The day after an intense race at the Motorland Aragon circuit, MotoGP held its first full Michelin tire test since Sepang this year. The track was open to any teams wishing to give the Michelin tires a spin, or work on the setting of their bikes. Fourteen riders elected to make use of the opportunity, including both Repsol Honda riders, the Tech 3 Yamaha duo, both LCR Honda riders and the Aprilia men, along with Scott Redding, Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi.
Michelin had brought three rear tires and four front tires to Aragon, keen to get some data from the circuit, as they have not had much testing at the track, and very little in the dry. That they needed the data became clear in the morning, as cold temperatures caught a number of riders out, including Bradley Smith, with several crashes happening. Those problems disappeared in the afternoon when the temperatures rose.
But not entirely. Valentino Rossi managed to crash in the afternoon, falling at Turn 2 and suffering some minor abrasions and bruising to his right arm. The cause of the crash, Nicolas Goubert told Speedweek, was because Rossi had slowed down a lap earlier and then pushed hard to test the bike. Turn 2 saw a lot of fallers during the weekend, as it is the first right hander after a long straight and a couple of left corners. The right side of the tire tends to cool rapidly in the wind which blows across the exposed Aragon circuit, causing problems when the bikes are tipped in to Turn 2, and precisely this appears to have happened to Valentino Rossi.
The crash, along with others, suggests there are still several problems with the Michelin tires which need ironing out. The front, Goubert acknowledged, still needs some improvement, and the French tire maker is working on a range of compounds to solve the issues. Testing during the current season, with bikes set up mainly for Bridgeston es, is still a tricky affair, as the character of the two tire brands is so radically different. The Bridgestone front is incredibly strong and very planted, and can be trusted implicitly into corners, while the rear does not excel in producing grip and drive. Michelins are precisely the opposite, the rear being outstanding, while the front does not have the grip of the Bridgestone. MotoGP bikes are set up with a rearward weight bias for the Bridgestones, the front not needing any help to gain grip. The opposite is needed for the Michelins, the front needing all the help it can get, while the rear grips and drives easily. The real testing of the Michelins will start at Valencia, on the Tuesday after the race. From then, the teams will be focused entirely on the Michelins, and will start work on setting the bike up around the new tire brand.
Because of the pre-existing agreement between Michelin, Bridgestone and Dorna, no times were released from the test, though Nicolas Goubert told Speedweek that the times were comparable to the best times set during the race weekend. Whether the tires can maintain the same level of performance throughout the race remains to be seen.
Along with the new tires, there were also a few new bikes on display. Repsol Honda had brought a version of their 2016 RC213V to the test, which got a few laps round the track. But there was no extensive testing, as tires and electronics will change for next season. The spec electronics have been tested on the dyno, and are due to make their debut on the track in the coming month, when test riders will try them for the first time. How the spec electronics will affect the bikes, and perhaps more importantly, the tires, is still an unknown. Valencia will prove a wealth of information in that respect.
Danny Kent has finally made a decision on where he will be racing next year. Today, the Leopard Racing team announced that Kent is to remain with the team for 2016, and move up to Moto2. There, he will partner Miguel Oliveira aboard Kalex Moto2 machines.
Kent's decision had been a long time coming. Ducati had tried to tempt the Englishman to go straight to MotoGP, Kent already having spent a year in Moto2. Kent had first been linked with Pramac, but had lost that ride when it was taken by Scott Redding. Aspar had made a late play for Kent's signature, but on Saturday morning, Kent decided his best option was to stay with his current team and go back to Moto2.
Below is the press release from the Leopard Racing team:
LEOPARD RACING AND DANNY KENT TOGETHER IN MOTO2 IN 2016
Leopard Racing proudly announces to continue their collaboration with Danny Kent, though the Englishman will step up to Moto2 category from next season onwards.
After the announcement that Miguel Oliveira will take part in Leopard Racing’s Moto2 efforts next year, it is confirmed that Danny Kent will ride alongside the Portuguese rider in the team’s completely new challenge for the upcoming season. An equivalent agreement finally was reached at the Gran Premio de Aragón this weekend.
Kent has proven his potential as he leads this year’s Moto3 series thanks to six race wins thus far in comfortable style so the 21-year from Chippenham in the UK will make his step up to the Moto2 class, which is a comeback for him as he already raced in this highly competitive category back in 2013.
#52 Danny KENT:
“I’m really happy to sign for Leopard Racing in 2016 for Moto2. We experience a great season this year so I’m really excited to start our challenge in the intermediate category. A massive thank you to all people in the team for believing in me and I’m pretty sure that we also can have a great season in 2016 together.”
Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing):
"We are happy too to continue our collaboration with Danny who has shown not only his potential as a rider but also his loyalty for Leopard Racing for many times. We are also pleased to be able to offer him a great opportunity in Moto2. For now we look forward to start our new project with two very talented rider soon after this season is concluded. Our riders line up is complete both in Moto3 and Moto2 for next year. But first we must stay focused on our current exciting 2015 campaign.”
This weekend sees a spate of rider announcements in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, and the news that Fabio Quartararo has signed for the Leopard Racing team for 2016 is one of the most important. The announcement had been widely expected, after the first news that Quartararo had decided to leave the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team emerged at Indianapolis. Quartararo had expressed a desire to work with Christian Lundberg again, the engineer he worked with in the CEV championship.
Quartararo will line up alongside Joan Mir, who moves up from the CEV for 2016, with a third rider also expected to be announced soon. That, according to GPOne.com, will be Andrea Locatelli, though that is yet to be confirmed. Leopard Racing will also be moving up to Moto2, with an announcement expected this weekend of who will join Miguel Oliveira as their second rider. It seems almost certain that Danny Kent will remain with the squad which has seen him lead the championship, though Kent has remained firmly silent on the matter.
The press release appears below:
LEOPARD RACING SIGNS FABIO QUARTARARO FOR THEIR 2016 MOTO3 CAMPAIGN
Leopard Racing is proud to announce a two-year contract with rising-star Fabio Quartararo to ride the team’s Moto3 machine in 2016.
With just two weeks after the announcement that Leopard Racing will extend their efforts in World motorcycle racing with an entry in the intermediate class in 2016, the team is set to complete their Moto3 riders line up. Leopard Racing is extremely pleased to secure promising youngster Fabio Quartararo for the upcoming seasons. An equivalent agreement was reached at the Gran Premio de Aragón this weekend.
At 16, Fabio Quartararo has already become amongst the big names in this year’s FIM Moto3™ World Championship, his rookie season on world stage, as he made the step from CEV Spanish Championship as a two-time champion in the past two years. Quartararo won these titles in Spain in such a dominant way so that the young Frenchman will make his way up to the premier class in motorcycle racing sure. Due to an ankle-injury sustained last time out in Misano, the Nice born rider has to sit out this weekend’s round 14 of the season at the MotorLand Aragón circuit.
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO:
“I am very proud to join Leopard Racing from 2016. Indeed, I am really excited to work again with Christian Lundberg, the engineer with who I won my first FIM CEV Title in 2013. For the next two years, my career will be linked with this young structure, based on a solid project for the future. It perfectly matches with my goals. I would like to give a huge “thanks” to all people who have supported me till now and also to Leopard Racing for trusting in me. I will keep giving my best at every turn, lap and race to honour the trust they have bestowed on me. I hope guys, you will enjoy it too.”
Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing):
“It is an honor for our still young project to reach an agreement with such a young talented rider as Fabio Quartararo. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track.At only 16, he already underlined his determined approach to this sport and for many times his huge potential. Therefore, we are pleased to welcome him in our Moto3 line up for 2016. We are pretty sure that Leopard Racing will fight at the fierce end of the highly competitive lower Grand Prix category thanks to his natural born speedy talent from the very first beginning as soon the 2016 season gets underway.”
As had been long predicted, Yamaha is to return to the World Superbike championship in 2016 to race the YZF-R1. Yamaha Motor Europe is to throw its weight behind the Crescent team run by Paul Denning, and will field 2014 WSBK champion Sylvain Guintoli and Crescent's current rider Alex Lowes.
Great things are expected of the new R1. Once the teams got it dialed in, the bike has performed exceptionally well in its debut year in the BSB and MotoAmerica championships, as well as in World Endurance. Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro and Katsuyuki Nakasuga took the bike to victory in the Suzuka 8 Hours race as well.
The Yamaha set up will be very similar to that of the highly successful Kawasaki team, where Crescent receive factory backing from Yamaha, while running the team independently.
Crescent's switch to Yamaha leaves no team to run Suzukis in World Superbikes in 2016. The GSX-R1000 had been severely lacking in performance in the last couple of years, especially after the rule changes for 2014 and 2015. Not having Suzukis running in WSBK may hamper the efforts of the Japanese factory when they launch their brand new Gixxer in the middle of next year. Unfortunately, due to WSBK homologation rules and Suzuki's supply chain, the bikes will not be able to compete from the start of the season, so anyone wanting to take on the task of racing Suzukis would have to wait until half season before they could even think about racing the new bike, and would spend the rest of the season developing it.
One side effect of Guintoli signing for Yamaha is that it leaves a seat open alongside Michael van der Mark in the Pata Honda squad. That seat will now be hotly contested, especially as Aprilia have also announced they will not be fielding a factory team. That could be an interesting prospect for Nicky Hayden, who looks to be out of MotoGP next year. American Honda would be keen to see Hayden remain with the brand, and Dorna are keen to have an American racing in World Superbikes. Though 2016 will be a tough year on the CBR1000RR, with a new bike due for 2017, that would open an interesting perspective.
Below is the press release from Yamaha announcing their return to WSBK:
Yamaha Returns to World Superbike
Yamaha Motor Europe will make its official return to the World Superbike Championship in 2016 in collaboration with highly experienced partner Crescent Racing and title sponsors PATA. The team will place the new YZF-R1 in the talented hands of 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli and 2013 British Superbike Champion Alex Lowes.
PATA has a proven track record and passion for motorsport with a high profile presence in World Superbike, making them a perfect complement to the partnership of Yamaha and Crescent Racing in 2016.
Frenchman Guintoli has over 15 years experience in racing, with 45 podiums, 10 race wins and, of course, the 2014 world title to his credit - in classes spanning 250cc, MotoGP, British Superbike and World Superbike. While young British rider Lowes took 20 podiums, 8 wins and 6 pole positions on his way to his 2013 British Superbike title. He has also competed with Crescent for the last two seasons so is no stranger to the team or the WSBK series.
Returning to the World Superbike stage for the first time since 2011, Yamaha Motor Europe's strategy is clear - to make full use of the all-new YZF-R1 to challenge for victory in the premier production Superbike series. Yamaha's impressive history in the Championship, combined with the stunning base specification of the YZF-R1, offers an unrivalled opportunity to campaign for victory honours.
2009 saw Yamaha take their first World Superbike Championship title, breaking multiple records throughout the season with American rider Ben Spies on board. Iconic riders such as Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser, James Toseland, Marco Melandri and Cal Crutchlow, among others, have all taken their turns delivering countless victories on the YZF-R1 throughout Yamaha's Superbike career.
Crescent will partner Yamaha as their fully-supported Official WSBK Team from 2016. Crescent is the World Superbike Championship's only UK-based team and has a 20-year racing history at both national and global level that features victories in the British Superbike Championship, World Superbike and MotoGP.
Yamaha Motor Europe will retain responsibility over racing strategy and technical development, as well as the rider agreements with Crescent's hugely experienced, dedicated, technical and engineering racing personnel running the team's operation at each of the Championship rounds.
The all-new Yamaha YZF-R1 arrived as a game changer in 2015, re-writing the rulebook for the Supersport market as the next generation of racing machine. As the 2015 racing season draws to a close it can already claim numerous victories - including the inaugural Road America AMA Championship and the legendary Suzuka 8Hr Endurance race in the hands of MotoGP stars Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and five-time All Japan Superbike Champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga. In the UK the R1 is in contention for the British Superbike Championship title, while across Europe the story continues with both the Polish Superbike Championship and the French Superstock Championship secured. Yamaha also currently leads the Spanish FIM CEV Repsol International Championship and last weekend claimed second overall in the FIM Endurance World Championship in the hands of France's GMT94 Yamaha team.
"This is a very exciting moment for us as we eagerly wait to return to the top level of Superbike competition next year after an absence of four years," commented Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer, Eric De Seynes.
"Having re-written the Supersport rule book and changed the game with the new YZF-R1, directly developed from Yamaha MotoGP technology, it was clear we would need to return to the World Superbike Championship to show the full potential of our new Superbike machine. We took one year to grow experience with the new R1 in many other championships where the bike has shown its potential already, with the amazing 8H of Suzuka victory and the very positive results that our official Teams are gathering all around Europe. Now we are ready to be back on the world stage and I am happy we have found in Crescent the same values of professionalism, engineering detail and passion for victory we share."
The Gresini Aprilia Racing team have finally confirmed what we have all known for some time. Stefan Bradl is to remain with the factory Aprilia team for 2016 alongside Alvaro Bautista, while Sam Lowes is to join Aprilia on a three-year deal, the first of which will be spent trying to win the Moto2 championship on a Kalex.
The signing of Bradl comes as no surprise. The German has done exceptionally well on the RS-GP since joining Aprilia at Indianapolis after the collapse of Forward Racing. At 25, and with experience on both the Honda RC213V and the Open class Yamaha, he provides an excellent basis for the ongoing development of Aprilia's new prototype MotoGP bike set to see its first outing on the track at Sepang next year. Bradl is in a prime position to be the rider Aprilia puts its faith in for the future.
Lowes, meanwhile, will spend another year in Moto2, trying to win the world championship. Lowes has excelled on the Speed Up, far outperforming any other rider on the chassis, having made good progression in his second year in the class. Lowes has the opportunity to become the first rider in history to win a championship in both Grand Prix and World Superbike racing, having already wrapped up the World Supersport title in 2013.
After 2016, Lowes will then move up to the factory Aprilia squad - run by Gresini - in MotoGP for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In preparation for that, Lowes will have a series of tests on the Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP bike through the 2016 season. Lowes will get to ride the Aprilia on ten occasions in 2016 at a test.
The signing of Lowes means that Xavier Simeon is without a ride for 2016, but as a Moto2 race winner this season, Simeon should be able to find a suitable replacement. For 2017, with Lowes moving to MotoGP, the Englishman is likely to replace Alvaro Bautista, Aprilia more interested in having two younger riders on the new project than Bautista, who by that time will be 32 years old.
The press releases from Aprilia and Gresini announcing the deals appear below:
STEFAN BRADL AND ALVARO BAUTISTA WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGP FOR 2016
Noale, 22 September 2015 - After an encouraging début this season where he familiarised himself quickly with the RS-GP, Stefan Bradl will be on the track with Aprilia in 2016 as well.
Alongside Alvaro Bautista, the twenty-five year old German rider - Moto2 world champion in 2011 - will ride the Aprilia prototype which will be raced next season with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
Born in the Bavarian city of Augsburg on 29 November 1989, Stefan Bradl made his début in the 125cc class of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing in 2005. In 2008 he took two wins and finished the season fourth in the overall standings. In 2010 he moved to Moto2, a category where he was crowned World Champion in 2011 thanks to four wins. His rookie year in MotoGP came in 2012 astride a Honda, a bike which he would race for two more seasons, with a second place finish as his best result in the 2013 United States Grand Prix.
Next season Sam Lowes will also be participating in development of the Aprilia MotoGP prototype as a tester. With Lowes - who will be participating in the 2016 Moto2 championship with Team Gresini - working with Aprilia Racing in the medium-term projects area, the British rider will be able to both develop the MotoGP prototype and get his feet wet with the performance and technical complexity of the highest category in the championship. All of this will lay the groundwork for Sam Lowes' participation in the 2017 MotoGP Championship season with Aprilia.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“Stefan Bradl came on board almost by chance, a result of the circumstances, but his change in bikes this season was a pleasant surprise for me. From the very start we found him to be a methodical and fast rider, extremely precise in his comments and therefore particularly suited for the delicate role of “race tester” that our rookie season requires. Precisely for this reason we wanted to continue working with him and now it's official. Stefan will work alongside Alvaro Bautista who will be in his second year with Aprilia. In this 2015 season Alvaro is providing a fundamental contribution to development of the RS-GP. With Alvaro and Stefan we have two excellent riders on our team with the right skills, professionalism and motivation to grow the Aprilia MotoGP project. For the work that will be done at Noale and by the test team we'll also be able to count on the contribution of a fast young rider like Sam Lowes who, along with his commitment in the Moto2 championship, will be working as our official tester."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“I'm pleased that Stefan will be staying with us next season. He has contributed a lot to Aprilia Racing and the entire team in developing our MotoGP project. The work he is doing now is important and it will be even more important next season when we'll have a completely new bike to develop. This makes up a great team, with Bradl and Bautista, fast riders, young but with a lot of MotoGP experience, both able to drive the entire team to find the best possible performance.”
“I am really thankful for the great opportunity that Aprilia Racing Team Gresini gave me in the second half of the season. I would like to thank Romano Albesiano and Fausto Gresini for believing in me. At my first Grand Prix with Aprilia in Indianapolis I immediately felt really welcome by the whole team, I cannot really describe how professional everybody works in the team. I can say without a doubt that Aprilia is the best team I have raced with since starting my World Championship career. I have great support from my technical crew. I could tell from the first day that they really believe in me and I like the way they prepare and plan every session. Signing for 2016 gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races and it is great motivation to prepare for next season as best as possible. I know Aprilia has high expectations and I am confident that we have what it takes to be a consistent top ten contender for 2016. This must be our goal.”
SAM LOWES JOINS TEAM FEDERAL OIL GRESINI MOTO2 FOR 2016 SEASON
Federal Oil and Gresini Racing have renewed their partnership, started back in 2012, and they will be racing together again in the 2016 Moto2 World Championship: next year, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 will line up British rider Sam Lowes aboard a 2016 Kalex machine.
Sam Lowes, born on September 14th, 1990 in Lincoln (UK), was crowned Supersport World Champion in 2013 thanks to 6 wins and a total of 11 podium finishes out of 12 races. In 2014 Lowes made his debut in the Moto2 World Championship, collecting a fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island as best result. Last April, in the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, the British rider scored his first win in the series.
For Federal Oil, market leader in lubricants for motorcycles in Indonesia - a country with an expanding motorcycling market for motorcycles and where MotoGP enjoys a tremendous interest from the media and the fans - the project will continue to be a powerful marketing tool to acquire reputation on the global stage in a particularly strategic period, in which the company is landing in specific markets.
“I am really looking forward to joining Team Federal Oil Gresini in Moto2 next season. I believe that I have the potential to win the championship and the team’s strong racing pedigree will hopefully provide the support I need to claim the title. 2016 will be my last year in Moto2 before stepping up to MotoGP and I am determined to try to leave the series as World Champion. I know my fans were keen to see me contest the championship on a Kalex and the move to Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 enables me to do that. I’ll be working hard with the new team over the winter to build strong relationships with the new team and ensure that I fully understand the bike. I feel that I have matured as a rider over the 2015 race season and hope to be able to use the learnings I’ve made to approach this fresh challenge and emerge victorious”.
PATRICK ADHIATMADJA (Presidente e CEO Federal Oil)
“We are happy and proud to continue to support Gresini Racing, a highly professional team with which we established a very good working relationship over the years. For the 2016 season, we set ourselves very ambitious goals together with Sam Lowes: this will ensure a great exposure to the Federal Oil brand and this will also be reflected in increased consumer confidence towards our products. In Indonesia an increasingly number of fans is following us closely, so we hope to be able to repay this great enthusiasm. We would like to thank Xavier Siméon for the beautiful podium finishes in these two years together”.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to continue the important project in the Moto2 World Championship together with Federal Oil: in 2016 we will face our fifth season together in an extremely hard fought category. We are preparing to do so in the best possible way, setting ourselves ambitious goals: we will count on an eccellent technical package, with a brand new 2016 Kalex, and we will line up Sam Lowes, a talented rider who is proving to have all it takes to fight at the top. Last July at Sachsenring with Siméon we gave to Federal Oil the first win in Moto2: we will continue to do our best to close in a good way the 2015 season and we would like to thank Xavier for his hard work and for the good results obtained together. We wish him to get the satisfaction he deserves in the future”.
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Andrea Iannone has further aggravated the shoulder injury he picked up while testing at Mugello. While out running, Iannone tripped and fell, and dislocated his injured left shoulder when he stretched out his arms to break his fall. Iannone had an MRI scan done on the shoulder in hospital in his home town of Vasto, Italy, after which the doctors put the shoulder back in place.
The doctors passed Iannone fit, and ascertained no obvious injuries, though they expressed doubt at the state of the tendon in his shoulder. Iannone is having Tecar therapy, an electromagnetic stimulation therapy, on his shoulder, in an attempt to be fit for the next round of MotoGP at Aragon in ten days' time. Ducati expect Iannone to be fit enough to race, though they do not expect him to be at 100%.
The Tecar therapy is just a short term fix to allow the Italian to be fit enough to ride for the rest of the season. Iannone is set to have surgery immediately after the Valencia round of MotoGP, to fix the damage done to the shoulder in the testing crash. That occurred back in May, when Iannone crashed heavily at Mugello and dislocated his shoulder. Though Iannone has not spoken in great detail of the injury, it seems that some of the damage includes injury to the tendons which hold the shoulder in place. The surgery scheduled for November is aimed at fixing this problem.
Things appear to be looking up for Forward Racing. After a very dark period when the future of the team was in danger, following the arrest of team owner Giovanni Cuzari, the team is moving on to a slightly more stable footing. Earlier this week, they announced that former Moto2 champion Toni Elias is to ride for the team for the last five races of the 2015 season. Elias will be replacing Claudio Corti, who has stood in for Stefan Bradl after the German departed for Aprilia.
Though the press release makes no mention of it, it seems likely that the signing of Elias will help strengthen the financial basis of the team. Speaking to MotoMatters.com and MCN at Misano, team boss Cuzari said that "95%" of the team's sponsors had returned after he had explained that the corruption charges against him were to be dropped. Cuzari also expressed optimism at being back in MotoGP for 2016. Though the team is too late to secure the use of Yamahas for next season, Cuzari was confident of obtaining alternative equipment, mentioning talks with both Ducati and Aprilia for the supply of bikes. All that depends on the view of Dorna, however. The fate of the team lies in the hands of senior Dorna management, who must make a decision on whether to allow Forward Racing to race in MotoGP again in 2016. A decision is expected before Aragon.
Below is the press release announcing the signing of Elias:
Toni Elias will be riding the Yamaha Forward until the end of the season
Toni Elias is the new rider of the Forward Racing team until the end of the 2015 season. The former Moto2 World Champion will join, in fact, the Swiss team alongside Loris Baz starting from the Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon scheduled next weekend on the MotorLand track.
It will be a welcome return to the premier class of motorcycling for the Spaniard, after debuting in 2005 with the Fortuna Yamaha. Elias has already raced this year in Indianapolis replacing the injured Karel Abraham; he finished the race in 22nd position.
Special thanks to Claudio Corti who raced with the team from the Sachsenring Grand Prix until the home race at Misano. We would like to praise him for his professionalism especially when facing such a difficult situation; we wish him the best for his future and his career.
"We are delighted to welcome Toni Elias to our team for the rest of the season, five races to go, two of which are in Spain. We are proud to have a former World Champion riding the Yamaha Forward for the remaining 5 races. Special thanks to Claudio, who has always been close to Forward Racing, and has stayed with us in the past few races putting himself fully at the team disposal".
Toni Elias -24
"I can’t be happier to be back racing in MotoGP. This year I was already on track at Indianapolis but only for one race, with Forward I get the chance to finish the season. I wish to thank Giovanni and the whole team for this great opportunity. The goal is to work hard and enjoy the ride: the results will come. I am very motivated and enthusiastic”.
The Aruba.it Ducati World Superbike squad is to remain unchanged for the 2016 season. Today, Ducati announced that they will be retaining Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano as their riders for next year, making it three seasons in a row the Ducati line up has remained the same.
The announcement is no real surprise. Davies has excelled in 2015, chasing likely 2015 champion Jonathan Rea all year, and currently beating last year's champ Tom Sykes into third place. Teammate Giugliano has had a much tougher season, suffering a couple of huge crashes which have caused him to miss five of the ten rounds held so far. There was some doubt as to whether Giugliano could continue racing, after crashing and fracturing his vertebrae for the second time in a year. Giugliano is set to sit out the rest of 2015, but hopes to be fit again for 2016. Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will replace Giugliano at the upcoming Jerez round of WSBK.
Below is the press release announcing the re-signing of Davies and Giugliano.
Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team together again in 2016
Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), Thursday 17 September 2015 - The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team confirms the agreement made with both of its current riders, Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, for the 2016 season.
Contract renewal for Davies and Giugliano ensures that the Italian squad and manufacturer can count on the talents of the two riders and on the continuity of the experience of the last two seasons completed by the Welshman and the Italian on board the Panigale R. 2016 therefore marks the third year that the Ducati line-up remains unchanged, and the second year for the Davies-Giugliano pairing within the Italian team.
Davies, currently second in the general standings, has obtained a series of great results this season, accumulating fourteen podium finishes, including four wins, from the twenty races run thus far. Strengthened by his fourth win achieved prior to the summer break at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, the British rider is feeling confident ahead of the final three rounds of the season and subsequent winter testing. Unfortunately Giugliano has had an extremely unlucky year, with two accidents at Phillip Island and Laguna Seca meaning that he has been able to compete in only 10 of the season’s 26 races. Despite his prolonged absences, the Roman rider has nevertheless scored two pole positions and reached the podium on three occasions, and is now keen to return to the track as soon as possible together with his team-mate and the rest of the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)
“I’m very happy to have put pen to paper for another year with Ducati and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team. This year we’ve made progress race after race, obtaining some very strong results especially in recent months. I believe it is important - for me, the team and for Ducati - to keep that continuity and I consider this a really good opportunity because I am confident about the development and improvement in performance. Together with Ducati and the team, we’ve continued to move in the right direction right from the start, but we can do more and I’m convinced that next year the bike will allow me to be even faster. The contract renewal is great payback for my work and I hope to be able to reward the team and Ducati with great results in 2016.”
Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #34)
“I’m really pleased to have renewed with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team. Ducati has always meant a great deal to me and to have the chance to continue to work with these people, who show such professionalism and compassion, is fundamental for a rider like me. The team is like a big family, of which I feel very much a part. I am of course very sorry for how this season has turned out, after what happened at the start of the year in Australia and then also at Laguna Seca but in those races that we have completed we’ve always given it our all and scored some important results. I am therefore very happy to be able to continue on the path that I’ve started along with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team members. Physically, it will take a little more time for me to return to full fitness. We don’t yet know exactly when I’ll be able to begin winter testing but I’m doing all I can to be back on my Panigale R as soon as possible.”
Stefano Cecconi – Team Principal
“We’re very pleased to be able to continue the relationship with both our riders, thus giving maximum continuity to the work completed this season, which has brought both us and our fans great satisfaction. Chaz will be able to continue on the path that has already seen him score a crescendo of fantastic results this season and reach a very high level of competitiveness and synergy with his bike. Davide, owing to his double injury, was only able to take part in a few races and was not 100% fit but he nevertheless showed great talent and speed: we are therefore confident that we will see him reach his full potential in 2016.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati Corse Sporting Director
“We never had any doubts about reconfirming our riders because we are convinced that they are two of the greatest talents in the current Superbike World Championship. This season Chaz has been able to demonstrate his maturity, as well as his speed, finally scoring the first win for the Panigale R. Davide has had a really unlucky season, but we are sure that he is an extremely fast rider and so we want to put him in the best conditions in which to be able to show his full potential next year. The development work on the Panigale R for 2016 is progressing according to plan, with the aim of providing our two riders with an even more competitive bike, which will allow them to be frontrunners in the next Superbike World Championship.”
Leopard Racing have confirmed that they will be moving up to Moto2 in 2016. Today, they announced the first of their signings for a two man team, with Miguel Oliveira moving up to make the switch to Moto2. It is believed that Danny Kent, currently leading the Moto3 championship, is also in the frame for the Moto2 seat at Leopard, but Kent is still eyeing a possible option in MotoGP. News is expected from Kent's camp early next week.
Below is the press release announcing Oliveira's signing:
LEOPARD RACING REACH AGREEMENT WITH MIGUEL OLIVEIRA FOR MOTO2
Leopard Racing proudly announces a contract signed with Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira to compete in Moto2 in 2016.
After just one year as new colourful entry in Grand Prix racing on world stage, Leopard Racing is to start a project in the highly competitive Moto2 category alongside to its Moto3 outfit. With Miguel Oliveira, a young and promising rider is signed for the 2016 campaign in the intermediate category of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship. The agreement was finally reached during the weekend at the San Marino Grand Prix.
20 years old Oliveira, born in Portugal’s city of Pragal, will make his step up to Moto2 with the conclusion of the 2015 season. Oliveira currently occupies fifth spot of the Moto3 standings with already two race wins to his hands this season.
#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA:
“Honestly speaking I’m playing around with this idea since the beginning of this year. Of course it will be a big step for me, but I feel I’m ready to do it. Moto2 is a very difficult category so I’ll need a lot of training to start this new chapter in my career well prepared because we’ve seen many riders to enter this class but struggling to adapt to it quickly. Anyway, I’m convinced that I’m doing it with the right team, I trust in the guys around me as well as in the whole project. I think we’re going be successful. From my side I only can say that I’ll put my 200 percent in this stage of my career and I’ll try and do my best from the very first beginning. I’m really happy to reach this agreement with such a successful team and with an experienced crew.”
Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing):
"First of all, we are pleased that Miguel Oliveira has seen what we want to achieve with our global road-racing programme. We’ve been watching him for some months and there is no doubt that Miguel is a rider of great talent and potential. We certainly feel he can open a few eyes. We are very confident that his smart riding style will suit perfectly with a Moto 2 bike. We are looking forward to meeting the Moto 2 World championship challenge with this young rider."