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Misano Private Test: Oliveira Fastest After Two Days, Aprilia And Ducati Test New Aero

It has been a busy couple of days at Misano, with the KTM and Aprilia MotoGP teams, and test teams from Suzuki and Ducati, joined by WorldSBK representatives from the KRT Kawasaki squad, and a small army of Ducati teams. The MotoGP and WorldSBK riders have been able to try out the new asphalt at Misano in the blistering heat of an Italian summer.

Miguel Oliviera is fastest after the first two days, the Red Bull Tech3 rider just a couple of tenths faster on Wednesday than Pol Espargaro had been on Tuesday. Oliveira's best time of 1'32.9 is two thirds of a second off Maverick Viñales' pole time set last September, two tenths off the outright race lap record set by Andrea Dovizioso in 2018, and 1.3 seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo's pole record from the same year.

Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro is third quickest, ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia RS-GP. The elder Espargaro is half a second slower than Oliveira, and a third of a second off the time of his younger brother on the KTM. Rookies Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona are two thirds of a second slower than Lecuona's Tech3 teammate Oliveira. Bradley Smith was half a second behind Aprilia teammate Aleix Espargaro, while Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli was just under 1.4 seconds off the pace of Oliveira.

Aprilia seem to be less concerned about lap times, as they have come to Misano with a clear purpose. Aprilia have two different engines to assess for homologation for this season, and the start of next season, with the main objective being reliability. At earlier tests, reliability of the brand new 90° V4 was questionable, and though the engine is a huge improvement in terms of character and performance, those mean little if they cannot get across the line in one piece.

Ducati appear to be assessing new aerodynamics, as always, while Aprilia also have aerodynamic upgrades. According to photos published by GPOne.com, Ducati appear to be testing an additional aerodynamic cover for the fork leg stanchions. With teardrop covers for the fork legs, and covers for the bottom half of the wheel, the only part of the Ducati's front end now unfaired is the brake caliper.

Though it is a little hard to be certain, Ducati also appear to be testing a new swingarm spoiler, though with this iteration, any pretense that the spoiler is for cooling the rear tire has been dropped. The spoiler appears to be much more of a wedge-shaped scoop, rather than a spoiler with lateral internal winglets.

This is almost certainly experimental, however. The FIM regulations appear to state that swingarm spoilers are now a part of the aero body, meaning that changes to the design are severely limited. For Ducati, they cannot change the design of their spoiler homologated before the (now canceled) Qatar race, and will have to start 2021 with the same spoiler, before being allowed to change it during the 2021 season, as one upgrade is allowed to each area of the aero body. The fairing over the fork stanchions falls outside of the aero body, and so Ducati are free to change that as much as they like.

Meanwhile, Aprilia's hiring of aerodynamics engineers is also on display at Misano, Aleix Espargaro pictured on GPOne using lower front wheel covers very much in the mold of the Ducati Desmosedici's.

Scott Redding was the fastest of the WorldSBK riders, taking to the track in earnest after a brief shakedown on Tuesday. Redding was just a fraction faster on the factory Aruba.it Ducati than Michael Rinaldi was on the Go Eleven Panigale, while Jonathan Rea was the fastest of the Kawasakis, despite a huge crash at the fast left hander of Turn 11. Rea was unharmed, and able to continue a full testing program for the rest of the day.

Both the MotoGP and WorldSBK teams have one more day of testing at Misano, the test concluding on Thursday.

Combined times from the first two days of testing, courtesy of Speedweek.com:

Pos Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Day
1 Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 1:32.913     Wednesday
2 Pol Espargaró KTM RC16 1:33.070 0.157 0.157 Tuesday
3 Michele Pirro Ducati GP20 1:33.124 0.211 0.054 Wednesday
4 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia RS-GP 1:33.427 0.514 0.303 Wednesday
5 Brad Binder KTM RC16 1:33.588 0.675 0.161 Wednesday
6 Iker Lecuona KTM RC16 1:33.591 0.678 0.003 Wednesday
7 Scott Redding (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:33.957 1.044 0.366 Wednesday
8 Bradley Smith Aprilia RS-GP 1:34.000 1.087 0.043 Tuesday
9 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:34.043 1.130 0.043 Wednesday
10 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 1:34.287 1.374 0.244 Wednesday
11 Jonathan Rea (WSBK) Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1:34.381 1.468 0.094 Wednesday
12 Alex Lowes (WSBK) Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1:34.745 1.832 0.364 Wednesday
13 Chaz Davies (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:34.900 1.987 0.155 Wednesday
14 Leandro Mercado (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:35.183 2.270 0.283 Wednesday
15 Leon Camier (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:35.773 2.860 0.590 Wednesday
16 Sylvain Barrier (WSBK) Ducati Panigale V4R 1:37.000 4.087 1.227 Wednesday
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MotoGP And WorldSBK Back On Track: Three Days Of Testing At Misano

World championship motorcycle racing takes another step back to the season returning at Misano. The next three days sees both MotoGP and WorldSBK teams testing at the Italian circuit, preparing for the resumption of hostilities at Jerez in July and August.

Present are the MotoGP teams of KTM and Aprilia, allowed extra testing due to their status as concessions teams. Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith are riding for Aprilia, the second test for the Italian factory. Espargaro was forced to miss the first test, unable to travel to Misano, and so waited for this test to get back on track, as he explained to Tammy Gorali in an interview a week ago. He joins Bradley Smith, promoted from test rider to permanent rider for 2020, to replace Andrea Iannone, still suspended after a positive doping test.

Both KTM teams are there, Brad Binder joining Pol Espargaro now that the South African has completed his two-week quarantine after returning to Europe, while the Tech3 duo of Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona will also be riding.

Without the benefit of concessions, and unlimited testing with contracted riders, Suzuki and Ducati are only allowed to send their test teams to Misano. Michele Pirro is riding for Ducati and Sylvain Guintoli testing for Suzuki at the Italian circuit, where two races are scheduled to be held on September 13th and 20th. Neither Yamaha nor Honda are present, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis recently telling Speedweek that there was little point testing if they didn't have anything significant to test.

The MotoGP teams are to be joined by a bevy of WorldSBK teams from Wednesday, with Kawasaki sending Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes to Misano, while a full cast of Ducatis will be there as well. Factory Aruba.it Ducati riders Scott Redding and Chaz Davies will be at the track, along with Leon Camier of Barni Ducati, Michael Ruben Rinaldi of Go Eleven, and Leandro Mercado of Motocorsa.

The test will conclude on Thursday. As it is a private test, no official timing will be released.

Below are press releases from the Kawasaki Racing Team and Go Eleven Ducati teams previewing the test:


KRT WorldSBK SQUAD READY FOR A HIGH TEMPO RESTART

After an enforced absence from track action the official Kawasaki Racing Team will get its intense schedule of tests and races underway this week with a two-day test session at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast of Italy, on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th June.

After a strong start to the season for the pairing of five times WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea and proven race winner Alex Lowes, KRT has spent the Covid-19 lockdown working hard in the background while eagerly anticipating the chance to get back into direct action in their natural environment of race circuits. With their championship-winning Ninja ZX-10RR machines all prepared and ready to go again, that wait will soon be over.

This forthcoming test will be unlike any other due to the ongoing pandemic. All the team members have been tested and will be health tested and checked during the period of track testing. There will be no regular hospitality unit as such on-site at Misano, with the team getting meals supplied at the track by team staff. For the entire duration team staff will be practicing social distancing and putting in place numerous anti-viral protocols such as facemasks, frequent hand sanitation and adhering to demarked working zones.

Even the confirmed arrival of the team members into Italy just in time to prepare for the Misano test has been a challenge, right up to the last minute. This has been an evolving process considering that the fluid nature of lockdown restrictions are being eased in little-by-little by governments and national bodies, and the team itself features several nationalities in its largely Barcelona-based makeup.

Rea has even travelled to the Misano test in a small panel van he normally uses to transport his motocross bikes in, while Lowes travelled to Italy last Saturday, with his Moto2 racing brother Sam and their respective partners. They will stay in a house rather than a hotel close to the circuit itself for the duration of the test.

After two days at Misano the team will relocate back to Spain for another two day test at a circuit all new to WorldSBK racing – Montmelo – just a stone’s throw from the team’s headquarters in Granollers. With one full WorldSBK round already completed in Australia in early March (during which Lowes and Rea won a race apiece) the season restarts at four Iberian circuits – Jerez, Portimao, Aragon (twice) and then Montmelo - in what will be a busy period for all involved in the exciting 2020 WorldSBK championship fight. The season is set to restart for real at Jerez, with racedays scheduled for Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August.

STATEMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am super-excited to get back on the bike - not just to ride again but to see all the team and simply enjoy the working together. I missed that during lockdown. I think this is probably the longest period I have been off the bike! Misano is a great track to get back into the swing of things at. I know our ZX-10RR very well and I know Misano well too. We will have four hot races at the beginning of the re-started season this summer, in Spain and Portugal, so it is perfect to come and test at Misano at this time, as the weather should be similar. The track itself at Misano has a bit of everything – fast corners, both fast and slow changes of direction, and some stop-and-go corners. Because of the lockdown and the quarantine restrictions in the UK I have driven here to Italy in my MX van. I am in here with my bikes, my training gear - pretty much my life is in a van at the minute! I am excited by the journey and getting to test again. It should be a great two days if we keep on working, because we were one of the strongest in Australia. It is really nice to go into this test on the back of securing my future with KRT beyond this season as well. The atmosphere should be pretty nice and we can focus on this year completely. It was great for the team to have been able to get us to this test despite the global situation and I am grateful to Dorna and the circuits for working out the new calendar for us. I cannot wait for the lights to go out on the grid at Jerez on the 1st of August. I will be ready.”

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am really, really excited to get back on my bike! Obviously I am living my dream job so it has been frustrating not to be able to ride, so to get back out this week? I will be like a kid at Christmas the night before we test! I just want to get back out on my ZX-10RR now. In terms of work and what we are trying to achieve, I am looking forward to picking up where we left off with a good feeling on the bike. The number one target of this test is to get the feeling back with the bike and team, and also enjoy it! This is my first season on the ZX-10RR so is going to be nice to try the Kawasaki at another track with Marcel and the guys. Hopefully by the end of the tests we will be up to a good speed and working on that base setting that worked so well in the winter. I am happy if we get hot conditions at Misano because it will be important for me to work with the bike in that way. I am already out in Italy, getting some training in the sun and riding little bikes. It is red hot right now!”

Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “This test is our real starting point after the long Covid-19 delay. We have to restart again mainly to get into the rhythm with the riders. It is also especially important to understand the health and safety conditions we will find in the next rounds of the championship, and refine our working conditions. We will take all of this very this carefully to not spread the virus inside the paddock. We will need to work in a very calm way, trying to keep our distance and still make a good test. We will have antibody tests every time we meet together. All of this has led to extra jobs and extra difficulties to operate the team but all of it is necessary. We know our riders have been working a lot since Australia, although with some limits of course, so we need to know how they will be when they arrive at the tests. In general we need to organise everything particularly well and with a short calendar after the re-start we have a smaller margin for error. We want to keep winning to the end of the year. We are calm also that both riders are confirmed with KRT for next year now, so we are all fully focused on this championship season. We need to make an especially good job because Kawasaki and our sponsors, like Monster Energy, Motocard, Showa and Elf, understand the present difficulties and they have kept up their support in the project and in their own human inputs. A lot of success and coverage is needed right to the end of the year to repay all their support!”


TEAM GO ELEVEN IS BACK ON TRACK, AFTER THE SANITARY EMERGENCY!

The world motorcycling long period of pause has finally come to an end!

Team Go Eleven goes back on track, with the whole team participating in WorldSuperbike Championship, for the two-day test at Misano circuit. On June 23-24 Michael Rinaldi will ride the Go Eleven's V4-R, with which he's not riding from the Australian stage of Phillip-Island, four months ago. It will be an excellent test for all the technical staff, that has to come back to action and resume habits and feeling from the beginning of the season. The twenty-three years old rider from Santarcangelo di Romagna will take advantage of the kilometers at Misano circuit to get back to the feeling and the speed shown at Phillip Island; it will be fundamental to be ready and to be physically prepared to high temperatures, a constant that will be with us at the restart of the season. Team Go Eleven will experience these two days as a real racing weekend; fairings, box, clothing, truck and compulsory masks will be in official WorldSBK livery, with the aim of providing the maximum image and visibility possible to our partners!

The Misano tests were organized in view of the hottest summer ever: Dorna has issued a definitive calendar in recent days, which currently includes six stages: Jerez de la Frontera, Portimao, double appointment in Aragon, Barcelona and Magny-Cours with four more stages to be confirmed for the season finale! From August to September there will be five thrilling stages that will give life to the championship of the series derivatives. We still have to understand how we can access the stages, whether with the public and guests or without, but, for sure, there will be fun!

Michael Rinaldi:

"I am very happy to ride again with my team after months and months of inactivity! Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to get back on the bike with the Ducati Test Team and this allowed me to get back a bit to the automatisms, but to return with your team is like starting from the beginning, because we are at home from Australia, held at the end of February. Our plan is very precise, we have some things to try and we will try to be prepared for the season; we will not go in search of performance, but we will have the aim to work for race pace. We have a lot of work to do, the temperatures will be high, but both the team and I need these tests to resume the automatisms we missed. We will see optimism and happiness, that's what we need after such a difficult time for everyone!"

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Updated 2020 WorldSBK Calendar Released: WorldSBK To Stage Between 6 and 11 Rounds, Extra Races For WorldSSP And WorldSSP300

After last week's MotoGP calendar, this week sees the release of another schedule. Today, the FIM published the provisional calendar for the WorldSBK series for the rest of this year, and also announced some big changes to the schedule of the weekend.

It is a very provisional calendar. Six rounds are confirmed - insofar as anything can be confirmed during the pandemic, as they are subject to cancellation or change should governments impose new restrictions - with four rounds in Spain, one in Portugal, and one in France. Two rounds are still subject to confirmation, at San Juan Villicum in Argentina, and at Misano in Italy.

There are three further rounds on the schedule without a date. A round in the UK at Donington Park, the Dutch round at Assen, and a race at Qatar. There is good reason to believe that the UK and Dutch rounds will actually happen, with late September or early October likely dates for them. The race in Qatar is a more complicated undertaking, requiring international air travel to be practical. If Qatar happens, it will likely be the last race of the year.

To compensate for the possibility of fewer rounds, the FIM have instituted a change to the weekend schedule. Extra races have been added for both the WorldSSP and the WorldSSP300 classes, meaning that their championships will be fought out over more races. The two support classes will have an extra race on Saturday, the WorldSSP race before WorldSBK race 1, and the WorldSSP300 race immediately after race 1.

Even in the worst case scenario, where only six rounds of WorldSBK are possible, this would mean the WorldSSP championship will be fought out over 13 races, with a potential maximum of 23 races. WorldSSP300 will feature at least 12 races, and potentially up to 18 races.

Whether this change will be retained after this season remains to be seen, but there is an argument to be made for keeping it in place. It is especially important for the WorldSSP300 class, which compete at fewer circuits anyway. More races makes consistency more important, and diminishes the role luck plays. In a recent interview with Tammy Gorali, ex-WorldSSP300 champion Ana Carrasco said the one change to the championship she would like to see is to have more races.

Having a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday has the additional benefit of preparing the riders better for the WorldSBK class, where riders face two full races plus the shortened Superpole race. And most of all, the extra races are a bonus for the fans. With three races on Saturday and four races on Sunday, they are getting their money's worth for the weekend.

The new calendar appears below, and below that, a press release from the FIM announcing the additional races for the WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 classes:


MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship/FIM Supersport and Supersport 300 World Championships
2020 calendar, UPDATE 19 JUNE

After the forced stop in place due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship can finally restart. After discussions with the FIM, Governments, Circuits, paddock personnel and Dorna WSBK Organization (DWO), a provisional calendar for the 2020 season can be confirmed. Dates and circuits are as follows.

The Championship’s return will initially be held without public and with a limited media presence, although the situation is subject to specific government mass gathering guidelines and will be updated in due course.

Date Country Circuit WorldSBK WorldSSP WorldSSP300
28 Feb – 1 March Australia Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit X X  
31 July - 2 August Spain Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto X X X
7 - 9 August Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve X X X
28 - 30 August Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
4 - 6 September Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
18 - 20 September Spain Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya X X X
2 - 4 October France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X
9 – 11 October Argentina* Circuito San Juan Villicum X X  
6 - 8 November Italy Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” X X X
TBD United Kingdom** Donington Park X X X
TBD The Netherlands** TT Circuit Assen X X X
TBD Qatar** Losail International Circuit X X  

* Event to be confirmed
** To be determined


FIM Supersport & Supersport 300 World Championships
Extra races headline schedule change for WorldSSP and WorldSSP300

The return of all three Championships will bring more racing action, with additional races in place for the support classes to WorldSBK.

The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will return to action on 31 July at the Circuito de Jerez, along with the FIM Supersport (WorldSSP) and FIM Supersport 300 World Championships (WorldSSP300). Both WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 will feature revised weekend schedules starting in Europe, composing of an additional race for each class on Saturday after their respective Tissot Superpole sessions have been completed.

WorldSSP300 Tissot Superpole will happen directly before the class’ Last Chance Race, whilst WorldSBK Race 1, WorldSSP Race 1 and then WorldSSP300 Race 1 will follow. The overall event schedule changes mean that now, racing action will begin for all classes on Saturday, with full Championship points awarded in all races.

Both Championships will continue to add exhilarating racing to the WorldSBK class and like in World Superbike, everyone’s safety from both Championship’s is an absolute priority and uncompromising in returning to action. Both classes will follow the same calendar to WorldSBK and with strict guidelines in place, will mean more racing than ever before for the two support classes have ever seen.

Gregorio Lavilla, Executive Director, WorldSBK Sporting and Organisation departments said: “Firstly, it is a great satisfaction that we can announce a safe return to racing for all three classes. The history of both WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 enriches the atmosphere of the WorldSBK paddock, often providing some of the closest racing all season, as well as allowing the stars of the future to flourish on the world stage. 2020 has provided its obstacles but thanks to the hard work, tenacity and determination of all parties involved, we will return to the world’s circuits with all three classes. We now look forward hugely to the recommencement of racing at Jerez, whilst welcoming back all corners of the racing paddock.

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Jonathan Rea Signs 'Multi-Year' Contract Extension With Kawasaki

The Kawasaki WorldSBK team has its line up set for the 2021 season. After signing 2020 championship leader Alex Lowes to another year back in May, Kawasaki signed a new multi-year deal with reigning champion Jonathan Rea.

The press release is short on detail as to how many years the contract is valid for, and as such, for how long Rea intends to continue racing. But it seems unlikely that Rea will in the next couple of years. The contract could also cover the period past the end of his racing career: as the most successful WorldSBK rider in history, Jonathan Rea will be a valuable marketing asset for Kawasaki for many years to come. Some form of ambassadorship will likely have been agreed between Kawasaki and Rea.

The next move in the WorldSBK silly season is on hold at the moment, with Ducati waiting on a decision from Danilo Petrucci. The Italian has an offer of a ride in WorldSBK, but is in advanced negotiations with KTM at the moment, to take over the seat to be vacated by Pol Espargaro's imminent departure to the Repsol Honda team. Much will depend on whether Petrucci takes the second Ducati seat alongside Scott Redding.

The 2020 WorldSBK season is due to restart again on the weekend of August 2nd at Jerez. A new calendar is expected soon, possibly as early as next week.

The press release from Kawasaki appears below:


REA AND KRT RENEW RECORD-BREAKING PARTNERSHIP

Five-time FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea will continue his record-breaking partnership with Kawasaki and KRT after signing a new multi-year contract.

Rea has won five consecutive WorldSBK championships as a KRT rider, starting in his first Kawasaki year in 2015. The most successful WorldSBK racer in history, the vast majority of Jonathan’s championship points and race wins have been earned while riding Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR machinery creating a legend in the process.

With one race win under his belt already this season, at the only 2020 round to be held so far in Australia, Rea’s competitive nature is as strong as ever as he goes for title number six. Signing his new contract demonstrates his intention to build on and extend his winning streak well beyond this current season.

Jonathan’s ambition is as sharp as ever, especially after confirmation of his new contract with the most successful modern day WorldSBK manufacturer and team in the paddock. His close connection with Kawasaki and KRT is now globally understood and accepted, and in many ways he has become “the face of Kawasaki racing”.

The full support of his wife Tatia, his children and his entire family have been an important element throughout his glittering career, during all the good and more challenging times. The mutually beneficial relationship with his team, one which Jonathan has helped nurture, is an integral part of their combined success.

With current championship leader Alex Lowes already signed with Kawasaki beyond 2020 KRT has moved early in its rider choices for the next era of its overall WorldSBK campaign.

STATEMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am super happy to sign a new contract with Kawasaki and KRT. What we have achieved together is incredible. Our success is driven by a great team and of course the base of the project - our Ninja ZX-10RR. I will keep working hard, together with my crew, the engineers at KHI to be in the best condition every single race. This period away from racing has reignited a burning desire to keep winning and continue to improve my skills and the package of our bike. Racing never stands still and all the riders and manufactures are continuing to improve - we must do the same. Now we can fully focus on our 2020 WorldSBK season where racing will restart soon. I want to thank Kawasaki, the team and all my sponsors for their continued support and this great opportunity.”

Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “Everyone in the team is delighted that Jonathan will be with us again. In racing we cannot assume anything until it is completed so we are very happy that JR65 has confirmed his future with Kawasaki and us. Everyone involved understands that this is a long-term project and that continuity and success go hand-in-hand. As a rider Jonathan has incredible talents that are very rare. For sure, to keep him as part of KRT gives us a chance to create yet more WorldSBK and racing history. His pit crew and everyone at KRT are delighted to continue this hugely rewarding professional and personal journey together.”

Steve Guttridge (KME Racing Manager): “Since Jonathan signed his first deal to race with us in 2015 it has been a dream partnership. Kawasaki as a group had our full focus on extending our relationship into the future. This season, his sixth with us, means that JR is very much part of the Kawasaki family and his record-breaking partnership with the Ninja is revered by our competition and has amazed our fans worldwide. Jonathan - together with his great crew, the team and our engineers - once more has the perfect combination for success. JR's professionalism, approach to racing - and particularly his mentality - have helped us as a manufacturer to define our blueprint to racing success. Together we aim to continue rewriting the history books and breaking records together. The whole Kawasaki family and Kawasaki fans worldwide welcome the new multi-year agreement with Jonathan and we are excited to witness the next chapter of this amazing story unfold.”

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2020 MotoE Calendar Update - Seven Races At Three MotoGP Rounds

After today's announcement of a MotoGP calendar for the remainder of 2020, Dorna and the FIM today also announced a schedule for the MotoE World Cup. The electric bike racing series, which sees a grid full of riders on Energica Ego Corsa machines competing at MotoGP rounds, will compete in seven races at three of the scheduled MotoGP rounds.

The MotoE series kicks off alongside the rest of the MotoGP paddock at Jerez, with races on the Sunday of the first two rounds of the season. They rejoin MotoGP at Misano in September, with one race at the first round in Misano, and two races, on the Saturday and Sunday of the second round. MotoE finishes at Le Mans, with another two races, one on Saturday, one on Sunday.

As with the MotoGP calendar, this schedule is provisional, and dependent on national and local governments allowing events to go ahead.

The calendar appears below:


FIM Enel MotoE World Cup
2020 Calendar UPDATE 11 JUNE

All dates, events and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding governments and authorities.

Date MotoE Venue  
19 July Spain Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto One Race
26 July Andalucía Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto One Race
13 September San Marino e Della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli One Race
19 September Emilia Romagna e Della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli One Race
20 September Emilia Romagna e Della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli One Race
10 October France Le Mans One Race
11 October France Le Mans One Race
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2020 Version 2.0 - Provisional MotoGP Calendar Features 13 European Races At 8 Circuits

There is a plan for the 2020 MotoGP season. With the COVID-19 outbreak receding all across Europe, Dorna have been given a second chance at setting a calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season.The newly published calendar will see 13 races held at circuits in Europe in the first instance, with the possibility of four overseas races being tacked on at the end of the year, if conditions permit. The calendar is explictly still provisional, subject to local rules and regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The races will be held at 8 different circuits in 6 countries, with a number of circuits hosting races on two consecutive weekends, to maximize the number of rounds held, and minimize logistical complications. The races planned in Europe will all be held behind closed doors, with no fans or media present, and a very restricted number of paddock staff present.

Although four overseas races are scheduled, only two are expected to be possible. Thailand and Sepang are the two races which are most likely to go ahead, while Argentina and Austin are still on the calendar, but not canceled yet. In the most positive case, however, only three overseas races will go ahead: the FIM press release says explicitly that there will be a maximum of 17 races, including the Qatar round already held back on March 8th, at which only the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were present.

The overseas races will only happen if they can be organized as normal, with fans allowed to attend. Given the much higher costs of the flyaways, the circuits would need fans to attend to be able to cover the costs of flying teams and equipment out of Europe to Asia or the Americas and back. A decision on whether it will be possible to hold the overseas races, and which races can be held, will be taken by the end of July.

The season kicks off at Jerez, with a one-day test on the Wednesday before the first race. All three classes will get a chance to ride during the test, with the MotoGP class getting the bulk of the track time. Two rounds of racing follow, on consecutive weekends, July 19th and July 26th.

After a week off, the paddock heads north to Brno, for a single race in the Czech Republic on August 9th, the originally scheduled date. They then trek south to the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, for two rounds in Austria, on August 16th and 23rd.

The paddock then gets two whole weekends off, before reconvening in Misano, for two more rounds on consecutive weekends, on September 13th and 20th. They then rush across the Mediterranean to Barcelona, for a single race on September 27th.

After another week off, the Grand Prix Paddock heads north again, this time to Le Mans in France, for a race on October 11th. They then reverse course and come south again, for two weekends at Aragon, on the 18th and 25th of October.

If MotoGP doesn't head to Asia or America, then the season will culminate with two rounds at Valencia, on November 8th and 15th. If it is possible for fans to attend, then the scenario currently being planned for is that MotoGP will head to Buriram in Thailand for a race on November 29th, with the final round of 2020 on December 6th at Sepang, Malaysia. That would please the Sepang International Circuit, as they have been vying to take over the spot as the last Grand Prix on the calendar for a number of years now.

If a date in the Americas is added, then the dates for Thailand and Sepang will likely be pushed back a week, with the calendar finishing at Sepang on December 13th.

The provisional 2020 MotoGP calendar is as follows:

Date Grand prix Circuit Notes
15/07/20   Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto Test for MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
19/07/20 Spain Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
26/07/20 Andalucia Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
09/08/20 Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno  
16/08/20 Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
23/08/20 Styria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
13/09/20 San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli MotoE
20/09/20 Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli MotoE
27/09/20 Catalunya Barcelona - Catalunya  
11/10/20 France Le Mans MotoE
18/10/20 Aragón MotorLand Aragón  
25/10/20 Teruel MotorLand Aragón  
08/11/20 Europe Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
15/11/20 Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
       
  Americas* Circuit of The Americas  
  Argentina* Termas de Rio Hondo  
29/11/20*** Thailand** Chang International Circuit  
06/12/20*** Malaysia** Sepang International Circuit  

* Scheduled, but believed unlikely to happen
** Subject to fans being allowed to attend. Events and dates to be confirmed before the 31 of July.
*** Expected dates, subject to confirmation.

The 2020 season will not finish later than the 13th of December and will have a maximum of 17 events (including the Qatar Grand Prix).

All dates, events and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities.

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Aleix Espargaro Stays To Lead Aprilia MotoGP Project For Two More Years

It was a day of good news and bad news for Aprilia. On the day that the Court of Arbitration of Sport announced that WADA had appealed against the penalty imposed on Andrea Iannone, demanding his suspension be extended to the full four years set out in the doping code, the Italian factory was also able to announce a two-year contract extension with Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard will remain with Aprilia for the 2021 and 2022 seasons in MotoGP.

The move was widely expected. Espargaro has been the mainstay of Aprilia's MotoGP project since arriving at the Noale factory in 2017. In the first three years of his contract with Aprilia, he has had three different teammates, starting with Sam Lowes, then Scott Redding, and finally, last year, Andrea Iannone. Thanks to Iannone's suspension, it looks like Espargaro will have a fourth teammate in 2020, almost certainly Bradley Smith. And that could change again in 2021, if Iannone does not have his doping ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

There were periods last year where Espargaro did not look like extending his contract. The Spaniard grew increasingly frustrated, both with a lack of performance with the Aprilia RS-GP, reliability issues with the bike, and with a lack of updates. But his patience was rewarded over the winter, when Romano Albesiano and his team produced a brand-new bike with a completely new 90° V4 engine. The bike did everything better than its predecessor, and had vastly more potential for improvement.

Espargaro has been plain that the arrival of Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola made the difference. By taking on the running of the racing department, Rivola has freed up Romano Albesiano to concentrate on the engineering side, which was always his speciality. Administration did not come naturally to Albesiano, and that proved costly in terms of development to the RS-GP. Aprilia has made major steps forward since Rivola took over at the beginning of 2019.

Espargaro's signing brings the total number of signed riders to eight. That total is likely to increase soon, as a number of new contracts appear to be nearing completion. Pol Espargaro is set to sign for the Repsol Honda squad, which would necessitate finding a slot for Alex Marquez, currently racing alongside his brother in the factory Repsol team. Andrea Dovizioso is close to extending his deal with the factory Ducati team. And Danilo Petrucci, newly liberated from Ducati, could close a deal with either KTM or Aprilia to remain in MotoGP, replacing either Pol Espargaro or Andrea Iannone for 2021. That is, if Ducati can't persuade Petrucci to switch to WorldSBK for next season.

The officially signed rider line up for the 2021 season so far is as follows:

Rider Bike Contract until
Monster Energy Yamaha
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2022
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2022
     
Repsol Honda
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2024
     
     
Suzuki Ecstar
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
Joan Mir Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
     
Ducati Factory
Jack Miller Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2021 (option for 2022)
     
     
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2022
     
     
Avintia Ducati
Tito Rabat Ducati 2021

The Aprilia press release announcing the deal with Espargaro appears below:


ALEIX ESPARGARÓ CONFIRMED AT APRILIA WITH A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT FOR THE 2021 AND 2022 MOTOGP SEASONS

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ: “WE HAVE GROWN A LOT. I BELIEVE IN THIS PROJECT AND I AM HAPPY TO STAY TO BE ABLE TO TAKE APRILIA WHERE WE DESERVE TO BE”

Aleix Espargaró will be an Aprilia Racing rider for the 2021 and 2022 seasons as well. With great satisfaction on both sides, this confirms one of the longest current MotoGP associations.

Astride the RS-GP since the 2017 season, Aleix has weathered various phases of the Aprilia MotoGP project, from the great and promising growth in the first season to the difficulties of 2018, all the way to the technical revolution of 2019 which led to the birth of the new 2020 RS-GP

The latest prototype showed significant and promising signs of competitiveness in the winter tests, before the 2020 season was disrupted, so much that they contributed to Aleix’s decision.

Passionate, always committed on the track and a motivator in the garage, this will bring Aleix to his sixth season in a row astride the Italian bike. This is a sign of continuity and trust that comes at this turning point in Aprilia’s technical project.

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ

“I am happy about this confirmation. The human aspect is extremely important for me, and in four seasons, Aprilia has become my second family, so with this contract, which is certainly the most important of my career, they demonstrated that I am at the centre of this project. On a technical level, the growth in recent months convinced me, with the arrival of many reinforcements and the début of the 2020 RS-GP, which did so well in the tests. I feel like we need to finish the job we started over the winter. I can’t wait to get back together with my entire team and race with the new bike, to take this project where it deserves to be.”

MASSIMO RIVOLA - CEO APRILIA RACING

“We wanted Aleix’s confirmation by all means and we are very happy that it arrived. At a rather tumultuous time for the rider market, providing continuity for our project with a rider the calibre of Aleix is essential. With him, who we have established as our captain, we have begun an entirely new project, involving new resources and taking a bike that seems to have come out very well onto the track. Now we hope that he will soon take an Aprilia to the top, where it has never been in MotoGP history.”

Source: 

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WADA Appeals Iannone Doping Ban, Demands CAS Reinstate Four-Year Ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has finally announced that they will be hearing the appeal of Andrea Iannone against his doping ban of 18 months, imposed by the FIM International Disciplinary Court at the end of March. However, in a surprise move, the CAS also announced they will be hearing an appeal against the leniency of the ban from WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, who want the full four-year ban reinstated.

At the heart of the case is the doping test Andrea Iannone failed after the race in Sepang, in November 2019. Traces of drostanolone, a banned anabolic-androgenic steroid, used mainly for weight loss, was found in that urine sample. As a non-specified substance, drostanolone use carries an automatic four-year ban under the WADA code, which the FIM signs up to and incorporates.

At an appeal to the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI), that court reduced Iannone's ban to 18 months, after Iannone presented evidence that he had ingested the banned substance accidentally, without his knowledge, and without him being able to suspect he might have ingested it.

This is the reason Iannone believes that the ban should be lifted altogether. Not only was ingestion accidental, but Iannone claims he had taken precautions to avoid eating contaminated meat. The levels found in Iannone's sample were so low that accidental contamination is the only possible explanation, he claims.

However, this explanation is precisely why WADA is appealing against the reduction of the ban. Under WADA rules, athletes are personally responsible for everything they eat and drink, and everything entering their body. The WADA rules do not allow for accidental ingestion, and although there is a defense of "No Fault or Negligence", the standards are exceptionally high and hard to meet. WADA want the full penalty, a ban of four years, to be applied to Iannone.

The WADA has standing in this case as it wrote the rules which the FIM adopted to combat doping. In the run up to the 2016 Olympic games, WADA increased the maximum ban for doping from 2 years to 4 years. It is possible that WADA are clamping down on anything which could be seen as setting a precedent or opening a loophole in the run up to the next Olympics, to be held in Tokyo in 2021 - delayed a year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

No date has been set for the hearing, and the current list of hearings in front of the CAS extends into November. The chances of Iannone's ban being heard ahead of the start of the 2020 MotoGP season on July 19th seem very slim indeed, and there is a chance the hearing won't be heard until much later in the year.

While Iannone is still suspended pending the CAS appeal, Bradley Smith will take his place. The Englishman and Aprilia test rider is due to take part in a test at Misano on Wednesday June 10th, together with Lorenzo Savadori.

The press release from the Court of Arbitration for Sport appears below:


MEDIA RELEASE
MOTO GP

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS THE APPEALS FILED BY ANDREA IANNONE AND THE W ORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) AGAINST THE FIM INTERNATIONAL DISCIPLINARY COURT DECISION OF 31 MARCH 2020

Lausanne, 9 June 2020 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeals filed by Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision taken by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) International Disciplinary Court decision dated 31 March 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which Andrea Iannone was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and an 18-month period of ineligibility was imposed on him.

Andrea Iannone seeks to have the Challenged Decision annulled, whereas WADA requests that the Challenged Decision be replaced by a new decision imposing a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider.

The procedures have been consolidated and will be referred to the same Panel of arbitrators. A procedural timetable is being established for the filing of the written submissions. No hearing date has been fixed yet.

Source: 

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Motegi Round Canceled As MotoGP Prepares For A European Season

After last week's announcements that the Silverstone and Phillip Island MotoGP rounds were canceled, today, the Japanese round of MotoGP joined the list of cancellations. The race at Motegi has been called off, and will not take place this year, despite the importance of the race to the Japanese manufacturers.

Today's announcement was the last step in a general clearing out of the schedule to allow for a calendar of races which could feasibly be held for 2020. The plan, as Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta pointed out in the press release, is to do as many races in Europe as possible, and only heading overseas after that, if international travel is still possible. "For this reason, the FIM and Dorna, in consultation with IRTA and MSMA, have decided that, until mid-November, MotoGP will remain in Europe to do as many European MotoGP events as we are able to. Therefore, overseas events, if at all possible, should be scheduled after mid-November – which would be too late in the year for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan to be held," Ezpeleta is quoted as saying.

As I explained on Friday, the plan is to run calendar as pairs of races on back-to-back weekends at the same circuits. The series is due to kick off at Jerez, on July 19th, with another race at the Spanish circuit the following weekend, July 26th. One race will be named the Spanish Grand Prix, the next the Grand Prix of Andalusia. Then one race at Brno, two races in Austria, and races in Barcelona, Misano, Aragon, and Valencia. There is a chance that Le Mans could feature on the calendar, with French Grand Prix promoter Claude Michy working towards a race in the first half of October.

By September/October, it should be clear whether it will be possible to travel overseas for races in late November/early December. The date limits the options to the tropics or the southern hemisphere. Although the race in Austin has still not officially been canceled, it seems unlikely the race can be held in 2020. That would leave Buriram, Sepang, and Argentina, though Carmelo Ezpeleta has already made it clear that these races will only go ahead if fans can attend. A decision on that is still some way off.

There are still obstacles in the way of any calendar. The latest issue is that the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism has said that visitors from the UK will not be excluded from quarantine rules on tourists which Spain is due to lift on July 1st, unless the UK improves its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. A sizable number of paddock staff, including mechanics, engineers, and riders, are resident in Britain and could be forced to leave early, and self-isolate for 14 days ahead of the races in Spain. Other countries may also suffer a similar fate.

We will have more clarity on a potential calender later in the week, when an initial calendar is due to be released. That calendar, like most things at the moment, will be provisional until the last race has finished.

Below is the press release from Dorna announcing the cancellation of Motegi:


Motul Grand Prix of Japan cancelled

Monday, 01 June 2020

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has obliged the cancellation of the event, which was set to take place from the 16th to the 18th of October at the Twin Ring Motegi.

The home of MotoGP™ manufacturers Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, Japan is vital to the global presence and success of MotoGP™.

The iconic Twin Ring Motegi has been on the calendar since 1999 and the FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports very much look forward to returning to race at the venue in 2021, in front of some of the most dedicated and loyal fans in the world.

Kaoru Tanaka, President, Mobilityland Corporation: “Mobilityland has been preparing for this year’s MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix, however the situations in Japan and Europe are unpredictable and the extension of the international travel ban is expected. As a result of our discussions with Dorna, the managerial body of the series, we agreed that we have no choice but to cancel the Japanese GP in order to complete the season.

“We understand that this is a great disappointment for fans and all related parties. We thank you for your understanding.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the very unique Motegi circuit, meaning we will not have a Japanese Grand Prix on the calendar for the first time since 1986.

“The MotoGP family is working very hard to be able to re-start the racing season and hold as many events as possible, and in the safest way possible. For this reason, the FIM and Dorna, in consultation with IRTA and MSMA, have decided that, until mid-November, MotoGP will remain in Europe to do as many European MotoGP events as we are able to. Therefore, overseas events, if at all possible, should be scheduled after mid-November – which would be too late in the year for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan to be held.

“For this reason it has been decided, in consultation with Mobilityland, that the Motul Grand Prix of Japan cannot be held in 2020. I very much thank Mobilityland for the support given to MotoGP.

“On behalf of Dorna, I would also like to thank all the fans for their understanding and patience as we wait for the situation to improve. We very much look forward to returning to Motegi next year.”

Source: 

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At Least Three Events Scheduled For 2020 WorldSBK Calendar, More To Follow

After the announcement that MotoGP was canceling some events with a view to moving ahead on others, today, Dorna announced a plan for the next three races on the WorldSBK calendar. Racing will resume at Jerez on the weekend after MotoGP leaves, and will then move to Portimao and Aragon.

The schedule does mean rearranging the existing plans. The Donington Park round of WorldSBK, planned for the weekend of July 5th, and the already rescheduled Assen round of WorldSBK on the weekend of August 23rd, have been postponed again. No new date has been set for the races, but the announcement says they will be reviewed as the pandemic situation develops.

Below is the press release from Dorna announcing the plans:


UPDATE: 2020 WorldSBK season situation features positive prospects

Progress is being made in order to have the World Superbike Championship restart under safe conditions this season

The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is working hard on resuming racing action for the remainder of the season, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Championship started in fine style at Phillip Island and now, Dorna WSBK Organization would like to issue an update on the plans to get racing back underway, with the initial racing plan taking place in the month of August once permission is approved.

The Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto should welcome the restart of the season on the 31st July – 2nd August, before going to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal a week later on the 7th – 9th August. The season should then follow our current provisional schedule, at the MotorLand Aragon venue on 28th – 30th. The health of everybody is at the forefront of decision making and these rounds within the Iberian Peninsula are planned to be held behind closed doors, in-line with social distancing measures and medical guidelines set by the Spanish and Portuguese governments. Nevertheless, the situation is evolving, and we will adapt our protocols to the situation of the time.

Furthermore, updates have been made to the following events: the British and Dutch Rounds held at Donington Park and TT Circuit Assen respectively, have been postponed. The Dutch round itself has already been rescheduled once, from the 17th – 19th of April to the 21st – 23rd of August. However, new plans are underway with the best interests in mind, given the current restrictions in place that affect major sporting events within both the UK and the Netherlands. Further updates for the end season calendar will be communicated soon in order to further clarify the calendar situation.

The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization is evaluating the different scenarios and adapting to each situation in each of the countries we should visit on a day-by-day basis. Our gratitude once again goes to all parties involved within the WorldSBK fraternity for their continued support. However, whichever decision is reached will have the health and safety at the forefront and that is something simply uncompromisable during these challenging times.

Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Executive Director, Sporting and Organization Departments, said: “We are very positive about the future, as all the signs are pointing in a good direction to start in Jerez. We are looking at all possible scenarios for all three classes to race, although we continue to work hard on finding the optimum scenario for all parties. A lot will depend on the measures that various governments will implement. As for Donington Park and Assen, we are working with the circuits and governments to establish the best possible outcome for all, with the intention to hold those rounds towards the end of the 2020 season.”

Any further updates will be communicated accordingly.

Source: 

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