Making The Wrong Choices: Arthur Sissis On Leaving Moto3 For Speedway

It's tough at the top, but it's a lot tougher the further down the grid you go. Every rider has tales of missed opportunities but few have fallen as far off the radar as Arthur Sissis. Four years ago, the 21-year-old Australian was standing on the podium of his home Grand Prix, but his dream quickly turned sour and he turned his back on road racing and moved to Speedway.

Looking back on this decision Sissis says that he was “young and stupid” and that facing up to the fact that he hadn't met his own expectations in two and a half Moto3 seasons was the reason that he ran for the exit door.

“I went into Speedway basically because I was young and stupid,” said Sissis as he reflected on his Moto3 career. “When I left Moto3 I was just young, I was an 18-year-old kid who'd just been sacked and you think you’ve got nothing to do in the paddock and that nobody likes you. I was young and I didn’t know what to do, so I thought, stuff it all I'm going to race Speedway.

Surgery Season: Riders In Every Class Go Under The Knife In Preparation For 2017

If ever there was a time to be disabused of any notions of the glamorous life a professional motorcycle racer leads, the weeks immediately following the end of the racing season, after testing has been completed, is surely it. Riders around the world head into operating theaters and physical rehabilitation facilities to have more permanent fixes applied to the temporary patch up jobs done to allow them to keep racing during the season. 

Subscriber Feature: Why Jorge Lorenzo Had A Tough Time With Tires In 2016

What went wrong for Jorge Lorenzo in 2016? A lot of things. The Spaniard was quickest during the Sepang test, a full second faster than his teammate. He started the season strongly, with a win at Qatar, then a strong run of form from Austin to Mugello, finishing either first or second every race except in Argentina, where he crashed. That crash perhaps foreshadowed what was to come: unable to match the pace of the leaders, he pushed hard to manage the gap. He went slightly off line and hit a damp patch on the track, and lost the front.

The cause of that problem – Michelin's tires in poor grip conditions – would be a recurring pattern. At Barcelona, after the track layout was changed to make it safer in response to the tragic death of Luis Salom, Lorenzo was once again struggling, and was wiped out by an impatient Andrea Iannone. At Assen, the Sachsenring, Brno and Silverstone, Lorenzo had an awful time in the wet. At Phillip Island, it was the same, this time cold temperatures in the race causing problems after so much of practice was washed out by the rain.

Why was Lorenzo struggling? Was it really just a question of the Spaniard being afraid of the rain? Or is there something more to it than that? And how will Lorenzo cope with this on the Ducati next year?

Michelin Press Release Interview: Nicolas Goubert Reflects On 2016

The Michelin press office issued the following press release, containing an interview with Nicolas Goubert, the head of their MotoGP program. In it Goubert discusses their return to MotoGP as single tire supplier, and the challenges they have faced.


MICHELIN’S RETURN TO MotoGP™ - NICOLAS GOUBERT RUNS THE RULE OVER THE 2016 CAMPAIGN

Michelin returned to the MotoGP grid this season following a seven-year absence, with the French manufacturer bringing numerous evolutions to its tyres in the course of the campaign.

Jerez Test Analysis: Would Jonathan Rea Really Beat The MotoGP Riders On His WorldSBK Kawasaki?

In a typically robust column written at the end of last week, David Miller, editor of Bikesportnews.com, suggested that the time which double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea had set on Thursday at the combined WorldSBK and MotoGP test at Jerez had made the MotoGP bikes look a bit silly. Rea had ended the day as the fastest rider on the day, setting a time of 1'38.721, nearly a quarter of a second faster than Alvaro Bautista, who was riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 at the track.

Rea had set the time on a modified version of a road bike, costing something in the region of €300,000, beating the satellite Ducatis (estimated lease price, just shy of €2 million), satellite Hondas (official lease price €2 million, actual cost to lease about 50% higher than that), and the factory Suzuki, KTM and Desmosedici GP17 ("I'm sorry sir, you'll have to put your checkbook away, this one isn't for sale").

Miller draws a number of conclusions from this, some sound, some based more on hyperbole than reality. The claim that MotoGP is no longer a prototype series is unfounded. MotoGP bikes (and their predecessors, the 500cc two strokes and four strokes from whence they came) have never been prototypes, as Grand Prix racing was hobbled by rules from the birth of the series in 1949. The ban on forced induction, imposed in the 1930s when the excess of horsepower made possible by supercharging far outweighed contemporary braking technology, was left in place.

Interview: Marco Melandri On His Return To World Superbikes

The return of Marco Melandri to WorldSBK in 2017 has been one of the biggest talking points in the series over the last few months. The Italian has won 19 races from 100 starts in the championship, and as a former 250GP world champion and 22 times Grand Prix winner his credentials are highly impressive.

The last two years have been a blot on his copybook however. Having enjoyed an exceptionally strong finish to the 2014 WorldSBK season Melandri looked well placed to finally win a second world title. Winning six races and finishing fourth in the standings looked to be a perfect springboard for a title run the following year.

Aprilia had other ideas, however, and with Melandri forced to race in MotoGP the relationship turned sour. The then 32 year old walked out of MotoGP and out of racing mid-season. In a forced retirement Melandri has had to keep busy and while he felt that he could still race at the front he sought other challenges including opening a shop with his sister.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - One MotoGP season – more than a thousand crashes

One MotoGP season – more than a thousand crashes

During 2016 there were more than a thousand crashes in a MotoGP season for the first time in the sport’s history. What does this tell us about what’s going on?

There are two ways to judge how a rider and his motorcycle are working together: how many times the rider ends up on the podium and how often he ends up in the gravel.

Inevitably, the two stats tend to be diametrically opposed. And rarely more so than in 2003 when Alex Barros scored one podium from 16 races at the cost of crashing his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 14 times.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

2017 WorldSBK Calendar Released: Portimao Returns, Jerez, Sepang Disappear

The provisional 2017 World Superbike calendar has been released, but unlike the MotoGP calendar, which is unchanged, there are a couple of minor differences to the schedule. The World Superbike class will contest 13 rounds, just as they did in 2016, spread across three continents. Sepang and Jerez have been dropped, and Portimao makes a comeback.

Jerez Test Thursday Times: Jonathan Rea Beats MotoGP Bikes

The fourth day of the Jerez combined MotoGP and WorldSBK test saw the World Superbike stars come to the fore. At the end of the day, it was Jonathan Rea who blew the field away, using a Pirelli qualifier to go faster than both WorldSBK and MotoGP riders alike. Rea had spent the early part of the day running a 20-lap race simulation, before chasing a fast lap to leave the test on later in the day.  

Jerez Test, Day 3: MotoGP versus WorldSBK

With MotoGP and WorldSBK sharing the track Jonathan Rea led the way for most of the day. We sought out three opinions on the differences between the bikes....

As the sun set on the third day of the Jonathan Rea hogged the limelight with the second fastest time of the day. With MotoGP bikes sharing the track with WorldSBK runners the big story was that Rea spent most of Wednesday leading the way.

The question in the aftermath however was how does this reflect on both championships?

Rea was a tenth of a second off the fastest time of the day set by Hector Barbera. The speed and performance of the Kawasaki rider was hugely impressive but is this a sign that the production bikes can hold their own or is it a fortuitous confluence of circumstances?

Jerez Test Wednesday Times: Barbera Fastest In MotoGP, Rea Dominates WorldSBK

Wednesday saw some MotoGP teams join an expanded World Superbike field at Jerez for the first day of combined testing, and the first day with official timing. With the weather much improved, it was a busy day with teams spending a lot of time on track.

At the end of the day, the Ducatis led the way in MotoGP, Hector Barbera and Loris Baz putting the Avintia team on top, ahead of the Aspar Team's Alvaro Bautista. Scott Redding ended up as fourth fastest, a thousandth of a second quicker than Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia.

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