After the announcement that Tito Rabat is to take the GP17 at Avintia Ducati, there is only a single seat still left open on the 2018 MotoGP grid. Xavier Simeon is expected to take that seat, but nothing is yet decided. There are still question marks over Bradley Smith's future at KTM, team bosses unhappy with the Englishman's performance this year. A decision on Smith will likely be taken after the Aragon round of the series.
Below is the line up as it stands on the Thursday before Misano:
Tito Rabat is to race for the Reale Avintia team in 2018. The move had been widely expected, talks having started when it became clear there was no future for Rabat at his current Marc VDS Honda team.
Rabat is to ride a Ducati Desmosedici GP17 at Avintia. The second seat at Avintia is the only seat still left open for the 2018 MotoGP season, and whoever Avintia choose to put on the bike - Belgian rider Xavier Simeon is the current favorite, bringing a sizable sum of money to the team - will use a GP16. The current MotoGP rider line up is here.
Will we get a glimpse of a MotoGP future without Valentino Rossi at Misano? The news that the Italian icon had broken his right leg in an enduro accident will have caused hearts to sink at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, just a few kilometers from Rossi's home in Tavullia. Recent editions have been packed to the rafters. With motorcycling's biggest draw out of action, ticket sales, the biggest source of revenue covering the cost of hosting a MotoGP race, are likely to be down.
How much, is the question, of course. Yes, Valentino Rossi is still unquestionably the biggest name in motorcycle racing, but there are plenty of reasons to be watching right now, and plenty of things for Italian fans to cheer for. An Italian rider, Andrea Dovizioso, is leading the championship on an Italian motorcycle, the Ducati Desmosedici GP17. The racing is closer than it has ever been, with any of five or six riders in with a realistic shout of the win, and a handful more a chance of a podium. More often than not, races are won on the last couple of laps, and surprisingly often, in the last corner. Though the loss of Rossi is an undeniable blow, the show will likely be as good as ever.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the signs are that numbers will be down. There are still plenty of tickets on sale for Sunday at Misano, both in the grandstands and for general admission. Normally, tickets would be few and far between. There is every chance that the grandstands, and more especially the paddock, will be a lot quieter than in previous years.
Who is to blame for Sam Lowes’ MotoGP demise: the rider, Aprilia or someone else? Look behind the scenes and there’s an obvious answer few have noticed
Silverstone was a weird weekend for Sam Lowes: his first and possibly (but hopefully not) last British Grand Prix as a MotoGP rider.
Lowes’ unceremonious sacking during the preceding Austrian Grand Prix caused a minor furore in the paddock and asked some major questions.
Most obviously, what is a contract worth? That’s an easy one to answer: a contract is worth next to nothing if someone is prepared to buy themselves out of it, to some extent. Lowes wanted to continue his MotoGP learning process with Aprilia next year, but all he will receive will be his salary. No bikes. It’s a miserable deal, but that’s the way the world works.
Transport is changing, and one of the biggest ways in which it is changing is the shift to electric vehicles. That change is slowly starting to seep into the world of motorcycling as well. Electric motorcycling manufacturers have sprung up in many places around the globe, though more often than not as tech startups in Silicon Valley rather than as engineering firms from more traditional motorcycling regions.
The more established manufacturers have also started to show an interest. BMW offers an electric scooter, the C Evolution, and KTM sells the Freeride E in three different versions. Slowly but surely, a solid engineering base is starting to form for electric motorcycles.
This change has not gone unnoticed by Dorna. The Spanish firm who run MotoGP are making plans for an electric bike racing series, provisionally scheduled to be starting in 2019. That is very provisional, however: a lot of work still needs to be done before such a series can take place. Bikes need to be found, and circuits need to be modified to ensure they have the facilities needed to host, and most especially, recharge the bikes ready for racing.
To find out more about what an electric bike series might look like, and how far along the planning stage Dorna is, we spoke with MotoGP Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli.
Question: How are you involved with the electric bike series?
Corrado Cecchinelli: I’m more in the present stage, which is finding out if there is any chance at all to make a good race, and to explore the technical possibility of the present machines, and guess what it will be in a couple of years, which is difficult. Because in that field you have to assume it will be a lot different. So this is what I’m involved in. Because no decision has been taken, even about doing it or not.
Cal Crutchlow has sliced a tendon in his left index finger, and had to have surgery to repair it and close the wound. Below is the press release from the LCR Honda team explaining Crutchlow's injury:
CRUTCHLOW HAS OPERATION ON FINGER INJURY
PRESS RELEASE: 04 September 2017
The Movistar Yamaha team have today confirmed that Valentino Rossi is to miss the Misano round of MotoGP. The injury the Italian sustained in a training accident last week is sufficiently severe that he will not be fit for his home round.
Yamaha had widely been expected to withdraw Rossi from Misano, given the fact that he had broken both the tibia and fibula of his right leg, and only had surgery to pin the bones in the early hours of Friday morning. The last time Rossi broke his leg, it was 40 days before he returned, making Motegi the earliest Rossi is likely to return.
After the tragic death of Nicky Hayden, the Red Bull Honda team has struggled to fill the American's place in their WorldSBK team. Jake Gagne filled in at Laguna Seca, putting an American on the bike at the US round. Davide Giugliano had a modest outing on the Honda CBR1000RR at the Lausitzring, but he was not the long-term solution for the Ten Kate squad either.
Imagine you are Lin Jarvis, boss of Yamaha. It is Thursday evening, and you are in the car, driving home from Yamaha Motor Racing's headquarters in Monza. Your phone goes, and you answer it. It's someone from Valentino Rossi's entourage, calling to tell you that Rossi has crashed his enduro bike out training, and has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg. What do you do?
Well, first you call William Favero, Yamaha's communications manager, and sort out the communications process. But after that, and once you get confirmation that Rossi's leg really is broken – a double break, tibia and fibula – then you start to think about whether you will have to field a substitute rider for the upcoming races. Who do you call?
A lot of people have been playing this game since late on Thursday evening, when news of Rossi's injury broke, but very few have been able to put themselves into the position of Lin Jarvis. Instead, the suggestions offered have been made from the perspective of possible future configurations of the Yamaha MotoGP team, or riders who deserve a chance in MotoGP, or just a particular fan's favorite rider, who they would like to see get a ride somewhere. So who are the candidates? Who will get the call? And more importantly, what motivates the decision that Lin Jarvis will eventually have to make?
Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after the surgery to pin the bones he broke in an Enduro crash. Below is the press release from Yamaha explaining that he has been sent home to continue his recovery there:
VALENTINO ROSSI IS DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after spending one night at the 'Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti' in Ancona.
When news came in that Valentino Rossi had broken his leg riding an Enduro bike while training, the eternal discussion kicked off among fans about why MotoGP riders are allowed anywhere near an off road bike outside the track. The question is doubly relevant, as this is the second Italian race for which Valentino Rossi has managed to injure himself riding a dirt bike.
The simple answer, of course, is that people whose job it is to race motorcycles need to practice riding motorcycles to do their jobs. And riding a bike off road is a lot safer than riding a bike on the road (crashing at 70 km/h on dirt doesn't hurt as much as crashing at 200 km/h on asphalt).
Fans, however, are impervious to such arguments. So instead of journalists explaining why MotoGP riders ride dirt bikes, here are a bunch of quotes from MotoGP riders, explaining in their own words why they ride off road.
Valentino Rossi had surgery in the early hours of Friday morning to insert metal pins into the fractured broken bones in his lower leg. The operation was deemed a success, and Rossi is to start his recovery as soon as possible. Surgery was carried out in Ancona, after the Italian had originally been treated in hospital in Urbino, where he had been taken after the enduro training crash in which he broke his leg.
Yamaha have confirmed that Valentino Rossi has broken his right leg in a training accident. The Italian suffered a displaced fracture of both the tibia and fibula of his right leg. This is the same leg Rossi broke at Mugello in 2010.
Rossi is to undergo surgery as soon as possible. The normal procedure for displaced fractures of the tibia and fibula is to insert either a metal pin or a metal plate to fix the bone in place.
The first official press release from Yamaha on Valentino Rossi's injury is in. No details as yet. Further updates expected soon:
ROSSI UNDERGOES MEDICAL EXAMINATION AFTER ENDURO TRAINING ACCIDENT
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi was taken to hospital following an enduro incident that occurred on Thursday evening, August 31st.
Urbino (Italy), 31st August 2017
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team rider Valentino Rossi was involved in an enduro accident, during a training activity close to his hometown, on Thursday, August 31st.