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Scott Jones Goes Dutch - Race Day At Assen

Nothing tastes sweeter

This will not end well. Zulfahmi Khairudden and Remy Gardner collide

Heart rate: 200 bpm

Emperor of Moto2

Luis Salom's Pons Kalex, or what remained after it had been tossed at Turn 1

Dani Pedrosa, a fair way down the grid

Turn 1, lap 2, and the leaders are already set

Marquez did get ahead of Rossi briefly

But it would not last to the line

Alex De Angelis demonstrates the art of ART Origami

This went on for most of the race. In the end, the Suzuki could not withstand the onslaught of horsepower from behind

With a fraction less edge grip, Lorenzo could not dominate

Grim determination saves the day for Niklas Ajo. Amazing finish

Miguel Oliveira makes it number two

The RC213V looks like a Moto3 bike under Scott Redding. You can't say he's not trying

Cal Crutchlow demonstrates how you ride a MotoGP bike: standing up

Hammer down

Different styles: Rossi moves his body, but not his backside, Marquez is sliding his rear over the seat early

The 2015 Moto2 season in a single frame

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Scott Jones Goes Dutch - Pictures Of Assen, Second Edition

Leapfrog for Dani Pedrosa

He came, he saw, he conquered

What lurks beneath: the tank part of the tank...

It's been a tough year for Stefan Bradl on the Forward Yamaha

If it wasn't for bad luck, Nicky Hayden wouldn't have had any luck at all. His bike kept cutting out all weekend

Maniac Joe? Mr Maturity, more like. Note the proximity of the winglets to the asphalt

Cold mornings? Duct tape the radiator and oil cooler. Problem solved

Different approaches to bike swaps for Pedrosa and Marquez. A skip and a jump for #26, a bunny hop for #93

Now that's what I call cutting the chicane at Assen

Yonny Hernandez feathers the clutch

Rookie of the year so far: Maverick Viñales

Preparing. For what?

It's been a struggle for Scott Redding. But he is closer than he thinks he is

Jorge Lorenzo would not make it five wins in a row, but he salvaged a crucial podium

Big skies, full stands, great racing. This is Assen

If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

Leopard Racing's 2016 Plans - Joan Mir To Moto3, Move Up To Moto2?

The Leopard Racing team today announced that they have signed Joan Mir to race for them in Moto3 in 2016. The 18-year-old Spaniard is currently racing in the FIM CEV series, the former Spanish championship, for the Leopard Racing junior team, and has impressed in the class winning two races already this season. Before switching to the CEV, Mir raced in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he was regarded as one of the stronger competitors.

With Mir moving up to Moto3, it is looking increasingly likely that the Leopard Racing team will expand their program to move up to Moto2. Current Moto3 championship leader Danny Kent has expressed an interest in returning to Moto2, but only wishes to do so with a strong team. The Leopard Racing team run by Stefan Kiefer has proved to be exactly that, and if the team can move up as a unit, then Kent should have a better shot at handling the transition than during his first attempt with the Tech 3 squad. Familiar surroundings and a strong bike package would make Kent competitive.

The switch to Moto2 is still a long way from being confirmed. At the moment, the budget for 2016 is under discussion, any decision can only be taken once funding for the project has been decided.

Below is the press release issued by Leopard Racing announcing the signing of Joan Mir:


Leopard Racing signed an agreement with Joan Mir to bring the young talented Spanish rider to World Championship series from the 2016 season on.

18 years young Palma de Mallorca born rider Joan Mir Mayrata is already part of Leopard Racing’s junior programme competing in the FIM CEV Repsol Junior World Championship this year. He will make his step to the World Championship level next year.

Mir, a former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup participant, currently in fourth position in this year’s campaign with two race wins to his hands in Portimao and Barcelona last time. In doing so, he underlined very impressively his talent and speed aboard a Moto3 race bike according to Grand Prix racing regulations.

#36 Joan MIR:

"A dream becomes true today when we put pen on paper together. I’m really proud because this agreement sees my step up to the World Championship level from next year on. I’m very grateful to Leopard Racing that they give me this awesome opportunity. I’ll try and do my best to prove as a real contender in this highly competitive category in Grand Prix Racing. But first, I want to fulfil my task in the Moto 3 Junior World Championship this year."

Miodrag KOTUR (Leopard Racing):

“Joan has been the team’s rider as Leopard Racing is currently supporting him with the Machado Leopard Junior Team. He is a rider that matches very well with our philosophy. He has enjoyed success in the junior series and with the support and experience we can offer him, we are confident that he has a great future with our Leopard Racing Team. We are happy to guide the youngsters to achieve the high level of our sport. As for our other riders, we want to put Joan in the best possible conditions to reach his MotoGP goals."

Stefan Bradl Fractures Scaphoid, Uncertain For Sachsenring

Stefan Bradl is to undergo surgery to fix a fractured scaphoid in his right hand. The German had a major highside during the race at Assen on Saturday, being thrown from his Forward Yamaha on lap six at Duikersloot. Bradl landed heavily and immediately knew something was wrong. X-rays showed that he had fractured his scaphoid, with photos shown on the Speedweek website indicating that it was a fracture at the waist of the scaphoid.

Bradl was driven back to Augsburg in Germany by his father, former 250cc racer Helmut, where he was examined at a local hospital. He is to undergo surgery in Augsburg to fix the problem, but it is uncertain whether he will be fit for his home race at the Sachsenring on 12th July. Bradl may elect to skip the Sachsenring, as this would give him an extended break and a longer period for his wrist to heal in. The next race after the Sachsenring takes place in Indianapolis on 12th August.

Below is the press release issued by the Forward Yamaha team regarding Bradl's condition:

Bradl back to Germany for undergoing a surgery

Following the incident of yesterday in Assen, where he reported the fracture of the right scaphoid, Stefan Bradl tomorrow will undergo a surgery to reduce the fracture.

After the first diagnosis in the circuit at the Clinica Mobile, the German immediately left the Netherlands to Germany for further investigations. Bradl will be operated in Augsburg, the city where he was born, by Dr. Stefan Krischak, a hand specialist surgeon.

A press release on his conditions and the times of recovery will follow as soon as possible

Ducati Lose Concessions For 2016 - Will Race Under Same Rules As Honda And Yamaha

Ducati are to lose their concessions for the 2016 MotoGP season. Meeting at Assen, the Grand Prix Commission decided to apply the system of concession points which was due to take effect from the 2016 season to the results of Ducati for this season. This means that from next year, Ducati will race under the same rules as Honda and Yamaha, which means that they will have seven engines per season, with no development allowed during the season, and testing with factory riders restricted to official tests and a handful of private tests.

That Honda and Yamaha had been pushing for Ducati to have their concessions removed for next year was first reported here after Jerez. After Ducati's strong start to 2015, with six podiums from eight races, it was clear that the Desmosedici GP15 is a competitive motorcycle. Technically, Ducati would only have had their concessions for 2016 taken away if they had won a race in the dry. While the GP15 is fast, it is still a very young project, and needs some work doing to it. Winning a dry race would also require beating Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, not the easiest of tasks at the best of times.

At Mugello, sources close to one Japanese factory told MotoMatters that they did not expect the matter to be decided before the end of the year. That would give Ducati most of the rest of the 2015 season to try to win a race. If they had not done so by the time the GP circus headed overseas for the flyaways, the concessions could have been removed by the GPC once they met in Japan or Valencia. The GPC appear to have decided to act earlier, to allow Ducati to prepare.

This means that Ducati will start the 2016 season under the same condition as Honda and Yamaha. All of the bikes on the grid will have the same amount of fuel (22 liters), the same spec electronics, and the same allocation of tires, the special soft tire having been removed. But Honda, Yamaha and Ducati will have seven engines per season, with no development allowed, and testing with factory riders limited to official tests and five days of private testing. Aprilia and Suzuki will have twelve engines per season, will be allowed to modify the design of their engines during the season, and will be allowed to test with factory riders at private tests as often as they like, within the constraints of the tire allocation limit for testing. Should they accrue six concession points in a season, then they will lose the right to test with factory riders immediately, and all of the concessions for the following season.

The GPC also introduced a number of other rules. They allowed factories to provide three different specifications of homologated engines, including engines from previous seasons. The two factory riders must be on the same engine spec, riders for satellite teams may have different spec engines, even in the same team.

The press from the FIM is shown below:

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 26 June in Assen, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class

Concessions - MotoGP Class – Effective Immediately

In 2015 any manufacturer who currently benefits from concessions and who achieves six concession points in dry or wet conditions will lose all concessions from the following season.

Note: As Ducati have already achieved more than six concession points in 2015 they will lose concessions from 2016.

Engine Allocations in the MotoGP Class – Effective 2016

In the interests of cost saving, manufacturers may use engines with specifications homologated from previous seasons, providing that such engines still comply with current technical regulations.

Each manufacturer may homologate a maximum of three different specifications before the first event of the season.

Before the first event of the season, every rider must nominate one specification of homologated engine which he must exclusively use for the entire season. This means that in a non-factory team different riders might use engines with different homologated specifications.

However, every manufacturer must nominate one team as its “Factory Team” and each rider in that team must use engines with the same homologated specification.

MotoGP Electronics, Sensors and Devices – Effective 2016

With the use of a single ECU and unified software it was necessary to clarify and update the regulations concerning supply and ownership of ECUs, the homologation of permitted sensors and the list of “free devices” that can be connected to the ECU. Full details will be published in the on-line version of the FIM Grand Prix regulations.

Sporting Regulations

Effective Immediately

In the interests of safety a regulation was approved which prohibits a rider stopping on the start and finish straight after the chequered flag.

Medical Code

The Commission approved initial plans to make changes to the structure of the Grand Prix medical services. This will involve changes to responsibilities within the permanent management and also better integration and involvement of the local circuit doctors.

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

Scott Jones Goes Dutch - Pictures Of Assen

No comment necessary

Pol Espargaro is trying hard to go fast. Perhaps a little too hard

No walk in the park

Scott Redding, like his old adversary Pol Espargaro, is trying really, really hard

A great rider, a smart team, a brilliant crew chief, some clever engineers. A potent brew

Follow the fast guy

Andrea Migno hooning round a racetrack on a naked 250cc four-stroke single - it could be 1925 all over again

Bradley Smith has come into his own in 2015

A new swingarm, and a track he doesn't have to learn for a change, and Eugene Laverty is fastest Open Honda

Red, white, and blue?

Has the beast been tamed? It is perhaps slightly more manageable. Now to try to stay on

What hides behind the carbon? Is it a torque sensor, perhaps?

Jacob's Ladder. Welcome to Assen

Crowd pleaser. Cal Crutchlow is always good value

Mr 100%. Because Aleix Espargaro never gives less


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

Dutch MotoGP Round At Assen To Switch From Saturday To Sunday From 2016

The Dutch round of MotoGP, the Dutch TT at Assen, is to switch from Saturday to Sunday. From 2016, the event will surrender its unique status as the only MotoGP round to be held on Saturday, and fall in line with the rest of the MotoGP races. It will, however, remain on the last weekend of June, but will now be on the last Sunday, rather than the last Saturday of June.

The decision was taken by the circuit management after long consideration and discussions with many of the parties who have an interest in the race. The circuit also commissioned market research into the use of leisure time among the Dutch public, which showed that Sunday is the day most people set aside to spend attending sporting events, such as the Dutch TT. Circuit director Peter Oosterbaan and chairman Arjan Bos said that the market they were operating in was such that Sunday was a better day all round for sporting events. "All of the major football games, all of the big sporting events are on Sunday. People expect to go to a big event on a Sunday," Arjan Bos said. The move would also mean better media exposure for the event, as Sunday is the day with the most exposure for sports on TV and radio.

A major objective of the switch is to increase attendance, not so much on race day as for practice. Though Bos and Oosterbaan hoped that race day attendance would rise, they saw the most possibility for gains on Saturday. "We have been to a lot of races in recent years, at Le Mans, in Italy and in Spain. We have been surprised at the number of people who turn up for qualifying, and at the range of events on offer. By switching the race to Sunday, we hope to replicate that experience at Assen." To that end, circuit facilities are to be given an upgrade, with the seating areas around the track being turned into proper grandstands, and with a special event space to be built, which would be able of hosting a range of entertainment in the evening during race weekends. This was all part of a €12 million investment program to upgrade facilities at the track.

Bos and Oosterbaan emphasized that the decision was not taken at the behest of MotoGP series organizers Dorna. "When we told Carmelo Ezpeleta, he was delighted, but he has never put any pressure on us to change," Bos said. "This was a decision we took for the good of the circuit, and for the future of MotoGP in the Netherlands." As part of that future, the circuit is now discussing an extension of its contract with Dorna to host the race from 2021 to 2026. Though that was yet to be agreed, Bos and Oosterbaan said that the proposal had been received very favorably by Dorna.

The switch to Sunday means that this Saturday's race will be the last ever Dutch TT to be raced on Saturday. Whoever wins in Assen will go down in history as the last winner of the traditional Saturday race. But that tradition is something of a historical curiosity. The original race in 1925 was forced to switch from Sunday to Saturday, after complaints from a local Dutch Reformed pastor who did not want the roar of motorcycles coming past the front door of his church on Sunday. The Netherlands, and the region around Assen, are a vastly more secular society than they were 90 years ago. Bringing the Dutch TT at Assen into line with the rest of the MotoGP races will bring far more benefits than downsides. The management of the circuit believe it is a crucial step to secure the long term future of the race in the Netherlands, and at Assen.

Brno MotoGP Ticket Sales Suspended - 2015 Round Looking Severely Doubtful

This year's Brno round of MotoGP looks to be under severe threat. Ticket sales on the circuit's official website for the event have been suspended as of this afternoon, after talks with Brno city council and the regional government broke down over funding of the race.

The message on the Brno circuit website reads:

With an immediate effect, Automotodrom Brno suspends the sale of tickets for the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic 2015 due to insufficient funding for the event. The final decision on the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic 2015 will be published on 29 June. In case of cancellation of the event, all paid tickets will be refunded. 

The issue seems to be a disagreement between the circuit, the city council, the regional government and the Czech state. All of the interested parties are keen to see the race happen, but none are willing to cover the costs without imposing conditions. At stake is a total of CZK 50 million, or roughly €1.8 million euros. Funds have been made available by the Moravian regional government, the city council and the Ministry for Education, but the circuit is still trying to reach an agreement with those offering the funds over the conditions for that money. 

The lack of agreement means that the deadline for the circuit to pay Dorna has passed. Talks are continuing between the track and the authorities over a solution, but they will require Dorna's forebearance over moneys not paid to the series organizer. It will be interesting to see whether Dorna is prepared to hang on until the 29th to give Brno a second chance. As the Czech round is the most popular of the season, with the highest attendance figures of the year, it is hard to understand how the circuit can be short of the funds needed to pay the race.

And It's Off Again - Van Der Mark Will Not Be Replacing Abraham At Assen After All

Michael van der Mark will now not be racing at his home MotoGP round of Assen. The deal to replace the injured Karel Abraham at the AB MotoRacing team has fallen through, the stumbling block being who would cover the cost of crash parts.

The deal came very close to fruition. Rumors that Van der Mark would take the place of Abraham first started over the weekend at Misano, emerging publicly on Monday afternoon. HRC had put Van der Mark forward to replace the injured Abraham, and the AB MotoRacing team were very open to having the young Dutchman as a substitute. Things soured on Monday, however, as discussions grew heated over who would pay for crash damage to the Open class Honda RC213V-RS if Van der Mark were to drop the bike. AB MotoRacing wanted HRC to pay for damage, Honda believed it was the responsibility of the team, just as it would be if Abraham were racing. 

In the end, the two parties could not reach agreement. Van der Mark will not now race in front of his home crowd, and it seems likely that Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will once again fill in for an absent rider. The loss of Van der Mark as a substitute will come as a minor blow to the Dutch TT at Assen, with Dutch media interest in the race going into overdrive at the prospect of a Dutch rider in the premier class. The last Dutch rider to race in MotoGP was Jurgen van der Goorbergh, who rode the last of the Honda NSR500s with Erv Kanemoto, working on the earliest versions of Bridgestone's MotoGP tires. Since then, there have been Dutch riders in the junior classes - 125s, 250s and Moto3 - but never a rider in the main show.

Michael Van Der Mark Set To Replace Karel Abraham For Assen MotoGP Round

Michael van der Mark looks set to make his MotoGP debut at Assen this weekend. The 22-year-old Dutchman will be swapping his Pata Honda CBR1000RR World Superbike machine for the Open class Honda RC213V-RS of the AB MotoRacing team, where he is set to fill in for the injured Karel Abraham. Abraham badly injured his foot, severly dislocating his toe, in a fall during FP4 in Barcelona.

Rumors that the Dutchman would get the chance to race a MotoGP machine at his home race started circulating in the Dutch media earlier on Monday. Several sources close to the situation confirmed that the deal was very close to being sealed. There are just a few final details to be settled, including matters such as covering the cost of damage in case of a crash.

Van der Mark's MotoGP debut is another step in the meteoric rise of his career. The Dutch youngster wrapped up the Superstock 600 title in his second full year in the class, then repeated that feat in World Supersport. He has made a strong debut in World Superbikes, matching and sometimes beating his Pata Honda teammate, the reigning world champion Sylvain Guintoli. Van der Mark had a superb weekend during the WSBK race at Assen in April, scoring a pair of podiums in the two races. HRC were already impressed with the Dutchman after his performance in the Suzuka 8 Hour race last year, and have signed him to race alongside Casey Stoner at the event again this year. His performance on the Pata Honda in WSBK convinced them to ask him to step in at AB MotoRacing, when Karel Abraham's team informed IRTA that they would need to field a substitute rider for Assen.

Van der Mark has an uphill task ahead of him. Though he knows the Assen circuit like the back of his hand, he has only had a single brief test ride on a Honda MotoGP machine. Conditions at Assen are set to be rather changeable, as is so often the case, meaning that the amount of dry track time he will have is likely to be limited. The Open Honda is not nearly as competitive as the satellite machines, and so he still has plenty to learn. But Van der Mark's appearance at Assen is likely to be immensely popular with Dutch racing fans, and will further boost the already high numbers expected on Saturday.