Suzuka 8 Hours Preview - Everything Riding On Suzuka For The Japanese Factories

The Suzuka 8 Hours is the biggest single race on the motorcycle racing calendar. The final Sunday of July is circled on the calendars of racing presidents of the Japanese manufacturers because it's the day that careers are made or lost. It's the day that legends are born, and it's the day that the pressure is ramped right up on the racing bosses at Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

If you want to ensure your future, you need to prove your worth at Suzuka. The only way to guarantee good graces is with success. Honda has been chasing it in recent years, and after being on the receiving end of a Yamaha trouncing in recent years the pressure is higher than ever to win again.

That pressure manifests itself up and down the pit lane. Riders come off their bikes and look into the expectant faces of engineers who know their career aspirations are linked to Suzuka. Win here and you could get the chance to develop the next MotoGP machine. Lose and you could well be looking at the job ads on Monday.

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer Talks Sachsenring

MotoMatters.com, in association with Motor Sport Magazine, is proud to feature the rider insights of 1983 and 1985 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer. After every MotoGP race, Fast Freddie will share what he saw and learned from the race.

In the latest edition of his Rider Insights video blog, Freddie Spencer takes a look back at the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring. Though Spencer never raced there during his Grand Prix years - the circuit wasn't built until well after he had retired - Fast Freddie knows the circuit well, having taken part in several events at the track, including the Sachsenring Classic. Spencer explains what it takes to go fast around the very particular circuit, and the demands it imposes on rider and machine.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 77: Assen, The Sachsenring, And Assessing The First Half Of 2018

After the WorldSBK extravaganza podcast with Steve English and Jensen Beeler, the Paddock Pass Podcast turns its attention back to MotoGP. After the epic race at Assen, and then another intriguing round at the Sachsenring in Germany, Neil Morrison and David Emmett get together to discuss where MotoGP stands as the 2018 season reaches its halfway point.

We start off with a discussion of where the Assen race ranks in the list of all time great MotoGP/500cc races, which turns into a debate over what criteria to use in judging whether a race is great or not. Is it all about how close the finish is? Does it have to be decided on the last lap? Does the significance of a race in the championship matter?

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Pata Yamaha Extend With Lowes And Van Der Mark - WorldSBK Silly Season Set To Kick Off

The WorldSBK series may be on its summer hiatus, but there is still plenty of news going on. After the official announcement that Tom Sykes would not be back with the KRT Kawasaki team, it is the turn of the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK squad to make announcements. Today, the team issued a statement saying that current riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes will remain with the team for the 2019 season.

Though the announcement did not come as a surprise, it does close the door to Tom Sykes, who had been linked to a possible ride with Pata Yamaha, had either Van der Mark or Lowes moved to the Kawasaki team to replace him. But with Leon Haslam set to take the second seat next to Jonathan Rea, Sykes will have to look elsewhere.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 76: The Midsummer WorldSBK Extravaganza

There's another episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast out, and this one is a corker. WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast regular Steve English sat down with Jensen Beeler of Asphalt & Rubber to go over the state of WorldSBk at the US round of World Superbikes at Laguna Seca.

In a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation, Steve and Jensen cover the present state of the World Superbike series, and where it is going in the future. They start off in Phillip Island, and the expectations of the season at the opening round of the year, then go on to discuss how all that has changed over the course of the first half of the season.

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Kawasaki Part Ways With Tom Sykes In WorldSBK

Tom Sykes is to part ways with Kawasaki in the WorldSBK championship. The 2013 WorldSBK champion is to leave the team and manufacturer with which he had virtually all of his success in the series. 

Sykes' departure has been coming for some time. The Yorkshireman has been increasingly unhappy in the team ever since Jonathan Rea joined Kawasaki. Since Rea arrived, development of the bike has been moving away from Sykes and towards Rea, understandably, given just how dominant Rea has been on the ZX-10R, winning three titles in a row and on his way to a fourth.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Dani's golden, uphill career

Pedrosa's MotoGP career may have been blessed with the HRC golden ticket, but racing, regulations and broken bones have (mostly) conspired against him

Dani Pedrosa was once king of the Sachsenring. He won the 250 race in 2004 and 2005, then a hat-trick of MotoGP victories in 2010, 2011 and 2012, before Marc Márquez came along.

But that’s another story. Today we are talking about Pedrosa, MotoGP’s pint-sized perennial performer who, last Thursday, announced his retirement.

Pedrosa has broken a few records and many more bones during a long career during which he’s never quite lifted the MotoGP crown. But if you think he’s just been unlucky, you don’t know the half of it.

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Monster Energy Replaces Movistar As Yamaha Title Sponsor

Yamaha have announced that they will have a new title sponsor for their MotoGP team in 2019 and beyond. Current title sponsors Movistar are to leave Yamaha, and subsponsor Monster is to take their place as title sponsor.

The move comes as no surprise, given the background of the two companies. Monster had been left without a title sponsorship for 2019 since the Tech3 team announced they were switching from Yamaha to KTM for next year, which also implied taking on the Red Bull sponsorship which comes along with that. Movistar are withdrawing not just from title sponsorship of MotoGP, but also from their role as MotoGP broadcaster in Spain. Movistar's departure made it logical for Monster to step up as title sponsor, especially as both current Yamaha MotoGP riders, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, are also Monster athletes.

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2018 Sachsenring MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: No Stopping Number Nine

It is a truism in MotoGP that though they hand out the trophies on Sunday, the race is often won on Friday and Saturday. Practice is when riders and teams can find the setup tweaks they need to go faster, evaluate tire choices, and plan a strategy. Which tires offer the most potential? Which area of the track can we gain most while sacrificing the least in other points? Is there more to be gained by pushing hard early and trying to manage, or by being patient in the first half of the race, hoping to have an advantage in the second half?

The wide range of tires offered by Michelin make practice even more important. Michelin's remit from Dorna is to produce three front tires and three rear tires that can all be used during the race. That requires a certain amount of compromise: labeling tires soft, medium, and hard does not mean that Michelin make three tires with an equal step in between the three different tires. It is more like an indicator of how well the French tire make expects each tire to cope with the heat and stress of a race, and the trade off in terms of grip. So a soft and a medium tire may use the same rubber on one side of the tire, or on opposite sides of the tire. Or they may use the same compounds with a stiffer carcass, to reduce flex and therefore the amount of heat being generated.

Understanding how all these factors work together, and what that will mean for the race, is what the teams spend their time doing in practice. The team and rider that does this best on Friday and Saturday gets to spend Sunday evening celebrating their victory during the race. If all goes to plan, of course.

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