Ever since Honda proudly presented their 800cc RC212V MotoGP bike, the consensus has been that it was designed with one man in mind: Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa. The dissenters countered that was far too risky a strategy to entrust the future of HRC's MotoGP project on a single rider. Riders are, as Ronald ten Kate so poetically put it, like ships, but the teams are the harbors. No guarantees exist that a rider will stay with a single team for his entire career, and an injury can change everything.
MotoGP Donington Race - No Room For Doubt
The relatively small grid in MotoGP has been a thorn in Dorna's eye for several years now. To remedy this situation, the organization which runs the MotoGP series is starting to put pressure on the manufacturers which only run factory teams (Suzuki and Kawasaki) to provide extra machinery to satellite teams, to enlarge the grid, and increase the talent pool in the premier class. Up until this weekend, it looked like Suzuki were going to do just that, by providing at least one extra bike in MotoGP next year.
While the weather gods had thrown just about everything they had at the Donington Park circuit on Friday, Saturday turned out to be a much better day. That "much better" should be seen in the light of yesterday's deluge, however, as the weather could hardly be regarded as glorious. But although it had been gray and overcast, tt least it had stayed dry for both the morning and the afternoon session.
A dry session, and a big surprise: Nicky Hayden finally leads a session.
Another very wet and rainy session. Anthony West, Casey Stoner and John Hopkins were quickest for most of the session, overtaken halfway through by Chris Vermeulen. Towards the end, the weather started to ease up a little, and some different names shot to the top of the table, including Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards. More rain is predicted for tomorrow.
The session was held in a downpour, for much of the time, but dried out towards the end. Dani Pedrosa and Ant West were fastest when it was raining hardest, with Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden quicker towards the end of the session. Several riders took an excursion into the gravel, including Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi. Pedrosa stayed upright, but Rossi fell, though he remained uninjured.
Much of the uncertainty surrounding James Toseland's future in MotoGP is related to the plans of his current team, Ten Kate Honda, to enter MotoGP. Ronald ten Kate has already stated that he expects to make an announcement at the end of June, but speculation continues apace.
There are many hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of racetracks around the world. Each of them is unique, and has a particular personality. Some are bland and faceless, like Shanghai. Others, like Barcelona, have plenty of character, but have no real tie to their location. But perhaps the best tracks are the ones like Mugello, which are both beautifully laid out, and so at one with the landscape and the location that they simply could not exist anywhere else. Donington Park is just such a track.
Well, the hyperactive state which the fevered speculation surrounding Anthony West had induced in the assembled motorcycle racing press and followers has claimed its first casualty. As it turns out, the announcement made by James Toseland on Thursday was a bit of a let down, an announcement about obtaining a new personal sponsor, Bennetts motorcycle insurance.
Well, we've speculated about possibilities, deciphered information from various sources, and chewed over press releases, but finally, confirmation is here. Kawasaki confirmed to Motorcycle News that Anthony West has officially joined the Kawasaki Racing Team to ride the MotoGP bike for the rest of the season, replacing Olivier Jacque.
Italian racing site GPOne.com is reporting that James Toseland is to hold a press conference on Thursday, at the Day of Champions. GPOne.com quotes Toseland's manager as saying the purpose of the press conference is to announce a tie with a sponsor, and not to talk about his future. But any talk of a personal sponsor is likely to open doors in MotoGP, if Toseland can bring money to a team. The press conference is expected at 1:30 pm.
At last, confirmation has been forthcoming of something the world has known for the past week or so: Yamaha Motor Europe have finally confirmed that they have released Ant West from his contract to ride for them in World Supersport for the rest of 2007. The press release makes no mention of which team West will be joining, but there really is only one viable option open: The Kawasaki Racing Team. After all, no one else is in desperate need of a rider.