With the drama of last year behind them - sacking riders, threatening to pull out of racing, more sacking of riders, vitriolic press releases - Effenbert Liberty Racing have announced a return to World Superbikes with Mark Aitchison. Having courted Jakub Smrz and Noriyuki Haga and being rebuffed, they finally found a rider that would ride their Ducati 1098R. Aitchison was, along with, ironically, Jakub Smrz, left without a ride for 2013 when the Splitlath BSB team closed its doors before the season started.
Dorna issued the following press release, containing details of where MotoGP is to be screened on TV around the world:
MotoGP™ extends worldwide TV coverage in 2013 with exciting new agreements
Racing at the desert at night, in the false noon created by the astonishingly efficient lighting system at the Qatar circuit, is always going to be a weird experience. But on Friday, events conspired to take it from the merely odd into the strangely surreal. The culprits? The weather was one, the odd fleetingly brief shower of thick rain drops sending everyone scurrying into the pits and scratching their heads over what to do. The other thing that had many people confused was the new qualifying rules.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and Dorna after the second day of practice at Qatar:
Quotes from Yamaha Factory Racing Riders After Free Practice 2 in Losail (Qatar)
2nd / 1'56.745 / 17 laps
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after FP3 for both classes at Qatar:
Rins and Marquez keep on pushing in Losail
Rins second and Marquez sixth in solitary Moto3 Friday session.
Spanish motorcycle racing's young promises kept up the great level shown on Thursday with another stellar performance on Friday. Rins had taken the third fastest time in Moto3 practice on the first night, with Marquez fourth. Tonight both riders were once again at the head of the field in a solitary practice session for the Qatar GP.
Press releases issued by the FIXI Crescent Suzuki and the BMW Motorrad Goldbet teams after the test at Aragon:
POSITIVE TEST FOR FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office - April 5.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki has ended a successful three-day test at Motorland Aragon in Spain, as it prepares for the forthcoming race at the same circuit later this month.
Marc Marquez has consolidated the hype surrounding the young Spaniard by taking top spot in the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, making it two out of three for the Repsol Honda rookie in his very first race meeting. Marquez' advantage could not have been smaller, however, taking top spot from Jorge Lorenzy by just one thousandth of a second.
Takaaki Nakagami has continued to impress at Qatar, topping the timesheets in the final session of practice for the Moto2 class. The Japanese rider just edged Pol Espargaro to push the title favorite down into 2nd. Scott Redding took 3rd, the Marc VDS Racing man a quarter of a second behind Espargaro, and ahead of Espargaro's teammate Tito Rabat. Rabat in 4th was the last rider to get within a second of leader Nakagami.
Luis Salom has taken a big lead in the final session of free practice for the Moto3 class, topping the timesheets by nearly half a second. The Red Bull KTM rider ended ahead of Alex Rins, after the Estrella Galicia 0'0 rider had held the lead early. Jonas Folger ended the session in 3rd, fractionally behind Rins, while Racing Team Germany's Jack Miller grabbed 4th, four tenths behind Folger and the last man to get within a second of Salom.
Marc Marquez has topped the second session of free practice at the Qatar round of MotoGP. The Repsol Honda rookie set his fastest lap of the session - and the fastest lap of the weekend so far - while following Valentino Rossi at some distance, to end with and advantage of over a quarter of a second. The fast lap seemed to take even Marquez by surprise, the Spaniard running straight on at Turn 1 directly after his fast lap.
It's back. The world is a better place now that young men are wasting fuel going round in circles at irresponsibly breakneck speeds on multimillion dollar motorcycles. (On a side note, someone pointed out today that a satellite 160kg Honda RC213V costs about half its weight in gold, at current prices, which suggests that a factory bike must be close to costing its own weight in gold). The lights in the desert are once again spectacularly lit, and the sandy void which surrounds the Losail circuit again rings with the bellow of MotoGP bikes.
The Pata Honda team issued the following press release at the end of their test at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Rea and Haslam complete Aragon test
Pata Honda World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have completed a three-day test at Motorland Aragon in Spain ahead of next week’s second round World Superbike championship event at the same circuit.