Fifty-three minutes is how long Filippo Preziosi spoke to the press at Ducati's 2012 Wrooom event at Madonna di Campiglio. The Ducati Corse General Manager spoke extensively on the work that had gone in to the Desmosedici GP12 to be debuted by Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi at Sepang, on the data gathered by Ducati's riders throughout the 2011 season and in the post-race test at Valencia, on the Bridgestone tires and the problems they caused for engineers, on the lessons learned from comparing a carbon fiber chassis using the engine as a stressed member against an aluminium twin spar chassis, and about the approach taken to solving the problems encountered during the 2011 season. But despite his extended and fascinating presentation, he gave virtually nothing away about the actual bike itself.
Ezpeleta On The Future Of MotoGP: Bikes Costing 1 Million Euros, Fewer Spanish Races And Performance Balancing
Although the Wrooom event at the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio is formally meant as the launch for Ducati's MotoGP and Ferrari's Formula One season, many other big names from the world of racing are also in attendance. One such person was Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and given the major changes coming to MotoGP for 2012 - and even bigger changes from 2013 onwards - Ezpeleta had arranged to give a short press conference to talk to journalists about some of his plans for next season and beyond. But he barely made it into the press conference: on his way in, he was doorstepped by a group of journalists who started grilling Ezpeleta about the future of MotoGP, leaving the Spaniard with little left to say in the press conference. His answers did provide a compelling look at the future of MotoGP as Dorna sees it.
Wrooom 2012 Tuesday Round Up: Rossi And Hayden Talk About The New Ducati, New Contracts, And The 1000s
The launch of Ducati's 2012 season got properly underway this morning, when Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden faced questions from the press at Madonna di Campiglio, the Italian ski resort that hosts Ducati's Wrooom event. After a disastrous 2011, much of the focus of questioning was on the new Ducati GP12, the bike missing from the festivities at Wrooom, but to make its first public appearance at the Sepang test. The delay, according to various reports, is more to do with finalizing the livery, with details still to be hammered out with sponsors.
That may be the most difficult question to answer of the 2012 preseason. After suffering a crash at Sepang caused the Moto2 rookie to lose his shot at the 2011 Moto2 world title, the double vision problems he suffered as a result have continued throughout the winter. Now the 2012 season is just around the corner, but Marquez' problems are not fixed yet.
Despite the loss of the factory Yamaha team, the World Superbike series is still in relatively good health, considering the financial crisis. Though the days of 30+ rider grids are gone, grid size has stabilized at around the 22 rider mark, 1 up from last year, while there are still 6 manufacturers present, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki in an official capacity, Honda unofficially via Ten Kate, and Suzuki absent, with Crescent working with Yoshimura on their own bikes.
The field has seen some changes, though most of the title favorites are staying with the teams they were with in 2011. Carlos Checa remains with Althea Ducati, though the effort expands to include 2011 Superstock champ Davide Giugliano, while Max Biaggi is in the second year of his 2-year contract with Aprilia, and Johnny Rea is staying with the Ten Kate Honda squad. Championship runner up Marco Melandri has been forced to move, joining Leon Haslam at BMW, while his erstwhile teammate Eugene Laverty has been paired with Biaggi in the factory Aprilia squad. The factory Kawasaki rider contingent is cut from 3 to 2, Chris Vermeulen losing his slot, while Tom Sykes remains alongside Joan Lascorz.
MotoMatters.com wishes all of our readers a Happy New Year and all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2012. We're grateful for all of the support our readers have given us throughout 2011, which has allowed us to continue to grow our audience and expand our coverage. We are especially grateful to the readers who have supported us financially, either by becoming subscribers or buying a calendar or t-shirt, and to the advertisers who have supported us throughout the year.
With major changes coming in both MotoGP and World Superbikes, we believe 2012 will be one of the most interesting and exciting years in recent motorcycle racing history, and we will be making a few changes to the site and hopefully adding resources to cover the world of international motorcycle racing in even more depth than we did in 2011. Here's to the New Year!
The introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams has caused a massive wave of confusion among MotoGP fans, and left then with a host of questions. Below, we attempt to answer most of the questions that race fans have about this new category of bikes, as well as addressing how it came to be created in the first place.
What on earth is a CRT?
CRT stands for Claiming Rule Team, and is a new category of entry in the MotoGP class. They will run alongside the normal factory and satellite MotoGP bikes (now officially classified as "factory prototypes" regardless of whether they are being run in a factory team or a satellite team), and be subject to slightly different rules.
What are the rule differences between the CRTs and the factory prototypes?
The CRT entries will be allowed more fuel and more engines: while factory prototypes will have 21 liters of fuel and be allowed to use 6 engines in 2012 (just as in 2011), the CRT entries will be given 24 liters of fuel to last a race, and have 12 engines for the 2012 season. Because of these advantages, existing manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha or Ducati) will be allowed to claim engines from CRT entries.
What does "claiming an engine" mean and how does it work?
The 2011 MotoGP season is now officially over, and the first steps on the road to 2012 have been taken. Coming on top of a race weekend, two days of testing leave the MotoGP paddock exhausted, drained, and after an 18-race season, quite frankly sick of the sight of each other.
Fortunately for the MotoGP class, the weather perked up on Monday, producing two days of glorious weather for the riders to test in. While the track was still a little dirty on Tuesday, by Wednesday conditions were perfect, the track dry and warm, or at least as warm as it is going to get in early November. Everyone came away tired but content with the work they had gotten done, and no one complained they had not got round to testing everything they had on their list. With the old 800s making way for the 1000cc MotoGP bike, it was important that everyone had time on the track to test.
Alongside the on-track action, the final round of MotoGP at Valencia saw a flurry of activity to fill the final seats of the 2012 MotoGP grid. That process was not as easy as it could have been: the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli left the picture complicated at Gresini, and the continuing uncertainty over Suzuki's plans for 2012 made it difficult for riders to commit to the Japanese factory.
In the end, though, most of the vacant seats have now been filled. The single bike that Pramac Ducati will field next year will be taken by Hector Barbera, as expected. Alvaro Bautista finally announced he would be leaving Suzuki and joined Gresini, to race the single Honda RC213V that the team will have at its disposal for next year. And though the place at LCR Honda is still officially empty, the performance of Stefan Bradl aboard the Honda 800 during the two-day test was sufficient to secure the deal, sources report, with official confirmation expected over the next few days.
Suzuki's situation remains unclear, though the team continues to fight valiantly to remain on the grid, at least with an 800 for the first half of 2012, and after a strong test on the bike, Randy de Puniet is now favorite to take that spot.
If the first day of last year's Valencia test was one of the biggest media events of the century - at least in the MotoGP world - the first day of this year's test was a lot more interesting. Though the test was missing a number of big names - Jorge Lorenzo was ruled out with a finger injury, Nicky Hayden couldn't take part because he fractured his scaphoid in the crash on Sunday - this was a day that the future was on display.
The results sheet showed one thing all too clearly: the Hondas are on a different planet, Dani Pedrosa being a tenth faster than his teammate Casey Stoner, but the gap back to Ben Spies in 3rd is enormous. Spies was over a second slower than Pedrosa, and nine tenths off Stoner, and at the head of a group of eight riders separated by just over a second. When I asked one Honda insider about the Honda tests in Jerez at the start of the year, they used the word "insane" to describe the performance. At Valencia, we got a taste of what that meant.