Marc Marquez Expects To Be Ready For Sepang MotoGP Test

Marc Marquez completed 65 laps of the Portimão circuit on Sunday, after his first return to riding a street bike since his training accident in October 2021, which saw him suffer a concussion and diplopia. After a long recovery period, Marquez rode a motocross bike last week, and told the media during the HRC motorsports launch on Friday that he hoped to do a test at a Grand Prix track soon. Soon turned out to be Sunday, and the Grand Prix track turned out to be Portimão.

After initial posts on social media, today, the Repsol Honda team issued an official press release with details of the test, as well as a video, in which Marc Marquez gives his impression of the test. The news is very positive: Marquez had no issues with his vision, despite riding at over 300km/h, and felt happy and comfortable on the bike.

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Marc Marquez Back On Track: Rides An RC213V-S At Portimão

As he announced at Honda's global motorsport launch, Marc Marquez has taken to a Grand Prix track once again. Together with brother Alex, he rode a Honda RC213V-S street machine at the Portimão circuit in Portugal. Though HRC have yet to issue a press release, both Marquez brothers and the Repsol Honda team posted photos and a video on Social Media.

Though it is premature to read anything into the posts, the positive tone would appear to suggest that the day went well, at least. The aim of riding a fast road bike on a GP track was to assess how his vision was at high speed, Marquez told us on Friday. He also said that he would discuss how the test went with the doctors treating him before making a decision on how to proceed from there.

A press release from Honda with more details should follow in the next day or two.

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Room For Optimism: What We Learned From The Honda MotoGP Presentation

Team presentations tend to be rather turgid affairs. Hours of talk for a few brief moments of enlightenment. Which is why we sit through all those hours of talk, of course, because if you listen carefully and read between the lines, you might learn a thing or two.

Past experience left the MotoGP media looking at the Honda motorsport Q&A with some trepidation. Would it be worth sitting through the long presentations to dig out nuggets of interest?

That calculation changed on Thursday night, when HRC announced that Marc Marquez had been riding a motorcycle again, and would be present at the launch on Friday. Both developments which meant the media would get a chance to talk to Marquez about his eye injury, about the accident which caused it, and and how soon we might expect to see him on track again.

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Marc Marquez Back On An MX Bike - Recovery Progressing Well

There has been a huge step forward in Marc Marquez' recovery from diplopia, the double vision he suffered as a result of a crash riding enduro. After consulting with the doctor treating his eye condition, the Repsol Honda rider was given the go ahead to ride a motorcycle again. Using the lessons of his previous bout of double vision - after the monster crash in practice in Sepang 2011 - Marquez was cautious in his choice of venue, deciding to ride a motocross bike at his local track in Lleida, Spain. In 2012, he had first ridden a bike at Alcarras, at a track shared with BSB teams. News of his ride quickly leaked, something which was less of a concern at the MX track in Lleida.

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Francesco Guidotti On Moving From Pramac To KTM: "When You Jump Into A Factory Team, The Only Goal Is To Win"

It was a surprise, but in retrospect it is quite clear why KTM made one of the biggest moves on team personnel by recruiting Pramac team manager Francesco Guidotti.

When the 2021 season ended, we were only expecting to get one announcement about team personnel before the start of 2022: who would be the team manager of Suzuki. Rider announcements would come later, after the team launches and the preseason tests started, as all six manufacturers face the challenge of trying to sign riders with the grid almost completely out of contract at the end of the season.

So news of Francesco Guidotti leaving the Pramac Ducati team after 10 years as team manager for KTM came as a big surprise. First announced by Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport’s Paolo Ianieri, then confirmed by KTM after announcing the change of role for Mike Leitner, who started and led the MotoGP project with the Austrian manufacturer. The move came as a surprise also for Pramac team owner Paolo Campinoti, with some reports suggesting the Italian took the departure of the man who helped him bring the Pramac team to its current level in the world championship very hard.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 258: Mat Oxley Looks Back At Valentino Rossi's Career

The Paddock Pass Podcast are joined by a special guest in this week's episode. Veteran journalist, TT winner, and prolific author Mat Oxley takes a look back at Valentino Rossi's long career with regulars Steve English, Adam Wheeler, Neil Morrison, and  David Emmett.

The reason for the conversation is Oxley's encyclopedic new book on Rossi's career, Valentino Rossi: All His Races, covering all of Rossi's motorcycle races, from the European 250cc championship through 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP, as well as his outings at Suzuka. Together with the crew, Oxley discusses what makes Valentino Rossi special, how his outward persona differs (or not) from the Rossi behind closed doors, what made Rossi special, and how he changed the sport.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Can Honda be Ducati’s biggest threat in 2022?

Honda’s 2022 RC213V is the factory’s biggest MotoGP redesign in 16 years – so what’s the focus of the new bike and what does HRC technical director Takeo Yokoyama think it can achieve?

If Ducati’s Desmosedici is favourite to win the 2022 MotoGP title, who or what might stop it?

The last two MotoGP championships have been won by inline-fours – Suzuki’s GSX-RR in 2020 and Yamaha’s YZR-M1 last year. Why? Because both factories built good bikes, but also because Honda’s six-time MotoGP king Marc Márquez was out of the game and because Michelin’s new-for-2020 rear slick suited inline-fours better than V4s.

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The 2022 MotoGP Silly Season Primer: Who Is Likely To Move Where Next Year?

It is the second week of January, and there as yet no substantial rumors of MotoGP rider contracts being signed. Compared to recent years, that is a bit of a late start to Silly Season, given that all but a handful of riders have their contracts up for renewal at the end of 2022.

In past years, January has been a hive of activity. In 2020, there were rumors over the new year period that Maverick Viñales was being courted by Ducati, with Yamaha forced to make an early announcement to keep the Spaniard in the Monster Energy factory team (and we all know how that turned out). A couple of weeks later, rumors followed that Ducati had signed Jorge Martin, and at the end of January, we learned that Fabio Quartararo had been signed to the factory Yamaha squad, displacing Valentino Rossi.

Two years earlier had seen a similar story, with Yamaha signing both Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi up in January, in time for the team launch. And to think, Valentino Rossi bemoaned Casey Stoner's move to Repsol Honda for the 2011 season as a decision taken early, when the deal was sealed after the Jerez round of MotoGP in early May, 2010.

By those standards, the current lack of movement on the contract front almost qualifies as tardiness. Riders are not jumping on contracts early, and factories are not pushing hard to sign riders before they get poached by someone else.

A different environment

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MotoGP Grand Prix Commission Add 355mm Discs, Tighten Up Aero Rules, Injury Assessment

With Christmas nearly upon us, MotoGP's rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, met to adjust a few rules for the 2022 season and beyond. Among a host of confirmations and minor adjustments, there were one or two small but significant changes, tightening up important parts of the rules for MotoGP.

First the minor matters. The changes in age limits were confirmed, ahead of the shift to having a minimum age of 18 across all three grand prix classes in 2023, and the qualification limit was tightened from 107% to 105%. Given how much more competitive all three classes are, and how tight the fields are, this will have very little effect, though it will put higher demands on substitute riders.

To give an idea of just how much 105% is, the average lap time for the vast majority of circuits is between 1'30 and 1'50, so the average lap is around 1'40, or 100 seconds. So the qualification limit has been cut from 7 seconds behind the fastest rider to 5 seconds behind the fastest rider. It has been a very long time since anyone fell foul of the 107% rule, and had the rule been 105% for qualifying, the last victim it would have claimed would have been replacement rider Christophe Ponsson, who substituted for the injured Tito Rabat at Misano back in 2018.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 257: Fabio Quaratararo Interview And Season Review

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is a close look at the 2021 MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo. Adam Wheeler sits down for an interview with the Frenchman, and Neil Morrison, Steve English, and David Emmett discuss the interview with Adam and review Quartararo's season. We each give our assessment of the Frenchman, we take a look at the factors which helped him win the title, discuss whether he can successfully defend the title, and pick out some of the highlights of his season.

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HRC Update On Marc Marquez - "Adequate Progress"

The Repsol Honda Team have issued a press release on the condition of Marc Marquez. According to the press release, Marquez is "progressing adequately" in his recovery from the bout of diplopia, or double vision, suffered as a result of a training crash at the end of October. The press release states that doctors have decided to proceed with the "conservative treatment plan", and that Marquez is doing physical training to prepare for the 2022 season.

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Press Release: Ducati MotoE bike takes to the track for the first time on the Misano circuit

The Ducati MotoE bike made its debut on track at Misano, in the hands of Michele Pirro. Afterward, Ducati issued the following press release:

Ducati MotoE bike takes to the track for the first time on the Misano circuit

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Editor's Blog: The Winter Hiatus Is Upon Us - It's Been A Rough Year

It has been a long and exciting year in MotoGP and WorldSBK. Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, WorldSBK managed a full 13-round season, MotoGP racked up 18 rounds in total. In both championships we saw exciting young champions emerge from a season full of drama. The best WorldSBK season in a decade or more, and a fantastic battle in MotoGP.

There has been a lot to write about, and I feel I have utterly failed to do it justice. Fortunately, thanks to the support of the wonderful people I get to work with - especially MotoGP reporter Zara Daniella, WorldSBK reporter Jared Earle, Moto2 and Moto3 guru Neil Morrison, WorldSBK doyen Gordon Ritchie and the photographic talent of Cormac Ryan Meenan, but also the many writers who have contributed, including Akira Nishimura, Peter Bom, Niki Kovacs, Steve English, and Tammy Gorali, among others - we have covered a lot of ground.

Yet I feel I have not lived up to expectations. Not for my readers, and not for myself. My only excuse is that it has been a long and difficult year. Apart from dealing with the effects of the pandemic on motorcycle racing, and life in general, I have also had the death of my father at the beginning the year to deal with, and helping my mother to find her feet after spending nearly 57 years by his side. That has absorbed an enormous amount of emotional energy, and left me frankly exhausted. For a more detailed account of some of the things I went through last year, see the Twitter thread embedded below.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 256: Neil Hodgson Looks Back At 2021 And More

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast features a special guest, with 2003 World Superbike champion and current BT Sport MotoGP commentator Neil Hodgson joining Steve English at the Motorcycle Live exhbition at the NEC in Birmingham in the UK. Steve spoke to Hodgy for nearly half an hour, in which the BSB and WorldSBK champ covered a lot of ground, on being a commentator, racing in World Superbike, the need to compete, and the current state of the MotoGP and WorldSBK paddocks.

Before the interview, Steve is joined by Adam Wheeler, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett to get their thoughts on what Hodson said. After The Big Reveal of David's new bike, Neil Morrison drops another bombshell on his desire to get a bike license, which prompts a quick discussion on the state of roadgoing motorcycles at the moment. Then we get into the Hodgson interview, and pick out some of our highlights from it, and give our view.

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Will Life At Speed Do For MotoGP What Drive To Survive Did For F1?

There was a period during the previous decade where F1 was steadily losing ground to MotoGP. While Bernie Ecclestone had made four-wheeled grand prix racing successful in the era of TV and print media, his dismissal of social media, combined with processional racing, saw the ratings of the sport flag.

Dorna, after a similarly difficult start, finally embraced social media in the middle of the last decade, and that attention to the benefits of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram helped build the profile of the sport. That was helped in no small part by the technical regulations conceived in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis and put into place between 2012 and 2016 having their intended effect and making the racing much closer and more exciting. MotoGP grew while F1 lagged behind.

The arrival of Liberty Media changed the face of F1, dragging the sport kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Liberty took a radically different view of the media aspects of the sport, pushing hard into social media, and giving the teams far more leeway and freedom to create and promote their own content online.

Unscripted reality TV

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