World Superbike Silly Season Update: Melandri's Back, Bradl Switches, Aprilia Arrives

While the MotoGP grid is as good as settled, Silly Season for World Superbikes is in full swing. With the Kawasaki riders' contracts settled before the summer break, attention has turned to the other seats, most of which are up in the air. In addition, there could be some changes in machinery, with some teams eyeing a switch of manufacturers.

The biggest news – still unofficial, but widely believed to be a done deal – is that Marco Melandri is set to make a return to the World Superbike paddock, this time in the factory Aruba.it Ducati team alongside Chaz Davies.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Sheene conquers the world – 40 years ago today

Barry Sheene’s first world title looked like a walkover but his title-winning weekend was anything but

This is the day. Forty years ago, during the afternoon of Sunday July 25, 1976, Barry Sheene rode over the finish line at Anderstorp, both hands aloft waving V-for-victory signs, to collect his first 500cc World Championship.

The Cockney whizz-kid had utterly dominated the 1976 season, winning five of the six races he contested and taking second place in the other. His final score of 87 points was 33 more than championship runner-up Tepi Lansivuori. In other words, it was a walkover.

Jonathan Rea Interview: On Bike Development, Rider Confidence, and the Importance of a Strong Team

At Laguna Seca, our World Superbikes writer Kent Brockman caught up with reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea, to ask about his season. In a frank interview, Rea talks about how he has adapted to the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R, and the development path which produced that bike, and how it has come on since the start of the season. Rea also talks about the importance of his team, and surrounding yourself with people you can trust. He sheds light on the strains of traveling around the world to race at the world championship level, and how important is to have the support of friends and family. And of course, he talks about the confidence with which he enters the remainder of the 2016 WorldSBK season.

Kent Brockman: It was a sour note to retire in the final race before the summer break but a 46 point lead clearly leaves you in a very strong position for the final four rounds of WorldSBK.

Jonathan Rea: Yeah and honestly I couldn’t have asked for much more in the beginning of the year because we started the season with a new bike. It was a completely new bike too with a new engine and chassis. For us to be competitive from the start in Philip Island and do the double there was incredible. We've achieved much more than we expected. Step by step we’ve been strong this year and we’ve faced some difficulties. The most obvious is the shifting problems I’ve encountered at some races. But now we pretty much understand that and why that’s happening. We’ve been able to be strong.

Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 33: Reviewing the Sachsenring, and the Austria MotoGP Test

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast features Neil Morrison of Roadracing World and Crash.net and MotoMatters.com's own David Emmett taking a long look back at the Sachsenring, and discussing the events of MotoGP test in Austria. 

FIM Release Report Analyzing Luis Salom's Crash

The FIM have published a report into the crash in Barcelona, in which Moto2 rider Luis Salom lost his life. The report, which can downloaded from the MotoGP.com website, was drawn up based on information from Technical Director Danny Aldridge and Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli, as well as analysis of the data by an independent telemetry expert, Lluis Lleonart Gomez, who was appointed by Luis Salom's family.

The report reaches a number of conclusions. The first is that there is no evidence of mechanical failure on the part of the bike. The right clipon, holding the throttle and brake assembly, was found to be loose when the bike was examined after the crash. However, this could be put down to crash damage, as clipons often come loose when the bike hits the ground. Salom's bike slid on its right side before impacting the wall, and this is the most likely cause of that damage.

The rear wheel was also damaged, but data from the (compulsory) pressure sensors showed that rear tire pressure was at the recommended pressure of 1.5 bar when the bike crashed. The most likely cause of the rear wheel damage was when the bike hit the wall, the air fence not being sufficient to absorb the impact of the bike. On the CCTV footage, it appeared that the rear wheel hit the wall first, catapulting the bike back onto the tarmac runoff and hitting Luis Salom in the chest.

Silverstone Day of Champions Tickets Now On Sale

After several weeks of uncertainty, the future for Silverstone's Day of Champions has been settled. After the UK arm of Riders for Health ceased operations, a new organization, Two Wheels for Life, has taken over the running of the Riders for Health in Africa charity, and providing continuing support for their programs aimed at providing primary health care in Africa. 

Austria MotoGP Test Day 2 Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the final day of testing at the Red Bull Ring in Austria:


APRILIA EXPLORES THE RED BULL RING

TWO DAYS OF TESTS FOR BAUTISTA, LOWES AND DI MEGLIO ON THE NEW AUSTRIAN CIRCUIT

The MotoGP riders had a chance to discover the Austrian Red Bull Ring circuit, one of the new additions to the 2016 calendar. Characterised by hard braking, fast acceleration and steep slope changes, the new track will host the next round on the weekend of 14 August.

Austria MotoGP Test, Day 2: Ducati Domination Continues

The second day of testing at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria saw the Ducatis continue to dominate the timesheets, as times continued to tumble. It was Andrea Iannone's turn to top the timesheets, the Italian posting a very fast lap to beat his teammate Andrea Dovizioso by nearly half a second. 

Test rider Casey Stoner set the third fastest time, though a late fall at the end of the session hampered any further improvement. Stoner put the fall down to using soft tires for the first time in four years. He was unhurt in the crash, but ran out of time to get back out on track. Stoner has spent all his time testing the GP16 without wings, while the two factory riders tested the bike with wings. 

Austria MotoGP Test Day 1 Press Releases

Press releases from Ducati, Suzuki and LCR Honda after the first day of testing in Austria:


Ducati Team riders make a great start on first day of private testing at the Red Bull Ring in Austria

The first day of testing organized by Ducati at Zeltweg’s Red Bull Ring circuit, where the Austrian GP will be held on 14 August, came to an end this afternoon at 6 pm.

A total of 21 riders and test-riders from all manufacturers present in the MotoGP World Championship, were on hand to get to grips with the new Austrian circuit for the first time.

Austria MotoGP Test, Day 1: Dovizioso Fastest, Ducatis Dominate, KTM Debuts

The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, venue for the Austrian round of MotoGP, appears to be a Ducati track. At the end of the first day of testing for the MotoGP riders in Austria, Andrea Dovizioso topped the timesheets, nearly six tenths clear of his Factory Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone.

2016 Sachsenring Moto2 & Moto3 Post-Race Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring:


Win at Sachsenring gives Zarco sole leadership of Moto2 standings

Ajo Motorsport rider fights to the end in the rain for German GP victory, putting him 25 points ahead of his nearest rival.

07/17/2016 - Sachsenring, Germany

2016 Sachsenring Sunday Round Up - Of Intermediates vs Slicks, Gambling Right, and the Evils of Radio

It was a wild and weird weekend at the Sachsenring. The second in a row, after the bizarre and thrilling two-part race at Assen three weeks ago. The weather proved to be decisive, favoring the brave and the smart. And, perhaps, the lucky, but luck is always a part of racing. Sometimes the conditions come to you, and when they do, you have to capitalize.

That is precisely what happened in the MotoGP race at the Sachsenring – and in the Moto3 race as well, come to think of it. For motorcycle racing's big guns, they started on a soaking wet track with a light drizzle falling, but by the halfway mark, the first hints of a dry line were starting to form. That line would start to grow over the next few laps, and then it came down to two judgment calls: when to come in and swap bikes, and whether to gamble on slicks, or play it safe with intermediates.

Bike swaps are governed by circumstances as well as choice. Windows of opportunity open quickly, but they are often overlooked. The information the riders have to base their decision on is limited to what the team can convey via the pit board, and what they can glean from the jumbotron screens that line the circuit. They find themselves locked in battle with other riders, something which can easily devolve into a game of chicken. Unlike the game of chicken, though, it isn't the rider who blinks last who wins. It's the rider who blinks at exactly the right time.

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