If you have enjoyed MotoMatters.com's coverage of the 2014 season, and are already looking ahead to the 2015 season, then you need the MotoMatters.com 2015 Motorcycle Racing Calendar. As ever, the calendar features the stunning photography of Scott Jones, and a monthly guide containing all of the MotoGP and World Superbike races for the 2015 season, as well as preseason tests for MotoGP, and the schedule for the Isle of Man TT. Scott Jones' photos and the handy race schedule is reason enough to own the calendar, but even more importantly, by buying the calendar, you are helping to keep MotoMatters.com running. The proceeds from the calendar go towards the running of the site, and help both Scott Jones and David Emmett travel to the races, take more great photos and provide even more great information.
When the minutes of the latest meeting of MotoGP's ruling body, the Grand Prix Commission, were unveiled, there was one passage which confused many who read it. The press release included a paragraph on the spec software which is to be adopted for all MotoGP bikes from the start of the 2016 season. The passage read as follows:
It was already announced that Factory teams in the MotoGP class must move to using unified software with effect from 01 July 2015. It has now been confirmed that different teams, using machines from the same Factory, may use different versions of the unified software.
The wording seemed to suggest that from 2016, factory teams would still be allowed to use a different version of the ECU software to that used by satellite and private teams. Given that the point of the spec software - called the Unified Software in the regulations - is to create a level playing field, it seemed odd that such a situation could be allowed to rise.
Dunlop is set to continue as single tire supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. In a press release (show below), Dorna announced that they have extended the current contract with Dunlop to remain as the spec tire supplier to the support classes, for the 2015 season and beyond. The press release does not make any mention of the duration of the contract, stating only that Dunlop will continue "from the start of 2015".
Dunlop has been the spec tire supplier to both Moto2 and Moto3 since the introduction of the two classes, in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The announcement that they are to continue signals that both series will continue with a spec tire for the foreseeable future. However, the intermediate classes had been a de facto spec series for a long time, with Dunlop supplying almost the entire field in the 250cc and 125cc classes which preceded Moto2 and Moto3.
The press release containing the announcement appears below:
Dunlop extends contract as Official Tyre Supplier to Moto2™ and Moto3™
Dorna Sports is delighted to announce that Dunlop has signed a fresh agreement to continue as the sole tyre supplier to the Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships from the start of 2015.
After the interview with Nicky Hayden the Aspar team released a couple of days ago, it is now the turn of Eugene Laverty. Today, the Drive M7 Aspar team issued a press release interview with the Irishman, in which Laverty speaks about the opportunity he has been given with Aspar, and his return to the MotoGP paddock after an absence of six seasons. The press release appears below:
“DRIVE M7 Aspar Team have given me the opportunity I have been waiting a long time for”
Eugene Laverty returns to the Grand Prix paddock in 2015 with a lot of water under the bridge since his last spell here during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. His career as a 250cc rider was short-lived but the Irishman reinvented himself in the World Superbike paddock and he returns to the MotoGP World Championship through the front door, ready to cause a surprise or two in the premier class. Behind those shy, Irish eyes lies the steely determination of a rider who accepts nothing less than success, a relentlessly hard worker who has established a reputation as one of the most adaptable riders around. After twice finishing as runner-up in World Supersport and once in World Superbikes, new DRIVE M7 Aspar Team signing Eugene Laverty is finally ready to make his mark in MotoGP.
First things first, what is the main difference between riding a Superbike and a MotoGP?
Mainly the tyres. Pirelli and Bridgestone are completely different. There are other things, such as the Honda is smaller and lighter, it's easy to move around on. Dragging your elbow on the ground is not a common thing in Superbikes.
What led you to sign for the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team?
MotoGP Rule Update: Fuel Limit Raised To 22 Liters For 2016, SCAT3 Concussion Test Introduced, & More
The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, held on Tuesday in Madrid, made a number of minor changes to the rules for all three Grand Prix classes, as well as a couple of more significant revisions. The biggest changes concerned the setting of the maximum fuel allocation from 2016 at 22 liters, and the adoption of the SCAT3 test for concussion for riders after a crash. But perhaps the most significant outcome of the meeting of the GPC is not what was decided, but what was not.
Of the various minor rule changes, a few are worthy of comment. The first is the reduction of the time penalty at the start for a rider exceeding the engine allocation in any given year. From 2015, anyone using an extra engine will start the race from pit lane 5 seconds after the green light is displayed after the official start (once all riders on the grid have passed pit lane exit), rather than 10 seconds. This will have little direct impact on the outcome of any races, but should make it easier for riders using an extra engine to get close to the backmarkers, and perhaps score a point or two.
In the Moto2 class, tire pressure sensors will now be compulsory, to ensure that tire pressures are kept within the range set by the single tire supplier. This is to enforce a rule brought in at the end of last year, when various Moto2 teams were found to be running dangerously low rear tire pressures in an attempt to improve rear edge grip and feel from the tire. Making tire pressure sensors compulsory suggests that some teams had been flouting the mandatory tire pressure ranges, banking on not being caught.
Aleix Espargaro has injured his knee during a training crash earlier this month. According to the Spanish publication Motocuatro, The Spaniard was participating in an informal dirt track race with his Suzuki teammate Maverick Viñales and a group of friends on 6th December, and crashed. The crash resulted in the elder of the Espargaro brothers partially tearing the cruciate ligaments in his left knee.
It was feared that Espargaro would have to undergo surgery to correct the injury, but examination by his doctors determined that this would not be necessary. The factory Suzuki rider faces a four-week layoff, to allow the injury to recover, before he can start training again. That will allow him to resume preparations some time around 6th January, meaning he should be in good shape once testing resumes in February. Aleix Espargaro is due to ride the Suzuki GSX-RR again at the first test in Sepang on 4th February.
To help fill the long void during the winter break, the Aspar team has been occasionally issuing press release interviews with its riders. Today's press release contains an interview with Nicky Hayden, now back at home working on building strength in his wrist and preparing for the 2015 MotoGP season. In the press release, Hayden briefly runs through subjects as diverse as his wrist recovery, the changes to his crew in 2015, and the potential of the Honda RC213V-RS, the replacement for the RCV1000R Hayden rode in 2014.
The interview appears below:
“My main objective for 2015 is to enjoy riding again”
Nicky Hayden is currently enjoying a hard-earned rest at home following a long and difficult season. The DRIVE M7 Aspar rider is one of the most experienced men in MotoGP and a throwback to the old-school hard men that inspired him. After what he has been through over the past twelve months, the 'Kentucky Kid' could be forgiven for turning his back on the sport for good but racing is in the Hayden family's blood and nothing can stop Nicky from enjoying his one true passion, which also happens to be his job. As he spends the Christmas period relaxing with his family and allowing his wrist more crucial time to recover, Nicky Hayden's mind remains very much on the job at hand in 2015.
With so many MotoGP regulars either racing in or attending the Superprestigio in Barcelona, it was inevitable that a fair amount of gossip and rumor would end up circulating. It was the first chance for some of the media to talk to riders who had been testing down in Southern Spain, while the presence of Ducati's MotoGP bosses Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, attending as guests of Troy Bayliss, added real weight to the debate.
I spoke briefly to Ciabatti on Saturday, asking about progress with the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 and how Michelin testing had gone. Ciabatti was optimistic about the GP15, but confirmed that it was still not certain exactly when the bike would make its first appearance on track. It may not be ready for the first Sepang test in February, with the second Sepang a more likely place for the bike to be rolled out. "We think it's important for the bike to be completely ready," Ciabatti said. It was better for Ducati to roll out a bike ready to take on testing, than rush to try to get a bike going at Sepang 1, and find problems that would have been easier to deal with if discovered on the dyno.
Marc Marquez has ended the year on a win, beating the reigning AMA Flat Track champion Jared Mees in a thrilling final. The two men got caught up in traffic when Thomas Chareyre, who got the jump at the start, forced them wide. That gave the lead to Kenny Noyes and Gerard Ribalta, but Marquez and Mees soon chased the two down, passing Bailo with ease, Noyes with difficulty. Marquez had gained enough of a cushion to keep Mees at bay, finally getting revenge for his loss to Brad Baker in January this year, at the inaugural event.
Noyes went on to score a respectable 3rd, ahead of Bailo and Ribalta. The 16-year-old British rider Oliver Brindley gave an outstanding account of himself, finishing in 6th, ahead of Bradley Smith, who got caught up in the first lap incident, and Chareyre, who caused it.
The crowds are gathering for the Superprestigio this evening, and the Palau Sant Jordi is starting to fill up. Qualifying has already taken place to settle the places in the heats, and that has thrown up a few surprises, some good, some not so good.
Brad Baker was the fastest of the American flat track delegation, both in free practice and during qualifying, but the former AMA champ crashed heavily during qualifying, his bike landing on him, knocking him briefly unconscious and dislocating his shoulder. The American had come to Barcelona with the aim of defending the crown he won here last year, but the dislocated shoulder made him decide against racing, not wanting to jeopardize his 2015 season.
Second fastest of the Open riders (riders from an off road background) is the British flat track racer Tim Neave, just a fraction off the pace of Baker, and ahead of the AMA champion Jared Mees. Tim's brother Tom is fourth fastest, just behind Mees.
Saturday night is the last chance to see the stars of motorcycle racing turning a wheel in anger. On 13th December, the cream of both the MotoGP and AMA flat track paddocks meet for the second running of the Superprestigio, an indoor invitation dirt track race, at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. The setting is a classic location: the Palau Sant Jordi is part of the former Olympic park, set atop Montjuic, scene of many legendary motorcycle races of the past.
For those who could not make it to Barcelona themselves, they need not despair. The event is to be broadcast in several countries around the globe, as well as streamed live online. In the UK, the Superprestigio will be broadcast on the BT Sport channel. In the US, the event will be streamed live - with English commentary - on the Fanschoice.TV website, as well as on the website of Cycle World magazine.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Márquez vs Hailwood – the percentages
After Marc Márquez’s 13th win of the year at Valencia last month I tweeted that el fenómeno had broken Mick Doohan’s 12-wins-in-a-year record.
Not long after, Casey Stoner came right back, with a good-natured tweet reminding me that Doohan had won his 12 victories in a 15-race season, while Márquez had won 13 out of 18.
“Sorry Mat,” he wrote. “But I think we both know Mick’s record still stands ;) He had about three to four fewer races when he was around.” (NB: Stoner haters – this wasn’t a moan, that was a smiley face and a wink there.)