Latest MotoGP News
The MotoGP field will once again be down to just 16 riders at Aragon. Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi has announced that he will not be taking part in the 13th MotoGP round of the season at the brand new Motorland Aragon track due to the slower than hoped recovery from finger surgery. Capirossi suffered the injury in a second-corner incident with Nicky Hayden at Misano, the Rizla Suzuki rider flicking his bike right only to find the Marlboro Ducati of Hayden in the middle of the line he had hoped to take. Capirossi suffered tendon damage to his right-hand little finger in the crash, which was reattached on the Monday after the Misano race. Although Capirossi is healing well, the doctors ruled that he would not be fit in time for Sunday's race, and it would be better to miss the Aragon round and hope to be fully healed for the Motegi round of MotoGP on October 3rd.
The full text of the Suzuki press release, containing details of Capirossi's surgery and decision to skip Aragon, is shown below:
Bautista goes it alone as Capirossi is ruled out
Rizla Suzuki will have a solo representative at this weekend's Motorland Aragón Grand Prix in Spain with Álvaro Bautista flying the flag after Loris Capirossi was ruled out with a hand injury.
The announcement of the official 2011 MotoGP calendar - albeit the provisional one - has been a long time coming. Normally, the provisional calendar is settled at the Brno round of MotoGP, but the series' desire not to clash with Formula One means that the Grand Prix Commission has had to wait for the FIA to release the F1 calendar before finalizing their own. With the F1 calendar now provisionally released, the MotoGP calendar is expected to be released this weekend at the Aragon round.
An early version of the calendar has already surfaced among race travel trip organizers. As their businesses depend upon knowing the following year's schedule as early as possible, MotoGP travel companies are among the very first to know. Our friends over at Pole Position Travel pointed us to a provisional calendar which has appeared on the website of another organization selling MotoGP tickets.
The move to drop Friday morning practice - introduced for the 2009 season as a cost-cutting measure - has never been popular among either riders or fans. The riders and teams feel they are wasting their time, sitting around on Friday morning kicking their heels waiting for the afternoon session to kick off, and the fans miss out on an opportunity to watch the bikes out on track. Rookies, such as Interwetten Honda's Hiroshi Aoyama and his crew chief Tom Jojic, also lamented the lack of an extra session of practice, as the time between the sessions allowed the riders and their crews to go over the data collected.
In response to these criticisms, the Grand Prix Commission decided to experiment with a change from three one-hour practice sessions to four forty-five-minute sessions, extending the number of sessions on the track while leaving the amount of track time - and therefore the possible mileage - unchanged. The Aragon MotoGP round was chosen to stage this experiment, as Aragon was the only track which did not already have a list of supporting events which would need to be rescheduled. And so at Aragon, each of the classes will go out for four, shorter sessions of practice starting on Friday morning, rather than the three they have run at other events.
The investigation opened by the Rimini public prosecutor's office into the death of Shoya Tomizawa is drawing to a close, according to reports by the Italian press agency ANSA. The charges of culpable homicide (equivalent to criminally negligent manslaughter) which had been brought against "persons unknown" are likely to be dropped, the reports say. The autopsy on the 19-year-old Japanese rider revealed that Tomizawa had in fact been dead on arrival at the Ospedale Ceccarini di Riccione hospital, having died in the ambulance during the short journey to the circuit. The cause of death was identified as chest trauma, Tomizawa's lungs and heart having been irreparably damaged in the impact.
The Technomag CIP team today released the following statement, from the team and from Shoya Tomizawa's family, on the death of the 19-year-old Japanese rider's death:
The family of Shoya Tomizawa, the Technomag-CIP team and its partners, and the Technomag company wishes to express their homage to an exceptional son, rider and colleague.
Shoya Tomizawa was one of the rays of sunshine in the paddock and within his team. He never missed an opportunity to dedicate a smile or a ‘hello’ to anybody he encountered. He enjoyed having fun with his colleagues but was also a very professional rider who was spirited, and fully concentrated on the development of his bike after every ride. All were impressed by his talent and his refined style of riding. He worked hard to give his maximum not only for himself but for everybody in his team, who had become a second family with whom he spent most of his free time between races.
We have not only lost a talented rider, we have lost a friend and a son who radiated the joy of life and transmitted a good feeling to all those around him. This will always remain in our memories.
The Rimini prosecutor's office (the Italian equivalent of a district attorney, or crown prosecution service) is to investigate the events surrounding the death of Shoya Tomizawa during Sunday's Moto2 race at Misano. The prosecutor is to investigate whether any of the parties involved in the crash can be regarded as culpable for the tragic death of the Japanese rider in any way. Charges of "culpable homicide" (equivalent to criminally negligent manslaughter in Anglo-Saxon law) are being brought against persons unknown during the extent of the investigation.
According to the Italian press agency ANSA, an autopsy is to be performed on Tomizawa to determine whether the fact that a corner worker charged with carrying Tomizawa from trackside to the ambulance slipped in the gravel and fell, dropping the stretcher Tomizawa was on and allowing the Japanese rider to fall on his head, was a contributing factor to Tomizawa's death. The decision to move Tomizawa had been made by one of the medical officials, who had determined that Tomizawa was not breathing and needed to be put on a respirator as soon as possible, which the nearby ambulance contained. The marshalls were charged with moving Tomizawa to the ambulance as quickly as possible.
Hard on the heels of the announcement that Cal Crutchlow will be moving into the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team comes confirmation of his replacement in the Sterilgarda Yamaha team he leaves behind. As reported previously, current Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri will be making the switch to Yamaha's World Superbike squad, taking the seat vacated by Crutchlow.
Below is the official release from Yamaha, and the official announcement of Melandri's departure from Gresini Honda:
Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team confirms Marco Melandri for 2011
Motorcycle racing paddocks have never been good at keeping secrets, but this year seems to be particularly bad. As predicted by MotoMatters.com on Thursday, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team have confirmed that Cal Crutchlow will be riding their MotoGP bike next year. Crutchlow and Tech 3 have agreed a two-year deal for 2011 and 2012, giving Crutchlow a chance to get accustomed to MotoGP machinery without the immediate pressure to perform. The switch back to 1000cc for 2012 should also make Crutchlow's job in his second year a little bit easier, the bikes expected to be a little more like the Sterilgarda Yamaha World Superbike he has raced this season.
Below is the press release from Tech 3:
Cal Crutchlow joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team
Tragedy has struck the motorcycle racing community for the second time in 8 days. Technomag CIP rider Shoya Tomizawa died in hospital of injuries sustained in a crash during the Moto2 race at Misano.
The crash happened on lap 12 of the 26 lap race. Tomizawa lost the rear while pushing hard through turn 11, falling in front of Alex de Angelis and Scott Redding. Neither rider could avoid the fallen Tomizawa, striking him hard at the fastest part of the track. Both men also fell, De Angelis escaping uninjured, while Redding suffered injuries to his hips. Because he was struck by two bikes, Tomizawa suffered blunt force trauma to the cranium, thorax and abdomen.
Tomizawa was taken straight from the track to the Hospital of Riccione, but the 19-year-old Japanese rider was suffering from severe cardiac instability, and Tomizawa eventually died of heart failure.
Another small piece of the puzzle slots into place in MotoGP's rider merry-go-round. The Pagina Amarillas Aspar Ducati team announced a contract extension with Hector Barbera, which will see the Spaniard return for another season on board the Aspar Ducati. The move had been widely expected, with Barbera living up to the expectations of the team.
It's been clear for some time now that Marco Melandri's career in MotoGP is over. The Italian shone brightly for a couple of years on the 990 MotoGP bikes, but his fortunes have faded since the switch to 800cc, and especially since his disastrous year on the Ducati in 2008. A return to the Gresini Honda team in 2010, the team that he scored his most famous victories with, could not turn Melandri's MotoGP career around, and the Italian is now headed for World Superbikes.
It had generally been expected that Melandri would be joining BMW's World Superbike squad for 2011, taking the place of the disappointing Ruben Xaus. But Italian site GPOne.com is reporting that Melandri will not be heading for the German manufacturer, but will instead take a seat in the Sterilgarda Yamaha squad. According to GPOne.com, Melandri's manager met with Lin Jarvis and Laurens Klein Koerkamp of Yamaha, and has agreed terms for 2011. An official announcement is expected to be made tomorrow after the World Superbike race at the Nurburgring in Germany.
The upcoming changes to MotoGP in 2012 have the chance to revolutionize the class. The switch to 1000cc, along with the introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams, who will be allowed extra fuel and engines and to use production-based engines in prototype chassis, should shake up the grid considerably.
Today at Misano, Eskil Suter introduced the bike he intends to supply after the 2012 MotoGP regulations come into effect. The machine is based loosely on Suter's MMX Moto2 machine, the chassis able to use roughly the same dimensions as the BMW S1000RR engine is very close to the same size as the Honda CBR600 mill being used in the Moto2 bikes. In its current state (basically Superstock trim), the engine already pumps out 210 horsepower, but Suter believes there is plenty more to come. The BMW engine was selected precisely because it was both extremely compact (almost the same physical size as the CBR600) and because the company believes the S1000RR motor has the most unrealized potential of the current crop of liter bike engines. In its current state, the bike displayed at Misano weighs just 145kg, some 8kg under the required minimum weight, giving a lot of options for altering the weight distribution of the bike.
Ever since the introduction of the six-engine rule in MotoGP, keen MotoGP watchers have been wondering when the engine limits might bite. After FP1 at Misano, the 12th round of MotoGP, the answer seems to be about now.
A host of riders were left pulling old motors off the shelf to use to work on their race setup. Six riders went out on their #1 engine, which first saw action back in Qatar, while two more took out their #2 engines. Even the newer engines being used had racked up the miles. Both Mika Kallio and Casey Stoner took out engines for their 32nd sessions, Marco Melandri put the 30th session on his #2 engine, Aleix Espargaro's Ducati Desmosdici engine saw its 28th session, while the Suzuki of Loris Capirossi and the Honda of Andrea Dovizioso saw action for the 27th time.
Kings of the high mileage were Ducati. Four of the five Ducati riders went out on old engines, Stoner, Kallio and Espargaro taking the oldest engines, while Hector Barbera's engine had been used relatively lightly, with just 23 sessions under its belt.
As if the Moto2 grid wasn't confusing enough already, the Misano round for the 40-strong Moto2 class features a host of replacement riders and wildcards. Making things even worse, some of the replacements and wildcards are riders who have left one team and gone on to ride for another. Here's a rundown of the Misano Moto2 Musical Chairs:
First of all, the absentees: Aeroport de Castello's Alex Debon is out after fracturing his collarbone yet again, the 4th time in 10 months, after falling at Indianapolis. HolidayGym's Fonsi Nieto is also missing, having cracked his heelbone in the Indy Moto2 mayhem. Nieto has been extraordinarily unlucky: not only did he fracture bones in his foot, but the Spaniard had problems during surgery on his foot which saw him suffer a respiratory arrest as a result of the anesthetics being used. So serious was the situation that Nieto was even in danger of having his foot amputated because of the complications.
Toni Elias' Gresini teammate Vladimir Ivanov is also absent due to injury, as is JIR Moto2's Yusuke Teshima - himself a replacement for Mattia Pasini, who left after a dispute over finances - and Arne Tode of Team Germany, both of whom picked up (further) injuries at Indy.