Silverstone, Great Britain

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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Aprilia Team Manager Paolo Bonora: Now we’re waiting for Maverick’s time

Aprilia Team Manager Paolo Bonora explains to Neil Morrison how the factory has nurtured Maverick Viñales to a level where he is a MotoGP contender once again.

Would it be fair to say Mack is back? If not now, then top figures at Aprilia are confident it won’t be long until Maverick Viñales is on the top step of the podium once more, in part thanks to a good deal of patience and a careful strategy of man-management.

It hadn’t been an easy start to life in Aprilia colours for the enigmatic Catalan. He finished higher than tenth just twice in his first 13 races aboard the RS-GP, a bike that could currently be hailed as the most rounded package on the grid, and one that could yet win this year’s championship with teammate Aleix Espargaro.

But the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was vindication for the faith Aprilia has shown in the former Moto3 World Champion. While his performance lacked a touch of composure in the critical moments, it was the first time Viñales was clearly the fastest rider on track in any race since his explosive exit from Yamaha this month a year ago.

What’s more, the 27-year old mentioned he had “started laughing” when up front, fighting among the Ducatis of Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller and Jorge Martin. It has been quite some time when Viñales has appeared so comfortable and content both on the bike and off it.

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Silverstone MotoGP Notes: Aerodynamics, Enea Bastianini, And Why Losing A Wing Doesn't Always End In Disaster

It is no secret that aerodynamics is a big deal in MotoGP. The winglets, aerodynamics packages, and various scoops, spoons, and other attachments aimed at modifying the behavior of the modern generation of MotoGP bikes have become increasingly important.

Aero has now reached the point where it is such a major part of bike setup that it is getting hard to change without needing a lot of work to balance out the rest of the behavior of the bike. As Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Brad Binder explained when asked about the two different versions of KTM's aero package he has available. "I think the most important thing is to really choose one and really stick with it. Because when you do play with the aero, it has such a massive impact that your whole setup really has to change completely. So it's not so simple to say, OK, one race we'll use them and one race we won't."

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Silverstone MotoGP Subscriber Notes: The Difference 3 Weeks Makes In Summer, Winning Races As Slowly As Possible, And Quick Thoughts On The Championship

In the week or so before a MotoGP race, crew chiefs and engineers pull up the data from the last race at that circuit and start work on a plan for the weekend. They then compare that to the tire allocation Michelin are bringing to the race, and try to get a jump on the game of figuring out which tires are going to work best. Motorcycle racing is a puzzle composed of many parts, and with just four sessions of free practice (three of which are partially lost to the pursuit of a direct passage to Q2), any pieces you can put in place beforehand can give you a jump on your rivals.

So crew chiefs and engineers pore over data, examine how tires performed, and decide what is likely to work and what probably won't. They make tentative choices about possible race tires, and draw up plans for practice accordingly: an attempt at a long run in FP2, a long run in FP4, and the option to revisit those choices during warm up on Sunday.

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