Latest MotoGP News
Many US race fans were both excited and puzzled by Roger Lee Hayden's announcement that he would be racing a Pedercini Kawasaki in World Superbikes. Excited, because Rog, as Nicky Hayden's younger brother is affectionately called, is highly rated in the States; puzzled because although Hayden is good on a Superbike, his great strength - and his biggest successes, including an AMA Supersport title - is in riding a 600, rather than a thousand. Why did Roger Lee not jump on a Moto2 bike, the fans asked. The answer was simple: money, or rather a lack of it for Hayden to race in Moto2.
Fortunately for Hayden, and for the US fans who are convinced of his abilities, the American is to ride in Moto2 after all. Hayden has been named as a wildcard rider for the Moto2 race at Indianapolis, at the end of August. Hayden will ride a Moriwaki MD600 fielded by the Erion Honda team, one of the strongest teams in the AMA paddock, and supported by American Honda.
But there is even better news for MotoGP fans outside of the US. The team is to be led by 500cc legend and former World Champion Kevin Schwantz. Schwantz has been linked with a team management role in the Grand Prix paddock for a couple of years now, and has clearly been looking for the right opportunity to come along. That has finally happened.
With MotoGP returning to Silverstone for the first time in 24 years, what better way to get yourself reacquainted with the track and check out the changes than by attending the traditional Riders for Health Day of Champions? Activities start at 9am on Thursday morning, and feature a very full program, including concerts by James Toseland's band Crash, quizzes and interviews. On track, visitors can buy ticket for a lap of the track in a racing sidecar, watch stunt riders Gary Rothwell and Martin Crosswaite, or see a display of engineering glory from years' past win the classic bike parade. A full list of activities is available on the Riders for Health Day of Champions page.
But the highlight of the day is the traditional fund-raising auction over on the main stage. Early in the afternoon, the 125 and Moto2 riders will be on stage and selling off items of value in aid of Riders for Health, and from 4:30pm onwards, the stars of MotoGP will be selling memorabilia to eager fans, to help raise cash to provide healthcare in Africa. The line up is as follows:
The race to fill Valentino Rossi's seat is now running at full pace, not least in the press. Since Saturday afternoon at Mugello, the phones of everyone even tangentially involved with Yamaha's MotoGP effort have been ringing off the hook, with everyone from journalists calling for information to riders at every level offering their services.
Herve Poncharal is one such victim. As boss of the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, and as someone with very strong ties to Yamaha Racing, he has had everyone with access to his phone number calling him to either ask him questions or offer advice. So it was a very tired Tech 3 boss who took MotoMatters.com's call to answer the questions he has been facing for the past 9 days.
He still has no answers to those questions, though. Yamaha is still hard at work, running through all of the possible options, but each of those options faces almost insurmountable problems. "We have tried many things, but there are problems with any choices," Poncharal told MotoMatters.com, explaining that there were many hurdles to be cleared in finding a replacement rider.
As well as a Q&A with Valentino Rossi, the Fiat Yamaha team also released a question and answer session with several of the key players surrounding Rossi. Here's what team manager Davide Brivio, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis, Rossi's surgeon Dr. Buzzi and Yamaha communications manager William Favero had to say on Rossi's recovery, and who is to replace the Italian.
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH YAMAHA MANAGEMENT AND DR. BUZZI
1. What caused the accident? Was it rider error or a bike/tyre issue?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition comes in a rather unusual form, though an extremely informative one. Yamaha Racing today released a question and answer session with Valentino Rossi, in which he answers most of the burning questions Rossi's many fans have. The good news is that Rossi has not lost his fire for racing. The bad news is that he won't be back until Brno at the very earliest. Read for yourself what Rossi had to say:
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH VALENTINO ROSSI ON HIS RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL
1. Vale, first question: how are you and are you still in pain?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition from the Fiat Yamaha team. A further update is expected later today:
ROSSI RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
At 1530 CET today Valentino Rossi was released from the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy, where he has been recovering following surgery last Saturday to mend his broken right leg.
He was taken by ambulance to a helicopter and is now being flown to a hospital in Cattolica, close to his home, where he will meet with doctors to discuss the next stage of his recovery.
More information and details about his condition will be sent later today.
Once again, David Williams of the On The Throttle crew caught up with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies after the latest MotoGP round at Mugello in Italy. Spies talks to Williams about the Le Mans and Mugello races, about learning new tracks, about the difference between the older and the newer tracks, and about what goes into setting up a MotoGP bike for a race. As ever, an interesting interview and 30 minutes of a MotoGP fan's time extremely well spent.
Here's the video from OnTheThrottle.tv:
That Valentino Rossi's crash has had a huge impact on the millions of MotoGP fans who follow his exploits around the world needs no explanation. The huge outpouring of emotion at the Mugello MotoGP race showed that. For those fans who weren't at Mugello, and would like to pass on their best wishes to Valentino Rossi and wish him a speedy recovery, as well as send their wishes to Rossi's team, all of whom are equally hard hit by the crash, Yamaha Racing have opened a page on Facebook to give everyone an opportunity to do just that. So head on over to Facebook and send Rossi and all the guys at Yamaha a message, it will mean a lot to them. You can find the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/yamaharacingcom?v=app_7146470109
After crashing out during the race at Mugello, a disappointed Nicky Hayden spoke to the press about what happened. Here's the transcript of that debrief:
Q: That looked like a Casey crash.
NH: Yeah, I just, I got a terrible start, it didn't help things at all when I let the clutch out and the bike bogged. You know, from the first corner to the end of the first lap, I recovered a lot of positions. Even the next couple of laps, I felt OK, but then when I got clear track, it was strange, I couldn't really make a lap time. At Le Mans it was the same, I felt like after warmup, I could go a lot faster. Yesterday in the afternoon, I could do mid 1'50s quite steady with the harder tire. But this afternoon, it was just impossible to make the lap time. I was pushing the front a lot more in the race than I had been all weekend, I went back and forth a bit with Melandri, and I just followed over that crest, and … I was a little bit inside, because the lap before, I got in too hot and ran wide. And I just lost the front. It was pretty quick, and I didn't have my knee down enough at that point to try to save it, and that was it.
Q: The track wasn't dirty there was it?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition after his crash at Mugello from the Fiat Yamaha team:
Monday 7th June 2010
ROSSI UPDATE FROM DR. BUZZI
There have been doubts hanging over the fate of the FB Corse project almost from the moment it was announced. There were question marks about the state of the engine, worries about team financing, and problems with testing. After a test at Valencia, an initial press release announcing they had been accepted into the MotoGP championship had to be withdrawn, after Franco Uncini stated that the team had made good progress, but not enough to qualify for the grid. A later test for the bike planned at Misano had to be called off, after Garry McCoy, who had been contracted to test and race the bike, pulled out with a flu.
That withdrawal seems to have been the final nail in the coffin of the project. Today, McCoy announced that he and FB Corse have decided to terminate their relationship. No reason for the withdrawal was given, but it seems logical to conclude that a lack of technical progress combined with the question marks hanging over the project's finances have forced McCoy to decide that enough was enough.
Here's the latest official press release on Valentino Rossi's condition from Yamaha:
ROSSI RECOVERING WELL FOLLOWING SURGERY
Following surgery to repair his broken right leg yesterday afternoon, Valentino Rossi is recovering well at the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy.
Dr. Roberto Buzzi of the CTO, who performed the operation, gave the following update this morning: "Valentino is recovering well following yesterday's operation and his morale seems to be high in the circumstances. Tomorrow we will wash and stitch the wound. He has been moved to a more normal room in the hospital and the only requests he has made are for peace and quiet, privacy and a television on which to watch today's race!"
Rossi sustained the injury during a crash yesterday morning, in practice for today's Grand Prix of Italy.
Valentino Rossi has an incredible record in MotoGP. The Italian legend has 230 consecutive race starts, and has never missed a Grand Prix in his career. He has crashed many times, yet never broken a major bone in his body. His worst injury coming at Assen in 2006, where he fractured a wrist.
His luck had to run out some time, and Saturday morning at Mugello turned out to be that time. So how did it happen? How did a rider of Rossi's extraordinary experience, indisputable talent and seemingly endless luck manage to crash so heavily, and hurt himself so badly? Below is an outline of what we know, assembled from information from various sources inside the paddock at Mugello.
From an official Yamaha press release:
ROSSI UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY IN FLORENCE
Valentino Rossi underwent a successful operation at the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy this afternoon to repair his fractured right tibia. The injury was sustained when he crashed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello this morning.
He was operated on by Dr. Roberto Buzzi of the CTO, assisted by Dr. Claudio Costa of the Clinica Mobile. Dr. Buzzi made the following statement following the 2.5 hour operation:
Valentino Rossi has been ruled out of his home Grand Prix at Mugello with a fractured tibia, and is likely to miss at least the next four races. The Italian suffered a vicious highside at the fast Biondetti left-right flick, being thrown off his bike and cracking his shinbone. He was taken to the Clinica Mobile where he was diagnosed with a fractured tibia, and then flown immediately to hospital in Florence for surgery.
The fracture is open, and has punctured the skin, and surgery is to be performed this afternoon to pin the bones and seal the skin. The surgery is to be performed by Dr Roberto Uzzi at the CTO Firenze hospital in Florence.
According to Claudio Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile, a normal person would require three months to recover, but racers with similar accidents have been back on track after 40 days. Both Toni Elias (at Assen) and Max Sabbatani (also here at Mugello) suffered similar injuries, and were back within 6 weeks.
This is possibly the worst possible time to suffer such an injury, with 6 races in 8 weeks. A 6 week hiatus would mean the first opportunity for Rossi to return would be at the Sachsenring, or possibly at Laguna Seca, but as both those tracks are particularly physical to ride, Rossi may feel it is more prudent to skip those two races, and wait until Brno, in the middle of August.