Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after testing at Valencia:
Conditions improved a little for the second day of testing at Valencia, with warmer temperatures seeing times drop. The Moto2 riders were an average of a second faster than Tuesday, the Moto3 riders even faster, a second-and-a-half quicker than yesterday.
Improvement was pretty even across the field, in both classes. In the Moto3 class, the chasing hordes closed the gap on Niccolo Antonelli, though the young Italian continued to top the timesheets. He has Jack Miller breathing down his neck, however, the Australian ending the day just eight thousandths of a second behind the Italian.
With an Italian leading, an Australian in 2nd and young Brit Danny Kent in 3rd, the top of the Moto3 class has a decidedly international feel. The contrast with last year, where Spaniards took all but 5 of the 51 available podium positions, is huge. There is only one Spaniard - Isaac Viñales - in the top 5 at Valencia, and a total of 3 in the top 10. Italians feature heavily - the investment made by the Italian Federation over the past few years is very slowly starting to pay off - but there is also a Brit, an Australian and a Portuguese rider. The increased variety looks promising for 2014.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of testing at Valencia:
The penultimate piece of the 2014 Moto3 puzzle has fallen into place today, with the announcement that Scott Deroue will be joining Ana Carrasco at RW Racing GP. The Dutch youngster has signed a two-year contract to race for the Dutch team, and will contest the 2014 season on a Kalex KTM Moto3 machine.
Deroue has spent the last three season racing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, where he has posted some impressive results, taking a total of four victories. He has also raced in both the Dutch ONK and German IDM Moto3 championships, winning in both those series, as well as competing in selected rounds of the Spanish CEV championship. That Deroue should step up to Moto3 with the RW Racing GP team comes as no surprise, as the young Dutchman has been riding for the RW Racing junior team in the Dutch and German championships. RW Racing had been expected to announce the move much earlier, but Deroue had suffered a slump in form last season, the team attributing his problems to puberty. Deroue has since started to display a little more maturity, and this could be the catalyst for RW Racing's decision to promote Deroue to the Grand Prix team.
The list of riders taking advantage of the winter test ban to have surgery grows longer. This week, both Jorge Lorenzo and Sandro Cortese have gone under the surgeon's knife to have metal plates removed, in preparation for the 2014 season.
For Lorenzo, surgery was done to remove the metal plate put in to fixate the collarbone he broke first at Assen, then again at the Sachsenring. Lorenzo crashed heavily on a soaking wet track during the Thursday free practice session at Assen, breaking his left collarbone. After a dash by private jet to and from Barcelona to have his collarbone plated, he raced, finishing in 5th. At the Sachsenring Two weeks later, Lorenzo crashed again the force of the crash bending the plate on his collarbone, and he had surgery once again to replace the bent plate. This time, he did not race.
Lorenzo finished the rest of the season with a plated collarbone, but to allow his collarbone to return to full strength, the Spaniard decided to have the plate removed now. While he was having his collarbone plate removed, he also had surgery on his thumb, to clean up scar tissue left from an injury in 2010.
Just hours after the announcement that Ana Carrasco had signed with the RW Racing GP team for 2014 comes confirmation that Isaac Viñales is to take the place she leaves at Team Calvo. The 20-year-old Spaniard will join Jakub Kornfeil at Team Calvo, where both men will be racing KTMs. In a wry coincidence, Viñales will be joining the team vacated by his cousin Maverick, who became 2013 Moto3 world champion with the squad.
Isaac Viñales had earlier signed a contract to race with the Go&Fun Gresini team in Moto3, alongside Niccolo Antonelli. However, as part of that deal, Viñales had been required to bring in a given quantity of financial backing. After he had failed to muster the necessary cash, Viñales had been left without a ride. In the end, the Spaniard found shelter with Team Calvo, giving him another chance in Moto3. Viñales had a solid season in 2013 riding the underpowered FTR Honda bike with Ongetta. He ended the year in 17th place in the championship, scoring a total of 47 points. His best finish in 2013 came at Valencia, where he took 7th ahead of Ana Carrasco.
Ana Carrasco will have a second season in Moto3. The 16-year-old Spaniard has signed a one-year deal with Dutch Moto3 team RW Racing GP to race their Kalex KTM in 2014.
Carrasco had a positive rookie season in Moto3, ending the year with points in two races, as well as scoring the best result for a female rider in 18 years when she finished 8th at Valencia. But her performance was overshadowed by her teammate at Team Calvo, where Maverick Viñales became world champion. Despite being teammates, the two were on very different bikes, Viñales racing on a fully-factory supported KTM, where Carrasco competed on the basic KTM Moto3 bike.
Team Calvo had expressed an interest in retaining the services of Carrasco for 2014, but to do that, she would have to being money to fund the ride. Carrasco had been raising sponsorship through a Spanish website, but it was not enough to get her seat.
The 2014 Moto3 rider line up (still provisional)
The 2014 Moto2 rider line up :
Press releases from select Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the test at Almeria:
The Moto2 field for next season is even better filled than the Moto3 grid, with 35 entries for 2014. Like Moto3, the two men who fought for the championship have departed, leaving the championship wide open. The departure of Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding for MotoGP leaves Tito Rabat as hot favorite for the title, after the Spaniard had challenged for most of the season. Rabat has switched from the Pons team to join Marc VDS, where he is already off to a strong start, while teammate Mika Kallio has also showed strongly in preseason testing.
Strongest of all has been Tom Luthi, the Swiss rider having topped the timesheets at the Jerez tests so far. Dark horse in the Moto2 class is surely Nico Terol, who had a very strong end to the season after finally being diagnosed with lactose intolerance, a condition which had been troubling him all year. Since his successful diagnosis, Terol won two out of five races.
The FIM today announced the provisional entry lists for the 2014 season in all three classes. Despite the loss of Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom, who are moving up to Moto2, the Moto3 class looks like being another thrilling and close race to the end of the year. Alex Rins and Jack Miller are currently the hot favorites for the title, with Rins' Estrella Galicia teammate Alex Marquez likely to be a candidate too, after his outstanding rookie year in the series. Miller's Red Bull KTM teammate Danny Kent will also be aiming to battle for the championship, the British youngster having stepped back to the Moto3 class with the express purpose of winning the championship.
Among the riders currently viewed as outsiders, Miguel Oliveira features strongly as a contender after a very strong year on the Mahindra. Jakub Kornfeil moves up to take the bike vacated by 2013 Moto3 champion Maverick Viñales, while much is expected of the new Team Sky VR46 squad of Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia, the team set up by Valentino Rossi and with former Ducati man Vitto Guareschi as team manager. There will also be a lot of attention for Karel Hanika, the Czech youngster making the move up from the Red Bull Rookies. Hanika is rated very highly in the Moto3 paddock, and his testing times have already shown promise.