The FIM today released the provisional 2018 WorldSBK version. Just as last year, the schedule contains thirteen rounds, spread out from February to late October. Two circuits visited in 2017 are out, Jerez and the Lausitzring, while Brno makes a return to the WorldSBK schedule, and a brand new circuit in the west of Argentina, near the border with Chile.
Ernesto Marinelli has been an almost ever present force within Ducati's World Superbike program for over two decades. Last month the Italian announced that he would leave his role as Superbike Project Leader but having enjoyed a hugely successful 22 years with the Italian manufacturer he will leave with a heavy heart.
Having joined Ducati fresh out of university as an engine technician, Marinelli was keen to prove his worth. He did this with an innovative approach to engine simulations while working as an undergraduate and quickly found his way into the Race Department, Ducati Corse. It is with a heavy heart that he finally decided to move away from Ducati and onto a new chapter in his career.
“Ducati is an extraordinary company,” reflected the Italian. “Even after 22 years I still love my job but it is a stressful life. Between testing and racing there really is no break. You do it because you have a passion and it’s not a normal job. It was actually quite hard when we announced it because of all the messages from people that worked for me. I was very pleased to see that you leave to everyone a good memory.
The MotoGP media had the chance to sit down with Garrett Gerloff at the recent Aragon Grand Prix. While the American was an unknown to many he left an impression with his maturity and intelligence. Now the Texan wants the opportunity to prove what he can do on track
Garrett Gerloff has taken the MotoAmerica Supersport championship by storm in recent years, claiming back-to-back titles. The Texan has amassed 19 wins in the class, but it was his form this year in beating JD Beach to the title which turned a lot of heads.
At the recent Aragon round of MotoGP, a group of journalists sat down with the American to hear about his plans for the future and his reasons for making the trip to Europe. The lasting impression was that while Gerloff knows the importance of having an American in MotoGP, he wants to get an opportunity based on talent and hard work rather than his passport.
“I’m not here for business necessarily but I do like telling people I want to be here in MotoGP one day,” said the 22 year old. “This is my goal, to be in a world championship paddock, whether it’s here or WorldSBK. That would also be a goal of mine. I want to race with the best. I want to be one of the guys holding the American flag around here for a world championship. I want to start coming to more of these races so that I can be more than just someone that you've heard of who lives 5,000 miles away. I want to be a face that’s here in the paddock and is ready to do something in the future.”
…and it probably is, but even if Andrea Dovizioso fails to climb the cliff at Valencia, he can still be satisfied with a near-perfect 2017
The odds will not be stacked in Andrea Dovizioso’s favour when he gets to Valencia next week. But there’s a tired old saying we’ve been regurgitating in the MotoGP media centre for the past three decades or so: anything can happen in motorcycle racing, and usually does.
Or as the late, great Nicky Hayden put it: “That’s why we line up on Sunday – you never know what’s going to happen."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's race in Sepang:
Fantastic 1-2 victory for Ducati at Sepang. Andrea Dovizioso wins the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix ahead of Jorge Lorenzo to keep his title hopes alive, 21 points behind Marquez
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Sepang:
Franco Morbidelli is the 2017 Moto2 World Champion
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli was crowned the 2017 Moto2 World Champion at the Sepang International Circuit today.
Morbidelli secured the title even before the start of the 20-lap Malaysian Grand Prix.
With Morbidelli’s main rival Tom Lüthi declared unfit on Sunday morning it meant that the 22-year-old Italian could not be beaten for the title.
Sometimes, winning a championship requires a little bit of help from your team. Especially when championships are tight. A little help from your teammate, perhaps persuaded by a quiet word in their ear from the team boss. Who knows, maybe even a little financial sweetener to help swallow a bitter pill, a cut of a win bonus. It helps if you and your teammate don't actively despise each other, of course.
Team orders are something of a taboo subject in motorcycle racing. Journalists, riders, teams all pussyfoot around the issue, while fans speculate like mad about which results were down to riders doing what they were told by team bosses, rather than putting it all out on the track. With no ship-to-shore radio communication, the only methods of communication are via the pit board, and since last year, via a list of permitted messages on the dashboard.
In a way, not having radio communication has led to more speculation about team orders, rather than less. Because pit boards are visible to other teams, and space is necessarily limited, the messages tend to be both terse and obscure. Valentino Rossi is forever being asked to explain what the letters BRK on his pit board mean. Dani Pedrosa is in a league of his own in this regard: at one point during a race, the word DOGMA appeared on his pit board. At another, the letters ZZTT were shown at the start of the last lap.
MotoGP standings after the Malaysian race at Sepang:
Moto2 standings after the Malaysian round in Sepang:
Moto3 standings after the Malaysian round at Sepang: