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Marc Marquez To Have Fourth Surgery On Arm After Mugello

Marc Marquez is to undergo yet another operation on his right arm, after problems of motion and weakness in the arm have persisted throughout the 2022 MotoGP season. At a press conference held on Saturday afternoon at Mugello, Marquez announced that he will fly to the US on Tuesday after racing in Mugello for surgery to counter the rotation of the humerus (upper arm bone) which has occurred as the bone has healed after the previous three operations on the arm.

The issue has been the result of the long and slow recovery from the accident during the first race in Jerez in which he broke his arm. He had that fracture plated, and then tried to race a week later, but was forced to withdraw when he felt a problem in the arm. A second surgery was required when the first plate broke, most likely as a result of the stress of trying to race a few days after surgery. The bone then became infected after that surgery, requiring a third operation in December of 2020.

In the press conference, Marquez made a point of saying that the issues he is suffering have nothing to do with the way the previous operations were carried out. "I want to clarify that the previous operation was done in a perfect way," Marquez emphasized. He had consulted several other experts, who all pointed to the surgery being carried out exceptionally well."All the doctors that I visited, Gilles Walch, a French doctor that is one of the top ones, in October. I visit Dr. Sanchez Sotelo and both of them said the surgery was done perfectly, because it was a very big infection."

Despite the best efforts of the surgeons, the consequence of the infection and prolonged recovery period is that as the bone healed, it didn't heal straight, the bone rotating slightly. That was causing Marquez pain while riding, and not allowing him to assume a natural position on the bike. "My problem now, what I feel on the bike, is that first of all I don't have the rotation, so on the straight, I have the arm more open than normal," Marquez explained. "Then as you see, on the left corners, I'm riding with the elbow completely up, because I try to compensate the rotation, but then in all the races this year, I had arm pump, then arrived the pain in the shoulder, then during the weekend, the pain in the left shoulder arrived, because I'm working in a double way."

This meant that Marquez could not ride naturally, and was having to ride with a completely different style. "And with all these things – always inside the limits, because I feel safe on the bike, but I need to ride really smooth. That's not my riding style, from one practice to the next, I have many ups and downs, because I cannot keep the same position on the bike. But I always understand where are the limits," the Repsol Honda rider said.

The decision to have surgery had come on Friday, Marquez explained. But the process before arriving at the decision had been much longer. He had first discussed the possibility of surgery after he crashed riding enduro in October, and was ruled out with vision problems. Marquez saw the opportunity to kill two bird with one stone, and use the opportunity to get the arm fixed, but his doctors had said the arm was not healed sufficiently.

"Together with the doctors we evaluated already long time ago, in October when I had the first injury with my vision, I said to them ‘why we don't consider to make something in that arm?’. But the bone was not fixed completely and they said the risk is too big," Marquez explained. So he told himself to keep calm and work, but the issues persisted.

Marquez consulted with his doctors again after Jerez this year. "I had another meeting with them after Jerez where we evaluated everything again, and then they start to consider another operation." Having gone through three surgeries on the arm in 2020, Marquez was not keen to go through another one. "It’s true that it was difficult and just I give all that was in my hands to avoid that operation because open again the arm is something that I don’t want. But is the way to recover."

Marquez was then referred to Dr. Sanchez Sotelo at the Mayo Clinic in the US by the medical team treating him in Madrid. "I’m really thankful to Dr. Samuel Antuña. I'm really thankful to  Samuel Antuña, because he's very honest and he said you need to go to Joaquin Sanchez Sotelo." he explained. Dr. Sanchez Sotelo had been examining the humerus, and had made a 3D model of the arm, to evaluate whether the arm was strong enough, and how best to fix the rotation.

On Friday, Marquez received a phone call that the humerus bone was strong enough and healthy enough to cope with another bout of surgery. That's when the decision was made to have surgery next week and attempt to fix the problem permanently. The decision had come as a relief, Marquez explained, because they had identified the problem, and found a solution to address it.

That solution is to create a surgical fracture in the humerus and twist it back into a better position, before fixing it again. At the same time, the extra material inserted in his shoulder to prevent dislocation, in an operation in December of 2019, will be removed. The goal is to straighten the humerus and to create more motion, to remove the limitations in his shoulder.

The decision to operate means that Marquez will be out for a considerable period of time. The Repsol Honda rider himself could not give a target date for his return. "I don't have any idea," Marquez responded when asked. "Because the doctors say to me after the surgery, we will go step by step. But it will be a long time of course."

It was a sacrifice worth making, Marquez emphasized. He was not interested in suffering so much just to ride around battling for places outside the top five. "The way to go now, is because for me there is no way to riding like this and suffering too much. I'm not enjoying and every weekend is a nightmare, just to keep pushing. But it's true that my goal is the same one and is to come back. And you know, the way to do now is just to prepare for 2023."

The lesson Marquez learned from his attempt to return too quickly from that first operation is that the risks are greater than the rewards. The Spaniard has not chance of winning the title in 2022, and simply hoping for the occasional podium was not enough. "I know that I can be on the podium in some circuits. But it's not the way that I want to ride because I'm suffering a lot and I create another injury. I mean, I cannot continue riding like this."

If Marquez is focused on 2023, then the first objective might be to consider being ready to ride at Misano, and especially the two-day test on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the race. If he is not ready then, the next chance would be Valencia, and the one-day test after the last race of the season. Otherwise, it would be the Sepang test in early February next year. But if the surgery is a success, he is likely to be back and riding much earlier than that.

In the meantime, Marquez will be replaced by Honda test rider Stefan Bradl. And the MotoGP world will await a projected date for his return.

The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below:


Marc Marquez to undergo further surgery on right humerus

Marc Marquez will undergo a fourth surgery on his right humerus, heading to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The Repsol Honda Team rider has suffered major limitations in recent months that have prevented him from performing at the highest level. As a result, he has elected to undergo surgery 18 months after his last operation.

Marquez, having not felt significant improvements in recent months and consulting with other specialists, together with his medical team have considered the option of a new operation. The six-time MotoGP World Champion will travel to the United States on Tuesday, May 31 for surgery, under the direction of Dr. Joaquin Sánchez Sotelo. Once the post-operative period has been completed, he will return to Spain to begin his recovery. Doctors will then assess Marquez’s condition and his recovery period.

Marc Marquez

"Unfortunately, I have to take a break from the 2022 season that will keep me away from competition for a while. After all these months of intense work with my new medical team in Madrid, my physical condition has improved and I have reduced the discomfort in my right arm to be able to compete at the Grands Prix, but I still have significant limitations in my humerus that does not allow me to ride the bike properly and achieve the goals I have always set for myself.”

"It is for this reason, that together with my medical team, Dr. Samuel Antuña and Dr. Angel Cotorro, and after consulting with specialists from the Mayo Clinic, that I have made the decision to carry out a new operation with the aim of improving my position on the bike that will allow me to ride without the current limitations. Personally, I have the maximum motivation and enthusiasm to continue working and to make the effort to return to compete at the highest level."

"I want to thank all the support that my family has always shown me, those trusted people around me, the Repsol Honda Team, my entire medical team and especially all the fans who are always there with me in the good and bad times."

Dr. Sanchez Sotelo
Medical Doctor

“Given the lack of sufficient clinical improvement with the rehabilitation treatment, and advised by his medical team, Marc Marquez will undergo a new surgical intervention at the Mayo Clinic in the US, to improve the discomfort in his right arm derived from the loss of mobility in the arm.”

“The surgery will consist of the extraction of the osteosynthesis material from his shoulder associated with a humeral osteotomy to increase the external rotation movement of the arm and maintain shoulder stability.”

 

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RNF To Switch To Aprilia For 2023 And Beyond

The WithU RNF team is to switch from Yamaha to Aprilia for the coming seasons. An agreement was reached with Aprilia between the Le Mans and Mugello rounds for the team to become a satellite team for the Noale factory, and field two more Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP machines from 2023 and beyond.

The deal came about after talks with Yamaha failed to yield satisfactory results for RNF. The Malaysian team had long been hoping to play a role as a junior team to the factory, in the mold of Pramac at Ducati and Tech3 at KTM. But RNF never felt they got the support from Yamaha which they had wanted.

A switch from Yamaha to Aprilia allows them to make that step forward. Though details are sparse in the press release, it is clear that RNF will get much stronger support from Aprilia than they did from Yamaha, with the team to serve as a conduit for talent into the factory team.

The deal was announced just before MotoGP FP1, a surprising moment to choose. But that was a result of factory rider Aleix Espargaro prematurely tweeting and then deleting a welcome to RNF to Aprilia. But by then, it was too late to retract. The original plan had been for an announcement to be made in the afternoon, but Espargaro's over-eager thumbs forced Aprilia and RNF to announce earlier.

The move by RNF leaves Yamaha with just two bikes on the grid for 2023. The Japanese factory had been in talks with the VR46 Mooney team to race Yamahas next season, but the team is currently still set to race Ducatis.

RNF's departure is the second time a satellite team have left for greener pastures. Tech3 dropped Yamaha and switched to KTM at the end of 2018.

The press releases from Aprilia and the RNF team appear below:


WithU RNF MotoGP Team will line up in next year’s grid with two Aprilia RS-GP bikes

RNF Racing and Aprilia Racing signed a long term partnership from the 2023 season setting a new era as the independent team for Aprilia.

Together for the next season, RNF Racing and Aprilia Racing reached a milestone today by announcing their partnership for two seasons and renewable for a further two years. For the first time in its young MotoGP history, Aprilia will have a satellite team and four Aprilia RS-GPs on track.

Following the past successes, RNF Racing maintains its philosophy which is to develop riders that will eventually become the factory team riders befitting the role of RNF Racing as the development team for Aprilia Racing. This philosophy is in line with Aprilia, which will involve a strong synergy that will lead Aprilia Racing to invest in the partnership for the training of engineers, technicians, managers and, of course, riders.

After proving its competitiveness in the 2022 season, Aprilia Racing presents a package that fits the objective for RNF Racing in the long run and to be competitive. With the multi-year programme in place, RNF Racing will be a valuable ally for Aprilia Racing in the immediate future that will lead to the expansion and enhancement of technical and sporting knowledge.

Razlan Razali, Founder and Team Principal WithU RNF MotoGP Team

"We are absolutely thrilled for this long term partnership with Aprilia Racing. Our philosophy remains to work together with the factory team to develop riders that will one day become Aprilia factory riders. We will assist them in development to ensure that we continue to be competitive and ultimately win with Aprilia Racing. The proposal by Aprilia Racing fulfils our long term plans, strategies and security for the next two plus two years and I must thank Massimo for his trust, confidence and faith in us. We are absolutely looking forward to the season next year and this new partnership. At the same time, we want to express our gratitude to Yamaha for these past years working together and growing together. We will, though, maintain our focus on working hard this season in order to improve our results together with Yamaha and eventually conclude 2022 on a high note.”

Massimo Rivola

"I am happy to announce the agreement with RNF Racing. We have always reasoned in small steps and as we demonstrate the competitiveness of our RS-GP, a natural part of the journey is to see two more on track. The Noale racing department is a true heritage of knowledge, of technical culture applied to high performance motorbikes as well as sports management. With RNF Racing we find a partner to enhance and valorise this extraordinary heritage. We are thinking, of course, of the riders and the best competitiveness, but also of raising new generations of engineers, technicians and managers. To continue and improve the extraordinary, all-Italian tradition of Aprilia Racing.”


APRILIA RACING AND RNF RACING TOGETHER FOR THE NEXT MOTOGP SEASONS

FROM 2023 THERE WILL BE FOUR APRILIA RS-GP BIKES ON TRACK
AFTER PROVING ITS COMPETITIVENESS, THE ITALIAN PROJECT TAKES ANOTHER STEP IN ITS YOUNG HISTORY
MASSIMO RIVOLA: "WITH RNF TO ENHANCE AND VALORISE APRILIA RACING'S HERITAGE OF TECHNICAL AND SPORTING KNOWLEDGE"

As of the 2023 season there will be four Aprilia RS-GPs competing in the MotoGP class of the World Championship.

Aprilia Racing and the RNF Racing team have signed an agreement valid for two seasons, renewable for a further two years. For the first time in its young history in MotoGP, Aprilia will have a satellite team.

Following the positive start to the 2022 season and the confirmation of factory team riders Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales for the next two years, the agreement that will see Aprilia's bikes on track doubled is a further step along the path of growth, both technical and organisational, that the Noale-based racing department has set as its goal.

The philosophy with which Aprilia is approaching this opportunity is in line with what has been done so far. The collaboration with RNF Racing will not be limited to the sale of the bikes but will involve a strong synergy that will lead Aprilia Racing to invest in the partnership for the training of engineers, technicians, managers and, of course, riders.

A multi-year programme that, it is hoped, will lead to the expansion, consolidation and enhancement of a technical and management culture that represents the heritage of the Italian factory.

RNF Racing, despite being a relatively young team, has demonstrated great solidity and professionalism, achieving important results and rightfully entering the MotoGP stage. These results are the result of passion, but also of a technical and organisational ability that will be a valuable ally for Aprilia Racing in the future.

Massimo Rivola

"I am happy to announce the agreement with RNF Racing. We have always reasoned in small steps and as we demonstrate the competitiveness of our RS-GP, a natural part of the journey is to see two more on track. The Noale racing department is a true heritage of knowledge, of technical culture applied to high performance motorbikes as well as sports management. With RNF Racing we find a partner to enhance and valorise this extraordinary heritage. We are thinking, of course, of the riders and the best competitiveness, but also of raising new generations of engineers, technicians and managers. To continue and improve the extraordinary, all-Italian tradition of Aprilia Racing".

Razlan Razali

"We are absolutely thrilled for this long term partnership with Aprilia Racing. Our philosophy remains to work together with the factory team to develop riders that will one day become Aprilia factory riders. We will assist them in development to ensure that we continue to be competitive and ultimately win with Aprilia Racing. The proposal by Aprilia Racing fulfils our long term plans, strategies and security for the next two plus two years and I must thank Aprilia Racing for its trust, confidence and faith in us. We are absolutely looking forward to the season next year and this new partnership. At the same time, we want to express our gratitude to Yamaha for these past years working together and growing together. We will, though, maintain our focus on working hard this season in order to improve our results together with Yamaha and eventually conclude 2022 on a high note.”

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Aprilia Extend Contracts With Aleix Espargaro And Maverick Viñales Through 2024

Aprilia have decided on their MotoGP line up for the next two seasons. At Mugello, they announced that they will be keeping Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales for 2023 and 2024.

The announcement does not come as a huge surprise. Despite rumors that Aleix Espargaro had been displeased with the initial offer Aprilia made, the two sides have agreed terms for the next two years. The decision to extend with Maverick Viñales is a decision based more on expectation than current results, as the Spaniard continues to make progress toward being competitive. How much more progress is possible remains to be seen.

The signing of Espargaro and Viñales brings the total number of riders with a contract for next year to six. Marc Marquez, Brad Binder, and Pecco Bagnaia are signed through 2024, while Franco Morbidelli has a contract with Yamaha for 2023.

The next domino to fall will be either Fabio Quartararo, who is expected to renew his contract with Yamaha, or an announcement from Ducati. Ducati are currently n the middle of deciding which of their riders to place where for 2023, with Enea Bastianini, Jorge Martin, Johann Zarco, and Jack Miller vying for one spot in the factory squad and two seats at Pramac Ducati.

The press release appears below:


APRILIA RACING CONFIRMS THEIR FACTORY RIDERS FOR THE 2023/2024 TWO-YEAR PERIOD
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ AND MAVERICK VIÑALES WILL BE ON THE FACTORY RS-GP MACHINES FOR THE NEXT TWO-YEAR PERIOD

ALEIX: “WE ARE GOING THROUGH A GREAT TIME, WE ARE A CONCRETE REALITY AND NOW I WANT TO KEEP GROWING WITH APRILIA”
MAVERICK: “CONFIRMATION FOR THE NEXT TWO-YEAR PERIOD, BEING PART OF THE PROJECT, GIVES ME THE PEACE OF MIND TO SET GREAT GOALS FOR MYSELF”
MASSIMO RIVOLA: “WE ARE PROVIDING CONTINUITY TO A PROJECT THAT HAS JUST BEGUN TO REVEAL ITS POTENTIAL”

Under the sign of continuity, Aprilia Racing confirms their riders. Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales will be astride the factory RS-GP machines in the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

With more than one-third of the races in the current season already done and dusted, Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia are two top protagonists in the championship. With one win and three consecutive podiums, Aleix is reaping the fruits of a combination which is also based on the reciprocal and profound harmony with his team. In this situation, the synergy between bike and rider is one of the key factors for success.

Confirmation is based on this line of thinking for both the winner of the Argentinian GP and Maverick, who now has the same goals of increasingly closer integration with the Factory bike from Veneto.

Aleix Espargaró

"This confirmation was just what the doctor ordered. We’ve worked hard together and grown together. We were a hope, now we are reality. In 2021 we had already seen clear signs of our steps forward and now we are able to battle consistently with the best in the world. Continuing to do so with Aprilia is a source of pride for me. We can grow even more and we want to demonstrate that on the track.”

Maverick Viñales

"I'm extremely happy to continue my work with Aprilia Racing. Now our horizons are expanding and we’ll be able to work with continuity to achieve ambitious goals. I believe in this project and I'm happy to be part of it. I’ve found a fantastic environment in Aprilia and this confirmation gives me the peace of mind to grow the way this team and I deserve to."

Massimo Rivola

"All the good we are doing this season is the fruit of many components, certainly the value of our designers and our technicians led by Romano Albesiano, the overall growth of our racing department and, in large part, the synergy that our Captain Aleix has skilfully built with the bike and with the team. So, we set the goal of continuing along these lines, both with Aleix and with Maverick, and I am pleased with these confirmations today. We still need to grow a lot and now we have the peace of mind to do so."

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Finland MotoGP Race Postponed To 2023 - 2022 MotoGP Calendar Cut To 20 Races

The long-running saga of the Finnish GP at the Kymiring is to have another chapter added to it. Today, the FIM announced that the Grand Prix of Finland, due to be held on July 8th, has been canceled. In a press release, the FIM gave the reason for the cancellation as "homologation works" and the "ongoing political situation in the region".

There have long been doubts that the circuit would host a MotoGP race this year. Reports from sources in Finland paint a picture of a circuit which still needs a lot of work doing to it. Though the surface is finished, the rest of the facilities are still not up to the standard necessary to host a MotoGP round.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was probably the straw that broke the camel's back for the Finnish GP. The Kymiring, in the south east of Finland, was less than four hours away from St. Petersburg in Russia, and the organizers had hoped to attract a lot of Russian fans to the race. The very large numbers of Russian fans who turned up to the homologation test at the track in 2019, which saw test riders try out the surface to gather data for Michelin, proved to the organizers this was a viable business proposition.

For Dorna, this was a way of reaching Russian motorsports fans without the political complications of organizing races inside of Russia, where any race would be at the mercy of rampant corruption and the whimsy of politicians.

Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine triggered a wave of sanctions, in Europe and the west. Borders between Finland and Russia were closed, with Finland's decision to join NATO raising tensions and shutting off any chance of travel between Russia and Finland. That scuppered a large part of the financial basis for the Finnish GP.

For now, the race has been canceled, and postponed until 2023. The hope is that by then, work at the Kymiring will have been completed, and the circuit will be ready to host a grand prix. The organizers will also be hoping that the war in Ukraine will be over by then, and that Russian fans will be able to travel to Finland, and have the spare cash to be able to spend on going.

It is likely that Dorna's experience of racing at Mandalika in Indonesia earlier this year may also have played a role. MotoGP was lucky to escape a complete debacle, with the rain slowing down the race sufficiently to prevent the bikes from tearing up the track. Dorna may have felt that having one race at a barely completed track was more than enough for one year.

The cancellation will also be welcomed by the teams. Many – especially the Moto2 and Moto3 teams – were concerned by the expense of the race. Travel to the south of Finland was incredibly expensive, requiring trucks to take expensive ferries across the Baltic. Speaking to those involved in the logistics side of MotoGP, they expressed concerns that the costs for the teams were the same as for the flyaway races. Unlike the flyaways, however, the teams would not receive any financial support or freight allowance. The teams would have to cover all costs themselves.

The cancellation of Finland opens up a five-week gap during the summer. With 20 races still left on the calendar, that will be a welcome break.

The press release appears below:


MOTOGP CALENDAR UPDATE: FINLAND POSTPONED TO 2023

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports are obliged to announce changes to the 2022 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar.

Homologation works at the KymiRing, together with the risks caused by the ongoing geopolitical situation in the region, have sadly obliged the cancellation of the Finnish Grand Prix in 2022. The current circumstances have created delays and put the ongoing work at the new circuit at risk. All parties have therefore agreed that the track’s debut must be postponed to 2023, when MotoGP™ looks forward to returning to Finland for the first time in four decades.

The final 2022 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar is therefore expected to comprise 20 rounds.

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Qatar To Move To Season End In 2023 - Phillip Island As MotoGP Season Opener?

The Lusail International Circuit is to undergo major renovation work at the end of 2022 and into 2023, to upgrade the facilities and paddock. As a result, it will relinquish its position as the first race of the MotoGP season, instead being moved back to the end of the year.

With Qatar out of the frame as the first race of 2023, this hugely increases the chances of Phillip Island as the first race of the season. There were rumors in 2019 that Dorna was looking at a calendar shake up starting in 2021, but the Covid-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. Those plans included having the season start in Phillip Island, rather than Qatar, and this would be the ideal opportunity to try this.

Previously, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, which runs both the F1 and MotoGP races in Australia, had opposed such a move, but it is believed that they lifted their objections a couple of years ago, and were open to rescheduling the Phillip Island race to the start of the year.

One possible complication is the preseason testing schedule. Testing is set to be limited to just 8 days of official tests for 2023, kicking off with a 3-day test at Sepang as usual, followed by another 2-day test before the start of the year. Officials had told me previously that the 2-day test would be at Qatar, but that may be complicated if the Lusail International Circuit is being renovated. The second test would either have to be moved to a European track - most likely, Jerez - or be held at Sepang once again. Given the costs of freight, keeping the bikes and equipment at Sepang seems the most likely option.

This looks like being the prelude to a wider reshaping of the calendar from 2023. There has been widespread criticism of the crowded calendar in 2022, with 21 races being jammed together to produce difficult travel schedules, in some cases. Another sign was the renewal of the contract between the Motorland Aragon circuit and Dorna, in which they agreed to host 3 races in the period from 2022 to 2026.

This is part of an ongoing process to reduce the number of rounds in Spain, with the plan being to hold 3 races on the Iberian peninsula in coming years. That means that those 3 races will alternate between Jerez, Valencia, Aragon, Barcelona, and Portimão. This then opens the door to more races at new tracks outside of Europe.

The press release about the renovation work at Qatar appears below:


Lusail International Circuit facilities set for extensive remodelling

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Lusail International Circuit is set to undergo extensive renovation and remodelling to the paddock area and circuit facilities for 2023. The track is already confirmed on the MotoGP™ calendar until at least 2031, and the works will see the Middle East’s flagship motorsport venue further confirm its status as one of the world’s best-equipped racing facilities.

The remodelling project will begin to take shape in 2022 and will see various areas redeveloped to create an even better experience for all those racing at and visiting the venue, from riders and teams to fans and guests. That includes new areas for spectators, establishing Lusail as a truly state-of-the-art, cutting edge racetrack.

Lusail will host the 2023 Grand Prix of Qatar upon completion of the work, meaning the event will therefore not be the opening round, as it has been from 2007. Instead it will take place towards the end of the season, under the spectacular floodlights of Lusail as the sport returns to enjoy some incredible racing – as has become tradition at the Qatar GP.

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Season Length Sees MotoGP Engine Allocation Increased From 7 To 8 Engines

With the expansion of the MotoGP season to a record 21 races for 2022, the Grand Prix Commission has agreed to increase the number of engines each rider is allowed to use throughout the season. For this year, and if no events are canceled, then each rider will have 8, rather than 7 engines to use throughout the season.

The change is a response to the length of the season, and comes with conditions. Riders will only be allowed to use their 8th engine starting from the 19th event of the season. This gives the riders 7 engines to use for the first 18 events, plus an additional engine to be used from FP1 at the 19th round, the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

This change will be applied for subsequent seasons as well. From now on, if the MotoGP calendar published before the start of the season has up to 20 races scheduled, then riders will be allowed 7 engines per season. If the calendar has 21 or 22 races (the current maximum number agreed with the teams in the contracts signed with Dorna), then they will be allowed 8 engines, with the 8th only available from the 19th event onward.

The FIM press release 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) and Biense Bierma (MSMA), assisted by Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna), Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting) and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology), in an electronic meeting held on 8 May 2022, made the following decision:

Technical Regulations

ENGINE USE MOTOGP CLASS – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Currently, MotoGP regulations permit manufacturers in the MotoGP class to use a maximum of seven engines during the season. (Nine engines for manufacturers with concessions).

This regulation was established when the calendar comprised less than 20 races.

Because the 2022 calendar foresees 21 races it has been agreed to allow the use of one further engine providing that, ultimately, there are 19 races or more. The extra engine may only be used for the 19th. or subsequent races.

The regulations have been updated as follows:

Less than 21 races published on the official calendar that is issued by the FIM prior to the start of the first race:

  •  Manufacturers will have a maximum engine allocation of 7 engines (9 for manufacturers with concessions).

21 or 22 races published on the calendar that is issued by the FIM prior to the start of the first race:

  • Manufacturers will have a maximum engine allocation of 8 engines (10 for manufacturers with concessions).

The use of this 8th (or 10th) engine will only be allowed starting from the 19th event.

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Here At Long Last: Suzuki's Press Release Announcing MotoGP Withdrawal

Eleven days after the members of the Suzuki's MotoGP team were informed and the news leaked out, on the Monday after Jerez, Suzuki have finally issued a press release confirming the news. Suzuki have decided to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season.

The press release is very short and scant on details, but there are a few things that can be deduced from it. Firstly, Suzuki do not state that they are withdrawing, but in discussions with Dorna about withdrawing. On Wednesday, Spanish journalist Nico Abad caught up briefly with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who told him that he "did not see a solution" to the problem with Suzuki. Negotiations now are likely to focus on the terms of the withdrawal.

The second detail is that the reasons Suzuki give for the withdrawal are the "current economical situation" and "big changes that the Automotive world is facing in these years", forcing them to "shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies". The latter statement seems to imply that Suzuki's main focus will be on electric vehicles for the next few years, and they are sacrificing the MotoGP program as part of that.

The process of a withdrawal is likely to take several months. In the meantime, the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP team will line up at Le Mans this weekend for the French GP.

The official press release from Suzuki appears below:


SUZUKI ANNOUNCEMENT

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 12.

Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending its participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

Unfortunately, the current economical situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the Automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Suzuki Ecstar Team, to all those who have supported Suzuki's motorcycle racing activities for many years and to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support.

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Joan Mir Was Ready To Sign New Suzuki Deal Before Hamamatsu Withdrawal

Three days ago, the bombshell news came out about Suzuki’s decision to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022. So far no official confirmation (nor denial) has been forthcoming from the Hamamatsu factory. Yes, we are all aware of the Golden Week national holiday in Japan, but we cannot forget that lot of careers are hanging on this decision.

We are not just talking about the mechanics and other team members, but the riders themselves too. Because believe it or not, apart from that confidential meeting (that hasn’t remained confidential...) there has been no contact between the team/factory and the riders’ managers. Not with Joan Mir’s manager, for sure, as we have learned.

Anyway this is a crucial year on the rider market, with almost all the current contracts ending at the end of this year. So you all can imagine how upset Paco Sanchez (manager of Joan Mir) is with the current situation.

’This is a really unprofessional attitude’ says the Spaniard's manager, who is coincidentally also a lawyer. ’Nobody from the team or Japan has contacted me to say anything. I understand that Suzuki Motor Corporation obliged the senior team staff not to say anything to anybody. But this is really unfair, unprofessional and an irresponsible way to manage this crisis.’

Sanchez tried to reach Livio Suppo many times from the first moment the news reached him, but his calls were never answered. And if you think that Sanchez (who had left Jerez by Monday) was informed by his rider, you are wrong. He learned it when the journalist who broke the news asked him for a comment.

The Spaniard manager was waiting all Tuesday, before moving into action and starting to reach out to all the team managers who had showed interest in his rider in the past. ’I had waited long enough’ he said Tuesday evening, ’we don’t have any commitment to Suzuki anymore’.

He also emphasized that the rumors about them having a contract with HRC are far from being true. ’From last October our intention was to stay with Suzuki and they also assured me that Joan was their first choice. ’

Sanchez was at Portimão and Jerez as well, and he had several meetings with Suzuki team manager Livio Suppo and MotoGP project leader Shinichi Sahara. They have been finalizing the last couple of details before getting ready to sign a new contract, that as it stands now, will never happen.

Now Sanchez has only one goal: find the best seat for the 2020 World Champion. Maybe it’s still not too late, as apart from Pecco Bagnaia extending with the factory Ducati Team, no other deal has been closed so far this year. Besides Bagnaia, the only seats already filled in factory teams are Marc Marquez with Honda and Brad Binder with KTM through 2024, and Franco Morbidelli with Yamaha for 2023.

It will be interesting to see how the whole situation evolves, how Dorna and the team sponsors will react (the sponsors who also haven’t been informed yet about anything...) and how much will it cost to Suzuki to really leave MotoGP for the second time in a little more than a decade.


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Dorna Issue Statement On Suzuki Withdrawal - Remind Suzuki Of Contractual Obligations

Dorna have officially responded to the reports that Suzuki will be withdrawing from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. Dorna have pointed out that Suzuki signed a five-year contract to race in MotoGP from 2022 through 2026, and that they do not have the right to unilaterally terminate the contract.

The statement is a warning to Suzuki that there will be legal consequences for withdrawal. Dorna changed their contractual arrangements with the factories after Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP at the end of 2008. Previously, Dorna had a contract with the MSMA, representing all of the factories participating, which gave them no leverage over individual parties. From 2016, Dorna signed contracts with each factory separately, giving them a much more powerful enforcement mechanism. If Suzuki go through with their plan to withdraw, they will face serious legal consequences.

The Dorna statement also points out that there is no shortage of interest in MotoGP. Teams are interested in taking the two grid slots which will be freed up by Suzuki's withdrawal, meaning they believe they will be able to maintain the grid at 24 bikes for the foreseeable future. MotoGP grid slots are more valuable to teams than Moto2 or Moto3, as they are far more heavily subsidized by Dorna.

So far, no statement has been forthcoming from Suzuki. It is currently 'Ōgon Shūkan', or Golden Week in Japan, a week of national holidays in which a lot of offices are closed. That may help explain why the team has yet to issue a press release, as it may not be possible to get such a statement officially signed off by Suzuki HQ in Hamamatsu. That, too, makes the timing of the Suzuki statement even more curious.

The official Dorna statement appears below:


Statement from Dorna Sports regarding Suzuki

Tuesday, 03 May 2022

Following recent rumours of Suzuki departing MotoGP™ at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP™ do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally.

However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP™ class from 2023.

Dorna continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP™ grid as the sport continues to set a global example of close competition, innovation and entertainment, reaching hundreds of millions of fans around the world.

Interest from these parties has been re-confirmed in the past 24 hours.

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Suzuki To Withdraw From MotoGP At End Of 2022 Season

As the paddock packed up after the Jerez test on Monday, held after the Spanish GP at the circuit, the bombshell news emerged that Suzuki is to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the current season. Motorsport.com's Oriol Puigdemont was the first to break the news, which I have since had confirmed by multiple sources in the MotoGP paddock. The team were told on Monday morning, before the test, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.

The decision was a financial one. GPOne.com published a story citing sources that say that Suzuki's decision was based on financial grounds, with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine depressing the global economy. Paddock rumor suggests that one of the things Livio Suppo had been brought into Suzuki to do was to make budget cuts where possible, but nobody, not even Suppo, could have expected this decision, which came down from Suzuki's board of directors.

The timing of the withdrawal is bizarre, at least when viewed from a sporting perspective. The factory won a world title in 2020 with Joan Mir, and have two riders widely regarded as among the most talented on the grid. Alex Rins is currently fourth in the championship, 20 points behind the leader Fabio Quartararo, while Joan Mir is sixth, trailing Quartararo by 33 points. The Suzuki GSX-RR is one of the best bikes on the grid, especially since Suzuki's engineers found more horsepower and more torque for the 2022 season. Mir and Rins can be expected to be in the title hunt for 2022, only to be dropped at the end of the season.

The economic costs could be high as well. Suzuki signed a five-year contract with Dorna in April last year, promising to compete in MotoGP from 2022 to 2026. Dorna has bolstered their contracts after Kawasaki withdrew at the end of 2008, during the global financial crisis which followed in the wake of the Lehmann Brothers collapse. The board of directors of Dorna will be meeting to discuss how to address the withdrawal, and a statement will surely follow the announcement by Suzuki.

Suzuki's withdrawal is unlikely to see the grid reduced from 24 to 22 bikes. Instead, the two slots are likely to be taken by an Aprilia satellite team. Aprilia have been trying to convince several satellite teams to switch to Aprilia, as the Noale factory believes the time is right to expand their efforts and to create a space where they can park young talent to be nurtured.

The withdrawal of Suzuki also opens the question of where Alex Rins and Joan Mir will end up. Suzuki's exit blows the rider market open wide, at least behind Fabio Quartararo. Mir is now almost certain to end up at Repsol Honda, the 2020 world champion taking the place of Pol Espargaro alongside Marc Marquez. Alex Rins will be a highly prized rider, especially for a factory like Yamaha who have a very similar bike.

The press release is expected tomorrow. But this is a story which is likely to develop very fast. There are plenty more twists in the road.

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