From Monday, a select group of the world's print and TV media will assemble at the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio to attend Wrooom 2012, the annual press launch of Ducati's MotoGP project and Ferrari's Formula One assault. The junket, funded by the Italian arm of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, starts on Monday and culminates on Friday in an exhibition race where Ferrari's F1 drivers take on Ducati's MotoGP riders (minus the injured Nicky Hayden, in all probability) in a kart race held on an ice rink in the heart of the Italian ski resort.
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MotoGP's winter break has claimed another victim. After Ducati's Nicky Hayden broke a shoulder blade and cracked some ribs at an indoor dirt track facility, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso has announced that he has broken his right collarbone while riding his motocross bike. The Italian had been training on his MX bike at a track near his home in Forli, when he crashed, fracturing the collarbone.
After the news two days ago that ENEOS is to be backing Yamaha's MotoGP squad, more good news on the sponsorship front. Bel-Ray, manufacturer of a range of automotive lubrication products, today announced that they will be expanding their presence in the MotoGP paddock by backing Team Aspar's efforts in all three classes of MotoGP. The US oil producer will be supplying a range of products for the Aspar team to use in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
Yamaha's sponsorship situation is not as perilous as it seems. Departing Malaysian oil giant Petronas (announced at the end of last week) is to be replaced by Japanese oil brand ENEOS, which markets a range of high-end lubrication products from the Japanese oil giant JX Nippon.
Yamaha have suffered a costly blow to their MotoGP program. Today, the factory Yamaha team announced that the three-year deal with Malaysian oil giant Petronas to sponsor Yamaha's MotoGP team will not be extended, and will terminate at the end of 2011. In a joint press release issued with Petronas, Yamaha stated that after three successful years, the agreement had "reached its natural conclusion."
Nicky Hayden's preparation for the 2012 season has suffered a setback. The Marlboro Ducati rider crashed while training on an indoor flat track course, breaking his left shoulder blade and fracturing two ribs. The recovery period for the injury could force him to miss the Sepang MotoGP test scheduled for the end of January.
The cloud hanging over the future of the Jerez MotoGP has lifted a little. Today, Dorna announced that an agreement had been reached with the Circuito de Jerez to allow the iconic Spanish circuit to host the MotoGP round scheduled for April 29th, 2012, confirming the calendar updates announced earlier this month. The 2012 round will go ahead as scheduled, despite the ongoing financial woes at the circuit.
The takeover of Infront by Bridgepoint Capital has cleared the final hurdle. Earlier this week, the European Commission Competition Directorate General announced that there were no objections to having the rights holders to both the MotoGP and World Superbike series being owned by one company, as neither racing series would be constrained by having the same owner.
After many years of success in the World Superbike and World Supersport series, Ten Kate is to take their first steps in the MotoGP paddock. The Dutch race shop has been contracted by Gresini to supply race-prepared Honda CBR1000RR engines for Gresini's CRT machine in MotoGP, along with the fly-by-wire electronics system the Ten Kate team developed together with Cosworth for their World Superbike machine.
The Spanish petroleum giant Repsol is one of the mainstays of MotoGP. Repsol has backed Honda's MotoGP team for over 15 years, and the oil company is expanding its interest in the series. After adding backing for Marc Marquez in the Moto2 category last year, Repsol today announced that it will be supporting teams in all three categories of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2012.
The end of the year is the traditional time to be handing out awards (we at MotoMatters.com will be doling out a few of our own in the next week or so), and this year, MotoMatters.com has been extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of one. In the recent Silverstone Media Awards organized by the Northamptonshire race track, home to both MotoGP and Formula 1, MotoMatters.com was voted Best MotoGP Blogger.