Latest MotoGP News
Ill fortune has once again befallen Valentino Rossi in the off season. According to reports on GPOne.com, the multiple world champion was rushed to hospital in Pesaro last night with severe abdominal pains. The reports further state that tests showed Rossi to be suffering from a serious inflammation of the appendix. Doctors treating Rossi decided that emergency surgery was not necessary, and the Italian was sent home to rest.
According to GPOne.com, the problem will not require surgery to remove Rossi's appendix, but will be treated using a course of rest and antibiotics. This seems a highly unusual step, as appendicitis - especially acute appendicitis - always involves surgery, invariably removing the mysterious organ to avoid further complication. The risk of infection from an inflamed appendix is great, and commonly leads to peritonitis which can be fatal. The minor risk from surgery hugely outweighs the major risk of leaving an infected appendix in place.
After a year which started without a ride and was later blighted by injuries, John Hopkins career looked to be heading into a dead end. The competitive rides in both MotoGP and World Superbikes filled up, leaving the former factory Suzuki and Kawasaki MotoGP rider without a seat in 2010.
His salvation looked like coming from Italy, where the FB Corse MotoGP team had pencilled him in as their rider for the development year 2010. The role would mainly involve a lot of testing of the 800cc triple, designed by Oral Engineering and based on the previous design for BMW. However, the FB Corse team were confident of competing in several MotoGP rounds as a wildcard, and possibly even racing a full season. But given that development on the FB Corse MotoGP bike is still at an early stage, the bike is unlikely to be competitive.
So it looks like John Hopkins is turning his attentions elsewhere. Despite having a verbal agreement to ride the FB Corse bike, Hopper's management is hard at work making alternative arrangements back in the US. A story over on GPOne.com had previously linked Hopkins to a ride on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki in the AMA, but given the American's long-standing relationship with Monster Energy, the likelihood of Hopper riding for another brand of energy drink seemed highly unlikely.
The third day of Ducati's traditional MotoGP team launch saw several events of real note. The most prominent but probably least significant was the official unveiling of Ducati's 2010 Desmosedici GP10, the machine that Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner will be campaigning in the upcoming season. The bike had been unofficially "unveiled" some three weeks ago, when Nicky Hayden put some photos he'd taken with his iPhone on his personal website without first obtaining permission from Ducati. "It probably got me in the doghouse a bit," Hayden admitted, but as the bike had already made its debut at the Valencia post-race tests, no real harm was done.
High in the snow-covered Dolomite mountains, in the part of Northern Italy so bitterly fought over during the Great War, the Italian motorsport giants Ducati and Ferrari hold their annual press introductions. It's a chance to show off the new big-bang Desmosedici GP10 - though Nicky Hayden had already inadvertently leaked photos of the bike on his website at the end of last year - and for the press to talk to Hayden and Casey Stoner in a more relaxed setting, without the pressure of a race weekend.
Ducati have also thoughtfully provided some video footage from the event. Today's episode features a couple of brief interviews with Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner, perhaps the most interesting part of which is Stoner's discussion of his health. The Australian believes that he has found the key to the mystery illness that destroyed his 2009 season, with lactose intolerance the culprit. Since finding the problem, Stoner has been able to train as he wishes without suffering the devastating fatigue and illness that dogged him in 2009.
Watch the video and interviews, courtesy of Ducati Corse:
Daniele Romagnoli's decision to depart from his role as team manager for Jorge Lorenzo's side of the Fiat Yamaha garage led to some fervent speculation among paddock regulars over who would take his place. Names from all around the MotoGP paddock were mentioned, along with one or two from the support classes. But developments in the World Superbike paddock were eventually to provide the answer.
For today, Yamaha confirmed that Wilco Zeelenberg is to take over as Lorenzo's team manager, as we reported he would before Christmas. The Dutchman was previously team manager of Yamaha's World Supersport team, helping Cal Crutchlow to Yamaha's first WSS title since Jorg Teuchert in 2000. But the financial crisis and its aftermath forced Yamaha to reevaluate its racing program, with their World Supersport program as the most significant victim.
The FB Corse project grows more serious in its intent. When it was first announced in September 2009, there was some scepticism as to whether the bike would actually make an appearance on the grid. The inline triple was based around the engine, designed and built by the Italian engineering firm Oral Engineering, which BMW had intended to use for their abandoned MotoGP project, and there was some doubt that the engine design could be competitive. As the start of the season approaches, however, the participation of FB Corse is looking ever more likely.
The team had previously announced that they had signed former Suzuki and Kawasaki MotoGP star John Hopkins, though Hopkins' manager denied that the American had put his signature to the deal and was still in negotiations. While Hopper's participation is still not 100% certain, the role of test rider has already been agreed with Luca Cadalora, former 125 and 250cc World Champion, and 500cc race winner. The 46-year-old Italian has followed the progress of the FB Corse project with interest, and has agreed to give the bike a shakedown test at Vallelunga in the next few weeks.
Though the gift-giving season may be past, the motorcycle racing season is still a long way off. To help ease the wait, and to aid you in planning your life around the MotoGP and World Superbike racing series, as befits a true race fan, you can still get your hands on one of our beautiful 2010 Motorcycle Racing Calendars. With January one quarter gone, you will have missed eight days of looking at Scott Jones' beautiful action shot of Colin Edwards, but February's stunning shot of Valentino Rossi, brakes lit up at Qatar, should more than compensate you for that, along with 10 other fantastic photos and a double-page spread of the 2009 World Champion Rossi.
Since Aprilia made its rather precipitate and baffling decision to withdraw from the Moto2 championship, despite having a bike nearly ready to race, there has been much speculation about what the Aspar team would do. The Aspar team, named after its team manager, Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez, have been the leading team in MotoGP's support classes for many years now, and had very strong bonds with Aprilia, for whom they had won large stack of world championships.
At the Valencia Moto2 tests, Aspar's potential Moto2 riders, Mike di Meglio and reigning 125cc World Champion Julian Simon, had tested a range of other Moto2 bikes, but up until the final days of 2009, Martinez had been hoping to strike some kind of deal with Aprilia to continue development of the existing bikes under the banner of the Aspar team. Once Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno vetoed that plan, Aspar had no choice but to try to make a choice from the other possible candidates.
That process now appears to be approaching a conclusion. According to the Spanish sports daily AS.com, the Aspar team is close to announcing that they will be using the Italian-built RSV DR 600 to contest the inaugural Moto2 world championship in 2010. After evaluating the BQR Blusens, FTR, Suter, Kalex and RSV bikes, the team had narrowed down the choice between the Kalex and the RSV. "Of all the bikes we tested," Jorge Martinez told AS.com, "the Kalex and the RSV were the bikes we liked most."
Our trip through Scott Jones' MotoGP images comes to an end today, with a look back at the remarkable race at Indianapolis. The facilities are astonishing, the track layout is surprisingly good for what is known locally as a "Roval" (a road course inside an oval), the organization is amazing. Throughout the weekend, only two recurring complaints could be heard: the huge amount of chain link fencing used to protect the public from flying car parts when the four-wheelers race here saw photographers crowding around the few fence openings like seals at an arctic breathing hole; and there wasn't a decent cup of coffee to be had in a thousand miles or more, reducing European journalists (for this is the fuel upon which their work depends) to gibbering wrecks.
As the New Year begins, we approach the final instalments of our trip down memory lane, and what a memory it was! The first lot of photos from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a truly remarkable facility, steeped in history unlike almost any other racetrack I have visited. Only Monza comes close, both places being haunted by racing's rich past. More to come tomorrow.
After two previous chapters, we come to an end of Scott Jones' beautiful photos from Donington Park. Despite the rain, it was a fantastic weekend, which threw up a fair number of surprises. Tragically, and as a result of gross incompetence, Donington Park has been vandalized in a desperate and ultimately failed attempt to attract Formula 1, and now the track is all but unusable. Next year, we go to Silverstone, and with your help, Scott and I will be there to try and capture the moment in words and pictures.
After yesterday's trip down the pit lane at Donington, today we turn our attention to the track. Scott Jones captured some of the crucial moments from July's British Grand Prix at Donington, including the protagonists from the race and the highlights from practice. The final set of photos go up on Sunday, and they are well worth the wait.
The fourth part of our trip down memory lane brings us to one of the most memorable parts of the season: The last ever trip MotoGP would make to Donington Park. Scott Jones' wonderful images bring a tear to the eye of anyone who loves the sweep of Craner Curves or the glory of Schwantz and McLeans. So rich is the bounty that we have had to split the photos over three sessions, all of them worth poring over and savoring. And remember, if you see anything that you like, you can contact Scott and get a poster-sized image for your wall.
Scott Jones took too many fantastic photographs at the Sachsenring, so many that we've had to split our review of them over two days. Double the quantity, double the pleasure, and what better way to get 2010 started?
Another day, another set of beautiful photographs taken by MotoMatters.com snapper Scott Jones. That weekend saw the weather play a major role, with race day finally drying up and producing three great races, including a scintillating MotoGP contest. Relive it all again in glorious color: