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.
Italian website MotoGrandPrix.it is reporting that Marco Melandri will be deciding whether or not to move to Ducati today. With both seats at HRC's factory Repsol Honda team filled, Ducati is Melandri's best hope of a full factory ride. Melandri has reportedly been promised a factory-supported V4 800 for next season by Honda, allowing him some input on the development of the bike, but this is not as strong a position as a seat in a full factory team.
Alberto Vergani, Melandri's manager, is said to have agreed a 2-year, $3 million-a-year deal with Ducati. Melandri's name has also been linked with Yamaha, but so far, no word on this has been forthcoming.
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:
During all practice sessions, warm up and the race a maximum of 31 slick tyres, specifically -
Front tyres: 14
Rear tyres: 17
When a tyre manufacturer, not subject to the limitation at the beginning of the season, achieves two MotoGP wins in dry conditions during the current season, it will become subject to the restrictions at the third event after the one where the second win was achieved.
2.9.4 Between 12.00 hrs. and 17.00 hrs. on the day prior to the start of official practice, the Technical Director will mark the tyres available to each entered rider.
This basically means two things:
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.
One of the American teenagers taking part in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, a breeding ground for young talent, has documented his experiences so far. It's an interesting look at the event from a rider's perspective, and from a teenager's perspective. The selection event is being run at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, the same track the Valencia Grand Prix will be run at on October 29th.
Our Italian friends over at MotoGrandprix.it are reporting that the Ilmor/Suter V4 bike is back in action. This time, it's Australian former GP star and King of Slide Garry McCoy riding the bike, currently running tests at the Albacete track in Spain.
The Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Ducati have agreed terms with Loris Capirossi for 2007. Negotiations had been stuck for a long while, but Capirex' victory at Brno helped shift things along, and bought him a pay rise into the bargain. Ducati was said to be interested in Marco Melandri, but with Capirossi resigned, that interest has waned. The Italian factory is also said to be close to a deal with Sete Gibernau, retaining the pair for 2007.
According to a story on the Italian site Motograndprix.it, Honda will announce its plans for 2007 at 5pm CET on October 29th, just 2 hours after the close of the 2006 MotoGP season. In its traditional post-season press conference, HRC will introduce its 800cc bike (expected to be called the RC212V), and announce which riders it will field next season.
As we rapidly approach the high water mark of speculation about 2007, more rumors emerged about Casey Stoner. The Italian website Motograndprix.it is reporting that the young Aussie may be out of MotoGP next year.
Crash.net as a story with more details on the Ilmor 800 project. In short, they hope to enter MotoGP next season with their V4 800 with a two-rider team and a budget of $20 million. They also hope to contest the Portugal and Valencia GP rounds in October this year, with either Max Biaggi or Alex Barros riding the bike.