The switch from Ducati to Honda worked out extraordinarily well for Casey Stoner. The Australian was fast in testing, took victory in his very first race aboard the Honda RC212V at Qatar, and despite a temporary glitch at Jerez, where he was knocked off his bike by Valentino Rossi, the man who had taken his place at Ducati, was leading the championship by the time the MotoGP circus rolled into Assen for the Dutch TT, and would not relinquish it again, going on to secure his second world championship in dominant style, winning 10 races and taking pole 12 times along the way.
MotoGP's rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, adopted a number of changes to the MotoGP rules in a meeting on Wednesday. As expected, the testing restrictions were dropped, now to be limited by tire allocation. Other changes adopted include an increase in the minimum weight, the introduction of rear-facing red lights to be carried in wet conditions, a slight tweak to the 107% qualifying minimum time, and explicitly granting authority to impose penalties on event organizers.
There has been much speculation on the legality or otherwise of the Aprilia RSV4-based bike to be used by a number of teams operating under the CRT rules in MotoGP in 2012. With the presence of so many members of the Aprilia test team at the recent Valencia and Jerez tests, and first Alex Hofmann and then Randy de Puniet riding a World Superbike spec RSV4R, there were claims that the Aprilia CRT machine was a clear violation of the principle behind the Claiming Rule Team concept.
Motorcycle racing is spreading its wings. After the World Superbike series announced its first incursion into Russia for 2012, MotoGP's return to South America was cemented today, with the contract signed between Dorna and the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. The Argentinian circuit has signed up to host a MotoGP race for three years starting in 2013, the series returning to the continent of South America after an absence of 8 years.
I spent more time on the grid in 2011 than ever before and one of the interesting benefits of this was the level of details I started noticing in some of the helmets. On TV, or even at trackside, it's difficult to see exactly what the helmet designers have done to make each rider's crash hat unique.
The MotoGP schedule for the 2012 season has been tweaked a little, and there is some good news for fans: the season starts seven days earlier, with the Qatar MotoGP round having been moved up a week to April 8th. The move is in response to the Formula One calendar, which sees the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 15th, the date originally planned for Qatar, and so the decision was taken to start the MotoGP season a week earlier.
After a slow start, the 2012 Moto2 grid is starting to fill out, as teams are starting to find riders for the upcoming season. The provisional grid now stands at 30 riders, with 2 more names likely to be confirmed some time in the next few weeks. With Dorna aiming for a maximum of 32 entries in the class, there is little room for new names to appear in the final run up to the 2012 season opener at Qatar in April.
A press release issued by the Rizla Suzuki team after the funeral of their much-loved team member Charlie Moody:
MotoGP and F1 say a fond farewell to Charlie Moody
Publish Date: Friday, December 09, 2011
MotoGP and F1 team members joined family and friends at a service of thanksgiving this week for the life of Rizla Suzuki's Operations Manager Charlie Moody, who sadly passed away last month.
Despite the mountain of debt facing the Circuito de Jerez, the 2012 MotoGP round looks set to go ahead. Over the past couple of days, doubts had appeared in the Spanish press over whether the 2012 race at Jerez scheduled for April 29th would be able to go ahead, but reports from the Mayor of Jerez' office indicate that the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez will go ahead as scheduled.
The Formula 1 race scheduled to be held in November 2012 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas appears to have been saved, and with it, the MotoGP race the season after.
The 2012 MotoGP grid took another step closer to completion today, with the announcement that Michele Pirro will be riding the San Carlo Gresini Honda team's CRT entry in MotoGP next season. Pirro is to ride a CBR1000RR-powered MotoGP machine, the Honda engine housed in a chassis designed and built by FTR.
Valencia has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar since the track was completed in 1999, but when the MotoGP riders return to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the final round of the 2012 MotoGP season, they could be coming to a radically different circuit.