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The 250 Silly Season Roundup

After the success of the MotoGP silly season roundup page, we thought it would be useful to draw up a similar list for the 250cc class. The class is looking rather shaky for 2009, as KTM have pulled out of the class due to the impending rule changes due to come into effect in 2011. If Dorna have not secured 15 entries for this championship, then they will be forced to cancel the series, as the FIM rules require a minimum of 15 competitors for any series to be called a world championship.

 

GileraThe Gilera is basically just a rebadged Aprilia, as Piaggio own several brands they can compete on
Marco SimoncelliThe 2008 World Champion was reputedly offered a lot of money to make the step up to MotoGP, but then Piaggio offered Marco even more money to stay.
Mattia Pasini? Simone Corsi?After the withdrawal of Polaris World due to the collapse in the Spanish housing market, Mattia Pasini was suddenly available. Pasini has reputedly asked for a lot of money to sign for a team, though his manager has said that he "now acknowledges market realities."
Simone Corsi is currently 3rd in the 125cc championship race, and has been strong all season.
  
Team AsparThe dominant team in 125 and 250 racing. Missed out on moving to MotoGP, so will be doubly committed to winning the 250 crown.
Alvaro BautistaThe favorite to take Simoncelli's crown. Incredibly talented, but can occasionally lose his head.
Hector Faubel? Mike Di Meglio?The second seat is wide open. Faubel is currently under contract to Aspar, but has hardly set the world on fire. He is Spanish though, something Aspar's sponsors like. Di Meglio isn't and is arguably a bigger threat, and so may not find favor with the Valencian.
  
Aspar '2'The B team, reportedly to be run with Hungarian money.
Gabor TalmacsiThe reigning 125 champion had too many problems to defend his title this year, and will be too old to take another shot in 2009. Is clearly extremely able, and should suit a 250 better than the 125.
  
WRB-PonsSito Pons returns to the grid at last, to the joy of many. Pons last managed a team in MotoGP, losing out by his association with Max Biaggi.
Hector BarberaVery fast, and very wild. A permanent fixture in 250s, and a permanent title challenger.
Axel Pons?Axel is Sito's son, who suffered a horrific crash in the Spanish 125 championship, and is now nearly back to full fitness. Question marks remain over whether he can jump straight into the 250 class from the Spanish series, despite the very high level of competition.
  
Lotus ApriliaRun by Dani Amitriain, which fielded Alex Debon this year, and was Jorge Lorenzo's former team.
Mike Di Meglio? Hector Faubel?See above
Aleix Espargaro?The brother of teenage 125 sensation Pol Espargaro, Aleix is a decent mid-pack rider.
  
Caffe Latte 
Thomas LuthiLuthi was brilliant in the 125s, and has been competitive in the 250s too. Not as strong as Bautista, but has had some bad luck, and a few bad crashes too.
  
AB Cardion 
Karel AbrahamThe Czech rider has had this team built around him by his father, who owns the medical equipment company which sponsors both the team and the Brno MotoGP round. A mid-pack rider.
  
Thai Honda 
Ratthapark WilairotGreat to see riders from outside Europe, the US or Australia. Wilairot has done very well considering the equipment he has been on. Consistently one of the fastest privateers, doubly handicapped by being on a Honda.
Esteve Rabat?Rabat is currently riding for Repsol KTM in the 125 class, and is another product of the Puig stables. But Rabat has yet shown the promise of Puig's other proteges.
  
Repsol Derbi?The team to be run by Alberto Puig. Puig initially wanted KTMs, but after KTM pulled out, Puig approached Aprilia. Repsol, however, were unhappy at racing Aprilias, and so Puig persuaded them to accept Derbis instead. Despite the fact that a Derbi is a rebadged Aprilia.
Esteve Rabat?The most likely backup rider, as Rabat is already working with Puig
Mike di Meglio?See above. De Meglio would be Repsol Derbi's number 1 rider, as reigning 125 champion, but Repsol may prefer a Spaniard.

 

Rides and teams in bold are definite, others are speculation and unsure.

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Aspar: A Sponsor For Suzuki In '09 For A Third Bike In '10

The long and desperate history of Jorge Aspar Martinez and his attempts to enter MotoGP reached at least a temporary conclusion in Malaysia. The deal the Spaniard had with Kawasaki to run a third factory bike finally foundered on Kawasaki's insistence on Shinya Nakano as the rider, while Aspar's Spanish sponsors wanted a Spaniard. Martinez told Kawasaki that he would run Nakano if Kawasaki shared the costs, but the Akashi factory demanded that Aspar pay the full costs of the project.

But this had been the last page in an extended history: Aspar had turned to Kawasaki after his rider Alvaro Bautista refused to ride a Ducati, and the team had only examined Ducati as an option after a potential deal with Suzuki fell through. In the end, and with the Kawasaki in the shape it is in in 2008, the deal falling through may well be a good thing for the project.

For the Spanish sports daily Marca is reporting that Aspar is back talking to his first choice of motorcycle supplier. According to Marca, Aspar's Spanish sponsors have acquiesced to provide sponsorship for the factory Suzuki MotoGP team - currently Rizla Suzuki - on the condition that Aspar gets a third factory bike to run in MotoGP from 2010. That new team would then see Alvaro Bautista step up from 250s to move into the premier class, hopefully after wresting the world title from Marco Simoncelli.

There is some substance to this deal, as since Rizla withdrew sponsorship from the team run by Crescent Racing in British Superbikes, speculation has been rife that the manufacturer of cigarette rolling papers might withdraw - or reduce its involvement - from the MotoGP team as well. If Martinez can bring money to the factory Suzuki team, that would give him a very strong claim to a bike for 2010.

Though it really is far too early to even be thinking about the 2010 MotoGP silly season, it seems that reality is starting to intervene. The 2010 roundabout starts here ...

 

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First Set Of MotoGPMatters.com Desktop Images Now Available!

As promised last week, we now have some of Scott Jones' fantastic photographs from Laguna Seca and Donington available for download as desktop images. The images are available in three sizes to suit most desktops: 1280x1024, 1280x800 and 1024x768. If you would like to see the images in other resolutions, let us know. So, here's the first few of Scott's images, with the rest of them available on this page.

Laguna Seca Corkscrew

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First Images from Laguna Seca

 

I'm sitting next to Toby Moody in the Laguna Seca Media Center, and when he brought up the foggy, cool weather, I replied that it was nice compared to the scorching heat of two years ago. He disagreed. "Bring on the heat!" he said, smiling. Extremely nice guy, Mr. Moody. Some television network will do very well to secure his and Mr. Ryder's services next season.

Free Practice 1 was delayed fifteen minutes or so as the riders prepared to go out on track. Dani Pedrosa moved up about ten notches on the tough guy scale, appearing in his garage walking with a crutch on his right arm, his left heavily bandaged. He was clearly damaged, still in considerable pain from his crash in Germany. Somehow he climbed onto his bike and took to the track. He ended up last on the session timing sheet, but the fact the he went out in his condition is extremely impressive.
 

At Donington, Ben Spies sat beneath Loris Capirossi's image, but he has his own graphic panel here at Laguna. He managed 11th before crashing, making clear that while Donington was an introduction to the 800cc Suzuki, he means business here on home turf. MotoGP rookie Jamie Hacking was right behind Spies in 12th.

Both American riders had a short time to shift into AMA Superbike mode, don their local leathers, and return for the first Superbike practice session. In person, the differences between the two series' machines is dramatic, making the idea of riding one before hoping on the other pretty impressive.  More photos tonight.

 

 

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MotoGP in San Francisco

 

With the USGP at Laguna Seca three days away, MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Chris Vermeulen appeared at one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist areas, Pier 39, to greet fans and sign autographs. Sitting in front of the Hard Rock Café, the MotoGP duo was joined by several riders from the Red Bull Rookies series, and a bit later by popular American riders Ben and Eric Bostrom, who compete in the AMA Superbike series.

 

 

 

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Race Day Words And Images From Scott Jones At Donington

We've been privileged to receive some great reports and fantastic photographs from Scott Jones of Turn2Photography, who has been attending the race at Donington, and today is no exception. He sent us his view of the race, including more great pictures, as well as a series of shots capturing James Toseland's crash at Redgate. We hope you enjoy his report:

 

The View From Redgate Grandstand
Images from race day, Sunday, Donington Park, from Scott Jones

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Images And Words On Day 2 At Donington From Scott Jones

We are once again lucky to receive yet more fantastic photos and an on-the-spot report from Scott Jones of Turn2Photography. Enjoy!

 

Saturday Report From Donington
 

An English Summer Day

The promised UK weather arrived for Saturday and we spent the morning sessions at the Fogerty Esses, watching the 125s and then Premiere Class tiptoe through the chicane. It was raining hard in the morning and many riders judged the previous day's braking points somewhat optimistically, leaving them trying the grass route back to the tarmac.

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Memories Of Summer: Some Images From Misano

As most of you know by now, we occasionally feature MotoGP photography from sources off the beaten path here at MotoGPMatters.com. A couple of months ago, someone who posts as RLCanon over on the Adventure Rider website posted up a couple of pictures from his visit to the Misano MotoGP round. We liked them a lot, and we hope you like them too.

Colin Edwards, demonstrating how to crane your neck.

 

Edwards again. His '07 helmet paint job is truly a thing of beauty, as is the tail section on the '08 M1. Shame the results aren't as good as the bike's looks.

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More Laguna Seca Photos, Because You Liked The Previous Bunch So Much

Well, the previous batch of photos from Jules "Popmonkey" Cisek proved such a success that we thought we'd provide some more. Reader Scott Jones e-mailed us to let us know that he had some photos of Laguna Seca, and he kindly agreed to let us feature a few here. We hope you agree with us that they are well worth a gander.

If you've never seen one, this is what the tail of a Kawasaki Supersport bike looks like

Ben's spare leathers

 

Choices, choices ...

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A Few Belated Images From Laguna Seca

A friend of MotoGPMatters.com, and an extremely talented photographer, Jules Cisek, was lucky enough to visit the Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca and came home with a bunch of fantastic photographs. Jules, who some of you may also know as Popmonkey on a number of motorcycle-related forums, like Rideontwo.com, was kind enough to let us use some of his pictures. So here's a selection of some of our personal favorites.


Colin Edwards


Valentino Rossi
 


John Hopkins


Someone remembered to bring an Australian flag, just in case.

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