Well, where just a few days ago, it seemed certain that Marco Melandri would be going to the factory Ducati team, now it looks increasingly like last year's title runner up will be staying with Gresini on a Honda next year. Both MotoGrandPrix.it and Crash.net are reporting that Fausto Gresini has matched Ducati's reported offer of € 3 million for next season, an offer which would also include strong factory support from Honda, and, surprisingly, Bridgestone tires. The mystery for all this is where the money is supposed to be coming from, as Altadis, the brand behind Fortuna, are leaving MotoGP, taking their large sponsorship budget with them.
After a friend asked me to explain the way the Manufacturers' Championship works, I decided to start a MotoGP FAQ, with answers to any questions I receive. The FAQ will be a growing and living thing, with regular updates, so keep an eye on it. If you have any questions you want answered, you can send them to me, and I'll do my best to answer them and add them to the FAQ.
Since I started this website, I have received a number of general questions, and seen a number of questions come in via Google. So I thought it would be a good idea to start collecting these questions into a FAQ, for use as a reference. If you have any questions for the FAQ, you can send them to me...
We'll start off with a question from a friend of mine:
How are the standings calculated for the Manufacturer's Championship?
Eurosport.com is reporting that Team KR will only have one bike for next year. The problem, as it is for so many MotoGP teams, is money. Team KR really need a major sponsor to be able to obtain two engines from Honda. Previously, Team KR had announced that they were hoping to field a full, two-rider team, but that plan has been shelved.
MotoGP.com is reporting that Ilmor have confirmed their entry as a wildcard at Estoril in Portugal. They will be debuting their 800cc 70° V4 bike, dubbed "X3", at the Portuguese Grand Prix on October 15th, with Garry McCoy riding, using Michelin tires. McCoy has been testing the Ilmor at a number of tracks over the last couple of months, including Albacete and Jerez.
The Spanish sports daily AS.com is reporting that Carlos Checa could move to Pramac d'Antin next season.
I received an e-mail from a guy called Roko in Austria, with an excellent and clear overview of who will be where for 2007, plus some pretty good guesses for the unsigned riders. If you want to see who is doing what, check out the link below:
As a result of the yellow flag controversy at Phillip Island, the FIM has announced it will be reviewing procedures for dealing with yellow flags during the race (PDF file). This will include investigating the use of "new technology" to respond to incidents.
The FIM has announced new tire regulations to be used for the 2007 season.
Two points in the rules stand out:
2.9.3 Teams that are supplied by a tyre manufacturer that has achieved at least two MotoGP race wins in dry conditions since the first race of the 2005 season will be restricted in the quantity of slick tyres that each of the teams riders may use at a single event as follows:
When I left to travel to Spain for my vacation, I was mildly annoyed that I would be missing three weekends of racing, through some fairly catastrophic vacation planning. To add to my MotoGP misery, I was planning a camping holiday, and so wouldn't even have access to TV. So I comforted myself with the thought that at least I would able to follow the racing in the extensive coverage found in the Spanish mainstream press. I needn't have worried. There would be so much more than this.
There's an in-depth interview with Mario Ilien and Eskil Suter over on the RoadRacerX website about their new MotoGP project. It's an interesting look at the perspective the team has about motorcycle racing, and that they are aware of the pitfalls of previous projects which tried to use Formula 1 car technology in MotoGP, such as the Aprilia RS3 Cube. The bike will use pneumatic valve springs, to be able to handle the very high rev ranges (up to 18,000 rpm) required to make a competitive engine.
Well, one mystery has been solved. Crash.net is reporting that James Toseland has decided to stay in World Superbikes for next year. The option Toseland had been offered was a ride with the Pramac d'Antin Ducati team, on an unknown tire package, although Luis d'Antin has stated he'll be using Bridgestones next year.
The Power Of Numbers
Numerologists, and others who seek deeper meaning in numbers, of which there are many inside the MotoGP paddock, will be delighted this weekend. For, after a 3 week break, MotoGP returns for 3 races in 3 weekends, traveling 9000 miles to do so, in a series of races spread around the Pacific, calling at Sepang in Malaysia, Phillip Island in Australia, and Motegi in Japan.
When I started this blog, I never expected that it would be quite as popular as it has proved to be. In fact, I booked my upcoming vacation shortly after I started writing this blog, without even a glance at the MotoGP calendar, thinking only of when the weather would be good in Northern Spain, and when the crowds would mostly have disappeared. I hardly spared a thought of whether I would be able to write race reports or not, thinking only that if there was a race, I would at the very least be able to read about it in the Spanish papers.