Latest MotoGP News

New Tire Regulations For 2007 MotoGP Season

The FIM has announced new tire regulations to be used for the 2007 season.

Two points in the rules stand out:

2.9.3   Teams that are supplied by a tyre manufacturer that has achieved at least two MotoGP race wins in dry conditions since the first race of the 2005 season will be restricted in the quantity of slick tyres that each of the teams riders may use at a single event as follows:

During all practice sessions, warm up and the race a maximum of 31 slick tyres, specifically -
Front tyres: 14
Rear tyres: 17

When a tyre manufacturer, not subject to the limitation at the beginning of the season, achieves two MotoGP wins in dry conditions during the current season, it will become subject to the restrictions at the third event after the one where the second win was achieved.

2.9.4   Between 12.00 hrs. and 17.00 hrs. on the day prior to the start of official practice, the Technical Director will mark the tyres available to each entered rider.

This basically means two things:

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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.

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2006 MotoGP Brno Qualifying Practice Report

Qualifying practice at Brno on Saturday started strangely, but turned into an old-fashioned thriller. Anyone trying to read the signs before practice started would have had a great deal of difficulty, with the names on the timesheets yo-yoing between the top and mid-sheet. What was clear by Saturday morning is that times were going to be fast, after Loris Capirossi clocked a track record in the third Free Practice session.

As a result, no one was really surprised to see Capirossi set the fastest time just a few minutes after the start of the official Qualifying Practice, with a 1:58.399, and before 10 minutes of the session had elapsed, five riders had all put in 1:58s. As all these times had been set on race tires, as the riders searched for the right setup before attempting an actual qualifying time, notice had already been served that Sunday's race was going to be very very fast indeed.

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2006 Brno Free Practice Session 2

Valentino Rossi heads the timesheets after FP2 at Brno, after putting in a blistering time on qualifiers. The big surprise is Randy de Puniet on the Kawasaki in 2nd. The Bridgestones must be working well, as both 2nd place de Puniet and 3rd place Loris Capirossi are using them. The Dunlops aren't doing too badly either, as Carlos Checa put in a very respectable time in 7th. Title contenders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Hondas are way down in 8th and 11th respectively. But looking at the lap charts, it's clear that neither Pedrosa nor Hayden used qualifiers, electing to run a lot of laps on race tires instead.

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Silly Season Speculation 2006: Who Goes Where Next Year?

After three weeks of enforced idleness after the thrills of Laguna Seca, the MotoGP circus goes back to work this weekend at Brno in the Czech Republic, refreshed and relaxed from their mid-season break. At least, that's the official story. Unofficially, the MotoGP circus goes back to work frazzled and frayed from three weeks of intense negotiation, speculation, contemplation and insinuation. Mobile phone bills are astronomical, keypads are worn down to the bare metal from frantic dialing, and Dr Costa's Clinica Mobile is awash with irritated ears, inflamed thumbs and chronic hoarseness, as the 2007 MotoGP season commences.

For the summer break is traditionally the start of what journalists tend to call the silly season, but if you're a rider, team owner, sponsor, mechanic, PR guru or even catering kitchen staff, it's deadly serious. With no races to interrupt, and everyone away from their teams, negotiations about who wants to be where, or even just somewhere next season are in full swing. And this year's round of rumors and speculation is just as wild and surprising as the season's races have been.

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Hofmann Replaces Gibernau At Brno

In yet another blow for the troubled Sete Gibernau, the Spaniard will have to miss out on this weekend's Brno Grand Prix, after a scan of his collarbone showed it was still not strong enough to hold up to the strains of racing. This will be the third race the corner incident at Catalunya has caused the luckless Spaniard to miss, as previous surgery kept him away from the Assen and Donington rounds. The only bright point for Gibernau is that he has another three weeks to recover, as the race after Brno is at Sepang in Malaysia on September 10th.
Pramac d'Antin Ducati rider Alex Hofmann will once again replace Gibernau at Brno. Crash.net has more details of the story.

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Nicky Hayden To Star In Show on MTV

The Spanish motorcycle magazine is reporting that Nicky Hayden is to star in his own TV show on MTV. The magazine claims that Hayden was due to make a pilot of the show for the global music channel, but that they decided to go straight to production after the Kentucky Kid won the Laguna Seca US Grand Prix last month. Negotiations are currently underway between International Racers and MTV about the show. Dorna will also be involved in the project.

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Michelin Tires At Laguna Seca - A Comparative Study at Superbikeplanet.com

Superbikeplanet.com (or Soup, as it is known in the vernacular) has a great set of comparison images of the Michelin tires at the end of the Laguna Seca race. What is really obvious is that the Yamaha uses its rear a lot harder than the Honda does. Either they have traction control working better, or they have a smoother torque curve. Well worth a look.

You can find the images here.

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Sete Gibernau To Undergo Further Surgery On His Collarbone

The official Ducati Racing website is reporting that Sete Gibernau is to undergo more surgery on his collarbone. He found he was having problems with the titanium plate put in after his monster pile up at the first corner at Catalunya, as his shoulder was weaker than it should have been, though he felt little or no pain. X-rays taken after returning home from Laguna Seca revealed the titanium plate had weakened, causing complications for the Spanish rider. The doctors treating Sete will strengthen the screw holding the plate in and administer bone growth injections, to speed up the growth of bone around the plate.

Ducati say that Gibernau is "probable, but not certain" to race at Brno on August 20th.

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Rossi's Wrecked Tire - Pictures and Possible Causes

Over on Superbikeplanet.com, there's a great picture of Rossi's ruined rear tire, which caused him to slow and, Yamaha claims, caused his bike to overheat and blow coolant all over the track. I can't post it here because of copyright reasons, but here's a link to it:
http://superbikeplanet.com/image/2006/mgp/usgp/rossi-laguna/8.jpg

If you look at the left-hand side of the tire, you can see a large strip where the rubber has let go. The interesting part about it is that the line of damage seems to be more or less along the line where the two different compounds in the dual-compound tires are joined. After Rossi's front tire delaminated (or to put it in layperson's terms, blew a chunk of rubber from one of the layers) in Shanghai, there was some speculation that the Michelins are not well suited to the Yamaha's power and handling characteristics this year, especially as the Honda riders have not had anywhere near as many tire problems so far this season.

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MotoGP Laguna Seca 2006 Race - Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot

Motorcycle racing, just in case you haven't noticed, is an outdoors sport. As such, it is ever at the mercy of the elements. And the 2006 MotoGP season has been dominated by the vagaries of the weather more than any other season in recent memory. Rain was the seemingly ever present companion to the series for the first few rounds, finally letting up when we reached Barcelona. But just as the riders had gotten used to not having to deal with the complexities which rain throws into the racing mix, Laguna Seca threw them a curve ball. It didn't rain in Monterey all weekend, it was hot. And not just a little hot, it was a pavement-scorching, rubber-melting, rider-wearing heat, with temperatures of over 100 F in the shade. In fact it was so hot that both American Superbike rider Ben Bostrom and Dani Pedrosa's mentor Alberto Puig had to be taken to the medical center to be treated for heat-related problems.

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2006 MotoGP Laguna Seca Warmup

Sunday morning's warmup threw up a few surprises at Laguna Seca. Firstly, prior to the warmup, the FIM ordered the AMA classes, which run at Laguna Seca at the same time, not to run until after the MotoGP event had finished. The next surprise was the names running at the front. After a previously dire qualifying session, Valentino Rossi lead the timesheets for a good deal of the session, with a very fast 1:23.494, nearly half a second quicker than the race record set last year. He was pipped shortly before the end of the session by Dani Pedrosa, who ran a 1:23.409, before fellow rookie Casey Stoner shattered the times in the dying seconds with an astonishing 1:23.029. If that was set on race tires, it's a staggering time.

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2006 MotoGP Laguna Seca 2006 Qualifying

Laguna Seca has thrown up a host of surprises during Saturday's Qualifiying Practice session. Many observers were expecting to see Nicky Hayden attempt to repeat last year's performance, taking pole position in an attempt to lead the race from the off, but that plan fell through. Early in qualifying, it was Casey Stoner who topped the timesheets, setting the fastest time 10 minutes into the session, then improving on the time 8 minutes later, cracking the 1:23 barrier and setting a time that was to stand for nearly two thirds of the session. Behind Stoner, Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen was quick, constantly threatening to take provisional pole from Stoner. With 24 minutes to go, Stoner lead Vermeulen, ahead of Vermeulen's team mate John Hopkins, Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Kenny Roberts Jr.

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2006 Laguna Seca Free Practice Day 1

Kenny Roberts Jr leads the timesheets at the end of the first day of practice at the US GP at Laguna Seca. The rider who did so poorly at last year's grand prix is really making an impression at his home GP this year. Behind him, last year's winner Nicky Hayden had a good run in the second session, after a disappointing display in the morning session. Hayden's team mate Dani Pedrosa is the big surprise of the day, taking third spot on his first visit to the track, an extraordinary achievement at a track which is difficult to learn, thanks to so many blind turns. Marco Melandri is fourth, followed by double Superbike winner at Laguna Seca Chris Vermeulen. Colin Edwards heads up the Yamaha challenge in 6th place.

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2006 Donington MotoGP Round - Qualifying Practice

Dani Pedrosa confirmed his dominance at Donington after qualifying on pole for Sunday's race. Pedrosa's name was near the top of the standings for over half of the qualifying session, first behind fellow 250 rookie Casey Stoner, before taking over the lead with 15 minutes to go. With just over a minute to go of qualifying, the diminutive Spaniard then smashed Valentino Rossi's lap record by over 2/10ths of a second.

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