International Racing News

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MotoGP Buriram: Gossip, rumour and intrigue

Yamaha have created a whole new electronics operation – called Electronic Control Group – in the wake of their recent MotoGP disasters and installed Michele Gadda at its head.

Gadda has already been tinkering with the M1’s electronics strategies in conjunction with an oppo in Japan and Valentino Rossi believes that it is already paying dividends – plus he is happy that Yamaha have started to put in more effort to close the gap to Honda and Ducati. Motegi will be an indicator of how much they have caught up.

It was more than likely no co-incidence that Johann Zarco also found some pace at Buriram with the combination of surface and harder-carcass tyre suiting the M1. But the Frenchman warned that no-one should get carried away, saying, “We didn’t do anything incredible, we were competitive again…”

Rossi also warned that Yamaha’s engineers needs to look at the season as a whole, not just one fast lap or one decent result. “If I were a Yamaha engineer, I would analyse the results of the second part of the season and I would not be happy about one fast lap or a front row…”

While Scott Redding was throwing up in his lid, Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaro was riding round as the only man on the soft Michelin rear after the whole grid had been ‘advised’ to use the hard. But as Espargaro has said all season, the RS-GP is giving no grip on the hard tyre, so he went soft, stayed upright and got 13th.

Michelin’s Piero Tiramisu admitted that a different allocation of tyres would have been better for the race but only had data from the test and weather forecasts to go on. The French rubber specialists were expecting much cooler conditions in October with the strong possibility of rain but got the exact opposite with track temperatures almost ten degrees higher than for February’s test.

Jorge Lorenzo watched the race from his hotel room and was very complimentary about everyone on Twitter afterwards… Tramadol, probably…

Pol Espargaro decided against letting Randy and Hopkirk (Deceased) ride his bike in Thailand and, despite still being in a lot of pain, opted to get in some laps and he now thinks his will be 100 per cent for Motegi – a hard place to ride if you’re injured.

KTM team-mate Bradley Smith took great delight in stuffing ‘Spewy’ Scott Redding for the final point on Sunday: “It was strange to be fighting so hard for the last point but that’s how competitive it is inside MotoGP at the moment.”

Jordi Torres eschewed riding in his natural way and stuck to the programme of his Avintia Ducati team, changing maps when told, conserving fuel etc. He got close to team-mate Xavi Simeon but didn’t quite show him a wheel. Most unlike a WorldSBK rider and Moto2 winner…


Magny-Cours WorldSBK: Three-race weekend takes a step closer

Picture: GeeBee Images

Many people thought the idea of running one WorldSBK race on Saturdays and one on Sundays, rather than the traditional two on Sunday, was at best a gamble and at worst a bad idea. Dividing and self-conquering, said some.

Now it seems that there will be three WorldSBK races per weekend in 2019. Proposals Dorna put to the teams away from the public gaze at Magny-Cours included one regular WorldSBK race on Saturday, then a short sprint race – potentially a kind of mix of qualifying for the second race and maybe points for some the first few riders – early on Sunday, and then a longer normal race on Sunday afternoon.

No pit stops for that final race it seems. It was discussed but there was a pretty solid rejection of it, even though there was an exciting PI race in that format (by necessity) this year. World Endurance racing does, after all, already exist for that kind of pitlane frisson.

Some will love the idea of three-races-a-weekend, even if they are not all the same as each other, some won’t, but for sure the events in 2019 will be more weighted towards a bigger, more climactic, Sunday. The host circuits will insist on it, it seems, as they need to have that one big final day of action to heighten anticipation make sure there is a bigger crowd – and therefore more atmosphere – on Sundays.

There will maybe be less practice on Fridays to ensure that there will be no sharp increase in kilometres spent on track, to keep the same number of engines required over a season, and control costs.

Two heat races for the oversubscribed WorldSSP300 class, to qualify for a final championship race, are maybe also on the way, due to the series’ popularity. There may still only be one WorldSSP race per weekend.

More discussions and decisions are expected at the next round in Argentina.

by Bliss Drive Review