Maverick Viñales was the quickest out of the blocks in the first session of practice for the 125cc class at the Motorland Aragon circuit this morning, putting in a fast final flying lap to dislodge Nico Terol from the top spot on the timesheets. Terol had led for most of the morning session, but was demoted to 2nd right at the end, a quarter of a second behind his young compatriot.
Somehow, the big news always seems to break on Thursdays. Probably because we don't have any real action to talk about, and so all the focus is on speculation, spying, or off-track events, but without motorcycles going round on track, we still have plenty to talk about.
Valentino Rossi is to use the new aluminium chassis at Motorland Aragon this weekend, which was first tested last week at Mugello on Ducati's 2012 1000cc machine. The Italian told the press conference at Aragon that the test at Mugello had gone very well, and the new chassis - built by British Moto2 manufacturer FTR - had improved the feeling from the front end of the Ducati. As a consequence, they had decided to use the new chassis at Aragon this weekend, to use it as a development platform for next year.
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's round at Motorland Aragon:
Bautista ready for Aragon assault
Publish Date: Monday, September 12, 2011
Álvaro Bautista is back in his homeland of Spain for the next round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, this time at the Aragon circuit in the north-eastern part of the country.
Marco Melandri topped the timesheets at the final day of testing for the World Superbike series at Misano. The Yamaha rider broke into the 1'35s on Wednesday, setting a time of 1'35.8, seven tenths quicker than the official lap record set by Carlos Checa during the race back in June. Checa and Eugene Laverty once again set the 2nd fastest time, two tenths behind Melandri, while BMW Italia's Ayrton Badovini continues to impress, ending the test just a tenth of a second slower than Checa and Laverty.
The FIM today announced the provisional dates for the 2012 MotoGP schedule. The season kicks off in Qatar on April 15th, with a fortnightly schedule of races until Assen, when the Dutch, German and Italian rounds take place on consecutive weekends. The series then heads across the Atlantic for two US rounds at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, before returning to Europe for three more races. A triple-header in Asia and Australia follows, before the season wraps up at the traditional final round at Valencia on November 11th.
A group of World Superbike riders - past, present and future - have had the first day of testing at Misano today, ahead of the next World Superbike round at Imola in 12 days' time. Fastest man of the day was Marco Melandri, the Yamaha rider setting a time of 1'36.0, half a second under the current lap record held by Carlos Checa set during the race at the track in June this year. Checa was two tenths quicker than his own lap record, but fell three tenths behind Melandri's time, while Melandri's teammate Eugene Laverty posted the same time as the Althea Ducati rider.
In something of a surprise move, the German Automobile Club ADAC have announced that the German round of MotoGP will not be held at the Sachsenring in 2012, the German regional paper Freie Presse are reporting. At a press conference held at the East German circuit, which is owned by the ADAC, the organization told the media that the losses suffered by the Sachsenring were just too great to allow them to sustain the event.
The ever-industrious Honda press office has issued yet another press release containing an interview with a rider. Fortunately for race fans, this time it isn't yet another interview with one of the members of the Repsol Honda team, but instead, it is San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama. Aoyama has had a very tough season in 2011, struggling with a back injury sustained in a crash at Assen and with the aftermath and constant discussion surrounding the Japanese earthquake and the Motegi MotoGP round. In this interview, Aoyama talks about all of this, and more.
We already know that 2013 will be a big year for MotoGP in the Americas. With the addition of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the total number of MotoGP rounds in the United States will increase to three, with Austin joining Indianapolis and Laguna Seca on the calendar. And according to reports in the Argentinian press, there could be a fourth round of MotoGP in the Americas, with a South American race joining the three North American rounds of the series.
The news may be a few days' old, but it is worth noting nonetheless: James Toseland has announced that he is to retire from racing motorcycles altogether.
Another major stronghold in the resistance to the Japanese round of MotoGP has crumbled: the Yamaha Factory Racing team has announced that the team and both of its riders will attend the Motegi MotoGP race on October 2nd of this year. The announcement means that both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will be present at Motegi, lining up alongside the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team - the first team to officially announce they would be going - of Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow, as well as Hector Barbera and the Mapfre Aspar team.
The internet has been ablaze with news and rumors from Ducati's test at Mugello, where Valentino Rossi, along with test rider Franco Battaini, tested the new chassis for the Ducati GP12. Times were not issued, though the Italian sports broadcaster Sportmediaset is reporting that Rossi posted a 1'48.05, albeit without knowing which chassis was used to set that time.
If you head down to Mugello today (Thursday, September 8th), you will be lucky enough to hear the mighty sound of Ducati's 2012 Desmosedici GP12 engine pounding out the laps around the classic Italian circuit. And unless you are very lucky - or highly ingenious - that is all you will get to see. The test of the GP12 is being held behind firmly closed doors, with observers extremely unwelcome.