Brno, Czech Republic
The confusion surrounding the Indian round of World Superbikes looks close to being resolved. According to reports on the ever well-informed GPOne.com, the race at the Buddh International Circuit is to be rescheduled from 10th of March to the 17th of November, moving it from being the second race of the season to being the season finale.
The race had been facing a number of problems, including logistical and customs issues, casting doubt over whether the race could go ahead as scheduled in March. The customs issues - both the 15-day inspection period for technical equipment, and the temporary import duty charged - are not so much of a problem, according to GPOne. The real issue, the site reports, is that the race organizers are not yet ready to put on the event. They do not have the organization in place to manage an event of this magnitude, and need a number of months to get everything arranged. The problem lies not with Buddh International Circuit itself, located not far from New Delhi, as the circuit has successfully organized two Formula One races already.
The FIM today issued a revised version of the 2013 MotoGP calendar. The new calendar is only a minor update to the initial calendar issued on September 21st, with only one real change, the switching of the Sachsenring to a week earlier. That move was forced on the FIM, as Formula One had scheduled the Grand Prix of Germany at the Nurburgring for the same date. Holding an F1 race and a MotoGP race in the same country and on the same date was not a viable situation, and so the Sachsenring race was moved.
The other update to the calendar was not a change, but a confirmation. The Grand Prix of the Americas has been confirmed as taking place on April 21st, at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. That had been widely expected, but could not be confirmed until contracts were signed. The continuing dispute between the Circuit of the Americas and Kevin Schwantz over the rights to organize the Austin round of MotoGP will not affect the scheduling of the race.
Jonathan Rea On The Difference Between MotoGP And WSBK Electronics: "It Is Such A Huge Part Of MotoGP"
The chance to substitute in the Repsol Honda team for the injured Casey Stoner was a great opportunity for Jonathan Rea to get a feel for a MotoGP bike and demonstrate his talent and potential, objectives in which he succeeded admirably. But it was also a chance for MotoGP journalists to grill the Ulsterman on the differences between various aspects of MotoGP and World Superbikes, Rea having shown he was both fast enough to feel the difference, smart enough to understand the difference and articulate enough to explain it to reporters.
At Aragon, the subject turned to electronics, and the difference between the systems used in the two series. The topic was broached as Rea was explaining what had happened to him during the race. He had got caught up cycling through the various electronics strategies the Honda RC213V is equipped with, looking for one that would help him as the tire wore throughout the race. A lack of dry track time getting to understand how the electronics affected the bike as the tires begin to wear left him confused and struggling to find a setting that would work, Rea told reporters.
Below is the MotoGP calendar for 2013:
2013 MotoGP Provisional Calendar Leaked: 3 US Rounds, 4 Spanish Rounds, 2 Italian Rounds, And Late March Start
The provisional MotoGP calendar has taken a little longer than normal to appear. An initial calendar had been expected at Brno in late August, but no calendar was forthcoming at the Czech Grand Prix. The next rumored date for the calendar to be released was the weekend of the Misano round of MotoGP, but once the paddock assembled at Misano, it became apparent it would emerge a few days later - MotoMatters.com was told by an IRTA representative that the calendar would be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. On Tuesday, the Austin Statesman newspaper reported that the calendar would be out on Friday, but the excessive enthusiasm of Loris Capirossi saw the former racer and current MotoGP safety advisor leak the 2013 calendar on his Twitter page on Thursday night.
Coming into the last lap of 2012 Czech Republic Grand Prix many fans fell back in love with MotoGP series. It does not happen very often, but victory at Brno was still to be decided with just a single lap to go. Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo were pushing each other using not just every MotoGP riding trick they had, but also everything they learnt since the pair were still young and wild 125 class riders.
If you are a true road racing enthusiast and love the action on the track, whatever the national flag a race winner may be carrying on the lap of honor, I am sure you really enjoined the battle at Brno between Pedrosa and Lorenzo. After all, if watching a MotoGP bike and rider perform at their maximum is a pleasure on its own, watching two fighting for victory on the last lap definitely brings some glorious memories back, including Roberts-Spencer, Gardner-Lawson, Rainey-Schwantz, Doohan-Crivillé or Rossi-Biaggi as some of the toughest encounters on the track.
The battle between Pedrosa and Lorenzo at Brno was great racing but, with the unfortunate absence of Casey Stoner and the Aussie’s plans to retire at the end of 2012 season, this battle left the pinnacle of road racing in the hands of Spanish riders too, as has been happening with Moto2, 125 or Moto3 series in the last few years.
The use of performance-enhancing (or in the case of Anthony Gobert, performance-reducing) drugs in motorcycle racing is an interesting subject. There have been very few racers who have been caught for using doping of one kind of another - Noriyuki Haga being the most high-profile example, banned for the use of ephedrine - but the FIM continue to police the issue very strictly, even organizing a special educational briefing session for all of the riders in the MotoGP paddock in 2011.
Bridgestone issued their usual press release after the Brno round of MotoGP, explaining why the entire field went for the softer rear tire for the race in the Czech Republic:
There is no doubt that the 2012 season summer break has given some riders like the Spaniard Luis Salom and German rider Jonas Folger just what they needed – plus machinery in Folger’s case - to believe in themselves as genuine Moto3 winners.
After finishing sixth in the standings last year, this year's winner of the Czech Moto3 Grand Prix Jonas Folger trusted his instincts very unsuccessfully at the start of 2012 season. Riding the all new Ioda Moto3 machine, the winner of the soaking wet 2011 British GP finished just one single race out of nine in the current season. This poor performance mainly came from the Ioda suffering from mechanical failures with terrifying frequencey, making a nightmare of what should have been a challenging season for the German rider.
Folger was nowhere near the front, in deep contrast indeed to some better results from less experienced new winners like Romano Fenati or Louis Rossi. It seemed there was no way out of such a frustrating situation, not until Spanish Moto3 Mapfre Aspar team decided to look for a new rider in the middle of the season.
Folger meets Aspar
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the post-race test at Brno:
Cal Crutchlow has topped the timesheets at the post-race test at Brno, getting well inside his fastest lap from yesterday's race on an old tire. Crutchlow's Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Andrea Dovizioso took 2nd spot, having worked on the corner speed that had been lacking during the race weekend. Jorge Lorenzo set the 3rd fastest time on his current machine, the Factory Yamaha rider also having tested a first prototype of the 2013 M1, comprised of a new chassis and a modified tank. Lorenzo had spent some of the time focusing on braking, an area he was losing out on during the race.
Dani Pedrosa was the first of the Hondas, ending the test in 4th spot, though less than a quarter of a second off the time of Crutchlow. The Repsol Honda man had mainly been working on setup, though he had also had a new silencer to test, fitted as a way of adding weight to the bike needed to hit the 160kg minimum bike weight for 2013. Stefan Bradl was first of the satellite Hondas, just edging Alvaro Bautista by a few thousandths of a second, ending ahead of the second Factory Yamaha of Ben Spies. Spies had left the test early in the afternoon, having little testing work on his plate due to the fact he is leaving the factory at the end of the season.
Cal Crutchlow is the fastest man of the test so far at Brno, taking over from his Tech 3 teammate at the top of the timesheet. Jorge Lorenzo is 3rd quickest, spending more time this afternoon on the 2012 bike rather than the 2013 prototype, while Loris Capirossi is already ahead of Colin Edwards on the Aprilia ART bike, even though Capirossi is only testing the bikes to check their behavior with the tires. So far, there have been no more crashes, though Cal Crutchlow was forced to abandon a non-functioning bike at the side of the track a short while ago.
Times at 4pm:
It's been a busy morning of testing so far at Brno, with plenty of action going on on track. Times are a little slower than yesterday's race times, despite the track conditions being slightly better, though the wind has picked up. Various bike swaps are going on, and several riders are being given tryouts, as well as MotoGP safety officer Loris Capirossi taking most of the bikes out for a spin to get a feel for the way the tires respond on the various bikes.
Andrea Dovizioso is the fastest man of the session so far, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man already quicker than he was during the race yesterday. Dovizioso's focus at the test was to be improving his corner speed, he said after yesterday's race, and his times suggest he has succeeded. Dani Pedrosa is testing parts on his current Honda, with a new bike due to be tested at Aragon next week. Jorge Lorenzo is testing both the 2012 bike and a completely new 2013 M1 to be used for next season. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo are several tenths slower than yesterday.
Dani Pedrosa has something of a reputation. Blisteringly fast when out on his own, but put him under pressure and he crumbles. Once passed, he is history, and he will trouble you no more.
There has never been that much truth to that accusation, and the MotoGP race at Brno should drive the final nail into its coffin, for what the diminutive Spaniard displayed on Sunday was the heart and courage of a lion. The race did not have much passing - just three passes for the lead in the entire race - but it was a genuine thriller nonetheless.
Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa broke away early, despite the best efforts of Cal Crutchlow to hang on - and impressively, he hung on for a remarkably long time - and the stalking began. Pedrosa hung on Lorenzo's tail for 12 laps, then Lorenzo gave way, needing a breather. The roles where reversed, this time Lorenzo snapping at Pedrosa's tail, waiting for an opportunity to appear.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's race at Brno: