Archive - 2012
MotoMatters.com wishes all of our readers a very happy New Year and a healthy, happy and successful 2013. May you achieve more than you set out to, and be more successful than you deserve in the coming year!
We would also like to thank all of you for your continuing support over the past year. MotoMatters.com continues to grow steadily, with well over three quarters of a million unique visitors viewing nearly six and a half million pages over the course of 2012. Thanks to all of those readers, every article you read helped to pay to keep us all in work. Thanks above all to those who supported the site financially: the supporters who took out a subscription, everyone who bought a MotoMatters Calendar, and those of you kind of enough to donate the odd sum.
With just one more day to go until Christmas, time is running out to find the perfect gift for the motorcycle racing fan in your life. Fortunately, there are still a few options left open to you. Some, you will be able to present to your loved one on the day itself, others may not arrive in time for Christmas, but you can be certain they will be a massive success for the diehard motorcycle racing fan. Below are eight options for when the shops are shut:
Often referred to in the paddock as the Bible of motorcycle racing, the Motocourse annual is an almost compulsory purchase for any serious motorcycle racing fan. Compiled by veteran Grand Prix reporter Michael Scott, the Motocourse annual contains a race-by-race review of the MotoGP and World Superbike seasons, a technical review of the MotoGP machines, and in-depth articles explaining the background to all of the big events in the world of motorcycle racing. The AMA and BSB series are also covered, as well as the Irish and international road racing scene.
The annual is available at Amazon and other sellers, but anyone buying the book directly from the Motocourse website will also receive a bonus worth the purchase price alone: access to Motocourse's online archive of historic editions, currently featuring the years 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 2010. The online archive is also available as a separate digitial subscription, giving access to the same historic editions.
Price: GBP 35 for the 2012 Motocourse Annual, GBP 25 for the online subscription.
More information: The Motocourse website
It is looking increasingly likely that energy drink company Monster is to take on a role as co-sponsor of Yamaha's MotoGP team. Spanish website Motocuatro.com is reporting that Yamaha has bought Jorge Lorenzo out of his personal sponsorship by rival energy drink maker Rockstar and that both Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are to carry Monster sponsorship on their leathers and on the fairings of their Yamaha M1s for 2013 and 2014.
The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission last week was primarily aimed at doing a little housekeeping, and tidying up a few loose ends. What emerged from that meeting, and from the previous one held at Valencia a month ago, turned out to be a little more than that. Among the many changes announced were a few that point to the series turning down a new, and more sustainable path.
On reading the rule changes, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the official FIM press release containing the minutes may as well have been subtitled "MotoGP Regulations: The Marc Marquez Edition." Though Marquez is not yet twenty years of age, he has already left his mark on the rulebook, many of the new regulations appearing to have been drawn up in response to controversies emerging (rightly or wrongly) from Marquez and his Monlau Competicion Moto2 team.
The biggest change to the rules is the introduction of a penalty points system, aimed at bringing some clarity and consistency into the way that repeat offenders are treated. The rules arose from the debate generated by the treatment of Marquez throughout the year. The Spaniard received a number of warnings for incidents during the 2012 season, starting at Qatar, and his maneuver which forced Tom Luthi off line, passing through his collision with Pol Espargaro at Barcelona, a collision with Mika Kallio at Motegi, and ending with a penalty for an incident with Simone Corsi at Valencia, where he was forced to start from the back of the grid (the penalty did not slow him up much, he still came through most of the field on the first lap and went on to win the race).
The FIM today announced a raft of new rules for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The press release appears below, analysis will be published later today:
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), Paul Duparc (FIM) and Mike Webb (Race Director), in a meeting held on 13 December 2012 in Madrid, made the following decisions. (Note: Some decisions were made at the previous meeting on 10 November at Valencia but not announced at that time).
Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations
Watch a modern MotoGP, Moto2 or World Superbike race with a casual fan and you can be certain there is one question they will ask you: "Why are they waving their legs about like that?" Many theories have been offered, often directly contradicting each other. For example, several years ago, I suggested that the leg wave is entirely mental. Earlier this year, the Australian motorcycle coaching organization MotoDNA described the possible role which aerodynamics play, the exposed leg helping to create more drag. Much has been said, yet it seems impossible to settle the argument one way or another.
Asking the riders to explain does not help much. It is a question I and other journalists have asked of many different riders, including Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Cal Crutchlow, and Dani Pedrosa. Their answers always boil down to the same thing: "It just feels natural," they say. An interesting response, perhaps providing an insight into how deeply racers have internalized so much of the physical part of their riding, but not doing much to help explain the phenomenon.
To attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery, I turned to some of the best minds in the MotoGP paddock. For an explanation of the physics behind the leg wave, I asked Monster Tech 3 Yamaha crew chief and technical guru Guy Coulon, while for further insight from the point of view of an observer and ex-rider, I spoke to Wilco Zeelenberg, team manager of Jorge Lorenzo - the one current MotoGP rider who does not dangle his leg while riding.
The Power Electronics Aspar team issued a press release last week containing an interview with top CRT rider of 2012, Aleix Esparagaro. In the interview, Esparagaro talks about his experience with the Aspar team, the joy of beating teammate Randy de Puniet to the top CRT spot, his close relationship with his brother Pol, and his obsession with the color pink. The press release follows below:
'JORGE MARTINEZ HAS HELPED TO ME MATURE AND MADE ME MORE CALM AND CONFIDENT'
At just 23 years of age Aleix Espargaró is already a veteran of World Championship competition, having made his debut back in 2004. The Spaniard has competed at every level of Grand Prix racing and his happy go lucky nature and constant smile have made him one of the most well loved and charismatic riders in the paddock. This season has seen the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team rider curb his natural enthusiasm and find the inner calm and confidence needed to make progress as a rider and as a person. In this interview he reveals some of his most carefully guarded secrets and reflects back on his best ever season, which saw him crowned as the first ever CRT 'champion' in MotoGP.
First of all what is your reaction to the Espargaró brothers being handed the Shoya Tomizawa Fair Play Award for your sportsmanship and support of each other?
KTM and Aki Ajo have finalized their agreement for Ajo to run the factory Red Bull KTM Moto3 team. KTM issued the following press release announcing the deal:
There is no rivalry in MotoGP more bitter than that between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, more bitter even than the one between Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. It has been a constant element in their relationship since Stoner won his first MotoGP title in 2007 (ironically, Stoner named Rossi as one of his heroes on the t-shirt he wore to celebrate that championship), though hardly a surprise, as the two men are polar opposites in almost every respect, except for their prodigious talent. The rivalry has intensified over the years, stoked by a series of incidents (nicely outlined by the peerless Italian website GPOne.com recently), including the booing of Stoner by Rossi fans at Donington in 2008, the epic battle at Laguna Seca in 2008, and the war of words between the two in 2010, ahead of Rossi's move to Ducati.
The rivalry does not just polarize the two riders, it also polarizes their fans. The comments section of almost any news story featuring the two men is riddled with posts by people blinded by fanaticism, with logic and calm consideration nowhere to be found. This polarization leaves the media with a dilemma: on the one hand, events concerning the two, and verbal exchanges between them need to be treated as newsworthy, and due consideration given to covering them as such. On the other hand, the media operate in the certain knowledge that covering the dispute is sure to sell more newspapers and magazines, generate more traffic to a website, and grab more viewers for a TV show. Reporting on these stories leaves journalists open to charges of sensationalism, but not reporting on them means they can be accused of not doing their jobs.
MotoMatters.com has won the MotoGP Blogger of the Year awared in Silverstone's annual media awards for the second consecutive year. After more than 3,500 votes had been counted, we were voted best MotoGP blogger for the second year running.
Firstly, we'd like to thank everyone who voted for us. It is a truly humbling experience to have so many people make the effort to show their appreciation with their votes. And thanks to the people who help to make the site what it is: Scott Jones, one of the very, very best photographers in the MotoGP paddock, Jared Earle, who has taken on coverage of World Superbikes and made it far better than I could ever have hoped to on my own, Venancio Luis Nieto for adding so much insight into the Moto2 class, and the other contributors who help to make the site what it is, Andrew Gosling, Ben Davies, Jules Cisek, and Russ, Joe, Dave, Len and many others for help behind the scenes. The encouragement we receive is what keeps us going, through both hard times and good times.
What does it take to be a world champion? A little bit of luck, certainly. A whole heap of talent, for sure. But above all, it takes preparation: physical, mental and mechanical. That, most of all, is the lesson of Jorge Lorenzo's 2012 MotoGP championship. The 2010 champion came better prepared to the title chase, and ground down his opponents with his sheer consistency.
Lorenzo's assault on the 2012 championship started in Yamaha's racing department in 2011. The new 1000cc M1 may have been visually almost identical to the 800cc 2011 machine, but beneath the similarities was a very different machine. Yamaha's engineers had made the bike longer to cope with the extra torque and horsepower, and completely redesigned the engine to cope with the new rules. Modified electronics improved traction, while better wheelie control meant the bike lost less time in acceleration. The improved wheelie control alone cut a tenth of a second from the lap time.
It was obvious to Lorenzo that the 2012 bike would be competitive as soon as he rode it for the first time during the post-race test at Brno in August 2011. Where on the 800cc bike, he had been nearly half a second slower than Casey Stoner during Sunday's race, the day after, on the 1000cc M1, he was immediately within a tenth of the Australian on the Repsol Honda. Yamaha had done their homework, and Lorenzo knew that the rest was down to him.
The 2013 MotoGP schedule took one step closer to being finalized on Tuesday. Dorna announced that two of the question marks remaining over the schedule have at last been resolved. The contract with Jerez has finally been confirmed through the next three seasons, securing the race for May 5th, and ensuring it remains on the calendar through 2015. And as predicted, the German round of MotoGP has been moved back a week to avoid a clash with the German Formula One Grand Prix, with MotoGP visiting the Sachsenring on the 14th of July.
The updated MotoGP calendar can be found below, with the most up-to-date version always available on this page. The press release from Dorna announcing the contract with Jerez and the moving of the Sachsenring date is also shown below:
Dorna Sports has confirmed that the Gran Premio bwin de España will take place in Jerez until at least 2015 after reaching an agreement today, whilst the 2013 eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland has been shifted back a week.
After several years of steady deterioration, the surface at Phillip Island is about to get fixed. According to reports from Australia, work commences on resurfacing the iconic Australian circuit on Tuesday morning, and over a period of two days, the track will receive a fresh layer of asphalt, for the first time since 1998.
The new surface is to be laid over a flatter substrate, with 40mm of the old tarmac already having been removed to make way for the new asphalt. The aim of the project is to remove the bumps which have accrued over the years, as the track has taken punishment from MotoGP, World Superbikes, Australian V8 Supercars and the many track days and other events which happen at the circuit nearly all year round. Casey Stoner was brought in to consult on the project, the former MotoGP champion telling the media in October that he had advised the company which bumps to remove (most of them) and which bumps to leave in as they added to the circuit's character.
The date of the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring is once again surrounded by uncertainty. A minor readjustment of the Formula One calendar means that the German F1 and MotoGP races are once again scheduled for the same date, July 7th, meaning that the Sachsenring race could well be forced to move, with the following week, July 14th being an option, according to German-language website Speedweek.de.
The clash between the two series was caused by Formula One rescheduling the German F1 GP, the second time it has done so. A previous change had forced the Sachsenring to move from July 14th to July 7th, to accommodate F1 on the 14th. But now, the German F1 GP has been moved forward a week, to allow an extra race to be inserted in the calendar on July 21st.
Under an agreement between MotoGP and Formula One, the two series attempt to avoid schedule clashes as much as possible, and especially not to race in the same country on the same date. Holding both F1 and MotoGP in Germany on July 7th would cause major dilemmas for TV companies around the world, but especially in Germany, as to which to focus their resources on.
The Simoncelli family issued the following press release, on the opening of a gallery to commemorate Marco Simoncelli in the House of Culture in Coriano, home of the Simoncelli's:
New opening of Marco Simoncelli’s Gallery “The SIC History”
Saturday, December 8th at 11:30 a.m. in Coriano (Rimini, Italy)
“What a History!”
Saturday, December 8th at 11:30 a.m. in Coriano (near Rimini, in Italy) in the “House of Culture” in Via Garibaldi, 127 opens "The SIC History" Gallery, a trip along the deeds of the great Marco Simoncelli, a Museum Gallery opened with the great help of Marco’s friends, Simoncelli’s Family and Coriano City.
“The Sic History” Gallery is located inside the “Palace of Culture” in Coriano and it is divided into thematic rooms, arranged by Aldo Drudi, a great friend of the pilot and the graphic designer of all his helmets.
Visitors can interact with the objects inside the tunnel and touch them by hands: from helmets or overalls; the aim is to create a "contact" between the public and Marco’s world. Guests can experience the most memorable moments of Marco’s career thanks to special photographs donated by the best and greatest photographers in the racing world .