Two more days of essential set-up work and data gathering for the 2019 FIM MotoGP season took place at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain yesterday and today. The final test of 2018 saw Red Bull KTM flanked by the new Red Bull Tech 3 KTM RC16s of Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin once more.
Thursday, 29 November 2018 15:31 Published in Rider and Team Releases
The Repsol Honda Team’s second and final day of testing at Valencia was finally completely dry. As was the case yesterday though, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo took to the circuit around 1 pm, when air temperature and track conditions improved enough for the riders to collect valuable information for the HRC engineers to analyse.
Marc’s fastest time of 1’30.911” on lap 39 of 53 placed him third-fastest on this final day. Jorge turned 46 laps and finished in 12th place at 1’31.584” (lap 40).
Marquez and Lorenzo will take part in a two-day test in Jerez, Spain 28-29 November before the winter testing ban kicks in at the end of the month.
3rd 1'30.911 (53 laps)
“It was a good day for us, as we tried many things and got a lot of information. Today we mainly worked on the new bike and the engine setup, but not only on that. We had many things to try and to understand, as the feeling is quite different. In the morning I was really comfortable and I was already able to be fast. Then I stayed there, remained calm and kept the rhythm, because to be honest, it was a must-not-crash situation today. We tried different combinations, spending a lot of time in the garage in the morning, but I was able to make a few consistent runs in the afternoon.”
Thursday, 22 November 2018 09:24 Published in Rider and Team Releases
VALENCIA (SPAIN), 21ST NOVEMBER 2018 Despite having to sit out the first three hours of available track time in the pit box again, waiting for the riding conditions to improve, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were able to complete most of their testing programme on the second day of testing at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo.
Similar to yesterday, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi both spent all their testing time getting familiar with the new engine evolution.
Following the same procedure as yesterday, Viñales made his way out on track with more than four hours on the clock. The Spaniard picked up his work on the 2019 engine spec where he had left off and, despite a small crash, proceeded to gradually better his time throughout the day. He rode a total of 57 laps and improved on his personal best from the first day by 0.659s, setting a 1'30.757s lap on his 50th try. He ended the session leading the rankings with a 0.133s advantage over his closest rival. This result puts him in first position in the combined test timesheets.
Rossi arrived at the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pit box around the same time as his teammate, heading out on track in the afternoon. The Doctor was very focused on getting his YZR-M1’s new engine in perfect shape ahead of the 2019 season. He completed 63 laps in total and set a 1'31.371s after completing two-thirds of his testing programme, which was enough to keep him in ninth position in the rankings, 0.614s from today's best time. The lap also earned him ninth place in the overall Valencia test results, as almost all MotoGP riders improved on their best effort on the second day.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI TEAM DIRECTOR: "We’ve made a very productive start to the 2019 pre-season, and we have quite a few things to be positive about. Our wish for some dry testing time was granted, though we had to wait until the afternoon on both days. Still, the hours on track allowed us to get a lot of work done. As announced during the Valencia GP weekend, Maverick and Valentino focused mainly on comparing the new engine evolution to the 2018 engine. The new engines improve the engine braking, and the acceleration is smoother. Both riders really only concentrated on comparing the engines, without touching the chassis setting. They both gave positive and similar feedback on what we tried during this test. We managed to do 60% of what we had scheduled. So far we’re on the right path. Next up is the two-day test at Jerez that will be crucial in preparing for the 2019 season. We're heading in the right direction, so that's our motivation to keep working hard."
MAVERICK VIÑALES MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER: "It has been a positive test. We've been working a lot on improving for the first lap of the race. I'm actually really happy because from the first lap I felt good grip and I could push. There's still work to do to further improve the engine braking and the smoothness of the power, so that's what we will work on in Jerez. It was unlucky that we couldn't ride all day, like we had planned. We couldn't test the engines very well, so we're going to decide after Jerez which of the two we choose. As I said, we need to try more, to be more convinced about the engine decision, but I think we're on the right track. We need to focus on the riding style and getting a smoother bike will be very important, especially when there's no grip during the race, but there is an upgrade coming that will help a lot. In these last two days I only focused on the engine and didn't touch anything concerning the setting. I think we could have improved the set-up for Valencia a lot, but I'm happy that just focusing on the engine we improved by some tenths."
VALENTINO ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER: "We were able to improve compared to yesterday, but unfornately our opponents were able to improve more. Today was a bit more difficult. We tried a different engine and a different spec, but it was similar to the one we tried yesterday so they have more or less the same performance. For now we keep the same material, and next week we will try it again at another track, in Jerez, so there we'll try to understand it in a better way. After that we have to wait for next year. The test in Jerez is important because in the GP there in May we weren't very fast. We need to understand if we're stronger now."
Thursday, 22 November 2018 08:59 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Two days of official MotoGP testing marking the start of the 2019 championship season have come to a close at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste (Valencia).
Once again the field of riders could only go out late in the morning, after the track had completely dried out following another night of rain in Valencia.
The two factory Ducati Team riders focussed their work load on the 2019 version of the Desmosedici GP, obtaining positive feedback, and at the end of the session Andrea Dovizioso was second quickest with a time of 1’30.890, while Danilo Petrucci ended the day in fifth place with a best lap of 1’30.959.
They were joined on track by Michele Pirro, who following a crash and a worsening of the pain in his right shoulder, only completed 14 laps with a best time of 1’32.376
The MotoGP teams and riders will be back in action next week at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain where the last two days of official testing this year are scheduled for 28 and 29 November.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd – 57 laps – 1’30.890
“Today went better than yesterday because we were able to do a lot of tests, including back-to-back ones, during which we found some interesting solutions. These were small details and now we want to try them in different conditions and on another track to get some more precise feedback. These two days of tests at Valencia have been very positive and now we will try and confirm the same sensations at Jerez.”
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team #9) – 5th – 60 laps – 1’30.959
“I’m pleased with this second day of tests because we were able to try a lot of things and we were always pretty fast, up near the top of the timesheets. I was able to lap consistently with excellent times, even though we didn’t do many tests with different set-ups, and this means that the 2019 bike has a good base. In the end, I only missed out on a quick lap, but I’m very pleased with the way the team is working, with even more engineers helping me, and this made all the difference.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 19th – 14 laps – 1’32.376
“Today I didn’t do many laps, just 14 in total, when the track wasn’t very fast, but we still managed to do a test that gave us some very useful information. Unfortunately, the problem with my right shoulder, which has worsened since Sunday, didn’t allow me to work well and I crashed again. In ten days’ time I’ll finally be able to have an operation and then I want to turn over a new page.”
Thursday, 22 November 2018 08:53 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Eight months after the start of the 2018 championship season, which kicked off at the Losail circuit in Qatar in March, the MotoGP teams and riders have arrived in Spain for the nineteenth and final round of the season, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, which is held every year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of Valencia.
Thanks to the results obtained in the previous round at Sepang, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati come to Valencia with second place in the Riders’ and Constructors’ standings firmly in the bag, while Jorge Lorenzo intends to conclude his partnership with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer in the best possible way, despite the aftermath of his recent injury. In any case 2018 has been another positive year for Ducati with six wins to its name – three for each rider – together with four seconds and two thirds.
Dovizioso has ten starts to his name at Valencia in MotoGP, with his best result being a third place in 2011, while last year the Italian rider crashed six laps from the end while in third place. Jorge Lorenzo has taken part in nine editions of the Valencia GP, winning four of them and demonstrating total supremacy in 2015 and 2016.
It will be the third race of the year on the Desmosedici GP for Michele Pirro, after Misano and the Sepang round, where he replaced Lorenzo. The Italian rider has taken part in five Valencia GPs in the MotoGP category, scoring a best result of fifth in 2012, while the year before Michele was able to win in Moto2.
Ducati has scored two MotoGP wins at Valencia, with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2008.
After 18 races, Dovizioso is second overall in the Riders’ standings with 220 points while Lorenzo lies in tenth with 130. Pirro, who has taken part in just two races this season, is in twenty-seventh place with 1 point.
The Valencia weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 09.55 CET, while the 27-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (220 points)
“Sixth place at Sepang meant that I finished second in the championship and we wanted to bring home this very important result at all costs. Now at Valencia we come up against a track where in the past we have struggled quite a bit: this year however I expect us to be fast and the race will also be an important test to understand in which areas we have to improve to be more competitive next year.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 10th (130 points)
“We have arrived at the last race of the season and even though I still won’t be 100% fit, I would really like to finish my adventure in Ducati with a good result. It’s difficult to know what condition my left wrist will be in, but luckily I feel much better than in Sepang and on Friday morning I’ll go out on track with the hope that I won’t have too much pain and that I can be competitive. My two years in Ducati have been very intense and I’d really like to say goodbye to my team with a good race. For sure our fans, who always come out in force at Cheste, will also help to make this weekend special.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 27th (1 point)
“I’m happy to be back on track for the last round of the season and be able to work all weekend with my squad and the guys in the test team. As always, we’ll try and do a good job and bring home as much information as possible. We recently went testing here at Valencia and so we’ve got a good starting base. Let’s hope we can enjoy ourselves and finish - with a good race - a season that after my crash at Mugello has seen me recover really well.”
The Valencia circuit
The Ricardo Tormo Circuit at Cheste, which was built in 1999, hosted its first Grand Prix the same year. The track has several different configurations, with varying lengths, and all of them lap in a counter-clockwise direction. Although the track itself is relatively tight and compact, the massive grandstands all around can contain more than 150,000 spectators. The circuit layout helps to create a unique atmosphere, both for the riders and the enthusiastic Spanish fans, who always fill the stadium for the last GP of the season.
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Circuit Record: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’31.171 (158.1 km/h) - 2016
Best Pole: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Top Speed: Dovizioso (Ducati) 335.9 km/h - 2015
Track Length: 4.0 km
Race Distance: 27 laps (108.1 km)
Corners: 14 (9 left, 5 right)
Race Start: 14.00 CET
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:59 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales pushed to the max during today’s Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, putting on a brave ride from 11th on the grid to 4th position over the finish line. Valentino Rossi had a heroic run at the Sepang International Circuit, but it ended in heartbreak on lap 17 when he crashed out of the lead. He was able to rejoin the race and took the chequered flag in 18th place.
Viñales started from 11th on the grid and soon found himself in 10th position. After warming up his tyres on the first two laps, he began his charge. His pace was as strong as the front group, meaning he had no problems cutting through the field, though there was a lot of ground to be made up.
With nine laps to go he took over sixth place from Andrea Dovizioso. The Spaniard didn’t waste any time to also pass Dani Pedrosa. He was trying to close the gap to Álex Rins but was unable to catch him. As his teammate at the front made a small mistake, Viñales crossed the line in fourth place, 4.667s from first.
Rossi had a perfect start from second, taking the hole shot and holding the lead superbly. He had a stunning consistent pace that allowed him to make a clean getaway from his pursuers.
Though his advantage went up and down over the first half of the race, there was no one who could really reach Rossi at the front, let alone make an attempt at passing the nine-time World Champion. However, in the final ten laps the heat and the tyre degradation meant Marc Márquez was closing in.
The Doctor responded by picking up the pace and defended his first place brilliantly, but a small mishap in Turn 1 on lap 17 caused him to slide down the tarmac. He was able to rejoin the race in 18th place and finished in the same position, 58.288s from first.
Today's results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings with a 25-point gap to second. Viñales, in fourth place, reduced the gap to his teammate to 2 points. Yamaha is still in third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Malaysia, with a 38-point margin to second, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in second position in the team standings, with now a 39-point gap to first.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in two weeks' time for the final showdown of 2018, the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, held from November 16th - 18th.
Sunday, 04 November 2018 14:34 Published in Rider and Team Releases
From seventh on the grid to the 70th win in his career: In Malaysia, Marc Marquez took his ninth win this season and his 44th in MotoGP, earning Honda its 24th Premier Class Constructors Title. Furthermore, thanks to today’s win of newly crowned Moto3 World Champion Jorge Martin, Honda has achieved also the Moto3 Constructor Title bringing its tally to 69 over all classes, a record in the Championship’s history.
Such were the numbers, but today’s competition was also another master class race for the 2018 MotoGP World Champion, who recovered from the third row of the grid to second place within five laps of the start before beginning a long chase of erstwhile leader Valentino Rossi. Marc was preparing for what seemed certain would be a battle for the victory when the Italian slipped off four laps from the end.
On the other side of the garage, Dani Pedrosa matched his best result of this season, taking fifth place after displaying a strong pace during the race.
Now the Repsol Honda Team will pack up and fly back to Europe, where Marc will pay a visit to the Honda stand at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday before heading home to Spain.
Sunday, 04 November 2018 14:30 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Today Marc Marquez took an historic 80th pole position across all classes, despite the tricky conditions that affected qualifying day at Sepang. Nonetheless, he’ll start tomorrow’s race from seventh place on the grid after being sanctioned with a six-place penalty.
Fair weather is rarely an enduring condition in Malaysia. After enjoying two sunny sessions yesterday and a further dry FP3 stint this morning (in which Dani Pedrosa advanced from 11th to fourth place, earning a direct passage to Q2), the MotoGP field encountered the weekend’s first rain in FP4, ultimately topped by Marquez.
That shower was just a warning, as heavy rain soon followed, forcing Race Direction to postpone qualifying proceedings by over an hour. Q2 started at 4:30 p.m. and Marc was able to set a time that proved untouchable for his opponents, despite the fact that a tumble at turn four in the final minutes of the session prevented him from further improving. Dani ended the session in 10th place.
The unfavourable weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon prompted Race Direction to also reschedule Sunday’s proceedings, moving the Moto3 race up to 10 a.m., the Moto2 race to 11:20 a.m. and the MotoGP race to 1 p.m. local time.
Saturday, 03 November 2018 12:25 Published in Rider and Team Releases
One year, four months, three days. That’s how long Yamaha have waited to taste a MotoGP™ victory but at long last, at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) crossed the line in P1 to lift the curse.
Sunday, 28 October 2018 13:26 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) wrapped up a sensational seventh World Championship title at the home of Honda after claiming a stunning victory at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, a race-long battle with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended with the latter crashing out of contention at Turn 10 with two laps to go, handing the title to the number 93.
Dovizioso got the perfect launch from P1 on the line as Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) came into off the front row. Meanwhile, Marquez kept the inside line from P6 to get himself into P3 before dispatching Miller at Turn 9 for P2 – Dovi’s qualifying advantage disappearing after half a lap.
Crutchlow then got past Miller to latch onto Marquez and Dovi, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) making a great start from P9 to get himself up to fourth as he passed Miller into Turn 11.
The three at the front then put the hammer down as Dovizioso slammed in a 1:45.7 on lap 6, Crutchlow and Marquez kept tabs on the Italian but fourth place Rossi suddenly found himself over eight tenths back. The pace was fluctuating but the leading trio started to edge away from the nine-time World Champion bit by bit, who in turn had two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders right on his tailpipes.
With 11 to go, the two Hamamatsu factory machines passed Rossi and were closing in on the front three, with fifth place Alex Rins setting a lap nearly a second quicker than race leader Dovizioso. Then, Marquez made his first move on lap 14 at Turn 9, but on the exit of Turn 10 he ran wide and onto the dirt, kicking up plenty of dust to hamper his exit, allowing Dovizioso to re-take the lead into Turn 11. The Suzukis were firmly in the fray at this point but then disaster struck for Andrea Iannone, the Italian crashing out at Turn 10.
With eight to go, Dovizioso and Marquez exchanged 1:45s with Crutchlow a whisper behind – a 1:46 flat, but a 0.5 second gap appeared between the LCR rider and Marquez. A lap later the number 35 was two tenths slower as the front two started to make the decisive break, with Rins ready to pounce on Crutchlow. Dovi’s intent was clear: a fastest lap of the race, hammer firmly down and the pin pulled.
And so it was, Dovizioso vs Marquez on the final five laps. Marquez sat behind the Desmosedici before making a move into P1 at Turn 9 – no immediate reply for Dovi. With three to go the Ducati was swarming, but there was no way past with two to go.
Then, a huge moment and one that decided the 2018 title. Pushing hard to keep with Marquez, Dovi tucked the front of his GP18 at Turn 10 with just over two laps to go, crashing out of the race to leave Marquez with a healthy margin to Crutchlow and Rins. The number 93 taking title number seven at the home of Honda, his eighth win of the season.
Crutchlow held off Rins for P2 at the line, with Rins less than two tenths behind the British rider to secure a phenomenal home podium for Suzuki. Rossi brought his YZR-M1 home in a second consecutive P4, with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) claiming P5 in Japan after a strong latter half to the race – an equal best result of the season for the Spaniard. Zarco couldn’t recover from a difficult start, he ended P6, with fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) seventh.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line eighth on his last Grand Prix visit to Japan, the ‘Little Samurai’ having a healthy five-second gap back to ninth place Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – the Italian losing ground to Crutchlow and Zarco in the Independent Team Championship. Battle of the rookies was won by tenth place Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Malaysian beating Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by less than a second.
Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and teammate Pol Espargaro were line astern in P12 and P13, with Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claiming home turf points in P14 and P15 respectively.
Miller crashed midway through the race, with Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) also crashing – riders ok. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) retired in the early stages.
Sunday, 21 October 2018 19:16 Published in Reports, Results & Points