Hayden's Mugello Test A Washout: Weather Halts Play

Luck is not on the side of Nicky Hayden. After heading to Mugello for two extra days of testing aboard the GP12, to compensate for the testing he missed due to injury early in the year, the weather severely limited Hayden's time on the bike. While conditions were passable on Wednesday, high winds made riding almost impossible on Thursday, forcing Ducati to call an early halt to the test. Hayden now heads to Jerez for the Spanish Grand Prix, due to be held on April 29th.

Below is the official press release from Ducati:

Press Releases: Ducati Motor Holding Acquired by Audi

Following weeks of speculation, it was today announced that Audi AG, part of the Volkswagen AG automative conglomerate, has acquired Ducati Motor Holding from Investindustrial, the private equity firm that owned Ducati. The agreement is still subject to approval by the European Union's Competition Commission, but it is unlikely to be refused such approval. The purchase is highly unlikely to have any immediate impact on either of Ducati's racing programs.

Below are press releases from Ducati, Audi and Investindustrial about the purchase:

Honda Press Release: MotoGP Team Gains Backing From Global Insurance Giant

Despite the gloom and doom about the lack of money in motorcycle racing, the Repsol Honda team has picked up another sponsor. HRC have announced that they have agreed a deal with international insurance broker Aon, which will see the brand appearing on the leathers of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. The deal grew out of the relationship which Aon already had with HRC through their insurance business, and has grown into a sponsorship agreement.

Below is the official press release from HRC:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Valentino Rossi's Options for the Future

It is ironic that the high point of the relationship between Valentino Rossi and Ducati came as he rode the first few meters out of pit lane and on to the track at the Valencia MotoGP test in November 2010. All of the excitement that had been building since the first rumors emerged in early June that the nine time world champion would be leaving Yamaha to join the iconic Italian manufacturer culminated as Rossi emerged from a crowd of photographers and powered down pit lane, watched by a large group of fans who had come to the test to see this very moment.

Nicky Hayden To Continue Testing At Mugello This Week

Nicky Hayden is to spend Wednesday and Thursday testing the Ducati GP12 at Mugello. The American is to make up for the time he lost over the winter, after injuring himself first at Valencia, and then riding indoor flat track at home in Kentucky. Those injuries limited Hayden's time working on the set up of his GP12 at the Sepang tests, and so the American is to spend the next two days concentrating on making up for lost time. 

Jerez To Stay On Calendar For 2013, Valencia, Estoril Candidates To Be Dropped

Jerez is to remain on the MotoGP calendar for at least one more year. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced the extension during the official presentation in Madrid of this year's Spanish GP at the iconic Jerez circuit, stating that Jerez will stay on the calendar for 2013.

Ten Kate Honda Squad Complete Testing at Assen Ahead of Dutch WSBK Round

A press release issued by the Ten Kate Honda squad after their recent test at Assen ahead of the upcoming World Superbike round there:

Rea and Aoyama satisfied with Assen test

The Honda World Superbike Team has completed a two-day test at Assen in The Netherlands ahead of next week’s (20-22 April) third round World Superbike championship event at the circuit.

After a Week of Rumors, Rossi Tells Italian TV He Will Remain With Ducati

Valentino Rossi's litany of complaints about the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 given live on Italian TV after the Qatar round of MotoGP triggered a wave of speculation. For the first time, Rossi had openly complained that Ducati had not given him the bike that he believes he needs to go fast, and that he had felt like pulling in before the end of the race.

New Front Bridgestone From Jerez: Honda Loses the 24, Others Gain the 21

Bridgestone has announced that they are to bring forward the introduction of a new 2012-spec front tire, and start allowing riders to use it from the Jerez round of MotoGP. The new tire was tested extensively during the preseason, with versions tried at both Sepang tests and at the IRTA test at Jerez. The tire features a modified construction which allows it to heat up more quickly as well as provide more feedback to the riders.

2012 Qatar MotoGP Final Press Release Round Up

The final round of press releases issued after the MotoGP season opener in Qatar, from Tech 3, Marc VDS Racing, Suter, Brad Binder, Bel-Ray and PBM:

Battling Smith claims hard fought top 10 in Qatar

Tech 3 Racing rider Bradley Smith kicked off the 2012 Moto2 World Championship with a battling ride to ninth position after overcoming physical and mechanical problems in an exciting season opener at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki Assesses the Performance of the 2012-spec Bridgestones at Qatar

Bridgestone issued the following press release debrief with their Manager of Motorsport Tyre Development, Shinji Aoki, after the race at Qatar:

Qatar MotoGP debrief with Shinji Aoki

Round 1: Qatar MotoGP - Post-race debrief

Losail International Circuit, Tuesday 10 April 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)

Ceramica Althea Cleared of Accusations of Financial Irregularity

The sword of Damocles that has been hanging over the Althea Ducati racing team, the accusations of fraud lain at the feet of their title sponsor Althea Ceramics, has finally been removed. The Althea Ducati team have had to distance themselves from their sponsor while at the same time wear the Italian bathroom fixtures company's logo on their bikes. Luckily for Carlos Checa and his team, they can get back to the business of winning races without accusations of stereotypically Italian corruption.

Here follows the text of their press release:


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