Paolo on the left, and brother Marurizo Flamini. Photo curtesy Fabrizio Porrozzi / Giorgio Nada Editore
World Superbike -The First 25 Years
with a Tribute to its Producers Maurizio and Paolo Flammini
and how new management DORNA unceremoniously kicked the Flammini Brothers out the Back Door
of the best motorcycle roadracing championship ever
We all received the shocking Press Release back on September 2nd 2012 stating that the private equity firm of Bridgepoint, who already owned the MotoGP World Championship under DORNA, had just purchased the sports marketing firm InFront Sports & Media AG, who had themselves become the owners of the World Superbike Championship a few years earlier. The WSBK was then celebrating its 25th year of under the direction of brothers Maurizio and Paolo Flammini, who stepped in to save the fledgling production bike Championship started by ex-racer American Steve McLaughlin in 1987.
In 1990 Maurizio came in in to take over full control of World Superbike from McLaughlin's partners and struggling owners, the FG Group, and steered it forward towards world success. Brother Paolo came aboard as the Sales Manager of the Group in 1994, and then in 1999 became President of World Superbike as brother Maurizio stepped back to pursue other business ventures in sports marketing. Under their control the SBK World Championship in the next 20 years would become the most exciting motorcycle roadracing series in the world with the closest racing, most factory and private team involvement. At many European tracks it even rivaled and exceeded the attendance of the more well established FIM prototype roadracing series, MotoGP.
We got to know the the very likable Paolo Flammini and his WSBK staff first hand as close friends when World Superbike first came to America and Laguna Seca Raceway, CA, in 1995 with AMA Superbike sharing the weekend, as our annual locale for shooting the Fast Dates Racebike Calendar. Unlike MotoGP which was very restrictive when it came to working with other commercial proprieties, Paolo wanted to work with any company or product like our FastDates.com Calendars who would help to increase the exposure and popularity of World Superbike. And like us, Paolo loved pretty girls, with the official SBK grid girls setting the standard as the prettiest girls on any motorsports grid. At Laguna Seca that year, the four Fast Dates Calendar models I brought up with me from Los Angeles also served as the official WSBK grid and podium girls for the WSBK races, starting a partnership that has lasted to this day.
Our two FastDates.com Calendar Kittens Monica and Gemma working the starting grid for WorldSBK.com at the 2005 Brands Hatch round with a crowd of 90,000 race fans!
Running a premier production racing series like World Superbike would always a challenge, especially as the bikes and engines evolved from 1000cc four-cylinders, down to 750cc, then back to 1000cc to reflect what was being sold in the market. And to include the V-twin Ducati bikes which needed a displacement advantage over the Japanese 4- cylinders to stay competitive, with Ducati then dominating because it just spent more money and tired harder than some of the other manufacturers. Then controversies like bringing in Pirelli as the single tire marque, need to reduce costs and keep the teams more equal, prompted manufacturers like Yamaha and Honda (who ran Michelin tires ) to pull out of the Championship in protest for a number of years.
Another big controversy came about 4 years ago when the world economic crisis hit and DORNA, with its boss Carmelo Ezpeleta, realized the expensive prototype bikes were no longer affordable for most manufacturers and teams to race. So DORNA lobbied the FIM to allow it to run production streetbike engines in the Moto1 and Moto2 grand prix classes. Because the FIM had previously granted World Superbike an exclusive championship for production motorcycles, Paolo Flammini protested and tried to take legal action against this to protect his Championship.
World Superbike would loose their protest and DORNA got their production engine request for Moto2 and the CRT bike in Moto1 which would save MotoGP. But Dorna boss Ezpeleta now had a grudge for Flammini.
Not cooling down that grudge one degree, but inflaming it even more was the fact in WSBK during the 2011-2012 season, the sophisticated factory superbikes from Ducati Aprilia and BMW were a full 2-seconds a lap quicker than most CRT bikes with similar Aprilia or BMW engines in a prototype chassis. And the top SBK bikes were only 1-second a lap slower on the same track compared to a top factory bikes in MotoGP. If World Superbikes didn't have to run higher minimum weights and engine restrictors like on the Ducati, it was quite possible that production based World Superbikes could and would beat factory prototype MotoGP bikes on the same track on any given day.
Our Calendar Kittens try to stay warm in their skimpy outfits at 2005 Brands Hatch WSBK as Paolo Flammini stops by to talk with with legendary Superbike racer and Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi.
Things got even hotter between the two top race Championships when Paolo Flammini held out on requests from MotoGP's organizers to impose further restrictions on development of the WSBK machines. MotoGP wanted to bring the trick factory World Superbikes much more in line with the Superstock-style regulations proposed by FIM to harmonize regulations at the National Championship race levels. Paolo held out with good reason: the racing is better in WSBK, and the manufacturers currently racing in World Superbikes have made it very clear that they have no desire to see any further restrictions on tuning and bike modification put into place.
But given WSBK's increasing reliance on manufacturer teams - though blessed with six different manufacturers, the privateer teams without some form of manufacturer backing were finding it increasingly hard to survive. This has lead to shrinking grids in WSBK for 2013 and gaps opening between the factory-backed and privateer squads. Keeping the factories happy is important, but WSBK does at least have the freedom to change the rules without factory interference, something which was until recently unthinkable in MotoGP.
A month after the foreboding September 2012 press release from the equity firm Bridgepoint that they now owned both Infront and MotoGP rights owners Dorna, came the announcement they had decided to bring both series under a single umbrella, and that umbrella was to be Dorna, run by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. That news sent a shockwave through the motorcycle racing world. The World Superbike paddock was hit hard, with everyone from Infront staff to team mechanics fearing the outcome of what amounts to a coup by Ezpeleta. Optimists were few, especially as Ezpeleta is one of the most reviled characters among denizens of the WSBK paddock, because of what he represents: the perceived arrogance of the Grand Prix paddock, and a culture which is anathema to everything which World Superbikes stand for.
But Flammini has a list of further crimes to his name, at least seen from the perspective of Dorna. Selling the rights to organize a race at the Buddh International circuit in India at a bargain basement price, right in the slot where Dorna had hoped to set a MotoGP race, was not well received in Dorna. India is a crucial motorcycle market for the future of the sport on the world stage - millions of new units are sold there every year, and offering a marketing opportunity to the factories still in MotoGP was one thing Dorna wanted to do to placate the factories as Dorna imposes a spec ECU and a rev limit on the class in 2014.
In response to those Dorna technical changes, Honda is threatening to leave MotoGP and concentrate on World Superbikes once the spec ECU - Honda's biggest bugbear - is introduced. The first signs of a shift are already visible: HRC will be providing engines, chassis updates and most especially, electronics systems for the Ten Kate Honda team from 2013 onwards, signs that Honda is preparing a full factory effort in the near future. That is most likely to come when Honda introduces its new V4 sportbike based on its current RC213V MotoGP machine. Those close to that project consistently use one phrase to describe that bike: game changer. That effort represents a massive shift in the balance of power between the two series.
Honda's game changer for World Superbike 2014? Look for a street Superbike version of their dominate RC213 V-4 MotoGP bike.
And so Dorna - or rather, Carmelo Ezpeleta - has seen fit to act. Though sources report that this move has been several months in the making, the timing of the announcement is at the very least remarkable. Normally, a major announcement such as this would be made in December, when Dorna, InFront and the FIM have enough distance between themselves and the media to handle enquiries in their own time. Instead, it came a few days before the finale to the World Superbike season, and ahead of the annual season-ending dinner, a special affair this year celebrating 25 years of the championship.
Was the timing of the announcement a direct insult, an attempt at getting the Flammini's and Paolo Ciabatti, Director of the WSBK championship, and Press manager Julian Thomas to hand in their notices? Possibly. The top management at WSBK including the Flammini brothers had left the building, the InFront offices in Rome, by December 1st without so much as a press release, a note on the WSBK website or a 'Thank You" from their own organization. Ezpeleta made sure the door hit them in the ass on the way out, as their thanks for producing the best motorcycle roadracing series in the world.
The only remaining InFront staff that we know of are Christina Siani the long-time Organization Manager who actually runs the races, and Valentina Conti of the SBK Press Office who is keeping their media department going. Whether they survive the transition through 2013 as the Dorna staff learn what they need to know, will have to be seen. Meanwhile, the new boss of the World Superbike Championship is DORNA employee Javier Alonso, who previously ran the DORNA owned Spanish Championship, a local series which hasn't prepared him for the much bigger task of running a World Championship and the diplomacy of dealing with factory teams.
From the outside, the announcement by Bridgepoint that Dorna would be in charge of both the MotoGP and World Superbike series looks like it has its roots in a conflict which has little or nothing to do with WSBK itself. WSBK is caught in the crossfire between Honda and Dorna, over their battle for the soul of the MotoGP series. Is it a technological arms race, as HRC would like to see it, or is it entertainment for the masses, as Dorna is trying to position it, in an attempt to boost the revenues from MotoGP and prepare itself for the day when Valentino Rossi finally hangs up his helmet.
Carmelo Ezpeleta, meanwhile, keeps meeting with senior staff from all three Japanese factories looking at competing in the 2014 MotoGP championship about the technical regulations to be introduced from that season onwards. It is believed that Ezpeleta wants a rev limit set at 15,500 RPM and a heavily controlled standard electronics package are to be introduced, whether the factories like the idea or not. This move is necessary both to close the massive performance gap between the factories and the private teams - both satellite and CRT - and reducing the costs in the championship which have spiraled to unsustainable levels. Ezpeleta's message is simple: you are welcome to compete, but you will compete under our regulations, as the regulations which you drew up drove costs completely out of control.
There is little about World Superbikes that even needs changing. In contrast to MotoGP, where Bridgestone are supplying tires that are detrimental to the spectacle, Pirelli provide rubber to the teams that allows the riders to put on a real show. The Superpole format works well, especially the twist of only giving riders two sets of qualifiers for three Superpole sessions, and the two-race format on Sunday is a massive hit with motorcycle racing fans. WSBK's only real weakness is an inability to market the series as it could be, and to sell itself short when it comes to TV rights. Several parties have tried to secure rights to supply internet streaming for the World Superbike races, but the current TV contracts make that almost impossible to secure. With better TV coverage and some form of internet streaming of the races, allowing audiences to follow the series in territories where the races are not shown live on TV, these gaping holes could be quickly fixed.
What World Superbikes does not need is a MotoGP makeover. World Superbike is popular in part because of the accessibility of the paddock and riders - paddock access tickets are sold at a very reasonable price, and WSBK riders will stop and chat freely with fans - is one of the series' most endearing features, and the WSBK paddock feels like a small Italian village, where everyone knows each other and rivalries are relatively petty. MotoGP may generate a lot more money, but that money serves mainly to create distance between the riders and the fans, and the paddock is a good deal more business-like and, yes, just plain cold.
The risk of a Dorna intervention is that they kill the soul of World Superbikes, sending it over the edge into a terminal decline. That is a massive risk to take, and could be a very expensive one indeed, if circuits and TV companies were to start suing Dorna should the WSBK series die. The smartest move Dorna could make is to leave WSBK well alone, seeking only ways of extracting more sponsorship and money from the series. However, it already seems Dorna wants to cut out the heart and soul of World Superbike......
What we do wantto do is thank Maurizio and Paolo Flammini, Paolo Ciabatti, Julian Thomas and all our other dear WSBK friends, from all of us in the Media, on the Race Teams and in the Paddock, to the Fans and Sponsors, you will be greatly missed. Thank you for the first 25 years of World Superbike, the greatest motorcycle roadracing championship ever!
Petra's beautiful Angels will no longer be gracing the front of the starting grid at European Superbike rounds, thanks to DORNA.
Last week we learned that Dorna will not be working with Petra's Angels, the model agency in the Czech Republic that has provided the very beautiful professional model grid girls who have worked the European SBK rounds the last few years. Flying top models to the races is too expensive it seems, to Dorna. Now the race tracks may have to scrape together less qualified and photo pleasing volunteers from the paddock.
And then, just this week, it its first big move in 2013 to dumb down the SBK Championship and reduce costs for the smaller privateer teams, the FIM at DORMA's request has made factory prototype suspension assemblies illegal:
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship
and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup
Change to the 2013 Regulations
March 13, 2013 - The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Managing Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative) and Giulio Bardi (Team representative) met at the FIM Heaquarters on 13 March 2013. It unanimously decided to introduce the following main modifications to the Regulations of the Road Racing Superbike & Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup for 2013:
A number of representatives of Dorna WSBK Organization and the FIM took part in this meeting
(Messrs Daniel Carrera, Gregorio Lavilla, Rezsö Bulcsu, and Paul Duparc).
184.108.40.206 Front Forks
Forks (stanchions, stem, wheel spindle, upper and lower crown, etc.) must remain as originally produced by the manufacturer for the homologated motorcycle. Original internal parts of the homologated forks may be modified or changed.
No aftermarket or prototype electronically-controlled suspension parts may be used, unless such suspension is already present on the production model of the homologated motorcycle, and it must remain completely standard (all mechanical or electronic parts must remain as homologated, with the exception of shims and springs).
The original suspension system must work safely in the event of an electronic failure.
After market damper kits or valves may be installed.
Fork springs may be modified or replaced.
Fork caps may be modified or replaced to allow external adjustment.
Dust seals may be modified, changed or removed if the fork remains totally oil sealed.
The original surface finish of the fork tubes (stanchions, fork pipes) may be changed.
Additional surface treatments are allowed.
The upper and lower fork clamps (triple clamp, fork bridges) must remain as originally produced by the manufacturer on the homologated motorcycle.
220.127.116.11 Rear Suspension unit
Rear suspension unit (shock absorber) may be modified or replaced, but the original attachments to the frame and rear fork (swing arm) must be as homologated.
Rear suspension unit and spring may be changed.
No aftermarket or prototype electronically-controlled suspension unit maybe used, unless such suspension is already present on the production model of the homologated motorcycle, and it must remain completely standard (any mechanical or electronic parts must remain as homologated with the exception of shims and springs).
The original suspension system must work safely in the event of an electronic failure.
After market damper kits or valves may be installed.
Rear spring(s) may be modified or replaced.
Rear suspension linkage must remain as originally produced by the manufacturer for the homologated motorcycle.
Editor's Note: This suprise Rule Change taking place immediately, just one race into the 2013 WSBK race season is in direct conflict to a statement Ezpeleta made at a press conference back in October 11th, 2012, where Ezpeleta did his best to first of all quell any fears among the legions of World Superbike fans that Dorna intended implementing any major changes for the coming season, ensuring the assembled media that all would go ahead for 2013 as planned. "For next year things will continue as they are, and both MotoGP and WSBK will continue the same way, with exactly the same system of organization and with the same technical rules," Ezpeleta told the press. "For 2013 the regulations will be the ones that have been approved between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports," he said in response to questions, "In 2013 it will be exactly as proposed by the different parties involved, there will not be any changes for 2013."
Obviously Zzpeleta did not keep his word. But in fact, this is actually a very good rule as it will considerably reduce race bike costs in Superbike and Supersport, by as much as $30,000 US per motorcycle. Last season 2012, the new Ducati 1199 Panigale S could not race in Superstock with its production based electronic suspension, but had to have mechanically adjusted valving installed, since electronic suspension has been illegal until now in FIM roadracing to eliminate the cost of the very expensive prototype electronic suspensions first introduced some 8 years ago in MotoGP racing. But now that production bikes are coming stock with electronic suspension like the Ducati 1199S, BMW HP4 and Aprilia RSV4, it was actually costing a huge about of money more to convert them back to non electronic damping shocks and forks to race in both the Superbike and Supersport classes.
In the Superbike class, the Ohlins factory TTX resevoirs forks cost some $12,000 plus necessary larger diameter adjustable triple clamps, steering dampers and mounts, brake, axle, fender fittings, et all - you might be looking at close to $20,000 just for a complete front fork assembly.
This sudden rule change to restrict both Superbike and Supersport to production suspension will help more privateer teams afford to race in Superbike, and perhaps even to move over from the European 1000cc Superstock Class to the World Superbike class. The only negative aspect for Superbike fans is there now will be a wider technology difference between Superbike and MotoGP, just as Dorna wants, and the factory Superbikes bikes won't be as exotic any more. We think this Suspension Regulation change should have allowed World Superbikes to run either suspensions - prototype or production, if they choose. It would be interesting to see if there is any difference these days between prototype and the higer end production suspensions. We doubt it would be much, if any.
But now, with this new production suspension only rule for World Superbike, it certainly signals the death of the European 1000cc Superstock Championship in 2014. Something that Dorna is expected to do as they contine to dumb-down World Superbike so it doesn't outshine MotoGP.
World Superbike - 25 Exciting Years
This 240-page high quality coffee table book covers the exciting first 25 years of World Superbike, with a year by year race summary, and features on the riders and people who made the sport as great as it is. Written and photographed by Claudio and Fabrizio Porrozzi, with English translation by Julian Thomas. and published by Giorgio Nada Editore, Italy. Clink on the picture above and the link below to order online from Amazon.com.
Included in the book is this forward from Maurizio and Paolo Flammini, which we have taken the liberty to except here, as a tribute to them and their 25 years in the Championship with they made the best in the World!
"Finding ourselves today celebrating this achievement, makes us feel very close to those riders who take the checkered flag after a thrilling race fought out at the limit of their physical and mental prowess. Joy over having achieved this particular goal is immediately followed by thoughts of the next challenge. Dreams, speed, engine noise, passion, risks, hard work, competition, disappointment and joy, are are elements that make up the heart and soul of our world and unite us all, whether we are organizers, engineers, riders, journalists, sponsors or fans.
And it is certainly thanks to the pathos and that co-existance of all these elements has created in our minds, that we have been able to find the motivation to transform a dream into a splendid reality. Today the World Superbike Championship is one of the greatest events in the international sporting calendar.
The scene of the battle for the best riders and most important motorcycle manufacturers, and exciting product for the National and International media and a thrilling sporting saga fro fans throughout the world, a young adult called the World Superbike Championship is today now fully grown up! Both of us have made this project raison d'etre in our lives and we have spent all of our best energies to ensure the Superbike World Championship can find a consolidated and successful space in the panorama of world sport.
We have however not traveled this path alone.
Above all, we must mention our partner since the very beginning - the FIM - with whom we have shred every day of the life of our Championship.
Secondly, all of our collaborators, whose passion, professionalism, and dedication have made up and continue to make up a fine example that is recognized throughout the world and who together with us have worked hard, suffered and rejoiced in reaching our goals.
And since 2007, InFront Sports & Media, a world leader in the sports marketing spectrum who have provided our company and the World Superbike Championship with a further boost in development and professionalism.
But we must not forget either all the other protagonists in this splendid 'circus'. The riders, the manufacturers, the teams, the sponsors, the media, the circuit representatives, the fans. It is thanks to the joint efforts of everyone that in just a relatively short period of time, the Superbike World Championship has become a great show and an important business engine. But for all of us the challenge continues, there are many more checkered flags waiting to be conquered...." - Paolo and Maurizio Flammini
Josh Hayes looked to have even less competition this year in AMA Superbike, than in his last 3 years of domination, but after this weekend's season opener it would be the usually reliable Yamaha R1 that would beat him.
2013 AMA Pro Roadracing Championship
Josh Hayes Posts Double Mechanical DNF's
while leading both Daytona AMA Superbike Season Openers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla, March 15-16th 2013 - 3-time reigning Yamaha AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes saw his 2013 season title chase get off to the worst possible start at the Daytona Bike Week season opener as his usually reliable Yamaha R1 Superbike let him down in both of the Superbike races. Hayes' Yamaha team mate Josh Herrin would trade the top and runner-up steps on the podium at the end of both Superbike races with Martin Cardenas on the Yoshimura Suzuki.
Complete 2013 Daytona Roadrace Coverage Here • Complete Daytona 200 Results
Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show Concours d' Elegance
Returns to the Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA on Sunday July 14th 2013
The 2013 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show continues its now 22-year tradition as the premier outdoor streetbike event in America
with top Celebrity Builders, the Calendar Bike Building Championship & Concours d' Elegance, selected Vendors and Exhibitors, the Calendar Girl Music Show and a return to the exciting Queen Mary venue in Long Beach, CA. The Show marks the world premier of next year's new 2014 FastDates.com Motorcycle PinUp Calendars featuring the world's top roadrace and custom motorcycles with the beautiful Calendar Kittens featured in the Calendars in attendance at the Show. Purchase Advance Tickets, Vendor and Bike Contest Registration online at: www.FastDates.com/BIKESHOW.HTM.
Calendar Kittens Kinsey, Sabella and the girls from the band Nylon Pink who will again be performing at the 2013 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show, together with Yaniv Evan's 2012 Pro Builder Class Show winner. See more of Yaniv Evans' awesome bikes like this "Black & White" in the Calendar Bike Garage
Calendar Show Winners Featured In Bike Craft Magazine!
Three of the top winning bikes at last year's LA Calendar Motorcycle Show are featured in the Spring 2013 edition of Barnett's Bike Craft magazine, one of the Calendar Shows new media partners together with Thunder Press, Hot Bike, Hot Bike Baggers and Street Choppers magazines.
Garnering the cover and inside features in Bike Craft are Best of Show winner Hideki Hoshikawa / Asterisk Custom Cycles' 'Avanzare' naked Sportster based Streetfighter, Jim Giuffra / AFT Custom's 'Halia" Honda Shadow 750 based Bobber, and a Chris Redpath / MotoGPwerks built Ducati Desmosedici RR ultimate naked Streetfighter. Look for Bike Craft on your favorite new stand and order it online BikeCraftMagazine.com
All three bikes were photographed by Jim Gianatsis with beautiful Calendar Kittens for the 2014 FastDates.com Calendars which will premier at this year's upcoming LA Calendar Motorcycle Show on Sunday July 14, 2013 at the Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA. If you are a talented custom bike builder and are looking to make a name for yourself with International media exposure, you defenitetly want to be there. Info - FastDates.com/BIKESHOW.HTM
Order Now from Amazon.com USA: USD $69.95 • Amazon.com UK/Europe: UK £55.00 / EUR $55
Exclusive Autographed Collector's Package!
The all new Ducati Corse World Superbikes 224-pg book and the 2013 Fast Date World Superbike Calendar - World Release July 1st 2012
Personally autographed to you (or the name you request on the PayPal.com Order Form) by Jim Gianatsis and shipped direct to you.
For more information or to order the Book or the Calendar individually, unsigned, go to the Sportbike Books and Fast Dates Calendar order pages. $100 Collector's Package, plus $20 USPS Priority Mail Shipping & Handing in the USA.
Newest Calendar Kittens take our Ducati 1199RS replica for a spin....
We are loving our modified Ducati 1199RS Superbike and with two special new accessories - Umbrella Girls USA models and newest FastDates.com Calendar Kittens Jessica and Kelsey! The girls were in the Gianatsis Design studio this month to shoot with photographer Jim Gianatis for the next FastDates.com Calendars, so of course, we had to get them on our street racer replica for a few pictures. The new 5th generation Ducati Panigale Superbike is the best handing, best perfrming sportbike we've ever ridden! Click on the picture to Download the Screensaver. Complete Ducati 1199 Superbike set-up details including the factory Ducati Corse 1199RS Parts Book are on FastDates.com in the Paddock Garage
Dani Pedrosa was quickest in pre season tresting
2013 MotoGP World Championship
Team Repsol Honda Tops 3-Day MotoGP Testing at Sepang
MotoGP Official Test, Sepang, Malaysia, Mar 23-25th - Day 2 at Sepang of the 3-Day MotoGP tests at Sepang saw the quickest times turned between rain showers Valentino Rossi moved ahead on yet another rain-affected day at Jerez, topping the -Sunday MotoGP™ testing timesheets from Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow joined his fellow Yamaha riders in the top three.
The first half of the day featured little track activity. Although there was no driving rain at that point, the track surface was greasy and semi-dry, meaning neither Slick nor Wet tyres would be completely suitable. After three and a half hours, now with a dryer surface, more runners elected to peel out of the pit lane.
Rossi was just 15 thousands of a second quicker than Lorenzo, leading the way on his lap of 1’39.525. Less than half a tenth separated the top three riders and the final position marked the first time Rossi had topped any MotoGP™ session since first practice for last year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“It’s not important, but it’s very important!” Rossi smiled. “To end the day with the best lap time is great, not just because of the position but also because we modified some of the settings of the bike after the first test to adapt the M1 more to my style. It’s good because I am able to go faster, like Jorge, in all sectors of the lap. For tomorrow, we have a new chassis with some small differences, so both Jorge and I will try it. We hope to be able to improve our level a bit.”
Dani Pedrosa was today’s leading Repsol Honda Team bike in fourth, ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso who ran several new small parts, as the second Repsol bike of Marc Márquez finished seventh.
Sixth was GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who missed over an hour of running following a crash towards the end of the afternoon. While testing different suspension to that of yesterday, the Spaniard lost control at Sito Pons corner and picked up small fractures in the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand; now resting, he will be back in action on Monday morning.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten, but both the German and Italian endured crashes during the day. All riders had hoped for either fully wet or fully dry conditions in order to conduct proper comparisons for setup changes, although the former was preferable. That was certainly the case for rookies Bradley Smith and Bryan Staring, plus Danilo Petrucci who was running a new chassis for Came IodaRacing Project.
Leading CRT was Héctor Barberá in 11th position, ahead of Tech 3’s Smith, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró and Ioda’s Petrucci. Incidentally, Espargaró sampled a single wet lap in the closing stages but elected to return straight to the pits, whereas teammate Randy de Puniet – who ended the day in 16th place, behind Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro – was caught out and crashed.
Rounding out the top 20 were NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Ignite Pramac Racing Team’s Ben Spies, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and PBM’s Yonny Hernández. The Colombian’s teammate, Michael Laverty, was all set to continue testing the team’s own-built chassis – on which much ECU work was carried out yesterday – but was also delayed by the rain en route to 24th slot.
The aforementioned Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards and Avintia Blusens’s Hiroshi Aoyama occupied positions 21 to 23; the latter may have destroyed a set of Wet tyres while running on a drying track, but was able to extract direct comparisons in similar conditions to those he finished in yesterday. The second Ioda bike of Lukáš Pešek, the Czech newcomer in the CRT ranks, backed up the 25-bike field.
Monday Final day of Testing
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow moved atop the timesheets as MotoGP™ pre-season testing drew to a close in Jerez on Monday. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
The third and final day brought yet more rain, although a dryer period in the second half allowed for some much desired laps on Slicks. Crutchlow was quickest before being demoted, but returned to the top in the closing stages; his best effort of 1’39.511 was the fastest of the three days in Spain, with Rossi just 14 thousandths of a second slower. In fact, no more than 29 thousandths covered the top three runners.
“We did some decent lap times and in the end we ran quite consistently, I was pleased,” Crutchlow commented. “I feel good. It’s disappointing to manage no more than 70 dry laps over three days, but to be at this pace is good and I think everybody is in a similar boat.
“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani (Pedrosa) and Marc (Márquez) at the moment. I think their package is stronger. We know Dani is obviously very confident because he went home today – so he is happy with the bike! We are still working very hard with the Yamaha, but it’s going to be a big battle in Qatar.”
At Factory Yamaha Racing, the pair of MotoGP World Champions worked with an updated chassis – in contrast with Crutchlow who has had few new components to test over the pre-season period. Breaking into the top three on the final day was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who finishes fifth overall, although the German was one of several riders to hit trouble over the course of the test with a crash on Sunday afternoon. Álvaro Bautista was another and on Monday the GO&FUN Honda Gresini man was unable to ride at all, following a crash and consequent hand and knee injuries the previous evening.
Fourth overall was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who – happy with his bike and witnessing more rain on Monday morning – soon decided to end his test early. The two Repsol bikes sandwiched Bradl who was striving to fine-tune an optimum dry weather setup, with 2013 newcomer Marc Márquez sixth from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
This was the last day of pre-season testing before the 2013 MotoGP campaign commences in Qatar on 7th April.
|Top Times of the 3 Day Tests
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 2m 0.562s (Lap 41/57)
2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 2m 0.643s (54/54)
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 2m 0.992s (23/56)
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 2m 1.062s (60/61)
5. Alvaro Bautista ESP Honda Gresini (RC213V) 2m 1.078s (13/43)
6. Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 1.094s (57/59)
7. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda (RC213V) 2m 1.309s (7/46)
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 2m 1.650s (35/44)
9. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 2m 2.070s (23/53)
10. Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 2m 2.314s (46/64)
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (GP13) 2m 2.566s (46/52)
12. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (GP13) 2m 2.773s (36/38)
13. Randy De Puniet FRA Aspar (ART CRT) 2m 2.863s (44/45)
14. Ben Spies USA Pramac Racing Ducati (GP13) 2m 3.055s (31/33)
15. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yam Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 3.154s (24/32)
16. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia (FTR-Kaw CRT)* 2m 3.155s (37/42)
17. Wataru Yoshikawa JPN Yam Test Rider (YZR-M1) 2m 3.257s (22/26)
18. Aleix Espargaro ESP Aspar (ART CRT) 2m 3.423s (18/45)
19. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB (ART CRT) 2m 4.066s (33/57)
20. Colin Edwards USA Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 2m 4.102s (21/42)
21. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia (FTR-KawCRT)* 2m 4.512s (15/51)
22. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 2m 4.546s (21/24)
23. Lukas Pesek CZE IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 4.674s (32/33)
24. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 2m 4.686s (18/36)
25. Claudio Corti ITA Forward Racing (FTR-Kaw CRT)* 2m 4.718s (48/51)
26. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 2m 4.722s (46/47)
27. Takumi Takahashi JPN Honda Test Rider (RC213V) 2m 4.749s (63/65)
28. Bryan Staring AUS Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 2m 5.313s (15/40)
* Control ECU.
Steve Atlas' ELeopard Brammo. Click to go big.
RARE BREED | THE 2013 TEAM ICON BRAMMO EMPULSE RR RACE BIKES
Tuesday March 26, 2013 - It’s safari time with tfor the CON Brammo race team. this 2013 acing season, ICON worked closely with Brammo to deliver a new livery that will surely rile the tastes of serious motorcyclists everywhere. This is Big Game and Sauvetage, and to explain the goal behind the artwork is ICON’s Design Director Kurt Walter.
“Fierce as a zebra, fast as a cat”. That was original livery pitch presented to Brammo for the 2013 TTXGP series. As with the 2012 campaign, the ICON involvement with the Brammo race team is an all-encompassing affair. We design the entire livery, build the suits, paint the helmets, and outfit the entire pit crew with gear. Generally ICON doesn’t play well with others, but Brammo provides us with a great amount of creative freedom, and in turn we go all out to make sure they have they most avant-garde livery on the track.
The leopard print will be run by Steve Atlas and is my personal favorite of the two designs. We call this livery ‘Sauvetage’ which is the French term for ‘rescue’ often emblazoned on the side of French Mirage fighter aircraft. Following the aircraft theme, the leopard print itself is derived from the camouflage used by the Afrika Korps Luftwaffe aircraft during WWII, albeit in floo-red instead of desert tan. The inclusion of the shark mouth ensures that we have ample America clues on board the bike to balance the aforementioned French and German influence.
Eric Bostrom will be fielding the ‘Big Game’ Livery. The black/white/chartreuse colorway is a direct evolution of the 2012 ICON/Brammo Stack livery which was equally lauded and vilified by serious racers on serious racer forums. Alas the zebra print doesn’t share the obtuse aircraft back story of the Sauvetage. Big Game is more of a general straightforward racing animal graphic with subliminal elements which prevent this livery from being televised in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. In addition, Eboz will also be running his own signature edition ICON Airmada helmet for the 2013 TTXGP series. We will producing this exact same helmet for sale starting in June.
Interestingly enough, Eric actually raised zebras in the wild for a number of years before signing on with the ICON/Brammo team which brings some relevance to the Big Game livery.”
New rules, new riders, new bikes, and new designs, this season is a perfect storm for ICON and Brammo, two companies who are well versed in adapting at a moment’s notice and rising to the occasion. The hunt is on
The EBoz Brammo with Zebra stripes!
Motorcycle Racer Magazine Partners
with the Fast Dates Calendar
March 17th, 2013 - The Fast Dates World Superbike Calendar welcomes Motorcycle Racer Magazine as an Official Partner!
Look for MC Racer logos and ordering informtion in the upcoming 2014 Fast Dates World Superbike Calendar and on FastDates.com, and FastDates.com Calendar ads in future issues of MC Racer and on their website.
The latest issue of Motorcycle Racer Magazine on-sale through the website at www.motorcycleracer.com
This edition features Graeme Crosby as Guest Editor and his thoughts on MotoGP and World Superbikes are revealing - as are the interviews with Dorna's top brass Carmelo Ezpeleta and Javier Alonso. Find out what goes on behind the scenes at Red Bull Rookies, check out the best photos from recent MotoGP tests and discover how Shane Byrne is preparing himself for the coming season - all in this edition of the World's number one road race magazine. We also put the World Supersport Kawasaki and the Norton NRV4 through their paces and talk to Philip Neil at Tyco Suzuki about the GSX-R600.
All that, and more, for just £3.95 which includes postage and packing for UK readers. If you’ve not seen Racer for a while, here’s a quick update. They ’ve upgraded the quality of the paper, the design, the reproduction of photos and added a special fold out cover with a different three page poster to enjoy each month.
In great Britain and world-wide call 44 0161 443 1000 if you prefer to buy over the ‘phone. They take PayPal and all major credit and debit cards these days, to make life easier.
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The Official SBK
25 Year History Book
The Official SBK
These SBK Yearbooks are the Best Books Ever about World Superbike. They feature awesome color photography of the riders, bike and racing action. The feature a detailed revue of the past season in pictures and statistics, with a detailed look at the bikes and riders.
Plus a technical look data all the bikes, a preview of the upcoming season's Championship!
We buy this every year ourselves and highly recommend it!
SBK World Superbike Video Game
Carmelo Ezpeleta: "MotoGP And WSBK Will Remain Separate Series"
The greatest fear which World Superbike fans expressed when it was announced last year that control of WSBK would fall under the responsibility of Dorna was that WSBK would either be killed off as a series, or absorbed into MotoGP as a glorified support class. The continued existence of two motorcycle road racing world championship seemed in serious doubt; in dire economic times, one of the two must give. And with Dorna having invested so much in making MotoGP the dominant championship, WSBK fans feared, it would be World Superbikes that suffers.
That fear is groundless, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told German-language publication Speedweek in January 2013 that he could not conceive of the two series being run at the same events. There would always be come circuits and some countries that would prefer one series to the other, Ezpeleta explained to Speedweek.
"We will be keeping the two series separate, and supporting them both," Ezpeleta said.
The advantages of having two series is clear. World Superbikes, for example, has always had a huge following in Britain, while being largely ignored in Spain, even when Carlos Checa was in the process of securing his first WSBK title. Maintaining both WSBK and MotoGP allows Dorna to exploit the two series in their strongest markets, while coordinating to expand motorcycle racing as a whole and reach a broader audience."
Though Ezpeleta's expression of support for WSBK may go some way to calming the worst of World Superbike fans' fears, major concerns remain. WSBK fans fear Dorna will destroy the heart of the series, by imposing massive technology restrictions and reducing the series to a glorified Superstock spec.
(Which is now coming true with this week's announcement of a Production Suspension rule in WSBK)
Recent reports intimated that Dorna was considering scrapping the Superstock 1000 and Superstock 600 support classes, and replacing them with a junior series to be raced using 250cc four-stroke machines based on production bikes.
It is still unclear exactly what effect the scrapping of Superstock will have, and whether it really means that both WSBK and WSS will be reduced to glorified Superstock machinery, WSBK fans fear that any further reduction in technology will see the series lose what makes it so attractive.
Those worries were heightened when a number of high-profile names, such as WSBK Director Paolo Ciabatti, series press chief Julian Thomas and Infront CEO Paolo Flammini, revealed that they would be leaving WSBK - see our story at left.
The people being drafted in to take their place have served to calm the nerves a little. Gregorio Lavilla is a former rider who has raced in both Grand Prix, World Superbikes and national superbike series, and could form a bridge between the two paddocks. The name of Javier Alonso will be less comforting: Alonso is widely regarded in the MotoGP paddock as Carmelo Ezpeleta's right-hand man, and is a member of MotoGP's Race Direction and a key executive inside Dorna. On the one hand, Alonso is a Dorna man through-and-through; on the other hand, having such a high-profile figure inside World Superbikes is at least a sign of how seriously Dorna is taking the series.
Ezpeleta himself will not be involving himself too closely with the World Superbike series. When asked by Speedweek whether he would be attending a WSBK round this year, he replied that it was unlikely, given his current commitments. Aragon was one possibility, Ezpeleta told Speedweek, another being the Indian round, if they were forced to postpone it to later in the year, due to the current difficulties facing the race planned for the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi.
Meet 2013 Calendar Kitten
MV Agusta M4
The Devil Made Us Do It!
Testing the Ducati Diavel in Italy
New BMW HP4 Superbike
Sudco High Performance & OEM Replacement Parts
High Speed - the Movie
The best motorcycle racing movie ever made! Filmed on location at the World Superbike races , this an exciting romantic drama staring beautiful British actress Sienna Miller.
Infinion Raceway Cancelled
Road America to Host Round 2 of 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Championship on May 31-June 2, 2013
March 28th - GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is pleased to announce that Road America will play host to the Series for Round 2 of the 2013 schedule. The greatest motorcycle road racing talent in North America will arrive at the historic facility in Elkhart Lake, Wis. for the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader on the weekend of May 31 - June 2, 2013.
"Although the TBD event (Infinion Rceway May 2nd) previously scheduled as Round 2 has been removed from the schedule, we are looking forward with great excitement to the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America," said Michael Gentry, COO of AMA Pro Racing. "The great staff at Road America have been working tirelessly to create the world-class fan experience that their events are known for, and we are eager to arrive in Elkhart Lake, Wis. to contest the next round of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing championship on the weekend of May 31-June 2."
In addition to the incredible racing action on tap, a number of activities aimed at providing fans with additional excitement have already been added to the event schedule. Jason Britton, the world's outright leader in motorcycle stunt riding, will be on hand with Team No Limit to thrill fans with spectacular displays of bike control. For fans that are interested in getting a closer look at the circuit, Road America has added a unique 'Salute to Cycles' on-track riding experience.
The Salute to Cycles provides participants with the rare opportunity to ride on the 4.05-mile natural road course and develop a true appreciation for the undulating circuit where pro racers battle it out for glory and fame. As always, pre-race ceremonies will include a fan walk, which allows fans out onto the grid to see the race-prep motorcycles and get rider autographs.
Other fan activities in and around the facility will include public karting and a Supermoto exhibition race at the Blain's Farm & Fleet Motorplex, as well as Dairyland Classic flat track races on Friday night in nearby Plymouth, Wis.
EDELWEISS OFFERS NEW and AFFORDABLE MOTORCYCLE TOUR ALONG THE DOLOMITES WITH CHALLENGING ROADS, OVERWHELMING MOUNTAIN SCENERY AND ITALIAN CUISINE AT ITS FINEST.
The Dolomites are a must for a passionate biker – come with us on an unforgettable motorcycle tour. The countryside is dominated by mountains, rivers, and gorge-like valleys, which have just space enough for a road and railroad tracks; but there are also bigger towns like Bolzano, where our base hotel is located.
Thinking about Italian culture you will notice quite a big difference from what you may expect; building style, cultures, languages, bilingual road signs and special foods show that varied peoples and ideas peacefully co-exist here. The Sella Ronda is a very good warm-up for the following days and our rides to Penserjoch, Jaufenpass and Timmelsjoch.
Eight more passes are on our schedule for the next day and we will have the opportunity to stop in the nice little town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, well known from the Olympics in 1956. Now it’s time to make a decision: go to Venice for sightseeing or collect 10 more passes? Tough call! The last riding day leads us south to the wonderful Lake Garda, with swimming and riding at its best.
Find Out More
THROUGH THE ALPINE WONDERLAND OF AUSTRIA AND SOUTHERN GERMANY – THE ALPS AND LAKES MOTORCYCLE TOUR!
The Alps and Lakes motorcycle tour takes you through a beautiful part of European motorcycle paradise; the Alps. The contrast between the beautiful lakes in southern Germany and Austria and the towering mountains that reach up to more than 10,000 ft is nothing less than breathtaking.
This area is the famous background for the movie „Sound of Music“. This vacation offers a little bit of everything: beautiful and relaxing rides through the valleys; some mountain roads and passes; and great vistas and sights, including King Ludwig‘s castle, Herrenchiemsee, and the historic city of Salzburg. The tour consists of five riding days, one of them is a rest day – which means that you stay two nights at the same hotel.
This is a great opportunity to explore a little bit more, ride around the countryside, walk through town, meet the locals and sample some of the local food. The tour will take you through Germany and Austria, and on the rest day you can even add Italy to your list if you are so inclined.
Find Out More
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LA Calendar Bike Show
MotoGP™ signs a multiyear contract deal with FOX SPORTS
March 25th 2013 - FOX Sports has signed a multiyear deal with Dorna Sports for broadcast rights to the world’s most prestigious motorcycle racing series, the MotoGP™ World Championship, with races to air on SPEED and the newly announced, multisport FOX Sports 1 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
MotoGP, with three events in the U.S. in 2013, is highlighted during the high-profile FOX Sports 1 August launch weekend, with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix scheduled for August 18 as one of the first live events on the new network.
“With an international event lineup that includes three U.S. stops, MotoGP brings an immediate world class motor sports presence to the FOX Sports 1 lineup,” said Bill Wanger, EVP Programming & Research for FOX Sports. “Having the race from iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway fall on our FS1 launch weekend is a bonus, and one of which we plan to take full advantage.”
“We're very proud of this new agreement with Fox Sports and we are looking forward to being part of this huge project that is Fox Sports 1. Through this agreement, MotoGP will continue to be watched by our extensive American fan base, via the Speed channel until August and from then on, via the new Fox Sports 1 channel. Our 15 year partnership is arriving now to a very exciting MotoGP season with 3 GP’s on U.S. soil and the promise of some thrilling action on track. We will deliver the very highest standard of TV coverage of the Championship, using the latest production technologies, which is what our fans in the U.S. and around the world and also our Global media partners like the Fox Sports Group, deserve” declared Manel Arroyo, Managing Director of the Media Area at Dorna.
The season opens April 7 on SPEED with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. Other U.S. highlights include the second event of the season, the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas inaugural series event at newly built Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on April 21 and a return to Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on July 21.
Coverage from Austin includes qualifying on April 20 at 9 p.m. ET; race coverage, including pre-race activities begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on April 21. On-board camera access is available on SPEED.com for all U.S. rounds, with qualifying practice sessions on SPEED2.
The new deal, continuing a successful relationship that began on SPEED in 1997, when the series was known as the FIM World GP 500, also includes coverage of Moto2™ and Moto3™, as well as expanded digital rights.