Latest News

Pecco Bagnaia Stays In Moto2 With Sky VR46 For Another Year

Pecco Bagnaia is one Moto2 rider who will not be moving up to MotoGP in 2018. The Italian rookie, who has been impressive in his debut Moto2 season, scoring a podium at Jerez, is to remain with the Sky Racing Team VR46 for the following season.

Bagnaia had been linked to a couple of rides in MotoGP. Both Pramac and especially Aspar were keen to see the Italian youngster move up to MotoGP for next season, after his strong rides in Moto3 and impressive start to his Moto2 career. Bagnaia has chosen stability, however, remaining with the Sky VR46 team for a second season in Moto2. 

That may yet offer him a path to MotoGP. It is an open secret in the paddock that the VR46 team wants to move up to MotoGP, with the team run by Valentino Rossi said to have been offered two grid slots for the 2019 season. If Bagnaia continues to make the progress he has already shown, it would be a natural progression for the Italian to move up to MotoGP along with the VR46 team. Whether that plan actually comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, with no news expected on that until next year. 

The press release from the Sky VR46 team announcing Bagnaia's contract extension appears below:


Pecco – currently the best rookie in Moto2 - renews his commitment to the Team that supporting the Young Italian Talents of the two wheels
Bagnaia: "I'm proud to be in this big family even in 2018, for achieving important results".

Assen, June 22nd, 2017 - Francesco Bagnaia will remain in Moto2 with the Sky Racing Team VR46 in 2018. After two important second places in Jerez de la Frontera and in Le Mans, Sky and VR46 announce the renewal of the contract for the rider number 42, currently the best rookie in the intermediate category.

The deal comes in an extraordinary period of growth for Bagnaia, who has scored the first podium in Moto2 on the Andalusian track just four races from the debut in the new category in Qatar. Pecco will continue his growth path in the Team, born in 2014, to support the young Italian talents of the two wheels.

Francesco Bagnaia: "Just a year ago, I decided to face the Moto2 challenge with the Sky Racing Team VR46, a Team that, with the VR46 Riders Academy and Sky, has always supported me. Today I'm proud to say that in 2018 I will continue to work in this big family for achieving great results. With more experience I'm sure we will be able to remain close to the Top guys".

Pablo Nieto, Team Manager: "I'm really happy to confirm that Pecco will stay with us next year in Moto2. We made our debut in the new category in Qatar, but thanks to this talented rookie and his extraordinary ability to adapt his riding style to the new bike, we have already taken some nice satisfactions. His choice to stay in the Sky Racing Team VR46 is an extra injection of confidence for everybody to make even more efforts and give their 100% every weekend. As a team, we will continue to support him by providing all our professionalism, commitment and passion to help him in his grow path and to show, not only on track, his incredible talent. I'm sure we can achieve important goals together".


Back to top

Cal Crutchlow Signs Two-Year Deal With HRC To Stay At LCR Honda

Cal Crutchlow is to stay with the LCR Honda team for the next two years. The Englishman's contract is part of a new deal between HRC and LCR, which will see Honda supply Honda RC213Vs to the LCR Honda team for the next two seasons, and signs Crutchlow directly to HRC, rather than LCR.

The deal with HRC should see expanded support for LCR from Honda. Lucio Cecchinello's squad is expected to expand to a two-bike effort for 2018, with Taka Nakagami joining the team with support from Japanese oil company Idemitsu. The contract should also mean more support for Crutchlow's side of the garage. HRC have been using Crutchlow as an extra test rider for the past couple of seasons, so more support and a direct contract is a logical extension of that relationship.

The press release announcing the deal appears below:

PRESS RELEASE: 21 June 2017

The LCR Honda MotoGP Team is delighted to officially announce the renewal of the technical partnership with the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) for the next two years, with Cal Crutchlow also confirmed as part of the cooperation. The Brit, who has been riding a Honda RC213V since 2015, taking two MotoGP victories, two second places and two third places, has signed a new two-year agreement with the Japanese manufacturer.

Tetsuhiro Kuwata HRC Director (General Manager Race Operations Management Division): “We're very happy to continue working with the LCR Team and with Cal for the next two seasons. We really appreciate the work they’re doing, and we decided to confirm our relationship and even elevate it by having Cal under contract directly with HRC. We wish Cal and Lucio all the best for the remainder of this season and those to come!"

Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “Cal is undoubtedly one of the most competitive and talented riders in MotoGP, and thanks to HRC’s support, we are honoured to work with him again for the next two years. Cal gave us our first ever victory in the premier class of MotoGP and further important results. I want to thank all those who worked and supported this project so far, first and foremost HRC”.

Cal Crutchlow

"I am very happy to confirm that I will be riding for HRC with the LCR Team again for two more seasons. We have worked extremely hard over the last three seasons together and I am positive that we will enjoy more great results together. I would like to thank HRC for the great support they offer me and our team, and I look forward to giving my hundred percent to this project as always."


Back to top

Pirelli On Van der Mark's Tire: "We Have Not Had This Issue Before"

Michael van der Mark suffered a rear tire failures during the closing stages of Race 1 of the Misano WorldSBK round. The Dutch rider was leading the race at the time and had a firm chance to claim a first career victory in the class when his rear tire suddenly failed and pitched him off the bike through the series of fast right handers at the end of the lap.

For Pirelli it is the second round in a row where they have seen a tire failure affect the outcome of a race after Jonathan Rea suffered the same fate at Donington Park. Three weeks ago Rea was using a development SC0 compound tire when he suffered an instantaneous drop in pressure after the tire came off the rim and caused him to crash at the Old Hairpin. In Rea's case the damage was different to Van der Mark's as explained by Pirelli's Communication Manager, Matteo Giusti:

“Johnny was using the V0602 tire which is a development SC0 but Van der Mark was a standard SC0 tire,” said Giusti in Misano. “The standard tire means that it is the tire that is available on the market for customers and it has been available for more than one year. It has been used many times, it is actually the most used tire in the WorldSBK championship and in a lot of national series too. They were two different tires and two different problems with different damage to them. Johnny had a tear in his tire that was about 10cm along the side of the tire whereas Michael had a small hole in the surface. With Mickey's tire you can put your finger through the tire but we are not sure what happened to cause this on the tire.

“We are trying to understand where the damage came from but we cannot do a lab test here at the race track so we will analyze it. The damage is completely different to what happened to Johnny at Donington so we now need to try and analyze the reasons that could have been a factor to causing the hole. It could be related to tire pressure, how it was fitted, or any number of reasons. The track temperature is unlikely to have been a factor because it was 50C and we have run in these conditions before.”

The standard SC0 tire that caused Van der Mark's crash is one that has been used extensively in the series, as well as in numerous national championships around the world, without a similar failure so while Pirelli will strive to understand the cause there is a large volume of data with which to prove the tire's durability.

“We want to understand why we have had issues in consecutive races,” continued Giusti. “They were not the same problem but it is an issue with two different rear tires on different tracks. This tire has been in use for more than one year and we have not had an issue like this before with the standard SC0 tire.”


Back to top

World Superbike Considering Switch To Spec ECU

With part of the WorldSBK paddock present in Barcelona for the MotoGP race last weekend, the Superbike Commission, the series' rulemaking body, met at Montmelo to discuss changes to the WorldSBK rules. Though much of what was agreed in the meeting amounted to a tidying up of the starting procedure, a big talking point was the introduction of a single ECU.

The various members of the Superbike Commission discussed whether a spec ECU should be introduced for the 2018 season. They did not reach an agreement on the subject at Barcelona, but, according to the press release issued by the FIM, they do expect the matter to be settled within the next few weeks. 

This suggests that the introduction of a spec ECU is inevitable. Dorna and the FIM will be pushing hard for this, as the spec ECU is perceived to have been a success in MotoGP, leveling the playing field between the different factories. Whether it will be such a success in WorldSBK remains to be proven, as there are many more factors involved in the series, most particularly the fact that the bikes are based on production vehicles, limiting the base from where development begins. Whether that will be addressed at a later date remains to be seen.

The press release issued by the FIM containing the minutes of the Superbike commission are shown below:

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
Changes to the Regulations for 2017

The Superbike Commission composed of Messrs Gregorio Lavilla (WorldSBK Sporting Director), Rezsö Bulcsu (FIM CCR Director) Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), in the presence of Messrs Daniel Carrera (WorldSBK Executive Director), Franck Vayssié and Paul Duparc (FIM) in a meeting held in Barcelona-Catalunya (ESP) on 09 June, made a few changes to the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships Regulations.

The goal was to clarify the Rules, as deemed necessary.

Sporting Regulations

1. Slight changes have been carried out to the start procedure, clarifying that any rider who crashes or encounters problems during the sighting lap(s) is permitted to reach the pit lane safely under the instructions of the officials. Obviously the Race Direction is not responsible for ensuring the machine and rider reach the pit lane in time to start. However, all reasonable efforts will be made to assist the team and rider. His bike will be checked in the pit lane for safety reasons, by the Technical Director (or his appointed deputy) who will have the authority to allow or not the machine to start (or restart).

2. With the same philosophy, should a rider crash during any practice or qualifying session and wish to re-join the session, then at the discretion of the track marshals, he may re- join the track and must proceed directly to the pit lane. The rider is responsible of the safety with his machine until he reaches the pit lane. His bike will be checked in the pit lane, for safety reasons, by the Technical Director (or his appointed deputy) who will have the authority to allow or not the machine to restart.

3. It was also clarified that in the case of a race interrupted prior to a ride-through being complied with or notified to, and if there is a second or subsequent parts, the rider will be required to ride through after the start of the second or subsequent parts of the race.

4. In Supersport 300, in case of a withdrawal of a permanent rider, a qualified substitute rider may be proposed by the team to the approval of FIM and Dorna up to one hour before the Free Practice 2 (whereas it remains up to one hour before Free Practice 3 for the SBK, Supersport and Superstock 1000).

5. Should a re-started race be interrupted and Race Direction deems it possible to re- start, then the conditions for a further re-start may be carried out as follows: If the re-started race is interrupted when two-thirds of the current race distance (two- thirds must be minimum 5 laps) rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps have been completed, the race will be deemed to have been completed and full Championship points awarded.

If the re-started race is interrupted when less than two-thirds of the current race distance rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps have been completed, the race would be re-started at a further time if possible, for the same number of laps as the first re-start.

In the case of rain after the sighting or warm up lap(s) the delayed start procedure will continue. If the race is delayed but not due to weather conditions but the conditions can be quickly resolved, then the rain delayed start procedure will be applied.

After this, considering the problem is not track related we would like to start the race with a quickstart procedure to save time.

6. For Superbike and Supersport contracted riders, participating in a National Championship events are permitted. However, participating partly or fully in the official sessions and race of such event will be considered as 1 (one) test day only in the restricted number of practice days.

For European Superstock, European Supersport and Supersport (300), riders can participate at any National Championship event without any restrictions.

Technical Regulations

There were no decisions taken for an immediate application. However, the possibility of controlling and applying a single Electronic Control Unit in the SBK class for 2018 was discussed. The final decision about using a single ECU would be taken within the following weeks.

The 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersports World Championships Regulations will be available at FIM-LIVE.COM within the next two weeks.


Back to top

Joan Mir To Join Marc VDS Moto2 Squad For 2018

The first of the Moto2 moves for the 2018 season has been announced, and it should come as no surprise that it is championship leader Joan Mir who is moving up from Moto3 to Moto2. Mir will take one of the seats in the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS squad, aboard the team's Kalex Moto2 bikes. Mir was impressive last year on the Leopard Racing KTM, and since the team switched to Honda, has continued to impress.

Mir's signing opens speculation over whose seat he is expected to take in the Marc VDS Moto2 team. Franco Morbidelli looks set to move up to MotoGP in 2018, aboard either a Marc VDS Honda or possibly a Pramac Ducati, if Ducati offer Morbidelli a factory contract. Alex Marquez is also believed to be looking outside the Marc VDS team, though it is uncertain where the Spaniard would settle.

Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team:

Joan Mir to step up to Moto2 with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS are pleased to announce that they have agreed a three-year deal with Joan Mir that will see the Moto3 sensation step up to the Moto2 category in 2018.

Mir made an immediate impact on the Moto3 World Championship on his arrival in 2016, winning the Austrian Grand Prix on his way to finishing fifth in the championship and securing the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.

This year the Mallorcan has been the dominant force in Moto3, the most closely contested of all three Grand Prix classes.

Mir opened the 2017 season with back-to-back wins in Qatar and Argentina, following that up with a third place in Spain and another victory in France. It is this form that has given the 19-year-old a 34-point advantage at the top of the Moto3 World Championship standings after six of 18 races.

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"We've had our eye on Joan for quite some time, first in CEV and then in Moto3 when he made his debut in the World Championship. We saw right at the start of last year that he had the talent, drive and determination to be a championship contender and he's proved us right this season. I am looking forward to welcoming him into the team and I am confident that the combination of his talent and our technical staff will ensure a smooth and rapid transition from Moto3 championship contender to Moto2 frontrunner."

Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team

"I am happy that we have secured a rider of Joan Mir's calibre for the future and I am proud that he chose us as the team with which to make his step up to the intermediate class. We are a results driven team and our track record shows that, but we are also a racing family and we value certain personal qualities as highly as we value performance. Having spoken with Joan this weekend, I am certain that we've made the right choice on all levels and I am looking forward to welcoming him to the Marc VDS family next season."


Back to top

Barcelona To Revert To Old F1 Chicane From Saturday

The Safety Commission, the body in which riders, Dorna, and the FIM meet to discuss issues of safety, have decided to revert to the track layout used during qualifying and the race in 2016. After numerous complaints from riders after practice on Friday, the new layout, which featured a much shorter chicane cutting across a different type of asphalt, has judged not to be suitable for use. The riders complained that the switch across different types of asphalt made the new chicane a worse choice than the 2016 track layout.

The 2016 track layout will be used from FP3 on Saturday for all three Grand Prix classes. The press release announcing the change appears below:

Catalan GP: Layout to revert to chicane used in 2016

Decision taken to race on the layout used last season

Following FP1 and FP2 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, the decision has been taken to revert the track layout to the old chicane – the one used for Saturday and Sunday in 2016 – from FP3 onwards in 2017.

The decision is based on feedback from riders following Day 1 of track action, and was taken by the Safety Commission on Friday evening.

The changes made to the layout ahead of the 2017 event were deemed insufficient due to the change in the asphalt of the chicane, which was the cause for concern for the majority of the riders.

The race weekend will therefore continue on Saturday using the layout raced in 2016.

Loris Capirossi: “In the Safety Commission the riders complained a little about the new layout, they said the work wasn’t done in the right way and there were a lot of bumps – that’s why the riders decided to go back to the layout from last year. That’s why we’re here, to make sure the track used tomorrow is the safest we can. We saw during practice today a lot of crashes too where the bike remained on the track and at the exit of the corner, and that’s very dangerous. We have experience from last year of the old chicane and we didn’t have any crashes like we did today, that’s why the riders requested it. In terms of crashes, the old one is better.”


Back to top

Max Biaggi Injured In Training Crash - UPDATED

Max Biaggi is the latest (ex-) rider to be injured in a training crash. The four-time 250cc champion was riding a supermoto bike at the Saggitario track in Latina, just south of Rome, when he crashed the bike. Biaggi was transported to a nearby hospital, the Ospedale San Camillo Di Roma, where he is being treated with suspected thoracic and vertebrae damage.

Details are sketchy, but Paolo Scalera of has spoken to people around Biaggi. The Italian was reportedly picked up by his mechanics after the crash, and was moving his extremities, but he collapsed and was taken to hospital by helicopter. Biaggi's injuries are believed to be serious, but not life-threatening.


More details are now known of Biaggi's injuries. He has suffered seven broken ribs, a fractured vertebra, and a concussion. He is currently on oxygen to help breathing through broken ribs, and is in the Intensive Care unit of the San Camillo hospital. However, although his condition is serious he is not in danger. He is likely to spend at least a month in hospital recovering.

Back to top

Triumph Announced As Official Moto2 Engine Supplier For 2019 Onwards

As had been trailed since the start of this year, Triumph have finally been announced as the official engine supplier to the Moto2 class from 2019 onwards. The deal with Dorna will see Triumph supply a specially modified version of the 765cc triple which powers their new Street Triple range of production bikes.

The engine has been modified to produce more power and torque, and to be a little narrower. A modified cylinder head and inlet and exhaust ports provide better breathing, titanium valves and stiffer springs allow the engine to rev more freely, and make it more reliable under braking. A higher first gear replaces the normal street ratio, and the use of a race alternator and racing clutch make the covers narrower.

The engine will produce 133hp and 80Nm of torque in the first instance. The objective of engine development has been especially on reliability and durability rather than outright horsepower. As the engine is one element the Moto2 teams cannot touch, they place a very high stock in the fact that they know the engines will finish races without blowing up or breaking down. 

The Moto2 engine has already been tested by Julian Simon at the Motorland Aragon circult last week. It was tested in a special Moto2 chassis built by Triumph, though Paul Stroud, Chief Commercial Officer for Triumph Motorcycles, ruled out an official Moto2 entry by Triumph, saying that it was very much against the spirit of the class. 

Engines will be made available to the Moto2 chassis manufacturers very soon, so they can get on with the work of designing the chassis to be used in 2019. Alex Baumgärtel of Kalex said that he expected work to start later in the year, with the first tests to happen at the end of 2017. 

Triumph's rationale for racing in Moto2 is very much an exercise in branding. The additional exposure which being official Moto2 engine supplier brings is a huge boost to the Triumph brand, bringing exposure in important growing overseas markets. The Triumph branding in Moto2 will feature more prominently than with current supplier Honda, each bike having a sticker on the fairing, and on the shoulder of each rider.

A selection of photos of the Moto2 engine follows, and below that is the official press release announcing the deal.


Today, Triumph Motorcycles has been announced as the exclusive engine supplier to the FIM Moto2TM World Championship from the 2019 season onwards.

Triumph has signed a three-year contract with Dorna - the commercial rights holder of MotoGPTM - to supply a dedicated race tuned 765cc Triumph triple engine, based on the powerplant from the all-new 2017 Triumph Street Triple.

The new engine is a significant development of the race-winning Daytona 675R powerplant that has powered supersports wins at the Isle of Man TT, Daytona 200 and British Supersports Championships in 2014 and 2015.

Based on the highest specification 765cc powerplant from the Street Triple RS it has been developed for Moto2TM with the following modifications;

  • Modified cylinder head with revised inlet and exhaust ports for optimised gas flow
  • Titanium valves and stiffer valve springs for increased rpm
  • Low Output race kit alternator for reduced inertia
  • Taller 1st gear ratio
  • Race developed slipper clutch which will be tuneable
  • Specific race ECU; which will be developed with Magneti Marelli
  • Revised engine covers for reduced width
  • Different sump to allow for improved header run

The engine

Based on the new 2017 Street Triple powerplant, the Triumph Moto2TM 765cc triple engine has been developed and tuned for a major step up in power and torque.

In ‘road’ set-up the new 765cc engine delivers the highest ever level of performance for a Street Triple; delivering power of 123PS @ 11,700rpm and 77Nm Torque@10,800rpm.

It has more than 80 new parts compared to the previous generation engine, including an increase to the bore and stroke. All-new engine components include;

  • new crank
  • new pistons
  • new con-rods and balancer shaft
  • Nikasil plated aluminium barrels
  • Revised gearbox

The race specification Triumph 765cc Moto2 engine has been developed further to allow the engine to breathe more freely and rev harder than the production bike; increasing overall performance. Other changes have been made specifically to adapt the engine for race use.

To see a CGI film of the Triumph Moto2 engine click here:

Paul Stroud, Chief Commercial Officer for Triumph Motorcycles, said; “This is a significant moment for Triumph that brings an exciting new chapter to our 110-year racing history and builds on our celebrated TT and Supersports race winning triple engines.

We look forward to a long and thrilling relationship with Dorna and the Moto2TM teams, riders and fans.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, Chief Executive Officer of Dorna added; “We are very excited to be working with one of the world’s most iconic motorcycle brands. The Triumph triple engines are renowned for their strong, linear power and torque delivery and have achieved many successes on the track making them the ideal choice for the Moto2TM Championship. We are looking forward to the 2019 season and the beginning of a new generation of Moto2TM in partnership with Triumph.”

Herve Poncharal, President of IRTA, stated; “Moto2™ is a key category in feeding talent into MotoGP™. We’re seeing a lot of top riders in MotoGP all come through the intermediate category. The arrival of Triumph as the sole engine supplier and with new ECU’s in the intermediate class, marks a new era that is sure to prove another incredible step in its evolution, making it remain the ultimate category on the way to MotoGP.

Trevor Morris, Technical Director from ExternPro, who will be responsible for the final preparation of the engines for the race series, commented; “It is incredibly exciting to be working in conjunction with the iconic Triumph motorcycle company in supplying engines for the Moto 2TM world championship. I have been a fan of the triple engine for a long time, its unique characteristics and performance will ensure and enhance the future success of the championship.”

Julian Simon, 2009 125cc World Champion and Moto2 runner-up and experienced Moto2TM test rider, who has been involved with the engine development testing at Aragon, said “The engine feels strong and In particular the mid-range is very impressive. The feel between the throttle and the rear wheel is very direct and controllable. The general feeling is very good and the engine already shows great potential.”


Back to top

Valentino Rossi Declared Fit For Mugello

Valentino Rossi has passed a medical examination at the Mugello Circuit for his home race. The Italian will now take part in practice on Friday, with the objective of preparing for the race on Sunday. 

Below is the press release issued by Yamaha:


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team look forward to starting their home race with their original rider line-up for this weekend‘s Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.

Scarperia (Italy), 1st June 2017

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi is declared fit to participate in this weekend‘s Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.

Earlier this afternoon the nine-time World Champion underwent a routine medical check-up at the Autodromo del Mugello. VR46 fans from all over the world can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that FIM Medical Director, Dr Giancarlo Di Filippo, the Chief Medical Officer of the Mugello Circuit, Dr Remo Barbagli and the MotoGP Medical Director, Dr Angel Charte have found Rossi to be in a suitable condition to take part in his home Grand Prix, starting with tomorrow‘s free practice sessions.


Back to top

Valentino Rossi - No Further Complications, Say Yamaha

Valentino Rossi appears to have emerged from his motocross accident relatively unscathed. The Movistar Yamaha team today issued a press release with a medical update, stating that the Italian appears to have suffered slight injuries to his liver and kidneys, and that this was what was causing him pain.

Rossi is currently receiving pain relief medication, and is due to undergo further routine medical checks. If those checks go as expected, he should be released from hospital later on Friday.

The press release does not mention Rossi's participation in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello next weekend. However, with a week until first practice starts, there is plenty of time to make a decision on that. A photograph taken by the nursing staff with Rossi at Rimini Hospital and published by local website Rimini Today suggests Rossi is looking and feeling well. That bodes well for Mugello.

The official press release issued by the Movistar Yamaha Team appears below:


Following yesterday‘s motocross accident, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi has experienced a positive healing process over the last 12 hours.

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 26th May 2017

Having been diagnosed yesterday evening with mild thoracic and abdominal trauma, following a motocross accident, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team rider Valentino Rossi is making positive progress with his recovery.

Last night the 38-year-old Italian spent a quiet night at the "Ospedale Infermi" in Rimini and was visited this morning by the doctors. Valentino told that he is experiencing less pain both in the chest and in the abdomen, compared to last night. The pain is the result of slight liver and kidney lesions that have not evolved into further complications.

Valentino will continue to receive pain relief over the next 12 hours and, over the course of the day, he will undergo routine diagnostic tests. If the results are positive, he may be discharged from the hospital within the day.

Further updates are to follow in due course.


Back to top