Latest News

Red Bull Rookies Cup - A Behind The Scenes Look At The Future Of MotoGP

One of the American teenagers taking part in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, a breeding ground for young talent, has documented his experiences so far. It's an interesting look at the event from a rider's perspective, and from a teenager's perspective. The selection event is being run at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, the same track the Valencia Grand Prix will be run at on October 29th. The riders who make it through the selection process will be invited to take part in the full Red Bull Rookies Cup series, which will see 20 riders face off in 7 races across Europe in 2007. The riders showing talent in the Red Bull Rookies Cup will be invited to take part in the MotoGP Academy, an initiative run by Dorna to promote young racing talent in MotoGP. This academy produced the young British rider Bradley Smith, currently racing his rookie year in the 125 class, and doing pretty well in what is perhaps the most competitive class in GP racing. So, if you want to find out about what it takes to get started in MotoGP, or want to know about the stars of the future, check it out.

The selection process is not without it's critics, however, as RoadRacing World has had a series of opinion pieces about the series. They believe the selection races are biased against the American (and all non-Spanish) riders, as the races are held at Valencia, a regular stop for the ultra-competitive Spanish 125 championship.

Back to top

Garry McCoy The Latest Name Linked With Ilmor

Our Italian friends over at MotoGrandprix.it are reporting that the Ilmor/Suter V4 bike is back in action. This time, it's Australian former GP star and King of Slide Garry McCoy riding the bike, currently running tests at the Albacete track in Spain. McCoy has several years experience on board MotoGP bikes, spending two seasons with Kawasaki, as well as substituting for Shane Byrne aboard the Aprilia. McCoy is, fittingly, currently riding a KTM in Supermoto, after two seasons in World Superbike, on board the Foggy Petronas bike and a satellite Ducati.

McCoy is the second active racer to be contracted to test the Ilmor V4, after Max Neukirchner rode it at Most in the Czech Republic. However, McCoy has a clear calendar for the end of the year, and so we could see a return to MotoGP, albeit briefly, as a wild card at Estoril and Valencia in October. McCoy and Eskil Suter, the bike's chassis designer, have a history together, as it was Suter who designed the chassis for the Kawasaki which McCoy raced.

Whether McCoy will remain in MotoGP remains to be seen. He is justly famous for his extremely sideways riding style, sliding the bike through the turns in an attempt to get on the gas earlier. While this gave him a huge advantage on the 500cc two-strokes, this style is not at all suited to MotoGP bikes, where electronics have removed the necessity to slide the rear, allowing the bike to be ridden more smoothly, and with greater lean angles, a style seen more often in the 250 and 125 classes. It would be great to see The King Of Slide return, but traction control is sure to cramp his trademark style.

Back to top

Capirossi Stays With Ducati For 2007

The Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Ducati have agreed terms with Loris Capirossi for 2007. Negotiations had been stuck for a long while, but Capirex' victory at Brno helped shift things along, and bought him a pay rise into the bargain. Ducati was said to be interested in Marco Melandri, but with Capirossi resigned, that interest has waned. The Italian factory is also said to be close to a deal with Sete Gibernau, retaining the pair for 2007.

Back to top

Toseland To MotoGP, Tamada To World Superbikes?

James Toseland and Makoto Tamada could find themselves swapping series for 2007, according to Motograndprix.it. Toseland, currently riding the Winston Ten Kate Honda in World Superbikes, has stated his intention to move to MotoGP, but only if he can get competitive machinery. His name has been linked to the Pramac d'Antin Ducati team, and to Kenny Roberts Sr's Team KR project. Ten Kate boss Ronald ten Kate is rumored to have stated that Toseland won't be riding for the team in 2007, which leaves the young Brit's options open.

Tamada, who has had 2 poor seasons aboard the Konica Minolta Honda, is widely believed to be on his way out of MotoGP, and his name is being linked to Ten Kate Honda in World Superbikes. With Toseland's seat looking like it may be vacant, that would free up a ride for Tamada.

Back to top

Honda To Announce 2007 Plans After Valencia

According to a story on the Italian site Motograndprix.it, Honda will announce its plans for 2007 at 5pm CET on October 29th, just 2 hours after the close of the 2006 MotoGP season. In its traditional post-season press conference, HRC will introduce its 800cc bike (expected to be called the RC212V), and announce which riders it will field next season. Dani Pedrosa is certain to be one of the names, and Motograndprix.it believes "with a probability of 99.9%" that Nicky Hayden will be the second rider. However, rumors still abound that Ducati are chasing Hayden, though these rumors are yet to be confirmed.

Back to top

Casey Stoner Out Of MotoGP In 2007?

As we rapidly approach the high water mark of speculation about 2007, more rumors emerged about Casey Stoner. The Italian website Motograndprix.it is reporting that the young Aussie may be out of MotoGP next year. After being turned down by Yamaha, Stoner reportedly approached his current team boss Lucio Cecchinello with a demand for $2.5 million to resign with LCR for 2007, a demand which Cecchinello was unable, or unwilling, to meet. Similar approaches to Ducati have so far met with little reward, as the factory from Bologna are currently engaged in negotiations with Loris Capirossi for 2007, who is seeking a $4 million deal, similar to Sete Gibernau's contract, leaving Ducati with room for maneuver with Stoner.

This leaves Stoner without a ride for 2007 so far, and, by overplaying his hand so strongly in negotiatons, with little chance of a ride, unless he were to move to Kawasaki to replace Shinya Nakano, who is rumored to be moving to Konica Minolta Honda for next season. Stoner would have to moderate his wage demands a good deal to make that happen, though.

Stoner has shown huge promise during the early part of the season, taking a shock pole at the Qatar GP, followed by a 2nd place in Turkey. Since then, however, he has developed a fatal attraction to the gravel traps, falling in three races after making rider mistakes when being pushed hard (especially by his arch-rival Dani Pedrosa), and not starting in Germany after coming off during practice. In addition, Stoner has been very outspoken in his views on just about everything, including openly criticizing the bike and the team when he felt things weren't working properly. No one doubts Stoner's talent, but hiring the young Aussie is a high-risk strategy, and one which teams are seemingly loathe to take.

.... UPDATED ....

Well, it seems like Casey isn't out after all. For more details of where Casey Stoner will be riding next year, see this post on his future here.

Back to top

James Toseland To Pramac d'Antin Ducati in 2007?

As I mentioned previously, it's that time of year again, and the rumors keep rolling in. Crash.net is reporting that Ducati team boss Livio Suppo has given his approval to James Toseland joining Pramac d'Antin Ducati for 2007. Toseland is currently riding a Ten Kate Honda in the World Superbike class, but has made no secret of his desire to move up to MotoGP. In the deal under discussion, Toseland could join MotoGP veteral Max Biaggi on satellite Ducatis, but with Pramac supplying a lot more sponsorship cash, the d'Antin would have more competitive bikes and access to Bridgestone tires. No deal has been signed yet (or even discussed openly), but if the extra money appears, it could be a competitive option. More details, or otherwise complete denials, are likely to appear over the coming weeks.

Back to top

More Rider Rumors For 2007

Spanish motorcycle magazine Motociclismo.es has an article about possible personnel changes in MotoGP for 2007. The main rumor concerns Andrea Dovizioso, who is said to want to move up the MotoGP class, unless Honda vastly improve their 250 for next season. Dovizioso's name is being linked with the LCR Honda currently being ridden by the young Australian Casey Stoner. LCR team boss Lucio Cecchinello is said not to be happy with Stoner's performance in the championship, but this could also be related to persistent rumors of Stoner moving to either Ducati or Yamaha.

The 250 rider which everyone expected to move up to MotoGP was Jorge Lorenzo, who has dominated the 250 championship so far, after a run of back luck at the beginning of the season. Rumors linked Lorenzo to Yamaha, but these proved unfounded, as Lorenzo resigned with Aprilia last week to run in the 250 championship for another year.

The final rumor concerns Makoto Tamada's replacement. It's an open secret that Tamada is riding his last races in MotoGP, after two poor seasons. The question has always been who will replace Tamada at Konica Minolta. With the official team name of the Konica Minolta Honda being Japan Italy Racing, and with the team management being Italian, the most likely scenario is another Japanese rider being brought in. The only other Japanese rider in the class is Shinya Nakano, and Nakano has been rumored to want a more competitive ride, to prove that he really can run at the front. A Honda on Michelins would seem to fit the bill very well indeed. The only other Japanese options would be either Yukio Takahashi or one of the Aoyama brothers, all of whom are currently in 250s.

Back to top

The First 800s Emerge

The frenzied speculation about the new 800cc MotoGP bikes came partly to an end on Monday, after both Yamaha and Ducati unveiled their 800cc prototypes at Brno. Ducati's bike had been seen previously, but Monday was the first time that Loris Capirossi had had a chance to ride the new bike. Amazingly, Capirossi lapped within 1.4 seconds of his 990 time, on his very first outing on the bike. It looks like the bikes are going to be close to the 990s almost from the start. This was also Valentino Rossi's first time aboard the new Yamaha 800. Overall, the bikes looked fairly similar to their 990cc predecessors, with one or two minor changes. The Yamaha looks sharper and slimmer than the 990, the chief difference on the Ducati is the revised exhaust, with the final section being longer and a two-into-one, rather than two separate pipes.

Pictures are popping up all over the internet, so I'll refer you there to get them:
Crash.net has a story on the Ducati, and a story on the Yamaha.
MotoGP.com even has some videos of the Ducati and Yamaha.

The biggest difference between the 990s and the 800s is the sound they make. The 800s sound like they are revving a lot higher, may be up to 2000 revs higher than the 990s. Interesting times lie ahead.

The 800s are being introduced as a result of a rule change in MotoGP for 2007. Capacity of the four stroke bikes is being reduced from 990cc to 800. The reasoning behind this is to make the bikes slower, and therefore safer. But with Capirossi already a second and a half of his 990 time, this argument doesn't look like it will hold water. Another change, maybe down to 500cc, which is rumored to be Honda's ultimate aim, may not be so very far down the line.

Back to top

Pages