Leon Camier: A Leap Into The Unknown

When a rider changes team they also face the same question; will I sink or swim? First impressions from riding the Honda are that Camier will be swimming

Leon Camier was the central pin of the 2018 rider market in WorldSBK. The former British champion was sought after having proven his worth as a development rider in turning around the fortunes of MV Agusta. He faces a similar task for next year having joined the unfancied and under performing Honda squad.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The truth behind Britain, MotoGP and World Superbike

Many Britons wonder why British riders do so well in WSB and not so well in MotoGP. It’s a long story, says Mat Oxley…

Congratulations are due to Jonathan Rea; heaps of congratulations: his MotoGP-beating lap time at Jerez last week, his history-making third consecutive World Superbike title, his record-breaking points haul, his MBE, his BBC Sports Personality of the Year nomination and much, much more. All richly deserved by a great talent riding at his peak.

But as for all the WSB versus MotoGP talk of recent days – following last week’s combined WSB/MotoGP tests at Jerez – it’s just hypothetical barroom banter. Sam Lowes knows this better than most, having competed in WSB, MotoGP, World Supersport and Moto2. On Saturday he tweeted, “Stupid all the talk about WSB and MotoGP at Jerez. Means nothing. Lots of awesome riders on awesome bikes. Different tyres. Impossible comparison.”

Just like last November, when Rea also topped the Jerez tests, social media has been buzzing with the Northern Irishman’s performance; with many wondering why he hasn’t been signed by a MotoGP team.

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Alex Lowes: A Change For The Better?

Making a change at the crew chief position can reap rewards or add a new set of challenges. For Alex Lowes the 2018 season will see him work with Andrew Pitt and first impressions were very positive at the Jerez test.

A change can be as good as a holiday and having fresh eyes to look at a problem can lead to new solutions. For Alex Lowes, the 2018 season will see the former British champion work with a new crew chief, but following the Jerez test the Yamaha rider is excited by the prospect of working with Andrew Pitt.

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Marco Melandri: "The New Rules Are Hurting Ducati More Than Anyone"

The Jerez test offered the first chance to see the new regulations in action. For Marco Melandri it confirmed his worst fears; Ducati are being hit harder than anyone

That Ducati has been hit hardest by the 2018 regulations shouldn't come as a surprise, but following three days of testing at Jerez it was surprising how morose Marco Melandri felt. The Italian returned to WorldSBK in 2017 and was able to have a strong season that was highlighted by a victory in front of his home fans at Misano.

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test Combined Times: Dovizioso, Rea Fastest From Jerez Test Week

With five days of testing complete at Jerez, the balance can be drawn up for the riders in all three series which were present. Conditions were almost perfect, with five days of sunshine and reasonably warm temperatures for the time of year. The track resurfacing, which took place during the summer, helped immensely, especially for the MotoGP teams, as they rode here on the old surface back in May.

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Suter Withdraws From Moto2 For 2018

Suter is to withdraw from the 2018 Moto2 world championship. The Swiss chassis manufacturer was only able to attract a single team for the 2018 season, and have decided that it makes no commercial sense to continue their participation. The Dynavolt Intact Team, who will field riders Xavi Vierge and Marcel Schrotter for 2018, will make the switch to Kalex instead.

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test 1pm Friday Times: Rea Leads Sykes As Qualifiers Appear

Jonathan Rea was fastest at lunchtime at the Jerez WorldSBK and MotoGP test. Rea was into the 1'37s on a qualifying tire early on in the session, riders getting started early so they can finish up early. Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes is second quickest, also setting his time on a qualifier, while KTM's Pol Espargaro is the fastest of the MotoGP riders, just ahead of Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins on the Suzuki.

Times at 1pm:

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test Thursday Times: Dovizioso Beats Crutchlow, Melandri Edges Lowes

Andrea Dovizioso finished as fastest on Thursday at Jerez, the factory Ducati rider using the morning to break Jorge Lorenzo's pole record from 2015 - though as this is a private test, this is only an unofficial time, and so Lorenzo's record will stand until the race here in May - going over a quarter of a second faster than Lorenzo did on the Yamaha two years ago. Cal Crutchlow was second fastest, also under the pole record, having spent a full and busy day jumping between three different bikes and racking up a grand total of 90 laps, more than any other rider on the grid. 

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP 2017: 1126 crashes!

Once again, MotoGP’s accident figures broke all records. But does that mean the racing is getting safer or more dangerous?

Late November is a guilt-ridden time of year to be a MotoGP journalist. While dozens of riders check themselves in for post-season surgery, like a reckless driver booking his car’s annual bodyshop makeover, we sit comfortably at our desks analysing MotoGP’s annual Falls Report.

This year’s report runs to 159 pages and contains almost as much pain and anguish as a war novel. Every single crash is recorded in detail: where, when and what were the injuries? And then Dorna’s Friné Velilla divides the accidents into numerous bar graphs, by class, by race track, by year and so on.

The Falls Report isn’t just a ghoul’s delight. There is science behind the data, which is used by MotoGP staff to improve safety. And sensible analysis of the crash statistics can tell us a lot about what’s going on in MotoGP, especially about how each rider gets along with his bike.

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test 1pm Thursday Times: Dovizioso Under Pole Record

It is another busy day at Jerez, with World Superbikes and MotoGP on track. Andrea Dovizioso is currently fastest, having dropped under Jorge Lorenzo's 2015 pole record thanks in no small part to the new grippy surface at the track. Dovizioso's Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo is currently second quickest, just outside his pole record, while Andrea Iannone is third. Tito Rabat continues to impress, currently fourth quickest ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro.

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test Wednesday Notes: Hard Work, Secretive Factories, And New Asphalt

It has been a very busy track at Jerez, with a total of 27 bikes on track at some point or other on Wednesday, with a good mixture of MotoGP, WorldSBK, and the Honda Racing BSB team of Jason O'Halloran and Dan Linfoot. What the first day of testing showed is that the WorldSBK bikes are almost as fast as a MotoGP machine – or at least, a Kawasaki is, shod with qualifiers and ridden with sufficient attitude by Tom Sykes in this case – and that the new surface means the track is a good deal quicker than it was when the MotoGP race was held here back in May. Full times are here.

As it is a private test, there is very little official communication from the teams, despite the fact that a group of journalists – including myself – is here in the paddock. KTM and Suzuki have been forthcoming and helpful, Ducati are cagey, Aprilia don't have much to test, and Honda are secretive – and all of the work is currently falling on Cal Crutchlow's shoulders, as the Repsol Honda team are saving their test days for next year. Honda are not as secretive as Yamaha, however, who are holding their private test over in Sepang, under a virtual media blackout. All we know about that is that Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Johann Zarco, and Kohta Nozane will be on the bike, as Jonas Folger is still not fit enough to be riding.

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Jerez WorldSBK & MotoGP Test Wednesday Final Times: Iannone Leads A Close Field

Andrea Iannone has topped the timesheets on the first day of combined testing for the MotoGP and WorldSBK classes at Jerez. The Suzuki rider made a push in the afternoon to take over top spot, and stayed there to the end. Cal Crutchlow took second spot, despite a very busy test schedule working on three different bikes (a 2017 bike, and two iterations of a 2018 bike), while Andrea Dovizioso just edged ahead of Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo to take third. The top four were close, however: just 0.138 separated Iannone from Lorenzo.

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