Tag Archives: Moto Gp

Pit Stop – Small storie making waves in Motorsport – By Lewis Brearley

After the flurry of news regarding the first Formula One pre-season test in Jerez and the Sepang MotoGP test, the current absence of news seems rather dull. However, if you’ve been following closely you will have noticed a few intriguing stories.

The sponsor situation in Formula One has been pretty dire in recent years but recent news could be optimistically taken to mean that last year, when Williams, Sauber and Marussia all ran with almost bare liveries, thankfully may have been the nadir.

Williams recently announced a new sponsorship deal with Martini, meaning the legendary and iconic red, white and blue stripes of the 1970s should again be present in the new turbocharged era.

This, alongside further deals with Genworth Insurance and Petrobras, a Brazilian oil company surely attracted to the team by the team’s new Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, combined with the team’s new technical structure under Pat Symonds’ leadership and the promising pace shown at the Jerez test, all builds to a very positive vibe around the Grove team.

If the team delivers during the season then maybe the sleeping giant of Formula One can defy the doubters and once again compete to win races. If so, the sport will be all the healthier for it.

The arrival of any new sponsor into Formula One is a big story nowadays. Whereas in the early noughties even midfield teams had the logos of huge, blue chip companies painted onto their cars, things are much harder now.

The financial crash of 2008 led to the exits of many companies who had been supporting teams and five years later, for some reason, there hasn’t yet been a renaissance of corporate interest.

Even the mighty McLaren was trundling around Jerez without a title sponsor, after Vodafone decided to end their involvement at the end of 2013, reportedly due to the negative publicity furore surrounding the controversial Bahrain grand prix.

Former team principal Martin Whitmarsh had announced a sponsor unveiling for last December but worryingly, that was cancelled. This was one of the reasons why Ron Dennis took back control of the Formula One team, after becoming concerned about the team’s commercial business.

Rumours have grown that all will be well by the time of the Australian grand prix and that their car, now under the leadership of racing director Eric Boullier, will be adorned with a new, major sponsor. We shall see.

Another recent story is the successful first outing of the new Lotus E22. With the team having endured delays and their engine manufacturer, Renault, having serious problems at the Jerez test with their other teams, the fact that they ran a trouble-free 100km was a surprise to many.

In the past few years the Lotus team have shown to be one of the finest teams on the grid, and despite their huge financial troubles and loss of top-level engineers, could be on course for a stronger season than many suggested.

However, it seems highly unlikely that the team will replicate their recent race winning form of the past two years and a strong midfield campaign seems much more probable. But that’s just speculation, more evidence of where each team stands will be provided next week when the second Formula One test starts in Bahrain.

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Pit Stop – Moto Gp Test is Routine – By Lewis Brearley

Last week’s news was dominated by the first Formula One pre-season test and analysis of the varying fortunes of the teams’ new cars and revolutionary new engines.

Therefore, this week has seemed pretty quiet when compared to the flurry of news last week. This pretty much reflects the difference between Formula One and MotoGP’s approach to testing.

The teams of MotoGP had their first pre-season test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia this week and the lack of rule changes in the sport resulted in a pretty quiet and undramatic three days.

However it would be greatly untrue to say there are no stories to report. Going in to the test it was unknown who would be fastest out of last year’s championship contenders – Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.

But it was Marquez on his Honda who came out on top, the champion setting the fastest time on each of the three days. Yet it is too early to say the new season looks set to be dominated by Marquez.

Yamaha ended the test only two tenths behind, the fastest time set by Valentino Rossi who managed to outpace Lorenzo on each of the days.

Rossi has stated in the off-season that he will take a decision to continue beyond the 2014 season after the first six races providing his pace is improved from last year.

With this in mind, his pace at the test was very promising but with the obvious caveat that Lorenzo may have been pushing to a lesser degree than his team mate.

A second story to come out of the test was the promising pace of the “open-class” bikes, with the Forward Yamaha ridden by Aleix Espargaro managing to get within two tenths of Lorenzo’s works machine.

For those unaware of the biggest rule change in MotoGP this year, the open class is the replacement of the CRT category. In exchange for an increased fuel capacity of 24 litres as opposed to 20 litres teams have to use a standard ECU which will be controlled by the FIM.

The plan was that the new category would get closer to the factory bikes than the CRT bikes did and the performance of the bikes in the test seemed to confirm this.

In fact, the rumours that Ducati have opted to make their new bike conform to the open class rules shows how promising the class is.

However, the biggest mystery out of the test is why Ducati didn’t confirm which class their new bike was designed for.

For the first two days the Ducatis were grouped around 1.5-2.0 seconds off the lead pace and then on the final day Andrea Dovizioso managed to set a lap just 0.8 seconds behind Marquez.

This difference of lap times increased speculation that Ducati had been running both factory and open class bikes in the test to see which one was best. Yet which one of the two variations Dovizioso was running when he set his fastest time is still unknown.

Whichever version Ducati choose to compete with it’s unlikely that they will be racing the lead Yamahas and Hondas, who once again showed supreme pace. The only question remaining is whether Rossi and Dani Pedrosa can turn the championship battle from a duel into a four man competition.

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Pit Stop – Le Mans Takes The Limelight – By Lewis Brearley

This weekend will be the first for over two months where neither a MotoGP nor a Formula One race will happen.

But for many of the most die-hard motorsport fans, this is the biggest and most important weekend of the whole season, for this weekend sees the 81st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

While tens of thousands of motorsport fans make the annual pilgrimage to watch the endurance classic first hand, thousands more can enjoy full live coverage courtesy of the Eurosport channel.

The build up to this year’s race has centred on the slow realisation that this could be an Audi walkover, due to the pace difference between Audi and their biggest rivals, Toyota which unexpectedly revealed itself at the Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps endurance races.

After last year’s event, which saw Toyota run stunning but short-lived pace in what was their first race with the new generation TS030 Hybrid car, the Japanese company were expected to battle Audi closely this year. However, the situation now clearly visible from results of both races already run this season combined with the Le Mans practice session times, is one of Toyota lagging behind Audi.

Yet the Audi team are not outwardly showing confidence. They claim that contrary to popular belief they do actually have a race on their hands thanks to the Toyota being able to run an average on two laps more per fuel load than Audi’s respective challenger.

This means the Audi would need a speed benefit of 1.2 seconds per laps according to the Audi team themselves.

The first practice session from the Le Mans weekend therefore looks extremely positive for Audi, after the fastest R18 e-tron posted a time four seconds faster than the highest placed TS030.

The battle for overall victory may therefore be without tension, but Le Mans is about way more than just that.  The LMP2 class nearly always provides an absorbing race, with around 20 entries this year all with a chance of victory. The class which is arguably the soul of the race sees passionate and experienced privateer racing teams race through the night and into the dawn.

Furthermore, there is the annual battle for GT class honours between Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and this year’s newbies SRT. In this race the form points towards an Aston-Ferrari battle for class victory but the hugely experienced Porsche outfit can never be discounted.

Le Mans always provides entertainment, and the more hours you commit to it, the greater its repayment. I understand if staying awake all weekend is too much for you though.

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