Sunday, 5 May 2013

Track - Jerez MotoGP

After the first race the general consensus was that Lorenzo would march away with the title, that Marquez would easily have the measure of Pedrosa, and that Rossi was back to his championship challenging ways. 2 races later, things could not be more different.

A difficult weekend in terms of track conditions set the scene for a litany of incidents.  Of the top 5, only Lorenzo managed not to crash on Saturday, which compensated for Crutchlow going down twice in qualifying.  Lorenzo's birthday pole ahead of the Honda's looked ominous, however Pedrosa maintained that his race pace was stronger than it seeemed.

An action packed start saw Pedrosa get in front of Lorenzo, before swapping back at turn 3.  Rossi managed to pass Crutchlow into fourth, and maintained momentum in the opening laps, passing Marquez. 

After a difficult Austin GP, we all wanted to see Rossi scything through the field like Qatar, but it was not to be.  Marquez, as in Qatar, was not afraid to put the move back on Rossi, and from there disappeared to catch the leading duo.  It would be a lonely ride in fourth for Rossi.

Biding his time until mid race, Pedrosa managed to pass Lorenzo, who was showing front end grip problems.  From there, Pedrosa rose with purpose, churning out error free (Lorenzo like) laps to build a 4 second gap. 

And so the action rested with the battle for second.  Marquez displayed glimpses of his Moto2 madness, almost colliding with Lorenzo on numerous occasions as he struggled to find a way past Lorenzo's defensive riding.  Able to resist the surges, it seemed that Lorenzo was on track to salvage second place when on the last corner Marquez gave us all flashbacks of Rossi/Gibernau through the ironically newly named Lorenzo Curve.  With no hope to pass cleanly, Marquez threw a hail Mary up the inside, using Lorenzo as a backstop and punted him off the track proper.  A controversial way to take second place, it will raise questions in the paddock about whether he should be up before the stewards.  Marquez is no stranger to controversy, but had been warned coming into MotoGP that the stunts he pulled in Moto2 would not be tolerated.  With a new penalty system in place we will see whether it is put into action against the rising Repsol star.

So the key takeaways contradict what we thought after round 1.  Pedrosa is a firm title contender, Marquez is still green and despite bundles of riding talent needs to work on his risk management if he is to be a serious threat to the title.  Lorenzo is still the best rider, but the deficiencies of the Yamaha make it difficult for both he and Rossi to compete evenly with the better acceleration and tyre management of the Hondas.  Rossi, for his part, looks like he is struggling to adapt to a M1 that was not developed for him.  It forces him to ride like Lorenzo, carrying lean angles that he is not comfortable with.  I expect him to show us glimpes of the old through regular podiums and an occasional win, but it is hard to see how Rossi will seriously mount a challenge to team Spain.

Le Mans in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Track - Austin MotoGP

 March pre-season testing set the scene for the inaugural Austin MotoGP.  That the Repsol Hondas and Stefan Bradl lead the way over the factory Yamahas was not a surprise.  What was a surprise was that it was rookie Marc Marquez who topped the timesheets, not his 7th MotoGP season veteran Dani Pedrosa.  While Marquez played down his pace, in deference to the then team leader Pedrosa it was an ominous sign of what was to come.

The Circuit of the Americas is a strange track.  Fast sweeping corners and serious elevation changes make for a great TV spectacle, however most riders complain that despite its aesthetic beauty it does not flow properly, making it difficult to find the right lines and tiring to ride.  Unlike truly flowing tracks like Phillip Island, corner exits do not naturally lead to the next corner entry, making the right line difficult to find.  But it's the number of first gear corners (something like 40% of the lap is spent in first) that gives the natural advantage to the Hondas.  It was always up against Yamaha to overcome the hp and seamless shift transmission deficit.

Fast forward to qualifying and Marquez once again stole the limelight.  Pole for the 20 year old ahead of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Crutchlow made him the youngest pole sitter in 500GP/MotoGP history.  Marquez did his best to tone down the hype but the prospect of eclipsing Freddie Spencer's record (youngest premier class winner) was the sole topic of conversation amongst the press and paddock.  With the natural advantages held by the Honda's, Sunday was looming as a two way shootout between the Spanish Repsol twins.

While Qatar had a metronomic leader disappearing ahead of an intense battle for second, Austin had an epic battle for the lead followed by relatively lonely rides for those behind.  A split tyre strategy where Marquez backed himself on the harder tyre posed more questions than answers early in the race.  Pedrosa did what was necessary, leading into turn 1 and was relentlessly stalked by Marquez, as in Qatar biding his time, waiting for his time to strike.  Try as he might, Lorenzo's inch perfect laps could not close the gap, although the differential was less than many expected.  Behind, Crutchlow put in his most impressive ride in MotoGP, challenging Lorenzo until a mistake put him off the track and into the pack with Bradl, Rossi and Bautista.  Impressively, however, as quickly as he was in the dogfight, he had cleared off again into a lonely ride for fourth.

Speaking of Rossi, after his Qatar heroics I was expecting him to charge the through pack and be competitive with Lorenzo (or at least Crutchlow).  But the Doctor had no remedy for a lack of confidence at a track with which he struggled to get to grips (and brakes) with.  Rossi revealed he lost a chunk of his brake disc after the race, but it is unlikey he would have challenged even without the problem
 So back to the main show.  After losing the lead into the first turn, Marquez held station behind his team mate, waiting for his opportunity to make the move back.  At no stage was Pedrosa able to pull a gap, despite being on the medium rear tyre, versus Marquez on the harder option.  As in Qatar, it was only a matter of time befor Marquez shoved it up the inside on lap 13, and try as he might, Pedrosa struggled to keep tabs.  Riding at 11/10ths, he made a mistake with a couple of laps to go, fulfilling Marquez's destiny to break both of Freddie's record in one weekend.

On the in lap, the congratulations from the entire field showcased the arrival of the next era of MotoGP.  Rossi, in particular, made a special effort to congratulate him.  Greatness recognises greatness.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Track - MotoGP Qatar

The pre season posed more questions than answers.  Would this be Pedrosa's year?  Will Rossi be able to recapture his previous powers?  Will Lorenzo make a mistake?  Will Marquez be able to step into the shoes of Stoner?  Will Ducati find hope?

A new F1 style qualifying format lead to a 'Q2' field that was much as expected, however the new format caught up a number of the big names.  Lorenzo on pole was not a surprise, but Crutchlow in second definitely was.  You get the sense that the indignation of not having full factory support is worth at least 3 or 4 tenths for Cal.  Dovi in fourth was a ray of sunshine for Ducati, made all the more impressive by beating Marquez in 6th and Rossi in 7th.

So 2 of the big 4 were outside the top 5.  When the race started, it was really a tale of 2 fields.  One was the sole realm of Lorenzo, who disappeared from pole and was never seen again.  His metronomic times are now the stuff of legend, but it was so effective that we barely saw Lorenzo on the coverage.

The second field was a cracker.  Watching Lorenzo disappear, Pedrosa focused on keeping his rookie team mate and Crutchlow behind.  Rossi started well, tailing Pedrosa but overcooked his corner entry on lap 3, bending his brake lever protector and running off track.  The next 10 laps seemed to be a fight for second between the Repsols and Crutchlow.  Marquez surprised many with his controlled aggression, keeping his trademark bruising style in check. 

The apparent strengths and weaknesses of the Hondas vs. Yamahas persist into 2013.  The sweet mid corner handling of the Yamaha that Rossi has craved for the past 2 years interplayed with the much stronger drive from the Honda seamless shift transmission and higher engine power.  No where was this more apparent that in the mid race battle between Crutchlow and the Repsol twins.  Working his backside off to close up on the back of the Hondas, Crutchlow was powerless to fight their straight line speed.

Having had to battle with Bradl and Dovi after his early off, Rossi started to come into the frame with 10 laps to go.  Chipping away a gap of about 5 seconds to Crutchlow, Rossi displayed an ability to rattle off fast laps that we have not seen since the failed Ducati experiment started.  The collective motorcycling world held its breath as the Rossi of old (rather than the impostor wearing his leathers that we ahve seen for the past 2 years) reappeared.  Consistently reducing the gap to the Repsol/Cruthlow trio by 0.5secs per lap, Rossi caught the battle for the podium with 5 laps to go.  As Marquez finally moved on Pedrosa, Rossi used the carrot of watching Marquez disappearing to pass Crutchlow on the straight and then home in on Pedrosa.  Rossi achieved what Crutchlow couldn't, finding a gap up the inside of Pedrosa setting a scene for a showdown between the old school and the very new school.

Of all the riders in the current paddock, Rossi has been the most complimentary of Marquez.  He sees a lot of himself in the rookie, who has truly stunned the GP paddock with the ease he has adapted his small frame to the complexities and brutality of the 1000cc machines.  Watching them dice for the last 3 laps was the most excitement we've seen since Lorenzo first entered the class.  All credit to Marquez, despite being passed with 3 laps to go, he refused to be intimidated and regained second place briefly.  The old man would have been impressed, but stamped his authority 2 corners later and was not to be caught.  Realising that a podium on debut ahead of his team mate was at astake, Marquez kept his head to take 3rd.

What a race!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Project Bike - Where to now

Now that I had the project bike, it was time to put my thoughts together on what I wanted to do with it. As mentioned in my first post, I have a bunch of ideas for the bike.  I like the ideas individually, but I'm not sure how (or if at all) they will work together.  Some part of me actually doesn't mind if they don't work together. I'm picturing the bike turning out as some sort of bob job creation.

I'm not the best at visualising creative ideas, which doesn't help me much.  So I figure I'll just put my ideas together on the bike, see how it looks and modify/undo as necessary. As you may have guessed already, I secretly have reservations about the project, but if I don't try it I will die wondering and that's a worse outcome than making something hideous, right?

What to do?  I would like a few of the changes to subtly (and possibly not so subtly) make reference to the bike's British heritage.  Starting with the most important real estate on a bike - the tank.  I would like to get an old British comic book and stick the pages to it. I had no idea how to get this done. I envisaged issues getting the right glue for the job, getting the pages to stick flat to the angled tank surface, getting clear coat to hold it all together and not discolour, etc, etc. To be honest, this part of the project is the one I expect there to be the greatest issues getting the outcome I picture in my head.  The alternative option I have is to get the comic made into decals and apply them.  I will get a much better result, but I would feel like I've cheated a bit.

Going back to my early childhood, one of my first memories of automotive beauty was the first time I lay eyes on the Martini racing Porsches from the 1970s. To this day, the Martini colours are firmly at the top of my list of my favourite racing livery. I would like my project bike to have some throw back to that childhood memory - at this stage I'm thinking the light blue from the Martini colour scheme.

For some reason, I picture that my bike will look good with random bits from other bikes on it.  I want to get some retro indicators and wire them into the bike.  Possibly do the same with the headlights.  I want to remove the front cowl above the headlights and replace it with a metal grill of some sort.

Some of the changes to the bike will be less bob job and more run of the mill.  I want to get rid of the stock cans and put something fruitier on the bike and I will probably change the rear sets, levers, grips.

That's not an exhaustive list of things I want to do to the bike, but I have enough to get started...


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Track - Sepang Test II wrap up

It's always a trap to read too much into test times.  Set up changes, race simulations, tyre testing and weather conditions play a huge part in determining the final order.  The second MotoGP Sepang test was subject to all of these, but we can see a few trends emerging:

-The fight at the front will be once again Repsol Honda vs. Factory Yamaha
-Marquez is a freak and has gotten to grips with the machine very quickly, his comments that the other big three are in a different race are just for expectation management
-Pedrosa is not going to have it all his way, he could be easily upstaged as Marquez rapidly goes up the learning curve
-Rossi will fight for podiums and occasionally wins, but Lorenzo clearly has his measure at this stage as shown by his race simulation 
-Cal Crutchlow is a podium contender, however the amount of support he gets from the factory could impede his raw speed
-Ducati are still in the doldrums
-The gaps between prototypes and CRTs remain staggering if you remove the Ducati's who are battling with the fastest of the CRTs
Pedrosa looks to be very comfortable without Stoner to chase
Marquez is up to speed with the machine already, imagine what it'll look like after another 2 tests!
Lorenzo's race pace puts him squarely in the mix
Crutchlow will be glad he missed out on the Ducati ride
Rossi shows decent pace, but not enough to reel in Lorenzo
Overall Results from all Three Days of MotoGP’s Second Test at Sepang, Malaysia:
199Jorge LorenzoYamaha2:00.282 - -Day 2
226Dani PedrosaHonda2:00.5620.2800.280Day 3
393Marc MarquezHonda2:00.6430.3610.081Day 3
435Cal CrutchlowYamaha2:00.9070.6250.264Day 2
546Valentino RossiYamaha2:01.0620.7800.155Day 3
619Alvaro BautistaHonda2:01.0780.7960.016Day 3
76Stefan BradlHonda2:01.3091.0270.231Day 3
84Andrea DoviziosoDucati2:01.6501.3680.341Day 3
969Nicky HaydenDucati2:01.7781.4960.128Day 2
1038Bradley SmithYamaha2:02.0231.7410.245Day 2
1129Andrea IannoneDucati2:02.5662.2840.543Day 3
1251Michele PirroDucati Test2:02.7732.4910.207Day 3
1314Randy de PunietAprilia ART2:02.8632.5810.090Day 3
1441Aleix EspargaroAprilia ART2:02.9052.6230.042Day 2
15T2Katsayuki NakasugaYamaha Test2:02.9462.6640.041Day 2
1611Ben SpiesDucati2:03.0552.7730.109Day 3
178Hector BarberaFTR Kawasaki2:03.1552.8730.100Day 3
18T1Wataru YoshikawaYamaha Test2:03.2572.9750.102Day 3
197Hiroshi AoyamaFTR Kawasaki2:03.9903.7080.733Day 2
2017Karel AbrahamAprilia ART2:04.0663.7840.076Day 3
215Colin EdwardsFTR Kawasaki2:04.1023.8200.036Day 3
229Danilo PetrucciSuter BMW2:04.2793.9970.177Day 2
2337Takumi TakahashiHonda Test2:04.5124.2300.233Day 2
2470Michael LavertyPBM Aprilia2:04.5464.2640.034Day 3
2568Yonny HernandezAprilia ART2:04.6714.3890.125Day 2
2652Lukas PesekSuter BMW2:04.6744.3920.003Day 3
2771Claudio CortiFTR Kawasaki2:04.7094.4270.035Day 2
2867Bryan StaringFTR Honda2:05.3135.0310.604Day 3

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Track - Stoner launches his RBR V8

 Casey Stoner has taken the first step in his new career by unveiling his Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore V8 Supercar in Adelaide before the Clipsal 500.  He will compete in the second tier Dunlop Development series. 

This weekend will mark a number of firsts for Stoner.  First race on a street circuit, first race in a V8 supercar, first time under scrutiny since he left the MotoGP paddock.

We at RTD see no reason why Stoner can't apply his sublime bike skills to hauling 1.3t of Holden around a track.  Early practice had him consistently running in the top ten so things look good.

And the livery looks wicked!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

TRACK IS BACK! WSBK Round 1 Phillip Island

The start of any new motorsport season is exciting, but we at RTD are lucky to be based in Australia where we have the first round of the WSBK each year at Phillip Island.  Now an annual pilgramage for the three of us, we had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, amazing weather, the Pirelli sponsored wildlife and of course the close racing.  

Bikes on the grid for Race 1

Ready to go
Pirelli's R&D department
Race 1

Sylvain Guintoli leads the field through turn 1

Sylvain Guintoli made the perfect start to his Aprilia career by edging out his team mate Eugene Laverty to win Race 1.  Starting from sixth on the grid, he carved up the field and moved into the lead on lap 15 to take his fourth victory.  

The early running had Sykes, Checa, Laverty and Melandri vying for the lead, but each had their specific issues that gave Guinters the opportunity to pick his way through.  Sykes, in typical Kawasaki fashion, was fast straight away, leading the field into turn 1 but faded as the race went on.  Laverty seemed to be the man to beat, building up a sizable gap to Checa/Melandri behind by a third race distance.  Soon Guintoli passed the Ducati/BMW battle and set off after his team mate.  

Melandri, looking strong, was ploughed into by Checa in turn 4, with both riders out of the race.  Checa’s landing looked particularly nasty, and he was concussed for the second time this weekend.  Special mention to Melandri, who win’s the RTD ‘good guy of the weekend award’ for running straight to Checa’s aid when he realised his rival was hurt.  

On lap 15, Guintoli made the definitive pass on his team mate, and never looked back.  It’s been an amazing turnaround for the will liked Frenchman, who has gone from not having a ride after splitting with Effenbert Ducati mid last season, to being a race winner on a world champion bike.  

Also worth mentioning the performance of Michel Fabrizio, who was the fastest man on Friday and much of Saturday.  The satellite Aprilia rider was right there at the end, taking the final podium position just .07s behind Laverty in a tight drag to the line.  

Race 1 Results
1. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 33m 47.109s
2. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 +1.352s
3. Michel Fabrizio ITA Red Devils Roma RSV4 +1.359s
4. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +5.702s
5. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +5.753s
6. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +6.769s
7. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +6.830s
8. Jonathan Rea GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +17.944s
9. Leon Camier GBR Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +19.152s
10. Max Neukirchner GER MR Ducati 1199 R +26.557s
11. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +30.305s
12. Ivan Clementi ITA HTM Racing BMW S1000RR +30.411s
13. Alexander Lundh SWE Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +45.185s
14. Glenn Allerton AUS Next Gen BMW S1000RR +48.632s
15. Jamie Stauffer AUS Honda Racing CBR1000RR +53.453s
16. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 22.730s
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR +4 laps

Not Classified
18. Carlos Checa ESP Alstare Ducati 1199 R 12 laps completed
19. Marco Melandri ITA BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 12 laps completed
20. Davide Giugliano ITA Althea Racing RSV4 2 laps completed

Did Not Start
Ayrton Badovini ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R  

Race 2

Laverty denies his team mate the double

In Race 2, Aprilia again too maximum points with a 1-2 finish, but this time Eugene Laverty got the best of his team mate in a reversal of Race 1 fortunes.

With pole sitter Carlos Checa air lifted to hospital after his race 1 crash, the entire grid was elevated a spot, giving Laverty pole in race 2.   Again, Tom Sykes lead the field into turn 1 but this time faded even faster, with both Laverty and Guintoli past by lap 2.  

As a classic block passing spot, MG corner usually sees some hairy moments in the opening laps and Race 2 was no exception.  Chaz Davies, having a miserable weekend with his new BMW, punted Loris Baz off which earned him a punctured rear tyre and a penalty from the stewards.  

With Guintoli leading the way from Laverty, the two enjoyed a decent margin over Melandri, Fabrizio, Giugliano and Cluzel.  Melandri managed to chip away at the Aprilias but could not manage to overcome the hp deficit on the long Gardner straight to pass either of them. 

This status quo was broken on lap 16 when Melandri pulled off a spectacular pass on Laverty at MG, which gave Guintoli some breathing space over them.  A patient Laverty stalked Melandri up to lap 20 and then pulled off a classic overtake at Honda Corner.  He then set the new lap record to claw the gap back to his team mate and passed him into turn one on the penultimate lap. 

Laverty maintained the rage, and completed the perfect weekend for Aprilia by taking his fourth victory.  Melandri was third. 

Race 2 Results
1. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 33m 45.938s
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +0.418s
3. Marco Melandri ITA BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +1.382s
4. Michel Fabrizio ITA Red Devils Roma RSV4 +2.282s
5. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +11.545s
6. Davide Giugliano ITA Althea Racing RSV4 +12.508s
7. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +17.330s
8. Jonathan Rea GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +17.339s
9. Leon Camier GBR Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +19.886s
10. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +19.996s
11. Max Neukirchner GER MR Ducati 1199 R +27.629s
12. Glenn Allerton AUS Next Gen BMW S1000RR +42.809s
13. Jamie Stauffer AUS Honda Racing CBR1000RR +42.893s
14. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +44.899s
15. Alexander Lundh SWE Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +57.824

16. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR +1m 22.574s
17. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +2 laps

Not Classified
18. Ivan Clementi ITA HTM Racing BMW S1000RR 11 laps completed
19. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 0 laps completed

Did Not Start
Carlos Checa ESP Alstare Ducati 1199 R
Ayrton Badovini ITA Alstare Ducati 1199 R

Project Bike - First post

For as long as I can remember, every time I would pass a motorbike that had obviously been modified, I would find the time to steal a moment to check it out.  Even if I was in a rush to get somewhere.  I wouldn't always love what I saw, but I loved to see what form someone else's brainchild took, appreciating the fact that someone managed to translate a bunch of crazy ideas from their head into a living, breathing machine.  Just like the next guy, I have crazy ideas too, but not having the skills or experience to bring them out on a bike always held me back.  As background, I’ve spend my life working a desk job, so I have soft hands and pale skin…ha ha

Old Bike
It didn't help that the bike I owned was a Ducati 848 evo in white with red rims.  Maybe not everyone's taste, but it was too new and too pretty to start the sort of project I had in mind.  I'm not entirely sure what the exact trigger was, but I reached the point where I wanted to give my project bike a crack.  Going into this I figured that I would start with modest plans and build up from there.  At this point in time, I don’t know exactly what the project bike will end up looking like, but I know I want to start it.  Time will tell how much I end up doing.  The point of this blog on this project bike is to demonstrate what someone with very limited skill can achieve (or how quickly he can completely ruin a perfectly good motorbike).

Step one was to sell the Ducati. There definitely wasn't room in the garage to keep it, the new bike and my trusty ktm dirt bike.  So with the Ducati gone, I needed my project bike.  I wanted my first project bike to be newish because I'm not mechanically minded enough to deal with an aging bike. I wanted a good bike as a base with which to start and eventually settled on a 2009 triumph street triple r (yes, the last of the round headlights).  After much searching, I eventually found the right bike for the job.  So after flying down to Melbourne and riding it back to Sydney, I was good to go.  Here she is…

Project Bike

Over the coming weeks and months (possibly years if things go really badly), I'll update the blog with what's new on the bike.  Stay tuned....


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Track - Can't wait for MOTOGP 2013

Are you comping at the bit for the 2013 season? Here a glimpse some soon to be familiar pairings.

Baby, she meant nothing...I was young, pls take me back...I love you.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Road - Maple, the best looking motorbike Jeans - now on sale

I came across Maple Jeans when Dave Fairbain started advertising on a caferacer blog i followed. He's since produced a world first – Hand crafted, Kevlar® lined, premium Japanese selvedge denim motorcycle jeans.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Road - New 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 636 ZX-6R - Official Videos

Firstly, apologies to our readers for the hiatus of activity on the blog over the last fortnight...we've been undergoing some technical revisions.

And, now FINALLY,

Friday, 31 August 2012

Track - MotoGP Brno

This race was always going to be missing something with Nicky Hayden out and Casey Stoner having to fly back to Australia to get his broken ankle operated on.  Having said that, this ended up being a predicatable battle of the Spaniards, with the lesser favoured rider taking a great race win after an epic battle.

After binning his bike during qualifying, Pedrosa made a strong start from third and tried to open an early lead over Lorenzo.  Lorenzo tailgated Pedrosa for most of the race, testing Pedrosa's weak points and plotting an attack.  The attack came with a surprise inside dive with 3 corners to go.  Pedrosa, who was faster over the faster parts fo the circuits used this power to pass and outbrake Lorenzo, holding the lead to the finish line for what he called 'one of my best ever races'. 

In a theme for the weekend across WSBK and MotoGP, Cal Crutchlow celebrated his contract extension with Tech 3 with his first podium. 

With Stoner in recovery, the championship battle is a two horse race with Lorenzo 245 points leading Pedrosa's 232 points. 

Track - WSBK Moscow Race 2

In contrast to Race 1, Race 2 was held in dry conditions which saw all runners start on slicks.  The ducati's decided to run the softer compound, which ended up being a mistake and compounded a miserable weekend for the Italian marque.

Tom Sykes seemed to check out the front very early, with a chase group of Melandri, Haslam, Biaggi, Rea and Laverty following.  That was until Biaggi, using the his Aprilia missile to good effect to get pass Rea on the back straight but the manouvre compromised his corner entry and he punted into the back of a helpless Haslam.

With Biaggi and Haslam off to the medical centre to get checked out, Melandri set about closing down Sykes, closing up on him quickly and taking the lead. 

The battle for second went down to the wire, with the fading Sykes trying to hold of Rea and the charging Laverty.  The drama continued to the end, with Laverty high siding on the last lap on turn 14, taking out Rea.  Checa had to take evasive action, promoting Davies to the podium wth Checa finishing behind in fourth.

Melandri's win promotes him to the head of the champions with 308.5 points to Biaggi 290 and Sykes 267.5  

Track - WSBK Moscow Race 1

Tom Sykes repaid Kawasaki's new contractr extension with his second win of the season at the new Moscow Circuit.   Challenging weather conditions after a morning shower lead to consternation around tyre choice, but the front runners all chose to start on slicks, which turned out to be the right move.  Pole man Checa crashed out on lap 3 in an incident with Jonny Rea.  Crashes continued as Rea followed Checa for an early trip back to the pits and Giugliano making it 0/2 for Althea Ducati.  The race for the podium behind Sykes ended up being between Davies, Haslam and Melandri, culminating with contact between Davies and Haslam, punting Haslam off his bike and Davies off the track.  This left Melandri in second and Biaggi in a very unexpected third. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Track - Cal Crutchlow re signs with Tech 3 Yamaha

Unsurprisingly following the move of Dovi to Ducati, Cal Crutchlow has re signed with Tech 3 Yamaha where he has spent the last 2 years.  His one year deal is apparently on better terms, with speculation of seven figures.  While Cal still clearly covets a factory ride at some stage, if you have to be in a satellite team, Tech 3 is the place to be.  Certainly, you would not expect as much competition from Bradley Smith as he is currently getting from Dovi. 

Road - all NEW Yamaha XS 750/850 triple in 2014?

Moto Revue out of France reported that Yamaha is developing a new triple road bike citing an internal document. Yamaha produced one of my favorite bikes of the seventies, the XS750 from 1976-1979 before replacing it with the XS850 in 1980.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Track - It's official, Ducati and Yamaha swap Italians

So the silly season for factory bikes is over.  Ducati announced that Andrea Dovisioso would take Valentino Rossi's seat next year, having signed a contract until 2014.  The likely candidate for this ride has changed from Rossi staying, to Dovi's team mate Crutchlow, and finally to Dovi.  The irony of the situation is that Dovi had moved to Yamaha Tech 3 with the hopes to move up to Spies' seat in the Factory team.  With Spies quitting Yamaha, it seemed that the plan was falling into place, however Rossi's desire to get on a competitive bike asap blocked this path for Dovi.  Crutchlow 'The Honey Badger' has been speaking publically about the verbal offer he had from Ducati for a long time and will be dismayed by the way he has been strung along and ultimately dumped in favour of his team mate.

So Dovi is now back in a factory team, but the underperforming one.  The Ducati has been a career killer for all but Stoner so it is a brave move, however Dovi will be hoping that new Audi money and technology will fast track the development of the bike.

So confirmed riders for 2013 prototype bikes are now:

Factory Yamaha Racing: Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi
Repsol Honda: Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez
Ducati Team: Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovisioso
LCR Honda: Stefan Bradl
Tech 3 Yamaha: Bradley Smith
Cardion Ducati: Karel Abraham

The key riders looking for a ride are now Cal Crutchlow (who you would think would stay with Tech 3), Ben Spies (Could return with Suzuki to MotoGP or go to WSBK with BMW), Hector Barbera (who is currently injured) and Alvaro Bautista (talk is that his ride at Gresini is at risk).

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Track - Indy MotoGP

I'm going to start this review by ranting a bit about the existence of the Indy GP weekend.  Firstly, it has to be acknowledged that in general, the fans, media and mechanics love the facilities and the history of the track.  However, the riders have consistently rated it as one of the tracks that they truly could care less for and the reasons are multiple.