Times at the end of Day 3:
Cirjesa, the body which runs the Circuito de Jerez just north of the Spanish city, and GCJ, the company which organizes the events at the circuit, are under investigation by the Spanish tax authorities and the Spanish organized crime unit for tax evasion. According to reports in the regional Diario de Jerez newspaper, the investigations center around unpaid tax over undeclared income from ticket sales to general admission areas during races, including the MotoGP rounds in recent years.
Both the police and tax authorities have spent the last six months investigating the existence of a second, clandestine set of accounts which are alleged to include the missing income. The alleged fraud was made possible because the general admission areas (the so-called 'Pelousse') are accessible without having an assigned seat number, paying spectators sitting on the grass anywhere around the hillsides overlooking the circuit. Suspicions had been raised by the fact that the number of spectators in the general admission areas seemed to be larger than the numbers officially reported. But without numbered seating, it was impossible for anyone outside of the circuit organization to know the actual numbers of paying spectators.
Press releases after the second day of testing at Jerez for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Aki Ajo's teams have a firm grip on the Moto3 class on the second day of testing at Jerez. Jack Miller ended the day on top of the timesheets, well inside the pole record set by Alex Rins in May last year. Miller's teammate Karel Hanika grabbed second spot, the Red Bull Rookie Cup champion of 2013 making an outstanding debut in the class. Rounding out the top three was Danny Kent on the factory Husqvarna, an operation which is also run by Aki Ajo.
Though Miller's time was out of reach of the rest, over a third of a second quicker than the chasing mob, the group that followed was close. Karel Hanika was strong all session, Danny Kent putting on a late charge to challenge Hanika at the end of the session, ending the day just a thousandth behind the Czech rider. Italian Romano Fenati of the Team Sky VR46 squad was another four thousandths behind Kent, and his teammate Pecco Bagnaia was another two hundredths behind Fenati.
Alex Marquez was the first Honda rider, the NSF250RW showing distinct signs of improvement. Marquez ended the day just six tenths behind Miller, with Efren Vazquez and the French prodigy Fabio Quartararo a couple of hundredths behind.
Testing concludes on Thursday.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of testing at Jerez:
After the World Superbike series wrapped up their testing in Australia, on the other side of the world the Moto2 and Moto3 riders took to the track at Jerez for the second of their three preseason tests. It took a while, though, as the day started of with a track still wet from overnight rain. Track conditions had improved markedly by lunchtime, and a very full grid were soon posting very fast times indeed.
Australian Jack Miller was the fastest of the bunch, getting within a few thousandths of Luis Salom's race record set last year, and ending comfortably ahead of Isaac Viñales, the man who took his cousin Maverick's slot at Team Calvo. Danny Kent put the Husqvarna into 3rd spot, the young Briton half a second off the pace of Miller. Niccolo Antonelli, who had dominated at last week's test in Valencia, set the 4th fastest time, fractionally behind Kent but a quarter of a second ahead of fellow Italian Romano Fenati.
Efren Vazquez was the fastest Honda rider, with Racing Team Germany starting to take on some of the development of the new Honda NSF250RW now that Alex Rins has been forced to miss the test for surgery on his wrist. His replacement, the young French talent Fabio Quartararo made exactly the kind of impression many had hoped, blitzing to 11th, just behind the more experienced Alex Marquez.
The Repsol Media Service issued the following press release on Alex Rins having surgery on his right wrist to have a cyst removed:
Alex Rins undergoes successful surgery on right wrist
2013 Moto3 World Championship runner-up goes under the knife at Hospital Universitario Quiron Dexeus in Barcelona, in procedure to remove cyst.
Alex Rins underwent a successful operation today at the Hospital Universitario Quiron Dexeus, carried out by Head of Hand Surgery, Dr. Xavier Mir. The procedure was performed to remove a synovial cyst hidden in the schapholunate of Rins’ right wrist. The cyst also formed part of a partial scapholunate ligament injury suffered by the Spanish rider. Microsurgical techniques were used to remove the cyst and repair the ligament as a preventative measure, to thus avoid possible problems during the season.
Rins will be resting up for 7 days before beginning a functional recovery programme and rejoining his team for further preseason testing. His team are already in Southern Spain for the test at the Circuito de Jerez, which begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday. French rider, current CEV Repsol champion and new addition to the Monlau Repsol Technical School project for the 2014 edition of the series, Fabio Quartararo will accompany Alex Marquez over the course of the three-day test.
In what was one of the less well kept secrets in the motorcycling world, BT Sport today unveiled its presentation and commentary team for its MotoGP coverage of the 2014 season. As had been widely rumored, main commentators will be Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder, reunited after a spell commentating on the World Superbike series back in the 1990s. Former MotoGP.com commentator Gavin Emmett will be the series' MotoGP reporter, and the threesome will be joined by Motorcycle News GP correspondent Matt Birt for the Moto2 and Moto3 sessions.
TV presenter Melanie Sykes will front the coverage, together with former World Superbike champions and MotoGP riders Neil Hodgson and James Toseland. The presentation team will be present at all of the races around the world, with coverage coming from each circuit.
BT Sport will also be hosting an hour-long show each Tuesday evening, called MotoGP Tonight. That show will be presented from BT Sport's London studios, and hosted by Craig Doyle and Iwan Thomas. The show will be a mixture of review, talk show and feature guests from the world of motorcycling. BT Sport's coverage will kick off on 18th March with a special preview show, covering preseason testing and looking ahead to 2014.
Riders For Health today announced that they will be running their Day of Stars program at the Austin, Texas round of MotoGP in April. The press release with details appears below:
DAY OF STARS COMES TO AUSTIN TO SUPPORT RIDERS FOR HEALTH
14 February 2014
MotoGP™ returns to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in April, and Riders for Health is giving fans the exclusive chance to get behind the scenes of MotoGP at Day of Stars.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Now fans of MotoGP can have a bigger and better MotoGP experience than ever before as Riders for Health’s Day of Stars comes to the Lone Star State on April 10, 2014.
To find out more about Day of Stars, visit www.riders.org/day-of-stars.
Day of Stars offers a small group of fans the opportunity to peer behind the curtain of the world’s premier motorcycle racing series while helping to raise money for Riders for Health - the official charity of MotoGP – to transform access to health care in Africa.
Day of Stars guests will receive a guided tour of the MotoGP paddock led by one of the stars of the MotoGP. The lucky fans will then have a chance to chat with some of the current stars of MotoGP and their crews at their pit boxes.
Rising temperatures may have dispelled the arctic chill that held sway at Valencia for the beginning of the Moto2 and Moto3 test, conditions were still far from ideal on the final day. High winds set in, causing problems for riders in both classes, though especially for the bantamweight Moto3 class, and causing a spate of crashes. Niccolo Antonelli, fastest man over all three days, was one of many to go down, the list also including Dutchman Scott Deroue, Danny Kent and Enea Bastianini. Unlike previous days, nobody was injured, and all continued to ride, though Bastianini complained of headaches and Deroue suffered back pain. They weren't the only people riding with injury: Gino Rea soldiered bravely on despite having broken a foot on Wednesday, relieving the pain by sticking his ankle in a bucket of ice water between stints.
The winds meant that very few riders improved their times in the Moto3 class, Niccolo Antonelli remaining the fastest over all three days, though Jack Miller took the honors for the fastest man on the last day. Antonelli has been impressive throughout all three days of testing, having adapted to the KTM very quickly. Miller, likewise, was still getting used to the KTM, enjoying the added power, while adjusting to the handling of the Austrian Moto3 bike, which does not corner as well as his old FTR Honda. The excess power more than compensated, but Miller spent the day working through various linkages and set up options in an attempt to get the bike to turn a little bit better.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after testing at Valencia:
Times at the end of the final day of testing for the Moto3 class at Valencia:
Times at lunchtime for the Moto3 class on the final day of the Valencia test:
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 second day of testing at Valencia: