Press releases from the teams and series organizers after qualifying and the first race at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the teams and organizers from Friday at Phillip Island:
#AUSWorldSBK– Day 1
Savadori can’t be stopped on Day 1 Down Under
Aprilia and Honda fastest on Friday to lead the charge towards the first qualifying sessions of the year
Pecco Bagnaia is to move up to MotoGP with the Pramac Ducati team in 2019 and 2020. The news was announced on Twitter by the SkyVR46 team, and confirmed by Bagnaia himself on his Twitter feed.
The move is not a surprise. Bagnaia had been widely tipped to move to MotoGP with Ducati, with Paolo Ciabatti admitting at the launch back in January that the Italian factory had an interest in the 21 year old.
Have we emerged any the wiser after three days of testing at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand by the MotoGP field? That is hard to say. The test was more for the benefit of Michelin than for the teams, and the French tire maker brought some 2000 tires for the 24 riders who took part in the test. The track itself was not particularly challenging or instructive in terms of understanding how well bike development was going. "This track is also not so easy or so difficult, it's intermediate," is how Monster Tech 3 Yamaha replacement Hafizh Syahrin summed it up.
Is it possible to draw conclusions about how the 2018 championship might play out on the basis of the Buriram test? "No, impossible," Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso said, before proceeding to do just that in some detail. "I can see Marc in a better shape than at the beginning of last year," Dovizioso said. "I can see Dani in a good shape, I can see Zarco with a little bit more experience, so a little bit better for the championship than last year."
It was harder to judge the Movistar Yamahas, Dovizioso said. "It's very difficult to understand the two factory Yamahas, because they will be fast in the race, on race weekends, for sure. But when you look at the riders and the teams from outside, it's impossible to know the details, so I don't know. I can see the Pramac riders are fast, they are happy with the bike, so I think they will be quite fast during the season."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the final day of the test at Buriram in Thailand:
Pedrosa sets the fastest time in Buriram, Marquez shows the best pace
Today in Thailand, the Repsol Honda Team concluded another very productive session of testing that saw Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa continue working on the general development of their RC213V, carrying out tests on the latest engine configuration, chassis, aerodynamics, and Michelin tyres. Over the three days, Marc completed a total of 271 laps, Dani 224.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of the Buriram test:
Marquez and Pedrosa top the standings on day 2 in Buriram
Marc Marquez, who turns 25 years old today, was the fastest man during the second day of the Thai test in Buriram, and the the only rider to drop into the 1’29” bracket, with a time of 1’29.969” on lap 91 of 97.
The MotoGP riders have had their first laps of the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, and the reviews are in. Simple to learn, but more fun than it looks on paper, is the short version. "The layout, I remembered it was more similar to Austria, so I was very worried," Valentino Rossi said, summing up the general feeling. "But when you ride maybe it is more similar to Argentina. It's good to ride, you have a good feeling, you enjoy. The track is not very difficult but anyway it's fun."
It was a change from what he had said at Sepang, when the Italian dismissed the Buriram circuit as "boring". "I rode the track in 2015 with a Yamaha 300 together with [Jorge] Lorenzo and [Pol] Espargaro," Rossi explained. "I remember that the track was similar to Austria. But in reality it's better, have good corners. Technically it's quite easy, but it's not boring."
On a side note, Rossi ended the day in eighth, less than four tenths behind the fastest man Cal Crutchlow. He finished three place and a tenth of a second ahead of his young teammate Maverick Viñales, the rider who was prematurely anointed world champion after preseason testing in 2017. Friday was Rossi's thirty-ninth birthday, and the start of his twenty-third season in Grand Prix racing, and nineteenth season in the premier class.
To still be racing at his age and after so many years is a remarkable enough achievement. To start the season as a legitimate championship contender – or perhaps, to still have the desire, the discipline, the ambition to do what it takes to start the season as a legitimate championship contender – is truly the mark of his greatness. When Valentino Rossi retires (not yet, he looks certain to sign on for two more years) he will be remembered for his titles. But to my mind, what marks him out above all other riders is the fact he is still competitive even now, when so many others have (understandably) given up on the hard physical and mental slog that racing at the very highest level demands.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of the Buriram test:
LEARNING FAST ON OPENING DAY AT CHANG INTERNATIONAL
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 16th.
Alex Rins: 2nd - 1:30.809 (+ 0.012)
Andrea Iannone: 9th - 1:31.235 (+0.438)
• Alex Rins sets 2nd fastest time as he quickly gets to grips with new circuit.
• Andrea Iannone with a strong pace and large number of laps.