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Qatar Extends MotoGP Deal For Another Ten Years

Qatar is to host a MotoGP race through 2026. The Losail International Circuit has extended its current deal, which expires in 2016, for another 10 years. 

The race is to remain a night race, and will stay as the season opener for the foreseeable future. The race is a lucrative one for Dorna, the fee paid by Qatar covering all of the costs of all of the flyaway races for all of the teams for the full season. 

The night race is popular with fans, as it provides an interesting spectacle, and the layout is particularly well suited to motorcycle racing. However, holding the race as a night race means it is impossible to start the season much earlier than late March, as temperatures drop too much at night earlier in the year, causing dew to form on the track, making it dangerous to race on.

Below is the press release issued by Dorna:

Qatar secures 10-year MotoGP™ contract

The Losail International Circuit will be featured on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar until at least 2026 following a joint announcement by QMMF President Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Dorna Sports CEO Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta. The two parties committed to continue the agreement which has seen the Qatar round become a permanent fixture of Grand Prix racing since 2004.

On Sunday morning at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, Mr. Al-Attiyah and Mr. Ezpeleta penned a 10-year deal from 2017 onwards, meaning the event will run for at least 23 consecutive editions since it’s addition to the calendar in 2004. Since then the Qatar GP has become a key point of the Championship. It has acted as the season opener since 2007 and really made its mark in 2008 when it switched to a night-race format, a first in the history of MotoGP™.

Mr. Al-Attiyah declared: “We are very excited about continuing our partnership with MotoGP™ and securing our place in the calendar for another decade. The night race is a spectacular event that we’re proud to host and we aim to keep perfecting this partnership."

"Since its first edition in 2004, the Qatar GP became a trademark of the MotoGP™ World Championship and continues to provide a unique set-up for racing, so we're pleased to seal this agreement and extend our relationship beyond 2016. Losail International Circuit always creates a magic atmosphere and the brotherhood of the two companies has grown throughout the years", commented Dorna Sports SL CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.

Scott Jones In Tuscany: Race Day At Mugello, Part 1

Pride of Italy: Romano Fenati sporting a stunning Tricolore paint scheme

They tried to catch Jorge Lorenzo, but Lorenzo was not for catching

Yellow Mugello Madness

Heartbreak for Ducati as Dovizioso's rear sprocket rounded...

And joy, as Maniac Joe bagged second after a brilliant race

Sam Lowes demonstrates the noble art of backing it in

Lap 2 or lap 18? The Moto3 race was like this all the way to the line

Johann Zarco gives a lesson in managing a championship

The Doctor had his passing lights on

HRC's new swingarm for the RC213V, with a fraction more flex. The swingarm linkage, further forward, is a thing of beauty

Cal Crutchlow could have started the race with new gloves, but new gloves mean tight fingers means arm pump

Tito Rabat, back to winning ways

A bad way to end a race: a dislocated ankle for Cal Crutchlow

Every team's worst nightmare: Italtrans riders Mika Kallio and Franco Morbidelli crashed out at Mugello simultaneously

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The Michelin Test At Mugello - Improved Tires And Mysterious Front End Crashes

On the day after the Italian Grand Prix, the MotoGP riders were back testing at Mugello. This time, however, it was only the factory riders who remained, to give the Michelin tires another run out. The last time they took to the track on the Michelins was at Sepang, and Michelin had brought the latest iteration of their tires to test.

Due to the commercial sensitivities involved, there was no official timing, and the riders were not allowed to speak to the media about the test. Unsurprisingly: Bridgestone hold the single tire contract for the 2015 season, having spent a lot of money for the privilege, so they do not want Michelin stealing their PR thunder. Nor do Michelin really want to be subject the intense scrutiny which official timing would impose while they are still in the middle of their development program.

That does not mean that the small band of journalists who stayed at the test did not learn anything, however. Michelin had brought four front tires to the test, and the factory men spent the morning and the early afternoon selecting their favorite from the four. The plan was for the riders to then try that tire in a full race simulation, to see how the tire stood up to a race distance of 23 laps.

That plan was quickly canceled. There had been no falls during the morning and early afternoon, but on the first laps of his long run, Jorge Lorenzo crashed out at Materassi. Once the track was cleared, it was the turn of Marc Márquez to go out, but on the second lap of his run, he too crashed, this time at Arrabbiata 1. With the debris of the Repsol Honda out of the way, Valentino Rossi followed, the Italian falling at Correntaio. At that point, the plan was abandoned.

All three crashes appear to follow the same pattern, and a similar pattern to the crashes at Sepang. When the riders start pushing hard, the extra drive and grip from the Michelin rear causes the front to wash out, dumping them on the floor. The Michelins seem to have retained some fundamental characteristics, despite being radically different from the tires which Michelin raced back in 2008. Though riders and teams are forbidden from speaking, some sources suggest off the record that the Michelin rear is fantastic, with a lot more grip than the Bridgestone, while the front is not quite where the Bridgestone front is. The new spec front is believed to be better, to give more support and have more edge grip, but clearly, it is not quite ready for prime time.

The picture is complicated by the fact that the bikes are set up for an entirely different tire. The Michelins are all 17-inch tires, though the tire outer circumference is rather similar to the Bridgestone 16.5-inch rubber. The 2015 bikes are all designed based on years of data with the Bridgestones, and so suspension settings and chassis geometry and stiffness are not quite right for the Michelins. There is a lot of work to do with both the tires and the bikes ahead of 2016.

That is also apparent from the feedback. A member of one team told me that a rider from another team – pinch of salt required – was far less happy with the Michelins at Mugello than he had been at Sepang. In Malaysia, he was faster on the Michelins than the Bridgestones. At Mugello, it was the other way round. There is no doubt that in terms of overall performance, the Michelins are already very close. One insider told me they expected lap records to fall at some tracks, but to be slower at others. It makes for an interesting prospect.

It may have been a factory rider test, but not all factory riders were present. Suzuki were absent altogether, as Aleix Espargaro still has the thumb injury, and as a rookie, Maverick Viñales does not have the experience of the tires to provide useful insight. Andrea Iannone was missing from the Ducati garage, the Italian back at home, and scheduled to have a check up on Wednesday on his injured shoulder. The real mystery, though, was the absence of Marco Melandri. The Italian was missing from the Aprilia garage, and rumors circulating suggested this could be Melandri's last race. According to, Melandri is due to have a meeting with Aprilia staff later this week to discuss his future. Given Melandri's miserable results so far this year, a split looks like the better option. Who would replace him in that case is as yet undecided. Alex De Angelis may move over from the cash-strapped IODA team, or they could bring in a test rider. That decision will only come once Melandri's future has been decided.

Scott Jones In Tuscany: Qualifying Day At Mugello

A glorious setting for racing

It's tough at the top. As Marc Marquez is finding out

Desmo Dovi's Ducati Dreams

Aleix Espargaro has torn the ligament between his thumb and finger. Exactly the point you support your weight on under braking

The position and shape of all those welds serve a purpose. What that purpose is, Ducati will never tell you

Bradley Smith is lifting his Mugello MotoGP curse

Claudio Domenicali, Ducati's boss of bosses

Mugello swoops

Viñales, from above

Ducati test rider Michele Pirro is also reaping the rewards of all the hard work he has put in on the GP15

The Master of Mugello


Dani Pedrosa. He's back

The vent on the left hand side of the Ducati leads under this panel to back of the bike

Pole sitter. And deservedly so

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Scott Jones In Tuscany: Friday At Mugello

Home is where the heart is

You spin me right round, baby, right round

Body position 101: Old school (Michele Pirro) vs new MotoGP (Marc Marquez)

Another example: Pol Espargaro hanging way off the bike


New Honda RC213V swingarm (rear) vs old swingarm (front)


Redding plays peekaboo

Sleight of hand: Pedrosa's mechanics rush to swap a tire from one bike to the other

There hangs a tail

Eugene Laverty has a quick go on the PS3 before exiting pit lane

Speaking of body position...

Dovizioso gets it sideways

The little deflectors which make Ducati's winglets legal

Aleix Espargaro. The bravest man on the grid today. He's going to try to race, despite the pain

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.

Bradley Smith And Pol Espargaro To Race Suzuka 8 Hour

The line up for the Suzuka 8 Hour Race looks to be the strongest for years. Today, Yamaha confirmed that Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider pairing of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro are to race for the factory entry at Suzuka, alongside Yamaha test rider and Japanese Superbike champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Smith and Espargaro will face Casey Stoner and Michael van der Mark, who will be racing for the Honda factory team.

Rumors that Yamaha were taking their entry for the race very seriously first emerged at Jerez, where paddock gossip had Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo entering the race in the factory team. At the time, both men pleaded ignorance, saying that they had heard nothing about such a decision. Having the Movistar Yamaha riders race at Suzuka would have placed a massive strain on the team, as the race falls directly between the Sachsenring and Indianapolis MotoGP rounds. With Rossi leading the title chase, and Lorenzo in second place, Yamaha appear to have decided on an alternative strategy, using the riders from the satellite teams instead.

That does not mean that the Movistar Yamaha men are not involved, however. Valentino Rossi has been testing the new Yamaha R1 in endurance trim at the Misano circuit on several occasions in recent months. Whether this is part of preparations for Suzuka is unknown, as those tests have been private.

The choice of Smith and Espargaro may also be a chance for Yamaha to assess the commitment of the Tech 3 pairing. Both men are in the final year of their contract, Smith on a one-year deal directly with Tech 3, Espargaro in the final year of a two-year contract directly with Yamaha. So far this year, Smith has outperformed his teammate, leading Espargaro by 11 points in the championship. Winning the race for Yamaha would be a major boost for their chances of staying at the Tech 3 team, as the Japanese factory has not won there for 19 years, when Colin Edwards teamed up with Nori Haga.

Below is the press release from Yamaha announcing the participation of Smith and Espargaro:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Announces YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM Rider Line-up at the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race

Iwata (Japan), 25th May 2015

Round 2 of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship

The 38th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is proud to announce that the YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM will be competing in the 38th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race, which is to be held at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture from July 23 to 26, 2015. This will be the first time since 2002 that Yamaha has fielded a factory team for this prestiguous race.

The team‘s rider line-up will consist of reigning JSB1000 class champion of the All Japan Road Race Championship Katsuyuki Nakasuga and MotoGP riders Pol Espargarò and Bradley Smith. They will ride a factory machine based on the new YZF-R1 and specially developed for competition in the Suzuka 8 Hours as they set out to win Yamaha its first victory in this event in 19 years and its fifth in the race‘s history.

Nakasuga is one of the top Yamaha riders in Japan and is currently in contention to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive title in the premier class of the All Japan Road Race Championship. He has raced in the Suzuka 8 Hours seven times before, with a best result of fourth place in 2014

Espargarò and Smith will be entering the Suzuka 8 Hours for the first time and will bring to the challenge their vast experience in the world‘s premier motorcycle road racing category, MotoGP. They finished the 2014 MotoGP season ranked 6th and 8th, respectively.

Serving as team manager will be Wataru Yoshikawa, the manager of the YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM in the All Japan Road Race Championship. Encouraged by the cheers of Yamaha fans, the team members, riders and sponsors will pull together as they aim for a coveted victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours.

Yamaha Motor participates in racing activities around the world under three basic policies: branding, feedback of technology and promotional activities. This season, Yamaha Motor is once again fielding factory teams in three All Japan championships (road racing, motocross and trials) and, with the introduction of the new YZF-R1, new programs have been launched to further stimulate its racing activities in countries around the world.

Factory participation in this year‘s Suzuka 8 Hours is one example of these racing activities, and through this participation Yamaha Motor seeks to prove the performance potential of the new YZF-R1 while at the same time gaining technological expertise, promoting development of human resources and sharing the excitement of rewarding experiences in motorsport as an embodiment of the “Revs your Heart” brand slogan.


Rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga

“This season I am serving as a factory rider for the first time in an attempt to be the first rider ever to win four consecutive titles in the premier class of the All Japan Road Race Championship, while using the new YZF-R1. Now I am very glad that I am being given another new challenge of competing on the factory team in the Suzuka 8 Hours, which I am excited about like never before. I am also looking forward to competing together with two such outstanding riders as [Pol] Espargarò and [Bradley] Smith, and I feel this will be a good opportunity for me to improve my racing skills. Of course, I will be going for nothing less than the win. I will work together with the team to show that the new YZF-R1 is the fastest machine on the track, and I will do my best to bring an experience of the greatest possible Kando* to the fans that have waited so long for the comeback of the Yamaha factory team and a Suzuka 8 Hours victory. I hope everyone will come to the circuit during race week to cheer us on.”

Rider Pol Espargarò

“I am really happy that Yamaha has chosen me to represent them at one of the most famous motorsport events, which is the Suzuka 8 Hour race. I feel honoured to take part in it, but there will be a lot to learn. I am under no illusion that it will be easy as I have never raced in an endurance event before and I don‘t know the YZF-R1, even though a lot of people speak very highly about it. In addition, the MotoGP calendar is very demanding and we will have to work through the training for the event, in between the races. Therefore, we need to work as much as possible in order to be prepared for the race, but I‘m very excited to get this opportunity. Moreover, it will be nice to work with Bradley as a partner where we will fight together, instead of against each other. I think we will complement each other very well and have a great time. The only thing is that neither of us know the Suzuka track, so I hope Nakasuga-san can help us with everything, which includes the circuit, the bike and the correct strategies that we need to have a successful eight hour race. It will be special and we will do our best to reward the faith that Yamaha has put in us.”

Rider Bradley Smith

“Firstly, I want to give Yamaha a massive thank you for considering me to be part of their Suzuka 8 Hour team, which is a legendary event. I‘m looking forward to trying a new form of motorcycle racing and even more so along with my MotoGP teammate Pol and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who has a strong record at this special race. I think it will be an unforgettable event and it will add another chapter to my life with Yamaha. I‘m also very excited to try the new Yamaha YZF-R1, which I have heard a lot about and it will be really great to finally get the opportunity to ride it. Of course, I will take this event very seriously as we are going to be part of the official Factory Team effort, so I will head to Japan with the full intention of getting a high scoring result for Yamaha.”

Team Manager Wataru Yoshikawa

“This time we have assembled a great team that really has me personally very excited. [Katsuyuki] Nakasuga is a rider with a wealth of experience racing at Suzuka Circuit and in the Suzuka 8 Hours, and in addition to running fast times, we will need his presence as a team leader to help propel us to victory. A critical point for our success will be to have [Pol] Espargarò and [Bradley] Smith learn from Nakasuga‘s Suzuka experience and then deliver the performances that they are capable of as such outstanding riders. To do this, we will need to supply them with a highly competitive machine that they will feel good riding on, and to create an environment that enables them to concentrate fully on their racing. The Suzuka 8 Hours is a very tough race, but we are determined to win it and show that we are the strongest team of all. To win, it is also vital that we have the support of the fans. Let‘s all strive together to get the victory and share the Kando that it will surely bring.”

Talks Held On MotoGP Return To Sentul In 2017

Indonesia may finally get the MotoGP race it has long desired. Carmelo Ezpeleta and Javier Alonso met with senior Indonesian politicians and the management of the Sentul International circuit, to talk about the possibility of staging a MotoGP race in the country from 2017 onwards. Though the meeting produced no concrete agreement, the two sides expressed their commitment to working together to make an Indonesian round of MotoGP happen.

Dorna and the manufacturers have been eyeing Indonesia for some time now. The populous Southeast Asian country is one of the biggest markets for motorcycles in the world, sales consisting mostly of small capacity scooters. The numbers are mind boggling, in the tens of millions of units in total. So the factories are very keen to get their riders in front of Indonesian fans and help promote their brands. The fact that the Indonesian distributors of both Honda and Yamaha are sponsors to the factory teams speaks volumes in this respect.

Dorna, too, are keen to capitalize on the opportunities presented by Indonesia. The country is a major source of internet traffic for most racing-related websites, and supplies a large proportion of followers on social media to racers, teams and journalists alike. With a growing economy and a fast-expanding middle class with expendable income, Dorna has its eyes on the TV market and on selling merchandise, video content and mobile apps to Indonesia.

Two problems have always faced any attempts to race in Indonesia. The first is the smaller of the two: the lack of a suitable venue. Facilities at the Sentul International circuit, where MotoGP last raced in 1997, have fallen into a state of disrepair, and the track is in no way capable of hosting a round of MotoGP as the track stands. There have been constant rumors of new tracks being built, but so far, nothing has come to fruition. During the meeting on Wednesday, Sentul director Tinton Soeprapto promised to work towards complying with all of the demands of the FIM, but also asked for their help.

The bigger issue in Indonesia is the corruption in the country. At Sepang, I spoke to one senior member of the paddock, who asked not to be named, who expressed both the great desire of all concerned to go to Indonesia, and the problems which corruption caused when putting on a race. The teams feared problems at every level: getting equipment in and out of the country, moving people in and out of the country, and even something as simple as getting into and out of the track, my source told me. Planning for a race was almost impossible if you could not be sure your equipment had made it through customs, been transported from the airport to the circuit, and deposited in the right place. Costs were impossible to estimate if each of these steps required bribes to be paid to various officials. The support of the police was vital, but that, too, was often subject to financial inducement, both at the highest level and at the level of individual police officers demanding money to let team staff past to enter the circuit.

Arranging a race in Indonesia is only possible with support from the highest levels of government. The presence of Indonesia's Minster of Tourism, Arief Yahya, was a very positive step in this regard. Though getting rid of corruption would be the best solution, that is beyond the remit of even Dorna. The subtext of Carmelo's Ezpeleta's visit seemed to be ensuring that Dorna have the backing of the Indonesian government before committing to holding a race.

Though Dorna expressed the hope that Indonesia will be able to host a race from 2017, there is clearly still a lot of work to be done to make it happen.

Political Wrangling Puts 2015 Brno MotoGP Round Under Threat

The 2015 MotoGP round at Brno is still not certain to go ahead as a result of a battle for control of the race. According to German-language website Speedweek, circuit owner Karel Abraham Sr. and South Moravian governor Michal Hasek have been arguing since August last year over who will organize the Czech round of MotoGP at the Masaryk circuit in Brno. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has given them an ultimatum, saying that if the situation is not resolved by the first week of June, the 2015 Brno MotoGP round will be canceled.

The dispute at the heart of the problem is about control, and about money. Circuit owner Abraham Sr claims he cannot afford the €2.73 million sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna to host the race, and was therefore subsidized by the city council of Brno and the regional government of South Moravia. Abraham Sr told Speedweek that over €1 million of the amount promised for the 2014 race has yet to be paid. Governor Hasek, meanwhile, has been trying to persuade Dorna to award the contract to the South Moravian government, and allow them to organize the race, according to Speedweek. Ezpeleta is reported to be wary of any such deal, as the government has no control over the race track. Organizing the practical side of the race becomes much more difficult if the track is owned by Abraham Sr, but run by the South Moravian government. Negotiations over the numbers of marshals, medical marshals, etc, become very complex when it is not clear where the responsibility lies.

What is not clear is why Abraham Sr claims that he does not have the funds to organize the Czech round of MotoGP. Last year, there were 138,000 spectators on Sunday, and over 240,000 over three days. The cheapest tickets on sale for this year's event retail at 68 euros. If everyone who attended only bought GA tickets, that would generate nearly €9.4 million in turnover. According to Speedweek, the race is profitable if they get over 170,000 visitors over the three days of the event. The Brno race is the most popular on the calendar, and exceeds that number by 40% or more every year.

Ezpeleta has now issued an ultimatum to both Abraham Sr. and Hasek. If the two cannot reach agreement on the situation and in the week following Mugello, then the 2015 Brno round will be canceled with immediate effect, and there will be a three week break between Indianapolis on 9th August and Silverstone on 30th August. Ezpeleta hopes to force the two parties, who have refused to speak to one another for several months now, into action. Both parties want the race to go ahead: the event is profitable for the circuit, and it brings a large amount of money into the South Moravia region, generating employment and tax revenue. The problem is that neither party appears willing to concede.

This is not a new problem. The race has been shrouded in uncertainty for several years now, with arguments over money, and who should fund the race, at the heart of the issue. With MotoGP due to return to the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg in Austria in 2016, that would provide a race in the same region, and offering an alternative to the Czech race.

The loss of Brno would be a tragedy, though. The circuit is one of the few which allow the MotoGP bikes to truly stretch their legs, and the challenging layout has often provided memorable races. The race is extremely popular with fans - in part due to the generally low prices for accommodation, and especially food and beer - and the setting is stunning, the Masarykring track snaking up and down steep wooded hills. We can only hope that common sense prevails in the near future.

FIM Opens Consultation For Moto2 Spec Engine Supply From 2019 Onwards

The era of Honda's monopoly in Moto2 could be drawing to an end. Today, the FIM announced that they were putting the engine supply for Moto2 out to tender, and asking for proposals from potential engine suppliers. The Moto2 class is to remain a single make engine class, with engines managed and supplied by the series organizer. 

The announcement comes as a result of Honda's CBR600 powerplant, which has powered the Moto2 bikes since the inception of the class, reaches the end of its service life. The engines are virtually unchanged since their introduction in 2010, and Honda cannot guarantee the supply of spares for the engines beyond the current contract, which ends after the 2018 season. A replacement will be needed, whether it comes from Honda or from another manufacturer. 

The first stage of the new process will be to consult with manufacturers on the basics of the class, while retaining the cornerstones of the Moto2 class: affordability, reliability, and a level playing field. Unfortunately, that is likely to rule out small, specialist engine builders, as Dorna and IRTA (who represent the Moto2 teams) will want to ensure the long-term (6+ years) supply of engines. Switching engine suppliers once, at the end of 2018, will be traumatic, as it will mean having to throw away all of their old chassis, and start to build up experience with the new bikes almost from scratch. What they will not want to do is to have to switch again after two or three years, as that would then send costs through the roof. Once the consultation process is complete, then the contract will be formally put out to tender, and open to bids from interested manufacturers.

So who might those manufacturers be? Certainly, the major Japanese manufacturers engaged in MotoGP would be interested. Both Honda and Yamaha submitted bids for the initial contract, for the start of the 2010 season, with Honda eventually getting the contract. But Suzuki and even Kawasaki could equally be interested, given that they have 600cc sports bikes which could supply suitable engines. KTM has previously expressed an interest, especially in build 500cc twins using the same 81mm bore as a Moto3 and MotoGP bike. That engine would basically be twice a Moto3 bike and half a MotoGP engine. However, the Austrian engine maker has always said they are only interested if there was engine competition, and that will not happen.

Losing Honda will upset the teams. The Moto2 class has proven to be extremely popular with the teams, as it is an extremely affordable class. A team can obtain a chassis, engine, and brake and suspension supply for a full season for well under €200,000. A bike in Moto3 costs between €300,000 and €500,000 per season, depending on the manufacturer (and despite the cost cap in place). The teams all have a vast amount of data and experience with the chassis, and all this will be lost when Honda goes.

Below is the press release from the FIM announcing the move.

FIM opens consultation with potential Moto2 engine suppliers

Following the announcement that Honda Racing Corporation would continue to be the official engine supplier for the FIM Moto2 World Championship for three more years (2016 to the end of 2018), the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Dorna Sports will now start talks with other potential candidates for the exclusive engine supplier for the class from 2019 onwards.

The goal of this first stage of consultation will be to take in feedback from manufacturers to further foster the key values of the Moto2 class: keep it accessible and affordable, and offer a level playing field to teams and riders by providing reliable and consistently performing engine units.

The FIM and Dorna will be listening to and engaging in discussions with interested manufacturers until the end of the season, ahead of the actual tender process that will be launched by the end of the year, in order to elect the official engine supplier from 2019 onwards.

Pol Espargaro Undergoes Surgery For Arm Pump

Pol Espargaro has had surgery on his right arm to fix a problem with arm pump, the rider's management team has announced in a press release. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider was operated on in Madrid by Dr. Angel Villamor, widely regarded as one of the top authorities on treating compartment syndrome, and the surgeon who treated Dani Pedrosa. The surgery is judged to have gone well, and Espargaro is due to be examined again at the end of the week.

Espargaro had suffered sporadic problems with arm pump for some time, but had not felt the problem was bad enough to require surgery. After the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, the Tech 3 rider had undergone extensive physiotherapy to try to treat the condition, but a more severe attack during the race in Le Mans, had decided that surgery was the only option to cure the problem. Espargaro had suffered a severe lack of strength in his right arm from lap 7 of the French GP onwards, and this had been the deciding factor. In the press statement, Espargaro said "in reality, I had noticed this feeling in my forearms several times before, but never gave it too much importance. But in the last two races it was a bit worse. In Jerez, I put it down to the type of track and the effort I had used in the first laps trying to follow Lorenzo and Marquez, and then Rossi and Crutchlow, but in Le Mans it was worse, because it affected my riding very quickly."

Espargaro elected to have surgery as quickly as possible, so that he had as much time as possible to recover ahead of the next race. The Italian Grand Prix at Mugello takes place in twelve days time, giving him time to prepare for that race.

It has been a busy week in medical terms for both Espargaro brothers. While Pol was having surgery for arm pump in Madrid, Aleix was under the knife to fix the ligaments he tore in a crash in FP3 at Le Mans.