The Drive M7 Aspar Team have released a video with Nicky Hayden, in which he looks back at preseason testing and ahead to the 2014 MotoGP season. In the video, Hayden talks about the progress being made during testing, the strengths of the Honda RCV1000R, as well as its weaknesses, his objectives for 2014, and what he expects for this season.
Motorcycle racing fans will get their chance to see world championship motorcycle racing at Laguna Seca this year. Today, the World Superbike press office confirmed that the Laguna Seca round of WSBK is to go ahead as scheduled. The California circuit is to host the World Superbike class on 11-13th of July this year. The round has been secured with the financial backing of US insurance giant GEICO.
The press release confirming the round appears below:
U.S. Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca confirmed
Barcelona (Spain), Tuesday 11 March 2014 - GEICO Motorcycle has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship which will take place on July 11-13 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on California’s scenic central coast.
“GEICO is a natural partner for this incredible motorcycle race weekend that provides access to an influential and extremely loyal enthusiast base,” commented Gill Campbell, CEO and General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “As part of the sponsorship program, GEICO will activate onsite and be part of a vigorous website and social media initiative program.”
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of the final test at Jerez:
Takaaki Nakagami has topped the timesheets at the end of the first day of testing for the Moto2 class at Jerez. With the teams and riders having taken delivery of the 2014-spec Honda engines and ECU, the field got down to work on their race set up at the final test of the season ahead of the first race at Qatar.
Nakagami topped the timesheets in the two later sessions of the test, ending the day two tenths up on Tom Luthi, the Interwetten Paddock rider putting in a very solid performance during the preseason. Speed Up rider Sam Lowes continues to make outstanding progress on his Moto2 debut, the reigning World Supersport champion a third of a second off the time of Nakagami. Lowes' position also leaves three chassis makers in the top three, the Suter of Luthi and Speed Up of Lowes close to the Kalex of Nakagami.
Differing fortunes for the Moto2 rookies, Luis Salom ending the day in 4th, while Moto3 champion Maverick Viñales finished in 14th, a second off the pace of Nakagami. Viñales is still feeling the after effects of a crash at the last day of the previous test, but is fit enough to ride. Ricky Cardus made his debut replacing the injured Alex Marinelarena with the Tech 3 team.
After a windy start to the final Moto3 test of the season, Romano Fenati ended the first day in Jerez at the top of the timesheets. The Team Sky VR46 rider topped two of the three sessions for the Moto3 class, ending the day a tenth of a second ahead of Karel Hanika. The young Czech rookie continues to impress on his debut in the class, finishing ahead of his teammate and title favorite Jack Miller, while Danny Kent took 4th on the Husqvarna.
Efren Vazquez was the fastest of the Hondas, the Racing Team Germany rider just under half a second off the pace of Fenati. The Hondas of Estrella Galicia teammates Alex Marquez and Alex Rins were not far behind, Marquez three hundredths slower than Vazquez, Rins nine hundredths slower.
Times at the end of day 1:
The Repsol Media Service issued a press release today containing an interview with 2013 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, as he prepares to defend his title. In the interview, Marquez discusses recovering from the injury he sustained during practice, gives his view of the preseason so far, and makes a prediction for the upcoming season. The press release appears below, as does the video of the interview:
"Defending the title is a new challenge for me"
Reigning MotoGP World Champion analyses the start of the upcoming season, as he continues his recovery from a fractured fibula.
The countdown continues for Marc Marquez as he awaits the first race of 2014 in Qatar. The reigning MotoGP World Champion sat out the recent Malaysian and Australian tests due to a fractured fibula, and acknowledges that he will be at less than 100% for the season opener, but is confident about participating. The Repsol Honda rider talks about how he approaches his sophomore season in the premier class, in which he faces the difficult challenge of defending the title.
So, who is to blame for the three-class farce? When the 'Factory 2' regulations were first announced, fans and followers were quick to point the finger of blame at Honda. With good reason: HRC has made a series of comments about the way everyone except HRC have interpreted the Open class regulations. Honda thought it was their duty to build a production racer, so that is what they did. The fact that it is hopelessly uncompetitive against the Forward Yamahas – 2013-spec satellite Yamaha M1s running the 2013-spec Open software – led to suggestions from Honda that what Yamaha was doing was unfair. When Ducati announced that they would also be switching to the Open category, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo was quick to denounce the move, saying it would drive costs up for the Open class teams. It was easy to put two and two together, and come up with HRC putting pressure on Dorna to impose a penalty on Ducati, for fear of them exploiting the benefits of the Open class.
Those putting two and two together appear to have come up with a number which is not as close to four as they thought, however. The proposal for the new 'Factory 2' category did indeed come in response to pressure, but the pressure was not so much from Honda, as it was from the other Open class and satellite teams. They objected to Ducati coming in to the Open class at the same time as the new, radically updated and expanded version of the spec Magneti Marelli software was introduced. This version has vastly more capabilities than last year's version, as well as the mildly updated version used at the Sepang 1 test. The 2014 software was created by Magneti Marelli based in part on the input from Ducati, offered at the request of Dorna. Honda and Yamaha were also asked to contribute, but apparently refused.
The Open teams lack the experience and the staff to fully use the capabilities the 2014 software offers. If they chose to use it, they risked going slower, rather than faster. Ducati, on the other hand, has plenty of electronics engineers they can put to work optimizing every aspect of the new software. Put the complex software together with extra fuel Ducati is allowed under the Open class, and their performance is much more in line with the factory Yamaha and Honda teams than the Open teams. This was an unfair advantage, the Open teams said, and complained to Dorna.
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.
The Ducati MotoGP team today held their launch for 2014 at the Audi forum in Munich, where they presented their new livery for 2014. Below is the press release issued for the launch, as well as photos of their 2014 MotoGP bike:
Ducati Team presented at the Audi Forum in Munich
- Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow will take part in the MotoGP World Championship with the Desmosedici GP14 in Open configuration
- Ducati Team sporting programmes and Desmosedici GP14 technical content presented at Audi Forum
- The new GP14 livery to be revealed in a second event at the Audi Zentrum in Eching, in the “pre-night” before tomorrow’s Audi Annual Press Conference in Ingolstadt
Munich (Germany), Monday 10 March 2014: The Ducati Team for the 2014 MotoGP World Championship was presented today in an original location in Germany. Confirming the close ties and synergy between the Bologna-based manufacturer and the Audi Group, the official presentation of the Ducati Team was held at the Audi Forum inside Munich Airport.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the final day of testing at Qatar:
Aleix Espargaro has stamped his authority on the final day of the test for non-factory teams at Qatar, blitzing to a remarkable time of 1'54.874 on the Open Forward Yamaha, less than two tenths off the pole position set by Jorge Lorenzo at last year's race. Aleix led an Espargaro 1-2 and a Yamaha clean sweep, ending just ahead of brother Pol on the Tech 3 Yamaha, and fifteen hundredths ahead of the second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha of Bradley Smith.
It was not all good news for the Espargaro brothers, however. Pol crashed towards the end of the evening, falling heavily and breaking his left collarbone. The Spaniard is flying to Barcelona tonight and will undergo surgery to fix the collarbone, in an attempt to be fit for the season opener which takes place in two weeks' time. Pol was not the only rider to crash; both Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista had offs, though neither rider suffered any injury.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams at the second day of the final test at Qatar:
After the Yamahas took the honors on the first day of the Qatar MotoGP test, on Saturday, it was the turn of the Hondas to shine. Alvaro Bautista set a fast time early on during the test, which was good enough stay at the top of the timesheet for the rest of the session. Stefan Bradl grabbed the second spot behind the Go&Fun Gresini Honda of Bautista, the LCR Honda man three tenths slower than the Spaniard. Aleix Espargaro once again led the Yamaha charge with a late lap, but though he came within a tenth of the time of Bradl, he was nearly four tenths off the pace set by Bautista.
Bradley Smith led the Monster Tech 3 team, just behind Aleix Espargaro but once again frustrated at not being the fastest Yamaha. Once again, however, Smith's pace was consistently fast, posting a lot of laps in the high 1'55s and very low 1'56s. Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro was 5th, a quarter of a second behind Smith and seven tenths off the pace of Bautista, while Andrea Iannone was the first of the Ducatis on the timesheet, the last rider to get within a second of the time of Bautista.
While their factory counterparts are on aircraft heading back from Phillip Island, everyone not on a factory team (that's factory, small F, not Factory Option, capital F capital O) have spent the day at their own test at Qatar. As always, the first day back at the desert track means a horribly dusty surface, which led a large group of riders to sit out the first hour or so of the test. Once the more eager of the riders - none more so than Danilo Petrucci, keen to get back on a bike for the first time after the winter layoff - had cleaned the track a little, and the track had cooled after the sun had gone down, the full pack headed out for the final test before the season started.
It came as no surprise to see Aleix Espargaro topping the timesheets a the end of the day. The NGM Forward rider has been fast all pre-season, Espargaro extracting every last ounce of performance from the Forward Yamaha, taking full advantage of the softer rear tire made available to the Open class machines (and now nicely color-coded to make tire choice more visible.) There is however no more mention of FTR in the Forward garage, the bikes appearing as Forward Yamahas on the entry list, and Colin Edwards admitting to Motorcycle News that he did not expect to see a chassis from FTR this year. The rumors of unpaid bills appear to have some weight behind them, despite the official denial issued by FTR in February.
Bridgestone is to introduce an improved method of marking slick tires for 2014. A new system of color-coding will make distinguishing between the various options much easier for fans to identify who is using which tire. The four different compounds which could potentially be available at each round (two for the Factory Option category, two for the Open category) are identified using four different colors: red for hard, black (or no stripe) for medium, white for soft, and green for extra-soft. Below is the Bridgestone press release explaining the color-coding system:
Bridgestone introduces new slick tyre marking system for 2014 MotoGP™ season
Friday, March 7 2014
From the first race of the 2014 season, Bridgestone will employ a new colour marking system for its MotoGP™ tyres to make it easier for spectators to see which front and rear tyre options each rider is using at a given time.