When I started this blog, I never expected that it would be quite as popular as it has proved to be. In fact, I booked my upcoming vacation shortly after I started writing this blog, without even a glance at the MotoGP calendar, thinking only of when the weather would be good in Northern Spain, and when the crowds would mostly have disappeared. I hardly spared a thought of whether I would be able to write race reports or not, thinking only that if there was a race, I would at the very least be able to read about it in the Spanish papers.
One of the American teenagers taking part in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, a breeding ground for young talent, has documented his experiences so far. It's an interesting look at the event from a rider's perspective, and from a teenager's perspective. The selection event is being run at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, the same track the Valencia Grand Prix will be run at on October 29th.
Our Italian friends over at MotoGrandprix.it are reporting that the Ilmor/Suter V4 bike is back in action. This time, it's Australian former GP star and King of Slide Garry McCoy riding the bike, currently running tests at the Albacete track in Spain.
The Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Ducati have agreed terms with Loris Capirossi for 2007. Negotiations had been stuck for a long while, but Capirex' victory at Brno helped shift things along, and bought him a pay rise into the bargain. Ducati was said to be interested in Marco Melandri, but with Capirossi resigned, that interest has waned.
According to a story on the Italian site Motograndprix.it, Honda will announce its plans for 2007 at 5pm CET on October 29th, just 2 hours after the close of the 2006 MotoGP season. In its traditional post-season press conference, HRC will introduce its 800cc bike (expected to be called the RC212V), and announce which riders it will field next season.
As we rapidly approach the high water mark of speculation about 2007, more rumors emerged about Casey Stoner. The Italian website Motograndprix.it is reporting that the young Aussie may be out of MotoGP next year.
Crash.net as a story with more details on the Ilmor 800 project. In short, they hope to enter MotoGP next season with their V4 800 with a two-rider team and a budget of $20 million. They also hope to contest the Portugal and Valencia GP rounds in October this year, with either Max Biaggi or Alex Barros riding the bike.
As I mentioned previously, it's that time of year again, and the rumors keep rolling in. Crash.net is reporting that Ducati team boss Livio Suppo has given his approval to James Toseland joining Pramac d'Antin Ducati for 2007. Toseland is currently riding a Ten Kate Honda in the World Superbike class, but has made no secret of his desire to move up to MotoGP.
Spanish motorcycle magazine Motociclismo.es has an article about possible personnel changes in MotoGP for 2007. The main rumor concerns Andrea Dovizioso, who is said to want to move up the MotoGP class, unless Honda vastly improve their 250 for next season. Dovizioso's name is being linked with the LCR Honda currently being ridden by the young Australian Casey Stoner.
That tires play an important role in MotoGP has been made abundantly clear this season.
Qualifying practice at Brno on Saturday started strangely, but turned into an old-fashioned thriller. Anyone trying to read the signs before practice started would have had a great deal of difficulty, with the names on the timesheets yo-yoing between the top and mid-sheet. What was clear by Saturday morning is that times were going to be fast, after Loris Capirossi clocked a track record in the third Free Practice session.
As a result, no one was really surprised to see Capirossi set the fastest time just a few minutes after the start of the official Qualifying Practice, with a 1:58.399, and before 10 minutes of the session had elapsed, five riders had all put in 1:58s. As all these times had been set on race tires, as the riders searched for the right setup before attempting an actual qualifying time, notice had already been served that Sunday's race was going to be very very fast indeed.
~~~ UPDATED ~~~
Since I posted this, Dorna and the FIM have announced the official 2007 MotoGP calendar. You can read about it in this post.
Valentino Rossi heads the timesheets after FP2 at Brno, after putting in a blistering time on qualifiers. The big surprise is Randy de Puniet on the Kawasaki in 2nd. The Bridgestones must be working well, as both 2nd place de Puniet and 3rd place Loris Capirossi are using them. The Dunlops aren't doing too badly either, as Carlos Checa put in a very respectable time in 7th.