Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's Bwin Czech Grand Prix at Brno:
Ducati has announced that they have signed a two-year contract with Andrea Dovizioso to ride for the factory team for the 2013 and 2014 season. Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio explained in the press release that the reason for signing Dovizioso was his technical ability and his testing skills, signalling that Ducati's focus at the current time is primarily on the development of the bike, a consequence of Valentino Rossi's conspicuous failure to achieve racing success on the bike.
The signing was long anticipated, rumors having already emerged in the week before Indianapolis that an agreement was nigh. A year ago, Dovizioso had been very wary of Ducati, telling reporters that he had understood that the bike was difficult to ride from seeing Marco Melandri struggle so badly on the machine in 2008. But as it became clear that Rossi would be leaving Ducati to return to Yamaha, Dovizioso warmed to the Bologna factory, impressed by both the financial rewards and the commitment to developing the bike with the assistance of Audi.
Indianapolis is not given to great racing - a lack of use on the infield road course means that the track is usually fairly dirty once you get off line - and Sunday was no real exception. The MotoGP and Moto2 races were tactically brilliant and masterful displays of crushing the opposition, but neither was particularly entertaining to watch. Fortunately, nobody had told the Moto3 riders about the lack of great racing, and the youngsters got the day off to a fantastic start, with the race decided in the last sector of the track.
Luis Salom's victory was well deserved, from any number of perspectives. The Spaniard had stalked Sandro Cortese and Maverick Vinales all race long, and knew he would have to capitalize on any mistakes the front runners made. That mistake turned out to be a preoccupation with one another, both Cortese and Vinales spending all their time worrying about each other and their battle for the championship. On the run into Turn 10, Salom dived inside the leaders and took over at the front. That threw Vinales and Cortese enough of a curve ball for Salom to lead the race to the line, taking his first ever victory in Grand Prix, a win that has been coming for some time now.
But the win is also just reward for the team: the RW Racing GP team has been an asset to the series, since Roelof Waninge took over the team from Arie Molenaar. RW Racing is a team of modest means, but they try to live within them, getting everything they can out of what they have, rather than throwing money they don't have at a problem in the hope of fixing it. Sticking with Luis Salom has been sensible: this is now the third season that the Spaniard has worked with crew chief Hans Spaan, and the stability of his situation is paying off. Salom is still a long way from the title fight, but looks like playing more of a role from this point forward.
The transcript of the post-race press conference after the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media service:
2012 RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP MotoGP PODIUM PRESS CONFERENCE
Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso
Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012
MODERATOR: I think the riders are almost with us, ladies and gentlemen. In second place here riding the factory Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo, of course, retains his lead in the World Championship.
The race winner here this afternoon, his second win at Indianapolis, his second win of the season is Dani Pedrosa, and yet another podium finish for Andrea Dovizioso. (Applause)
OK, obviously we'll start with the race winner. It's been a good weekend all the way around for you, Dani, hasn't it? Practice went well, obviously the record lap in qualifying and then the race itself.
DANI PEDROSA: Yes. It was a good weekend, I think. The bike was working well. We were spinning all the practice, but we had a good feeling. So, yeah, today for the race I was quite confident, but at the beginning I try to stay focused. The pace was very high. Everybody was running a high pace. Early in the race I started to open a gap, but anyway, I knew the race was long, so I tried to stay focused. It was the middle of the race, I make mistake in Turn 2, the gears get back into neutral. So when I shift again to first, the bike kick, had a good kick on me and, yeah, I almost lost control, but I kept the bike on the track. I lost one second that lap. I could get back on my rhythm and get back on the lead with good pace.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday:
IMS Press Release: 2012 Indianapolis Qualifying Press Conference - Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Espargaro And Cortese Speak
Below is the transcript of the press conference held after qualifying at Indianapolis, featuring MotoGP front row rider Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso and Moto2 and Moto3 polesitters Pol Espargaro and Sandro Cortese:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying on Saturday at Indianapolis:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Indianapolis:
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis GP:
An announcement on who will replace Valentino Rossi at Ducati appears imminent. As we mentioned last week, Andrea Dovizioso agreed to take the factory Ducati seat vacated by Rossi's departure for Yamaha. His signature, it appears, was subject to certain conditions, though. According to reports in the Italian media, Dovizioso demanded guarantees of support and development from Audi before putting pen to paper.
Italian TV station Mediaset is now reporting that Dovizioso has now received those guarantees, and has signed a two-year deal to ride for Ducati in 2013 and 2014. Ducati's choosing Dovizioso over Cal Crutchlow - Dovizioso's British partner at the Tech 3 squad had earlier been offered the ride at Ducati - is an indication of the the future direction of the Bologna factory. The deal appears to signal that Ducati has accepted that they need to focus their development on building a bike to suit a traditional Grand Prix style, as displayed by the Italian. It is perhaps a signal to Ducati's new owners Audi that they understand the magnitude of the problem, and that the loss of Valentino Rossi is being taken very seriously indeed.
Valentino Rossi's imminent return to Yamaha - to be announced on Friday morning, Yamaha and Ducati having been forced to move the schedule forward once news of the switch leaked - will accelerate the final movements in MotoGP's silly season, with the still open grid slots on prototype machines likely to be filled in very short order once the Rossi announcement has been made. Rossi's return to Yamaha will be heralded much as his departure from the factory for fresh pastures at Ducati was, only this time the roles will be reversed. First, Ducati will issue a release thanking Valentino Rossi for his time with the factory, and shortly after - minutes, rather than hours, - Yamaha will issue a press release welcoming Rossi back to the fold. The difference, perhaps, is that this time a love letter such as the one Rossi wrote to Yamaha after he left in the middle of 2010 is unlikely to be forthcoming.
With Rossi at Yamaha, that leaves five prototype seats still open: The factory Ducati left vacant by Rossi's switch to Yamaha; the as-yet unfilled second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha seat (the first seat is for Bradley Smith, who will be moving up from Moto2 as provided for in the contract he signed with Herve Poncharal in the middle of last season); the San Carlo Gresini Honda bike currently being ridden by Alvaro Bautista; and the Ducati junior team seats, in a yet-to-be-decided structure with one or more yet-to-be-selected teams. So who will be filling those seats? And where does that leave the riders left standing once the music stops?
It is a bit of a risk, announcing that Valentino Rossi will be switching to Yamaha just a couple of days after getting caught out by a hacked Twitter and email account. This time, though, confirmation is coming from multiple sources, including our own. Rossi will be leaving Ducati for Yamaha at the end of this season, with an official press release expected from Yamaha on the morning of August 15th, the Italian national holiday of Ferragosto, and the day before the paddock assembles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Press releases issued by the MotoGP teams after the race at Laguna Seca on Sunday:
Just seven more days, and the biggest open piece of MotoGP's puzzle should be slotted into place. On Saturday night, Valentino Rossi met with Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio, to discuss the details of the offer Ducati have for Rossi, and this morning, Del Torchio told French journalist Michel Turco that he expected to know Rossi's answer within the next seven days. The money from Ducati is generous, some 17 million euros a season, if the rumors are to be believed, but the money will not be the important part of the deal. The biggest item will be what help Ducati will get from Audi, and whether the rate of progress at Borgo Panigale can be ramped up to start rolling out updates faster, and start to change some of the things which Rossi and Burgess believe are vital before the bike can even begin to become competitive.