Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Edwards and Crutchlow make promising start in Jerez
In the heart of Spain, all talk is naturally of Spanish riders, and the man who has been at the center of a veritable media - and medical - whirlwind is Dani Pedrosa. Since the numbness and weakness in his arm reappeared at the race in Qatar, a result of the broken collarbone he suffered at Motegi last year, the Spaniard has undergone a series of tests and examinations to try and get to the root cause of the problem. And as a result, has faced enormous media scrutiny about the issue as well.
The Repsol Honda team has tried to ease the media pressure on Pedrosa by issuing press releases every couple of days with updates on his condition, but the problem has been that those press release have contained conflicting information. That in itself is because the cause of Pedrosa's medical complaint has been so very difficult to pin down.
Press release previews for Jerez from the MotoGP teams, more added as they come in:
The earthquake and ensuing disaster that devastated Japan's northeast coast has weighed heavy on the hearts of everyone in the MotoGP paddock. With so many factories and suppliers based in Japan, everybody in the paddock knows at least one person who was affected in one way or another. The minute's silence before the start of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was just one expression of their sympathy, and it was a moment which touched the Japanese members of the paddock very deeply.
To add more practical support to those expressions of sympathy, Dorna, who run the MotoGP series, have arranged to sell t-shirts signed by all of the MotoGP riders to raise funds for the victims of the disaster and help the rebuilding effort in the country. The funds raised are to be presented to an as-yet-unnamed humanitarian organization at the Japanese Grand Prix, due to be held on October 2nd. So if you've always wanted a t-shirts signed by the riders, here's your chance. They cost 20 euros, and are available from a special website, http://weforjapan.motogp.com/.
Below is the official press release announcing the initiative:
MotoGP unites to help Japan
Press releases from the teams after the MotoGP race at Qatar:
Casey Stoner keeps reigning in Qatar
The first race of the season hasn't even happened yet, but the Honda story is already starting to get old. The headlines are writing themselves, the only thing that an editor has to do at the moment is cast a cursory glance over the wording to check whether it was Casey Stoner or Dani Pedrosa who spotted the fastest time.
Despite the disparity with the rest of the field, qualifying actually turned into a pretty exciting spectacle. It was a race of two classes - the two lead Repsols matching each other's times, while the rest of the field battled valiantly for the rest of the places on the two front rows, but it still gave the viewers something to get engrossed in.
Stoner's 1'54.137 is a spectacular improvement over last year, cutting the best part of a second off his pole time from 2010. And it was the first time we got to see Stoner really pushing, starting to sling the Repsol Honda around like he used to muscle the Marlboro Ducati around in 2010. He admitted in the press conference that he had been a lot closer to the limit than he had been so far during practice, saying he had even managed to get close to tucking the front at one point. The bad news - at least for the competition - was that he had not been that comfortable on the softer tires, and felt he had better pace on the harder race tires.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams from Saturday at Qatar:
Stoner sets scorching pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix
A long time ago, when I worked at a software company, we had a timekeeping system that consumed hours of our productive time as we tried to keep track of the projects we had worked on every week. One member of our team was smarter than the rest of us, however. He figured he knew roughly what projects he would be working on for the next couple of months, and would fill in his timesheets about 6 weeks in advance. He saved himself a whole heap of time doing that, while we struggled.
Compare and contrast the lot of a MotoGP headline writer. The way things are looking so far, we could fill in the headlines for all of the practice sessions and races for the next three or four MotoGP rounds well in advance, and get about 90% of them absolutely spot on. Put the following words in any order: Stoner, Repsol Honda, Pedrosa, Dominate, Clean Sweep. Throw in a couple of conjunctions, and you are set to go for quite some time.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of practice at Qatar:
Edwards and Crutchlow thrilled with progress
So we're finally racing again, after what seemed like an eternity. Even though we were here just a couple of days ago for the final test of the year, walking through the paddock on Thursday was like being in another world. If a racetrack during a test on is a cold, desolate place, come race weekend, there's a completely different vibe.
There was of course much focus and talk about the ongoing disaster in Japan, everyone enquiring of Japanese friends and colleagues how things were in their hometown. As a mark of respect and to show their (and our) concern for Japan, Dorna announced there would be a minute's silence before the MotoGP race, and just about all of the MotoGP teams are carrying some form of Kanji text wishing everyone in Japan well on their bikes or leathers somewhere.
Despite the obvious concern about Japan, the overwhelming feeling in the paddock was a buzz of excitement, everyone glad to have the long wait over and to be racing again. All those hours of hard, tiring but necessary work busting out laps to prepare for the season are finally over, and now those laps actually mean something.
MotoGP press releases from the first day of testing at Qatar, comprising of FP1: