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Gresini Officially Confirm Switch To Ducati For 2022, Bastianini And Di Giannantonio As Riders

Today, the Gresini Racing Team announced that their immediate future lies with Ducati. The Italian team, now run by Nadia Padovani, the widow of team's founder Fausto Gresini, will lease Ducati Desmosedici machines from the Bologna factory for the 2022 and 2023 MotoGP seasons.

The link with Ducati had been widely trailed, the Gresini team wavering between remaining with Aprilia as a satellite squad or switch to Ducati. The projected rider pairing may have had an influence on that decision: that Fabio Di Giannantonio would be moving up to MotoGP with Gresini for 2022 was a given, part of his deal for Moto2. But Enea Bastianini's switch from the Esponsorama squad, set to leave MotoGP at the end of 2021, to Gresini was not a foregone conclusion. Bastianini's ties to Ducati may well have weighed in the balance.

While Di Giannantonio already has a contract with Gresini, and is racing for the team in Moto2, it is something of a return for Enea Bastianini, and a reunion for the two riders. Bastianini started his Moto3 career with Gresini, first on a KTM, then later on a Honda, winning two races and scoring another 7 podiums for the Italian team. He was joined by Di Giannantonio in the Gresini Moto3 squad for the 2016 season, before leaving for the Estrella Galicia team.

Although no details of what level of machinery Ducati will be supplying were announced, it is widely expected that the team will have one-year-old bikes, meaning that Di Giannantonio and Bastianini will start the 2022 season with Ducati Desmosedici GP21s. That this is no bad thing is plain from the current MotoGP championship standings, where GP21s occupy positions two, three, and four. The fourth GP21, in the hands of Jorge Martin, has also had a pole and a podium.

Gresini's choice to sign with Ducati means there will be 8 Ducati Desmodedicis on the grid in 2022. The VR46 team, who will take over both slots from Esponsorama next year, are also expected to announce a deal with Ducati soon, with Luca Marini on one machine, and an open seat for the other. However, as the VR46 team is set up to provide bikes for members of the VR46 Riders Academy, the most logical choice would be for current Sky VR46 Moto2 rider Marco Bezzecchi to make the step up alongside Marini. Paddock reports suggest that Marini will get a GP22, while the second rider will be offered a GP21.

The separation of Gresini from Aprilia is part of the new team and factory contract period with Dorna for the coming five seasons. When Aprilia entered MotoGP, there were no spare grid slots, and so Aprilia were only able to enter in partnership with the Gresini squad. This led to the awkward situation of a full-factory effort being present in Parc Ferme as the first independent team rider, and the team taking part in the Independent Team Championship.

Dorna and Aprilia agreed to grant Aprilia their own grid slots for the coming contract period, from 2022 through 2026. Aprilia will now compete as a separate, full factory team, while Gresini become fully independent once again. That independence gave them the freedom to choose who to lease MotoGP machines from, which in turn led to their decision to switch to Ducati.

The press release from Gresini appears below:


The future of Gresini Racing is ‘red’

Starting from next year, Gresini Racing will be back as an Independent MotoGP Team, with Ducati as the manufacturer of choice. This decision has been strongly supported by Fausto’s family, and it leads to a whole new project tied with the Borgo Panigale brand for the next two seasons.

Team Gresini will be back in full control of their Premier Class effort and will do so with the all-Italian line-up of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini, two talented young riders who are no strangers to Fausto and Gresini Racing.

A big thank you goes to Aprilia Racing for the seven years spent together, which made for an especially important chapter in the history of Gresini Racing.


“It’s a very emotional moment for each of us. In previous months, our efforts merged with a strong emotional push to shape the future of Gresini Racing, and now are immensely proud and happy to make the official announcement. It is a project born out of continuity and based on values upon which Fausto built this amazing institution. My thank you goes first and foremost to Carmelo Ezpeleta for making sure we never felt alone during these months, to Ducati for trusting our projects, to Flex-Box who joined us in this new challenge as title sponsor and obviously to Fabio and Enea: I’m sure they will give their best to wave the Gresini Racing banner high.”


“We’re incredibly happy to have reached this agreement with Gresini Racing for the next two MotoGP seasons. We had laid down the foundations of a possible agreement with Fausto already at the end of last year and we would like to thank - from the bottom of our hearts - his family for carrying this project forward with us. Gresini Racing has been an especially important institution in MotoGP for many years and we are confident this partnership, which can count on two very talented riders such as Enea and Fabio, will be of great satisfaction for all parties involved."


“First of all, it is a pleasure to continue working with Gresini Racing as an Independent Team. I know how much Fausto cared about this project and I'm sure he would be very proud of it now. I had the opportunity to speak with Nadia in recent weeks and I see in her, in her sons and the whole team the determination and the great passion for this sport that characterized him so much. We’re thrilled that Gresini Racing will continue, at least, 5 more years in the Premier Class”.


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Fabio Quartararo Handed 3-Second Penalty For Finishing Barcelona MotoGP Race With Unzipped Leathers

Fabio Quartararo has been hand a 3-second penalty after the conclusion of the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona, for riding with his leathers open. The Frenchman's leathers came open in the first half of lap 21, after which he discarded his chest protector, and he went on to finish the remaining laps with the leathers completely open, the wind having forced the zip open completely.

At the time, Quartararo was allowed to continue the race, crossing the line in third position, though he was later demoted to fourth for exceeding track limits at Turn 1. Five hours after the race, the Frenchman was handed a second penalty, for riding with his leathers open. That 3 second penalty put him behind Joan Mir and Maverick Viñales, dropping him to sixth on the race results.

The penalty was issued for contravening section - Rider’s Safety Equipment - of the FIM MotoGP regulations. That section states:

The equipment must be worn, correctly fastened, at all times during on-track activity.

Quartararo had attempted to close his leathers again, but once the zip is completely open, it is very difficult to close while wearing gloves. The zip had opened all the way to below the waist, and zipping it back up again would have required two hands to do properly.

The race results and championship standings posted earlier have already been amended to include the penalty issued to Quartararo.


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Maverick Viñales Changes Crew Chiefs, Again - Esteban Garcia Out, Silvano Galbusera In

Maverick Viñales' lackluster 2021 season has caused another casualty. Today, Yamaha announced that his crew chief Esteban Garcia would be leaving his role with immediate effect, to be replaced by Silvano Galbusera. Galbusera was the easy choice, as the Italian veteran is already involved with Yamaha as the crew chief working in the test team, working with Cal Crutchlow to help develop the YZR-M1.

The change has perhaps been predictable. Viñales has been making veiled comments about his team making the wrong decisions during the weekend. After last Sunday's race at Mugello, Viñales criticized the decision to stick with the medium front tire instead of switching to the soft, with which the Spaniard had had a much better feeling on Friday.

"I just went to the medium [front], and then the problems started," Viñales had said on Sunday afternoon. "So I don't know why we didn't try the soft front. So I think we didn't pay enough attention to that, because then in FP1, the first laps, I felt fantastic."

Dropping Esteban Garcia is a remarkable move by Maverick Viñales. Garcia was the crew chief with whom Viñales won his Moto3 title in 2013, and had come to MotoGP at the request of Viñales to replace the experienced veteran Ramon Forcada for the start of the 2019 season.

Forcada switched to the Petronas Yamaha SRT team where he is crew chief for Franco Morbidelli, and he helped Morbidelli to a second place in the Covid-19-stricken 2020 MotoGP championship.

Garcia's replacement, Silvano Galbusera, is no stranger to the factory Yamaha team. Galbusera was crew chief to Valentino Rossi for five years, coming in to replace Jeremy Burgess after Rossi sacked Burgess at the end of the 2013 season, then making way for Rossi's current crew chief, David Muñoz, at the start of 2019.

Viñales gets another chance to make progress at Barcelona, one of his favorite tracks, and a circuit where he has been fast in the past. The Spaniard will be working with Galbusera at Barcelona from the start of FP1 on Friday.

The press release from Yamaha appears below:


Montmeló (Spain), 3rd June 2021

Yamaha Motor Racing Srl confirm that at the end of the Italian GP Esteban García Amoedo and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team have mutually agreed to terminate their working relationship with immediate effect.

Following the Italian GP, Esteban García Amoedo and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team have mutually agreed to end their working relationship with immediate effect. Silvano Galbusera will take over the role of Crew Chief for Maverick Viñales for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team members take this opportunity to thank Garcia for the time they spent working together and wish him all the best for the future.


Esteban joined our team in 2019. He and Maverick had already worked together before in 2013 and won the Moto3 World Championship that year. We are very grateful to Esteban for his dedication and passion during our time spent together, which led to eleven podiums for Maverick, including four wins, three second places, and four third places. Saying ’Goodbye‘ to one of our crew members is always a sad occasion, but it was a mutual decision based on what‘s best for both parties. We wish Esteban all the best for the future.



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Pramac Ducati Line Up To Remain Unchanged For 2022

Another day, another contract announcement. This time it is Ducati exercising its option on the two riders in the Pramac Ducati team. Entirely as expected, Pramac Ducati will get to keep Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin for the 2022 season, where both riders will race factory-spec Ducati Desmosedici GP22s.

Neither signing comes as a surprise. Like KTM, Ducati currently has an embarrassment of riches, with Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia in the factory team, Zarco currently second in the championship, and Martin having grabbed a pole and a podium in just his second MotoGP race in Qatar. With a competitive bike and four strong riders, Ducati can be optimistic of challenging for the title for the foreseeable future.

The next question to be answered by Ducati is which other teams they will be taking under their wing. At the current point in time, it looks like the VR46 squad, due to take over both Esponsorama slots from 2022 onwards, will be racing Ducatis next year. Gresini also appears to be edging closer to a deal with Ducati, rather than sticking with Aprilia, now that Aprilia will be a separate factory entry. News on this is expected very soon.

The press release from Pramac appears below:

Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin will remain as the riders for the Pramac Racing Team for the 2022 season.

Pramac Racing is glad to announce that the formation of the team will remain unchanged for the next MotoGP season. Johann Zarco, the 30-year-old from France, and Jorge Martín, 23 years old from Spain, will defend the team colors once more for the next MotoGP season. After the first six Grand Prix with three podiums, Zarco is second in the world standings. Martín mean whilst, a rookie in the highest tier, obtained a splendid third place at the second race in Qatar. He then fell victim to a bad crash at Portimao which has kept him out of all the Grand Prix up to this weekend. Both riders, who are directly under a contract with Ducati, will be able to use the Desmosedici GP 2022 next year.

Paolo Campinoti We are very satisfied to be able to continue on this “project” with Johann and Jorge, two boys with whom we get along very well and with whom we are reaching excellent results. Both Ducati and ourselves firmly believe in their abilities; we couldn’t be happier.

Paolo Ciabatti Johann and Jorge this year have inserted themselves very well in the Pramac Racing team. For this reason, together with Paolo Campinoti and Francesco Guidotti, we have decided to proceed with them into 2022. We will put at the disposition of both, the official bikes for next season as well. We are certain that they will provide us with many satisfactions.


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Remy Gardner To Move To MotoGP For 2022 With Tech3

Another day, another piece of the 2022 MotoGP rider puzzle falls into place. As had been widely trailed, Remy Gardner will be moving up to the MotoGP class in 2022, taking one of the two seats in the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team.

The deal had been sealed before Le Mans, after Gardner made such a strong start to the 2021 season. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has been fiercely consistent so far this year: his worst finish was a fourth place at Jerez, and his ability to consistently score podiums has seen him lead the Moto2 championship since Portimão. Gardner consolidated his championship lead with a hard-fought but convincing win in the Moto2 race last Sunday at Mugello.

With Gardner confirmed at Tech3, all eyes are now on his rookie teammate Raul Fernandez. The Spaniard has made a sensational start to his Moto2 career, winning only his third ever Moto2 race at Portimao, and following it up with a second victory at Le Mans. There is much talk of Fernandez joining Gardner at Tech3, though at the moment, KTM and Tech3 intend to give the seat to the best of their two current riders, leaving Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona to fight it out.

There is no doubt that Fernandez will be in MotoGP soon enough, however. KTM pride theirselves on the talent pipeline, starting in the FIM CEV and leading through the Red Bull Rookies in the Moto3 and Moto2, and Fernandez is a shining example of the success of that program.

With the KTM seats wrapped up, barring a decision over the second Tech3 seat, the next question is what bikes Gresini and the VR46 team will be using in 2022. It looks increasingly likely that Ducati will be supplying the two satellite teams, giving them 8 bikes on the 2022 grid. Decisions and announcements on that should come soon, either at Barcelona or shortly afterward.

The press release from KTM appears below:

Gardner confirmed for 2022 Tech3 KTM Factory Racing MotoGP™ saddle

2021 MotoGP news

Grand Prix winning Moto2™ star Remy Gardner will move into the MotoGP class next season and steer one of the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing RC16s as he continues his upward trajectory at world championship level.

Gardner, the current Moto2 championship leader, Italian Grand Prix victor and owner of five podiums from six events this season as part of Aki Ajo’s Red Bull KTM Ajo squad, has signed a contract to make his MotoGP debut next year and completes the final step on the KTM GP Academy career ‘ladder’ by joining his former team.

The 23-year-old’s potential has been evident through an education that involved one term in Moto3 and five in Moto2. He was finally snared by KTM to round-off advanced phases of his development under Ajo’s watchful eye and in the crew that has pushed both the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing athletes – Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira – to triumph in MotoGP.

Remy made his GP debut in San Marino in 2014. He first stood on the Moto2 podium in 2019 at the Grand Prix of Argentina and has progressed to be one of the main protagonists of the division. After his success at Mugello last weekend he now holds two Moto2 winner’s trophies and fronts the standings by six points.

Gardner will fire-up the Tech3 KTM RC16 for the first round of the 2022 season, almost three decades after his father, Wayne, retired from the premier class of Grand Prix racing in 1992.

Remy Gardner: “I’m extremely happy that KTM have given me this opportunity. It’s a dream come true for me and what we have worked for up until this point. It’s an incredible chance for me and I cannot wait to ride the bike. I just want to thank KTM for believing in me. Right now we need to focus on finishing 2021 in a strong way. I want to thank also everyone who has supported me to reach MotoGP. We’re just getting started.”

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “It’s a real pleasure for us to bring Remy to MotoGP next season because we knew about his speed and ability for Moto2 and he has confirmed that potential. We believe there is much more to come from him and it’s important he has this opportunity to keep growing. Remy is a typical racer. He’s super-determined and never gives up. He’s exciting to watch and we’re looking forward to working with him in this next step. Again, we’re also showing that the KTM GP Academy can give the right opportunity for riders that want to go all the way.”

Hervé Poncharal, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Team Principal: “We are very proud, happy and confident to welcome Remy. We believe he will be a strong asset to the KTM MotoGP line up and I think having taken this decision is now going to help Remy to focus 100% on his Moto2 World Championship and will also help us, the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Team to focus on our 2021 season. So, welcome back, Remy, keep on pushing and come to join us for your MotoGP adventure in 2022!”


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Brad Binder To Stay In Factory KTM Team Through 2024

2021 is proving to be a more normal year than last year in many different ways. One of those is the fact that in addition to racing at the more traditional MotoGP tracks, MotoGP's Silly Season is kicking off pretty much on schedule. Mugello is traditionally the point in the season at which teams and factories start to think about next year, and 2021 is no exception.

KTM's decision to exercise the option they have with Brad Binder is part of that trend. But more important was that his contract has been extended not just for next year, but for the next three seasons. The South African will remain a part of the Red Bull Factory Racing KTM team through the end of the 2024 season.

Binder's contract fills in one blank in the 2021 line up. Teammate Miguel Oliveira is expected to follow suit soon, though whether the Portuguese rider will sign on just for 2022 or for longer is as yet unknown. With the announcement of Jack Miller's contract extension with Ducati for next year and Binder at KTM through 2024, that leaves only the second Aprilia seat open as of this moment for 2022.

The press release from KTM appears below:

Binder inks new MotoGP™ deal until 2024 to take KTM alliance up to ten years

KTM’s first ever MotoGP race winner, Brad Binder, will remain part of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for the next three years and will celebrate ten Grand Prix seasons in ‘orange’ by the end of the 2024 MotoGP campaign.

The 25-year-old South African progressed through the KTM GP Academy structure. He competed in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, earned Moto3™ world championship success as well as 15 Grand Prix wins in both the Moto3 and Moto2™ categories with the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad, and then seized the factory’s maiden victory in the premier class during his debut term on the KTM RC16 during 2020, where he also achieved the status of ‘Rookie of the Year’.

Binder posted a new milestone at the Gran Premio D’Italia last weekend by equaling the highest top speed in the history of the sport at 362.4 kmph during FP3 at Mugello.

The new contract brings extra continuity and strength to the KTM MotoGP program, and Binder’s fighting spirit symbolises the way the manufacturer brings themselves to the track ‘Ready to Race’.

Brad Binder: “I’m super, super happy to have signed again for three more seasons with KTM and it will take us up to ten years. It’s incredible to have been with this manufacturer for such a long time now and we’ve always had a good relationship. I’m extremely happy in KTM colors so it’s extra satisfying to have a long contract signed-up. It’s cool to have that belief and support from a company. It’s an honor. From here on we can focus on building ourselves towards the front. We are not terribly far away, and it would be really nice to do something great together. It’s exciting to see what these next years will bring.”

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “This was a very easy contract for us to do because we love Brad as a racer and what he brings to the team, the factory and the MotoGP class. He was also very enthusiastic to make a big commitment to us and that says a lot for our progression and our potential in this championship. Sometimes you find a racer and a mentality that really fits with your own philosophy and the fact that Brad has come all the way to the top with us in a ten year period is a very special story. We’re really proud to continue racing with him and to keep setting new targets together.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “As Team Manager I’m happy that Brad has placed his trust in us for another three years. He’s a very strong rider with a strong crew and a strong factory behind him. We will push together to achieve our mutual dreams and targets. It’s great we have this partnership up to ’24.”


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Jason Dupasquier Dies After Q2 Crash In Mugello

PruestelGP rider Jason Dupasquier has died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during qualifying for the Italian Moto3 Grand Prix on Saturday. The Swiss rider crashed at the end of Q2, and was struck by another rider who was following, and unable to avoid Dupasquier. The Swiss rider was taken to Careggi University Hospital in Florence, where he succumbed to his injuries.

We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends of Jason Dupasquier, and to everyone in the PruestelGP team.

The press release from series organizer Dorna appears below:

Jason Dupasquier passes away

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Following a serious incident in the Moto3™ Qualifying 2 session at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Moto3™ rider Jason Dupasquier.

Dupasquier was involved in a multi-rider incident between Turns 9 and 10, with the session Red Flagged thereafter. FIM Medical Intervention Vehicles arrived at the site immediately and the Swiss rider was attended to on track before being transferred by medical helicopter, in a stable state, to Careggi Hospital in Florence.

Despite the best efforts of circuit medical staff and all those subsequently attending to the Swiss rider, the hospital has announced that Dupasquier has sadly succumbed to his injuries.

Dupasquier had made an impressive start to his second season in the lightweight class of Grand Prix racing, consistently scoring points and within the top ten in the standings.

The FIM, IRTA, MSMA and Dorna Sports pass on our deepest condolences to Dupasquier’s family, friends, team and loved ones.


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News Round Up: Miller Stays With Ducati, Silly Season Update, And Fans Back At Races Again

Five races into the 2021 MotoGP season, and with the Covid-19 pandemic abating in some places while flaring up in others, there are the first signs of movement in motorcycle racing. Teams, factories, and riders are starting to open (and in some cases, complete) negotiations for this year and beyond, and races are slowly starting to open up to fans.

Although for a variety of reasons, the moves have not been covered in separate stories, here is a quick round up of the latest news and speculation from around the paddock.

Jack Miller stays on with Ducati

As with so many other areas of life, the secret to signing MotoGP contracts lies in the timing. As a rider, you want to put pen to paper at the exact point your market value is at its highest. Coming off back-to-back race victories at Jerez and Le Mans, in the dry and in the flag-to-flag French Grand Prix, Jack Miller has timed his contract extension to perfection. Today, Ducati announced they had signed Miller up for the 2022 MotoGP season, to race in the factory Ducati Lenovo Team.

While not quite a foregone conclusion, Miller's renewal did not come as a surprise. Despite a difficult start to 2021, the Australian bounced back to win in Spain and France. Those successes were more in line with expectations coming out of winter testing than the poor results from the two Qatar races, and then the crash in the early part of the Portimão race.

It was also Ducati exercising the option they had to keep Miller for 2022. Though he had only a one-year deal for 2021, the contract came with an option for next year. But the season would have to have gone spectacularly badly for Ducati not to decide to keep the Australian. Miller, for his part, was happy with a one-year deal, feeling it kept him sharp.

Miller will line up alongside Pecco Bagnaia again in 2022, the Italian already having a contract for next season with Ducati. Given that Bagnaia is second in the championship, just a single point behind Fabio Quartararo, and Miller is fourth, Ducati's gamble on swapping out veterans Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci for the much younger Miller and Bagnaia so far looks like being a success.

Silly season shaping up

With Miller locked in to Ducati, that means four factory teams are fully signed up for 2022. Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha all have contracts for next year with their current riders, while Repsol Honda have signed Marc Márquez through 2024. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team have both Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira on options for next year, with both riders expected to continue in the factory squad in 2022.

Honda also have their LCR satellite squad signed up for 2022 as well, with both Alex Márquez and Takaaki Nakagami set to continue next year. Pramac Ducati have Jorge Martin signed for 2022, and an option on Johann Zarco for next season. With Zarco currently third in the championship, and with three podiums to his name, the Frenchman looks set to continue for next year. At Petronas, Franco Morbidelli has been promised factory equipment for 2022, although whether that will be Yamaha or Ducati is still unsettled.

Dovizioso takes another step towards a return

Aprilia have Aleix Espargaro signed for next year in their factory team, with Gresini set to become independent from the 2022 season. It is looking increasingly likely that Andrea Dovizioso will be Espargaro's teammate for next year, with Aprilia and Dovizioso extending their collaboration.

The move was not unexpected. Dovizioso had tested at Jerez, and then scheduled a second test at Mugello, but the two-day test was almost entirely rained off, the Italian getting only limited usable track time on the RS-GP. After the test, Aprilia announced that they had agreed to a deal which will see Dovizioso test for the Noale factory for the remainder of 2021.

The next test for the Italian will come on June 23rd and 24th, Dovizioso taking to the track at Misano with the test team. From there, more tests will be planned for Dovizioso to help with the development of the bike.

Dovizioso has made no secret of his desire to return to MotoGP in 2022. It is hard to see his year of testing on the RS-GP for Aprilia as anything other than a prelude to contract with the Italian factory for next season.

Who gets what?

The next big question to be answered is which teams will be using which bikes. Central to resolving this issue is the VR46 squad, which will take over the two slots held by Esponsorama (from whom they lease Luca Marini's seat for this year) from next year. They have long been on course to continue with Ducati, but revelations over the weekend of Le Mans gave a hint that Yamaha was still an option.

According to Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, Yamaha had offered the VR46 team two factory M1s at roughly half the price Petronas were being offered. That, unsurprisingly, was met with displeasure by Petronas. Since then, however, the VR46 pendulum has swung back to Ducati, with an announcement believed to be imminent, despite the protestations of Ducati team boss Davide Tardozzi.

Retirement or return?

That would leave Petronas with Yamahas, the big question in the Petronas SRT team being whether Valentino Rossi will continue. That will depend on whether Rossi believes he can still be competitive or not, and fight for podiums and victories.

The signs so far have not been good. Rossi's first four races were poor, the nine-time world champion scoring just 4 points in as many races. The Italian made a step forward with the 2021 Yamaha M1 at the Jerez test, and improved his results at Le Mans, finishing eleventh.

Rossi is still hoping that the step made at Jerez will bear more fruit in the coming races, as MotoGP visits three of his favorite tracks – Mugello, Barcelona, and Assen – before the summer break. He has told Indonesian TV that he wants to wait until after the first half of the season before making a decision on continuing, so he can review the first nine races of the year. That would mean an announcement being made at the end of the summer break, possibly at the start of first race in Austria in early August.

Fans are back

The good news for MotoGP fans is that they will soon be allowed back into circuits again. Although Mugello and the Sachsenring are to be held behind closed doors, the races at Barcelona and Assen will see fans in attendance once again, albeit in limited numbers.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will see VIPs and team guests return to the paddock, as well as a number of fans. Ticket holders for the 2020 race will be able to swap their tickets for tickets for the race in 10 days time.

Such ticket swaps will not be possible at Assen. Instead, tickets purchased for the 2020 edition will be rolled over once again until 2022. There will be fans at the 2021 race, but limited to 11,500 Dutch fans, with loyal fans and regular ticket buyers being given early access. Fans will have to have a (free) rapid test to prove they do not have the coronavirus before gaining admission, and fans will only be allowed in designated grandstands, with each grandstand having its own 'bubble', including dedicated parking and access routes.

Bumps on the road

Though the return of fans is a positive sign for the future, there are still obstacles on the path for MotoGP in 2021. With the number of cases of the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19 on the rise in the UK, Germany and Austria are banning travel to their countries from the UK.

That will mean that UK-based staff will not be able to return home after Barcelona if they wish to attend the Sachsenring. That adds another complication for British passport holders, as since Brexit was completed, UK citizens are only allowed to stay in the EU for 90 days in any 180 day period. If they also have to arrive in the EU early to be allowed into Austria for the double header on August 8th and 15th, that will eat into a lot of their allotted time in Europe.

There are still a significant number of Brits in the MotoGP paddock. KTM employs a large number of British mechanics, and others are spread throughout various teams, including Frankie Carchedi, Joan Mir's crew chief. IRTA is a British-based organization comprised largely of British passport holders, and as IRTA are charged with running the paddock and fulfilling a number of vital roles in the running of the races – Technical Director Danny Aldridge is British, for example – this poses a serious problem for MotoGP.

No doubt they will find a workaround. Andorra was used as a base for Japanese staff forced to stay in Europe for the 2020 season, who faced similar restrictions as non-EU citizens. The tiny mountain state is not an EU member nation, despite using the Euro as currency, and having various trade and other agreements with the EU. But getting stamped out of the EU entering Andorra, then stamped out again once they leave could be an option for British passport holders to avoid returning to the UK between races.

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Troy Bayliss Suffers Neck Injury In Bicycle Accident

WorldSBK legend Troy Bayliss has fractured his neck in an accident on a bicycle. The Australian, always a keen cyclist, fractured his C4 vertebra when he crashed into another bicycle while out riding.

In a press release issued by Ducati, with whom Bayliss retains a close relationship, Bayliss announced he had suffered some nerve damage as well as fracturing the bone, that has left him with limited motion. The prognosis for recovery is good, according to Bayliss and his doctors, but that puts him out of action for a long time.

We wish Bayliss a full and speedy recovery.

The Ducati press release appears below:

Troy Bayliss confirms injuries after bicycle crash

Three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss has confirmed that a bicycle crash last Friday, 14th May, has left him with a fractured C4 vertebra and corresponding spinal damage that will see the active 52-year-old Ducati legend on the sidelines for several months.

With Troy having no exact recollection of the incident, it appears that another bicycle was exiting between two parked cars and he has collided head first into it. Most of the impact was transferred through his head to his neck, and he lost consciousness. He was immediately treated and taken to hospital.

While the injuries are serious, Troy's condition is stable. He returned to his Gold Coast home yesterday to begin his recovery.

Troy Bayliss:

"I'm OK and I'm home, but the crash means I won't be riding a motorcycle until I regain full movement in my arms and hands. I really just wanted to let everyone know what's happened, that I'm OK and that I'll be back in leathers as soon as I can. It's been an intense weekend for me and my family, but luckily I'm OK and I will recover. My doctors have been really positive, but there's no firm indication of how long it will be until I can regain enough control to get back on a bike – maybe a few months, maybe longer; it just depends on how the recovery goes once the bones heal up."


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Sunday Warm Up Rescheduled At Le Mans MotoGP Round In Response To Cold Conditions

The cold conditions at Le Mans has forced Dorna to reschedule the morning warm up sessions for all three Grand Prix classes. The warm ups have all been pushed back 40 minutes, so that they start at 9am rather than 8:20am. Moto3 will be at 9am, Moto2 at 9:30am, and MotoGP at 10am.

The rescheduling of warm up has also forced a change to the MotoE race time. Instead of in the morning, the MotoE race will start at 3:30pm in the afternoon, after the MotoGP race has finished.

The new schedule appears below, all times local time (CEST):

09:00-09:20 Moto3™ Warm Up
09:30-09:50 Moto2™ Warm Up
10:00-10:20 MotoGP™ Warm Up
11:00 Moto3™ Race (22 laps)
12:20 Moto2™ Race (25 laps)
14:00 MotoGP™ Race (27 laps)
15:30 FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup Race (8 laps)
16:25 Northern Talent Cup Race 2 (15 laps)

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