The Grand Prix Commission agreed the following measures at a recent electronic meeting. These include restrictions on testing for 2019 and beyond, the compulsory use of airbags for wildcard riders, and the allocation of extra tires for riders making it through to Q2 from Q1:
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Michelin:
Marquez and Pedrosa looking forward to home GP in Catalunya
The Repsol Honda Team is heading to the newly resurfaced Circuit de Catalunya for Round 7 of the season. Championship leader Marc Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa had the chance to test the new asphalt and the track’s updated layout before the Italian GP.
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
TEAM DEL CONCA GRESINI AT MONTMELO TO STAY IN THE TITLE GAME
Last week’s double podium at Mugello has brought a breath of fresh confidence and excitement in the garage of Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3, who will try this weekend to follow on the same line of work as of late in order to aim at top results with both riders.
Barcelona has always been a challenging track, but the MotoGP paddock has faced additional challenges at the Catalonian circuit over the past three years. The tragic death of Luis Salom – a typical case of confusing the improbable with the impossible, and leaving a section of track with no gravel runoff and fence unprotected – caused the track layout to be changed halfway through the weekend in 2016, dropping the long left of Turn 10 and the sweeping right of Turn 12, and replacing them with the F1 layout.
A year later, the circuit made other changes, revising the F1 chicane to stop bikes which crashed from crossing the track, while still keeping the F1 layout replacing Turn 10, a tight hairpin and quick kink replacing the long sweeping turn. But that, too, had its shortcomings.
Even the revised chicane was a poor compromise, and for 2018, the Circuit de Catalunya chose to make more radical changes. The track badly needed resurfacing, and the circuit chose to reconfigure the runoff at the sweeping right hander which MotoGP used to use instead of the chicane. That restored the old Turn 12 (though it is now Turn 13, confusingly), bringing back much of the track's old glory. The old section, the tighter right hander of Turn 12, followed by the two sweeping turns of Turn 13 and Turn 14 which build towards the finish line.
There were very few people who were surprised when Ducati announced at Le Mans they had reached a deal with Andrea Dovizioso for a new two-year contract. The Italian factory had said at the launch of their MotoGP project back in January that they were keen to get a new deal done with Dovizioso. "Andrea has been with us for six years and he’s in the heart of Ducati fans because of what he did last year," team boss Paolo Ciabatti said in Bologna.
The original plan was to have the contracts signed early. "I don’t think making a firm decision too early, but for sure having a clear picture of the situation," Ciabatti had said. "Then do the next steps as a consequence of the situation quite early. Quite early probably means the second half of February or the first half of March."
Those next steps took longer than Ciabatti had perhaps appreciated. But this was perhaps unsurprising: after Dovizioso's success in 2017, winning six races and coming with a whisker of beating Marc Márquez to the MotoGP crown, there were other factories who were interested, including Honda. Those negotiations took time, and in the end, the deal was only done with Dovizioso after Jerez, and announced at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
Negotiating contracts is always a delicate business, and never more delicate where championship contenders and factories are involved. It is a complex and time-consuming process, requiring many meetings and much back and forth over the details before contracts can be finalized and ready to sign.
Internal team rivalries played out in Brno with very different results
“I was going to make it...or I wasn't,” was how King Kenny Roberts summed up one of his Grand Prix victories in the late seventies. The triple 500GP world champion knew the importance of momentum and psychology on a race track better than anyone, and knew that at times, riders need to take a win it or bin it mentality.
That mentality was at the front everyone's minds as they watched last weekend's Czech WorldSBK round, where the importance of coming out on top of an internal team battle bubbled under the surface. On Saturday Jonathan Rea claimed his 60th career victory, but on Sunday the tensions of four years at Kawasaki overflowed.
The return of WorldSBK to the Czech Republic proved to be a race weekend to remember. Tensions between Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes overflowed, Alex Lowes delivered on his long held promise and we saw flashes of promise from elsewhere on the WorldSBK grid.
Kawasaki tensions overflow
That Rea and Sykes don't like each other has been clear since the start of their tenure as teammates. The 2013 world champion had been the center of attention at KRT for years and Sykes had developed the ZX10R into the best package on the grid. It allowed him to win races and become a consistent force at the front of the field. Since Rea joined in 2015, however, his power has been eroded within the team and his potential on track has been limited. Their dislike for one another has been clear to see for years but on Sunday it boiled over.
Press releases from the organizers and teams after Sunday's racing at Brno:
The Marc VDS Team, through the Estrella Galicia project, issued the following press release, confirming that the teams will continue in Moto2 and MotoGP as normal until at least the end of the season. The team is also currently seeking a new team manager. The press release appears below:
Statement from Marc Van der Straten
The first domino in the WorldSBK Silly Season has fallen. Jonathan Rea has signed on with Kawasaki for two more years, and will remain on a ZX-10R until at least the end of 2020.
Joan Mir is to move up to MotoGP next year, and will be racing in the factory Suzuki Ecstar team for at least the next two season.
The signing had been widely expected, as the name of Mir had been linked to Suzuki for the past month or so. The Spanish youngster is highly rated throughout the MotoGP paddock, and been pursued by Honda and Ducati, as well as Suzuki, according to his manager.
WorldSBK championship standings after race 2 at Brno:
WorldSSP standings after the seventh race of the season:
World Superbike race two took place on a hot track, with the track temperature five degrees celsius higher than yesterday, around 43ºC, causing a noticeable drop in grip and lap times.
Sixteen laps of Brno from 600cc bikes on road-legal tyres, with the tight World Supersport championship fight the way it is, it was always going to be fun.