Valencia, Spain

Yamaha's Technical Presentation, Or How They Made The 2009 M1 So Fast

You would think that the secrets of how to make a MotoGP bike go faster would be kept under lock and key at all times. Not so if you're Yamaha: On Friday night, Yamaha's technical leaders Masao Furusawa and Masahiko Nakajima gave their annual presentation on what they did to the YZR-M1 to ensure that they won the championship again in 2009.

The first thing they did was identify the changes to the 2009 regulations that would be key to the development direction. They highlighted three rule changes they needed to deal with to maximize the performance of the bike:

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2009 Valencia 250cc FP1 Result - Local Heroes Slug It Out

Hector Barbera won the battle of the Valencians on the first day of practice for the 250cc class. The local hero relegated Alex Debon to 2nd place, Barbera leading Debon by over three tenths of a second. Alvaro Bautista was another three tenths behind in 3rd, ahead of championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama. Aoyama usefully put his team mate Raffaele de Rosa between himself and the only man capable of challenging him for the title, Marco Simoncelli.

Results:

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2009 Valencia MotoGP FP1 Result - Stoner Continues Where He Left Off

Casey Stoner continued his domination of the MotoGP class during the first session of free practice at Valencia, coming in fresh from victory at Sepang to top the timesheets during practice. The Ducati rider took his time, though, spending most of the session as 2nd fastest behind Jorge Lorenzo. With 5 minutes to go, the Australian finally found the extra pace he was looking for, putting nearly four tenths of a second between himself and Lorenzo.

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2009 Valencia 125cc FP1 Result - Simon Gets Weekend Off To Strong Start

Julian Simon took the first session of free practice for the 125cc class at Valencia, seizing on the opportunity to celebrate his title in front of his home fans. The Spaniard took over from the German wildcard Marcel Schrotter, who had led for much of the session, surprising almost everyone, given that he is riding a Honda as a wildcard. Schrotter eventually finished the session 3rd, with Nico Terol also lapping faster than Schrotter in the last minutes of practice, while Sergio Gadea was the 4th quickest of the 125 riders.

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Ezpeleta Mulls A Return To 1000cc

Ever since its inception, the 800cc MotoGP formula has been unpopular with both the fans and the riders. The high state of engine tune has made the formula extremely expensive, as well as requiring the extensive use of electronics just to make the bikes ridable. This, in turn, has taken much of the spectacle out of the riding, requiring an incredible precision of style to get the best out of them, and making passing very difficult indeed.

The biggest problem, though, is the expense. With the cost of leasing a satellite MotoGP bike upwards of 2 million euros a year, grids are shrinking with little prospect of that trend being reversed. Something clearly needs to be done, but with the manufacturers already heavily invested in the 800cc formula, getting any change in engine capacity through the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, is a very difficult task.

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2009 MotoGP Valencia Preview - End Of An Era

There is always a strange atmosphere at the final MotoGP round at Valencia. It is probably the biggest party of the season, but a sense of sadness permeates the party atmosphere, making it feel more like the wild and desperate abandon of the night before the world is due to end than the joyous celebration of racing it could be. The Valencia MotoGP round is as much parting as it is party.

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Just How Many Engines Does Ben Spies Have At Valencia?

Ever since Yamaha announced that Ben Spies would be making a wildcard appearance at the final round of MotoGP at Valencia, message boards across the internet have been abuzz with the question of how many engines the Texan would have for his Yamaha. The rules for the regulars - contracted riders, to use the jargon of the FIM rulebook - state that each rider has 5 engines to last the final 7 races, from Brno onwards. But how did this affect Spies? Would he have all 5 engines for the weekend? Would  he have just 1 engine, as the minimum of  5 divided by 7? How were you supposed to the math to work it out?

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Ducati Makes It Official: Suppo Gone, To Be Replaced By Duo

Now it's official: Ducati have announced officially that Livio Suppo is to leave Ducati, as we reported yesterday. Suppo is to embark on "a new professional adventure," according to the press release. His position is to be split in two, with Vito Guareschi taking over as team manager, while Ducati Corse's marketing manager Alessandro Cicognani is due to take over as the project manager. The official Ducati press release is shown below:

LIVIO SUPPO LEAVES THE DUCATI MOTOGP TEAM. NEW MANAGEMENT OF THE 2010 SQUAD IS ANNOUNCED 

Borgo Panigale (Bologna, Italy), 5 November 2009 – The last race of the 2009 MotoGP season will also be the last race in Ducati MotoGP Team colours for Livio Suppo, Ducati's MotoGP project manager. The Italian manager will leave Ducati to embark on a new professional adventure.

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Livio Suppo To Leave Ducati?

Stunning news from the MotoGP paddock at Valencia. According to the well-informed Superbikeplanet.com website, Livio Suppo, Ducati's MotoGP project manager, is to leave the Ducati team at the end of the season. The news follows on from earlier reports that current Ducati test rider Vito Guareschi is to be promoted to Team Manager, a position which would be much more hands on between the riders and management than Suppo has been.

Suppo's departure, if it is confirmed, would mark a huge break with the past of Ducati's MotoGP program. To a very large extent, Suppo IS Ducati's MotoGP program, as the Italian has run the program from the very start. With Suppo out of the way, Ducati's MotoGP team would be likely to undergo a radical shakeup.

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Spies To Sport Sterilgarda Livery At Valencia

When Yamaha announced that Ben Spies would make a wildcard appearance at Valencia, there was some speculation about whose logos would adorn the Texan's Yamaha M1. The early rumor was that Michael Jordan may step in and run a one-off livery for Spies, as the former NBA superstar continues to promote his clothing brand through the AMA Superbike series, or what is left of it.

Those rumors were wrong, it now appears. Yamaha today announced that Sterilgarda, the Italian dairy giant who backed the Yamaha Motor Italia team in World Superbikes, would also be sponsoring Spies for one more outing, this time during his wildcard appearance at Valencia. Yamaha also released photos of the new livery, and we have to say it actually looks very good. Judge for yourself below, and clicking on the image will bring up an image large enough to use as a desktop.

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