Indianapolis, USA

It's Official: Ducati Confirms Stoner Out For Three Races

After the speculation and the rumors, finally the official confirmation. Below is the text of the press release put out by Ducati Corse today, on the subject of Casey Stoner missing the next three races:

STONER OUT OF ACTION FOR THREE RACES, KALLIO TO JOIN HAYDEN IN DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM

Casey Stoner will not take part in the next three Grands Prix, and will next return to action at the beginning of October for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Australian has suffered physical problems since the Catalunya GP, which have caused him severe fatigue during the last five races. Stoner took this difficult decision after having consulted with sports doctors who have looked after him for many years back home in Australia. At this challenging time, he has the support of the team and the whole of Ducati who together with Stoner have enjoyed racing at the top of the sport for the last three seasons.

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Colin Edwards - Human Quote Machine

We're not much for regurgitating press releases here at MotoGPMatters.com - you can find those all across the internet, or even get them straight from the teams themselves - but there have been one or two honorable exceptions to this rule. Today, another one landed in our inbox, an e-mail from the outstanding PR department at Indianapolis Motor Speedway containing a compilation of the best of Colin Edwards' quips from his Tornado Warning column over on the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix website. Edwards is always entertaining - whether you agree with him or not - and a highlight reel should keep you chuckling all day long, so we have reproduced it verbatim below, with just a brief word of warning that Edwards' language is occasionally, well, colorful, so those who are easily offended should probably look away now.

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Decision On MotoGP Engine Leasing Expected At Indianapolis GP

The radical drop in the size of the MotoGP grid has everyone inside MotoGP worried. First Kawasaki officially withdrew, leaving only Marco Melandri on the Hayate in the class, then Grupo Francisco Hernando pulled out of sponsoring Sete Gibernau's GFH team, dropping the number of entries from 18 to 17. Add to that the shenanigans surrounding Yuki Takahashi's replacement by Gabor Talmacsi, after Talmacsi was able to bring funds to the cash-strapped team, and the picture of a series in crisis is complete. 

Clearly something has to be done, to reduce costs and to expand the number of bikes on the grid. Last week at the Sachsenring, the Grand Prix Commission met to discuss the situation, and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta launched the idea of a two-tier system, allowing bikes with prototype chassis with engines based on production bikes to race against the current generation of fully factory supported prototype 800s. The story was unearthed by Paolo Scalera of the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, and senior MotoGP journalist Michael Scott in last week's issue of GPWeek opined that the move was probably a bullying tactic by Ezpeleta, aimed at forcing the factories into coming up with a counterproposal.

It seems the thought of racing against production-based engines has done exactly that. At Donington, Tech 3 boss and head of IRTA Herve Poncharal spoke extensively to MotoGPMatters.com, covering a wide range of subjects. One of the subjects he discussed at length was the cost-cutting proposals put forward by the MSMA to counter the exodus of teams from the premier class. He revealed that as Mike Scott had predicted, the MSMA had offered to lease engines only to MotoGP teams at a much more affordable price, allowing them to build their own prototype chassis around the engine. 

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2009 Season MotoGPMatters.com Fundraising Drive!

If you're reading this, then you already know the kind of job MotoGPMatters.com does in providing in-depth coverage of the MotoGP and World Superbikes championships. But as ever, it is our aim to keep making the website better, bringing you more news and better analysis from the world of motorcycle road racing. To achieve this aim, we will be providing coverage from track side at a number of events this season, keeping you up to date with the news as it happens.

The season kicks of with David Emmett (Kropotkin) reporting live from the IRTA Tests at Jerez starting from Friday, followed by coverage from the third round of the World Superbike series at Valencia in a week's time. A week after that, Scott Jones will be heading to Qatar to bring you some more of his stunning photos live from the MotoGP season opener at Qatar. More coverage is to follow, as we will also be reporting live from several other MotoGP and World Superbike rounds.

Of course, all this costs money. Some of this is provided by advertisers (such as our friends at Power Sport Dynamic, who are offering a fantastic package for the Turn 5 Chalet at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on the July 4th Weekend), while more is provided by the kind donations of regular readers of the site. But if we are to achieve our ambitious goals for this season, we will need more help.

So we are calling on you to help us out. Join the crowd of generous contributors who have already donated to MotoGPMatters.com by clicking on the Donate button below, and sending us some funds to help towards making the site even better. All donations are warmly welcomed and deeply appreciated, and if you're unsure of how much to send us, look at what a subscription to your favorite magazine costs. 

By donating to MotoGPMatters.com like so many before you, you will be helping us provide you with the news and analysis of motorcycle racing that you are looking for. Click on Donate below:  

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2009 MotoGP Calendar Update: Misano Moved Back A Week

The FIM announced a minor change to the 2009 MotoGP calendar today. The Misano round of MotoGP will be held a week earlier than previously scheduled, moving it to the week after the Indianapolis MotoGP round.

DateGrand PrixCircuit
April 12th*QatarLosail
April 26thJapanMotegi
May 3rdSpainJerez
May 17thFranceLe Mans
May 31stItalyMugello
June 14thCatalunyaCatalunya
June 27th**NetherlandsAssen
July 5th***United StatesLaguna Seca
July 19thGermanySachsenring
July 26thGreat BritainDonington Park
August 16thCzech RepublicBrno
August 30thIndianapolisIndianapolis
September 6thSan Marino & Riviera di RiminiMisano
September 20thHungaryBalaton
October 4thPortugalEstoril
October 18thAustraliaPhillip Island
October 25thMalaysiaSepang
November 8thValenciaRicardo Tormo - Valencia

* Evening race
** Saturday race
*** Only MotoGP class

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Images From Indy - Wet And Dry

Unlike Laguna Seca, where we were fortunate enough to have sent Scott Jones to represent MotoGPMatters.com officially and provide us with some spectacular images, at Indianapolis, we were unable to arrange a press pass.

Luckily, there are other ways of obtaining photos from Indianapolis. Jules Cisek, whose work we have featured previously on MotoGPMatters.com, attended Indianapolis with an ordinary general admission ticket, and still manage to shoot some fabulous shots. Here's a selection:

Friday, in the rain

Scott Redding at Indianapolis 

The strokers were back in the USA. Scott Redding shows everyone how to ride a 125 in the pouring rain.

 

Mike di Meglio at Indianapolis 

Mike di Meglio didn't need that many lessons.

 

Hugo van den Berg at Indianapolis 

Hugo van den Berg, paddock giant.

 

Gabor Talmasci at Indianapolis

The Champ, in The Wet

 

Scott Redding and Kris Turner at Indianapolis

Scott Redding and Kris Turner, full pelt

 

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No Race Report, So Here's Press Conference Transcripts Instead

Due to personal circumstances - a long-deserved and hard-earned (by my wife) vacation in Spain - there won't be an Indianapolis race report for a week or so. Which is a real shame, as the race had plenty of incidents to talk about.

As a consolation, here's the transcripts of the podium press conference, as well as a selection of quotes from some of the riders involved in the race. Thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and their amazingly efficient PR team for providing the information so quickly and smoothly.

Podium Press Conference:

MODERATOR: OK, ladies and gentlemen, what a performance, what a day it's been for all three. In second place, Nicky Hayden. The winner here of the inaugural Indy Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi. And for the second race in succession, on the podium, Jorge Lorenzo. (Applause)

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De Puniet To Remain At LCR Honda For 2009

Indianapolis turned out to be the place to make contract announcements, and for Randy de Puniet, things were no different. After Kawasaki confirmed that they had signed Marco Melandri, LCR Honda also announced that they have extended their contract with HRC and Randy de Puniet for another year. The Frenchman will be riding for the team again in 2009, after showing that he can be incredibly fast on his day.

That doesn't solve the problem of his tendency to crash, however. De Puniet is the most crash-happy of the MotoGP field by a significant margin, and this record is holding him back from much better results. If de Puniet can learn to stay on, then it will both save LCR Honda a lot of money, and show just what he is capable of. De Puniet is currently 16th in the title race, but with 6 DNFs, he should have been well within the top 10.

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