Archive - 2012
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier ahead of this weekend's season finale at Valencia:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of the last race of the season at Valencia:
In an ideal world, championships are settled in a straight fight between the main contenders in the final race of the season. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from ideal - as the ever-dwindling stock of prototype machines on the grid testifies - and so the last race of the year can be a bit of a formality. In 2012, with the champions in all three classes securing their titles during the flyaways, there is not much more at stake at Valencia.
Except pride. And given that pride is what motivates a motorcycle racer above all else, that means that there is every reason to hope for a real treat at Valencia on Sunday. This is the last race of the season, the last chance to prove your worth, to silence your doubters, to settle those scores before the long winter begins. No need to be conservative here, no need to calculate the odds. You can take that chance, take a risk and crash out trying. At the last race of the season, you go all in, as Nicky Hayden's leathers proclaimed at Valencia in 2006, when it looked like he might miss out on his first ever MotoGP title.
After the kerfuffle surrounding Marc Marquez and the accusations of cheating leveled against him and his team, the Repsol Media Service issued a press release in which Marquez' crew chief Santi Hernandez explains how they go about setting up the bike each weekend. The release makes for interesting enough reading, though it shies away from too much detail of the changes they make. It still offers a basic grounding on what the work of a crew chief encompasses. The press release is reproduced below"
Fine-tuning a title winning bike
Marc Márquez’ mechanics unite with the two-time World Champion at each race to find a perfect symphony between man and machine.
During the five practice sessions of each Grand Prix, Marc Márquez and his mechanics work side-by-side in the development of the bike. But what exactly is the setup? This is a joint job carried out by Marc and the technicians in order to prepare the bike for maximum performance, based on the characteristics of the various circuits and the possible weather conditions.
Max Biaggi has announced he is to retire from motorcycle racing. The 2012 World Superbike Champion will not defend his title in 2013, and has ceased racing with immediate effect. At the age of 41, after some 20 years of racing at the very top level, the six-time World Champion has decided to call it a day.
"It all started here and it all ends here," Biaggi told a press conference at the Vallelunga circuit just outside Rome. The decision had been taken with great difficulty, he said, but finally, the desire to spend more time with his wife and family had prevailed over his hunger to race. The night before the press conference had been "my longest night," Biaggi told the press, "but I am happy with this decision." It had been a decision taken freely. He had a contract ready to sign from Aprilia, and he still felt competitive, but he felt it was the right time to leave. Many riders had been forced by injury to retire, but being able to leave while still healthy was an important factor, Biaggi said.
BMW Motorrad issued the following press release after their first pre-season test at Jerez:
BMW Motorrad - WSBK -Winter testing
05th to 06th November 2012.
Jerez, 06th November 2012. The preparation for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship is in full swing. BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) and his new team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) conducted two days of winter testing in Jerez in the south of Spain. It was Chaz’s first time working on track with BMW Motorrad. He used the two days to get acquainted with his new environment and with his RR. The test was also a good opportunity for the re-structured team to get to grips with each other.
Over the two days, BMW Motorrad evaluated newly developed components for the RR. Unfortunately, track time was reduced due to the changing weather conditions. Yesterday it was dry in the morning but raining in the afternoon. This morning it was still wet before the rain stopped around noon. The highest air and track temperatures reached was between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. In total, Marco and Chaz completed 149 laps or 659 kilometres of testing on their RRs. Having raced there once back in 1990, Jerez will again feature on the Superbike World Championship calendar in 2013 when it will host the season finale in October.
As the Grand Prix paddock heads to Valencia to assemble for the last race of the year, the rider line ups are starting to be finalized for the 2013 season. The MotoGP line up is drawing very close to completion, with just a few CRT seats remaining to be filled. Today it was confirmed that Hiroshi Aoyama has officially signed to race with the Avintia Blusens team in MotoGP, taking the place of Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez. The move had been anticipated for some time, but a press release was issued today formalizing the situation. Aoyama will line up alongside Hector Barbera in the BQR team, both men continuing to contest a Kawasaki-powered, FTR-built CRT machine in the MotoGP class.
The key role that money plays in motorcycle racing was once again underlined when Bridgepoint Capital, the private equity firm which owns a large part of Dorna, announced it was selling a 39% stake in the organizer of MotoGP and World Superbikes. That stake was sold to CPPIB, a Canadian pension fund, the combining of WSBK and MotoGP under the umbrella of Dorna having been a prime mover for the sale.
One of the first things the new owners have done is opened up bidding for refinancing of the debts Dorna is encumbered with. According to reports in Bloomberg Businessweek, Bridgepoint and CPPIB have hired the French bank Societe Generale to help arrange financing covering some 485 million euros of debt. The debt being renegotiated includes existing debt placed on the company, as well as debt being used to refund shareholder loans, according to the reports. A meeting is scheduled for this week, where potential lenders will be offered the chance to bid on the loans.
The Moto2 paddock in Phillip Island was awash with rumors of cheating, and not for the first time. There have been accusations of cheating by Marc Marquez' Monlau Competicion team running around the paddock for most of the two years the young Spaniard has been racing in Moto2, accusations which MotoMatters.com has been reporting on since early this year.
The rumors in Australia centered round illegal manipulation of the spec HRC ECU fitted to all Moto2 machines. The German magazine Speedweek suggested that Marquez' team had been able to load an illegal map on to the ECU, capable of overriding the quickshifter function and preventing fuel from being cut when the quickshifter was used. This, Speedweek claimed citing an unnamed technician, is what the Monlau team had been doing, and this explained his superior acceleration. The advantage offered was that by not cutting the fuel injection, the air/fuel mixture was much better directly after a gear change, improving throttle pickup and helping to explain some of Marquez' advantage in acceleration. The fuel map, Speedweek alleged, would be loaded onto the ECU before the start of a race, and would then automatically erase itself when the engine was switched off.
Yonny Hernandez looks set to miss the final round of MotoGP at Valencia, as the Colombian continues his recovery from injury. Hernandez suffered a dislocated collarbone in a crash during the race at Motegi, an injury which forced him to miss both the Malaysian and the Australian rounds of MotoGP.
The place of Hernandez in the BQR Avintia team is to be taken at Valencia by Hiroshi Aoyama. The last ever 250 World Champion suffered a difficult 2012 season in World Superbikes with the Ten Kate Honda squad, Aoyama never getting comfortable with the Pirelli tires used in WSBK. Aoyama has been looking to return to MotoGP since the latter part of this season, the Japanese rider spotted in serious talks with a number of teams at the Aragon round of MotoGP at the end of September. Aoyama now looks set to take the place of Hernandez in the BQR Avintia team permanently in the 2013 season, according to Spanish website Motocuatro.com.
Yamaha has taken the first tentative steps towards an eventual return to the World Superbike series. On Friday, the Yakhnich Motorsport team announced that they have signed Sam Lowes to a three-year contract, with the stated aim of winning the World Supersport championship before moving up to World Superbikes. Lowes contested both the 2011 and 2012 World Supersport seasons with the PTR Honda team, winning 2 races and finishing 3rd in the standings this season.
The most significant part of the press release announcing the signing of Lowes, however, is that Yamaha Motor Europe is stepping up to support the Yakhnich effort, after a hiatus from racing in 2012. The Yamaha's European distributor had been a long-time supporter of both the World Superbike and World Supersport teams, but had been forced by the financial crisis and falling sports bike sales to cut back their presence in the production championship. Factory support in World Supersport was dropped at the end of the 2009 season, and from the World Superbike class at the end of 2011.
Ant West looks certain to miss the final round of Moto2 at Valencia. The Australian has been found guilty of using methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant on the WADA list of banned substances which is also used by the FIM in their anti-doping code. West tested positive at the Le Mans round of MotoGP, but he has only now been heard before the FIM International Disciplinary Court. The Court found West guilty of violating the anti-doping code, banned West from the Le Mans Moto2 round (meaning that his 7th place finish will be scrapped from the results) and had a 30-day competition ban imposed, starting October 30th. The ban means West will be unable to take race at Valencia in 10 days' time. He has five days to appeal the ban.
The substance West has been banned for is methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant originally marketed as a nasal decongestant. It also has mild stimulant properties, increasing body metabolism slightly. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in some sports supplements, especially those aimed at weight loss or weight control. However, because it is used in small quantities, it is not always listed in the ingredients of those supplements, making it easy to ingest without knowing it. There are currently programs, such as those run by the NSF, to label sports supplements as being safe for elite athletes to use, without falling foul of various anti-doping regulations.
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 will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.
You’ve got to hand it to Jorge Lorenzo.
During 2012 he was the rock in a rough sea. This has been a stormy year of dizzying change in MotoGP: the arrival of CRT bikes, Casey Stoner retiring, Valentino Rossi changing jobs once again and finally the Bridgepoint bombshell. All year, only one thing stayed truly consistent: Lorenzo.
His results at the 16 races he finished on his way to the title were stunning – never outside the top two. First at Qatar, then second, second, first, first, first, second, first, second, second, second, first, second, second, second, second.
That kind of regularity is unique in the modern era and Lorenzo is certainly a unique racer. He has a very individual approach to the sport and he rides in a very special way.
Jules Cluzel has signed to race with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki squad in World Superbikes for 2013. The deal, announced two days' ago, sees the young Frenchman move up from the World Supersport class in which he made an impressive debut in 2012. Cluzel had switched to the WSBK paddock after losing his ride in Moto2, despite a similarly impressive year with the NGM Forward team in 2011.
Cluzel takes the place of another Frenchman, Sylvain Guintoli having backed out of a deal he had already agreed to to ride with the team. Guintoli now looks likely to race for a semi-factory Ducati team to be run by Francis Batta. After Althea announced they were breaking their ties with Ducati earlier this week, Ducati has been in talks to put a structure in place to allow them to contest the 2013 World Superbike season. According to GPOne.com, those talks could be concluded as early as Thursday, with former Alstare Suzuki - and before that, Alstare Ducati - boss Francis Batta once again taking over the reins and running the team. Batta has been in talks with Guintoli about joining a team, and is very positive about the Frenchman, praising his talent, his experience with the Ducati and his language skills.