July 24th, 2014
Press releases issued after the two-day test for the World Superbike teams at Portimao:
Sykes ends official test at Portimao on top
Portimao (Portugal), Tuesday 22 July 2014 - The two day official DWO test drew to a close today at Portimao’s Autodromo International do Algarve with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) the quickest rider thanks to his 1’42.719s lap time set this morning. The reigning champion and his teammate Loris Baz mainly focused on fine-tuning their ZX-10R as well as testing new items, whilst KRT EVO peer David Salom tried out new parts developed for what will be next year’s Kawasaki machine.
Tom Sykes: “It was a useful test. In the first day the track was not in perfect conditions but we managed to make some progress with the ZX-10R anyway. We started the second day a bit late, we had still some items to try but we had not enough time. Anyway we tried different geometries and improved the overall feeling on the bike. We could make changes that were impossible to do during the race weekends. The lap times were not our biggest concern but it is always nice to finish on top. Now I am going to enjoy the summer break back in the UK and hopefully sort out my hand/wrist problem. I feel we have the right package to be competitive in the final part of the season.”
Kawasaki's Tom Sykes leaves the two-day official World Superbike test with his authority firmly stamped on the WSBK field. The Yorkshireman was nearly a quarter of a second faster than Aprilia's Sylvain Guintoli, and nearly four tenths quicker than his teammate Loris Baz. Marco Melandri was six tenths off the pace of Sykes, with the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies setting the fifth and sixth best times.
Neither Sykes nor Baz had much to work on besides further perfecting set up of the Kawasaki ZX-10R. The development work was handed to EVO rider David Salom, who spent time developing the 2015 version of the bike Kawasaki will race next year. Despite the rule changes coming next season, the Kawasaki is still more closer to a Superbike than an EVO bike, Kawasaki manager Guim Roda told German website Speedweek.
Silly Season Update - Ducati Confirmed, Suzuki Announcement Imminent, And Will Aprilia Be Back Sooner?
The Danish physicist and father of quantum physics Niels Bohr is reputed to have said "Prediction is hard, especially about the future." Just a few days after our comprehensive silly season update was posted, at the World Ducati Weekend event, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow all confirmed they would be staying at Ducati for next season, throwing our predictions into disarray. None of the Ducati riders were leaving for Suzuki - or in Cal Crutchlow's case, a satellite Honda - meaning that the Japanese factory was forced to make a few adjustments to their plans. And not only Suzuki: since the Ducati announcement, more of the pieces of the 2015 MotoGP puzzle have started to fall into place. Time to revisit what we know so far, and what we expect in the next few days.
Ducati Line Up To Remain Unchanged For 2015: Crutchlow Dovizioso And Iannone To Ride Radically Revised Desmosedici GP15
After all the speculation of massive changes in Ducati's MotoGP team, all is to remain the same. During the World Ducati Week event held for fans of the Italian marque at Misano, both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow announced that they would be remaining with Ducati for 2015, with Crutchlow choosing not to exercise his option to leave, and Dovizioso being persuaded to sign on for two more years. In addition, Ducati exercised its option to extend the contract with Andrea Iannone, with Iannone to be given factory support.
The decisions by all three riders are a both a show of confidence in the ability of Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna to build a more competitive MotoGP machine, as well as a lack of alternatives elsewhere. The only other factory rides available are the two seats at Suzuki, but given the slow pace of the bike during testing and the amount of development work needed, that was a bigger risk than staying at Ducati.
With nearly four weeks of rest between the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring and the round at Indianapolis, riders are taking advantage of the break to have surgery. On Tuesday, Cal Crutchlow had surgery to relieve arm pump, and help reduce the swelling in his forearms. Crutchlow had had swelling in his forearms since crashing at the Sachsenring in 2013, a situation which previous surgery has done little to relieve. Though he posted a picture of himself on Twitter with both arms in bandages on Tuesday, he was fit enough to type several messages on the social media website a day later. Crutchlow is expected to be fully fit and back in action at Indianapolis.
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed their three-day test at Brno. The final half-day of the test was used to further work on set up and new parts for the 2014 bike, though Marc Marquez also put in five laps on the 2015 machine.
The Repsol Honda riders also tested a thumb-operated rear brake at Brno, similar in set up to the system used by Mick Doohan. The system was being tested because of the extreme lean angles modern MotoGP bikes are achieving, Pedrosa told MCN's Matt Birt. Birt also reported that Honda have no intention of racing the system, but wanted to try it.
Below is the press release issued by HRC after the three-day test:
Three-day test concludes in Czech Republic
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed the private Honda test in Brno. Both riders used these three days to prepare themselves for the second half of the season and also had the chance to ride the first version of the 2015 machine. On this final day, both riders finished testing at lunchtime with Dani stopping first after 16 laps on the 2014 machine. Marc completed 41 laps on the 2014 bike and 5 laps on the 2015 prototype.
The last race before the summer break also sees the last MotoGP debrief from Bridgestone. In this press release, Shinji Aoki addresses the unique challenges posed by the Sachsenring circuit, with so many left-hand corners and just a few right handers. The press release appears below:
German MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Main (Alternative)
The 2014 German Grand Prix at Sachsenring saw Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez secure his ninth successive victory and complete a clean sweep of the first half of the MotoGP™ season. It was a successful weekend for Repsol Honda with Dani Pedrosa taking second place on the rostrum, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo also handled the tricky conditions well to finish in third place.
As expected, Tito Rabat has confirmed he will stay with the Marc VDS Racing team for 2015, and spend another year in Moto2. The Spaniard had an option in his contract which would allow him to leave for a MotoGP team if he were to win the Moto2 title and he had an offer from a factory team. With few factory option bikes on offer next year, and with the MotoGP rules set to change in 2016, Rabat elected to stay in Moto2 for another year, and if he wins the title, become the first ever Moto2 champion to defend his crown.
The announcement also confirms Marc VDS' intention to remain in Moto2 and not move up to MotoGP, as we have been reporting for some time. The deadline for the team to make a decision to move up to MotoGP was at Assen, with chassis builder Kalex needing confirmation from either Marc VDS or Pons before they could start to go ahead and build chassis for the Yamaha engines available for lease. With the introduction of a single set of electronics, and Michelin replacing Bridgestone, moving up to MotoGP in 2015 was a risk. Waiting for a year will allow teams such as Marc VDS to judge which is the most competitive package, and which manufacturer appears to be adapting to the new tires best.
The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More
This year's silly season – the endless speculation about who will end up riding where next year – has not so far lived up to the expectations from the start of the year. With all four factory Honda and Yamaha riders out of contract at the end of 2014, real fireworks were expected in the battle to secure signatures. That bidding war never unfolded, and with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa back with Repsol Honda, Valentino Rossi already signed up to Movistar Yamaha, and Jorge Lorenzo looks likely to finalize his deal – a two-year contract with some kind of option to depart after a year – before the season resumes again in Indianapolis.
But silly season has been far from a disappointment. Over the past couple of weeks, the jostling for the remaining seats in MotoGP has really taken off, with the promise of wholesale changes taking place up and down the grid. With the exception of Pol Espargaro, who is expected to remain at Tech 3 for the second year of his two-year contract with Yamaha, just about every other seat on the grid could see a new occupant. The arrival of Suzuki and, it now appears, Aprilia offers four new factory seats to vie for, opening up new opportunities for the current crop of riders. The upgrading of Honda's RCV1000R makes the production Honda a more attractive proposition. And there looks set to be an influx of young talent into the class. The 2015 MotoGP grid could look very different, once you look past the top four.
While the factory line ups at Honda and Yamaha will be unchanged for next year, the factory Ducati team is likely to sport two new faces for 2015. Although Cal Crutchlow has a year to go on his contract with the Italian factory, neither party is particularly happy with the arrangement. Crutchlow has never really got over the shock of just how poorly the Ducati turns compared to the Yamaha he left behind, and has found it hard to keep his criticism to himself. Ducati, in turn, are not enamored of Crutchlow's forthright manner of speaking, nor of his criticism of the bike. Crutchlow's results have also been a disappointment to Ducati, although the Italian factory must bear some of the blame, given the many mechanical and electronics issue the bike has suffered. Ducati point to the performance of both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, though conceding that the two Italians have already had a year on the bike. For anyone who rode the Desmosedici GP13, the GP14 is a huge improvement. For anyone who rode a 2013 Yamaha M1, it is a complete disaster.
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have completed the second day of their test at Brno. Though most of the day was spent testing their current bike, both Pedrosa and Marquez also rode the preliminary version of the 2015 RC213V. Visually, there are few differences with the 2014 bike, though there are a few details visible. Dani Pedrosa told MCN's Matt Birt that the main difference was in the frame, which was aimed at improving corner entry. Motocorse blogger Manziana noticed the most obvious difference was in the rear subframe mounting point. Moving that mount suggests that fuel tank has also been moved, something which would certainly have an effect on braking and corner entry. The press release from Honda appears below:
Marquez and Pedrosa have first outing on 2015 machine
After yesterday’s tricky weather conditions, today Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa had their first taste of next year’s bike.
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.
Can racing ever be too safe?
Here are a few philosophical questions for you. Can motorcycle racing ever be too safe? Or how safe/dangerous should MotoGP be? Should MotoGP return to the Isle of Man TT and damn the consequences, or should Dorna take advantage of the trillions of dollars available from Middle Eastern oil nations keen to establish mind-bogglingly ostentatious racetracks in their kingdoms, with thousands of metres of sandy runoff at every corner?
Despite some early promise, there has been much complaining of a lack of innovation from chassis builders in Moto2. the bikes have followed the same basic layout as all modern race bikes since the late 1980s: aluminium twin spar chassis and conventional suspension arrangements.The only real interest has come from wildcards. At Le Mans, the French Promoto Sport team raced their Transfiormer chassis, with some solid results. Beyond that, the bikes have been pretty much identikit.
At Silverstone, another interesting wildcard will get its first public running. The British round of Moto2 will see the Brough Superior make its debut in a competitive race, after making an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year. The bike is a rebrand of the design by John Keogh and Taylormade Racing, discussed on MotoMatters.com last year. The bike uses a monocoque chassis design made fully from carbon fiber, with integral fuel tank. The front suspension is a single wishbone with damping in the forks, while the rear swingarm is also fully carbon fiber. The radiator has been moved to the rear of the bike, to allow the machine to be narrower and free up space in front of the engine.
At the start of the summer break, Repsol and HRC announced they will be extending their sponsorship agreement for the next three seasons. The Spanish oil giant will continue to back the factory Honda team until the end of the 2017 season, continuing a partnership which first started in 1995, the year after Mick Doohan won his first title for Honda.
The press release announcing the deal appears below:
Repsol and Honda extend MotoGP collaboration through to 2017
Since 1995 Repsol has been the title sponsor of the factory Honda MotoGP team and after 20 years of sporting success and technological development, a new three year agreement will see Honda and Repsol continue their special partnership through to the end of 2017.
This is the longest running sponsor-factory agreement of its kind in the history of the motorcycle World Championship, and has converted the Repsol Honda bikes into icons within the motorsport world. Reigning World Champion, Marc Marquez, together with teammate and Honda stalwart Dani Pedrosa, will continue to represent these two prestigious brands as the factory riders.
The Repsol Honda team today started a three-day test at the Brno circuit. The team issued the following press release after the first day of testing:
Constructive first day in Brno despite temperamental weather
Fresh from their fantastic 1-2 finish in the German GP on Sunday, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were back on track in Brno today on day one of the three-day test.
Although the weather was bright and sunny first thing, a heavy rain shower at 11.30am drenched the track and left the Honda riders no option but to try some wet settings on their RC213V machines, Marc suffering a small crash in turn five after losing the front. The track slowly dried and by mid-afternoon it was dry enough to resume the testing program, but with very low grip. Marc and Dani remained on their current 2014 machines for the duration of the day working on general bike settings with both riders recording 49 laps each.
Tomorrow the plan will be to continue their schedule and also test the 2015 machine for the first time.
Marc Marquez - 49 laps