set-up and electronics is crucial for the development and on this matter we made a huge step forward.”

Maverick Viñales:
Day 1 – Laps; 82; best: 1'33.2
Day 2 – Laps; 84; best: 1'32.7

“I have the feeling that this test has been very useful for us, we understand better where we can improve and we have worked to prepare for the forthcoming races. I did many laps in a sort of race configuration with a full tank and dedicated set-up, and I felt better –and-better on every run. At the beginning I had a bad feeling with traction on the exit but also had trouble with being fast on the entrance into slow corners. We applied many improvements to the chassis and they gave positive results. Now we have many options that we already know can be useful or be adapted to every single circuit. For the feeling that I have now I wish Indy was next week, because with these improvements I feel very comfortable on my machine, but we also need some time to take a rest and – most importantly – to review all the data and consolidate our information."

Aleix Espargarò:
Day 1 – Laps; 69; best: 1'33.2
Day 2 – Laps; 52; best: 1'32.8

“The extremely hot weather conditions made this testing very hard, but I'm very happy for what we achieved. After Sachsenring it was important to get back some feeling with the front, especially in slow corners, and we could finally test several set-up configurations that at the end gave me very positive feelings. We have also improved with the electronics and worked in race configuration, verifying the consistency of performance with hard tyres, even though we didn't make any long runs or race simulations. The machine is reacting very well, the feeling I have is positive and the most important thing is that we could find different ways to approach the future races and set-up situations. This is important for a new team as we are. Now we switch off the mind for a while and enjoy a little break, but to be honest I'm looking forward to starting racing again because I feel the need to recover from the bad performance in Sachsenring.”

Forward Racing Boss Cuzari Arrested On Corruption And Fraud Charges - Team Faces Uncertain Future

The Forward Racing team faces an uncertain future. On his return from the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring, Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari was arrested by the Swiss authorities on charges of suspected corruption of a public official, and money laundering through sponsorship activities. Cuzari remains under arrest, and is expected to face a hearing on Friday or Saturday. That hearing will determine whether Cuzari will be released, or will have to remain under arrest while the investigation continues.

At the heart of the case are allegations that the head of the Ticino tax inspectorate, Libero Galli, accepted bribes in return for special treatment by the Swiss tax authorities. Libero is charged with abuse of authority, passive corruption and improper application of fiscal regulations. Galli is alleged to have received payments from Giovanni Cuzari in return for special treatment of sponsorship income of Media Action, the company owned and operated by Cuzari which manages the sponsorship money of Forward Racing. Both men have been arrested, and assets and bank accounts have been frozen, as the investigation continues.

Cuzari denies the charges, though he does not deny contact with Galli. According to the local paper Il Corriere Del Ticino, Cuzari claims only to have paid for a couple of lunches with Galli, a dinner at an event, and having invited Galli to a Grand Prix. The regional police in charge of tax fraud have frozen a range of assets to allow them to investigate this thoroughly, and are searching for cash or other asset flows which indicate collusion between the two. To that end, large amounts of documentation have been removed from the offices of both Media Action, Cuzari's company, and the home of Galli.

Cuzari remains in detention, and will appear before magistrates either on Friday or Saturday, to determine whether he will remain in preventitive detention or be released while the investigation continues. Even if Cuzari is released, that could cause problems for Forward, as the funds of the team have also been seized, and Cuzari is the only person authorized to dispense them. Without access to funds, the team will not be able to fly to Indianapolis and compete. The news that Cuzari has been arrested has also caused a number of the team's sponsors to reconsider their association with the team, putting further pressure on budgets. According to Speedweek, the German language website run by the manager of Forward Racing's MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl, neither riders, engineers, nor mechanics know yet if they will be heading to Indy in early August.

The news that Cuzari has been arrested does not come as a complete surprise within the paddock. Cuzari is no stranger to financial conflict, having been embroiled with chassis builder FTR early last year. Cuzari denied having failed to pay FTR at the time, though he switched to using independent chassis designer Mark Taylor later that year. Riders, too, have complained of not being paid by the Forward Racing boss. One rider would only comment off the record, saying that they were certain of being paid, but had taken recourse to legal action to ensure it. Aleix Espargaro had also not received full payment for his year at Forward until a week before Mugello this year, Espargaro's manager Albert Valera confirming to that Cuzari had only paid the salary owed at the end of May. A verbal agreement to pay Espargaro a bonus had not been honored, Valera added, though Cuzari was entitled not to pay it according to the letter of the contract between Espargaro and Forward Racing. One of the conditions that Yamaha had set out for supplying Forward Racing with bikes for the Open class was that they would be paid in full in advance for the equipment.

Misano Test Day 1 - Honda, Suzuki And Ducati Praise New Surface

While Yamaha and Aprilia's factory riders have already departed for a much needed vacation, the factory Honda, Suzuki and Ducati teams began three days of testing at Misano on Wednesday. Each of the three factories has their own area to work on ahead of the summer break, in preparation for the second half of the season, which resumes three weeks from now in Indianapolis.

Honda have a new motorcycle to try, though neither Marc Marquez nor Dani Pedrosa tried the 2016 version of the RC213V on Wednesday. That will have to wait until tomorrow, when both riders will get their first taste of next year's bike. The 2016 bike did hit the track today, in the hands of HRC test Hiroshi Aoyama. Calling it the 2016 bike is perhaps a misnomer. According to HRC team principal Livio Suppo, the bike consists of a new chassis, housing the 2015 engine. Changing one variable at a time was part of the strategy, Suppo told's Matteo Aglio. Using just the chassis and the 2015 engine meant they could make sure the chassis is a step in the right direction, before using the 2016 engine to make sure.

Testing the 2016 engine is a difficult proposition anyway. With the software for the current year frozen, work has only just begun on the 2016 spec software, which is expected to be a major step forward from the software currently being used by the Open teams in MotoGP. With software having such a massive effect on bike behavior and dynamics, using Honda's own software on the 2016 engine makes little sense.

While the 2016 bike awaits, Marquez and Pedrosa were focused on the rest of the season. For Pedrosa, the main objective was to make up for the time he lost during his absence after surgery. The team have been working on a base set up for Pedrosa to use for the remainder of the season. Primary focus was on the balance of the bike, and improving both corner exit and corner entry.

For Marquez, the main aim was to continue the improvements they made at Barcelona, Assen and Sachsenring. Misano is a good track to test the area the current version of the RC213V is struggling with most, hard braking and entry into corners where approach speed is high. They made a small step on Wednesday, and a direction they hope to pursue tomorrow. Part of that came from modiflying Marquez' riding position slightly, and in some changes to bike geometry. Both Marquez and Pedrosa were fast, and under the existing lap record: Honda reported Marquez as having posted a best lap of 1'32.31, Pedrosa as posting a 1'32.76. The existing pole record is 1'32.915, held by Marc Marquez.

At Suzuki, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales can still only dream of more horsepower and a seamless gearbox, their two biggest problems. At Misano, they were left to work on bike set up, mainly. Aleix Espargaro and his crew found improvements in front end feeling, a major issue at the Sachsenring. After the race in Germany, Espargaro had also named improving turning performance in the tighter corners, of which Misano also has its fair share.

Maverick Viñales, who has made an exceptionally impressive debut in MotoGP aboard the Suzuki, was concentrating on the other end of the GSX-RR. He and his team worked on improving the rear of the bike, which had been chattering badly in recent races. To that end, Viñales spent a good deal of time on a full fuel tank, which can exacerbate the problems at the start of a race. The two Suzuki men were credited with very similar lap times, Espargaro lapping in 1'33.2, Viñales in 1'33.17.

Set up was absolutely the main focus at Ducati. The GP15 first hit the track in February of this year, a completely new bike built from the ground up, and so both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone have been lacking a base set up. The two Italians were working on exactly this on Wednesday, running through a major program of set up changes in pursuit of data. The work they were doing was 'fundamental', Dovizioso told, aimed at understanding and analyzing the effect of set up changes on the bike and using that to find the direction they need to work in.

The work for Andrea Iannone was much the same. They had not tested any of the minor upgrades on Wednesday which Ducati had brought to the track. Instead, they had worked on set up, collecting data on various chassis changes in pursuit of future improvement. Neither Andrea was particularly satisfied with the time they posted, though they both emphasized that they were not chasing lap times, but doing longer runs of five or six laps with a specific set up. Dovizioso was reported as having clocked a 1'32.8, Iannone a 1'33.4. Also present was Danilo Petrucci, trying the GP14.2 of his teammate Yonny Hernandez. It was less difficult to ride fast, Petrucci said, the Italian setting a time of 1'33.4.

All of the riders were impressed by the newly resurfaced Misano, carried out by Studio Dromo, the company led by Jarno Zafelli, the man behind the layout of the Argentinian circuit at Termas de Rio Hondo. "The new asphalt is spectacular," Aleix Espargaro said. Marc Marquez concurred, describing the new surface as "excellent," and lapping very fast despite track temperatures of around 56°C. The new surface was so good that it actually made comparisons with data from last year very difficult. 

Below is the press release issued by the Repsol Honda team after testing on Wednesday:

Marquez and Pedrosa commence testing schedule in Italy

Fresh from their 1-2 finish in Germany last Sunday, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were back on track today in Misano, Italy to begin their 3-day test.

This first day was spent reacquainting themselves with the circuit and its new tarmac, and adapting their setups to suit this track. Both reported positively and that the track is faster than it was previously.

Tomorrow Marc and Dani will test the new 2016 prototype before spending Friday testing with the new 2016 tyre supplier.

Marc Marquez

1’32’.31 [84 laps]

"Today was a positive day. We have been working to adapt the setting to the new tarmac, that is very good by the way, and also on checking some different things for the riding position on the bike. In the afternoon we focused more on the setup of the bike as this is a good circuit to work on the issue we have of sliding with the rear entering some corner. We found something good but tomorrow we have to continue working on this area as I’m still not 100% happy. We will also test the 2016 prototype HRC have brought here."

Dani Pedrosa

1’32.76 [63 laps]

"The new surface is very good and much fewer bumps than before and I am happy with it - they have done a good job. It is very positive to have few days testing in this part of the season, trying to find a ‘base setup’ that can work everywhere as due to my injury that forced me to stop for 3 GPs, we still have some work to do comparing with a normal season. When we are here for the race the temperature won’t be so high and for sure the lap times will be better. I’m happy with the work done today and looking forward to check the new prototype tomorrow!"

Scott Jones In Saxony: Practice At The Sachsenring

He chased hard, but he didn't get there


Ready to win

Bradley Smith went from a nightmare in 2014 to a successful 2014 in Germany

Hail to the Kent

The devil is in the details. Always

They call it the Waterfall. They should really call it the rollercoaster

Not always a threat, when he decides he doesn't like the tires

Michael Laverty was a vast improvement on Marco Melandri at Aprilia

Ducati are standing still at the moment. That's what happens when you get off to a flying start

Short, tight track? Made for Suzuki, surely? Turns out not to be the case after all

Make Racing, Not War

Hiroshi Aoyama, HRC's universal replacement

It is fair to say that the Sachsenring is a popular round

When things go wrong...

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.

Race Direction Get Tough On Towing: Grid Penalties, Points, Loss Of Warm Up Handed Out To 17 Riders, New Moto3 Grid Made

Race Direction has come down hard on riders dawdlilng on the racing line looking for a tow. Punishments have been handed out to a grand total of 17 riders in all three classes.

Punishment is particularly harsh in Moto3. The 11 riders who were caught waiting on the racing line were all given a penalty of 3 grid positions, basically all moving them back one row on the grid. Among the offenders are some high-profile names, including Enea Bastianini, currently second in the Moto3 title chase and who originally qualified 2nd on the grid. Bastianini has been moved back to 5th, Andrea Locatelli is bumped back to 9th, Jorge Navarro starts in 11th, Niklas Ajo in 13th, Jakub Kornfeil in 21st, John McPhee in 23rd, Hiroki Ono in 26th, Ana Carrasco in 27th, Maria Herrera in 31st, and Andrea Migno in 35th and dead last. The new Moto3 grid is shown below.

The loss of grid position is not the only punishment they face. All 11 Moto3 riders will also be forced to sit out the first 10 minutes of warm up on Sunday morning, losing them valuable set up and practice time. The goal of such a drastic measure is to try to drive home a lesson that even a stiff talking to at Assen had not helped make clear. Race Direction is being particularly heavy handed to send out a message which the riders will immediately feel.

The punishments in Moto2 and MotoGP are less severe. Simone Corsi, Sandro Cortese, Thomas Luthi and Xavier Simeon were all handed a single penalty point in Moto2, while Mike Di Meglio also received a penalty point in MotoGP. As a repeat offender, Hector Barbera was given 2 penalty points, as the price of having a reputation for looking for a tow.

Whether harsher penalties will improve behavior remains to be seen. We will have to wait until Indianapolis to see what effect they have.

The new Moto3 grid is now as follows:

  No. Rider Bike Time
1 52 Danny Kent Honda 1'26.420
2 98 Karel Hanika KTM 1'26.941
3 20 Fabio Quartararo Honda 1'26.968
4 7 Efren Vazquez Honda 1'27.005
5 33 Enea Bastianini Honda 1'26.939
6 88 Jorge Martin Mahindra 1'27.160
7 23 Niccolò Antonelli Honda 1'27.313
8 41 Brad Binder KTM 1'27.355
9 55 Andrea Locatelli Honda 1'27.130
10 10 Alexis Masbou Honda 1'27.356
11 9 Jorge Navarro Honda 1'27.253
12 5 Romano Fenati KTM 1'27.378
13 31 Niklas Ajo KTM 1'27.334
14 11 Livio Loi Honda 1'27.536
15 65 Philipp Oettl KTM 1'27.567
16 63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM 1'27.653
17 32 Isaac Viñales Husqvarna 1'27.496
18 40 Darryn Binder Mahindra 1'27.828
19 95 Jules Danilo Honda 1'27.863
20 21 Francesco Bagnaia Mahindra 1'27.887
21 84 Jakub Kornfeil KTM 1'27.714
22 19 Alessandro Tonucci Mahindra 1'28.074
23 17 John Mcphee Honda 1'27.857
24 58 Juanfran Guevara Mahindra 1'28.103
25 2 Remy Gardner Mahindra 1'28.160
26 76 Hiroki Ono Honda 1'27.921
27 22 Ana Carrasco KTM 1'28.031
28 29 Stefano Manzi Mahindra 1'28.171
29 24 Tatsuki Suzuki Mahindra 1'28.211
30 12 Matteo Ferrari Mahindra 1'28.227
31 6 Maria Herrera Husqvarna 1'28.162
32 91 Gabriel Rodrigo KTM 1'28.535
33 97 Maximilian Kappler FTR Honda 1'29.750
34 45 Jonas Geitner KTM 1'30.011
35 16 Andrea Migno KTM 1'28.232

Decision of Race Direction, Sachsenring, (GER)

Riders: (All in Moto3 Class)

#6 Herrera, #9 Navarro, #16 Migno, #17 McPhee, #22 Carrasco, #31 Ajo, #32 Viñales, #33 Bastianini, #55 Locatelli, #76 Ono, #84 Kornfeil


On 11 July 2015 during final minutes of the Moto3 Qualifying session of the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, these riders were riding slowly close to the racing line, thereby disturbing other riders. This directly contravenes the instructions given at the riders briefing on March 26, the reminder notice to riders issued on April 30, and specifically contravenes the instructions given at the Moto3 rider’s briefing on 24 June at Assen.

It is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors and is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.


All riders were requested to attend a hearing with the Race Direction. They attended the hearing with team representatives and acknowledged the facts presented.


For the above motive, Race Direction has decided to impose on each of the above named riders a grid penalty of 3 places and further to impose a suspension from the first 10 minutes of the Warm Up session for the 2015 GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, according to Article 3.2.1. of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.

No appeals were presented, the decision of Race Direction is final.

Decision of Race Direction, Sachsenring, (GER)

Moto2 Category

Riders: #3 Corsi, #11 Cortese, #12 Luthi, #19 Simeon

On 11 July 2015 at 15.49 in Turn 1 (Corsi) and the Turn 13 braking area (Cortese, Luthi, Simeon) during the Moto2 Qualifying session of the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, the above riders were riding slowly close to the racing line, thereby disturbing other riders. This directly contravenes the instructions given at the Riders Briefing on March 26, and the reminder notice to riders issued on April 30.

It is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors and is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

The decision of Race Direction is to impose the addition of 1 Penalty Point to the record of riders #3 Corsi, #11 Cortese, #12 Luthi, #19 Simeon, according to Article 3.2.1. of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.

No appeal has been presented, the decision of Race Direction is final.

MotoGP category

Riders: #8 Barbera, #63 Di Meglio

On 11 July 2015 in the Turn 13 braking area during the MotoGP FP3 session of the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, the above riders were observed riding slowly close to the racing line, thereby disturbing other riders. This directly contravenes the instructions given at the Riders Briefing on March 26, and the reminder notice to riders issued on April 30.

It is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors and is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

The decision of Race Direction is to impose the addition of 1 Penalty Point to the record of rider #63 Di Meglio, and 2 Penalty Points to the record of rider #8 Barbera (due to the number of times he committed the offence), according to Article 3.2.1. of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.

No appeal has been presented, the decision of Race Direction is final.

Scott Jones In Saxony: Friday From The Sachsenring

Sachsenring: Dani's track

Over the hill? Nobody thinks so any more

Old school style on the newest bike on the grid

Has Scott Redding finally cracked it? He had on Friday

Trees and hills, that's what Saxony is all about

Eugene Laverty is one of two sets of brothers on the MotoGP grid, now that Michael has gone to Aprilia


Livio Suppo, the power behind the throne at HRC

Right now, Britain's best racer, Bradley Smith

Fabio Quartararo hoists a mono

Ana Carrasco - one of two women on the grid now, and finding it tough to match Maria Herrera

CWM passes BMW

So that's where he has been keeping his mojo. At the bottom of the Waterfall

The devil is in the details, says Dovizioso

Welcome to Saxony


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.

Free At Last: Melandri Released By Aprilia

Marco Melandri has had his last race for Aprilia in MotoGP. The two parties have at last reached agreement to go their separate ways. Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty will replace Melandri for the rest of the 2015 season.

Melandri had always been a reluctant participant in Aprilia's MotoGP project at best. The Italian was halfway through a lucrative two-year deal with Aprilia in World Superbikes in 2014, when Aprilia announced the switch to MotoGP for the 2015 season. Melandri's priority was always to remain in World Superbikes and fight for the championship, and it was clear that Aprilia's first season in MotoGP – a year earlier than anticipated – was going to be a transitional one. At the time, Aprilia's plan was to leave World Superbikes, only later lining up the Red Devils Roma team to run their factory operation. By then, it was too late for Melandri to make the change.

From the very first test, Melandri had no feeling with either the Aprilia RS-GP – an uprated version of the ART which had debuted in 2012 – or with the Bridgestone tires. He complained of a total lack of confidence in the front end, and never looked comfortable or confident on the bike. Melandri was consistently the slowest rider on track, between three and five seconds off the pace, and two seconds or more slower than his teammate, Alvaro Bautista. Melandri never showed any improvement, and any changes Aprilia made did not help improve his confidence.

It was clear that the two parties were heading for a divorce, the only issue being the matter of money. Melandri was rumored to be receiving a seven-figure salary from Aprilia, and was not keen to leave without being paid in full. For their part, Aprilia were unwilling to pay Melandri off in full for what they viewed as an unsatisfactory performance. Negotiations over a departure had been ongoing since Jerez, but it has taken the best part of two months to reach a final accommodation. What that agreement is, is as yet unknown.

Taking Melandri's place in the Gresini Aprilia squad is Michael Laverty. Laverty has been working as a test rider for Aprilia since last year, and has been closely involved in the development of the RS-GP up until now.

Melandri will likely be forced to sit out the rest of the season, but the Italian has been repeatedly linked to a ride with the Yamaha World Superbike team in 2016. That operation is being set up by Andrea Dosoli, who previously ran Yamaha's WSBK team. However, it is yet to be decided which team will run Yamaha's WSBK effort, with both a top BSB team and an existing WSBK team linked to the job. If the BSB team gets the ride, then it seems unlikely they will accept Melandri as a rider.

The official press release from Aprilia appears below:


Noale (Italy), 8 July 2015 - Aprilia Racing and Marco Melandri have reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate the contractual obligations between Marco Melandri and Aprilia Racing.

Consequently, Marco Melandri will no longer be lined up on the grid with Aprilia Racing starting from the German Grand Prix on 12 July.

Aprilia Racing wishes Marco Melandri all the best in his future endeavors.