Sat, 2009-07-18 16:41

Always wanted to see how a crash happens? Ace shooter Scott Jones was standing in just the right spot when Mike di Meglio went down in front of him, and caught it all on digital film.

Too late to save it on the knee

Bike is going ...

Better let go now ...

Now let's keep out of the way ...

Bike is spinning ...

Spinning ...

Spinning ...

Spinning ...

What number do we run again?


Oh yes, that's it ...

Sat, 2009-07-18 09:42

The first batch of images are in from Scott Jones, here at the Sachsenring, and once again, they are real gems. There'll be plenty more to come over the next few days.

Valentino Rossi, not looking through the corner

Nicky Hayden and Chris Vermeulen on damp German asphalt

In case Marco forgets what number he runs

Casey Stoner may be ill, but that doesn't stop him from being fast

Toni Elias demonstrating that you only need to use the first inch or so of the handlebars

Dani Pedrosa leads Niccolo Canepa, by a long way

Alex de Angelis showing that he can hang off the bike further than his team mate

Gabor Talmacsi is learning fast

Loris Capirossi - lasts longer than the Duracell bunny

Colin Edwards, looking through the corner after the corner after this one

Rossi, almost as fast on rain tires as on slicks

Marco Melandri, because black is the new black

Nicky Hayden found where he left his mojo

Aprilia racing. That's all you need to know.

Hector Barbera - determined to make it into the MotoGP class, and going about it the right way

Aleix Espargaro, taking Talmacsi's 250, and his number

Hiroshi Aoyama bidding to be the next Japanese rider in MotoGP

Alvaro Bautista, stylish as ever

Mattia Pasini is on the grid, and riding, after another last minute payment by his team to Aprilia

Marco Simoncelli is another exponent of the Rossi school of looking at the pavement, not through the corner

Alex Debon, the Spanish veteran just keeps plugging away

Danny Webb, getting closer to the top 3 all the time

American Cameron Beaubier has yet to match the pace of his incredible team mate Marquez

Bradley Smith on his way to another Aspar whitewash of practice

Scott Redding is just a fraction off the pace in Germany

Two stroke beauty

Thu, 2009-07-16 15:41

Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will have a new engine to test at the Sachsenring. The Spaniard told the press conference at the German track that Honda had built a new engine to tame the power delivery of the RC212V. "We have one new engine. It is to improve the delivery of the power, because our engine is always very peaky and we have a lot of spinning in low gears. We want to try and avoid this and get better drive out of the corners," Pedrosa said. Both Pedrosa and especially team mate Andrea Dovizioso have complained all year that the Honda was too peaky, with Dovizioso being most vocal of the power delivery, labeling it as "too aggressive."

Dani Pedrosa at the Sachsenring

The new engine comes in addition to the revised chassis the Repsol Honda riders and Toni Elias have been using recently, Pedrosa and Dovizioso since Barcelona, Elias since Assen. All three of them have lauded the greatly improved corner entry of the new chassis, Dovizioso doing so despite having crashed out of the last two races. Dani Pedrosa demonstrating how successful the improvements had been by using the new chassis to win the previous Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Pedrosa also revealed that more parts are in the pipeline, but he felt it was too early to tell whether the changes would pan out in the long term. "It's not easy to say if we are going in a good direction or not," Pedrosa said. "You cannot base all of your comments on one race or one track. You have to keep on trying to see if it's good."

Wed, 2009-07-08 15:58
Body:'s Scott Jones had spoken to Guy Coulon at the MotoGP season opener at Qatar, and the conversation had left us with some questions unanswered. Colin Edwards' crew chief had told us that he wanted to reserve judgment on issues such as tires and the practice restrictions until a few races into the season. At the halfway mark of the season, we felt it was a good time to catch up with Coulon again and get his opinion, as well as ask about the Tech 3 team's plans for the fledgling Moto2 series due to launch next year. Scott Jones spoke to Guy Coulon

Guy Coulon, Tech 3 Yamaha crew chief for Colin EdwardsMGPM: When we spoke in Qatar, you said we would need to go to several races where there had been no winter testing to know how the shortened practice schedule and new tire rules would affect race preparation. What can you tell us seven races into the season?

Coulon: But already we have another change [in the practice schedule] from Le Mans. We started the beginning of the season with only three sessions of 45 minutes each. From Le Mans, we still have three sessions but each is one hour now. So the main thing we have learned this year is that the Yamaha is not difficult to set up, and I think we have an advantage with fewer [practice] sessions.

But of course we have to use the time we have differently from before when we had more practice sessions. Before we had four hours and now we have three, so we must be very focused on what changes we want to make. We must decide after each change if we will keep those settings or not. When we had more time we could compare settings, and if the rider was unsure which was better, we could compare the two settings again before moving forward. But now when we compare different settings, we must decide right away if we keep those settings or not; we follow this way or we follow that way. So that is different from before. But also this year we have only one tire manufacturer, and that means we have many fewer types of tires to combine with our tests of different chassis settings.

Mainly I think it’s a positive thing to have only three one-hour sessions, partly because on Friday morning the public and the riders can now see each other [during the pit lane access period]. Also, as you know the economic situation is quite severe, so we can save money from the reduced engine mileage every race weekend. For the engine makers this is a significant savings.

MGPM: Is the latest scheme of three one-hour sessions a good balance between cost savings and race preparation, or should it be changed again?

Coulon: I think it’s a good balance, because finally everyone is ready in time for the race. Maybe everyone is one tenth slower—if we had another hour to test, maybe we could go one tenth or two tenths faster. But in fact the show and the fighting for positions during the race is very similar to before, and the three hours of practice are the same for everyone. And at the same time we save a lot of money, that’s clear. Not just on mileage, but also when we are in Europe at races that are not too far from team headquarters, most team members can arrive one day later, so we have one night less at hotels. So this helps financially. We used to test for one or two days after the races, which meant that the entire team should stay at the hotel for one or two more nights. There is no more of that, so this is another good point for saving money, and in fact we have very similar [race] performance.

MGPM: You mentioned tires earlier. How is it working with the Bridgestones after seven races?

Coulon: So at the first race we said the big question was what would happen on tracks were there had been no winter testing with the new tires. We’d tested in Qatar, Malaysia, Jerez, so we already new before the race weekend which tire to use there. But when we started racing at tracks where we hadn’t tested, we found the Bridgestone allocation was good. We had no problem with the tires and everybody got normal life out of the race tires; I believe nobody is complaining about that.

MGPM: Do you miss the additional competition of one tire maker against another? Or is that better left out of the race weekend?

Coulon: With the current economic situation, having only one tire manufacturer is clearly positive. And also, before when some teams used Michelin and other teams used Bridgestone, and sometimes when you had lack of performance, the rider could say, “Well, maybe it’s because of the tire.” But now this point disappears. Everybody has the same tire, so if we have a lack of performance, it’s because of our settings or because of rider performance and we can concentrate on these points.

MGPM: Speaking of riders, Colin has had a great season so far; do you think that he’s adapting to the Bridgestones more easily than others?

Coulon: I believe that Colin adapted well to the feel of the Bridgestone tires from the first test. And he understood very quickly that he needed to change his style a bit to get the most out of the new tires. Maybe some other riders need some more time to understand that. This aspect of changing tires is very difficult for the team because it’s hard to teach the rider what to do differently; it’s mainly rider feel that makes the difference. And only the rider can say, “Ah, I have a different feeling in this situation and I need to change my style because with this new tire I must be quicker in this area and safer in this area.” So only the rider can decide if he needs to change his style or not.

I remember that at the beginning of the season Colin said he needed to change his riding style and race after race he would comment that he was not yet at 100% because he needed to take this line instead of that line. But because he used Michelins so long, still in his mind he had Michelin lines. But by now I think everything is clear for him, what he has to do to get the most of the Bridgestone tires.

MGPM: Assen was Colin’s second 4th place of the season, but how difficult is it going to be to get onto the podium with Rossi, Stoner, and Lorenzo being so fast every race?

Coulon: [Laughs.] Yes, you know, Colin is always, I think, the best satellite team rider. But even to place fourth is really, really difficult. In fact, fifth or better is really difficult. Because the two Yamaha works bikes are one step better than our bike. We have a really good bike, but they are the factory, they have the best bike, and this is 100% normal. Then Casey is really, really strong. So to be on the podium you need to beat one of these three. Plus you have Pedrosa and Dovizioso on the works Hondas. And you can’t forget the works Suzukis and some other factory bikes. So our normal good position is fifth, sixth, seventh. Better than five is…

MGPM: Like a victory?

Coulon: Yes, yes. And worse than seventh is not so good. And it’s really hard fighting to be in this area. From the beginning of the season Colin did a really good job, so our target now is to keep this level all season.

MGPM: What do you think of the Rookie Rule? Should rookies be able to go to factory teams?

Coulon: I think it is better for 250 riders to go to satellite teams with good bikes because they will have less pressure their first season. So concerning for example, Pedrosa or Lorenzo, maybe they were able to go straight to factory teams, but not so many others [could do so], I think. I don’t know if the current 250 riders could. Of course, the riders’ managers want to have them straight into factory teams, but it’s only a business matter. For example, even Lorenzo last year, I believe he had a lot of pressure and a lot of crashes, mainly because he was on a factory team. If he had the same bike on a satellite team, maybe he could’ve learned [more slowly] and with less pressure, and it would’ve been better for him. So I am mainly positive about this rule.

MGPM: What can you tell us about Tech 3’s plans for Moto2?

Coulon: We have a chassis design underway. In the beginning we started with a design to fit the Yamaha engine, and when the rule changed, we had to reconsider the direction we were going. Next week we should start to assemble the first parts that are still in production. I hope to have a bike up, not running, but a chassis with engine and suspension assembled by the first week in September. If everything is going well. [Smiles.]

MGPM: Which class interests you more right now, MotoGP or Moto2?

Coulon: For our team members, Moto2 is more interesting right now because he have to prepare many things ourselves. Especially in our team because we’re building our own chassis, and we need to produce all the parts and everything. So we can control everything from the beginning to having the bike on the track. And this is really interesting. If it’s working! [Laughs.] If it’s not working, it’s more difficult, of course.

MGPM: So would you participate in two classes at the same time?

Coulon: No. For sure we will have a Moto2 team, but it will be completely separate from the MotoGP team. Now I am working on the Moto2 chassis concept, but if I keep working on the MotoGP team when the season starts, I will do only MotoGP. If Moto2, then I will do nothing on MotoGP. Each team should be able to work completely independent of the other.

Sun, 2009-07-05 23:19


Dislocated collar bone - check. Broken metatarsal in foot - check. Race face - check.

Oh say, can you see?

It was a very close race in the early stages

Deja vu?

Melandri tries to beat the man whose ride he is rumored to be taking

A couple of laps later, and the gaps wouldn't be this big between the front three

First Spaniard Ever

Lorenzo wisely stayed out of the Cava Wars

Sun, 2009-07-05 19:39

More images from Scott Jones at Laguna, this time of the warm up session prior to the race.

Nicky Hayden had a special paint job, stars 'n' bars style

Valentino Rossi saves his front tire

Jorge Lorenzo took part in warm up, and got up to speed slowly

Casey Stoner was fast from the moment he swung a leg painfully over his Ducati

The Repsol Honda Team does a little synchronized sliding

Randy de Puniet. Sadly for the US fans, no Playboy bunnies this time out, hard bags instead

A Texan does Californ-Eye-Ay

Sat, 2009-07-04 19:48
Body:'s Scott Jones is at Laguna, and sending back more of his fantastic photographs. Here's a selection from Friday.

Warming up a Honda

JT's M1, ready and waiting

CEII gets busy with the T-shirt cannon

In the search for exhaust pipe length, Honda does the tail wraparound

You really want these to work

Gorgeous George hounded his team mate on Friday afternoon

Nicky Hayden can only dream of a three-peat this year

The Texas Tornado blew colder, rather than hotter on Friday

Gabor Talmacsi continued to improve, and was no longer slowest

Fresh from his Assen Century, Rossi greets the fans at Laguna Seca

Toni Elias is a happy bunny now he has the 2008 chassis for his RC212V 

Sat, 2009-07-04 17:11

After a dismal year in 2008, where he struggled woefully with the Ducati Desmosedici, Marco Melandri has taken last year's Kawasaki and turned in some remarkable results. caught up with Melandri at Laguna Seca, to ask about the year so far, and what he expects for the future.

The Hayate bike at Laguna Seca

MGPM: After your difficult year in 2007, you've exceeded everyone's expectations this season with Hayate. Do you feel you're once again showing people what Marco Melandri is capable of?

Melandri: Yes, it has been a very tough 2008, and for sure I signed up for a difficult challenge with Kawasaki. After the winter we knew we would have a very tough season, but then we had some very good races, which no one expected, including me. I expected to have some good races, actually, but not to do as well as we've done. After that we had some difficult races, and I had a small injury in Barcelona, but now that's getting better. I'm quite happy with the season so far.

MGPM: So after three finishes outside the top ten, do you feel you're on course to return to the form you showed earlier in the season?

Melandri: For sure. Our target is to come back into the top ten. I know it's going to be tough to finish sixth or seventh, but we will do our best. I think that the bike is working okay on this track. I like the track, too. So I just have to see about my condition on the weekend.

MGPM: How has the announcement that there will be no Kawasaki on the grid in 2010 affected your motivation for this season?

Melandri: [Pauses.] Who says this?

MGPM: [Hayate Team Manager] Andrea Dosoli was quoted as saying he didn't think Kawasaki would be back next year.

Melandri: I think this has been a misunderstanding, because actually, we don't know. I think Kawasaki may make this decision at the Sachsenring in two weeks. For now we don't actually know. I think it's just what some people are saying, that Kawasaki is selling the big stuff we don't use, like the hospitality and some other things, because now I'm the only rider, and for sure they have too many things [left over from having two riders] and don't want to waste money.

MGPM: So as far as you're concerned, you're still motivated to do the best you can and see what happens?

Melandri: Sure. My goal is to do my best and try to get a good bike for next year. But I don't know if I will stay with Kawasaki or find another team.

MGPM: Speaking of other teams, Gresini Honda has mentioned an interest in you; how would you feel about going there, given that in the past you were promised support from HRC that didn't really happen, and this year Tony Elias seems to be in a similar situation?

Melandri: I don't know, because the situation now is quite strange compared to four or five years ago. First, I want to know what Kawasaki wants to do for next year. Then… I just think it's too early for me to know what's going on. Everybody is starting to talk about what's going on for next year. But I think that before the end of August it's going to be tough to make any choice about 2010.

For sure I would like to get a factory bike, to be able to win. My mentality is to win. I had such an opportunity in 2005, 2006. At that time, especially after my first year with Honda, I was hoping to move to HRC to try to improve my result of being second in the championship. But that didn't happen. And now it's very important to have a good sponsor. But I just don't know if a good spot is going to be free for next year.

Fri, 2009-07-03 19:30
Body: is once again fortunate to have Scott Jones live at Laguna Seca, shooting some more of his superb photos. The first of his shots come from Thursday's Day of Stars Superkart challenge, where champions young and old took each other on around Laguna Seca, in anticipation of this year's Red Bull US Grand Prix.

Right helmet, wrong suit.

Fast Eddie's hat

The Doctor asks Fast Eddie the quick way round Laguna 

King Kenny, on four wheels

"And here's where you stuff it up the inside of Lawson, and line up behind Rainey..."

Yamaha-to-Honda vs Honda-to-Yamaha

Rossi, Lawson, Rainey, Roberts

Casey Stoner, Chaz Davies and their respective partners look on.

Sete Gibernau considers a new career

Honda history on a laptop.

Will Valentino Rossi be seeing much of this on Sunday?

Or will he be watching his team mate instead?

We also have a couple of video clips of the event. First, a local news channel shows a brief preview of the event, featuring a vox populi with MotoGPOD presenter and friend of, Jules Cisek (he's the cool looking dude with the goatee).

And a fan video of the racing on track:

Tue, 2009-06-23 21:37

Exciting times lie ahead for We will be reporting live from the next four rounds of MotoGP, starting with Saturday's race at Assen. David Emmett (aka Kropotkin) will be bringing you news and reports from Assen, Sachsenring and Donington, while Scott Jones will be sending back reports and his magnificent photographs from Laguna Seca.

All this costs money. And money is in short supply at the moment, despite the support we receive from our sponsors Power Sport Dynamic (who still have tickets available for their Turn 5 Chalet at this year's US MotoGP race at Laguna Seca) and Pole Position Travel, who can take you to any of the MotoGP races on the calendar.

So we are turning to you, our readers. We need money to be able to bring you the news, and you can help us. The previous fundraising drive saw many of our readers send us financial contributions, so join them in helping us keep bringing you the best analysis and most beautiful photography of the world of motorcycle racing.

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