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2018 To Be First Season For Compulsory Airbags In MotoGP

The 2018 season sees the start of airbags being made compulsory for all three MotoGP classes. All riders with a permanent entry in MotoGP, Moto2, or Moto3 will have to use an airbag in their leathers from the coming season onwards.

This is part of a long-term push by Dorna, the FIM, and IRTA to improve safety for riders in racing. While the three MotoGP partners continue their work on improving the safety of circuits, the next frontier is improving the protection provided by the gear riders use. Airbags are just one facet of this safety drive: the FIM is becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of rider safety. Their most recent focus has been on improving the safety of helmets, including doing work on so-called oblique impacts, or how helmets absorb impacts when struck at an angle.

Airbags have played an increasing role in racer safety since they were first introduced to racing ten years ago. The original airbags focused mainly on protecting the neck and shoulders, their biggest objective being reducing the severity of the impact on shoulder joints and protecting collarbones, still one of the most common injuries among racers. As time has gone on, that protection has increased, offering protection to the rider's back, chest and ribs as well. 

These advances have mainly come in two areas: increased computing power and a better understanding of airflow. Airbag systems have first to understand whether a rider is actually crashing or not (for example, is the rider just getting a little kick from the rear as the rear tire slides then grips again, or are they being thrown out of the saddle?). Gains here have come through better and cheaper processing power, but also more data analysis. Each airbag is fitted with a data recorder, which logs the data through the accelerometers and gyroscopes it uses to detect crashes. As the airbag makers have more data to analyze, they have been able to refine their algoritms more and more.

The other advance is in the pneumatics of airbags. Compressed air has to pass from the reservoir (in the rider hump) into the airbags around the body to inflate them within a few hundredths of a second. That requires moving a lot of gas in a short period of time, and that has required working out the fastest and most efficient way of distributing it from the air capsules to the airbag. 

The advances have come in part as a result of the arms race between Dainese and Alpinestars, he two Italian racing leathers companies which have pioneered the technology. As each company improved their product - Dainese's D-Air, and Alpinestars' Tech-Air - the other was forced to keep up.

Dorna had wanted to make airbags compulsory earlier, but the complications of technology made that impossible. It would have restricted riders to specific suit makers, cutting down on their ability to find sponsorship. A compromise was found when Alpinestars and Dainese agreed to offer airbags which could be inserted inside the leathers of other protective clothing manufacturers. Alpinestars and Dainese offered the specifications of the airbags, without revealing the underlying technology, allowing other brands to produce suits to accommodate them.

As an example, here is a photo of British Moto3 rider John McPhee taken at Aragon last year. McPhee is wearing a D-Air undervest using an airbag. This fits under the suit from his personal leathers sponsor, Macna.

John McPhee, wearing a Dainese D-Air undervest

The push for airbags has also had positive effects for sports and activities outside of motorcycle racing. The technology has been passed on from motorcycling to skiing and horseriding, and Dainese is working on applications outside of sports altogether, including in public transport (buses), and even for the elderly, protecting older people with osteoporosis from fractures suffered in domestic falls.

Below is the press release from Dorna with more details of the compulsory airbags:


Airbags: compulsory from 2018

New regulations designed to increase rider safety set to come into force for the new season

From 2018, it will be compulsory across all classes within the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship for riders’ race suits to be fitted with airbag systems. These must be worn in every session by every permanent rider, and must be functional when on track. Wildcard riders are the only exceptions, and replacement riders are exempt from the rule for their first two events only. Thereafter, replacement riders’ suits are subject to the same requirements and specifications as those of permanent entrants.

The airbag should cover and protect at least the shoulders and the collarbone. Full or central back protection is optional. However, if a manufacturer chooses to have back protection, it must cover the whole spine. Small variations according to the specifics of each system are allowed, as are variations to accommodate the different morphology of each rider, but the same key areas and guidelines are in place for every manufacturer.

Each airbag system must pass a series of tests to prove it fully complies with the regulations. Requirements range from the battery and electronics to deployment and inflation times, with accidental deployment also an important factor. An accidental deployment of the airbag must not risk causing a rider to crash or impede a rider from controlling their motorcycle. In addition, airbag systems must not require any parts to be added to the motorcycle, and must be triggered without the rider being tethered to the bike.

Each manufacturer must self-certify on the official documentation for the suit that their system fully complies with the regulations and reaches these standards. They must also declare the reliability of their system based on internal testing.

These regulations mark yet another step towards increased rider safety, with the FIM, IRTA and Dorna all committed to making sure MotoGP™ is as safe as possible - and always evolving.

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2018 Week 1 News Round Up: Rossi's Ranch, Retiring Youngsters, And Preparing For Sepang

Though the world of motorcycle racing slowed to a crawl over the holiday season, that does not mean that nothing happened whatsoever. Racing news trickled out from around the globe, as riders, teams, and factories made decisions, and racing collided with the real world. So here's a round up of some of the news stories you may have missed while we were away over the past couple of weeks.

Rossi's Ranch wins in the courts

The year started off with good news for Valentino Rossi. Ever since it was built, some local residents have complained about the noise and nuisance caused by Rossi's dirt track ranch, situated just east of his home village of Tavullia. A group of locals lodged formal complaints against the ranch with the Tavullia council, alleging several violations of local rules, such as missing documents including an environmental impact assessment, as well as complaints about excess noise and noise outside of normal operating hours.

Those complaints were dealt with by a regional court earlier this week, the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) of the Marche region, where Tavullia is located. The court rejected the complaints, dismissing a part as having no grounds to proceed, a part as being inadmissible, and rejecting the remainder.

The court laid out their reasoning in a 19-page document. The environmental impact had been approved by the Province, according to the court. Approval had been given because the major economic and PR benefits to the town of having Rossi's ranch at the location. And complaints about noise were rejected because bikes were on track and producing noise during normal daylight hours, not times which violated the normal expectations of rest and relaxation. Moreover, the court ruled, the locals would have had no grounds to complain if the facility had been used for non-noise-based sports, such as mountain biking or athletics.

The ruling does not mark the end of the case, however. The complainants can still appeal to a higher court, the Council of State, Italy's highest body overseeing administrative law.

For fuller details (in Italian), see the original report from the regional Il Resto Di Carlino website, or a more concise and clear summary on the GPOne.com website.

Why do young riders retire?

Surprising news came from Spain and Italy, with two young riders announcing their retirements. Mugello Moto3 podium man Juanfran Guevara announced his retirement in an official statement just after Christmas, while Misano Superstock 1000 winner Marc Faccani announced on Instagram that he would be hanging up his helmet as well.

The retirement of the two riders is indicative of the difficulty racers face nowadays. The 23-year-old Faccani announced he would be switching careers and starting his own design studio, though his target audience will still be racing paddocks and racing companies. But the reasons given by the 22-year-old Juanfran Guevara are more illustrative of the trials and tribulations of a modern racer.

Guevara explained his motivations in a revealing interview with the Spanish magazine Motociclismo. As with all human decisions, his motivations were complex: he wanted to spend more time with friends and family, he wanted to focus more on his business studies, which he had been pursuing alongside his racing, and he was finding it hard to continue financially, despite the backing of his sponsors.

Above all, though, Guevara had taken the decision once he realized the physical impact of the stress he was under. Some three weeks previously, he told Motociclismo, he had been walking home from university when his vision became blurred, and he had been forced to stop and rest. His doctor had diagnosed him with symptoms of severe stress, and that had set him thinking. 22 years of age was too young to be suffering from stress, Guevara decided.

"For a rider who only has to ride, this life is the best one imaginable," Guevara told Motociclismo. "But for a rider like myself, who when he gets home has to look for sponsors, study for a degree, finish up projects and train, all these thousands of things never stop." The decision to stop was a luxury, he realized. "The problem we have, especially in Moto3, is that of the 33 riders, probably 29 of them don't know how to do anything other than race a motorcycle," Guevara said.

Guevara had stopped to take stock of his life, and whether the sacrifices were worth it. "I thought, my God! After all I have lost, my family and everything, is it worth it just to be here?" he asked himself. For Guevara, the answer was no.

Will more riders follow suit? Just to get into the bottom step of a world championship – Moto3, Supersport, or Supersport 300 – takes enormous dedication and commitment, and normally, those lacking the motivation have already fallen by the wayside. But the downside of starting racing at the incredibly early age that most modern racers do is that they reach a crucial stage of their career just as they are changing from boys and girls to men and women, leaving adolescence for adulthood. Priorities change, and some youngsters realize there is more to life than motorcycle racing.

In this, perhaps Casey Stoner has acted as an example, given permission to young riders to make a life change and give up racing if they feel it is costing them too much. That may in very limited terms be bad for racing, but it is vastly better for them as humans.

If you read Spanish, or can use Google / Bing translate, it is well worth reading the full interview with Juanfran Guevara. A fascinating insight into the life of a racer, and the choices they must make.

Stoner and Bradl to join pre-Sepang private test

Though the start of the MotoGP season is still some way away, things are warming up for testing. The official IRTA test takes place from 28th-30th January, but there will be a three-day private test beforehand, from 24th to the 26th.

The line up for that pre-test is actually pretty impressive of its own accord. For Ducati, Casey Stoner and Michele Pirro will be taking to the track, with Stoner expected to give the Desmosedici GP18 a proper workout before factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo put it through its paces. There will, according to Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti in Italian paper Corriere dello Sport, be only one version of the GP18 chassis, which will be an evolution of the GP17 used last season.

For Honda, Stefan Bradl joins Japanese test riders Takumi Takahashi and Hiroshi Aoyama. Aoyama and Takahashi have already spent time on track over the winter, working on the 2018 version of the RC213V at Jerez in December. Bradl, still at a loose end for 2018 after a dismal year in WorldSBK, has been brought in to add more recent experience and pace to the Japanese line up.

KTM will of course have Mika Kallio at the pre-test, and the Finnish test rider will also be staying on for the official IRTA test a few days later. Aprilia have Italian rider Matteo Baiocco, while Suzuki will be fielding Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli at the test. Guintoli proved his worth in the middle of last year, when he substituted for the injured Alex Rins and provided valuable development input which helped move the project along.

Yamaha will be out in full force at the test, fielding a grand total of five riders at Sepang. Testing and All-Japan SBK riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane will be present at both the private test and the IRTA test two days later, while test riders Keisuke Madea, Takuya Fujita, and Masahiko Itawa will be at the private test. This means that Yamaha will have five riders at the private test, then four at the IRTA test, where Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales will join the fray.

Yamaha's large test contingent is a sign of just how seriously the Iwata factory is taking the disappointment of their 2017 season. Yet the fact remains that they have so far refused to take on a European test rider, or at least a rider with recent MotoGP experience. Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis explained the factory's position at Valencia last year. "Yamaha’s position is that we primarily have our test riders and team in Japan, as does Honda in fact. If you start a new testing team in Europe, it requires considerable extra expense," he said. If 2018 is as tough for Yamaha as 2017 was, it will be interesting to see if they hold to that position.

Suggested reading

If you are in search of some good reading over the weekend, here are some links worth exploring:


Gathering the background information for long articles such as these is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, buying the beautiful MotoMatters.com 2017 racing calendar, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page.

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FansChoice.tv To Live Stream The Barcelona Superprestigio To The US

This Saturday sees the staging of the fifth edition of the Superprestigio indoor flat track race in Barcelona. For US fans who can't make it to the Palau San Jordi, on Barcelona's Montjuic hill, the event is to be live streamed on FansChoice.tv. The FansChoice website will have full coverage of the races, with commentary from AMA Flat Track legend Chris Carr. Coverage starts at 12 ET, with the racing starting half an hour later.

The press release with more details on how to watch the race appears below:


Superprestigio Flat Track Spectacular to be Live Streamed on FansChoice.tv

AFT racers Briar Bauman and JD Beach to compete; Chris Carr to color commentate

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2017) – U.S. fans looking to experience this year’s Superprestigio flat track extravaganza in real time from Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, December 16, 2017 are in luck, as the entire afternoon and evening’s festivities will be live streamed on FansChoice.tv.

The racing begins with a riders’ presentation at 12:00 p.m. ET (9:00 a.m. PT), with heat races beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT), last chance qualifiers beginning at 1:20 p.m. ET (10:20 a.m. PT), and the first of three final events (in three different classes) beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT). Please note that the Superprestigio live stream is only available to viewers in the U.S.

American Flat Frack fans will have a lot to cheer for, too, with U.S. riders Briar Bauman and J.D. Beach taking on some of the best flat track racers on earth, including seven world champions. Seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr will be the color commentator for the live stream, and flat track fans can follow American Flat Track’s website (www.americanflattrack.com) and Facebook page for updates all weekend long.

Coverage can be seen at http://www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/superprestigio, and more information about the 2017 Superprestigio is available at http://www.dtxbarcelona.com.

Next up for the stars of American Flat Track is the Bigger, Faster and Better DAYTONA TT on March 15, 2018, at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets start at just $29, and are on sale now via Daytona International Speedway’s website at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2018/DAYTONA-TT/DAYTONA-TT.aspx or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

About American Flat Track:

American Flat Track is the world's premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.

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2018 Provisional WorldSBK Entry List

Provisional entry list for the 2018 World Superbike class:

  No Rider Nat, Bike Team
1 1 Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki ZX-10RR Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK
2 66 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX-10RR Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK
3 7 Chaz Davies GBR Ducati Panigale R Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
4 33 Marco Melandri ITA Ducati Panigale R Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
5 22 Alex Lowes GBR Yamaha YZF R1 Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
6 60 Michael van der Mark NED Yamaha YZF R1 Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
7 32 Lorenzo Savadori ITA Aprilia RSV4 RF Milwaukee Aprilia
8 50 Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia RSV4 RF Milwaukee Aprilia
9 76 Loris Baz FRA BMW S 1000 RR GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team
10 12 Xavi Fores ESP Ducati Panigale R Barni Racing Team
11 81 Jordi Torres ESP MV Agusta 1000 F4 MV Agusta Reparto Corse
12 2 Leon Camier GBR Honda CBR1000RR Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
13 45 Jake Gagne USA Honda CBR1000RR Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
14 40 Román Ramos ESP Kawasaki ZX-10RR Team GoEleven Kawasaki
15 54 Toprak Razgatlioglu TUR Kawasaki ZX-10RR Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
16 16 Gabriele Ruiu ITA Suzuki GSX-R1000 Grillini Racing Team
17 44 Roberto Rolfo ITA Suzuki GSX-R1000 Grillini Racing Team
18 68 Yonny Hernandez COL Kawasaki ZX-10RR Team Pedercini Racing
19 37 Ondrej Jezek CZE Yamaha YZF R1 Guandalini Racing
20 36 Leandro Mercado ARG Kawasaki ZX-10RR Orelac Racing VerdNatura
21 99 Patrick Jacobsen USA Honda CBR1000RR TripleM Honda World Superbike Team
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2018 Provisional WorldSSP Entry List

The entry list for the WorldSSP class appears below:

  No. Rider ESS Nat Bike Team
1 64 Federico Caricasulo   ITA Yamaha YZF R6 GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
2 144 Lucas Mahias   FRA Yamaha YZF R6 GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
3 54 Kenan Sofuoglu   TUR Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
4 78 Hikari Okubo   JPN Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
5 84 Loris Cresson   BEL Yamaha YZF R6 Kallio Racing
6   TBA     Yamaha YZF R6 Kallio Racing
7 66 Niki Tuuli   FIN Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlord Insurance Honda
8 96 Andrew Irwin   GBR Honda CBR600RR CIA Landlord Insurance Honda
9 3 Raffaele De Rosa   ITA MV Agusta F4 RC MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag
10 86 Ayrton Badovini   ITA MV Agusta F4 RC MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag
11 74 Jaimie van Sikkelerus   NED Honda CBR600RR GEMAR Team Lorini
12 111 Kyle Smith   GBR Honda CBR600RR GEMAR Team Lorini
13 13 Anthony West   AUS Kawasaki ZX-6R EAB antwest Racing
14 21 Randy Krummenacher   SUI Yamaha YZF R6 BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team
15 65 Michael Canducci   ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R Team GoEleven Kawasaki
16 83 Lachlan Epis   AUS Kawasaki ZX-6R Team GoEleven Kawasaki
17 38 Hannes Soomer   EST Honda CBR600RR Racedays
18 47 Rob Hartog * NED Kawasaki ZX-6R Team Hartog - Against Cancer
19 10 Nacho Calero   ESP Kawasaki ZX-6R Orelac Racing VerdNatura
20 94 Mike Di Meglio   FRA Yamaha YZF R6 GMT94 YAMAHA
21 15 Alfonso Coppola * ITA Yamaha YZF R6 GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team
22 77 Wayne Tessels * NED Kawasaki ZX-6R MTM / Wayne Racing Team
23 16 Jules Cluzel   FRA Yamaha YZF R6 NRT
24 36 Thomas Gradinger   AUT Yamaha YZF R6 NRT
25 35 Stefan Hill   GBR Triumph Daytona 675  Profile Racing
26 81 Luke Stapleford   GBR Triumph Daytona 675  Profile Racing
27 11 Christian Gamarino * ITA MV Agusta F3 675 Scuola Italiana Piloti
28 25 Walter Sulis * ITA MV Agusta F3 675 Scuola Italiana Piloti
29 5 Axel Bassani * ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R SSP HUNGARY RACING
30 56 Peter Sebestyen * HUN Kawasaki ZX-6R SSP HUNGARY RACING
*ESS FIM Europe Supersport Cup  

 

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2018 Provisional WorldSSP300 Entry List

The FIM announced the provisional entry lists for the WorldSSP300 class for 2018. Yamaha YZF R3s dominate the field once again, with 15 of the 34 entries riding the R3, while 12 riders have chosen Kawasaki's Ninja 400. There 6 entries on a KTM RC 390, and 3 Honda CBR500Rs. The Netherlands has a very strong contingent of riders in the class, with 8 Dutch riders on the grid, followed by 6 Spaniards, and 3 riders each from Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, and Indonesia. There will also be two women on the grid, Maria Herrera joining Ana Carrasco in WorldSSP300.

The entry list is shown below:

  No Rider Nat. Bike Team
1 33 Daniel Valle ESP Yamaha YZF-R3 Yamaha MS Racing
2 69 María Herrera ESP Yamaha YZF-R3 Yamaha MS Racing
3 6 Robert Schotman NED Kawasaki Ninja 400 Motoport Kawasaki
4 95 Scott Deroue NED Kawasaki Ninja 400 Motoport Kawasaki
5 46 Dino Iozzo RSA Honda CBR500R Racedays
6 28 Dennis Koopman NED Yamaha YZF-R3 GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team
7 54 Filippo Fuligni ITA Yamaha YZF-R3 GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team
8 55 Notis Papapavlou GRE Yamaha YZF-R3 bLU cRU YAMAHA MOTOXRACING
9 99 Galang Hendra Pratama INA Yamaha YZF-R3 bLU cRU YAMAHA MOTOXRACING
10 2 Ana Carrasco ESP Kawasaki Ninja 400 DS Junior Team
11 20 Dorren Loureiro RSA Kawasaki Ninja 400 DS Junior Team
12 21 Borja Sanchez ESP Kawasaki Ninja 400 ETG Racing
13 78 Joseph Foray FRA Kawasaki Ninja 400 ETG Racing
14 14 Enzo De La Vega FRA Kawasaki Ninja 400 GP Project Team
15 22 Mykyta Kalinin UKR Kawasaki Ninja 400 GP Project Team
16 18 Alex Murley GBR Yamaha YZF-R3 Team Toth
17 53 Valentin Grimoux FRA Yamaha YZF-R3 Team Toth
18 96 Imanuel Putra Pratna INA Yamaha YZF-R3 TERRA E MOTO
19 12 Ali Adriansyah Rusmiputro INA Yamaha YZF-R3 PERTAMINA-ALMERIA Racing Team
20 81 Manuel Gonzalez ESP Yamaha YZF-R3 PERTAMINA-ALMERIA Racing Team
21 19 Luca Bernardi RSM Yamaha YZF-R3 Team Trasimeno
22 84 Joep Overbeek NED Yamaha YZF-R3 Team Trasimeno
23 7 Nicola Settimo ITA Honda CBR500R Scuderia Maranga Racing
24 58 Trystan Finocchiaro GBR Honda CBR500R Scuderia Maranga Racing
25 8 Mika Perez ESP Kawasaki Ninja 400 Kawasaki ParkinGO Team
26 27 Filippo Rovelli ITA Kawasaki Ninja 400 Kawasaki ParkinGO Team
27 71 Tom Edwards AUS Kawasaki Ninja 400 Benjan - Kawasaki
28 93 Walid Soppe NED Kawasaki Ninja 400 Benjan - Kawasaki
29 41 Jähnig Jan Ole GER KTM RC 390 R Freudenberg KTM Junior Team
30 43 Luca Grunwald GER KTM RC 390 R Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team
31 97 Kappler Maximilian GER KTM RC 390 R Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team
32 17 Koen Meuffels NED KTM RC 390 R KTM Fortron Junior Team
33 5 Ryan Vos NED KTM RC 390 R KTM Fortron Racing Team
34 15 Glenn van Straalen NED KTM RC 390 R KTM Fortron Racing Team
35 44 Samuel Aaron Lochoff RSA Yamaha YZF-R3 Samurai-YART Racing
36 79 Tomas Alonso POR Yamaha YZF-R3 Samurai-YART Racing

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Energica Named As Official Motorcycle Supplier For Moto-e Series

The start of the Moto-e World Cup electric motorcycle racing series has taken another step closer to reality. Today, the Italian manufacturer Energica was named as official supplier for the one-make series due to start in 2019.

Energica had been one of a number of suppliers considered for the task of supplying the new series, but had won the contract based on their experience and ability to supply a minimum number of bikes. 

The series will start out as a single-make championship, but as Corrado Cecchinelli told MotoMatters.com earlier this year, there is a chance it will be opened up to multiple manufacturers after a few seasons. "Proper electric motorcycle racing is so young and so far in time to me, that we are actually considering starting with a single spec series, in the hope that it will prove to be a good formula. Then maybe open it in the future or not, this depends," Dorna's Director of Technology said.

The fear of having an open championship is that initially, the disparity between the entries would be so large that it would make for poor racing. "It will not start as an open formula with different solution prototypes, because this is something too big that needs big investment, or to have different players and so on. You can have very different levels from different suppliers which could make bad racing. So if we start, we start with a single-spec formula, and maybe we will consider opening it up in the medium term where we realize racing makes sense."

The TT Zero is evidence of how difficult it is to have competitive racing among mulitiple manufacturers. In the 2017 TT Zero (PDF results here), riders finished minutes rather than seconds apart after a 19-minute race. The gap between the two Mugens which finished first and second was 42 seconds. The gaps behind the two Mugens at the TT Zero were even bigger: 50 seconds to third, 1'43 to fourth, 5'36 to fifth, 5'40 to sixth, 9'29 to seventh, 10'01 to eighth, the final entry. The eight place finisher took 50% longer to complete the lap than the winner.

If Dorna are to make a success of electric bike racing, they cannot afford to have the series be uncompetitive. That is why they have opted for a single bike. They already face a challenge getting an audience raised on noise to accept the high-pitched whine of electric vehicles, rather than the ear-shattering howl of four strokes, and regard close racing as key to overcoming this hurdle.

The press release announcing Energica as the single bike supplier appears below:


Energica to supply motorcycles for FIM Moto-e World Cup

Italian innovator Energica will be the single manufacturer for the FIM Moto-e World Cup when engines switch on in 2019

The FIM Moto-e World Cup is becoming a reality in 2019, ushering in the beginning of a new era for two-wheeled motorsport: competition on electric motorcycles. Dorna is delighted to announce that the supplier for this new and exciting prospect will be Italian innovator Energica. The model that will be used by teams in the new competition will be a tuned version of Energica Ego.

Energica Motor Company, based in the motorsport-rich area of Modena, created the world’s first Italian racing-bred electric motorcycle and has since redefined the possible on the street and within the sector. Working in perfect harmony with the experience, passion and expertise of parent company the CRP Group, Energica and the Ego will provide the FIM Moto-e World Cup with world-beating performance but zero emissions – taking high-octane yet electric-powered competition from concept to thrilling, high-speed reality.

Vito Ippolito, FIM President, comments: "The FIM is very happy to support the development of new technologies, of which the new FIM Moto-e World Cup is an example. Energica is proving itself to be a reliable and expert leader in this sector and with the highly qualified support of Dorna we are sure that we are taking the road to success."

Livia Cevolini, CEO Energica Motor Company S.p.A, says: “We are proud to have been chosen by Dorna and we are already committed to this project. The passion for engines is what brought us here, to build new dream vehicles right in the beating heart of the Italian Motor Valley, Modena, Italy. We took the electric field to another level: each Energica undergoes quality control and performance tests, and our R&D department is always focused on new technologies and their practical application. Our history comes from racing, our passion for this sector has never faded. Moto-e is an excellent project. After all, it is what we hoped since our racing years, now it can be managed professionally thanks to Dorna and its unique and long-lasting experience.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, adds: “The FIM Moto-e World Cup is a new and exciting project for Dorna, and it makes us very proud to announce Energica will be the supplier in this new venture. We believe in excellence, quality and performance and we cannot think of a better collaborator with whom to launch the FIM Moto-e World Cup. Energica are an industry-leading and innovative company and we look forward to the incredible spectacle of electric-powered racing together.”

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Superprestigio Provisional Entry List Published:

The organizers of the Barcelona Superprestigio indoor flat track event, to be held in Barcelona on 16th December, published the provisional entry lists on Thursday. The entries contain more than their fair share of talent, with eight world champions in different disciplines lining up on the grid.

Arguably the biggest name from the road racing scene is double Moto2 world champion, MotoGP Rookie of the Year, and best independent team rider Johann Zarco. The Frenchman is due to line up on the grid representing Yamaha. His compatriot World Supersport champion Lucas Mahias will also be racing in the Superprestigio, as well as former Moto2 world champion and reigning MotoAmerica champion Toni Elias. The current Moto2 and Moto3 grid will also be well represented, with Fabio Quartararo, Remy Gardner, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Albert Arenas, and Xavi Vierge racing in Barcelona. Former World Superbike star Ruben Xaus will also be taking part.

The Open class entries will be less familiar to MotoMatters.com readers, but feature top flight talent nonetheless. JD Beach and Briar Bauman are representing the American Flat Track series, while multiple Supermoto champion Thomas Chareyre leads non-flat track charge. The field is full of the big names from Europe's burgeoning flat track scene, including FIM champion Francesco Cecchini, British dirt track racers Ollie Brindley and Toby Hales, and a host of names from the popular Spanish Copa Rodi flat track series. Two national flat track champions will also be taking part: Italian champion Lorenzo Gabellini and French champion Wilfried Delestre.

The Barcelona Superprestigio is to be held at the Palau San Jordi, in the former Olympic Park on the top of Montjuic, just south of the city, on 16th December. The racing starts at 6:30pm, with the Super Final to be held shortly after 9pm. Tickets and more information are available from the Barcelona DTX website.

The entry lists appear below.

  Category: Superprestigio
2 Jesko Raffin SUI Suzuki 2017 FIM Moto2 World Championship, 26th
5 Johann Zarco FRA Yamaha 2-time FIM Moto 2 World Champion (2015, 2016)
11 Vincent Philippe FRA Suzuki 10-time Endurance World Champion (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
15 Dani Ribalta ESP Honda 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours winner
16 Gregg Black GBR Suzuki 2014 FIM Endurance Stock World Champion
20 Fabio Quartararo FRA Suzuki 2017 FIM Moto2 World Championship, 8th
21 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA ZAE 2017 FIM Moto3 World Championship, 5th
24 Toni Elias ESP Suzuki 2010 FIM Moto2 World Champion & 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion
31 Carmelo Morales ESP Yamaha 2-time FIM CEV Superbike European Champion (2015, 2016)
34 Xavier Pinsach ESP Honda 2017 FIM Superstock 1000, 30th
42 Marcos Ramirez ESP Honda 2017 FIM Moto3 World Championship, 8th
52 Alessandro Delbianco ITA Honda 2017 CIV Moto 3, 3rd
75 Albert Arenas ESP KTM 2017 FIM Moto3 World Championship, 26th
87 Remy Gardner AUS Yamaha 2017 FIM Moto2 World Championship, 21st
94 David Checa ESP Yamaha 3-time Endurance World Champion (2004, 2014, 2017)
97 Xavi Vierge ESP Honda 2017 FIM Moto2 World Championship, 11th
111 Ruben Xaus AND TM 2003 FIM World Superbike Runner-Up
144 Lucas Mahias FRA Yamaha 2017 FIM Supersport World Champion & 2016 FIM Endurance World Champion
         
  Category: Open
1 Ferran Cardus ESP Suzuki 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track Champion
4 Thomas Chareyre FRA TM 6-time FIM Supermoto S1 World Champion (2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
10 Francesco Cecchini ITA ZAE 3-time FIM Flat Track Cup winner (2015, 2016, 2017)
13 Jaume Gaya ESP KTM 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 8th
14 Briar Bauman USA Kawasaki 2017 American Flat Track, 6th
17 Gerard Bailo ESP Suzuki 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track Runner-Up
18 Franc Serra ESP Honda 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 3rd
33 Sergi Sanchez ESP Honda 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 6th
36 Lorenzo Gabellini ITA Yamaha 2017 Italian Flat Track Champion
45 Matias Lorenzato ARG Suzuki 2017 South American Supermoto Champion
55 Wilfried Delestre FRA Suzuki 2017 French Flat Track Champion
58 Maikel Dijkstra NED TM 2017 FIM Flat Track Cup, 5th
64 Sylvain Bidart FRA Honda 4-time FIM Supermoto of Nations World Champion (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016)
70 Masatoshi Ohmori JAP Suzuki 2015 Superprestigio Dirt Track superfinalist and drift contest winner
74 Adrian Garin ESP Honda 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 4th
95 Jd Beach USA Yamaha 2017 MotoAmerica Supersport Runner-Up
98 Richard Mason GBR Honda 2017 British DTRA Dirt Track Championship, 4th
99 Marc Capdevila ESP KTM 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 9th
120 Toby Hales GBR HQV 2017 British DTRA Dirt Track Championship, 3th
124 Oliver Brindley GBR Kawasaki 2017 American Flat Track Singles Championship, 9th
179 Guillermo Cano ESP Suzuki 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 7th
213 Jaume Gaya Jr. ESP KTM 2017 Copa Rodi Dirt Track, 5th

 

Source: 

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Jake Gagne To Join Leon Camier In The Red Bull Honda WorldSBK Team For 2018

Jake Gagne is to join PJ Jacobsen as the second American on the WorldSBK grid for 2018. The 24-year-old Californian is to join Leon Camier at the Red Bull Honda WorldSBK team next year, contesting the Honda CBR1000RR for the coming season.

Gagne is no stranger to world championship paddocks. The American started his career in the Red Bull Rookies, winning that championship in 2010, his third season in the class, beating former Moto3 world champion Danny Kent. After a year racing in the CEV Moto2 championship, he headed back to the US, where he raced a Yamaha in the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike championship, winning the title in 2014. He followed that up in 2015 with victory in the MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 championship, before switching to the Superbike class. 

In 2017, he raced for American Honda in the MotoAmerica Superbike championship, finishing eleventh overall. He also made his debut in the World Superbike series at Laguna Seca, taking the seat made vacant by Nicky Hayden's tragic death after a training accident. When Stefan Bradl injured himself at Portimao, Gagne was once again called in to help the Red Bull Honda team, racing at Magny-Cours and Qatar.

Gagne will get his first taste of the bike in January, once testing resumes for the WorldSBK paddock. 

The press release from the Red Bull Honda team is below:


Jake Gagne completes Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team line up for 2018
The American rider to return with the team on full-time basis alongside Leon Camier

American rider Jake Gagne will race alongside Leon Camier in the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team. The 24-year-old from San Diego, California, will reunite with the squad to take on his maiden full season in the series on board the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.

Gagne joined the team for the first time last July, when he made his World Superbike debut at Laguna Seca. After a strong showing in front of his home crowd, he was recruited by Honda and the team for two more rounds, firstly at Magny-Cours and then at the Losail International Circuit for the season finale. Jake constantly improved his performance and feeling with the WorldSBK-spec Fireblade machine as he claimed best results of twelfth on three separate occasions.

Gagne also contested a complete season in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship on Honda machinery with the Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda Racing team.

Jake Gagne

“It’s really a dream come true to have the chance to contest a full World Superbike season with the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team. I cannot thank Red Bull, Honda and Ten Kate enough for the opportunity to race the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 over three rounds this year. I have learned so much from them and I got to know them quite well, so I’m looking forward to getting going again. 2018 will be an exciting year for me, with a lot of travelling and racing on some of the best race tracks in the world. I want to thank again everyone involved for this incredible opportunity, and I feel I’m ready for the challenge ahead!”

Marco Chini

“We are delighted to have Jake on board for the 2018 season. He picked up the challenge this year and jumped on our Fireblade without prior testing and did well at Laguna Seca, and later showed his talent at tracks he had never raced before. He is young, gifted and a great guy, so he’s the right choice for the team to ride alongside Leon. We look forward to seeing him on track very soon and we’re sure American fans will be happy to cheer him on.”

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Grand Prix Commission Approves Five Wildcards In 2018 For Mika Kallio

The Grand Prix Commission met in Switzerland last week to discuss a few updates to the 2018 MotoGP regulations. The changes made were relatively minor, yet contained one or two interesting tidbits that revealed much about the 2017 season.

The most eye-catching rule tweak made was the change to the virtual pit board, or dashboard messages. The press release from the FIM states that the messages sent to a rider via the dashboard be precisely replicated in the message received by Dorna timekeeping and TV. After the controversy surrounding Ducati's messages to Jorge Lorenzo during the last two Grand Prix of the 2017 season, this suggests that they believe there was some kind of loophole in these regulations.

What that loophole might entail is not known, but if the dashboard system and the timekeeping system are separate, that would leave room for the system to send two different messages with a single trigger: one to the dashboard and one to Dorna timekeeping. Alternatively, the dashboard could display an alternative message by mapping messages received to a different dashboard message. This remains speculation, but the fact that the GPC considered it worthy of clarification suggests they believe there was room for manipulation.

The meeting also endorsed some extra rankings in the various championships. A team championship is to be introduced for Moto2 and Moto3, along the same lines as used in MotoGP. And an additional ranking is to be introduced in MotoGP for the best independent team as well as the best independent rider. MotoGP already recognizes the best independent rider at the end of each season.

The GPC approved KTM's request of five wildcard entries for Mika Kallio. KTM's Finnish test rider will race at Jerez, Barcelona, the Sachsenring, the Red Bull Ring, and Aragon in 2018. One of the benefits KTM had offered Kallio to retain him as test rider was the chance of more races, but having more races also keeps Kallio fresh and fast, a key factor for a test rider.

Allowing Kallio five wildcards also forced the GPC to confront a possible difficulty with the regulations. Currently, factories with concessions (i.e. teams without a podium in the previous season) are allowed six wildcards a season, while teams without concessions may only field wildcards at three events. If a manufacturer loses its concessions (by scoring a total of six concession points, awarded for scoring podiums), then normally, those concessions would be withdrawn immediately. However, given KTM's rapid progress in 2017, it is entirely conceivable that a factory with concessions could find itself having planned for a wildcard late in the season then having to cancel it. To allow factories to plan their season more effectively, the GPC changed the rules to allow them to keep their wildcards for that season.

One other minor note: the minutes of the GPC meeting also discussed the matter of insurance for permanent pass holders. After a series of health complications this year - including one team member hospitalized with a heart attack at a race, and another while cycling between events - the FIM decided to expand their insurance for hardcard holders. Everyone with a permanent pass - team staff, riders, riders assistants, Dorna staff, IRTA staff, Race Direction, and all media members - will be covered for medical expenses and repatriation costs if they suffer an accident or health emergency at an official Dorna event, such as a race or preseason test.

The FIM press release containing all of the minutes of the meeting appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decisions of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Vito Ippolito (FIM President), Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), Mike Webb (Race Director), Danny Aldridge (Technical Director), Fabio Muner and Steve Aeschlimann (FIM), in a meeting held in Mies, Switzerland on 29 November 2017, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

Effective Season 2018

Road Racing Wheels
New proposals for the testing and approval of road racing wheels were confirmed. Details can be seen in the updated technical regulations.

Virtual Pit Board Signals
In the 2018 season teams will continue to have the ability to send messages to the dashboard of the rider using the same system as already in place for Race Direction messages, as some of them have been doing towards the end of the 2017 season. Regulations have now been introduced to ensure that teams using this system comply with the protocols issued by Dorna timekeeping. The main requirement is that any message sent to a rider dashboard must be precisely replicated in the message received simultaneously by Dorna timekeeping and TV.

Sporting Regulations

Effective Season 2018

New Championships and Classifications
There currently exists an FIM World Championship for MotoGP class teams. Two new FIM World Championships have now been introduced for Moto3 and Moto2 teams. Results will be based on the combined points of all riders in the team including substitutes and replacements.

Awards will also be introduced to recognise the highest ranked Independent Team in the MotoGP class and the highest ranked rider in an Independent MotoGP class team. These will not be World Championships but eligible teams and riders will compete for:

  • MotoGP Class Independent Team Trophy
  • MotoGP Class Independent Team Rider Trophy

Other Matters

MotoGP Class Wild Card Entries
An application from KTM to enter Mika Kallio as a wild card entry in the MotoGP class in five 2018 events was approved. The events are those in Spain (Jerez), Catalunya, Germany, Austria and Aragon. Teams using machines from Manufacturers with concessions have the right to have six wild card entries per season as opposed to only three. It has been decided that if a Manufacturer loses its concessions, this right won’t be revoked till the following season.

Best Grand Prix of 2017
The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang was chosen as winner of the best Grand Prix of 2017.

Insurance for Permanent Pass Holders
For several years, holders of permanent working passes have been insured in case of accidental death whilst travelling to or from an event or actually during the event.

With effect from 2018 this policy is being extended to cover up to €100,000 of medical or repatriation costs of holders of all permanent working passes; IRTA, Dorna, FIM and Media. This cover will include the pre-season official tests in and outside of Europe.

The premium for this new arrangement will continue to be paid by the FIM

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed shortly on:

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/regulations-and-documents/grand-prix/

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