The weather has warmed up considerably at the Sachsenring, but no change at the top of the timesheet. Casey Stoner continued his terrifiying domination at the German track, over 3/10ths faster than his team mate, and big surprise, Loris Capirossi. Capirossi has been almost invisible for most of the sessions, and indeed, for most of the season, and with negotiations with Ducati stalled, needs a strong result to get his career back into gear. This looks like the first, tentative step on the way.
Carlo Pernat, Loris Capirossi's manager, gave an interview to MotoGP.com about Capirex's future today at the Sachsenring. In it, he admitted that Capirossi is very close to leaving Ducati.
Another session dominated by Casey Stoner this afternoon. Stoner was consistently the fastest rider, and took another big chunk out of the lap record today. Valentino Rossi was once again the only man who could get anywhere near Stoner, finally closing to within 35/100ths of the Australian.
The Sachsenring circuit shouldn't suit the Ducati. Unfortunately, no one remembered to tell Casey Stoner, as already in the first session, he has shattered the lap record by over 2/10ths of a second. Stoner was consistently faster than everyone else in the session. Interesting to see Carlos Checa in 2nd spot, he was another surprise, being so fast on a bog stock Honda satellite bike. And an even bigger surprise is to see Sylvain Guintoli, on Dunlop tires, in 9th spot, ahead of Dani Pedrosa down in 11th.
It is perhaps an interesting irony that the MotoGP circus moves from one former street circuit to another this weekend, leaving the fast, flat sweeping turns of Assen behind to visit the tight, tortuous turns of the Sachsenring circuit. But where Assen's transformation from public roads to closed racetrack was a long process of sections being removed piece by piece, in a form of deat
The MotoGP silly season has come surprisingly early this year. John Hopkins move to Kawasaki signaled the first serious sign of the impending rider shakeup, and now, the second major move could be imminent. That stalwart of British motorcycling, Motorcycle News, is now reporting that Marco Melandri is very close to signing a contract with Ducati.
Although it was widely expected that Roger Lee Hayden would get a wildcard ride on the Kawasaki ZX-RR at the Laguna Seca MotoGP round, official confirmation stubbornly refused to appear. Now, though, Kawasaki have finally confirmed that World Champion Nicky Hayden's younger brother will definitely get a wildcard at Laguna. Hayden is currently riding for the factory Monster Kawasaki team in AMA Superbikes, which is why he was offered the ride.
After the stunning news yesterday that John Hopkins will be leaving Suzuki at the end of the 2007 season, today yet more news came out of the Suzuki camp. Motorcycle News is reporting that AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies will be offered a ride on the GSV-R MotoGP bike before the end of the season.
After last year, when the riders market in MotoGP remained relatively static, with very few riders coming and going, 2008 looks like it could see a major shakeup in teams and riders. And John Hopkins could be the person who gets the ball rolling, as Motorcycle News is reporting that Hopper has jumped ship and signed with Kawasaki.
At the annual Yamaha Day held in Rimini, Italy, Valentino Rossi talked about how he sees his future in MotoGP. The Doctor told journalists that what keeps him in MotoGP are fresh challenges, challenges he has found this year from Casey Stoner on the Ducati, and as long as he keeps finding fresh goals and challenges, he will remain in MotoGP. But, he added, his stay in MotoGP will one day come to an end, and it will come within the next five years. Rossi said he believed that he will leave "when I'm 31, 32 at most".
Perhaps the longest-running and worst-kept secret contract deal is coming to a head: Spanish sports daily AS.com is reporting that reigning 250 world champion Jorge Lorenzo will officially sign a deal with Yamaha very soon. Lorenzo's manager, Dani Amatriain, confirmed to AS.com that a verbal agreement has already been reached, and the only detail left to discuss is the small matter of which team Lorenzo will run.
It seems like the addition of a MotoGP round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in mid-September 2008 has the motoring press on both sides of the Atlantic in a real tizzy. Fact, fiction and fantasy are being mixed up into a giant Fruitcake Smoothie of confusion. The worst culprits are here in Europe, with the normally excellent Eurosport laboring under the misapprehension that Indy will replace the US GP at Laguna Seca.
Poor Toni Elias' injury led to a veritable feeding frenzy of speculation as to his replacement, but now it seems that Gresini has finally and officially put an end to this. MotoGP.com has an announcement that Michel Fabrizio and Miguel Duhamel will be replacing Elias over the next two races.
The title says it all, really, but it seems that Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the 2nd US MotoGP round on September 14th, 2008. The round will see all three classes (125, 250 and MotoGP) compete, leaving little or no room for the AMA Superbikes, which support MotoGP at the Laguna Seca round. But the advent of the 125 and 250 classes to the US will be very popular with hardcore racing fans in the US, as they long for a glimpse of the classes providing the new blood to the MotoGP class.