Good news for MotoGP fans in the UK, and everyone else capable of receiving Eurosport (such as via the Eurosport player). Everybody's favorite (English-language) MotoGP commentary team will be back in action for 2011. For British Eurosport has once again struck a deal to cover MotoGP, featuring the dulcet tones of Toby Moody and Julian Ryder, along with expert technical analysis by Neil Spalding.
MotoGP fans around the world - and to an even greater extent, everyone involved in MotoGP - have been waiting for a calendar for the 2011 season for a long time now. The problem has been that MotoGP has an informal agreement with Formula One to avoid scheduling conflicts between the two series, and thereby force TV companies to choose between one or the other.
In practice, this means that Formula One dictates the MotoGP calendar, and this is exactly what appears to have happened to the provisional 2011 MotoGP calendar. An early version was leaked two weeks ago, a version that looked to be fairly reliable, but rescheduling by Formula One - shuffling some of the 20 races which it has on its calendar - meant that too many MotoGP races would conflict with F1 events.
2010 has been a tough year in MotoGP for Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion's season got off to a strong start with a victory at Qatar, but it's been very hard going ever since: a shoulder injury suffered in a training crash, followed by his huge highside in which Rossi broke his tibia and fibula at Mugello. The injuries have left Rossi with just a single win during the 2010 season, his worst start to a season since the Italian moved to the premier class in 2000.
The announcement of the official 2011 MotoGP calendar - albeit the provisional one - has been a long time coming. Normally, the provisional calendar is settled at the Brno round of MotoGP, but the series' desire not to clash with Formula One means that the Grand Prix Commission has had to wait for the FIA to release the F1 calendar before finalizing their own. With the F1 calendar now provisionally released, the MotoGP calendar is expected to be released this weekend at the Aragon round.
With MotoGP now one third through its 18 race season, the effect of the engine-life regulations - restricting each MotoGP rider to just 6 engines throughout the entire season - is starting to become clear. The latest engine information list - assembled by IRTA and MotoGP Technical Director Mike Webb, and distributed (if you can call it that) by Dorna - provides an interesting perspective on the impact the regulations are having, and how the factories have approached the problems posed by limited engines.
The clear winner that emerges from the list is surely Honda. Of their six riders, three (Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, and San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli) have used just two engines, and not had to have a third engine officially sealed. Dovizioso and Simoncelli have distributed their races equally, with three races on each of the two engines, while Dani Pedrosa has four races on his number 1 engine, and just two on his number 2 engine.
In an attempt to appease the press, and keep reporters off Valentino Rossi's back while he is recovering from his broken tibia, Yamaha have been issuing regular press releases detailing the Italian's condition. In the latest missive from Tavullia, Rossi speaks of his recovery, and his aim to be back at the Brno round of MotoGP, in the middle of August. Below is the full text of the press statement:
26th June 2010
VALENTINO ROSSI UPDATE
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi sent the following message today from his home in Italy. The reigning World-Champion is currently convalescing after breaking his leg at the Italian MotoGP round three week's ago.
As well as a Q&A with Valentino Rossi, the Fiat Yamaha team also released a question and answer session with several of the key players surrounding Rossi. Here's what team manager Davide Brivio, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis, Rossi's surgeon Dr. Buzzi and Yamaha communications manager William Favero had to say on Rossi's recovery, and who is to replace the Italian.
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH YAMAHA MANAGEMENT AND DR. BUZZI
1. What caused the accident? Was it rider error or a bike/tyre issue?
The latest update on Valentino Rossi's condition comes in a rather unusual form, though an extremely informative one. Yamaha Racing today released a question and answer session with Valentino Rossi, in which he answers most of the burning questions Rossi's many fans have. The good news is that Rossi has not lost his fire for racing. The bad news is that he won't be back until Brno at the very earliest. Read for yourself what Rossi had to say:
Gerno di Lesmo, Italy
Thursday 10th June 2010
Q & A WITH VALENTINO ROSSI ON HIS RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL
1. Vale, first question: how are you and are you still in pain?
Once again, David Williams of the On The Throttle crew caught up with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies after the latest MotoGP round at Mugello in Italy. Spies talks to Williams about the Le Mans and Mugello races, about learning new tracks, about the difference between the older and the newer tracks, and about what goes into setting up a MotoGP bike for a race. As ever, an interesting interview and 30 minutes of a MotoGP fan's time extremely well spent.
Here's the video from OnTheThrottle.tv:
That Valentino Rossi's crash has had a huge impact on the millions of MotoGP fans who follow his exploits around the world needs no explanation. The huge outpouring of emotion at the Mugello MotoGP race showed that. For those fans who weren't at Mugello, and would like to pass on their best wishes to Valentino Rossi and wish him a speedy recovery, as well as send their wishes to Rossi's team, all of whom are equally hard hit by the crash, Yamaha Racing have opened a page on Facebook to give everyone an opportunity to do just that. So head on over to Facebook and send Rossi and all the guys at Yamaha a message, it will mean a lot to them. You can find the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/yamaharacingcom?v=app_7146470109