Jerez, Spain

MotoGP Expands to 21 Rounds, Adds India And Kazakhstan, Drops Aragon

As predicted earlier this month, the MotoGP calendar is to expand even further for 2023. Next year, there are to be 21 races in total, with two new circuits being added to the calendar.

The news that Sokol in Kazakhstan is being added had been expected, given the announcement on Tuesday. The surprise is that India is to have a MotoGP round next year, with the expectation in the paddock that it would not happen until 2024. But MotoGP is to race at the Buddh International circuit at the end of September in 2023. There had been concerns over customs and tax issues importing equipment and bikes into India, but paddock sources indicate these issues have been settled.

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Brembo Engineer Andrea Bergami Interview, Part 1: "We Are Also Reaching The Human Limit"

A lot has changed in MotoGP over the last two years. Despite a freeze on engine development, and restrictions on aerodynamics development brought in at the start of the pandemic, the bikes are faster in 2022 than they were in 2019, the last time MotoGP had the same set of development rules.

Where has this extra speed come from? A huge amount has come from the introduction of ride-height devices. These contraptions, first trialed by Ducati at the end of 2018, have radically changed the way MotoGP bikes make their lap times. The devices lower the center of mass, helping to significantly reduce wheelie and improving acceleration. But they also change the way the bikes brake at the other end of a straight, changing the way the weight transfers and allowing for greater braking force.

To find out more about the way MotoGP has changed in the last couple of years, Peter Bom and myself interviewed Brembo engineer Andrea Bergami at the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão earlier this year. Bergami gave us some fascinating insights into how MotoGP bikes have evolved, the effect that is having on braking, and how Brembo is working to address and adapt to those changes. He also explained how he felt Moto2 was helping riders prepare for the jump to MotoGP, and the role of racing in development consumer products, which end up in the hands of riders on the street. We spoke at such length that this interview has been split into two parts.

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Jerez Test: Close Up Photos Of Yamaha's Swingarm And Fender, Honda's Exhausts, And Ducati's Ride-Height Devices

The Monday after Jerez was the first chance that the teams and factories got to work on their bikes since the entire design was homologated ahead of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar. Given the oft-discussed weird start to the 2022 season, where the teams never seemed to have more than 5 minutes of normal or consistent conditions, having a whole day with a dry track allowed everyone some badly-needed time to work on some very basic stuff.

Of course, not everything was perfect. The weather was significantly cooler than it had been on Sunday, and the wind picked up considerably. There was also a nice thick layer of Michelin rubber, laid down in Sunday's race, the with the MotoE class, also Michelin-shod, adding yet more to the track surface. If anyone had hoped to work on low grip conditions, they would have to create them themselves by running very, very old tires.

Starting first with satellite riders – real satellite riders, that is, not the factory-backed riders in junior teams like Pramac – and rookies. When you have no new parts to test, then what you work on is setup, and especially the kind of setup changes that you don't have time to try during a race weekend.

Setup first

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Piero Taramasso On Tire Pressure Transgressions And Planned Changes For 2023

The role of tire pressures, and especially for the front tire, has grown in importance in recent years, as aerodynamics and ride-height devices have made the front ever more sensitive to pressure and temperature changes. It is common to hear riders complain of temperatures and pressures skyrocketing after getting stuck behind other bikes, and kept out of the cooling air.

It is therefore not surprising that factories and teams try to manage tire pressures as carefully as possible. By lowering the pressure, they can keep tire temperatures lower and allow the riders to better manage the front tires over the duration of the race.

They have to be careful not to go too low with tire pressures, however: like all motorsports series with a spec tire, MotoGP has a minimum pressure for both front and rear tires: 1.9 bar front, 1.7 bar rear. Tire pressures are monitored by sensors and recorded by the spec datalogger, and pressures have to be over the minimum for at least half of the race.

Bending the rules

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Joan Mir Was Ready To Sign New Suzuki Deal Before Hamamatsu Withdrawal

Three days ago, the bombshell news came out about Suzuki’s decision to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022. So far no official confirmation (nor denial) has been forthcoming from the Hamamatsu factory. Yes, we are all aware of the Golden Week national holiday in Japan, but we cannot forget that lot of careers are hanging on this decision.

We are not just talking about the mechanics and other team members, but the riders themselves too. Because believe it or not, apart from that confidential meeting (that hasn’t remained confidential...) there has been no contact between the team/factory and the riders’ managers. Not with Joan Mir’s manager, for sure, as we have learned.

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2022 Jerez MotoGP Monday Test Final Times: Zarco Fastest In Tricky Conditions

It was a busy day of testing at Jerez after Sunday's race, all six manufacturers having new parts to try. Conditions were far from ideal - it was much colder than Sunday, and there was a lot more wind, making it tricky to chase a fast lap time. Johann Zarco ended the test as fastest, ahead of Brad Binder and Fabio Quartararo, while Jack Miller was fourth quickest.

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