Sachsenring, Germany

2019 Sachsenring Moto3 FP1 Result: Rookie In the Spotlight

After barely a couple days’ rest, the show was back on track at a grey Sachsenring. The warmth of Assen was gone and a dusty surface welcomed the lightweight class but pace picked up drastically by the end of the day’s first session. John McPhee picked up the lead on lap four, after harshly picking up Niccolo Antonelli and the Petronas Sprinta rider spent most of his morning at the top of the timesheets, until fresh tyres hit the track and times came tumbling.

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Sachsenring MotoGP Preview: Who Can Prevent A Marquez Perfect Ten?

There are two things which any motorcycle racing fan needs to know about the Sachsenring circuit in the east of Germany. The first is that the track has an awful lot of left-hand corners, which all flow together into one long turn, the bike spending a lot of time on its side. The second is that Marc Márquez has started from pole position and won the race since 2010, nine years in a row, in 125s, Moto2, and MotoGP. These two facts are probably not unconnected. Marc Márquez loves turning left, his win rate at anticlockwise circuits hovering around 70%. If a track goes left, there is a more than two in three chances that Márquez will come out victorious.

Márquez is especially good at the Sachsenring. The reigning champion starts every race as the man to beat, but the German Grand Prix is different. Here, riders speak of how close they hope to finish to him, rather than how they are going to beat him. His name is penciled in on the winner's trophy, the race almost, but not quite, a formality.

Even though the race is something of a foregone conclusion, the track itself is a fascinating circuit. On paper, it seems far too short and far too tight to be a MotoGP track, the bikes barely cracking sixth gear, and spending little time at full throttle. But that doesn't mean the track isn't a challenge.

Up and down, round and round

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Danilo Petrucci Confirmed With Ducati For 2020 Season

The possible permutations in MotoGP rider line up for 2020 are limited, with almost everyone already under contract for next season. At the Sachsenring, Danilo Petrucci was added to the ranks of confirmed riders, with Ducati extending his contract in the factory team for 2020.

A contract extension for Petrucci had been on the cards for some while, the Italian's victory at Mugello making it an inevitability. Ducati are very pleased with Petrucci's performance, and the way that he and Andrea Dovizioso have worked together.

Petrucci is also something of a bargain. Word around the paddock is that Petrucci is being paid somewhere in the region of €700,000, though he had been hoping for over €1 million after winning at Mugello. After two seasons of Jorge Lorenzo commanding in the region of €12.5 million a year, Ducati's budget is getting a breather.

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Nicolas Goubert On Rebuilding MotoE After The Fire, And Lessons Learned: Part 2 - Looking To The Future

Coming weekend, history will be made. For the first time, Grand Prix racing will welcome vehicles not powered by internal combustion engines, as the MotoE series makes its debut at the Sachsenring. It is the very first step on the long path toward a future where batteries replace burning hydrocarbons.

But the series got off to a rocky start, even before the first race. At the second test of the electric bike racing series, a fire started in the special tent containing all of the bikes, batteries, and chargers, destroying everything and wiping out the entire series in one fell swoop.

Since March, Nicolas Goubert, director of the MotoE series for Dorna, Energica, who build the spec electric bikes to be raced in the series, and Enel, who supply the charging technology to maintain the bikes, have worked at double speed to rebuild everything needed for the series, and get it ready for the inaugural race at the Sachsenring.

In Le Mans, I spoke at length to Goubert about the progress made in preparing the series, the challenges they had faced, and the lessons learned from the fire in Jerez. The fire highlighted some of the difficulties of an electric bike series, but just staging the series raises logistical and technical issues which nobody had foreseen.

Here is part 2 of the interview. If you want to read part 1, catch it here.

Q: Any logistics things that you haven’t thought of? Apart from the power supply in the charger, which you already said.

Nicolas Goubert: Yeah. We will be in charge of all the logistics. We’re trying to make the series as easy as possible for them. So basically it will be plug and play for them. They will arrive - when I say “they,” the teams. They will arrive with the crew.

Q: They turn up, set the bike up, the rider gets on the bike and rides, and that’s it?

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Nicolas Goubert On Rebuilding MotoE After The Fire, And Lessons Learned: Part 1 - After The Fire

Coming weekend, history will be made. For the first time, Grand Prix racing will welcome vehicles not powered by internal combustion engines, as the MotoE series makes its debut at the Sachsenring. It is the very first step on the long path toward a future where batteries replace burning hydrocarbons.

But the series got off to a rocky start, even before the first race. At the second test of the electric bike racing series, a fire started in the special tent containing all of the bikes, batteries, and chargers, destroying everything and wiping out the entire series in one fell swoop.

Since March, Nicolas Goubert, director of the MotoE series for Dorna, Energica, who build the spec electric bikes to be raced in the series, and Enel, who supply the charging technology to maintain the bikes, have worked at double speed to rebuild everything needed for the series, and get it ready for the inaugural race at the Sachsenring.

In Le Mans, I spoke at length to Goubert about the progress made in preparing the series, the challenges they had faced, and the lessons learned from the fire in Jerez. The fire highlighted some of the difficulties of an electric bike series, but just staging the series raises logistical and technical issues which nobody had foreseen.

Here is part 1 of the interview. Part 2 will follow tomorrow:

Q: I want to ask obviously about the progress, because that’s important, but also just in general about because setting up a completely new series, you’re going to run into things that you never thought of. But first of all, do you know what caused the fire yet?

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2019 MotoGP Calender Confirmed - No Changes Made

The FIM today officially confirmed the 2019 MotoGP calendar. There were no changes made to the provisional calendar released in September last year. There will be 19 races, starting in Qatar on 10th March, and ending in Valencia on 17th November. There will be tests after the race at Jerez, Barcelona, and Brno, while the first test of 2020 is expected to take place after Valencia.

There could be an extra test in the schedule, to be held directly after Silverstone. If the new Kymiring circuit in Finland is finished on time, the riders will head to Finland at the end of August to try the new circuit, and generate important data for Michelin.

The official calendar appears below:

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Provisional 2019 MotoGP Calendar: 19 Races With Minor Reshuffles

Dorna today unveiled the provisional MotoGP calendar for 2019, confirming much of what we already knew. The schedule will consist of 19 races, as the circuit in Mexico City will not be ready to host a MotoGP race next year, and the Kymiring in Finland is also still under construction. Both races are provisionally expected to be on the 2020 calendar.

The calendar is broadly similar to this year's schedule, with a few tweaks. The season kicks off at Qatar on 10th March, earlier than usual and a week before F1, which normally starts before MotoGP. Three weekends later, the series is racing in Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, and two weeks after that, the whole circus heads north for the US round in Austin.

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2019 Calendar To Be Announced At Misano: 19 Races, No Mexico, No Finland

We are a week away from being able to book (provisionally, with free cancellation) to see a race in 2019. The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2019 is due to be published at the Misano round in just under 10 days' time. 

As the official MotoGP.com website revealed over the weekend, there will only be 19 rounds in 2019. The numerical symmetry of that may be pleasing, but there were plans to have 20 races next season. The debut of the Kymiring in Finland has been delayed by a year to 2020, as the circuit will not be ready in time for a 2019 date. And the planned round in Mexico at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City has been dropped, unless the circuit is prepared to make changes.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - ‘Now the proud cockerel is a bit upset’

Some experts tipped Johann Zarco to challenge for this year’s MotoGP crown. So what has become of him? Best ask Tech 3 boss Hervé Poncharal…

It’s time to examine the strange case of Johann Zarco. Last year the French rookie bulldozed his way into our hearts by bruising egos, ruffling leathers and almost sawing Marc Márquez’s seat unit in half at Phillip Island. And all this on a second-hand motorcycle that wasn’t particularly adored by its previous owners.

No wonder the Frenchman was tipped to challenge for the 2018 MotoGP title. And he did, at least for the first few races. The 27-year-old qualified on pole in Qatar and led the race until he ran out of front grip. Two weeks later, he missed out on his first MotoGP victory by two-tenths of a second and another two weeks later he finished on the podium at Jerez. France was agog with excitement. More than 100,000 fans turned up at Le Mans to see him win. And he might have done if he hadn’t crashed out.

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