Tag: MotoGP

MotoGP: Sepang Test 2, Day 3: Marquez ends test on top

Reigning MotoGP world champion takes fastest lap on day three ahead of Lorenzo and Crutchlow

Marc Marquez signed off at the second MotoGP test in Malaysia with the fastest time on day three today.

The Honda rider dominated days two and three at the Sepang circuit, the Spaniard followed into second place by Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in third.

Marquez was again quick to set the pace early on and while he didn’t equal his track record from the first Sepang test, he eventually set a time of 1:59.115 on lap 13 of a total of 73, the 22-year-old spending the remainder of the day focusing on set-up and chassis comparison rather than further time attack laps.

Lorenzo was also quick to post a time early before the humid conditions got any hotter, the Spaniard 0.322s off Marquez and 0.221s ahead of Crutchlow, who made a leap in improvement today on his RC213V machine.

Ducati’s Andrea Iannone was fourth today with a best lap of 1:59.722, and while Andrea Dovizioso may have finished in 10th today, both Italians were very fast in adapting to the new Desmosedici GP15 over the three days.

Valentino Rossi was not able to match the top three today, the seven times MotoGP champion in fifth just 0.050s ahead of Bradley Smith on the satellite Yamaha Tech 3 machine.

Dani Pedrosa ended the day in seventh place, the Honda rider the final man to break the two-minute mark with his best lap of 1m 59.912s to see him ahead of Open Class rider Hector Barbera for the Avintia Racing team with a stunning time of 2:00.244 good enough for eight place and ahead of the factory machine of Suzuki rider Aleix Espargaro.

Read more at motorsport.com

MotoGP: Sepang Test 2, Day 2: Marquez goes quickest

Marc Marquez returned to the top of the timing sheets on the second day of testing at the Sepang circuit.

The double MotoGP champion was the first rider to lap under the two-minute barrier this week, with Jorge Lorenzo also improving by three places today to end up in second and the Ducati GP15 machine of Andrea Iannone in third.

Marquez was quick to get up to speed and was immediately fas, and with the forecast at the Malaysian track predicting thunderstorms for the afternoon, the Honda rider made sure he put in a brace of fast times early on, in which came his time of 1:59.844, with Lorenzo the only other rider to break the two-minute mark with a lap of 1:59.90s.

Despite not being able to match the top two riders’ times, Ducati will be very happy with factory riders Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, who finished in third and fourth respectively following a last-gasp effort from Iannone late in the day.

Dani Pedrosa (2:00.275) progressed well but could not match the pace of the front men as was the story with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (2:00.308) who led early on but fell off the pace later on and end today in sixth place.

Bradley Smith ended the day in seventh place for the Tech 3 Yamaha team, the British rider getting the better of teammate Pol Espargaro today by the tune of three places with Espargaro grabbing the tenth best time today but both riders continue to successfully chip away at lowering their laptimes.

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is continuing to adapt to his factory RC213V machine and finished with a best lap of 2:00.509 to see him in eighth today while Aleix Esapargaro continues to improve the pace of the Suzuki MotoGP machine with the ninth fastest time.

Read more at motorsport.com

MotoGP: Sepang Test 2, Day 1: Rossi uses new gearbox to full advantage to lead

Valentino Rossi got the first day of the second MotoGP test at Sepang in the best way possible with the Movistar Yamaha rider ending the day in the top position on the timing sheets.

The Italian rider leaped into the lead in the morning and remained at the top for the day.

Rossi was also using a new updated seamless gearbox at today’s test with the seven-times MotoGP champion confirming his initial feelings with the new part afterwards. Rainfall put a stop to any fast laps late in the afternoon leaving Rossi on top with a best time of 2m 0.414s and ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro in third position.

“Everybody in our team was curious about the updated gearbox and the first impression is quite positive, so I’m happy,” said Rossi who continued, “It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s a small help in a difficult point where we need to improve. The bike is a bit better in braking and corner entry and I think we need to work to understand the maximal potential, but the first test was good. I am happy to finish in the first position because I was in P1 from this morning, so it’s a good first day.

It’s important for us to make some kilometers on the wet. I don’t really like the feeling with the bike on the wet and last year I struggled a bit. We already improved a bit today, but we need to do some more testing and make some more kilometers,” he added.

Pedrosa carried his strong form over from the first test in Sepang at the start of the month and focused today on his suspension and engine mapping settings on his RC213V. The Spaniard ended the day with a best lap of 2m 0.543s and speaking afterward he said, “Today we focused on testing different setups for the bike and I think it went well. We have not tried any new parts, instead confirming our findings with what we had at the last test, even though the track was not perfect. It rained at the end, so we could also ride a little in those conditions. Tomorrow we will continue testing some changes to the setup, to see if we can come up with some improvements that allow us to ride more comfortably.”

Espargaro is quickly marking himself as one to watch this season and the Spaniard was fast from the off today and ended with a best lap of 2m 0.876s on the satellite Yamaha. He said, “I am really happy with the progress that we have made today and to finish in third is a great start to this test. We are continuing to work in the right direction and as soon as we started this morning, I knew that we could be quick. At midday it was already 54 degrees on the ground, which was clearly warmer than the first test where it reached a max of 50 and so we weren’t able to ride as many laps. However, the general feeling for today was that it was productive and we focused on trying different electronic settings.

The information that we collected will be very useful and furthermore, it was very good to run some laps in the rain as well. This meant that we could work on the wet setup and I am really pleased with this especially, as there is a definite improvement. The 2015 Yamaha feels great and I know that if I can ride a bit smoother and adjust my riding style slightly, we can be strong. There are a few more things which we have to study in order to improve, but we cannot rush everything and we must take it all step by step,” Espargaro added.

Read more at motorsport.com

MotoGP: Silverstone steps in to host 2015 & 2016 British MotoGP

Silverstone will host the British MotoGP this year and in 2016 after Donington Park called off its agreement to provide the venue on 30 August.

Circuit of Wales signed a five-year deal to stage the race from 2015, but as the venue in Ebbw Vale has yet to be built, Donington agreed to host.

Donington said Circuit of Wales has not met agreed payment deadlines, but the latter denies the claims.

Silverstone, which hosted MotoGP from 2010 to 2014, will now host round 10.

The owners of Silverstone were “extremely disappointed” when their deal was not renewed after significant investment to allow the circuit to host MotoGP.

But on Wednesday, the Northamptonshire venue released a statement staying they had come to an arrangement with Circuit of Wales to host the race for two years while the Welsh venue was built.

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with both [governing body] Dorna and Circuit of Wales recently so that we could try and find a way to keep MotoGP in the UK and racing at Silverstone,” said managing director of Silverstone Patrick Allen.

“Two-wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four-wheel racing and I am obviously delighted to be in a position to announce we are hosting both the F1 and MotoGP Grands Prix in 2015.”

On Tuesday, Donington Park said that as Circuit of Wales was unable to complete funding arrangements, the venue’s operational plans to host the race had been delayed and hosting the race had now become too much of a risk.

But Circuit of Wales said it had the funding in place but was unwilling to provide it “without a signed contractual agreement”.

Circuit of Wales was expected to be a purpose-built hub for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track.

However, the £315m project has been delayed with issues over common land and calls for the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the scheme.

Last month, it was announced that plans to build the venue in Ebbw Vale will go to a public enquiry in March.

The MotoGP season, with Honda’s Marc Marquez the defending champion, starts on 29 March in Qatar.

Read more at BBC Sport

MotoGP: British MotoGP left without venue after Donington breaks off deal

The 2015 British MotoGP has been left without a venue after Donington Park broke off their deal with Circuit of Wales to host the race on 30 August.

Circuit of Wales signed a five-year-deal to stage the race from 2015, but as the venue in Ebbw Vale has yet to be built, Donington stepped in.

However, Donington say Circuit of Wales have not met agreed payment deadlines.

Northamptonshire circuit Silverstone, which hosted MotoGP between 2010-14, could stage the race.

Silverstone’s owners were “extremely disappointed” when their deal was not renewed after significant investment to allow the circuit to host MotoGP.

In a statement, Donington Park said that as Circuit of Wales were unable to complete funding arrangements, the venue’s operational plans to host the race had been delayed.

“Both the commercial risks and the lack of time are now too great to allow Donington to proceed,” said the statement. “Therefore Donington Park must withdraw from other participation.”

The circuit’s managing director Christopher Tate added: “The position we are now in is of course frustrating and uncomfortable for all concerned.

“It is this week, way past any normal deadlines, when we – in partnership with Circuit of Wales – would have been committing to major expenditures.

“Circuit of Wales have made it clear to us that they are not now in a position to complete, so we have to withdraw and end the planned arrangement.”

Circuit of Wales was expected to be a purpose-built hub for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track.

However, the £315m project has been delayed with issues over common land and calls for the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the scheme.

Last month, it was announced that plans to build the venue in Ebbw Vale will go to a public enquiry in March.

The MotoGP season, with Honda’s Marc Marquez the defending champion, starts on 29 March in Qatar. The British MotoGP is round 10 and takes place on 30 August.

Read more at BBC Sport

MotoGP: Sepang Test Day 3: Repsol Honda duo finish test on top

Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa finished the first three-day test of 2015 on top of the time sheets, with both riders over half a second faster than their closest rival.

This morning during the cooler temperatures, Repsol Honda’s World Champion Marquez recorded the fastest ever time on two wheels around the Sepang circuit with his time of 1’58.867 on lap 8 – of 52 – (beating his own record of 1’59.533 from the 2014 Winter test), as all the riders took to the track in a time attack. In the afternoon, Marquez completed a 20 lap race simulation, and gained valuable data about the current spec Honda.

Pedrosa, whose morning time was just 0.139 off Marquez, also did a 20 lap race simulation in the afternoon – with 10 laps under 2’01 – and fine tuned his settings on his 2015 RC213V in preparation for the next test here in two weeks. He recorded his time of 1’59.006 on lap 11 of 41.

The HRC engineers will now take the data collected from this test back to Japan to analyse and prepare for the second Sepang test, due to take place on the 23-25 February.

Marquez stated, “The truth is that when I saw the time I was surprised, just like everyone else! In any case, I must say that today the track was fast, as we all rode faster than before. I’m glad I was able to set a good lap, but more important is the fact that I felt very comfortable, right from the start. We did a race simulation later on, which also went very well and was perhaps even more important than a single lap. During the race simulation we tested different mapping and in every part we tried different things. The positive is that with the new bike we are already at the same level as in 2014, and there is still plenty of room for improvement. Now I can’t wait for the second test and to see what progress we can make.”

Pedrosa added, “I’m happy with the work we have done today, because we have made progress in some aspects with the rear. There is still room for improvement, but overall we’ve taken some pretty positive steps in this test and I think that’s a very good thing. The team have also integrated well and we have worked very smoothly together, so I’m very happy about that. We did a race simulation in which we tested the bike for the first time in such a scenario. Obviously there are some things to improve but, considering it was the first time, the findings have been pretty good!”

Read more at MotoGP

MotoGP: Sepang Day 2: Lorenzo on top

A 1’59.963 lap by Jorge Lorenzo is the fastest set thus far over two days at the Sepang 1 test, giving the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider the boasting rights at the end of another hot workout for the premier class riders.

The day commenced with cooler, cloudy conditions with the pace increasing in the morning compared with the times from Wednesday’s opening day of action. But intense heat and humidity meant during the middle of the day meant the action slowed for a couple of hours before a late flurry of activity in the final two hours of the afternoon.

With the Yamaha factory team evaluating new components and electronics settings in order to improve tyre life Lorenzo and his teammate Valentino Rossi continued to work hard on Thursday. Lorenzo improved by over half a second from his Wednesday best, but Rossi was marginally slower than on day one and finished sixth.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso set his best time early in the day on the GP14.3 and remained second quickest throughout the afternoon with a 2’00.015, six tenths better than on day one. Dovi’s colleague Andrea Iannone also picked up the pace in fifth on the same machine, going over a second quicker than he had 24 hours earlier.

MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez finished the day third on the timesheets, working with two bikes and refining the set-up of his RC213V. He was unhurt in a late crash.

On the other side of the Repsol Honda garage Dani Pedrosa is still working with three versions of the RC213V whilst Marquez has narrowed his selection down to two prototypes to test with. Pedrosa ended the day fourth.

Meanwhile Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Pol Espargaro crashed unhurt at Turn 9 towards the end of day two in Sepang, following a light crash on day one. The Spaniard ended up seventh on the timesheet after working on two chassis variations.

CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is working on rear stability on corner entry and eliminating chattering, tweaking weight distribution and engine braking with the RC213V. He was eighth best, 1.095s behind Lorenzo.

Pol Espargaro’s colleague Bradley Smith was riding through the pain of an ankle injury sustained in training and finished just inside the top ten.

NGM Forward Racing’s Stefan Bradl finished in 11th place again as the top Open rider. Bradl continued to work his settings and understanding the new Open electronics package, though he is still using a 2013 Yamaha engine. A new engine will be delivered before the first race of the year.

Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team’s Scott Redding also pushed hard on the RC213V factory prototype, finishing the day 14th.

On the second day in Malaysia Spaniard Alvaro Bautista led the way for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini ending up in 17th place. He has decided to discard the current 2015 frame design, judging it to be too rigid and not performing well with the electronics. He prefers the 2014 version which he also rode in November with the evolving pneumatic valve engine.

Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro is also focusing on chassis development and he was able to improve his best lap from Wednesday by around a second to finish tenth on the Thursday timesheet overall.

Talented MotoGP rookie Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, is lapping as much as possible and working on understanding how to ride a MotoGP bike to its limits on used tyres. He finished 15th fastest, improving his time by well over a second and getting 56 more laps under his belt.

Read more at MotoGP

MotoGP: Sepang Test Day 1: Marc Marquez Fastest

Marc Marquez tops timesheet on opening day of 2015 testing

With 30 riders featuring on track, the full 2015 MotoGP grid were all in attendance other than Pramac Racing rider Yonny Hernandez who should return from injury at Sepang 2. Five test riders from the various factories also gathered data for their respective manufacturers.

Repsol Honda’s double MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez recorded his best time on the 62ndof 63 laps, whilst his teammate Dani Pedrosa was 0.483s behind in fifth place. Pedrosa had a crash late on at turn nine without consequences.

HRC have arrived at Sepang with numerous bikes for the factory riders and their test riders to use – 2014 machines for comparison and 2015 prototypes for development. Marquez’s timesheet-topping best effort was 0.024s quicker than his fastest lap on the first day of testing last year.

In second place on Wednesday was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi (2’00.380), with the Italian and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo on similar YZR-M1 prototypes to those they tested in November at Valencia. Yamaha continue testing a shorter exhaust pipe, this time featuring a grill covering the air exit, with a view to avoid flame escapes and prevent the entry of gravel and debris.

There was also a special new ‘winter’ helmet for Rossi featuring snowflakes and reindeers, neither of which are likely to otherwise feature at Sepang this week. Lorenzo was third fastest, 0.141s behind Rossi.

Meanwhile Rossi and Lorenzo’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 colleague Pol Espargaro showed good pace in sixth despite an early light crash as he begins his second year in the premier class. Espargaro’s teammate Bradley Smith lapped further down the timesheet in ninth. Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga also crashed unhurt in the morning.

The new CWM LCR Honda team duo of Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller got down to work with their RC213V and Open spec RC213V-RS packages, finishing the day 10th and 19th respectively. Miller focused on adapting to the Magneti Marelli MotoGP electronics package – the Australian aiming to achieve better performance with traction control, whilst for Crutchlow the test is simply about reacquainting himself with his new factory machine.

Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team’s Scott Redding also got plenty of laps in on the RC213V factory prototype, finishing the day 11th.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and his new teammate Andrea Iannone used a GP14.3 – an update on the GP14.2 which features some visually different aspects and electronics upgrades. The new Ducati GP15 is due for delivery for Sepang 2, later in February.

Dovizioso was fourth overall with a 2’00.617 best lap time, nearly two seconds quicker than on the same day of action at the same test last year. Iannone tried a new front fairing and finished the day seventh.

The Factory Aprilia Gresini pair of Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri (15th and 26th respectively) worked hard on their new machines – with pneumatic valve engines – after test rider Michael Laverty carried out an early morning shakedown on the Italian brand’s evolving prototype.

There was an early mechanical fault for Bautista on new Aprilia and he needed a push from Suzuki test rider Nobu Aoki – who was watching trackside at turn 4 – to get restarted.

Aleix Espargaro appeared not to be held back too much by a knee ligament injury sustained over the winter as he and MotoGP Rookie Maverick Viñales got back to work on the Suzuki GSX-RR. Espargaro ran off without major consequence at one point and ended up 14th – just under two seconds down on Marquez. Viñales lapped just under a second behind his new colleague in 21stplace on the timesheet.

Suzuki also have a shorter exhaust pipe for testing and their factory riders only got started once test rider Takuya Tsuda had given the bike a shakedown early on.

In the absence of Pramac Racing’s Hernandez, Michele Pirro (12th) worked on electronics for Ducati using the GP14.2, whilst Danilo Petrucci (13th) worked with the GP14.1 using Open software.

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera (18th) and Mike Di Meglio (23rd) got used to the new Open Magneti Marelli software, as will all the riders using the new electronics package this season. Improvements to traction control and anti wheelie settings should assist the riders with their performances and set-ups.

day1-bradl-fastest-open-rider

NGM Forward Racing pair of Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz (25th) made progress on the Open Yamaha, with German Bradl impressing in eighth overall as the fastest Open rider – 1.294s off Marquez’s pace. Bradl had some electronics issues earlier in the day and was only able to produce a fast time after 5pm.

Read more at MotoGP

MotoGP: Repsol Honda unveil new 2015 livery in Bali

Repsol Honda’s World Champion Marc Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa revealed their new look 2015 race machines.

After a well deserved winter break, both riders looked refreshed and eager to get the season started. Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice-President was present in Bali, together with Team Principal Livio Suppo to introduce the riders ahead of the first test in Sepang scheduled to begin in just three days, on 4th February in Sepang, Malaysia.

The Repsol Honda Team enjoyed an incredible 2014 season winning Honda’s third Triple Crown in four years (Rider, Constructor and Team titles) and second in succession. Honda continue their partnership with Repsol –after celebrating their 20th anniversary last season– and remains the longest running sponsor-factory agreement of its kind in the history of the motorcycle World Championship.

Marc Marquez

“It’s been a long and busy Winter break and now I’m really looking forward to starting the season! It’s great to be able to present our new bikes in Indonesia, together with our partner Astra Honda, it’s such a beautiful backdrop! It’s my first time here in Bali and it’s wonderful to see all the fans here and feel their enthusiasm for MotoGP. Tomorrow we leave for Malaysia, I’ve trained a lot during last month to prepare myself for these first two tests in Sepang and I’m excited to be with my crew again and see how the new bike is working after Valencia test!”

Dani Pedrosa

“It’s been really nice, and something different to have our Team Presentation here in Bali, so thanks to Astra Honda! It never stops to amaze me how passional the fans are for our sport in this part of the World. I’ve had a good Winter, with a mix of relaxation and training and now I’m ready and highly motivated to get back on the bike in Sepang in a few days!”

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President

“We are very grateful to Astra Honda for hosting our 2015 Team Presentation here on the beautiful Island of Bali and thank you to Repsol, Red Bull and all our partners and sponsors for their ongoing support in 2015 and beyond. It’s good to see Marc and Dani in a positive mood and relaxed after the Winter break and ready to get back on the bike next week in Sepang. We hope it will be a very productive test so we can start the season in Sepang in the best way possible”.

Livio Suppo, Team Principal

“We can’t wait to start the season! After a very successful 2014, we are very motivated to begin the Championship and even if we know if won’t be easy to win more… we will do our best to do it! It is great to be here in Bali, as Indonesia is a country where MotoGP has a huge number of fans but unfortunately we don’t race here. We are glad to introduce our Repsol Honda Team here, hoping to come for a GP in the future!”

Read more at MotoGP

MotoGP: Yamaha unveils Rossi and Lorenzo’s 2015 YZR-M1

Yamaha has unveiled the 2015 factory YZR-M1 it hopes will help Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo end the recent domination of Honda rival Marc Marquez.

The new YZR-M1 was officially unveiled during Movistar Yamaha’s official team launch in Madrid earlier today.

It is the bike Yamaha is hoping can break the supremacy currently being held by Marquez and Honda. Spanish sensation Marquez won a record-breaking 13 races in 2014 to successfully defend the crown he won in a historic season as a rookie in 2013.

Italian Rossi emerged as the biggest threat to Marquez in a stunning campaign for the nine-times world champion, who claimed 13 podium finishes in 18 races, including two victories in Misano and Phillip Island.

He defeated teammate Lorenzo and Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa in the final standings and is confident on the new 2015 YZR-M1 he will be a serious contender for a 10th world championship title.

Rossi and Lorenzo kick off their 2015 world championship preparations with the first pre-season test of the year getting underway at the Sepang track in Malaysia

Read more at motorcyclenews.com