First Ducati Pole in 4 Years, Redding with Marc VDS, No More Astroturf

Andrea Dovizioso in pole position at Motegi, 2014 10 photos
2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi, Rossi2014 Motegi, Redding2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole2014 Motegi Q2 first row, Dovizioso in pole
At Motegi Andrea Dovizioso brought Ducati the first pole position after Casey Stoner’s in Valencia back in 2010. This is a great achievement after the first two timed sessions yesterday, when the Italian rider topped the combined FP1 and FP2. Free Practice 3 saw him dropping to the 9th position, but in Q2 ha managed to steal the pole from Valentino Rossi with only a 0.055s lead.
The front row of the Motegi grid also sees Dani Pedrosa, unhurt after a spill he took earlier today. His team mate Marc Marquez gets his first chance to an early title from the second row, where he is joined by Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone. Pol Espargaro, Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl occupy the third row, while the last three riders in Qualifying 2 are Bradley Smith, Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista.

Action gets underway tomorrow in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, the 15th round of the 2015 championship and the first of a triple overseas header, before the racing stops for the remainder of the year with the Valencia final showdown.

Marquez is leading the championship standings with 292 points and is close to his second world title in the premier class. He is hunted down by Dani Pedrosa (217) and Valentino Rossi (214), who still retain mathematical chances to make a change, even if they are rather slim.

If Jorge Lorenzo will continue to win and replicate the very good final stages of the past season, he has real chances to fight for a championship podium, as he is only 12 points adrift Rossi. Dovizioso seems well planted in the 5th position with 142 points, even though he can’t really afford to be relaxed with a fast Aleix Espagaro (112 points) and his brother Pol (108) behind.

Marc VDS confirms Scott Redding aboard satellite RC213V Honda

Even though we knew that Fausto Gresini would no longer operate a factory Honda from 2015 and the very hot bike was picked up by Marc Van Der Stratten Racing (Marc VDS), Honda asked the Belgian team to keep a low profile until the ink dries. Apparently, even though all the agreements were done for at Misano, Honda preferred that Marc VDS did not “brag” on the MotoGP entry until things go fully official.

A month later, it looks like all the paperwork is done, as Marc VDS has released an official statement. The Belgian team has a 3-season deal with Honda and will field a factory-spec RC213V machine, with Scott Redding as the man at the helm for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, so far. Unlike it happened in the past, the RC213V ridden by Redding will sport Ohlins suspensions and Brembo brakes, replacing the Showa/Nissin hardware.

No news as to who will be Redding’s crew chief, as his former one, Pete Benson will remain in Moto2 with Tito Rabat. Marc VDS will have to form a team really soon, as the first official test of the 2015 season, the post-race one in Valencia, November 10 is technically around the corner.

Artificial grass will be removed from trackside run off areas

Following the crashes of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone in Aragon, the MotoGP Safety Commission has analyzed the influence the artificial grass areas in the runoff zones of the track has on the racing safety. Both Rossi and Iannone crashed during the Aragon round after running a bit wide and treading on the wet astroturf.

Needless to say, the wet artificial grass is exceptionally slippery compared to the grip a dry track offers. The Safety Commision will ask the track managers to remove the artificial grass near the tracks, Managing Director of Dorna’s Events Area Javier Alonso says. The presence of the astroturf was enforced by the very same Commission in an effort to deter riders from using asphalt-covered areas near the track for faster cornering.

The elimination of the artificial grass areas will leave the Race Direction with the need to be much more careful in analyzing the situation when a rider will tread on the run off asphalt, to determine whether he did it on purpose or not.

Until the Safety Commission comes up with solutions, we’re in for the 15th round of the season which will start in some 15 hours or so. Will Marquez be able to make it count at Motegi and get an early confirmation for his second world title?
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories