The Termas De Rio Hondo circuit has extended its contract to host the Argentina round of MotoGP through 2025. Today, the circuit both announced a new three-year deal with series organizer Dorna, and announced that the 2022 race would be held on April 3rd of next year.
The renewal of the contract comes as a double surprise. Firstly, because a large part of the building housing the pit boxes and media center burned down in an electrical fire earlier this year. There were fears the facilities would not be restored to the level required by Grand Prix racing due to a lack of investment, but the circuit is close to completing the repairs and rebuilding ready for next year.
Maverick Viñales has elected not to race at the US round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. The Spaniard has decided to take the time to come to terms with the death of his cousin, Dean Berta Viñales, as a result of a crash in the WorldSSP300 race at Jerez on Saturday. Dean Berta Viñales rode in the team run by Maverick's father, Angel, and which carries Maverick's logo.
With a three-week break after Austin, the Spaniard will have time to process the death of someone so close to him. For both Maverick Viñales and Aprilia, the races in the second half of 2021 were an added bonus in the Spaniard's adaptation to the Aprilia RS-GP, as he had originally signed to race for the Italian factory for the 2022 season. But his release by Yamaha allowed him to get an early start.
The Aprilia press release appears below:
MAVERICK VIÑALES WILL NOT RACE IN AUSTIN
There has been a lot of talk of tires in 2021. Tires are always a key part of the performance package in motorcycle racing, but they seem to have played an even more important role in 2021. At Silverstone, Pecco Bagnaia complained of a bad rear tire, while Joan Mir said his front tire was off. Two weeks later, it was the turn of Fabio Quartararo to complain of his rear tire, and there have been a litany of complaints from riders throughout this season.
Are these complaints justified? From outside, it is hard to tell. With grids commonly separated by a second, and grid rows separated by a tenth or less, the differences between being perfect and being just slightly off in terms of setup, tire pressure, bike balance have grown massively in importance.
This is not made any easier by the fact that the Michelins have a relatively narrow operating window in terms of temperature. Go just outside that temperature range, and performance drops off dramatically. The devil is increasingly in the detail, and tires are the biggest detail of all.
The benefits of racing
But Michelin are here to stay in MotoGP. The French tire manufacturer recently extended their contract for another three years, through the 2026 season, a clear sign that they see value in being the official tire supplier, despite the fact that this exposes them to so much criticism.
The 2021 WorldSBK calendar has been finalized at last. Over the weekend of the Jerez round of World Superbikes, Dorna and the FIM confirmed that the Mandalika International Street Circuit, on the island of Lombok, will host the final round of the 2021 season. The round is still subject to the circuit being homologated by the FIM, but this should be a formality. The race has been pushed back a week from its orginally scheduled date.
This means that there are three more rounds left in the 2021 WorldSBK calendar. This coming weekend, the series alights at the Portimão circuit in Portugal, before heading off to Argentina for a race at the San Juan Villicum circuit in the west of the country on the weekend of October 17th. The series will then conclude in Indonesia on November 21st.
Here's the final 2021 WorldSBK calendar:
In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast Follow Up Show Fueled By ELF MarcVDS Racing, Neil Morrison and David Emmett take a look back at Misano. They start off with a look at a thrilling and controversial end to the MotoE season, and the collision between Dominique Aegerter and Jordi Torres which decided the title. They debate the merits and the future of the MotoE class, and where it goes from here.
Then they move on to discuss the rivalry between Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner, and where it ranks in the history of intermediate class battles. We briefly discuss what the bumpy and physically demanding Austin track will have on the championship. And they take a look at Moto3, how Romano Fenati spread out the field to create an interesting race. And we ask why Pedro Acosta suddenly seems to be struggling, and who is now dominating the Moto3 championship.
There has been a lot of death this year in motorcycle racing. At Mugello, Jason Dupasquier crashed and was hit by another rider during qualifying for the Moto3 race, and died in the early hours of the following morning. At Aragon, during the European Talent Cup race held at a round of the FIM CEV championship, Hugo Millán crashed during the race and was hit by another bike, dying as a result of his injuries. And yesterday, during the WorldSSP300 race at Jerez, Dean Berta Viñales crashed at Turn 2 and was hit by another rider, dying in hospital a few hours later. Dupasquier was 19, Millán was 14, Viñales 15.
The deaths – three teenagers in the space of less than four months – led to a great deal of introspection in the racing world, and concerns over what should be done to prevent this from happening again. A lot of people had a lot of ideas, but the thing that strikes me about these deaths is that, as good as some ideas might be, there are no easy answers.
Motorcycle racing is dangerous. This is a truism, but it is not often we get a reminder of just how dangerous it is. Sometimes, reality likes to rub our noses in it.
The one thing that all three fatalities have in common is that the riders who crashed were hit by bikes that were following them. Though an enormous amount of work has been done to make circuits safer, this is the one type of accident for which there are no simple solutions. A motorcycle traveling at speed contains an enormous amount of energy, more than a human body can absorb and survive.
This is true even at relatively low speeds. Dean Berta Viñales crashed on the exit of Turn 2 at Jerez, one of the slowest corners on the circuit. According to data from Brembo published before the weekend, WorldSBK riders brake to 65 km/h for Turn 2, meaning that Berta was hit by another bike probably traveling at less than 80 km/h.
WorldSSP300 standings after the second race at Jerez:
Standings after World Superbike race 2:
World Superbike race two would be missing Alex Lowes, his wrist causing issues, as twenty one riders lined up for twenty laps of Jerez. The grid set up based on Saturday's Superpole qualifying, with two full-length races on Sunday like it's 2015.
World Supersport standings after the single race in Jerez:
World Supersport would only have one race this weekend, reducing the opportunities Steven Odendaal has to claw back points on Dominique Aegerter. Alcoba and Fabrizio opted not to race. Seventeen laps at 24ºC would determine the winner.
World Superbike standings after a delayed Race 1 at Jerez:
Travel and logistics meant that Gordon Ritchie and Steve English did not get to sit down and record the Barcelona WorldSBK episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast until they arrived in Jerez on Thursday. That turned out to be fortuitous, as it meant that Steve could sit down with Chaz Davies for an interview shortly after the Welshman had announced his retirement from racing, and in which he gave a typically fascinating look at his career and motivation through the years.
Before that, Gordo and Steve take a look back at Barcelona. They discuss the effect the races there had on the championship, and take a long look at how Kawasaki not getting the 500 RPM they tested with and banked on has hurt them down the stretch. They discuss Toprak Razgatlioglu's championship chances, and what has changed. And they look at the situation at Honda, and ask whether bringing in new riders from the MotoGP paddock is the best move. And of course, they take a look at Chaz Davies' career, and what he has meant to the WorldSBK series.
World Superbike race one was at the earliest time a feature race has started, and would be twenty laps of Jerez under the shadow of yesterday's events.