Motorland Aragon, Spain
The 2014 MotoGP calendar could see the first steps in a long process to transform Grand Prix motorcycle racing from a Eurocentric series to a truly international world championship. Today, Dorna CEO held a press conference in Brazil to announce that MotoGP could make a return to that South American country as early as late 2014. The event would be held at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet de Brasilia, the motorcycle circuit in the capital city of Brazil, and has been scheduled to take place in the second half of the 2014 season. That date is still very far from certain, however, as the track is still subject to safety homologation by the FIM for Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
The press release issued by the Repsol Honda team after their final day of testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
The Motorland Aragon test is over. After the second day of good weather at the Aragon circuit, Marc Marquez finally got a chance to ride the 2014 version of the RC213V which Honda had brought to the track, while Suzuki solved the braking problems which De Puniet had been having, and allowed him to find an extra burst of pace.
Marquez spent most of the day testing his 2013 machine, however, working on set up and testing a range of new parts which HRC had brought to the test. The Spaniard ended the day with a best time of 1'48.496, six hundredths slower than his best time from Wednesday, and four tenths slower than the time set by Jorge Lorenzo the previous day, when Yamaha were testing at the circuit. On the 2014 bike, Marquez posted a best time of 1'49.141, a second slower than Lorenzo's best time from yesterday. The bike was improved in some areas, Marquez said, but it still needed some work. Like Dani Pedrosa, who had rejected the idea of racing the bike at Assen after testing it, Marquez said he would not be racing the machine in the short term.
Why did the factory Yamaha team head to the Motorland Aragon circuit to join Honda and Suzuki at a private test? Was it perhaps to give Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi their first taste of the seamless gearbox Yamaha have been developing, to counter Honda's advantage? That is the question which many fans have been asking, and in recent days - and weeks - I have been inundated with questions about the seamless gearbox. Well, question, singular, actually, as it all boils down to just the one: When will Yamaha finally start to race their seamless gearbox?
It is a question I have been trying to pursue since the start of the season, since rumors first emerged that they may have used the gearbox at the first race of the year. All inquiries I made, at all levels of the Yamaha organization, received the same answers: Yes, Yamaha is developing a seamless gearbox, and is testing it back in Japan. No, Yamaha has not yet raced it, and has no plans to race it. And no, it is not yet ready to be tested.
Press releases from the factory Yamaha, Repsol Honda, LCR Honda and Gresini Honda teams from Aragon
Jorge Lorenzo has topped the timesheets on the second day of the private test at Aragon, smashing Casey Stoner's pole record at the circuit in the process. Lorenzo lapped the Spanish track nearly four tenths faster than the time set by Stoner in 2011, the factory Yamaha man continuing the work on set up he had tried at Barcelona.
Marc Marquez also got under Casey Stoner's pole record, though only by a fraction. Marquez spent his first full day testing working on his 2013 machine, and did not lap on the 2014 bike. Dani Pedrosa did lap on the 2014 machine, though he only put in 9 laps on the machine. According to MCN's Matthew Birt, who is present at the test, Pedrosa rejected the idea of using the 2014 chassis at Assen, as it was not a clear step forward. Pedrosa did not get under the pole record, but he was lapping faster than the race lap record.
Honda's decision to skip the MotoGP test at Barcelona has so far not paid off. The first day of their three-day test at the Motorland Aragon circuit was an absolute washout, with torrential rain forcing the Honda riders to spend almost all day in the garages. Only Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista put in a few laps, Bradl shaking down the 2014 version of the RC213V which Honda has brought to the test, and Bautista checking a few things from Barcelona. Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez did not venture out on track.
Instead, Honda took the time to introduce the 2014 version of the RC213V they are planning to test in Aragon. The bike is completely new, including a new engine and chassis, the engine ready to manage the reduced fuel allowance (cut from 21 to 20 liters) to be introduced at the request of the MSMA from next year. The plan is that if Pedrosa and Marquez prefer the bike to their current machine, they could get the machine early, perhaps as early as the next race, at least as far as the chassis is concerned.
To celebrate Chaz Davies' impressive first double win in World Superbikes at the Motorland Aragon circuit, BMW issued the following press release, containing an interview with the Welshman. In the interview, Davies talks about the improvements BMW has made to their S1000RR for this season, the crucial advances made at the Jerez WSBK test, and his thoughts on being a contender for the 2013 WSBK title.
The press release from BMW is shown below:
Chaz Davies: “BMW has done an awesome job.”
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team rider Chaz Davies speaks about his great first double victory in the FIM Superbike World Championship at Aragón.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at the second round of the World Superbike series at Aragon:
The World Superbike racing calendar started its European leg after a seven week absence from the calendar. The weekend would demonstrate that even factory-supported bikes are complicated enough to fail when pushed to their limits. What we as members of the public never see when riding our similar motorcycles to work is how fickle and fragile they are at the very limit of performance.
World Superbike race two was reduced to a nineteen lap affair after Jules Cluzel gesticulated on the grid after the warm up lap, bringing out the yellow flags. The start was delayed and Loris Baz also ended up in the pit lane. With the restart, Cluzel was sent to the pits while Baz started from the last spot on the grid.
Eighteen laps at 22 degrees centigrade. Last year, Kenan Sofuoglu crossed the line first but was penalised a few places for headbutting Fabien Foret down the back straight, handing the win to Sam Lowes. All three of those characters will be starting from the front row.
World Superbike race one would be a twenty lap race in 22 degree sunshine, with Tom Sykes starting from Pole position ahead of Eugene Laverty. As the riders settled into start the race, Mark Aitchison's Effenbert Ducati was wheeled off the starting grid, adding to the team's list of woes.