Colin Edwards' future in MotoGP has been uncertain for some time now, and rumors about what comes next have been circulating continuously. As late as Mugello, there appeared to be a good chance that Edwards could remain with Tech 3, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis hinting to MotoMatters.com that Edwards' long experience in MotoGP and his unquestionable development skills could play a key role in helping to develop Yamaha's 2012 MotoGP bike, especially important as MotoGP reverts to a 1000cc formula.
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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an immensely successful motorsports venue, but its very success worked against it on the first day of practice. After complaints last year that the track was too bumpy and the kerbs were raised too much, the infield part of the circuit was completely resurfaced and many of the bumps were removed. The MotoGP riders were almost unanimously impressed by the effort put in by Indy, and the change was universally appreciated as a sign that IMS was keen on keeping MotoGP at the facility for the immediate future.
It's been an unimaginably tough season for Ducati in 2011. The arrival of Valentino Rossi has served only to prove that the design of the Desmosedici has some fundamental design flaws that only a particular talent can ride around, and the factory Ducatis have spent all this year circulating in mid-pack. Right now, the focus in Bologna has shifted completely towards 2012, with this season being used to gather data to help build next year's bike.
With the Japanese round of MotoGP at Motegi now just five weeks away, it is getting close to crunch time for the riders to decide whether they are going to race at the circuit or not. The report on the radiation situation at Motegi commissioned by Dorna has been presented to the riders and the teams, and everyone has had some time to digest the report.
As MotoGP heads into the final stretch of the season, with just over a third of the races left to go, it's time to have another look at the engine situation in MotoGP. With each rider now well into their allocation of 6 engines to last the season, the trends are becoming clear. So who is in trouble, who has engines to spare and which manufacturer has done the best job of producing an engine that works. Below is a run down of each factory, subdivided by team and rider.
The deal which will see Bridgepoint Capital, the parent company of MotoGP series owner Dorna, take over Infront Sports and Media, the owners of the World Superbike series, is nearing completion. It is widely expected that Bridgepoint will finalize the purchase of Infront by the end of this month, though the contracts have yet to be signed.
Ever since Valentino Rossi ended the first Valencia MotoGP test in lowly 15th place on the Ducati Desmosedici, one-and-three-quarter seconds behind fastest man and former teammate Jorge Lorenzo, there have been calls for radical changes to Ducati's MotoGP machine. Those calls have only intensified as the season has progressed, the switch from the GP11 to the GP11.1, the destroked version of Ducati's 2012 MotoGP machine, having brought little improvement until a few key parts were introduced at Brno.
We'd been waiting for it for a long time - longer than we had initially hoped for, after the planned 1000cc test at Mugello morphed into an 800cc test, the Brno test taking its place - but finally, we got to see the 2012 MotoGP bikes out on track, in public and undisguised. Honda and Yamaha pitted their latest creations against one another in full view of the public, and the results were not quite as expected beforehand.
Race day turned up plenty of surprises at Brno, some good, some bad, and some, well, just surprising. The three races turned up a tense duel, a full-on fairing-banging barnstormer and, well, a MotoGP race with a surprise podium, and proved that the layout of the Brno circuit is one of the very best in the world.
The weather gods have really got it in for MotoGP this year. The Brno round looked like being warm and dry just a week ago, but that turned out to be hopelessly optimistic. It started raining on Friday night, and only stopped in the middle of the FP3 session for Moto2. That was not before both Casey Stoner and John Hopkins had crashed, however, Stoner coming away unscathed, while Hopkins was far less lucky, breaking one finger and fracturing another, and ruling himself out of the Brno race.
After a busy few weeks of racing, with impressive performances in the BSB and World Superbike championships, John Hopkins' luck ran out at Brno on Saturday morning. The American, appearing at the Czech Grand Prix as a wildcard for Rizla Suzuki, crashed in very wet conditions, breaking one finger and fracturing another, ruling him out of further participation for the weekend.
The summer break officially ended at 9:15am this morning, when the peace which reigned in the wooded Moravian hills was split asunder by the crackle of a pack of howling 125cc two strokes. Though the wooded Moravian hills are wonderful when silent, the addition of racing motorcycles offered a vast improvement, as many of the people who have already crowded the paddock and track agreed.
MotoGP is back from its summer break, and though the fans only had to face two weekends without the series - and one of those saw a World Superbike event - they are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the Four Aliens and their mortal cohorts are back on track once again.