The tire situation in MotoGP presents us with a rather puzzling situation. French tire maker Michelin has dominated MotoGP for many years now, taking every championship since 1992. Bridgestone has only started to compete seriously since the introduction of the four-strokes in 2002, and is now starting to be a truly competitive force. But Michelin continues to dominate the class, taking 13 of the 17 races last year.
Well, the winter is over, testing has resumed after the winter ban, and the MotoGP season is off and running. All of the teams except for Ilmor have returned to Sepang in Malaysia, as they continue to develop their bikes for the 2007 season opener in Qatar.
As the winter test ban draws to an end, and the teams start heading out towards Sepang for the start of the MotoGP pre-season, it's time to gaze into our crystal ball and see what the future holds for MotoGP in 2007. But this is not yet the time for balanced discussion, calm comment and objective analysis of what has happened and what is to come. It's too early for that. So instead, here's some wild and unreliable guesswork, based on pure speculation and gut feeling. It's time for my
2007 MotoGP Predictions:
Anyone who has followed the MotoGP winter testing will by now be aware that Suzuki are going to be extremely competitive when the new season kicks off in March.
Imagine the scene: It's June 10th, 2007. You and all your MotoGP fan friends are gathered around your TV / computer / video ready for the Catalunya GP from Barcelona. You have a fridge full of cold beer and good food, a room full of company, and a body full of adrenaline, in anticipation of the spectacle to come. Then, the local nuclear power station explodes and showers you with radiation. But far, far worse than this, you're going to miss the race. What are you going to do?
That outstanding source of MotoGP news, MotoGrandPrix.it, is reporting that Team KR's KR212V will debut at Sepang, during the tests to be held there from 22nd to 24th of January. Kenny Roberts Senior's team was the last of the teams competing in the 2007 MotoGP championship to present the bike, and the KR212V has been the subject of some speculation.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone who reads this blog. Reading your comments, either posted here or sent to me by e-mail, gives me great pleasure, and seeing visitor numbers grow over the past year has been hugely rewarding.
So I would like to wish you all, rather belatedly, a very happy, healthy and successful 2007, and hope it brings us all another fantastic season of motorcycle racing. May all your plans go better than you expect and some of your more unreasonable wishes come true.
About 10 minutes after I posted this reply, I received the official press release. You can find my take on it here:
Ilmor have finally made up their minds about who will be riding the Ilmor SRT X3 next year. On Monday, they announced that Jeremy McWilliams (42) and Andrew Pitt (30) will be joining the team for 2007. The line-up is as expected, after McWilliams and Pitt spent a lot of time testing the bike at Valencia and Jerez. However, it is a little surprising for someone of McWilliams' age to be given the ride. Most riders are a long way past their sell by date by the time they hit 40, and McWilliams is 42.
As the dust settles on a long and arduous MotoGP season, you would think that the teams and riders would be ready for a long and well-deserved break.
In an interview with German Eurosport's MotorMagazin, KTM boss Stefan Pierer has stated categorically that they won't be returning to MotoGP any time soon. KTM had been linked with the Ilmor team, with rumors saying that KTM would take over the project from Mario Illien.