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MotoGP Features. Page 11
Ukawa must step out of the shadows...
2 October 2003:
The quietly spoken, but always polite, Tohru Ukawa admits he's facing a crucial time in his MotoGP career – and arrives at Motegi this weekend fighting to keep his Honda ride. To do that, the man who's often been happy to stay in the shadows of some pretty impressive team-mates will need to step out into the limelight.
Cobas insight: Motegi.
1 October 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Pacific Grand Prix...
Moriwaki 'dream' to beat factory team.
30 September 2003:
This weekend at Motegi, the Moriwaki Racing team will make their second MotoGP appearance of the season, with Tamaki Serizawa riding the fantastically named 'Morwaki Dream Fighter'.
Yamaha set-up report – Motegi.
29 September 2003:
Like many things designed and built in Japan, Motegi is unsurpassed in its design and circuit quality – the surface is seamlessly smooth, offering high levels of grip, and the facilities are exceptional.
Kawasaki chassis programme breaks cover.
26 September 2003:
At last weekend's Rio Grand Prix, Kawasaki team manager Harald Eckl revealed his team is developing its own new chassis for the ZX-RR.
One spare Honda?
26 September 2003:
While Valentino Rossi's contract negotiations with Honda have captured most of the attention of late, there remains the chance that even if, as expected, the Italian remains on an RCV next season, Honda could still have room to hire one new rider to join their 2004 line-up.
Dunlop deny MotoGP withdraw.
25 September 2003:
Dunlop has denied that they are set to withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the year, and instead confirmed their commitment to the premier GP class for '2004 and beyond'.
Edwards, Hodgson 'superteam' ruled out by Ducati.
23 September 2003:
The chances of Colin Edwards partnering Neil Hodgson in a second Ducati MotoGP team appear to be more than little off the mark, with the two WSBK champions likely to be riding for opposing manufacturers next season.
Hodgson announcement 'sometime in October'.
23 September 2003:
It had been expected that, as soon as Neil Hodgson wrapped up the 2003 World Superbike championship crown, Ducati would announce that he would ride a semi-factory Desmosedici in MotoGP next year. However, despite the Brit winning the WSBK title at Assen on 7 September, there has been no official announcement of what is expected to be a two-rider team run by Luis d'Antin.
Suzuka scrapped from 2004 calendar.
19 September 2003:
The FIM has announced that Suzuka, the traditional home of the season opening Japanese Grand Prix, has been removed from the 2004 calendar.
Yamaha set-up report - Rio.
18 September 2003:
Although it was resurfaced only four years ago, the Rio de Janeiro circuit doesn't have a reputation for offering the traction one would hope for while racing a 220-plus horsepower machine.
Cobas insight: Rio.
17 September 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Rio Grand Prix...
Rule of thumb would not cope with MotoGP.
17 September 2003:
It was a simple thumb on a stopwatch button that decided the outcome of close finishing races when motorcycle grand prix racing started back in 1949 on the Isle of Man. Today the thumb has been made redundant as modern technology decides what the eye or the stopwatch cannot - the winner of some of the closest finishes in the history of the sport.
Half GP grid slower than a Superbike.
11 September 2003:
Last weekend's World Superbike round at Assen provided the first chance this year to directly compare the pace of production based WSBK machines against the prototype MotoGP racers – with startling results.
One less Honda in 2004.
8 September 2003:
The main news to come out of Honda's Portuguese Grand Prix technical presentation was that there will be one less RCV on the MotoGP grid next season, that Valentino Rossi's contract talks are still continuing and that the V5 RCV is likely to race for at least one more year.
Cobas insight: Estoril.
4 September 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix...
Eric Bostrom to MotoGP?
2 September 2003:
Sources close to
have indicated that both Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt could lose their seats at Kawasaki, as team green calls-up AMA Superbike star Eric Bostrom to join Alex Hofmann in 2004.
Yamaha set-up report – Estoril.
1 September 2003:
In some ways many of the issues that plague the South African circuit of Welkom, also make racing at Estoril 'interesting'...
Provisional 2004 calendar announced.
17 August 2003:
The FIM has today announced the provisional calendar for the 2004 season, which sees the number of rounds increase from 16 to 17 with the addition of a Qatar Grand Prix on October 2.
Yamaha set-up report - Brno.
14 August 2003:
Visually Brno appears challenging with many long radius medium-speed turns and medium-length straights, but it's this very feature, this repetitive layout, which lends the Brno Automotodrom to being one of the easiest circuits, technically speaking, on the 16 round MotoGP calendar.
Cobas insight: Brno.
13 August 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix...
D'Antin Ducati deal announced in September?
7 August 2003:
The ongoing attempts by Ducati to obtain more grid slots for 2004, for Neil Hodgson and one other rider, appears to be reaching a successful conclusion with an announcement possible as early as next month. Due to the franchise agreement between Dorna and the teams, Ducati can't simply set-up a new team to run their WSBK championship favourite, and instead need to reach some form of agreement with an existing team to either run Hodgson, or loan them a grid place to do it themselves.
Why aren't the best bikes being raced?
4 August 2003:
Jeremy McWilliams' headline grabbing performances on a 500cc KR3 during qualifying for the German Grand Prix raised some interesting questions about the future of two-strokes in the face of what had looked like being unstoppable 990cc four-stroke technology.
Rossi nears Honda deal, no factory RCV for Biaggi.
24 July 2003:
Speaking at the pre-event press conference in Germany, Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi both gave announcements regarding their future with Honda, Rossi commenting on his contract negotiations and Biaggi his race machinery.
Deja vu behind Biaggi's yellow flag sympathy.
23 July 2003:
Sympathy is certainly not a word used frequently when Max Biaggi ever discusses the fortunes of his bitter rival Valentino Rossi, but it was on Max´s agenda after the events at Donington last weekend.
Yamaha set-up report – Sachsenring.
22 July 2003:
The tight and twisty nature of Sachsenring lends itself to close racing. This is partially influenced by it's rather short overall length - while the spaghetti layout itself has the reputation of making passing moves on fellow competitors difficult even at the best of times.
Cobas insight: Sachsenring.
22 July 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's German Grand Prix...
Hodgson deal nears.
22 July 2003:
Neil Hodgson's predicted move to MotoGP next year is growing ever closer, with a Ducati source saying a deal is 90% done and could be announced within two weeks. Although the source, speaking to the
, adds little to the previously reported discussions between the Brit and his employers, it does give some sort of timescale – and an announcement at this weekend's Brand Hatch WSBK round is a theoretical possibility.
British GP - Have your say... the response.
19 July 2003:
Last Sunday's British Grand Prix proved to be a controversial one, as on track winner Valentino Rossi was stripped of his victory two hours later for having passed under yellow flag, handing Max Biaggi his first victory of the year.
Biaggi gets full factory RCV.
16 July 2003:
Sources in the Italian press are indicating that former four-times 250cc world champion Max Biaggi will be given a full factory Honda RCV - as ridden by arch-rival Valentino Rossi - from the Czech Grand Prix onwards.
Marlboro to take Rossi to F1?
15 July 2003:
Much has been made in recent weeks of the possibility that Valentino Rossi could become only the second man to take titles on both two and four wheels, but at least one source believes it knows the route that could make that possible. Spanish website marca.com believes that the multiple world champion's overtures from sponsor Marlboro are not just aimed at taking the Honda star to Ducati next season - but ultimately to Ferrari and a shot at the Formula One crown....
Rossi dreams Ducati.
9 July 2003:
During yesterday's riverboat cruise, four-times world champion Valentino Rossi spoke of his contract negotiations for next season – which sees his heart and mind split between current employer Honda and MotoGP newcomers Ducati. Rossi has been with Honda for all his premier class career, claiming one 500cc and one MotoGP title so far, and has a 38 point lead over his nearest rival, Sete Gibernau, with seven of the sixteen rounds gone this year.
Rossi: I'll quit within three years.
9 July 2003:
During his riverboat cruise on the Thames yesterday, reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi revealed that he only expects to stay in MotoGP for another few years – and is 'dreaming' of a switch to Formula One.
Cobas insight: Donington.
7 July 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's British Grand Prix...
Yamaha set-up report – Donington.
4 July 2003:
Donington was a circuit born with a reputation for being challenging on both rider and machine, a reputation that only gained further strength with the 1987 extension - carried out to allow Donington to form part of the GP calendar. It's this 'modern' extension that has added to the complexity of the circuit layout, which can be separated into two contrasting components.
Yamaha set-up report – Assen.
23 June 2003:
Assen is unique in a number of ways; the Dutch TT originally began life as 28km street circuit before being shortened - once in 1955 and again in 1984 - to comply with the ever-changing demands of modern motorcycle racing...
Cobas insight: Assen.
23 June 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Dutch TT...
Catalan GP – Have your say... the response.
21 June 2003:
Loris Capirossi made history for Ducati at Catalunya when he took advantage of a Valentino Rossi error to take his Desmosedici to its first ever MotoGP victory. The World Champion made an extraordinary comeback after out braking himself twice - returning to the track in sixth, but then clawing back to just a few seconds behind Capirossi at the flag...
Rossi begins new contract talks.
18 June 2003:
Sources at last weekend's Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona suggest that MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi and his advisers have started talking to Honda about a new contract for 2004 and beyond. Rossi's current contract runs out at the end of this year, and the Italian admitted on Thursday that he wanted to sort out a new contract as soon as possible so that he could concentrate on retaining his crown after the 2003 season proved to be more difficult than recent campaigns. Rossi also intim
Family values underpin Pons enthusiasm.
12 June 2003:
The grey streaks are starting to appear in those lucky enough to have enough hair, but the enthusiasm and commitment to the cause is as strong as it was when they started out on their great adventure 22 years ago.
Yamaha set-up report – Barcelona.
12 June 2003:
As a MotoGP circuit Barcelona offers a main straight capable of encouraging speeds exceeding 330kmh, and is completed by a sequence of long radius, medium/high speed sweepers and two tight left-hand hairpins.
Cobas insight: Catalunya.
10 June 2003:
Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Catalan Grand Prix...
It's raining regulations.
4 June 2003:
The television companies were happy, the 75,000 crowd understood what was going on and Sete Gibernau took full advantage of the situation...
Yamaha set-up report – Mugello.
2 June 2003:
Mugello boasts a sequence of undulating medium to high-speed corners combined with a straight where even the former 500 two-strokes were capable of producing an outright top speed of 315kmh. The YZR-M1 took that benchmark up to 322kmh during the 2002 race.
French GP – Have your say... the response.
31 May 2003:
Sete Gibernau emerged triumphant from a thrilling showdown with Valentino Rossi in the second leg of a rain interrupted French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday. Rossi had established a clear lead in the early stages of the race but his efforts only served for pole position in the second race, due to the new restart (rather than aggregate results) rule, when rain began to fall after fourteen laps.
Rossi to consider future at Mugello?
28 May 2003:
Rumours in the Italian press are indicating that Valentino Rossi wants to start negotiations for his future services in two weeks time at Mugello. The #46 is the undisputed King of MotoGP at the moment, and as such isn't short of offers for 2004. The decision to stay with Honda had looked like being an easy one – until the arrival of Ducati this season.
MotoGP milestones 1949-2003.
22 May 2003:
This Sunday at Le Mans the MotoGP competitors will be competing for the honour of winning the landmark 600th premier-class Motorcycle Grand Prix. The pinnacle of two-wheeled racing was limited to 500cc machines from the beginning of the World Championship series back in 1949 until the start of last year, when four-strokes of up to 990cc were allowed to enter. A selection of Grand Prix milestones in the premier-class are given below (GP number in brackets):
320 million welcomed on board...
21 May 2003:
Tohru Ukawa might knows he's popular, but even the mild mannered Japanese rider would be surprised to learn that around 320 million people cheered as he suddenly appeared underneath the elbow of Brazilian Alex Barros in Jerez. As Barros prepared to throw his Yamaha into the right hand bend at the top of the start-finish straight in the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, a yellow Camel Pramac Pons RCV suddenly appeared in the gap between his elbow and body - and 320 million people sat u
Yamaha set-up report - Le Mans.
19 May 2003:
Le Mans is a circuit made up of a number of first or second gear hairpins linked together by a series of long straights, with only the occasional chicane breaking up the run to the next hairpin. A design of the past, the French circuit causes little concern for engineers regarding set-up. Turns three and five are the most likely passing points and all efforts will be focused towards finding stability under brakes in these areas.
Spanish GP – Have your say... the response.
17 May 2003:
After losing out to Sete Gibernau in Africa two weeks previously, World Champion Valentino Rossi proved his doubters wrong with a dominate display in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, beating nearest rival Max Biaggi by 6secs. But the story of the weekend was arguably the continued rise of Ducati, who took not only their first ever MotoGP pole position, courtesy of Loris Capirossi, but also a one-two on the starting grid.
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