Tragedy overshadowed the World Superbike test held on the day after the Imola round of WSBK. Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz crashed heavily between Tosa and Piratella, breaking his collarbone and shoulder blade, and fracturing his T6 vertebra. Lascorz was airlifted to the local Bologna hospital, where he underwent surgery to treat his injuries.
Dani Pedrosa was arrested and released by Spanish police in Valencia on Saturday, March 31st for allegedly attempting to cheat during an examination required to obtain Yachtmaster certification. The Spaniard was arrested as part of an operation by the Spanish Guardia Civil national police force against a network involved in helping people cheat while sitting their yachtmaster exams, under the auspices of the Valencia regional government.
In a week's time, the first race of the 2012 MotoGP season will be wrapped up and finished, and with a full preseason of testing behind us, it's time to take a look at the upcoming year. A lot is expected of the new season, and there's a lot to talk about, with a return to 1000cc MotoGP bikes, a brand new Ducati GP12, the advent of the CRT bikes, and much, much more. Time to make some predictions for the 2012 season.
Predicted Final 2012 MotoGP Championship Standings:
A round-up of the weekends events at the Imola round of the World Superbike championship.
Carlos Checa isn't loved by the Italian fans because he rides a Ducati; he's loved because he rides a Ducati well. Checa proved that he's a champion by winning what looked like a hard couple of races to win. Sykes was on his best ever form and Haslam wasn't one to gift anyone a win. Just because his supposed number one rival for the championship, Biaggi, was outclassed this weekend doesn't mean Checa was gifted the double.
Press releases and videos from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the races at Imola:
Results from the second World Superbike race at Imola.
Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa may have missed out on the pole position and lap record, but after a race that was very similar to the first one, he keeps his championship defence firmly on track with a second win ahead of Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam.
Results of the World Supersport race at Imola, 2012.
Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) and Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) scrapped to the bitter end, giving us a solid last lap fight through back markers that the experienced Foret won both the top step of the podium and the championship lead of a race fraught with unusual attrition.
Results from the first race of the World Superbikes at Imola.
Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa adds yet another victory to his tally ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes after a long battle between the two that was, unsurprisingly, eventually decided by tyre wear. The pair got good starts and broke away from everyone else and Sykes led comfortably for the first half of the race. At the mid-point, Checa sliced neatly past Sykes and eked a lead lap-by-lap all the way to the finish line.
We don't usually cover Superstock racing here, but due to the interest in Ducati's 1199 Panigale, we thought we'd better make an exception.
As many of you will have spotted, this was in fact an April Fool's story. The leaked document is a figment of my fevered imagination, and Dorna intends to cut races in Spain, rather than expand them. We are more likely to see races in a wider variety of countries than see all the races be held in Spain. For another year at least, all of the stories on the website will be as accurate as possible. Normal service has now been resumed...
Since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008, MotoGP has been desperately looking for ways to cut costs. A raft of measures aimed at lowering the technological costs of MotoGP have been rushed through over the past three years, with more expected to come in the coming months and years. But with much of the excess already cut from the bikes and the technology, the following area to undergo drastic cost reductions is the second largest budget item facing teams: Travel and transportation.
MotoMatters.com has received a copy of a confidential internal discussion document circulating inside Dorna setting out a plan to radically reduce the costs of travel and accommodation for the MotoGP paddock. The plan is certain to be controversial: the method for reducing travel costs currently under discussion is simply to do away with them, and host all of the MotoGP races in Spain.
Ducati have a plan to return to World Superbike racing in 2013, racing what will most likely win every bike of the year accolade for 2012: the Ducati 1199 Panigale. The 1199R was homologated for Superstock racing shortly after its release and tomorrow will be the first European Superstock 1000 race of the year where the bike will get its first shake-down.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at Imola: