Press releases from the Kawasaki and Ducati World Superbike teams after completion of their winter testing program at Jerez:
Testing at Jerez has wrapped up completely, with the final day once again plagued by heavy rain, cold temperatures and high winds. A slight improvement at the end of the day saw the two MV Agusta World Supersport bikes get a little closer to a normal lap time, though both Lorenzo Zanetti and Jules Cluzel were still 4 seconds slower than they were on Wednesday, when the bikes were out on a dry track. Nothing can be read into the times of the World Superbike riders, however, as neither Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier nor Tom Sykes completed more than ten laps, and most of their track time was focused on starts.
Ducati's MotoGP team were also present on the final day, but no reports of their times will emerge, as they were testing the new Michelin tires. Under the terms agreed by Bridgestone when they announced that they would be withdrawing as single tire supplier to MotoGP, the factories are not allowed to comment on the Michelin tires until next year, when the first full year of testing starts ahead of the switch to Michelin in 2016.
Times from Friday:
Press releases from teams in the MotoGP, World Superbike and Moto2 teams at tracks across southern Spain:
Rain hampered the fourth day of the combined World Superbike, MotoGP and Moto2 test at Jerez. The circuit in Southern Spain was hammered by rain, high winds and cold temperatures, rendering the times set far from instructive. While the Ducatis continued to circulate without transponders, Tom Sykes was the fastest of the officially timed riders, though he was lapping over ten seconds slower than in the dry, the day before.
Testing is set to continue on Friday, but rain continues to plague the circuit. The Ducati MotoGP team is set to test Michelins, and due to the contractual situation with current single tire supplier Bridgestone, those times will be kept confidential.
Below are the times set on Thursday:
Press releases from the Gresini Moto2 team, the Aspar Moto3 team, and the Crescent Suzuki WSBK team after testing:
It was a busy track at Jerez, with more teams from various classes having converged on the circuit for the last couple of days testing. While the Suzuki factory MotoGP team has packed up and left, their place has been taken by the Ducati factory team, both MotoGP and World Superbike, along with the Forward Yamaha Open class team and Avintia Ducati. There were a number of Moto2 riders lapping here, rather than joining the Marc VDS Racing team and Gresini at Almeria, the Pons Kalex and QMMF teams taking to the track at Jerez. MV Agusta also started their first couple of days of testing, with Jules Cluzel returning to race in World Supersport, while Leon Camier gave a brand new F4RR a shakedown, starting his first day of work with his new team.
Alex Lowes has topped the second day of combined testing for teams from both major world championships at Jerez. After another wet morning, the track finally dried out in the afternoon, allowing the riders to post competitive lap times. Lowes ended the day as fastest, the Suzuki rider posting a fast lap right at the end of the day, beating his superpole time from the race weekend here back in September.
Lowes was one of a group of riders who chased a quick time at the end of the day, Kawasaki's Tom Sykes ending just over a tenth of a second behind Lowes, while Leon Haslam put the factory-backed Red Devils Roma Aprilia into third place. Both Aprilia WSBK riders were fast all day, Haslam and possible future teammate Michel Fabrizio dominating proceedings earlier.
Testing is set to continue this week in a range of classes, as bikes take to the track in preparation for the 2015 season. The south of Spain will see the most action, with a group of MotoGP teams being joined by the Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team at Jerez, and a selection of Moto2 teams heading to Almeria.
At Jerez, Suzuki and Aprilia will continue work on their bikes ahead of next season. As new factories, they receive the same concessions as Ducati, which means that they are allowed unlimited testing, more engines, they have the softer rear tire, and they are allowed to develop their engines throughout the season. Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro will be riding the GSX-RR for Suzuki, while Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri will be taking the Aprilia ART out for further testing.
Ducati will also be present at the test, Andrea Dovizioso and new teammate Andrea Iannone continuing work on the Desmosedici GP14.2. They are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of the GP15, but that bike will not be ready until the Sepang tests, and most likely, only at the second test at Sepang.
The FIM have finally released the provisional calendar for the World Superbike series for next year. The 2015 season will see WSBK travel to 14 rounds, returning to all of the venues which hosted races in 2014, and two more overseas rounds added, in Russia and Thailand.
The chances of this being the definitive calendar appear to be slim. Three rounds are marked as still subject to contract: Portimao, Moscow and Qatar. Both Portimao and Qatar look likely to go ahead, but whether WSBK will actually return to Moscow remains to be seen. The 2014 round was canceled due to the political instability in the Russian Federation and the overflow of conflict in Ukraine, which affected various partners of the series. The political situation has only deteriorated since then, with the EU and US imposing sanctions on Russia, making the race there almost impossible. The teams and riders will be hoping for the round to be canceled: the race was a logistical nightmare to get equipment to and from, and for both the fans and riders to attend and find accommodation for.
The first of the official announcements to be made over this weekend has arrived. Today, the FIM released the provisional version of the 2015 calendar for MotoGP.
The schedule is a virtual carbon copy of the 2014 calendar this year, with the order of the races the same as this year. A few minor tweaks have been applied to the calendar: the series kicks off in Qatar on 29th March, a week later than originally planned to avoid a TV clash with the soccer game between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain. Two weeks later, the circus heads to Austin, and the following week to Argentina.
Having the two races in the Americas back-to-back will create a much easier schedule than this year, where the teams faced a very long journey back from Argentina to arrive on time for Jerez. With a year of experience under their belt, Dorna's logistics and TV crew are now certain they can get the Termas de Rio Hondo track ready within the few days they have after Austin.
Team orders, an unpopular aspect of team racing, usually come into play at this point of a title chase, with Eugene Laverty gifting Max Biaggi points to win the 2012 championship being the most blatant example of recent years.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after Sunday's thrilling races at Jerez:
The World Supersport race was a fight for a potential title over nineteen laps with the fastest non-contender relegated to a pit lane start.