Despite the loss of the factory Yamaha team, the World Superbike series is still in relatively good health, considering the financial crisis. Though the days of 30+ rider grids are gone, grid size has stabilized at around the 22 rider mark, 1 up from last year, while there are still 6 manufacturers present, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki in an official capacity, Honda unofficially via Ten Kate, and Suzuki absent, with Crescent working with Yoshimura on their own bikes.
I'm going to be appearing at the San Francisco Dainese store again in February and I anticipate still more questions about photography in addition to those about what it's like to work in the MotoGP paddock, so I thought I'd post something photography-related here for those of you who enjoy taking pictures at the races.
Crescent Suzuki sets out on a new adventure for 2012, part of the team moving up from the British Superbike series, the other part moving sideways, as some of the former Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team join the BSB contingent for their first assault on the World Superbike series. To get the new challenge started, Crescent issued a press release interview with Team Principal Paul Denning, in which he discusses what the team faces in the upcoming season.
Yamaha's sponsorship situation is not as perilous as it seems. Departing Malaysian oil giant Petronas (announced at the end of last week) is to be replaced by Japanese oil brand ENEOS, which markets a range of high-end lubrication products from the Japanese oil giant JX Nippon.
MotoMatters.com wishes all of our readers a Happy New Year and all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2012. We're grateful for all of the support our readers have given us throughout 2011, which has allowed us to continue to grow our audience and expand our coverage. We are especially grateful to the readers who have supported us financially, either by becoming subscribers or buying a calendar or t-shirt, and to the advertisers who have supported us throughout the year.
Yamaha have suffered a costly blow to their MotoGP program. Today, the factory Yamaha team announced that the three-year deal with Malaysian oil giant Petronas to sponsor Yamaha's MotoGP team will not be extended, and will terminate at the end of 2011. In a joint press release issued with Petronas, Yamaha stated that after three successful years, the agreement had "reached its natural conclusion."
Nicky Hayden's preparation for the 2012 season has suffered a setback. The Marlboro Ducati rider crashed while training on an indoor flat track course, breaking his left shoulder blade and fracturing two ribs. The recovery period for the injury could force him to miss the Sepang MotoGP test scheduled for the end of January.
The cloud hanging over the future of the Jerez MotoGP has lifted a little. Today, Dorna announced that an agreement had been reached with the Circuito de Jerez to allow the iconic Spanish circuit to host the MotoGP round scheduled for April 29th, 2012, confirming the calendar updates announced earlier this month. The 2012 round will go ahead as scheduled, despite the ongoing financial woes at the circuit.
The takeover of Infront by Bridgepoint Capital has cleared the final hurdle. Earlier this week, the European Commission Competition Directorate General announced that there were no objections to having the rights holders to both the MotoGP and World Superbike series being owned by one company, as neither racing series would be constrained by having the same owner.
After many years of success in the World Superbike and World Supersport series, Ten Kate is to take their first steps in the MotoGP paddock. The Dutch race shop has been contracted by Gresini to supply race-prepared Honda CBR1000RR engines for Gresini's CRT machine in MotoGP, along with the fly-by-wire electronics system the Ten Kate team developed together with Cosworth for their World Superbike machine.
The death of Marco Simoncelli at Sepang earlier this year was utterly tragic, but some good will yet come from the popular Italian's demise. On Thursday, Simoncelli's parents, girlfriend and sister announced that the final documents had been signed to create the foundation set up in Marco Simoncelli's name. The Marco Simoncelli Fondazione has been set up as a non-profit organization, with the aim of helping those in dire need.
The Spanish petroleum giant Repsol is one of the mainstays of MotoGP. Repsol has backed Honda's MotoGP team for over 15 years, and the oil company is expanding its interest in the series. After adding backing for Marc Marquez in the Moto2 category last year, Repsol today announced that it will be supporting teams in all three categories of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2012.