Photos

Fri, 2009-07-03 19:30
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MotoGPMatters.com 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 MotoGPMatters.com, 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
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Exciting times lie ahead for MotoGPMatters.com. 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.

All you have to do is head over to our Donate page, fill in an amount and make your contribution via Paypal.

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Thu, 2009-06-04 17:55
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Eugene LavertyAfter the World Supersport race at Miller Motorsports Park, MotoGPMatters caught up with Eugene Laverty to discuss the race, this season, and his future. 

MGPM: Eugene, you led every lap of the Supersport race until Kenan Sofuoglu got by you with a pretty hard move a few corners from the finish. What did you think of Kenan’s pass?

Laverty: I’m still happy enough with second because the most important thing was to beat Cal today. I exited the corner just before [Sofuoglu’s pass] really well. I braked fairly deep and protected the line a little bit, and was already in the corner preparing to get on the gas again when Kenan came into the side of me, maybe 10 kilometers per hour faster than me. So it was a bit of a surprise, and when he hit me I thought we were both down because he hit me with such force but thankfully we both stayed up. Nine times out of ten we’d have both ended up on our backsides, so I was fairly happy that didn’t happen. But I think if I hadn’t been there for him to use as a berm he was going to run off the track for sure. He was able to bounce off me and that kept him to his line. But as long as we both stayed on that was the most important thing, to be fair.

MGPM: I saw the pass on the big screen out on track and it looked like you had to get on defense pretty quickly to avoid giving up second place to Cal.

Laverty: Yeah, I had to because I got put up onto the curbs, and I thought Cal was going to come around me as well, which would’ve been a real bummer. I would’ve been pretty peeved off then, but the fact that I was able to get back into the next right [hand turn] and get second, I was still fairly happy with that.

MGPM: Given your history with Cal and how things went in BSB, is it extra sweet to beat him in such a close race?

Laverty: No, there’s no rivalry in that way; I want to beat everyone out there. It’s just that Cal’s the one at the front of the championship and he’s been the strongest rival consistently this year. That’s why it was important to beat him this weekend. And it think it’s going to be between me and Cal for the championship, so it’s more important to beat him than Kenan on days like this.

MGPM: Do you feel your years riding 250s have been good training for being here in Supersport?

Laverty: Yes, definitely. I learned a lot from the front end feeling, which has come a lot better. For trail braking into the corner, when I raced in ’06, I was pretty fast on the 600 but my feeling for the front end was never as good as what it is now. I can push it to the maximum and I’ve always been good with the rear, so it’s all come together and I’m getting 100% out of my riding now. I’m back with a fantastic team again and we’re challenging for a championship, so it’s nice after two years of suffering.

MGPM: Speaking of your fantastic team, when you signed with Parkalgar did you have any idea that things would work out this well for you?

Laverty: Yes, I knew and had worked with most of the boys before. Brains (Mark Woodage) who’s my chief mechanic, I’d worked with before from ’04 to ’06 before those two dreaded years in Grand Prix. We had a good working relationship and he builds good bikes. Most of the crew are British, there’s a good atmosphere in the garage. Everyone gets on really well and that’s as important as anything.

MGPM: The Parkalgar Honda is one of the fastest bikes out there and seems to be the fastest Honda. What do you think makes it so quick?

Laverty: Compared to Ten Kate’s [Honda], we just seem to have an edge on them. The Yamaha, first to fourth gear they’re a little bit stronger than us, but our bike, in fifth and six just gets wound up and gets going. The most important thing is that ours is the fastest Honda, and I think the best all around Honda, electronics-wise and suspension-wise. So we have to try to maintain that to the end of the year and take the fight to Yamaha.

MGPM: I know you’re focused on this season and winning the championship, but are you watching the Moto2 news, perhaps thinking about a future there at all?

Laverty: Yes, I’ve had a look, and I’m not in any rush there to be honest because of what happened to me in ’07. If you remember, I went with a good team in LCR, but it takes a lot more than that [to win]. It would be a big risk to go back to GP unless I got to go with a team I know well, like Parkalgar; if they were fit to make the move then by all means I’d be interested. But I’m not willing to make the jump back into a Spanish or Italian team with a crew that I don’t know. It’s not worth it when I’m happy here with these guys and  fighting for a world title.

MGPM: And have you given any thought to Superbikes as your next step rather than GP?

Laverty: I’m thinking about Superbikes as well. A second year in Supersport wouldn’t be a terribly bad thing. I wouldn’t want any more than two years, but I’m thinking of another year in Supersport, then possibly Superbike or Moto2. But I prefer not to think about it too much because now I’ve got no incentive to push me in any one direction.

Mechanic Phil Roe helps Laverty leave the Parkalgar garage at Miller.

Earlier in the day, MGPM grabbed a quick chat with two members of Laverty’s crew just before he went out for the Sunday morning practice session. Phil Roe, whom you may remember from the Mark Neale film, Faster, and Brains, Laverty’s crew chief, spoke to us briefly about the state of Parkalgar Honda halfway through the 2009 season.

MGPM:  What’s it like working in the Parkalgar garage?

Roe: Very good. I’ve been on quite a few teams over the years and this is one of the best. The crew chief on the team is Brains, he got us into sports (racing), that was eleven years ago. So, I’ve ended up eleven years later working with him again, which has been really good.

MGPM: And where did you work together in the past?

Brains: Team Millar, back in 500cc Grand Prix. That was in ’98 with Scott Smart as the rider on a Honda 500cc V-twin. So, yeah, that was good.

MGPM: And how do you feel about your standing at the moment?

Brains: This is the halfway point of the season, and after this round we have to look at where we are in the championship, and then really start concentrating on the rest of the year. I think we’re in a position where we can win it, so we’re very focused on that.

MGPM: I’ve heard some others in the paddock talking about Moto2. Have you been thinking about a possible move there, or are you planning on staying in Supersport?

Brains: We’ve had a look at Moto2, but a new team like us wouldn’t be able to get an entry. Dorna are looking first at the existing teams in that paddock, and they already have 47 entries, I think. So to be honest, this is really only our second year as a team, we’re winning races, and you know, we don’t want to climb the ladder too fast. We want to establish ourselves properly first. I think we’d be more than happy to stay in this paddock and either progress to Superbike or do another year of Supersport.

MGPM: Obviously Eugene has a lot to do with your success as such a young team. But what do you have to do with his success? Having been on uncompetitive machines for two years in 250s, now he’s on one of the fastest bikes on the grid, but does the chemistry of the team contribute as well?

Roe: I think so. It’s just a nice, tightly knit team, isn’t it? He’s a good guy, and we’re all pretty level-headed, feet on the ground, we all do get on with each other. I think the entire package does come together really well, so that reflects on his riding as well.

MGPM: And do you feel the bike itself has an edge on your competitors?

Brains: Yeah, we’ve worked hard in the winter. We were the only team to have a 2009 Honda for the first two rounds, so we got a head start on everybody else. And we seem to have kept that head start going. I think we do have the best Honda out there. And we’ve got a similar sort of package to the Yamaha. So all around we have got a good team and a good bike.


MGPM would like to thank Eugene, his PA Pippa Morson, Phil, and Brains for the warm welcome we received in the Parkalgar garage.

 

Eugene Laverty at Miller Motorsports Park, Utah
 

Mon, 2009-06-01 09:39
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Sunday was all about Ben Spies' domination of his home WSBK round as the Texan was simply unstoppable. Once again we had weather that started clear and grew increasingly cloudy as the hours passed.

 

Spies lead each of the three starts into the first corner.

 

Within a few laps he'd gapped those chasing him and seemed to be running away into the distance.

 

Last year's double-winner Carlos Checa was able to repeat on the podium for the first race while Michel Fabrizio cemented his position as contender for top three in the championship.

 

In a terrific Supersport race, Eugene Laverty led every lap, followed closely until lap 14 of 18 by Cal Crutchlow, championship points leader, and Joan Lascorz.

 

But it was Kenan Sofuoglu who would go from third to first on the last lap to take the Supersport win.

 

In the second Superbike race, Spies delivered his knockout blow for the weekend, leading from start to finish and making up valuable points on Haga.

 

Spies treated the crowd to a little show after his second win of the day.

 

Johnny Rea represented Ten Kate on the podium this time, though in third place.

 

A result he was very pleased with.

 

Ben Spies' performance pleased the local crowd, young and old.

Sun, 2009-05-31 05:53
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 After Friday afternoon's lightning and thunder had threatened the final session of the day, Saturday started off clear, though the forecast was for sunny skies until 11, when chances of thunder storms were 60%. 

 

By mid-morning the clouds were growing, though rain still seemed unlikely.

 

But as Superpole approached, we were clearly in for some weather as falling rain could be seen in the distance.

 

Haga took a big spill in the morning, but recovered to ride without missing any action.

 

Some of the notables from the day's practice and qualifying were: Parkes and wildcard Jamie Hacking putting the Kawasakis 6th and 7th respectively on the grid.

 

 

Nannelli and McCoy put their Triumphs fourth and seventh on the SuperSport grid.

 

 

 

Fujiwara managed tenth though his teammate Lascorz edged out Eugene Laverty for pole.

 

Kiyonari grabbed third position in SuperBike.

 

Aitchison made it another English-speaking rider in the SuperSport top ten.

 

After winning both races here last year, Checa managed fifth in SuperPole.

 

Crutchlow put his Yamaha third on the SuperSport grid.

 

Fabrizio was one of four riders under 1:49, but was unable to stop Spies from taking his 7th consecutive pole.

 

Eugene Laverty was less than a tenth behind Lascorz.

 

Foret made top ten on the grid in ninth.

 

Sofuoglu just edged out McCoy for sixth.

 

Byrne made it to the final SuperPole session but was couldn't beat Hacking for seventh.

 

The main story, of course, was Ben Spies setting a record seventh pole in a row.

 

Sat, 2009-05-30 18:23
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 Noriyuki Haga's crash at Miller during qualifying

 

As Saturday's first Superbike session came to a close, Noriuki Haga crashed heavily in turn 11. As the huge cloud of dust cleared, Haga lay motionless while track marshals rushed to his aid, placing a medical safety barrier in front of the prone rider. It took several minutes for Haga to rise and enter the ambulance. Fifteen minutes later, a WSBK official announced in the Media Center here at Miller Motorsports Park that Haga had suffered some bruises, but had returned to his garage. He has approximately two hours to recover before the pre-Superpole practice session.

Sat, 2009-05-30 06:23
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Friday started out sunny and clear, but by the end of the day we had huge clouds and even some lightning in the distance. Fortunately, no rain arrived before the final session, but there is a chance of thundershowers tomorrow. Miller is set in a valley surrounded by mountains, and even in late May some snow remains on the highest spots. As the clouds gathered in the distance, the setting grew more and more spectacular.

 

 

Several riders from the AMA Pro Superbike series are here on wild card rides. Jake Zemke made his WSBK debut last season, but now is filling in for injured Stiggy Honda rider John Hopkins. Hopper is here this weekend and looking pretty fit. He should return soon.

 

Melissa Paris at MMP, Utah

Another notable AMA rider is Melissa Paris, wife of Josh Hayes, who recently ended Yoshimura's 55-win streak at Infineon Raceway. Paris is competing in the Supersport class and making a respectable showing so far.

 

Eugene Laverty at MMP, Utah

Eugene Laverty was at the sharp end of both practice sessions and looks on form to contend as expected for the race win. He is also joined this weekend by his brother Michael on a wild card Suspersport ride.

 

Garry McCoy at MMP, Utah

Veteran Garry McCoy put the Triumph in the top ten during the second practice session.

 

As expected, Ben Spies is the celebrity on his return to home soil, and the Sterilgarda garage had the biggest crowd around its rear paddock access door of any team.

 

Tom Sykes at MMP, Utah

Spies' teammate, Tom Sykes, is looking to match the American's pace but has struggled so far.

 

Fonsi Nieto at MMP, Utah

Fonzi Nieto winds through a series of turns called The Attitudes, called in order First Attitude, Second Attitude, and finally Bad Attitude.

 

Shinya Nakano at MMP, Utah

Shinya Nakano struggled to find pace, but he sure looked good doing so.

 

Yukio Kagayama at MMP, Utah

Yukio Kagayama topped the first practice session.

 

Noriyuki Haga at MMP, Utah

Nitro Nori was 8th and 11th in the day's two sessions.

 

Ben Spies down the front straight at MMP, Utah

As the second session drew to a close, Spies broke the 1:50 barrier with a 1:49:901 and seemed the have the lock on the number one spot.

 

Max Biaggi about to hit the track at MMP, Utah

But Mad Max Biaggi stormed to a 1:49:820 just as the session ended.

 

Shinya Nakano at MMP, Utah

Fast or slow, Shinya still has the most beautiful helmet, in spite of the big eyes.

Sun, 2009-04-19 16:09
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Sadly, we are coming to the end of the fantastic photos Scott Jones took for MotoGPMatters.com at the opening round of MotoGP in Qatar. So enjoy the final shots, as the next race Scott will be attending will be the World Superbike round at Miller Motorsport Park in Utah at the end of May, before he makes it to the Red Bull US GP at Laguna Seca on the 4th of July weekend.

Colin Edwards, Qatar MotoGP

Colin Edwards had a strong weekend, finishing fourth in the delayed race

Andrea Dovizioso, Honda, MotoGP Qatar

Andrea Dovizioso put up a fight in the first half of the race, but couldn't hold on to his early pace

Marco Melandri, Hayate, Kawasaki, MotoGP Qatar

If Marco Melandri hadn't gotten so overexcited at the start of the second lap, he could have been well up the field

Casey Stoner, MotoGP Qatar

There was just no stopping Casey Stoner at Qatar ...

Valentino Rossi, Qatar, MotoGP

... No matter how hard Valentino Rossi tried

Niccolo Canepa, Qatar, MotoGP

Niccolo Canepa struggled in his MotoGP debut

Loris Capirossi, MotoGP Qatar

... Fortunately for Canepa, Loris Capirossi crashed out, saving the rookie from the indignity of last place

Randy de Puniet, MotoGP Qatar

Randy de Puniet: Sadly for the men, the Frenchman didn't have Playboy sponsorship at Qatar. Sadly for the women, he kept his leathers on all weekend.

Marco Simoncelli's bike, Qatar, 250, MotoGP

Marco Simoncelli's bike didn't leave the pits on race day

Mike di Meglio passes Ratthapark Wilairot, 250cc, Qatar

Mike di Meglio got on the podium at his first attempt in the 250 class, while Ratthapark Wilairot had an outstanding race to finish 8th on the Honda

Jules Cluzel, Matteoni Racing, 250cc, Qatar

But the man of the 250 race was Jules Cluzel on the privateer Matteoni Racing Aprilia. Cluzel replica helmets are surprisingly affordable.

Rain at the 2009 MotoGP race at Qatar

The 2009 Qatar MotoGP race in a single shot: Rain, half-empty grandstands ... and goats, for some reason.

Fri, 2009-04-17 11:10
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The photos from Qatar taken by Scott Jones have been extremely popular, just as we expected. And luckily for us, Scott still has plenty more where they came from. Below are some of Scott's photos taken during practice and qualifying, and over the next couple of days, we'll put up some more from race day. Enjoy, and stay tuned!

Nicky Hayden's Ducati blown up during practice at the Qatar MotoGP

Nicky Hayden had an awful weekend, including a blown engine during practice

Mika Kallio, Qatar MotoGP

Mika Kallio, on the other hand, had a strong debut on the GP9

Valentino Rossi, Qatar MotoGP

Valentino Rossi showed his support for the earthquake-stricken Abruzzo region of Italy

Mattia Pasini, Aprila, Qatar MotoGP

Mattia Pasini was the most spectacular generator of sparks all weekend

Marco Simoncelli, Qatar

Marco Simoncelli practiced, but didn't race, his scaphoid giving him too much trouble

Bradley Smith, Aprilia, Qatar

Bradley Smith was fast during practice, but outclassed by his team mate

Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki, MotoGP Qatar

The Suzukis ran well, Chris Vermeulen ending on his race number

Lukas Pesek, Qatar, 250cc

Lukas Pesek showed that the differential between the customer LEs and the factory RSAs was smaller than expected

Alex de Angelis, MotoGP Qatar

Alex de Angelis had a strong, but controversial race

Scott Redding, Qatar, 125cc

Scott Redding, Britain's other great hope in the 125cc class

Hector Faubel, Honda, 250cc, Qatar

Hector Faubel's Honda was sponsored by the Valenica soccer team

Mattia Pasini, Qatar

Mattia Pasini is from Rimini. They know about cool in Rimini.

Tue, 2009-04-14 10:12
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Here at MotoGPMatters.com, we are not given to recycling press releases. They are freely available both on the teams websites, and on many other news websites (though some make the effort to turn the press release into a story, and others state baldly that the information is just a press release). But sometimes, we are sent a press release that we are sure our readers would be interested in as well.

One such release landed in our inbox this morning: A background story from Ducati explaining a little bit about the Desmosedici GP9's carbon fiber monocoque chassis, and some of the design decisions which lay behind it. We hope you enjoy it:

THE DESMOSEDICI GP9 MONOCOQUE CARBON FIBRE FRAME

Ducati Desmosedici GP9 Carbon Fiber Monocoque Chassis

The most significant innovation of the DUCATI DESMOSEDICI GP9 is the monocoque frame in carbon fibre composite.

The technical selection of this type of frame is the next step in the advancement of the bike that has undergone previous major developments in its GP3 and GP7 versions.

The concept of the engine casing has been the guideline of the DESMOSEDICI project. The objective is to create a chassis set-up in which each element carries out a specific function, to obtain the desired rigidity with as little weight as possible, thus attaining maximum efficiency.

The engine, the main frame, the rear sub-frame, the rear suspension system (comprising swing-arm and linkage) and the front suspension system are the main components of the bike.

The basic idea is to abandon the classic concept of the chassis as the element that connects all other elements, in favour of a design in which the engine is the central element to which the main frame, rear sub-frame and rear suspension system are individually connected.

The GP3 was unique in having a rear swing-arm that was attached solely to the engine. In particular both the swing-arm pivot and the suspension linkages were connected directly to the engine without any attachment to the main frame.

The GP7 featured a main frame that was totally detached from the rear sub-frame. Basically the engine was the central element of the bike. The main frame was used as link between the engine and the steering head. The rear sub-frame linked the engine to the seat and to the footpegs and controls. The two frames, main and rear sub-frame, that were still linked to each other on the GP3, were now only attached to the engine on the GP7, meaning that they were smaller and lighter.

On the GP9 the main frame is formed to connect the engine to the steering head. The main frame now also incorporates the air-box in one single construction. This monocoque construction allows the air-box to function efficiently within the main frame.

Choosing to utilise the carbon fibre composite technology to create the frame means that, on the one hand, one can mould the piece into the desired form without incurring enormous equipment costs and, on the other hand, varying levels of rigidity and torsional characteristics can be attained simply by altering the type, the number and the directional orientation of the carbon fibres, using the same equipment.

In testing carried out up until now the GP9 guarantees greater precision and stability in breaking and on entering corners. We maintain, however, that only by using it to race on the various world circuits will we be able to properly evaluate the potential of this technical solution. Employing the said technical solution in competition at the maximum level is the only way to effectively assess it in all its aspects.

Ducati Desmosedici GP9 Carbon Fiber Monocoque Chassis

Ducati Desmosedici GP9 Carbon Fiber Monocoque Chassis 

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