Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Mugello:
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
At Mugello, a large number of pieces in MotoGP's Silly Season for 2013 are expected to fall into place. The long-expected announcement of the Repsol Honda team will be made on Thursday, according to Catalunya Radio, with Marc Marquez taking his place alongside Dani Pedrosa, who has inked a two-year extension with HRC. Pedrosa acknowledged at the Sachsenring that there were only details left to clear up, and after winning Germany, the Spaniard appears to have cleared the final hurdles to a new deal.
Mugello also looks like being the deadline for Cal Crutchlow. The 26-year-old Coventry man has offers of two-year deals from both the Factory Ducati and his current Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. What Crutchlow would really like is a seat at the factory Yamaha team, but with that seat probably unavailable - either being held open for a possible return to the fold of Valentino Rossi, or else retaining current rider Ben Spies - Crutchlow is instead likely to accept Ducati's offer of a factory ride, believing that factory equipment is his only chance of winning races and a championship. According to British motorcycling journal MCN, Crutchlow has been given until Mugello to make up his mind.
There was one glaring omission from the post-Sachsenring round up I wrote on Sunday night. Well, two actually, but the biggest was that I neglected to give Dani Pedrosa the attention he deserved for a fantastic win, his first in over nine months. Pedrosa managed the race brilliantly, starting on a bike which had seen massive changes ahead of the race, and which he took a few laps to get accustomed to. He did so by dropping behind Stoner, and following in the wake of the reigning World Champion, until he was comfortable enough to make a pass. He accomplished this with ease, and the pair engaged in some synchronized drifting to the end of the race, when Pedrosa upped his pace and forced Stoner into an error. The Australian may have believed that he had the pace and the move to beat Pedrosa, but the fact that he crashed would suggest that Pedrosa was forcing Stoner much closer to the limit than the champion realized.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
2012 Sachsenring MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Why The Ducatis Aren't Fast In The Wet, And Why The Germans Could Be Happy On Sunday
It poured at the Sachsenring on Saturday afternoon. It absolutely hosed down, rivulets of water running across the track to make the conditions treacherous. Ideal conditions for Ducati, you would say, given their form so far this year in the wet, with Valentino Rossi on the podium in the downpour at Le Mans, and a 1-2 during the first session of free practice at a drenched Silverstone. But Nicky Hayden is 7th and Valentino Rossi 9th, a second or more off the pace of polesitter Casey Stoner. What went wrong?
The answer, to put it succinctly, is the Sachsenring. The bike is leaned over for a lot of the time, and whereas the Ducati's strength is in getting drive out of corners in the wet - ironically one of their biggest problems in the dry - the lean angle prevents the bike from driving forward. "This track has a lot more lean angle," Nicky Hayden explained. "The strength of our bike in the rain is driving off corners, getting it picked up and driving off corners; this isn't really the case here." The rear was sliding too much, Hayden added. "I'm struggling a lot in the long corner to not have the rear come round. Especially on corner entry, there's some places I have to stop a little early and then actually open the throttle and lean it over to set the bike."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Sachsenring:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of this Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, in which Cardion AB reveals that Ducati test rider Franco Battaini will be riding for the injured Karel Abraham:
There is a danger to thinking any championship is a foregone conclusion, especially this early in the season. Just as there is a danger to thinking that a race will pan out the way you thought it would after practice and qualifying. At Assen, everyone was afraid of three things: the weather, Jorge Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro. All three turned out differently than expected.
Best of all was the weather. After treacherous conditions on Friday, with rain falling, stopping, wetting the track just enough for Casey Stoner to bang himself up badly in the morning, though that did not stop him from blasting to pole, Saturday dawned bright and only got better: the big skies of flat-as-a-board Drenthe were mainly blue, with the occasional sighting of fluffy white clouds to provide a little cover and prevent egregious sunburn. But best of all, it stayed dry: no complications, just sunny, dry and calm weather.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen:
Alvaro Bautista will be forced to start from the back of the grid at the next MotoGP race, the German round at the Sachsenring. The punishment was imposed by Race Direction for Bautista's error at Assen, where he braked far too late for the first corner and crashed, taking out Jorge Lorenzo in the process. Bautista's team appealed the penalty to the FIM Stewards - as Marc Marquez' team had done over the penalty at Barcelona - but the FIM Stewards backed the decision by Race Direction, and the penalty will stand.
The crash was universally condemned by the riders at Assen, with Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies both saying that they saw Bautista still on the gas while they were already braking for the corner. But Jorge Lorenzo was naturally the most upset about it, the Spaniard telling the media that he felt the penalty was not harsh enough. "It's a big disaster, Alvaro's move. He was completely out of control, completely crazy, I don't know what he was thinking at that moment. When all the riders were braking, he was full throttle," Lorenzo said. "But I'm more disappointed about the decision of Race Direction to only penalize him to start at the back of the grid. With the CRT in front of him, in two laps he will be in a good position."
Assen's surface is pretty good when it's dry, and it's not too bad when it's wet, but this is 2012, and there's a MotoGP race this weekend, so of course, the conditions are as bad as they can possibly be. For Assen, that means a few spots of rain here and there, just enough to create patches damp enough to catch out the unwary, or even the wary, as Casey Stoner found out this morning. Heading down the Veenslang Stoner noticed the first spots of rain on his visor. Through the Ruskenhoek, it turned into drizzle, and he had already backed off into De Bult when he was flung from the bike in what he described as one of the worst crashes of his career. He took a knock to the head, banged his left shoulder and left wrist, and suffered a big and very painful contusion to his right knee, that left him hobbling around like an old man in the afternoon.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Assen:
The times were close after the first day of practice, closer than they have been for a very long time. Just 0.471 seconds separates the top 11 MotoGP prototypes (Karel Abraham is barely fit enough to ride, after breaking fingers in his left hand, and is way off the pace), with Ben Spies leading Cal Crutchlow by just 0.006, just a tenth separating Nicky Hayden in 3rd from Dani Pedrosa in 6th, and less than a tenth between Andrea Dovizioso in 7th and Stefan Bradl in 11th. It has all the makings of a great race, right?
Not according to Cal Crutchlow. "Lorenzo will run away with it," the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man opined. Everyone except for Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa had set their fastest time on the soft tire, Crutchlow explained. Lorenzo's best time, a 1'35.057, was set in the middle of a run with a used hard tire, his race rhythm in the 1'35.0 while everyone else was running 1'35.3. Lorenzo was looking very smooth on the bike, team manager Wilco Zeelenberg saying he was pretty pleased with the bike and the way the first day had gone.