It Isn't January 1st Yet - MotoGPMatters.com 2009 Racing Calendar Still Shipping

Christmas may have come and gone, but the new year hasn't started yet, and so there is still time to order the 2009 MotoGPMatters.com Motorcycle Racing Calendar. Any orders placed this weekend for shipping to the US and Europe should be received before the start of 2009, if the storms lashing parts of North America and some areas in Europe don't hold the post up too much.

Antipodean motorcycle racing fans may be enjoying the Southern Hemisphere summer, but may have to wait a little longer for orders to reach their shores. But though you may spend the first few days of 2009 without the beautiful photography of Scott Jones, you won't have missed out on a key feature of the calendar: the full schedule of MotoGP and World Superbike rounds, starting in March and finishing in November. It's a vital tool when planning vacations, trips to races and your life in general.

If you really need the calendar in a hurry, or if you live outside of North America, Australia, South Africa or Europe, please send an e-mail to calendar@motogpmatters.com with your enquiry, and we'll answer your questions about the cost of express shipping, shipping to South America, the Middle East, etc.

The Calendar

Featuring a host of gorgeous photographs by Scott Jones, as well as a full listing of MotoGP and World Superbike weekends clearly marked on each month, it's the perfect schedule planner for motorcycle racing fans who don't want to miss the best racing on the planet. Printed using a four-color offset process, providing rich and beautiful photographs, the calendar measures 11" by 8.5", or 11" by 17" when folded out, with a photograph above a month grid.

Below is a sample month to give you an idea of the layout:

motogp motogpmatters calendar 2009 jorge lorenzo

 

21 vs 46 - 56 vs 58 - MotoGP vs Superbikes?

The relative fortunes of MotoGP and World Superbikes seem to swing back and forth like a pendulum over the years. As the popularity and profile of one series wanes, the other seems to grow to take its place.

Since the advent of the 990cc MotoGP bikes - or perhaps since the advent of Valentino Rossi to the premier class, two years earlier - it has been MotoGP which has taken its turn in the sun, the coming of the four strokes causing an exodus of talent from the World Superbike class. This inflow of talent into MotoGP also coincided with a number of developments in World Superbikes which added to the decline of the production-based class. Michelin dominated the series, supplying only a handful of riders, and making the racing predictable. After FGSport, the organizers of the series, decided to go to a spec tire, handing the contract to Pirelli, the Japanese factories - already only sparsely represented - withdrew their support, leaving World Superbikes to make the epithet "Ducati Cup" even more deserved.

But as the implications of an earlier rule change upping the permitted capacity for four cylinder bikes to 1000cc started to tempt the Japanese factories back to the series, the racing started to improve. Then with the return to the series of Troy Bayliss in 2006, and the coming of Max Biaggi in 2007, the popularity of World Superbikes started to wax once again, soon threatening to eclipse MotoGP. World Superbikes' rise was helped along by the dismal racing produced by the new 800cc formula in MotoGP, as a combination of smaller engine capacity, much tighter fuel restrictions, and the arrival of a new breed of rider more interested in riding with surgical precision than engaging in armed combat saw the races become increasingly processional, and lose much of the element of competition.

And it isn't just the fans who are showing more interest in World Superbikes: Interest is growing in the MotoGP paddock as well. The latest round of speculation was started by Valentino Rossi, who, it transpired after the event, had tried and failed to arrange a wildcard appearance at the final round of the World Superbike series at the magnificent Portimao circuit in Portugal. He repeatedly expressed his admiration for the close racing which the World Superbike series throws up - though ironically, an unleased Troy Bayliss dominated both races in Portugal - and has repeatedly stated his desire to take part in a World Superbike race at some point in the future.

Since failing to get a wildcard at Portugal, Rossi changed tack, attempting to organize a showdown with - now retired - Troy Bayliss at one of the two opening World Superbike rounds at Qatar or Phillip Island. So far, Rossi has failed to get his way, with Ducati chief Davide Tardozzi currently the main fly in the ointment. Bayliss has expressed an interest (though at an asking fee of a million pounds, one that comes at a price), but has for the most part held off the boat. Meanwhile, both Ducati's Tardozzi and Yamaha's racing chief Laurens Klein Koerkamp have played down the possibility of such a clash, as it would cast a fairly substantial spanner in their carefully laid plans for both World Superbikes and MotoGP.

But Valentino Rossi's status both inside and outside of motorcycle racing means that what Rossi wants, Rossi usually gets, with only a very few exceptions in the past. As much as Yamaha would hate Rossi to be racing in March, and risking an injury which could seriously hamper his title defence, the chances of the Japanese factory actually preventing Rossi from racing in World Superbikes are vanishingly small. That would leave the small matter of Troy Bayliss' fee, but if World Superbike organizer IMS and MotoGP promoter Dorna are smart, they would put together a special TV deal for something likely to be billed as the greatest sporting event since Muhammad Ali took on George Foreman in the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire in 1974. Such an event could help elevate motorcycle racing to the levels of Formula 1 and beyond.

FIM Announces New Tire Regulations For MotoGP And Other Changes

The FIM released a set of rule changes on Friday, for both the MotoGP and World Superbike series. For World Superbikes, the biggest change was the abolition - or rather, the change of format - of Superpole, switching to a Formula 1 style knock-out qualifying format. The bulk of the rule changes in MotoGP were of course the new tire regulations, but there were also a number of changes to the sporting regulations, to be applied to both series.

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of the rule changes were the changes to the tire regulations. These have now been modified to specify exactly how the single tire supplier situation will work, and it is clear that a great deal of effort has gone into ensuring that the rule is applied as fairly as possible. The most prominent example of this effort is the fact that tires will be allocated to the riders at random, and by Race Direction's Technical Director, to avoid any favoritism either by the tire company or at the behest of a particular team or rider. Otherwise, the rules are very much as had been predicted and discussed after the single tire rule was announced.

Tires

There will now officially be a single tire supplier. The tire supplier must make sure that they can supply enough tires for everyone, and that everyone will receive the same spec and same number of tires.

Tires will be selected at random and distributed by the Technical Director.

Tires are allocated to riders individually. If a rider is replaced due to injury, the rider drafted in to replace that rider will have to use the tires supplied to the rider they replace. In other words, if you break an arm on Friday afternoon, your replacement won't get to choose any new tires, but will be left with what remains of your allocation.

Each rider will have an allocation of 20 slick tires at each race weekend. There will be 2 different specifications ("A" and "B") available (most likely one harder specification, one softer). The allocation will be divided up as follows:

  • 4 "A" fronts
  • 4 "B" fronts
  • 6 "A" rears
  • 6 "B" rears

Each rider will have an allocation of 8 wet tires for each weekend: 4 fronts and 4 rears. There will only be a single wet-weather tire specification. If it rains in every session, then the riders will get 1 extra set of wets for the race.

Although no mention was made of intermediate tires in either the old regulations or in the new rules, there is a passage in the new rules which basically rules them out. Under the new regulations, only the tires supplier can cut tires, and any alterations to tires for one rider must be made identically available for all riders. As the rule stands, intermediate tires will only be cut from the available slicks if the tire supplier decides it is necessary, and the tire supplier must supply exactly the same tires for all riders. That basically means no individual rider is able to ask for intermediate tires any more.

Film Star Antonio Banderas To Run MotoGP Team?

Actors and racing are a potent combination, though usually a mess of contracts prevent any active involvement by the former in the latter, for fear any injuries incurred the actors involved might either delay expensive film production schedules, or worse, terminate an actor's career permanently.

There have been honorable exceptions, of course, the most famous being Paul Newman, whose greatest racing achievement was a 2nd place in the Le Mans 24 hour endurance car race. But usually, all actors can do is to run a team, as the least dangerous way to be involved in a sport they love, without risking injury.

Now, another famous face is to be added to their ranks: Spanish sports daily AS.com is reporting that Antonio Banderas is engaged in trying to get the finances together which would allow him to run a team in the 125 and 250cc championships, as well as the Spanish and European 125  championship. The Hollywood heart-throb is currently in talks with a number of parties (including the Austrian sports betting company Interwetten.com) to obtain the estimated 6 million euros which the plans would require.

FIM Boss: "We Must Reduce The Role Of Electronics In MotoGP"

The role which electronics play in modern motorcycle racing is a continuing cause of discussion, or perhaps controversy would be a better word. Almost everyone inside and outside racing has had their say on the matter, some more publicly than others. Opinion remains deeply divided between the "rider purists" and the "racing purists", with both sides expressing their opinions increasingly forcefully.

Now, a new voice has been added to the debate. In an interview with Octavio Estrada of Prototipos Racing, published on the Spanish website DailyMotos.com, FIM President Vito Ippolito has spoken out against the use of electronics in MotoGP, saying that "MotoGP must not make the same mistake that Formula 1 has made, where the role of the driver is reduced to a minimum."

But despite being arguably the most powerful man in world motorcycling, even Ippolito is powerless against the factories. For it is the manufacturers who are driving the development, and resisting any attempts at regulating the field in which they have sunk many millions of dollars, and which is one of the fields which is starting to trickle down into production motorcycles.

"I'm not against the technological development of the bikes," Ippolito said, "but today the electronics control everything, from traction control to the amount of power transmitted to the road and acceleration, which leaves little margin for the riders to exploit their abilities, and this technology is only available to the richest and most powerful teams."

Better Hurry If You Want The MotoGPMatters.com In Time For Christmas

With a week to go until Christmas, time is running out for gift shopping. And not only is it running out for gift shopping, it's running out for anyone in the US wanting delivery of the gorgeous 2009 MotoGPMatters.com motorcycle racing calendar. Under normal circumstances, USPS Priority Mail shipping would mean that the calendar could be delivered to your door within 2-3 days, but with the postal rush for the Holiday Season, even that cannot be guaranteed.

So if you want to be sure of gladdening the heart of your favorite MotoGP fan on Christmas morning, you need to get your order for the 2009 MotoGPMatters.com motorcycle racing calendar in today, and we will rush down to the post office to ensure it hits the mail on time. And with stocks starting to run low, you need to decide sooner rather than later.

For readers based in Europe, they too need to hurry if they still want a calendar before Christmas, while readers in Australia and New Zealand will need to send an e-mail to calendar@motogpmatters.com to enquire about the cost of express shipping.

The Calendar

Featuring a host of gorgeous photographs by Scott Jones, as well as a full listing of MotoGP and World Superbike weekends clearly marked on each month, it's the perfect schedule planner for motorcycle racing fans who don't want to miss the best racing on the planet. Printed using a four-color offset process, providing rich and beautiful photographs, the calendar measures 11" by 8.5", or 11" by 17" when folded out, with a photograph above a month grid.

Below is a sample month to give you an idea of the layout:

motogp motogpmatters calendar 2009 jorge lorenzo

Moto2 Class Confirmed In Spanish Championship For 2009

Shortly after the regulations for the new Moto2 class were announced, the RFME - the Spanish Motorcycling Federation, the organization which runs motorcycle racing in Spain - expressed an interest in running the new class as part of the Spanish CEV Championship. And now, just a few days later, the Spanish Federation has made good on that statement: In a press release issued today, the RFME announced its intention to run a Moto2 class alongside the existing CEV championship.

Exact details have not been released yet - the RFME say that they expect to release the exact technical and sporting regulations shortly - and the series will only go ahead if the RFME receive enough entries for all of the CEV rounds currently scheduled. But the hope is that enough teams will be interested to take part, and that this series will serve as a proving ground for the point at which the Moto2 class replaces the 250cc class in 2011.

The entry list for the Moto2 series will be worth watching very closely. Both the number of entrants, and the parties who choose to build bikes for this will point the way to the success of the series. Several parties are believed to be interested in the series - Moriwaki having already built a prototype - but that interest may not translate into actual participation. Oscar Gallardo, the man who runs the CEV championship, told AS.com that the series would need two weeks' notice to organize. As the CEV is due to start on April 19th, we should now exactly how much interest there is by the beginning of April.

No Mention Of MotoGP In Honda CEO's Year End Speech

No news is good news, the old saying runs, and never has that been truer than for MotoGP fans after Honda CEO Takeo Fukui's end-of-year speech. Reports in the Spanish media - emanating mostly from the magazine Solo Moto - had suggested that Fukui would seize that opportunity to announce Honda's withdrawal from MotoGP. But fortunately for MotoGP fans - and for the MotoGP series - Fukui announced no such thing.

His speech certainly contained a lot of bad news: Delays in bringing a number of new factories into production; Confirmation of Honda's withdrawal from F1; Cancellation of some model development; Even cutting of salaries and reviews of bonuses for senior Honda management. But no word on the future of MotoGP.

While this is not quite confirmation that Honda will be staying, a lot of the announcements once again reaffirmed the importance of motorcycles in Honda's business strategy. Motorcycle sales were overall much stronger than Honda's car sales, growing 12% where car sales were flat, and are expected to grow by another 10.5% next year, where Honda expects car sales to fall by 7% in the same period. Fukui was emphatic: "History shows that motorcycles remain strong in a difficult market environment and have always supported Honda in difficult times."

So it seems like our friends over at the Italian site GPOne.com got it right when they said that they believed the stories (including the stories reported here) claiming Honda would pull out of MotoGP were nonsense. Even Valentino Rossi says that Honda will be staying, so our worst fears have allayed.

Honda Could Announce MotoGP Withdrawal On Friday

Honda's future in MotoGP has been an almost constant subject of debate since the announcement that the Japanese motoring giant was withdrawing from Formula One on December 5th this year. The situation was only made worse by American Honda's decision to withdraw from the AMA Superbike championship next year, announced exactly a week later. And now, it looks like there could be three "Black Fridays" in a row for Honda's involvement in racing.

For this Friday, December 19th, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui is due to deliver his end-of-year speech, and if reports from the Spanish press are to be believed, there is a real possibility that Fukui will announce the withdrawal of Honda from MotoGP. Both AS.com and Motociclismo.es have picked up a story by the weekly magazine Solo Moto, which quotes a spokesman from HRC as saying that "all of our projects are currently under consideration."

The problem, as you most likely guessed, is due to the global economic crisis. Honda's margins are under severe pressure, with sales slowing worldwide, a fact confirmed by a drop of nearly 27% in new car registrations in Western Europe. And as profits fall, Honda is coming under extreme pressure from investors to cut costs. Investors reacted positively to both Honda's F1 pullout, as well as their withdrawal from the AMA, despite the vast difference in budgets for the two activities, and Solo Moto believes that MotoGP is their next target.

FIM Releases MotoGP Entry List: 19 In MotoGP, 22 In 250s, 29 In 125s

The FIM today released the provisional entry list for the MotoGP series, encompassing the MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc classes. As expected, the MotoGP class has 19 entries, the single tire rule freeing up the equipment for Sete Gibernau's team.

Perhaps the best news is the entry list of 22 riders for the 250cc class. With KTM's withdrawal from the class earlier this year, it looked for a while like there could be fewer than the minimum of 15 entries required for a World Championship to be organized. Since then, a number of privateer teams have entered Aprilia LE's, and Aspar has found sponsorship from the new Balatonring circuit in Hungary to provide former 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi with factory equipment.

FIM Provisional Entry List 2009 

Ezpeleta: "The Electronics Aren't To Blame"

There are many people around the world with opinions about MotoGP - some more informed, some less - but there is one voice that is always listened to, when its owner chooses to speak. That man is, of course, Carmelo Ezpeleta, the CEO of Dorna, the body which runs MotoGP. Ezpeleta is both admired for the huge strides in popularity and exposure that MotoGP has made under his leadership, and despised for what some see as the crippling of MotoGP, by switching from the old 990cc formula to the 800s.

Ezpeleta's critics' greatest fear is that he will continue to meddle with MotoGP rules, in the hope of achieving certain competitive outcomes. Both the new tire regulations and the switch from 990cc to 800cc were done on the pretext of safety, in the hope of slowing bikes down. But the cynics take the fact that both the 800s and the new single tires have seen lap records shattered as proof of their argument that Ezpeleta is interfering in the hope of making the racer closing.

The Spanish MotoGP chief has made no secret of his desire to limit the role of electronics in racing, but in an interview with the Spanish weekly magazine Motociclismo, translated and annotated by Speed TV's Dennis Noyes, Ezpeleta reveals some remarkable insights.

Still Shipping In Time For Christmas: The MotoGPMatters.com 2009 Motorcycle Racing Calendar

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I'm sure that like me, many of you are running out of gift ideas. Luckily for anyone who is a race fan or knows a race fan, the ideal affordable motorcycle racing gift is still on sale: The 2009 MotoGPMatters.com motorcycle racing calendar!

Featuring a host of gorgeous photographs by Scott Jones, as well as a full listing of MotoGP and World Superbike weekends clearly marked on each month, it's the perfect schedule planner for motorcycle racing fans who don't want to miss the best racing on the planet. Printed using a four-color offset process, providing rich and beautiful photographs, the calendar measures 11" by 8.5", or 11" by 17" when folded out, with a photograph above a month grid.

Below is a sample month to give you an idea of the layout:

motogp motogpmatters calendar 2009 jorge lorenzo

So get your orders in quickly so that we can get this to you in time for the gift-giving season, and before we run out. Orders can be made by Paypal, as shown below. For orders of more than 2 calendars, or for shipping options outside of the countries shown below, send an e-mail to calendar@motogpmatters.com.

Orders for 1 Calendar

2008 Kyalami World Superbike Testing - Final Day 3 Times

Testing concluded today for the final World Superbike test of the year, in Kyalami, South Africa. And once again, as he had done the previous two days, it was Michel Fabrizio on the factory Ducati who finished on top of the pile. Ben Spies was back in 2nd place again on Friday, having managed not to crash his Yamaha R1, as he did on Thursday. Meanwhile, it was Noriyuki Haga rounding out the top 3, and the last of the riders to have cracked into the 1'39 bracket.

The Hondas improved once again, with Johnny Rea and Carlos Checa setting the 4th and 5th fastest times, and a good deal more competitive than on the first day of the test, when they were some 4 seconds slower.

In the new machinery stakes, Aprilia continues to beat BMW, with Max Biaggi fastest, 6/10ths faster than his team mate Shinya Nakano, and nearly 4/10ths faster than Troy Corser on the BMW. But Corser was hampered by a crash earlier in the day, which he escaped form unscathed.

Final times from day 3:

Moto2 Bikes To Run In Spain In 2009, With 250s In 2010

With the ink for the brand new Moto2 regulations still damp on the page (summarized here), proposals are already being made to start racing the bikes as soon as possible. According to Spanish sports daily AS.com, the Moto2 bikes could get their first outing alongside the Spanish CEV series in 2009.

Oscar Gallardo, the former Dakar racer who now runs the Spanish championship, told AS.com that the CEV could get a series up and running very quickly, if they had sufficient bikes. "We would need a minimum of 10 to 15 bikes to organize a championship, something we could do very quickly. The 2009 CEV is due to start on April 19th in Albacete, it would be feasible to organize a Moto2 championship with about two weeks' notice."

"We know that some teams have been preparing bikes for some time," Gallardo told AS.com, a fact confirmed to MotoGPMatters.com by Ronald ten Kate at Portimao. "We're just waiting for a set of rules to be announced," Ten Kate said back in November, confirming the Ten Kate team's interest in providing equipment to the class. Moriwaki have already showed a bike they had prepared in Japan, and rumors persist of Honda having a Moto2 bike ready to race.

The Spanish CEV series - technically it would probably be a "Cup", allowing riders in the other CEV classes to compete, something currently forbidden Spanish championship rules - would then be used as a proving ground for an early entry of the bikes into the 250 class. According to Motorcycle News, the 600cc Moto2 bikes could run alongside the 250cc two strokes as early as 2010. The decision to run the 600s together with the 250s will be taken based on whether or not the 600cc bikes can compete with the 250s.

That is indeed the million dollar question. In an analysis done by Dennis Noyes over on SpeedTV.com, the veteran motorcycle racing writer compares the current World Supersport times at Valencia and Jerez to times set by the 250s during the MotoGP round and the Spanish CEV Supersport and 1000cc Formula Extreme races. What is clear is that the 250s are 1-2 seconds faster than the Supersport 600s, but then the Supersport machines weigh in the region of 160kg, as opposed to the 135kg permitted for the Moto2 bikes.

2008 Kyalami World Superbike Testing - Day 2 Times

World Superbike testing continues at Kyalami, and the WSBK regulars have picked up the pace. Once again it was Michel Fabrizio who was quickest, taking almost a second off his time from yesterday. Young German rider Max Neukirchner was 2nd quickest on the Suzuki, ahead of Nori Haga on the Ducati. Haga managed to stay aboard today, after crashing three times on Wednesday.

The Ten Kate Honda team also made a huge leap, going 3 seconds faster than yesterday, while Shinya Nakano managed to beat his Aprilia team mate Max Biaggi once again. After his strong start yesterday, Ben Spies could only manage the 9th fastest time on the Yamaha R1, taking half a second off his time from Wednesday.

Times from day 2:

1Michel FabrizioDucati1'40.256
2Max NeukirchnerSuzuki1'40.688
3Noriyuki HagaDucati1'40.709
4Carlos ChecaHonda1'40.725
5Jonathan ReaHonda1'40.842
6Yukio KagayamaSuzuki1'40.959
7Shinya NakanoAprilia1'40.968
8Max BiaggiAprilia1'41.041
9Ben SpiesYamaha1'41.049
10Ryuichi KiyonariHonda1'41.412
11Troy CorserBMW1'41.986
12Ruben XausBMW1'42.438
13Tom SykesYamaha1'42.933
14Kenan SofuogluHonda (Supersport)1'43.755
15Andrew PittHonda (Supersport)1'44.101

 

Syndicate content

GTranslate