Phillip Island, Australia
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.
As usual after each race, Bridgestone issued a press release containing a debrief with one of their senior engineers, reviewing how their tires performed at the previous weekend. Given the events during the race at Phillip Island, this press release will be eagerly awaited in some quarters. In it, Shinji Aoki discusses the difficult weather conditions during the race, especially with the cooling temperatures, the performance of their rear tires at the track, and how the cold affected the asymmetric front tire Bridgestone brought to the circuit. There is no discussion of Jorge Lorenzo's front tire, though a Bridgestone spokesman did issue a response to our colleages over at the Bikesportnews.com website.
Australian MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Tuesday, October 21 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix last Sunday, leading a Yamaha sweep of the podium in a race where rapidly cooling temperatures created challenging conditions for the riders.
After a warm start to the day, a cool change in the afternoon saw cool winds lower ambient and track temperatures for the race, with the peak track temperature recording of 34°C recorded at the start of the twenty-seven lap race. This year’s Australian Grand Prix saw Bridgestone bring a whole new range of asymmetric rear slick tyres to meet the severe demands of the recently repaved Phillip Island circuit, as well as a newly-developed asymmetric front slick – the first time Bridgestone has offered this technology to MotoGP™ riders.
2014 Phillip Island Sunday Round Up: Why The MotoGP Race Was Not A Tire Fiasco, And Rossi Reaps Rewards
Once again, a MotoGP race at Phillip Island is decided by tires. The tires Bridgestone brought to the Australian circuit were not up to the task, with riders crashing out all throughout the race. The front tires Bridgestone brought to the track were unable to cope with the conditions. The result was determined by tires, not by talent.
That, at least, is the narrative being heard around the internet after the bizarre yet fascinating MotoGP race at Phillip Island. It is an attractive narrative – a nice, simple explanation for what happened in Australia – but it is fundamentally flawed. The tire situation was complicated, certainly. Jorge Lorenzo's front tire showed very severe degradation, more than would normally be explained by the expected wear. Several riders crashed out on the asymmetric front tire Bridgestone brought. But to lay the blame entirely on Bridgestone is quite wrong.
The problems at Phillip Island are inherent to the track, and were exacerbated by changes made to suit European TV schedules. Phillip Island, like Assen, is a track which places peculiar demands on tires. It features a lot of very fast left-hand corners, with only a few right handers, two of which are the slowest corners on the track. It is located next to the Bass Strait, a freezing stretch of water connected to the globe-spanning Southern Ocean, which means the weather is highly changeable. Temperatures dropped during the race by as much as 9°C, probably a result of Dorna insisting on running the race at 4pm local time (the late afternoon) to hit a 7am TV slot in their main markets of Spain and Italy. That time will draw a bigger audience than the 5am slot a 2pm race start would fill. But to locals, racing at 4pm at this time of the year is madness.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 after Sunday's thrilling races at Phillip Island:
Full Recap and Results Below.
Full Recap and Results Below.
Full Recap and Results Below.
Marc Marquez has topped the final MotoGP pre-race hit out at Phillip Island with a time of 1:29.871, he topped the time sheets for the morning Warm Up and edged out his team mate Dani Pedrosa by two hundredths of a second. Jorge Lorenzo and Iannone also ended the session less than a tenth of a second behind Marquez while Valentino Rossi was a further tenth behind, the top eleven riders down to Stefan Bradl were split by less than half of a second.
Some riders practiced flag-to-flag bike swaps throughout as a dark gray cloud cover blanketed the circuit, it meant for humid suffocating conditions however this was more carried out as a precaution, no rain is forecast for later this afternoon.
Tito Rabat has maintained his position at the top of the Moto2 class at Phillip Island following the morning Warm Up session, the field appear to have closed the gap to the Championship leader however as he edged out Sam Lowes and Marcel Schrotter by less than a tenth of a second. The competitive nature of the field was further emphasized by the top 20 riders lap times being separated by just over one second which should make for a highly entertaining race later this afternoon.
Azlan Shah, Axel Pons and Robin Mulhauser didn't take part in the session after all riders were declared unfit to race due to injuries picked up yesterday.