CNN on Rossi’s 300 GPs and a special weekend at Mugello
CNN’s Jonathan Hawkins has run a special feature with the global news giant on Valentino Rossi’s milestone of reaching 300 Grands Prix on the same weekend as the MotoGP™ World Championship visits the magnificent Mugello circuit.
Hawkins writes, ‘On Sunday one of Italy's greatest sons Valentino Rossi celebrates a special anniversary as the man known to all on two wheels as "The Doctor" lines up for his 300th MotoGP race. And what a special stage for such a special day. Coiled like a basking viper in the Tuscan hills lays Mugello, the Ferrari-owned circuit that may be both MotoGP's most evocative and beautiful.’
Giving the word to former MotoGP™ rider and Superbike World Champion James Toseland on the beauty of Mugello, Hawkins quotes Toseland as saying, "You hit 215mph at the end of the Mugello Straight, and carving through the valley at that speed is pretty incredible. All the riders really enjoy the event. The support, the camping, the scenery, it's like a mini-festival."
Sportweek focus on Moto3™ front runner Fenati
The Italian magazine Sportweek has devoted four pages to Italy’s Moto3™ talent Romano Fenati. The magazine revealed some secrets of the 18 year-old rider, a pupil of Valentino Rossi in the SKY VR46 Racing Team. Fenati admits he is very superstitious and always follows a ritual during the weekend.
“We’re still at the beginning of season and we must stay focused,” he reflected on his title chances. “We will push very hard to achieve the goal, the KTM is a good bike.”
Fenati also confessed that he felt a lot of pressure when he heard - last year in Indianapolis - that Rossi was considering him for his Moto3 project. He also recalled a compliment that the nine-time World Champion gave him after a race: “You’re a beast!”
MCN: ‘Honda keen to field Jonathan Rea in MotoGP™’
Honda is pushing for a spot on the 2015 MotoGP™ grid for Jonathan Rea, Motorcycle News (MCN) reports. Having covered for the injured Casey Stoner briefly in 2012, the Northern Irishman is currently leading the FIM Superbike World Championship following an impressive double victory last time out at Imola.
"He is doing a very good job and personally I would really like to see him in MotoGP™," Livio Team, Repsol Honda Team Principal, told MCN.
"He has been a Honda rider for a very long time and we really like him, so hopefully we can build up something for him. The two races he did as Casey’s replacement were not easy at all; he was constantly switching between MotoGP™ and World Superbikes, so he was on different bikes and different tyres every other week and he did a good job. It would be nice to see him in MotoGP."
Suppo went on to state that Rea’s most likely option would be one of the RCV1000R customer bikes, the like of which are already ridden by Drive M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama plus GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham.
MCN: Pedrosa keen on new Honda deal
With Repsol Honda Team having secured a deal with Marc Marquez which retains him until the end of 2016, the second slot at the official Honda factory team is drawing a lot of attention as Dani Pedrosa's current contract runs out at the end of the ongoing season. Linked with a switch to Suzuki, the Spaniard - who had been riding for Repsol Honda since his premier class debut in 2006 - has claims he is keen to remain where he is.
Talking to MCN, Pedrosa explained: “My first choice is to stay with Honda. I have been with them for many years and they will be the first I speak with. But you always have to keep an open possibility. I am very glad to know the interest of Suzuki, but my first talks have to be with Honda.”
French hopeful Fabio Quartararo featured in L'Équipe
French newspaper L'Équipe ran an in-depth profile on French hopeful Fabio Quartararo, the reigning FIM CEV Repsol Champion who's back on home soil this weekend at Le Mans for the first round of the Spanish series held outside of the Iberian peninsula. The 15 year-old is following the footsteps of Marc Marquez as Emilio Alzamora's protégé and is expected to make his Grand Prix debut next season when he reaches the legal age to race in the Moto3™ World Championship.
Speedweek: Kalex primed for MotoGP entry with Yamaha engine
German publication Speedweek.com has stated that Kalex’s Alex Baumgärtel has confirmed that he is in talks with Marc VDS Racing Team and the Pons team – both Moto2 front-runners – about a possible chassis collaboration for a step up to MotoGP in 2015. Both teams have expressed an interest in stepping up to the premier class, and could do so with the Yamaha lease engine agreement. Baumgärtel has allegedly commented that the company would need at least six months to prepare a chassis once it has received the necessary data from Yamaha. However, with nothing confirmed, time is ticking down should a bike be ready for the post-season Valencia test.
MCN on Dovizioso’s possible Suzuki switch
With the MotoGP™ ‘silly season’ seemingly in full swing earlier than ever, the latest word is that Andrea Dovizioso could be sizing up a switch from Ducati to Suzuki for 2015. This emerged from Motorcycle News (MCN) on Thursday.
MCN reports that ‘tentative talks’ between Simone Battistella, manager of Dovizioso and senior Suzuki management have already taken place, with Battistella stating:
"We have been talking to understand their approach and what they are doing, but that is something you do with everybody. I think Suzuki has to understand which riders it wants to target. From our side nothing has happened with Suzuki or anybody, not even with Ducati." He added: "The Suzuki has always been a very strong option."
Carmelo Ezpeleta talks MotoGP™ with Motorcycle Racer
The ideal number of riders in MotoGP™ is 22 and the spectacle will be better if overall running costs are lowered – but without having to convince anybody, according to Carmelo Ezpeleta who speaks with Motorcycle Racer magazine.
"(The aim) is not to attract more teams," explains the CEO of Dorna Sports, commercial rights holders to the World Championship since 1992. "We have enough teams. We have 23 riders and our ideal number is 22 because this gives value to the participants. What I hope is to have those 22 riders, but with more manufacturers. That’s very important: the consolidation of the existing teams in an economical way. I think, if the cost is reduced, the show will be better and the championship will be a possibility for privateer teams."
On ‘convincing’ teams to follow Open rules from 2016: "I will not try to convince anybody! If you try to convince somebody of something, then later on you will have a problem. The only way to convince them is not to convince them – just present a set of rules that make it interesting and possible for them to compete in MotoGP™."
Bike India's Pol Espargaro interview highlights passion for MotoGP™
Indian interest in racing has been highlighted by Bike India’s Aspi Bhathena in an interview with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s MotoGP™ rookie Pol Espargaro about the rider’s transition from Moto2™ to the premier class.
Bhathena and the intermediate class World Champion spoke at length about various topics, with Espargaro describing the biggest differences between riding Moto2 and MotoGP machines.
Espargaro told Bike India, "The electronic system, traction control and anti-wheelie. There are many differences actually. You need to understand it and the way to understand is just by doing laps. Make mistakes and understand what the bike does when you are in critical moments. I think the most difficult thing is the electronics and the brakes. The carbon disc brakes are amazing, you can brake with an incredible power."
CNN - Argentina ready for MotoGP™ invasion
CNN's Jonathan Hawkins, who regularly covers MotoGP™, has previewed the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina - as the World Championship returns to South America this weekend.
Hawkins writes, ‘The last time Argentinean fans heard the roar of Grand Prix bikes was in 1999, when current champion Marc Marquez was just six years old. Nevertheless, enthusiasm for the sport in these parts is clear. Spectators will be traveling to the circuit in Santiago del Estero, many by motorcycle, from across the country.’
"They have done a brilliant job," Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO told CNN. "We felt a very warm welcome since the first time we started negotiating with them."
Cycle World – Herrin expects to miss at least two races
Cycle World's Matthew Miles has interviewed AirAsia Caterham’s Josh Herrin following the training injury sustained by the rider, which will see him sit out this weekend’s Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina.
As Miles reports, ‘Herrin’s debut Moto2™ season has gotten off to the rockiest of starts. The reigning AMA Pro SuperBike champion crashed unhurt out of rounds one and two in Qatar and Texas, and last Thursday, he fell again riding supermoto at his personal track in Georgia, fracturing his left collarbone in two places.’
Herrin is quoted as saying “We are hoping to make it to the French GP. Neither the team nor I want to rush the healing process and make it worse with another crash.” The rider therefore also expects to miss round four in Jerez and aims to return at Le Mans for the 18th May race.
USA Today on great Stateside record for Marquez
American news giant USA Today covered the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas over the weekend with journalist William M. Welch underlining the brilliant record of Marc Marquez in the United States.
Marquez won all three races in the U.S. last season, taking his first premier class win at COTA, before winning at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, on the back of two prior Indy wins in Moto2™.
As Welch reported, ‘Marquez extended his U.S. winning streak with a victory from the pole in the MotoGP motorcycle race Sunday as he and his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa dominated the international field.’ Welch also quoted Marquez as saying, “It's a great country for me.”
Cycle World on Herrin’s Caterham Moto2™ adventure
Coinciding with this weekend’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, cycleworld.com have run an in-depth profile interview with AirAsia Caterham’s American rider Josh Herrin.
Journalist Matthew Miles explains how the ‘AMA Pro SuperBike champ is aiming for Moto2 glory’ and details Herrin’s journey to Grand Prix after several years of successful riding in the United States.
Indeed, the article also carries an amusing quote from Herrin who is obviously impressed with his new team, with the rider stating, “Caterham is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. They have everything you can think of, a wind-tunnel, a paint department, a sticker department. The only thing they don’t make for their F1 cars are bolts.”
Marca: Mariñelarena comments on recovery process
Moto2™ rider Alex Mariñelarena has updated Spanish newspaper Marca on his physical state and his hopes to return to riding, following his serious accident and subsequent heavy injuries in testing at the French Paul Ricard circuit in February.
“It’s difficult to be in this sort of situation but when you are you just have to accept it and get on with it,” said the Spaniard. “Now the only thing I’m thinking about is trying to recover physically and be in the best condition I can so that one day I can get back to riding and get back to what I was working for, which is racing.”
The Tech 3 rider, who was in an induced coma for six days after his accident, also explained that he does not remember the crash and does not have any recollection of the two days before the accident. Meanwhile his doctors have not yet given him any date by which he can expect to return to riding.
Terra: Argentinian GP expected to draw more than 100,000 fans
Argentinian publication Terra claims that the Argentinian Grand Prix is set to draw a crowd of over 100,000 fans as it returns from a 15-year absence to the circuit in Termas de Rio Hondo.
Ticket sales are allegedly going well, with the Paddock grand stand, the “Valentino Rossi” stand, as well as the likes of turn 8, 9 and 10 stands, are already sold out. Though organizers are keen to stress that tickets still remain.
Speedweek: ‘Marc VDS considers MotoGP™ debut in 2015’
Leading Moto2™ squad Marc VDS Racing Team could make a jump up to the MotoGP™ premier class in 2015, according to German publication Speedweek. However, Team Principal Michael Bartholemy insists that the current season is the principal target at present.
“Yes, we will look into what is possible,” Bartholemy confirms. “We also have the idea of expanding the Moto2™ team to three riders for 2015. But then we would be sacrificing our Moto3™ team with Livio Loi. Marc (van der Straten, team founder and owner) wants the best equipment available, just as is the case in Moto2™. If Kalex was an option, we would go with Kalex.”
Speedweek: Regulations on Moto2 air filter clear, say other teams
According to German publication Speedweek.com, other Moto2™ teams have spoken out and said that the regulation on air filters is clear and that IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia should have known. It quotes Sandro Cortese’s crew chief Jürgen Lingg as saying that the air filter was handed out by IRTA in the last Jerez test ahead of Qatar – hence the team should have known not to change it. Interwetten-Paddock team manager Terrell Thien as believes that such confusion should not have happened, though suggested that checks should be carried out after Qualifying to avoid potential disqualifications after the race.
Mundo Deportivo: Marquez on possible Lorenzo resentment
Marc Marquez has conceded that Jorge Lorenzo may feel some resentment towards the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion, who leads the 2014 standings after winning last Sunday night’s Qatar Grand Prix at Losail.
“Whether Lorenzo is experiencing envy or resentment towards me about 2013, I don’t know,” Marquez tells Spain’s Mundo Deportivo at the Laureus Awards ceremony, which he enters as a favourite to win the World Breakthrough of the Year title. “But imagining myself in his place, maybe he does feel some anger towards me.”
BSN - Circuit of Wales building to start in 8 to 10 weeks
Vicky Turner of bikesportnews.com has interviewed Chris Herring, consultant from the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, regarding the ongoing Circuit of Wales building project – with Herring stating that construction of the planned new track will start soon.
Herring comments, "Everything is moving forward, and we should start digging on the site in around eight to ten weeks time."
"This is not just a race track," he adds. "This will be a facility that will help develop young riders, in the form of an academy and provide education and develop technicians who can work in the sport. So it is more than a race track, it will provide opportunities for a lot of people in the UK too, in all forms of motorsport."
CNN – drama and intrigue as curtain rises on season
Global news giant CNN have previewed the new MotoGP™ season, with journalist Jonathan Hawkins commenting, “Marc Marquez will once again be the man to beat. The Spaniard is the bookies' favorite after becoming the youngest ever world champion last year. His preparation for the new season has been far from ideal, however, having broken a leg last month.”
Hawkins also states that Dani Pedrosa is not letting his past poor fortune affect his outlook. Pedrosa is quoted, saying, "2014 is a new year and I'm not looking back on anything - bad luck, injuries - this is all behind me, all that matters now is this year and this season.
Meanwhile the same article also carries an interesting quote from Repsol Honda's Team Principal, Livio Suppo on the great Valentino Rossi: “He has huge motivation, and I have a lot of respect for this.”