Liberty Racing reaffirmed on Tuesday that they would be present at the Nürburgring round of World Superbikes, with all three riders. This morning, however, Jakub Smrz was absent from both the entry list and the timing screens and appears to have been replaced by Lorenzo Lanzi. Of all the teams to have mysterious absences, Liberty Racing would be the most likely, so this doesn't come as a major shock.
Davide Giugliano sneaked in a fast lap at the end of the session, along with Max Biaggi, pipping Marco Melandri who was fastest throughout most of the morning, along with Tom Sykes who was just beaten at the end by Jonathan Rea. Fresh from his GP test, Rea appears to have adjusted back to his Superbike quicker than he did after the Suzuka 8 hour race.
In the weekend's first session, Sam Lowes is the only man under the two-minute mark, with Broc Parkes and title leader Kenan Sofuoglu over a quarter of a second behind. However, this is still some way off Cal Crutchlow's 2009 lap of 1'57.866.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams, as well as from the series organizers, ahead of this weekend's WSBK round at the Nurburgring:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Nürburgring - Preview
After two days mostly lost to rain, Andrea Iannone finally got to spend some serious time on board the factory Ducati at Mugello, as the Italian completed a three-day test generally regarded as an audition for Ducati Junior team to be run by Pramac in 2013. Iannone made good use of his time, eventually lapping the iconic Italian circuit in 1'48.3, a time that would have been fast enough to qualify him in 10th place on the grid for this year's race, and two tenths faster than Valentino Rossi's qualifying time.
The Misano round of MotoGP in just over a week will see a host of changes at the CRT end of pit lane, as teams reevaluate ahead of the final part of the season. Perhaps the least surprising swap is that of the IODA Racing team, who are dropping their own IODA racing machine - an Aprilia powerplant housed in a steel trellis frame built by the team themselves - in favor of the Suter BMW bike currently being raced by NGM Forward's Colin Edwards.
With all of MotoGP's factory seats filled, and most of the satellite seats occupied as well, we can start to draw up a list of who goes where in 2013 and beyond. Though three satellite spots remain open, those, too, could be filled soon, probably before the MotoGP paddock reconvenes at Misano in just over a week's time.
Press releases from the Repsol Honda, Yamaha Factory Racing and LCR Honda teams after the two-day test at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Repsol Honda Team conclude Aragon Test
The Repsol Honda Team completed another busy day of testing at Motorland Aragon today. Dani Pedrosa covered 238,6 kilometres, 47 laps, with a best lap time of 1'48.499. Jonathan Rea did 314,8 kilometres - a total of 62 laps and recorded a fastest lap of 1'50.057.
Jorge Lorenzo ended the second and final day of the Aragon MotoGP test on top of the timesheets, getting well inside Casey Stoner's pole record from 2011, but still a quarter of a second slower than Dani Pedrosa's time from Tuesday. Pedrosa finished with the 2nd fastest time on Wednesday, ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and the second factory Yamaha of Ben Spies. Jonathan Rea ended the day in 5th, but improved his time from Tuesday.
MotoGP's favorite charity Riders for Health is holding a massive online auction to raise money for the charity. There are some amazing items going up on offer: the star of the auction is a Yamaha YZF-R1 in a special livery, painted for Bennetts Insurers, and ridden by Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding and James Toseland. But there is plenty more for anyone on a tighter budget: signed caps, kneesliders and t-shirts from many of motorcycle racing's superstars, including Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Nicky Hayden, and many more.
HRC issued the following press release after the first day of testing at Aragon today:
Positive first day for the Repsol Honda Team in Aragon
The Repsol Honda Team returned to work today at Motorland Aragon for a two-day private test. Dani Pedrosa and Jonathan Rea took full advantage of the track in perfect weather conditions, which helped the riders complete their planned testing program.
After recovering its breath from two back-to-back weekends of racing with a hop across the Atlantic in between, the MotoGP world is slowly getting back into the testing groove. The factory Honda and Yamaha teams are circulating at Aragon, joined by Stefan Bradl, while at Mugello, Ducati is once again holding auditions for the Ducati Junior team, with Andrea Iannone turning laps alongside Michele Pirro, currently riding the FTR Honda CRT bike for the San Carlo Gresini Honda team.
Bridgestone issued their usual press release after the Brno round of MotoGP, explaining why the entire field went for the softer rear tire for the race in the Czech Republic:
Brno MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Wednesday 29 August 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
The Marquez/Espargaro incident in the Barcelona Moto2 race is at an end. The Pons 40 HP Tuenti team has decided not to take their appeal on the incident to the CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and to accept the decision of the FIM Stewards. The decision of Pol Espargaro's team not to take the case to the CAS means that the case is officially closed, and Marc Marquez will not face a penalty over the clash.
To say that Ben Spies has caused a few surprises in 2012 is one of the larger understatements of the year. Sadly for the Texan, though, those surprises have not come in the form of podiums and race wins, as he himself may have hoped. Rather the opposite, and often through no fault of his own, Spies' 2012 season has been dogged by bad luck, unusual mechanical failures and mistakes.