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Tech 3 Press Release: Ricky Cardus To Replace Alex Mariñelarena

Ricky Cardus is to replace Alex Mariñelarena. The Spaniard will take the place of the Tech 3 Moto2 rider, during the long period of convalescence which Mariñelarena must endure after a heavy crash at Paul Ricard. Below is the press release from Tech 3 on the replacement:


Ricky Cardus announced as Tech3’s Moto2 replacement for Mariñelarena

Ricky Cardus will replace Tech3 Racing Team’s Alex Mariñelarena for the temporary future. The Spanish rider will replace Mariñelarena until he has fully recovered from his recent injury and is fit enough to compete in the Moto2 races.

Mariñelarena was involved in an incident during a private test at the Paul Ricard circuit, South France for Team Tech3 Racing on the 27th February. He suffered a heavy fall which knocked him out of consciousness and placed into a medically induced coma by the medical staff at the Saint-Anne Hospital in Toulon.

After nearly one week of deep sleep, Mariñelarena awoke from the coma on the morning of Wednesday 5th March, 2014. The recovery process is now underway for the 21year old Spanish rider, but the date of his return is as of yet unknown.

Cardus, from Barcelona, contested in the Spanish CEV Buckler championship before competing as a wildcard in the 125cc world championship several times and riding half a season as a substitute in Moto2 in 2010. The Spanish rider then undertook three full time seasons from 2011 to 2013 in the Moto2 World Championship aboard various chassis to point scoring finishes.

Cardus will begin with the Tech3 Racing Team on Tuesday 11th March, 2014 at the three day Moto2 pre-season test at Jerez, Spain.

Ricky Cardus:

“Firstly, I want to say that I am really happy about having the possibility to ride for the Tech3 Racing Team, but of course it is not the ideal way to get a ride with Alex being injured. I want to wish him the very best with his recovery, and I hope to see him racing soon. I am excited to ride the Mistral 610 at Jerez this week, and will try my best in assisting the team. Thank you to the Tech3 Racing Team for the opportunity.”

MotoGP Rule Change Imminent: 'Intermediate' Category To Be Added Between Factory Option And Open Classes

The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the MotoGP.com website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.

It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.

The measure is to be adopted as of 11th March, according to Ezpeleta. The Grand Prix Commission will meet to approve the new rules, though the FIM, Dorna and team association IRTA have already given their assent. Given that this proposal was most likely made in response to pressure from the two Japanese factories still adhering to the Factory Option regulations, the MSMA are also likely to approve it.

The proposal will leave MotoGP with three categories, instead of the existing two. Factory Option: 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season, all engine development frozen and restricted testing, in exchange for the freedom to use and develop their own ECU software. Open: 24 liters of fuel, 12 engines per season, engine development and testing unrestricted, and  a softer rear tire, but forced to use the Magneti Marelli software. And Factory 2: the same as Open, but with 22.5 liters of fuel and 9 engines. What is not clear is what other restrictions will be placed on Factory 2 teams, whether testing will be limited, whether they will have access to a softer tire, etc. It is also not clear whether they will be freed from some of the restrictions on the electronics package, such as the freedom to use their own dashboard or sensor packages. At Phillip Island, Ducati ran the full Open spec electronics package, including Magneti Marelli dashboard. It is also unclear whether the Factory 2 regulations will apply to the Forward Yamaha team as well, especially as the bike which Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will be racing is now being entered as a 'Forward Yamaha' in the latest entry lists, rather than the 'FTR Yamaha' which it was originallly called. It is also unclear whether weather conditions will be taken into account when assessing results. When the engine allocation rules were first brought in, an exception was made for factories which had not had a dry win, the same logic could be applied here.

The trigger for the latest spat over the Open class was the introduction of a new, much more sophisticated software package brought to Sepang 2 by Magneti Marelli. Initial reports were that the new package was basically Ducati's ECU software, handed over to Magneti Marelli. As Mat Oxley wrote yesterday, however, the new package was not yet in use at Sepang, the software only being loaded so that the Open class technicians could get used to the way it worked, and compare it with the 2013 software, which was far less complex. 

In the interview with AS, Ezpeleta explained that Magneti Marelli had had the software for some time. The factories were asked in November last year to help develop the spec ECU software, but Honda and Yamaha refused, Ezpeleta said. Ducati agreed, and provided assistance to the Italian ECU maker. Magneti Marelli then built their software based on the input provided by Ducati, and this was the software introduced at Sepang 2. Ezpeleta was clear on why the upgrade was applied. 'The objective is that in the end, everyone will run as Open entries,' Ezpeleta told AS.

The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the MotoGP.com website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.

Movistar Pens 5-Year Deal As Title Sponsor Of Yamaha's MotoGP Team

It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.

The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.

The reason for the deal is to help promote the Movistar pay-per-view TV package. In a deal similar to that on offer in the UK, where BT Sport has secured  the rights, Movistar is using its sports and entertainment packages to help sell broadband services. Having Yamaha's MotoGP team be associated with Movistar will be a useful sales aid in the key Spanish market.

The livery to be used by the team has not yet been unveiled. That will be revealed ahead of the first race of the season at Qatar, in two weeks' time. 

Below is the press release announcing the deal between Movistar and Yamaha:


Yamaha and Movistar Join Forces for 5-year MotoGP Title Sponsor Program

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd can today make one of the most significant partnership announcements in recent years of the MotoGP World Championship. The exceptional agreement sees TELEFONICA DE ESPAÑA, S.A joining Yamaha with its renowned Movistar brand as Title Sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team for an extensive five-year contract.

The joining of these two iconic names from the premier class of motorcycle racing creates a new name for the team. Starting from the first race of the 2014 season, the team will be known as the “Movistar Yamaha MotoGP” Team and riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will embark on their title challenge under the floodlights of Qatar on 23rd March under this name.

The Movistar brand will feature prominently on all team assets (YZR-M1, riders’ leathers, team uniform, pit-garage, trucks, hospitality) for the next five years.

The new official team logo is made public today but the full 2014 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team livery will only be unveiled on Wednesday 19th March in Losail, Qatar, just before the opening race.

LIN JARVIS
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing

This is a big day for the sport. We are delighted to be able to welcome the Movistar brand back into the world of MotoGP in such spectacular fashion. Dedicated fans of motorcycle racing will know that Movistar has a strong history in the sport, and in the past they supported many talented young riders who later evolved to be the top stars in the MotoGP class. We are therefore honoured that they chose Yamaha as their partner to re-enter motorcycle racing.

The 5 year partnership provides an incredibly stable platform for both parties to fully exploit the relationship and make plans not just in the short-term but also strategically over a longer period. Their long-term commitment is also a strong sign of confidence in the sport and provides reassurance to the other sponsors and partners involved with our team.

We also believe the activation and promotion that Movistar will bring will also help to raise awareness and interest in our championship from brands not yet involved in MotoGP.

The Movistar announcement is the last and most significant of our planned sponsor agreements for this season. We are delighted to have such a full portfolio of premium brands now onboard with us as we make final preparations for our 2014 title challenge campaign.

We’re keen now to get to the start grid under the floodlights and kick off our title challenge together!

DANTE CACCIATORE
Director of Communication and Customer Experience, Telefónica Spain

Movistar is coming back to MotoGP; this moment is going to be one of the most important landmarks for our company history in 2014. Even though the adrenaline and engine sounds and even the smell of the gasoline and the support of the fans are yet to flow through our veins it's impossible for us to be much more excited. This return couldn`t have been a better kick off. We have decided to join Yamaha Factory Racing as a travel partner to embark on the same journey together. The team has achieved nine world championship titles and holds two magnificent world champions in Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

To speak of Yamaha is to speak of motorcycling, and not only that. It is to speak of the essence of teamwork at its best and the passion of proudly waving a flag of true racing heritage in front of a passionate crowd who support on each turn and on each straight. These values are identical to those we share at Movistar. It is a huge honour to belong to this new family that we receive with open arms. We are hungry and really looking forward to seeing the start lights go out in Qatar. Now is the time to live this dream; welcome to Movistar Yamaha MotoGP!

JORGE LORENZO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider

I am so happy with this announcement and the arrival of such a big, key sponsor as Movistar. This is an enormous partner that is not just Spanish like me but also that shares a big history in the past of the motorsport, especially in motorcycling. Now they’re back in MotoGP and more importantly, they have made a perfect marriage with Yamaha! It’s great to see such an important company as Movistar make a return to motorcycle racing with such a large scale sponsoring activity. I know we can have a great journey battling for the championship alongside them and looking into the future we will do a great job together to achieve loads of success. Welcome Movistar again to this amazing sport that we love, and of course welcome to the Yamaha family!

VALENTINO ROSSI
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Rider

It’s really a great pleasure to know that Movistar will be joining Yamaha Factory Racing in MotoGP. I am also very happy that Yamaha have a new title sponsor! It will be a very important season for me and for Yamaha. We have always been very motivated but this news has brought new enthusiasm and this is a very positive thing. At this time the team is very busy in the pre-season tests, we are working very hard because we want to make a fantastic season. This goal I believe is important for our new sponsor. We will definitely try our best to be protagonists at every race. I give my best wishes to Movistar for this new adventure!

Movistar

Movistar is the commercial brand which Telefonica operates in Spain and 13 other Latin American countries.

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. From this outstanding position in the industry, and with its mobile, fixed and broadband businesses as the key drivers of its growth, Telefónica has focused its strategy on becoming a leading company in the digital world.

The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts more than 323 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4.551.024.586 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.

It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.

Andrew Gosling Shoots The Phillip Island Tire Test, Day 2


The Honda exhaust remains a work of eye-watering beauty


Brighter later


Tito Rabat, the fastest man in Moto2. So far...


Jorge Lorenzo has been testing a new fairing, to deal with the wind at PI


It has a significantly different nose


With a protruding lower lip


And much narrower profile


Valentino Rossi, new style - body well off the bike, less far forward


Compare and contrast with Jorge Lorenzo


Meet the new boss - Davide Tardozzi perfecting the team boss stare


Testing is all about data


and more data


One of a growing band of women in the paddock. Andrea Canto Pastor was Livio Loi's data engineer in Moto3 last year, has moved up to Moto2 this season


Mika Kallio in one of his more expressive moods


Cal Crutchlow, caught in thought


Silvano Galbusera, Rossi's new crew chief, and one of the palest men in the paddock


Still no match for Tito 'The Ghost' Rabat, though...


Martina - Nico's new ride


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots from the test, head on over to Andrew Gosling's website and he'll be happy to help.

The Honda exhaust remains a work of eye-watering beauty Brighter later Tito Rabat, the fastest man in Moto2. So far...

Andrew Gosling Shoots The Phillip Island Tire Test, Day 1


To test tires, you must have tires to test


Deeply unhappy at Sepang, on top at Phillip Island. Funny things, tires


Ducati competing in the Open class hasn't stopped Cal Crutchlow from getting some serious lean


Dani Pedrosa has lean angle covered too


Communing with the motorcycling gods. Valentino Rossi's pre-ride ritual


Real improvements at Ducati: fit and finish is improved. Seams now have virtually no gap


And the carbon fiber rear swingarm has been dropped in favor of aluminium


Waiting to be shod


99 problems, but Phillip Island ain't one


Ever the showman


As he matures, Dani Pedrosa is learning to relax. More smiles than five years ago


Moto2 are at PI as well, testing Dunlops. Nico Terol plays to the crowds


Ready


No Movistar. Yet.


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots from the test, head on over to Andrew Gosling's website and he'll be happy to help.

To test tires, you must have tires to test Deeply unhappy at Sepang, on top at Phillip Island. Funny things, tires Ducati competing in the Open class hasn't stopped Cal Crutchlow from getting some serious lean

IODA Announce Single Rider For 2014 - Petrucci Stays, Camier Left Without A Ride

IODA Racing will field just Danilo Petrucci in MotoGP in 2014, leaving Leon Camier without a ride. Rumors of financial problems for the teams had been circulating for several days, but now IODA has confirmed officially that they are down to just a single rider. 

The team will still be racing Aprilia ART machines entered under the Open regulations, but with just a single rider, progress will be slower. Danilo Petrucci has soldiered on with the team for the past two years, riding first the underpowered IODA machine using a stock Aprilia RSV4 engine, and then the Suter BMW which was quickly ditched by the teams which had been using it. Petrucci's patience has been rewarded with a much better machine in 2014, though the level of support Aprilia will be providing remains unclear.

Though the press release says that the team are working to find sponsorship to keep Camier on board, the Englishman will only be able to compete if he is effectively able to pay for his ride. If Camier cannot raise the funds, he will be forced to look for other options, but in a difficult market, those options are severely limited, and he could be forced to take a year out of racing.

The withdrawal of Camier leaves just 23 riders on the MotoGP grid for 2014. And with the switch by Ducati from Factory Option status to Open, there are now just 8 Factory Option entries, Honda versus Yamaha. For the full, updated entry list, see our entry list page. Below is the press release from IODA:


IODARACING PROJECT PRESS RELEASE

Terni, February 28, 2014 - Iodaracing Project srl will begin the 2014 season with a only rider in MotoGP.

Will be the Italian Danilo Petrucci to be deployed with the Iodaracing Team's ART in MotoGP class starting in the next IRTA test in Qatar scheduled 6 to 9 March. The swiss rider Randy Krummenacher remains confirmed in Moto2.

Iodaracing Project continues to work to be able to have even his second rider, the Britain's Leon Camier.

GIAMPIERO SACCHI - IODARACING PROJECT TEAM OWNER - "Our priority is to start working with Aprilia for the development of the bike according to the steps that we have set. We are still working to be able to line up a second MotoGP during the season".

IODA Racing will field just Danilo Petrucci in MotoGP in 2014, leaving Leon Camier without a ride. Rumors of financial problems for the teams had been circulating for several days, but now IODA has confirmed officially that they are down to just a single rider. The team will still be racing Aprilia ART machines entered under the Open regulations, but with just a single rider, progress will be slower. Danilo Petrucci has soldiered on with the team for the past two years, riding first the underpowered IODA machine using a stock Aprilia RSV4 engine, and then the Suter BMW which was quickly ditched by the teams which had been using it. Petrucci's patience has been rewarded with a much better machine in 2014, though the level of support Aprilia will be providing remains unclear.Though the press release says that the team are working to find sponsorship to keep Camier on board, the Englishman will only be able to compete if he is effectively able to pay for his ride. If Camier cannot raise the funds, he will be forced to look for other options, but in a difficult market, those options are severely limited, and he could be forced to take a year out of racing.

Ducati Announce They Will Be Racing As Open Class Entries In MotoGP In 2014

Ducati have officially confirmed that they will race as Open class entries in the 2014 MotoGP season. Speaking to the media at Sepang, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced that all four Ducati machines will be entered under Open regulations. The decision has been the worst-kept secret in the paddock for some time, with rumors emerging earlier this year that the Italian manufacturer would abandon Factory Option status to switch to the freer Open class.

Dall'Igna described the switch as 'the most interesting option for Ducati in the current situation'. Given the nature of Ducati's problems, they were left with virtually no option but to switch to the Open class. The engine freeze in place for Factory Option entries make it impossible to make significant changes to the bike layout, as the engine cases are fixed, right down to the engine mounting points. The freeze limits both engine development and chassis development as a result.

The disadvantage to choosing to go the Open route is that teams are limited to the spec software supplied by Magneti Marelli. Having tested with the software at Sepang with both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Ducati found that the disadvantages are far outweighed by the advantages of more testing and engine development. The spec software - referred to inside the paddock as the championship software - is already very sophisticated, despite it being less complex than the software used by the factories.

Ducati had already caused a bit of a stir prior to the second Sepang test. A new software update was made available to all of the Open teams ahead of the second test, which was such a large step several of the teams had been daunted by its complexity. The file containing the specifications of the software which Magneti Marelli sent out to the teams still had the words 'Ducati Motor Holding' in the header, Magneti Marelli having neglected to delete the name from the file. There is nothing in the rules preventing Ducati making their software available to Magneti Marelli, the only proviso being that the same software is available to all teams equally. However, as a factory, Ducati has both the experience and the electronics engineers to get the most out of the more sophisticated software, something which the smaller teams simply cannot afford.

Below is the official press release announcing Ducati's decision to go Open:


Ducati Team to compete in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship under the Open option

  • Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will race their Desmosedici GP14 in the Open configuration.
  • Open option gives more freedom for development during the year.
  • Ducati Corse to keep developing their bikes during the championship to improve competitiveness.

Ducati Team has announced today that they will compete in the 2014 MotoGP Championship, taking advantage of the Open option.

The new MotoGP regulations, introduced this year, give each manufacturer the possibility to choose between two technical options: Factory and Open.

While in 2014 all bikes in the championship – Factory and Open - must use exactly the same Magneti Marelli ECU, the Open option also includes the obligation to use the standard DORNA software, however allowing more freedom in terms of engine development.

Ducati, after carefully considering the two options, has decided that the most suitable one for the current needs of the Bologna-based manufacturer is the Open one, which gives the possibility to the race department to continue the development of the bike and the engine throughout the entire season.

Recent tests carried out in Sepang by the Ducati Team riders, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, gave a positive feedback to the Ducati engineers and therefore, on the deadline of February 28, both riders have been entered into the championship with their Desmosedici GP14 bikes selecting the Open option.

The other Ducati contracted rider, Andrea Iannone, will also race for Pramac Racing Team with the same bike and option as the Ducati Team riders.

Luigi Dall'Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, commented: "We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation. This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs. We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and DORNA has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes".

Ducati have officially confirmed that they will race as Open class entries in the 2014 MotoGP season. Speaking to the media at Sepang, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced that all four Ducati machines will be entered under Open regulations. The decision has been the worst-kept secret in the paddock for some time, with rumors emerging earlier this year that the Italian manufacturer would abandon Factory Option status to switch to the freer Open class.Dall'Igna described the switch as 'the most interesting option for Ducati in the current situation'. Given the nature of Ducati's problems, they were left with virtually no option but to switch to the Open class. The engine freeze in place for Factory Option entries make it impossible to make significant changes to the bike layout, as the engine cases are fixed, right down to the engine mounting points. The freeze limits both engine development and chassis development as a result.

Marquez To Miss The Phillip Island Test, Will Next Ride At Qatar

Marc Marquez will not ride at the Phillip Island test, scheduled for next week, and will only return to riding at the first race of the season at Qatar. After meeting with Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona today, Marquez was told it would be better to rest and recuperate as fully as possible before attempting to ride a MotoGP bike again.

The decision to wait until the race at Qatar also settles a potential argument over testing at Phillip Island and Qatar. HRC had been contemplating sending Marquez to test with the satellite and Open class riders at Qatar, rather than the factory riders at Phillip Island, where they are testing tires for Bridgestone. Honda asked Race Direction for permission to allow Marquez to test at Qatar, but Yamaha and Ducati lodged an objection.

The split between factory and non-factory testing had been agreed at the end of last year, to give Bridgestone a chance to test tires, but Yamaha and Ducati feared that Marquez would gain an unfair advantage if he was allowed to test at Qatar just a week ahead of the season opener. If Marquez was to test at Qatar, Yamaha said, then Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi would test at Qatar as well, abandoning the tire test.

Paolo Ciabatti, head of Ducati's MotoGP project, told GPOne that allowing Marquez to test at Qatar would not be fair. They had put themselves at the disposal of the championship, to assist Bridgestone with the tire test, Ciabatti said. The Italian factory had originally proposed to test at Phillip Island only with their test riders, but Bridgestone had requested they send their factory riders, to provide the best data possible. Ducati had agreed, and they did not want to be punished by giving away an advantage to Marquez.

With Marquez now deciding to return only at the first race, the situation has been resolved. It also means that the reigning world champion has more time for his fractured fibula to heal. The official press release from Honda on the situation appears below:


Marquez to miss Phillip Island test

It is now confirmed that Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who broke his fibula last Wednesday in a training accident, will not be fit enough to test before the first race of 2014.

After a check-up today with Dr. Mir in Barcelona, it was advised that Marc takes this opportunity to rest, rather than risk further injury, in order to prepare for the Qatar GP, which will begin in just three weeks.

Marc Marquez

“I’m obviously disappointed that I’m not in Sepang at the moment and to miss Phillip Island is also unfortunate, but we believe it is the best decision. After my meeting today with Dr. Mir, although he was happy with the general situation of my leg after only seven days since the accident, he advised against taking unnecessary risk. So I will take time to rest and get myself as fit as possible to return to Qatar for the first race in the best shape possible”

Marc Marquez will not ride at the Phillip Island test, scheduled for next week, and will only return to riding at the first race of the season at Qatar. After meeting with Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona today, Marquez was told it would be better to rest and recuperate as fully as possible before attempting to ride a MotoGP bike again.The decision to wait until the race at Qatar also settles a potential argument over testing at Phillip Island and Qatar. HRC had been contemplating sending Marquez to test with the satellite and Open class riders at Qatar, rather than the factory riders at Phillip Island, where they are testing tires for Bridgestone. Honda asked Race Direction for permission to allow Marquez to test at Qatar, but Yamaha and Ducati lodged an objection.The split between factory and non-factory testing had been agreed at the end of last year, to give Bridgestone a chance to test tires, but Yamaha and Ducati feared that Marquez would gain an unfair advantage if he was allowed to test at Qatar just a week ahead of the season opener. If Marquez was to test at Qatar, Yamaha said, then Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi would test at Qatar as well, abandoning the tire test.

Movistar Confirm Sponsorship Of Yamaha MotoGP Team As Part Of TV Rights Package

Movistar is to sponsor Yamaha's MotoGP effort. At the presentation of Movistar's broadcast plans for the Grand Prix series in Spain last week, Luis Belo, Content Director for the Spanish telecommunications giant's digital TV channel Movistar TV, let slip that the company would also be backing the Yamaha Factory team in MotoGP, Spanish magazine Solomoto is reporting. The announcement confirms rumors of a deal between Movistar and Yamaha which have been doing the rounds since December. Yamaha have yet to officially confirm the deal, but that is only a matter of time.

The deal mirrors the situation in Italy, where new pay-per-view broadcaster Sky is backing the Moto3 team run in conjunction with Valentino Rossi's VR46 merchandising brand, fielding Romano Fenati and Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia. To help promote the pay-per-view channels which MotoGP is being broadcast on in Spain and Italy, Movistar and Sky are backing major teams in the championship. This is important for the two channels, as some of the races are also being broadcast on free-to-air channels in both Spain and Italy, in some cases on a tape delay basis. Having visible exposure on the bikes helps reinforce the message to audiences.

The pay-per-view TV contracts in MotoGP's biggest markets have seen losers as well as winners and losers. In Italy, the move from Mediaset to Sky has seen Italian teams struggle to raise sponsorship, especially in Moto2 and Moto3. Similarly, in Spain, a number of major teams have had phone calls from their backers after the pay-per-view deal with Movistar was announced. Long-running sponsorship deals were penned on the basis of all three MotoGP classes being broadcast free-to-air. Once it became apparent that Telecinco was unwilling to pay the 20+ million euros per year for the broadcast rights, and Movistar stepped in to cover the shortfall, using MotoGP as a tool to expand their share of the TV, internet and telephony market, sponsors in Moto2 and Moto3 especially have reduced their funding of the teams.

The return of Movistar means the return of a long-standing sponsor in the Grand Prix paddock. Movistar, and its parent company Telefonica, have long been involved in Grand Prix racing at all levels, including backing a support series and teams in the Spanish championship that went on to produce some of the top riders currently in the sport, as well as retired greats, including Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Daijiro Katoh, Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri, Julian Simon, Kenny Roberts Jr, Chaz Davies, Leon Camier and many more. Telefonica withdrew from the paddock in 2006, after losing Dani Pedrosa to Repsol. Telefonica had backed Pedrosa throughout his entire career, and had wanted to continue in MotoGP, but existing contracts with Repsol meant Honda had to choose between the two, electing instead to maintain the long-standing relationship with oil giant Repsol instead.

Movistar is to sponsor Yamaha's MotoGP effort. At the presentation of Movistar's broadcast plans for the Grand Prix series in Spain last week, Luis Belo, Content Director for the Spanish telecommunications giant's digital TV channel Movistar TV, let slip that the company would also be backing the Yamaha Factory team in MotoGP, Spanish magazine Solomoto is reporting. The announcement confirms rumors of a deal between Movistar and Yamaha which have been doing the rounds since December. Yamaha have yet to officially confirm the deal, but that is only a matter of time.The deal mirrors the situation in Italy, where new pay-per-view broadcaster Sky is backing the Moto3 team run in conjunction with Valentino Rossi's VR46 merchandising brand, fielding Romano Fenati and Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia. To help promote the pay-per-view channels which MotoGP is being broadcast on in Spain and Italy, Movistar and Sky are backing major teams in the championship. This is important for the two channels, as some of the races are also being broadcast on free-to-air channels in both Spain and Italy, in some cases on a tape delay basis. Having visible exposure on the bikes helps reinforce the message to audiences.

2014 MotoGP Calendar Finalized, Brazil Dropped, Aragon Moved

The FIM has today released the final, official version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar. As expected, the Brazil round has been dropped, after it became clear that construction work at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia would not be completed in time for the September round. To ease the congestion in that part of the season, the date of the Aragon round has now been pushed back a week, and will take place on 28th September, the date originally scheduled for Brazil.

The dropping of the Brazil round had been expected almost from the moment it was placed on the schedule. There were serious doubts that the circuit would be able to make the necessary changes in time for September 2014, and teams were informed of the doubts which Dorna and IRTA had. The inclusion of Brazil was a statement of intent, with both Dorna and the manufacturers keen to return to South America, as both Brazil and Argentina are key markets. Actually racing in Brazil will depend one of the circuits still in the country being able to make the necessary modifications to make it safe enough for Grand Prix motorcycles.

Below is the official, finalized version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar:

Date Grand Prix Circuit
23 March Qatar* Doha/Losail
13 April Americas Austin
27 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
04 May Spain  Jerez de la Frontera
18 May France Le Mans
1 June Italy Mugello
15 June Catalunya Barcelona- Catalunya
28 June Netherlands** TT Assen
13 July Germany Sachsenring
10 August Indianapolis GP Indianapolis
17 August Czech Republic Brno
31 August Great Britain Silverstone
14 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Marco Simoncelli Misano
28 September Aragon MotorLand
12 October Japan Motegi
19 October Australia Phillip Island
26 October Malaysia Sepang
09 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo-Valencia
* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
The FIM has today released the final, official version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar. As expected, the Brazil round has been dropped, after it became clear that construction work at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia would not be completed in time for the September round. To ease the congestion in that part of the season, the date of the Aragon round has now been pushed back a week, and will take place on 28th September, the date originally scheduled for Brazil.The dropping of the Brazil round had been expected almost from the moment it was placed on the schedule. There were serious doubts that the circuit would be able to make the necessary changes in time for September 2014, and teams were informed of the doubts which Dorna and IRTA had. The inclusion of Brazil was a statement of intent, with both Dorna and the manufacturers keen to return to South America, as both Brazil and Argentina are key markets. Actually racing in Brazil will depend one of the circuits still in the country being able to make the necessary modifications to make it safe enough for Grand Prix motorcycles.Below is the official, finalized version of the 2014 MotoGP calendar:

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