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Marc Marquez Back On An MX Bike - Recovery Progressing Well

There has been a huge step forward in Marc Marquez' recovery from diplopia, the double vision he suffered as a result of a crash riding enduro. After consulting with the doctor treating his eye condition, the Repsol Honda rider was given the go ahead to ride a motorcycle again. Using the lessons of his previous bout of double vision - after the monster crash in practice in Sepang 2011 - Marquez was cautious in his choice of venue, deciding to ride a motocross bike at his local track in Lleida, Spain. In 2012, he had first ridden a bike at Alcarras, at a track shared with BSB teams. News of his ride quickly leaked, something which was less of a concern at the MX track in Lleida.

In the video issued by with the press release by Honda, Marquez can be seen to be riding with a great deal of freedom, and does not appear to be holding back. The press release describes him as being "more than optimistic" about his return to two wheels, with the next step for the Spaniard to try riding a bike on an asphalt circuit. There was no mention of when that might happen.

A further positive sign is that Marquez will now appear in the Honda press conference to be held on Friday morning, where HRC will announce their plans for the coming season across several championships. 

There is no news on whether Marquez will be fit in time for the Sepang test, but at least he is on course to race during the 2022 season. His real level of fitness and ability will only be apparent once he starts riding a MotoGP bike again.

The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below:


Marc Marquez back on a motorcycle as his recovery advances

Marc Marquez underwent a medical examination with Dr. Sánchez Dalmau last Monday to analyse the situation of his diplopia. The ophthalmologist confirmed a clear improvement in the vision of the eight-time World Champion.

With this progress, the Repsol Honda Team rider received authorization to ride a motorcycle and motocross, the most demanding discipline possible in the world of two wheels, was chosen by Marquez and his team. After a three-month absence, the Spanish rider returned to riding at the Ponts Circuit (Lleida). After several runs his sensations and feelings on the bike were more than optimistic.

The next step for Marquez will be to ride on a paved racetrack.

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MotoGP Grand Prix Commission Add 355mm Discs, Tighten Up Aero Rules, Injury Assessment

With Christmas nearly upon us, MotoGP's rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, met to adjust a few rules for the 2022 season and beyond. Among a host of confirmations and minor adjustments, there were one or two small but significant changes, tightening up important parts of the rules for MotoGP.

First the minor matters. The changes in age limits were confirmed, ahead of the shift to having a minimum age of 18 across all three grand prix classes in 2023, and the qualification limit was tightened from 107% to 105%. Given how much more competitive all three classes are, and how tight the fields are, this will have very little effect, though it will put higher demands on substitute riders.

To give an idea of just how much 105% is, the average lap time for the vast majority of circuits is between 1'30 and 1'50, so the average lap is around 1'40, or 100 seconds. So the qualification limit has been cut from 7 seconds behind the fastest rider to 5 seconds behind the fastest rider. It has been a very long time since anyone fell foul of the 107% rule, and had the rule been 105% for qualifying, the last victim it would have claimed would have been replacement rider Christophe Ponsson, who substituted for the injured Tito Rabat at Misano back in 2018.

Anchors away

There are new rules on brakes, which point to the increasing importance of braking in grand prix motorcycle racing. In MotoGP, the largest available disc size has been increased from 340mm to 355mm. That means there will now be three permitted sizes of front brake discs: 320, 340, and 355mm.

The larger maximum disc size is clearly a response to the braking issues bikes have shown at circuits like the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg. The memory of Maverick Viñales' horrendous crash at Turn 1 in Austria in 2020 is still fresh in many minds. Brembo's new calipers went some way to addressing that, but as riders demand more of braking, more energy needs to be dissipated, and the only solution is to use larger discs and more carbon.

This underlines just how important braking has become in motorcycle racing. In the pursuit of performance, braking and corner entry are the points where real gains are being made. The 800 years taught factories a lot about acceleration, and how to control it with electronics, and the introduction of aerodynamics and ride height devices have taken the place of electronics in assisting acceleration. The focus of most MotoGP manufacturers is now on corner entry, and improved chassis dynamics is putting more stress on Michelin's front tire, and allowing the riders to brake harder. Braking comes from friction, and the energy generated by that friction needs to be absorbed and dissipated, if brake fluids and braking materials are to remain within their operating temperature ranges.

It's not just MotoGP either: the rules have now also been changed to allow cooling ducts to be added to the Moto2 machines. There, too, corner entry is a battle ground, and brake calipers and discs need cooling.

Cracking down

In addition to the brakes, there is a general tightening of the rules, as the GPC attempt to close loopholes. From 2022, factories will have to included 3D CAD drawings or samples of their aero packages to the Technical Director. Previously, detailed drawings or samples were sufficient. 3D CAD drawings contain far more information beyond just the dimensions of the aerodynamic wings and protuberances. That should allow Dorna's technical staff to assess whether or not materials will deflect under wind pressure, for example, an issue which was at one time prevalent in F1.

Ride-height devices are another innovation where the scrutineers needed to catch up. The GPC also approved a new process for evaluating whether a ride-height device is legal or not. As more and more manufacturers have ride-height devices which operate automatically on corner exit, there have been questions raised over what exactly is legal and what is not. The new procedure is aimed at cracking down on attempts to circumvent the ban on devices which do not operate using only the changing attitude of the bike as a trigger.

There is also an intriguing entry in the Moto3 regulations. From 2022, the wiring loom, fuel pump assembly, and pressure regulator have been designated as a performance part. This means they must be homologated by the Technical Director, and made available to all teams once approved. Though we cannot know for certain, this may be connected to the remarkable speed of the Leopard Hondas. There were many question marks over where their superior speed came from, over both the KTMs and the other Honda Moto3 machines. This change could point to where Leopard had found an advantage.

Injury assessment

Perhaps the most significant part of the rule changes announced by the GPC concerns the changes to the way in which injury is assessed. Once again engendered by Marc Marquez, perhaps, the assessment of riders returning from injury will be far stricter. Though the details were not included in the press release, it explicitly named head injuries, concussion, abdominal and chest injuries, and fractures and breaks of a more complex character than just simple breaks.

Directly related to this, the GPC has decided that the helmets of riders who are taken to the medical center following a crash will also be more thoroughly examined, while any rider assessed with concussion or another head injury will have their helmets sent to the FIM laboratory at the University of Zaragoza for further study.

Both of these changes are aimed both at understanding how injuries affect riders, and how protective equipment affects the injuries received. There have been several recent instances of riders coming back from injury more quickly than some thought was sensible, with questions over a rider's ability to control a MotoGP machine. The fitness tests seem to be arbitrary and too easy to pass.

By making the medical assessments harsher and more thorough, this takes some of the decision away from  the riders and the teams, and puts more emphasis on the medical side. This should make it harder for riders to just grit their teeth through a quick fitness test and handle a brief flash of pain, which is an unrealistic way of assessing how an injured rider will hold up over a 45 minute race.

No more alternative facts

Finally, the GPC introduced a new type of official, called a Judge of Facts. The idea is to hand the assessment of certain infringements such as jump starts and exceeding track limits to these Judges of Facts, and make their judgment final and put it beyond appeal. The job of the Judge of Fact is to assess the evidence from the high-speed cameras and track limit sensors to judge whether an infraction has occurred, and impose a penalty where needed. Teams and riders will not be able to appeal their judgments. That may not put an end to the complaining, but it will put the result of any decision beyond question.

The press release containing the minutes of the Grand Prix Commission appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decisions of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA), Lin Jarvis (Yamaha – MSMA) and Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati – MSMA) in electronic meetings held during November and December 2021, made the following decisions:

Sporting Regulations

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Qualification for the Race

In all classes the rider must achieve a time at least equal to 105% of the time recorded by the fastest rider in the same session in any of the FP or QP sessions. (Previously 107%).

Minimum Ages

The Commission ratified the previously announced changes to minimum ages for participation. Licences for riders are issued only when the minimum age has been attained as below:

  • Moto3: 16 years (18 years in 2023)
  • Moto2: 16 years (18 years in 2023)
  • MotoGP: 18 years

In the Moto3 class, an exemption applies to the winner of the FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship or the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup to compete in the Moto3 class of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix as a contracted, wild card or substitute/replacement rider even if the rider has not reached the minimum age for the class (however a minimum age of 15 years in 2022, 16 years in 2023, then 17 years in 2024 will apply). In order to ensure a smooth transition, an exception will be granted to the riders who started in the 2022 Moto3 World Championship at the age of 16 so that they can continue with the 2023 Moto3 World Championship. For Moto2 and Moto3 substitute or wild card riders in 2022, the minimum age is 17 years.

Technical Regulations

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

MotoGP Class

A procedure for checking machines equipped with passive ride height systems was approved.

Previously teams were required to deliver to the Technical Director, at the first event of the season, samples or detailed drawings of their aero body parts. For 2022 machines teams will now be required to provide samples or full 3D CAD models of these parts. Homologated aero body parts from 2021 machines, still used in 2022, will continue to be checked as per current procedures.

Following a request from Brembo, supported by MSMA, the following regulations will now apply to brake dimensions and packages.

Carbon brake discs must be one of the permitted sizes for outside diameter, which are: 320mm, 340mm and 355mm.

At certain circuits, for safety reasons, the use of 340mm or 355mm carbon brake discs is mandatory for the race, if declared Dry by the Race Director.

The circuits currently listed for mandatory minimum size 340mm brake discs are: Motegi (Japan), Spielberg (Austria) and Buriram (Thailand).

At these circuits either 340mm or 355mm discs may be used.

There are no restrictions on brakes disc sizes in a race declared Wet.

To reflect these changes there will now be two alternative brake packages defined in the regulations which must be supplied at a maximum cost of €80,000.

  Option 1 (Current) Option 2 (New)
Calipers 3 left + 3 right 2 left + 2 right
Master Cylinder 3 3
Carbon Disc 10 10
Pads 28 32

Moto2 Class

It will be permitted to add ducts to the front fender for the sole purpose of cooling the brake system and discs. All ducts must be pre-approved before being used on track and the decision of the Technical Director will be final.

Moto3 Class

The following items will now be designated as Performance Parts and must be homologated:

Complete motorcycle wiring loom (including wiring connections to airbox, dashboard, throttle body, handlebar switch panel and kill switch).

Complete fuel pump assembly from fuel pump to throttle body (including all connectors and hoses).

Pressure Regulator.

Riders Safety Equipment

The only purpose of any part of the rider’s race suit, boots and gloves should be to ensure that the rider is protected in an incident. Therefore, any part of the equipment that is deemed to be purely for the purpose of aiding rider’s aero effect is not permitted. The decision of the Technical Director will be final when determining what constitutes aero only.

Medical Regulations

Medical Fitness to Race

The Commission approved a number of new regulations concerning the medical assessment conducted to permit return to competition.

Specifically, there are new requirements on evidence that must be considered when reviewing recovery from head injury and concussion, abdominal/thoracic injury and musculoskeletal injuries, (such as fractures requiring surgery, compound or complex fractures).

In case of doubt, the CMO, the MotoGP Medical Director and the FIM Medical Officer can request further opinion on the reports and evidence provided to determine the status of the rider (fit or unfit).

Rider Helmets

The helmets of all riders taken to the medical centre for assessment following a crash must be retained by the medical personnel or CMO for control by the Technical Director or Technical Stewards before being returned to the rider or the team manager.

In cases of head injury including concussion or loss of consciousness, unless a specific provision of a national law advises otherwise, the helmet must be forwarded to the FIM Laboratory at the University of Zaragoza for expert examination and non-destructive analysis.

The helmet manufacturer will be notified of the exact tests and has the right to approve or refuse. They will be able to attend the analysis carried out in this laboratory. After inspection, the helmet can be returned to the rider, team, or manufacturer.

Disciplinary Regulations

A new position was approved for those persons involved in the assessment of regulation infractions, for example, jump starts, track limits, etc. Such persons will henceforth be referred to as Judges of Facts. No appeal may be lodged against a decision of the Judges of Facts on matters within their competence.

It was confirmed that information on protests and appeals plus Decisions of the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel taken during track activities (practice and races), may be communicated on monitors as well as on official notice boards. Such communications on public screens are considered valid notification.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed on:

https://www.fim-moto.com/en/sports/view/fim-world-championship-grand-pri...

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HRC Update On Marc Marquez - "Adequate Progress"

The Repsol Honda Team have issued a press release on the condition of Marc Marquez. According to the press release, Marquez is "progressing adequately" in his recovery from the bout of diplopia, or double vision, suffered as a result of a training crash at the end of October. The press release states that doctors have decided to proceed with the "conservative treatment plan", and that Marquez is doing physical training to prepare for the 2022 season.

The press release wording is carefully neutral. Reading between the lines, the news is neither good nor bad. Hope of a quick recovery has presumably been abandoned, but Marquez' vision is slowly improving. The "conservative treatment plan" the press release speaks of refers to following a treatment of physical therapy to try to fix the problem, and trying to avoid the need for surgery. The fact that Marquez has resumed physical training is good, but that is all gym work, and will not include riding motorcycles, such as flat track or motocross.

The next update we might expect will be some time in the middle of January, when it will be clearer whether Marquez will be able to attend the Sepang MotoGP test or not.

That, of course, presumes the Sepang MotoGP test will go ahead as planned. Dorna currently have a protocol in place with the Malaysian government to keep the MotoGP paddock isolated in a bubble, in special hotels. However, with the omicron variant spreading across the globe, Malaysia is introducing new restrictions on travel from some countries. As last winter, much is still up in the air.

The HRC press release appears below:


Marc Marquez progresses adequately with diplopia diagnosis

The Repsol Honda Team rider, who last October was diagnosed with an episode of diplopia after suffering a fall while training for the Portuguese GP, has continued periodic visits to his trusted ophthalmologist to assess the evolution of his vision over the past two months. During these reviews the progress made has been deemed favorable and as a result Marquez will continue with a conservative treatment plan for the next few weeks.

Marc Marquez will continue to undergo periodic reviews with Dr. Sánchez Dalmau during the coming weeks alongside the conservative treatment plan. The situation does not prevent the rider from Cervera from continuing his physical training plan to prepare himself physically for a new season.

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Razlan Razali Forced To Issue Apology For Statements On Petronas Split

Razlan Razali, Team Principal of the Petronas Sepang Racing Team until December 31st, and after that, team boss of the new RNF Racing Team which takes its place, has been forced to issue an apology to the Malaysian petroleum giant Petronas. In October and November, Razali gave a couple of frank and openhearted interviews to the German-language publication Speedweek, in which he explained the background to the split with Petronas and the search for a new team.

The two interviews covered a lot of ground, including details of the split between Razali and Johan Stigefelt, who had shared leadership of the team from the beginning, and his regret at having signed Valentino Rossi after a strong start to the 2020 season for the Italian. He also talked about how he declined the first offer made by Petronas, with a reduced budget, and how he regretted having turned that down.

The interview which caused the trouble, however, was the one in which Razali delved into the details of the split with Petronas. The SRT team boss explained how the negotiations with Petronas had gone, and appeared to blame staff changes in Petronas' marketing department for the decision to withdraw sponsorship for the team.

This has not gone down well with Petronas, which wields considerable political power in Malaysia. As a result, Razali has been forced to issue an apology for the interviews he gave. In a statement, issued yesterday, the RNF team boss said that he sincerely regretted "the outcome of how the articles were written and the impact they have received. It was never my intention to create any friction between myself and the parties involved. With that, I apologize if the parties mentioned by these journalists are offended in any way."

How that will impact Petronas' further involvement in MotoGP – as title sponsor for the Malaysian GP at Sepang, and as official fuel supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes – remains to be seen. One of the questions highlighted by Razali was the fact that Petronas were dropping his team, but not pulling out of the sport entirely.

Below is Razali's press release:


MEDIA STATEMENT FROM RAZLAN RAZALI, TEAM PRINCIPAL OF PETRONAS SEPANG RACING TEAM (PSRT) ON SPEEDWEEK.COM ARTICLE

RAZLAN RAZALI, TEAM PRINCIPAL OF PETRONAS SEPANG RACING TEAM

In reference to several online news article published in regards to the discontinuation of PSRT’s title partner, Razlan Razali, Team Principal of the PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team responded.

“I sincerely regret on the outcome of how the articles were written and the impact they have received. It was never my intention to create any friction between myself and the parties involved. With that, I apologise if the parties mentioned by these journalists are offended in any way. We have mutually agreed that the partnership have reached its purpose and objectives and given the economic situation globally due to the pandemic, I respect the decision made by the title partner to discontinue with the team. The team together with its title partner have achieved and accomplished so much in the three years of our collaboration and I thank our partner for the commitment and support given as we concluded on a positive note at the last race in Valencia.”

AZHAN SHAFRIMAN HANIF, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (SIC)

“The said articles do not express the views or opinions of SIC as the team owner, and neither are shared, supported or endorsed in any manner. We respect PETRONAS’ decision to conclude the title partnership and stand firmly that the separation was mutual and importantly, amicably agreed. We would like to thank PETRONAS for their constant support throughout the partnership.”

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Barcelona Circuit Renews Contract As MotoGP Shifts Focus Out Of Spain

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has extended its contract with Dorna for another five years. However, like the contract signed last year with the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, the contract does not guarantee a round of MotoGP for every year of the contract.

Instead, both Barcelona and Valencia have signed up to host three races between 2022 and 2026. With both circuits on the provisional 2022 calendar, that means that they will get two more races between 2023 and 2026. In addition, Barcelona will hold at least two rounds of WorldSBK between 2023 and 2026.

This is part of Dorna's plan to reduce the number of races on the Iberian peninsula, and more particularly, in Spain. After 2022, the plan is to have a maximum of 3 races in Spain and Portugal, with the rounds alternating among Barcelona, Valencia, Aragon, Jerez, and Portimão. With the calendar expanding to include new circuits, the move is necessary to allow new tracks to host a race without increasing the number of races beyond acceptable limits.

At the moment, Dorna has an agreement with the teams to limit the races to a maximum of 22 in a season. The 2022 calendar contains 21 rounds (subject, as all things, to the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic and government regulations), and with circuits in Russia, Hungary, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico having expressed an interest in hosting a round of MotoGP, it is impossible to make room for those tracks without dropping current circuits. Alternating between the four Spanish and one Portuguese circuit is a way of opening up space for new tracks.

The move to reduce the number of rounds in Spain will be welcomed, but the fact that there are four circuits in Spain currently homologated to host a round of MotoGP is a sign of just how much the country has become the epicenter of grand prix motorcycle racing. Circuits litter the country, with at least three other tracks very close to the standard required to host MotoGP. The Circuito de Navarra hosted WorldSBK this year, for example.

The addition of Indonesia to the MotoGP calendar is a long-awaited expansion into new, and MotoGP-mad territory. MotoGP's future lies in Asia, and opening up the path to the future requires dropping some of the established circuits.

The press release on Barcelona appears below, with last year's press release on the Valencia contract renewal below that as a reminder:


MotoGP™ renews agreement with Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya until 2026
The emblematic venue will host MotoGP™ in 2022, with least two more events confirmed between 2023 and 2026

Friday, 26 November 2021

Dorna Sports is happy to announce a new contract with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, extending the partnership between the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship and the classic Catalonia venue for another five years. The new agreement guarantees the Gran Premi de Catalunya a place on the 2022 calendar and confirms a minimum of two more events to be held between 2023 and 2026.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been part of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar since 1992; first as the host of the European Grand Prix (from 1992-1995) and later the Catalan Grand Prix (from 1996). The event is a fan and rider favourite, bringing the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship to the vibrant Mediterranean city of Barcelona.

The provisional dates for the 2022 Catalan GP are the 3rd to the 5th of June. From 2023, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will then alternate with other venues on the Iberian peninsula, with a minimum of two more Grands Prix at the venue confirmed to take place between 2023 and 2026.

Roger Torrent, Catalan Minister of Business and Labour, and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya President: "We are very pleased to continue hosting the most important competition in the world of motorcycling. This is great news for the fans of our country, for the international projection of Barcelona and Catalonia, and for the objective of turning the circuit into a strategic piece for the economic and social development linked to the green mobility industry."

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "This contract renewal with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for five more seasons is, without a doubt, fantastic news for MotoGP.

"The spectacular Catalan track has been linked to MotoGP since the first beginnings of Dorna and has been a key fixture on the calendar each season. This important agreement extending the collaboration until 2026 demonstrates, once again, the commitment shown to our Championship by the promoter."


Valencia renews agreement with MotoGP™ until 2026
The Circuit Ricardo Tormo will host at least three Grands Prix from 2022 – 2026

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Dorna Sports is happy to announce a contract renewal with the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia for 2022 to 2026, with an agreement confirming the track as host for at least three Grands Prix during those five years. Each of those Grands Prix will remain the season finale.

The Valencia GP is guaranteed to take place in 2022 and thereafter may alternate with other circuits on the Iberian peninsula until 2026; the final year of the agreement. This is due to the incredible global growth of MotoGP™, with more and more venues signing up to become part of the world’s fastest motorcycle racing World Championship.

The agreement was signed by Ximo Puig, President of the Government of Valencia, and Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, in Valencia on Thursday.

Ximo Puig, President of the Government of Valencia: “There will be a Grand Prix until 2022 and from then on, each five years there will be a minimum of three Valencia Grands Prix, each of which will be the season finale. This shows the good work done by the Circuit, as well as the trust that has been sown between the organisation and the Generalitat.

“We have always said that this is a fundamental Grand Prix for the economic impact it generates and what it represents for the development of tourism in the Valencian community, as well as the hundreds of thousands of motorsport fans in Valencia – that’s why we have come to this agreement.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “Dorna guarantees the Valencian community that, during these five years, there will be three Grands Prix at the track as a minimum. As Valencia is the first in coming to this agreement, it will be on the calendar in the first year that rotation begins, which is 2022.

“Valencia maintains the right to be the final Grand Prix on the calendar. I would like to be able to offer five more years with a guaranteed race but that is not possible. Nevertheless, I am proud to have once again come to an agreement with Valencia.”

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2022 Provisional WorldSBK Calendar Released - 12 Rounds And An Intriguing TBA

The WorldSBK championship is to look a little different in 2022. Though the length will stay the same as in 2021 - 13 rounds - the order is to be reshuffled a little, with the intriguing prospect of a possible race at Istanbul Park in Turkey during the season.

The season kicks off later than usual, with Phillip Island likely to be moved to the end of the year, possibly as the season finale held after the Indonesian round at Mandalika Circuit. Racing starts at the Motorland Aragon circuit, before heading north to Assen for the Dutch round of WorldSBK, which returns to its more normal date. After a four-week break, the series reconvences in Portugal for a race at Estoril.

The WorldSBK calendar heads east to Italy after that, for a race at Misano in June, before having a month off between the UK round at Donington Park. Two weeks later, the series travels to the Czech Republic to visit Most for the second time.

The summer break will be six weeks long, with the WorldSBK circus reconvening at Magny-Cours for the French round, then heading to Barcelona for the Catalonian round, and then back to Portugual, but this time to Portimão. After Portimão, WorldSBK starts its sequence of flyaways, traveling first to Argentina, then to Indonesia. The championship will then most likely head to Australia for the final round at Phillip Island.

The thirteenth round is down as To Be Announced, but there have been very strong rumors circulating that WorldSBK is to head to Turkey and Istanbul Park. Both Dorna and the circuit are keen to host a round, especially now that Toprak Razgatlioglu has become the first ever Turkish World Champion. Confirmation of this could take some time, with details still to be confirmed. It is most likely that the race will be slotted in one of the larger gaps in the calendar, in June or August.

There are four calendar clashes with MotoGP, though only in remotely the same time zone. Aragon WorldSBK is on the same weekend as MotoGP in Austin, Barcelona WorldSBK will take place several hours after the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, and Argentina WorldSBK will be half a day or so after the MotoGP race at Sepang. WorldSBK Race 2 at Assen would normally happen at the same time as the MotoGP race at Portimão in Portugal, but there is a chance the WorldSBK race will be rescheduled for a later time.

The provisional calendar, and a statement from Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Executive Director, appear below:


MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship/FIM Supersport and Supersport 300 World Championships
2022 Provisional *Calendar, 25 November 2021

DATE COUNTRY CIRCUIT WorldSBK WorldSSP WorldSSP300
8-10 April Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
22-24 April The Netherlands TT Circuit Assen X X X
20-22 May Portugal Circuito Estoril X X X
10-12 June Italy Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” X X X
15-17 July United Kingdom Donington Park X X  
29-31 July Czech Republic Autodrom Most X X X
9-11 September France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X
23-25 September Spain Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya X X X
7-9 October Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve X X X
21-23 October Argentina Circuito San Juan Villicum X X  
11-13 November Indonesia Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit X X  
TBA Australia Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit X X  
TBA TBA TBA      

*All dates, events and the attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the global pandemic and the approval of the corresponding governments and authorities.

2022 SUPPORTED TEST
4-5 April, MotorLand Aragón, WorldSBK + WorldSSP + WorldSSP300

Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Executive Director:
“Firstly, it’s great to unveil the 2022 WorldSBK calendar so soon after the thrilling 2021 season has finished. WorldSBK will bring a refreshed Brand Identity for 2022 and we look forward to the season after two challenging seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A 13th round will take place and we have some options for where this event could be, whilst it will be great to welcome Australia and the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit back to the calendar, this time closing the season. The date is to be confirmed due to logistical challenges that require further analysis. I am pleased to welcome back two of 2021’s new circuits: the Autodrom Most and the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. We look forward to another fantastic season of WorldSBK action.”

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KTM Moves Mike Leitner Out Of Team Management Role, Brings Francesco Guidotti In

Mike Leitner, the man who was brought in to lead KTM's MotoGP project from the very beginning, is to be moved aside by the Austrian factory. Today, KTM officially announced that the engineer and former HRC crew chief - he was crew chief to Dani Pedrosa for most of the Spaniard's career - is to be moved into a consultancy role.

Although the press release does not give an explict reason for the change, beyond a desire to "restructure the KTM Factory Racing hierarchy", the move reflects a feeling that KTM's progress toward its objective of winning a MotoGP title has stalled. While KTM made good progress in 2019, and won its first races in 2020, 2021 saw the Austrian factory take a step backward. Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira still won races, but they struggled to make it into the top ten just as often.

Leitner is to make way for Pramac Ducati team manager Francesco Guidotti, as has been widely reported in the Italian media. Guidotti was previously a part of KTM's effort in the 250cc GP class, the precursor to Moto2, and has been successful at the helm of Pramac, the Ducati satellite team regularly winning races and feeding a string of riders into the factory team.

The poaching of Guidotti from Pramac fits into a long history of KTM poaching top talent from other factories and teams (a practice in which they are not by any means unique). Previously, WP Suspension, KTM's own brand of suspension, poached senior Öhlins engineer Peter Bergvall, they took Jun Miyazaki from Honda, where he had helped design HRC's first seamless gearbox, and most recently, they took Fabio Sterlacchini, one of Ducati Corse's most senior engineers. Respected journalist Mat Oxley recently wrote a blog on KTM's history of hiring outside talent into the team.

Guidotti will be charged with getting KTM's MotoGP title challenge back on track. They are not short of talent - if anything, they have too much rather than too little talent, and not enough seats to place it all. Guidotti will have to take that talent and make sure that they are given the tools they need to fight for a championship.

The press release from KTM appears below:


KTM Factory Racing expresses sincere thanks to Mike Leitner for pivotal MotoGP™ management role

2021 MotoGP news

KTM Factory Racing wish to extend their gratitude to Mike Leitner for his application and knowledge towards their MotoGP program as the Austrian steps down from his position as Red Bull KTM Race Manager.

2022 will represent KTM’s sixth season as part of the MotoGP grid and the KTM Factory Racing hierarchy will restructure. The 59-year-old will no longer fill his management role as principal of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing set-up and will transition into a consultancy post.

Leitner originally came into the KTM Race Department and helped construct the testing squad that began work on the KTM RC16 in 2015 and then the official Red Bull KTM MotoGP team that first took to the grid at the end of 2016 in Valencia.

Since 2017 he has been an important part of the KTM MotoGP race management and organisation that has produced five victories and 13 trophies in less than half a decade of Grand Prix competition. He was instrumental in delivering the company’s first podium as rider Pol Espargaro classified 3rd at the 2018 Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. By 2020 he oversaw KTM’s maiden victory, scored by Brad Binder in the Czech Republic as well as further spoils by the South African in 2021 and the three triumphs marked by Miguel Oliveira in Austria, Portugal and Catalunya in the last two seasons.

Further milestones include Espargaro’s 5th place finish in the 2020 rider’s standings while Binder ranked 6th by the end of the recent 2021 campaign.

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “Mike has been a key figure in our mission to fight against the best in the world of road racing. Together we created a MotoGP structure with the right staff and the right riders which achieved outstanding results at the pinnacle of the sport. We started building our RC16 and the whole plan from a blank piece of paper and under his guidance we put a great team together; one that took on the challenge of MotoGP. Now, after seven years together, we decided to reorganize our MotoGP leadership for the future, and I cannot express how much we want to thank him for all the work he put into this project. Mike pushed very hard to get us from the back of the grid to the front row and his dedication has played a major part in our success story.”

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MotoGP To Switch To 100% Non-Fossil Fuels By 2027

MotoGP is to follow in the footsteps of Formula 1 and switch to sustainable fuels. From 2024, 40% of fuel used in the MotoGP class must be obtained from sustainable sources - either synthetically produced using sustainable energy or from non-food biomass - and from 2027, all fuel used in all three grand prix classes, Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP, will be of non-fossil origin.

The idea behind the switch is in part leveraging the function of racing as a research and development platform, and in part bowing to the inevitable. As the world faces a global climate crisis, a switch away from extracting carbon stored underground and pumping it into the atmosphere is needed to manage CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The role of racing is in making the combustion of non-fossil fuels more efficient. Engineers understand the combustion characteristics of fossil fuels very well, but synthetic, e-fuels, and biofuels burn and behave differently. Motorsports are about converting the largest amount of energy stored in a fuel source into the lowest possible lap time, and combustion efficiency - converting fuel into horsepower - is a very important part of that.

The good news for race fans who love the noise which emerges as a byproduct of combusion is that this switch will mean that grand prix racing will remain the home of loud engines and paddock workers with permanent hearing damage. Although MotoE will remain, and will expand in the future, motorbikes producing exhaust noise will continue to rule the paddock for the foreseeable future.

In this respect, 2027 is an important date. The current contract period with the MotoGP manufacturers runs from 2022 to 2026. The agreement with the factories is that technical regulations will remain stable for that period. A new five-year contract period starts in 2027, which is when major changes to the MotoGP formula such as this can be introduced. That means that MotoGP will be racing combustion engines between 2027 and 2031.

The source of the fuels is still to be decided, beyond being non-fossil free. But the FIM and Dorna have laid on a caveat, and stated an objective. Firstly, biofuels are not to be produced from food crops, as is the case with some ethanol, which is produced from sweetcorn or maize in many countries. Instead, it is to be produced from with waste products of forestry and farming, or from crops grown on land that is otherwise not suitable for food production.

The second is that the stated objective is to use zero carbon fuels. That means fuels sourced using production methods that don't emit carbon into the atmosphere, which also precludes some forms of farming or natural resource usage. Synthetic fuels must not be produced using energy sources that emit carbon.

The FIM and Dorna announcement stays way from involving the sport in the production of fuels, leaving that up to the fuel producers themselves. Only zero carbon fuels will be permitted to be used in racing, and how fuel suppliers produce that fuel is up to them.

The announcement is a statement of intent, and so does not include any technical details. There is no news of whether the current fuel regulations, which strictly control the composition of fuels used, will be modified, and if so, how. There are also no details on how or whether emissions standards, such as particle emissions, will be modified in the future.

The FIM press release appears below:


MotoGP™: racing towards the fuel of the future
2024 will see MotoGP™ move to sustainable fuels, launching a new global era of zero carbon fuels

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

The FIM Grand Prix World Championship, MotoGP™, is a global platform with the power to lead evolution in both the motorcycle and mobility industries. With a unique position as one of the world's most popular and technologically advanced sports, MotoGP™ is a racing ‘laboratory’ powered by innovation and development.

Global motorcycle sales amount to 60 million units per annum and two-wheeled transportation is a necessity for a huge proportion of the population, with over two billion motorcycles on the world’s roads. In many nations two-wheeled vehicles drive society. As the most sustainable motorised vehicles, two-wheeled transportation has a vital role in the quest for cleaner, safer, and more eco-friendly mobility, with the power to make an incredible contribution to the world’s need to cut carbon emissions, increase sustainability and fight climate change.

Working with MotoGP™ manufacturers, the sport has set new goals for increased sustainability:

By 2024, fuel in all MotoGP™ classes will be of minimum 40% non-fossil origin

By 2027, fuel in all MotoGP™ classes will be of 100% non-fossil origin

MotoGP™ is the platform in which these fuels will continue to be developed and tested, with every premier class manufacturer working with their supplier to develop their own fuel. The development of multiple fuels will ensure that the technology and knowledge will reach consumer motorcycles and fuel pumps on the street. This will create an unrivalled selection of viable, sustainable drop-in fuels developed by some of the most important players in global energy and tested by the highest level of prototype two-wheeled machinery in the world. With no single proprietor, the initiative guarantees unprecedented global impact.

These fuels of the future will be able to be used in a standard internal combustion engine and will either be laboratory-created, using components sourced from a carbon capture scheme, or derived from municipal waste or non-food biomass, thereby achieving significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions relative to fossil-derived petrol. In addition, fuel suppliers will progressively introduce the use of renewable energy in the production of their fuel.

The Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes will continue to be supplied by a single fuel provider and will also be introducing a part-sustainable fuel in 2024. Both classes will change to 100% sustainable fuel in 2027, alongside the MotoGP™ class.

The FIM, IRTA, MSMA, Dorna and all stakeholders are committed to creating a more sustainable sport and future, from engineering greater sustainability on track to assessing and reducing the carbon footprint of every single event and aspect of the sport with innovative solutions.

MotoGP™ is racing together to power worldwide innovation, creating and reflecting positive change.

Jorge Viegas, FIM President: "I’m really proud of this announcement, after many months and even years of negotiations with petrol companies and manufacturers, we’ve reached an agreement. This will allow MotoGP to be the leader in this real revolution for sustainability.

"We want to really show the way to all the motorcycle manufacturers that it’s possible to have the fun we all like but with sustainable fuels. We hope by 2027 to have completely carbon free fuels in our competitions, leading the way and showing that, even if the racing is a small part of emissions, we must be the leaders of this change; show the way. Thank you to all the stakeholders for the negotiations, finally now we can announce the good news."

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "We are very proud to announce this incredible new venture and we would like to thank the FIM, MSMA, IRTA, our manufacturers and fuel suppliers for their unequivocal support in this ground-breaking step towards a more sustainable world. Racing together, MotoGP will be a driving force for global change and increased sustainability.

"Motorcycles are a vital asset to society, making two-wheeled vehicles a crucial part of the solution. Sustainable fuels are key to creating an attainable and viable path to a more eco-friendly world, impacting billions of people, and with a number of different fuel manufacturers committed to this endeavour, global impact is guaranteed. Thanks to all parties involved in making this possible."

Source: 

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2022 Provisional MotoGP Rider Line Up

The FIM today released the provisional entry lists for all three grand prix classes, which featured very few surprises. The biggest changes were among the riders who were forced to change numbers. Fabio Di Giannantonio switched from 21 (taken by Franco Morbidelli) to 49, while Marco Bezzecchi kept 72, Darryn Binder kept 40, and Raul Fernandez stuck with 25, the number abandoned by Maverick Viñales at the end of the 2018 season.

The most noteworthy, if not surprising, change came with the VR46 team. In previous lists of teams accepted to MotoGP and Moto2, the VR46 Racing Team were still using the name Aramco VR46, after the Saudi Arabian oil company. That deal has proved to be chimerical, and the team is now listed as VR46 Racing Team.

Provisional MotoGP line up for 2022:

No. Rider Nationality Team Machine Independent
Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso Italian WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha *
5 Johann Zarco French Pramac Racing Ducati *
10 Luca Marini Italian VR46 Racing Team Ducati *
12 Maverick Viñales Spanish Aprilia Racing Aprilia  
20 Fabio Quartararo French Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha  
21 Franco Morbidelli Italian Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha  
23 Enea Bastianini Italian Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati *
25 Raul Fernandez Spanish Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM *
30 Takaaki Nakagami Japanese LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda *
33 Brad Binder S-African Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM  
36 Joan Mir Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki  
40 Darryn Binder S-African WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha *
41 Aleix Espargaro Spanish Aprilia Racing Aprilia  
42 Alex Rins Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki  
43 Jack Miller Australian Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati  
44 Pol Espargaro Spanish Repsol Honda Team Honda  
49 Fabio Digiannantonio Italian Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati *
63 Francesco Bagnaia Italian Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati  
72 Marco Bezzecchi Italian VR46 Racing Team Ducati *
73 Alex Marquez Spanish LCR Honda Castrol Honda *
87 Remy Gardner Australian Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM *
88 Miguel Oliveira Portuguese Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM  
89 Jorge Martin Spanish Pramac Racing Ducati *
93 Marc Marquez Spanish Repsol Honda Team Honda  
Source: 

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2022 Provisional Moto2 Rider Line Up

Provisional Moto2 rider line up for the 2022 season:

No. Rider Nationality Team Machine
2 Gabriel Rodrigo Argentina Pertamina Mandalika Sag Team Kalex
4 Sean Dylan Kelly USA American Racing Kalex
5 Romano Fenati Italian Speedup Racing Boscoscuro
6 Cameron Beaubier USA American Racing Kalex
7 Barry Baltus Belgian RW Racing GP Kalex
9 Jorge Navarro Spanish Flexbox HP40 Kalex
12 Filip Salac Czech Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex
13 Celestino Vietti Italian VR46 Racing Team Kalex
14 Tony Arbolino Italian Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex
16 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
18 Manuel Gonzalez Spanish Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex
19 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Italian Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
22 Sam Lowes British Elf Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex
23 Marcel Schrotter German Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex
24 Simone Corsi Italian MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta
28 Niccolo Antonelli Italian VR46 Racing Team Kalex
35 Somkiat Chantra Thai Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex
37 Augusto Fernandez Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex
40 Aron Canet Spanish Flexbox HP40 Kalex
42 Marcos Ramirez Spanish MV Agusta Forward Racing MV Agusta
51 Pedro Acosta Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex
52 Jeremy Alcoba Spanish Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex
54 Fermin Aldeguer Spanish Speedup Racing Boscoscuro
61 Alessandro Zaccone Italian Gresini Racing Moto2 Kalex
64 Bo Bendsneyder Dutch Pertamina Mandalika Sag Team Kalex
75 Albert Arenas Spanish Aspar Team (Moto2) Gasgas
79 Ai Ogura Japanese Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex
81 Keminth Kubo Thai Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Kalex
84 Zonta van den Goorbergh Dutch RW Racing GP Kalex
96 Jake Dixon British Aspar Team (Moto2) Gasgas
Source: 

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