Thursday, October 20, 2011
John Hopkins will re-join the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team as a wild-card rider in Sepang for the Shell Advance Grand Prix of Malaysia on Sunday 23rd October.
Hopkins will make a welcome return to the Rizla Suzuki squad for his second wild-card event of the season. His first event was at Brno where he unfortunately crashed and injured his right hand in a practice session. He had shown huge potential during the first day and had finished in 10th place on the time-sheets, but his injury on day two stopped the Anglo-American from showing what he might have achieved after a full weekend on-board the Suzuki GSV-R. Hopkins has already completed a MotoGP race this season, after he deputised for Álvaro Bautista at Jerez and scored a creditable 10th place at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I am really pumped to get this chance to ride in a MotoGP race with the Rizla Suzuki team. I thought after Brno that I wouldn’t get the opportunity again and was really disappointed that I missed out there due to a silly mistake, so to be heading to Sepang is fantastic. It is one of my favourite tracks and I know it well because we used to test there a lot. My main focus is on the British Championship at the moment, but as soon as that is over I will be in MotoGP mode and putting all my efforts into getting a good result at Sepang and showing that I can perform at the highest level. I really want to get back into MotoGP and this is a great chance to show what I can do.”
“Again I need to thank everyone at Rizla Suzuki for giving me this opportunity and my Samsung Crescent team – I hope that by the time I get back on the MotoGP bike we will have been celebrating something really big at Brands Hatch!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We’d intended to give John at least one outing on the Rizla Suzuki Grand Prix bike this year and we’re delighted that he’ll join us in Malaysia to form a two–man team with Álvaro. Sepang is one of John’s favourite tracks and also one that the GSV-R has performed well at in the past. What happened in Brno – with John’s injury – and the way he has worked so hard to come back from it, and challenge for the British Superbike Championship, has only reaffirmed his commitment to success and getting back to the top level. Let’s hope at Sepang we manage to line up at the start of the race with two Rizla Suzukis and that Álvaro and John can show what they and the team are all capable of producing.”
Rizla Suzuki press release.
Following his second place behind 2011 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner at Phillip Island, Marco Simoncelli cannot wait to tackle the remaining two rounds of the season.
The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider has travelled from Australia to Malaysia in high spirits, with the podium again in his thoughts, at Sepang, a circuit which he impressed at during pre-season testing last winter. “Super Sic” knows that the sky is the limit now and he is refusing to rule out the possibility of a first ever MotoGP win before the season is out, after recording his best result in his MotoGP career last time out.
Hiroshi Aoyama endured more bad luck in Australia but he is determined to sign off from MotoGP in style in the remaining two races. At Phillip Island he was unable to back up his impressive free practice pace in qualifying or in the race due to a pair of unfortunate crashes. However, having won at Sepang twice before in the 250cc class and following on from an impressive first MotoGP appearance there last year, he is optimistic of turning his fortunes around.
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini Team
“I left Phillip Island, a circuit and place I really love, feeling very happy. I had another good race and finished second after another wonderful battle with Dovizioso, which gave me a lot of satisfaction. I had been second for the whole race so to see Andrea standing on the second step of the podium would have been hard to take. I celebrated it with my team, but I already had my mind on Malaysia. I never managed to win at Sepang in the 250cc category but I was on the podium there for my last two seasons in the intermediate class and in testing there last winter, I was really on the pace. I am sure I can do a good job this weekend. There is no reason why we can't be fighting for the podium, the top step would be even better of course, and that’s what we will be striving for in the Malaysian Grand Prix.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini Team
“The weekend in Australia didn't start too badly and after the first couple of sessions, I was looking forward to a positive race at a track where the atmosphere is always really special. Unfortunately, the weather turned and it caused me a few problems, including a heavy crash on Saturday which ended my session early and then again on Sunday, when I was caught out by the rain. It was a shame because I had promised myself I would make the most of my last few races in MotoGP and the first of the three ended in disaster. Anyway, we now go to Sepang, where I won twice in 250 and finished seventh in MotoGP last year. I like the track and I always get a good feeling there from the place and from the people.”
source: motogp official
After disappointing results in Sunday's Australian round, Ducati heads straight to Sepang for this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP, where they will be able to compare the latest version of the Desmosedici GP11.1 with the 'original' bike tested at the same track in February.
"The Desmosedici that will take to the track on Friday is different from the one we used in the winter tests, and this event will let us make some interesting comparisons with the data that we collect," confirmed Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi.
The Bologna-based team has made multiple changes to the frame design, materials and airbox configurations since the Sepang tests to try and improve the Ducati's infamous lack of front-end feel.
“Here in Malaysia, we'll continue working on the GP11.1, both for the race and in order to gather information for our work program with an eye toward 2012," said Guareschi.
Ducati has achieved two Malaysian Grand Prix victories with Casey Stoner and had a rider finish in the top six at every Sepang event since 2003.
Valentino Rossi won last year's race for Yamaha and regards the track as one of his favourites.
“I like the Sepang circuit a lot, although the weather conditions are always extreme," said Rossi, who crashed out in Australia. "We didn't have much good luck in Australia, and we also had to work harder than expected on the bike's setup."
Rossi is also looking forward to seeing how much difference the changes to the Desmosedici have made.
"We'll be able to verify where we are compared to the tests that we did here," he said. "We tested many days at Sepang, and it will be interesting to compare things now with what we had then."
The success of the changes to the GP11 are probably better determined by judging the results of Nicky Hayden, as the American has been riding versions of the Desmosedici since 2009.
Hayden is a fan of the varied nature of the Malaysian circuit and qualified second for last year's grand prix. Hayden has finished fifth and sixth in his two previous Sepang races for Ducati.
“The Sepang circuit has a good mix of everything, so you need the bike to do everything well. There are some long straightaways where you need a fast bike that brakes well, along with some fast corners, like Turns 5 and 6 and a section in the back," he said.
"On the other hand, there are also some slow little hairpins, so it's a good mix of everything that really challenges a rider and bike."
The 2006 world champion is also keen to discover how successful the development work has been.
"It will be interesting to get back on this track after spending a lot of time here in February. The bike has changed a lot, so we'll see what kind of progress we've actually made.”
Ducati has already used all eight days of testing for its 1000cc bike and will now rely heavily on the results of the GP11.1 from this weekend's race to direct further development for the 2012 bike.
Free practice on the 5.548km Sepang circuit begins on Friday.
Yamaha YZR-M1 test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga has been drafted in to replace injured Yamaha Factory Racing star Lorenzo for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Malaysia.
Jorge Lorenzo received an injury to the ring finger of his left hand during the Sunday morning warm up session prior to the Grand Prix of Australia. He has since received surgical treatment and is now recovering at home in Barcelona.
30yr old Nakasuga-san is a current Japanese Yamaha test rider with an excellent working knowledge of the YZR-M1 and Bridgestone tyres. He is also competing in the 2011 All Japan Road Racing Championship, JSB1000 class, and is currently third in the standings.
A decision on Jorge Lorenzo’s participation in the final race of the season at the Grand Prix of Valencia will be made within the next two weeks.
Yamaha Factory Racing press release
After a difficult weekend in Phillip Island, the Ducati Team has arrived in Sepang, eager to continue work on the GP11.1 for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The Ducati Team left Australia on Monday, and after a 24 hour break, the team is ready to get back to work on the GP11.1 for the Malaysian GP. Sepang is one of the widest tracks on the calendar, reaching a width of 16 metres in parts and the asphalt temperature is often very high due to the tropical climate. The layout is varied, with a little of everything: two spots where riders reach sixth gear, but others that are technical and taken in first.
Since its MotoGP debut, the Ducati Team has achieved three wins and one podium at Sepang. Valentino Rossi, who counts the track among his favourites, has six wins and three podiums, while Nicky Hayden has never finished in the top three but has always been very consistent, with five fourth-place finishes in his career, along with one fifth and a sixth.
Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team
“I like the Sepang circuit a lot, although the weather conditions are always extreme. We didn’t have much good luck in Australia, and we also had to work harder than expected on the bike’s setup. We hope to do better here in Malaysia starting on Friday. Anyway, we’ll also be able to verify where we are compared to the tests that we did here last year, it will be interesting to compare things now, with what we had then.”
Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team
“The conditions in Malaysia are typically hot and steamy, very different from what we had at Phillip Island on Sunday. The Sepang circuit has a good mix of everything, so you need the bike to do everything well. There are some long straightaways where you need a fast bike that brakes well, along with some fast corners, like Turns 5 and 6 and a section in the back. On the other hand, there are also some slow little hairpins, so it’s a good mix of everything that really challenges a rider and bike. It will be interesting to get back on this track after spending a lot of time here in February. The bike has changed a lot, so we’ll see what kind of progress we’ve actually made.”
source: motogp official
Hector Barbera is set to return to action in Malaysia after missing out a round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship with injury.
Hector Barbera says he will do his utmost to ensure he is on the Malaysian Grand Prix grid at Sepang as he continues his intensive rehabilitation from injury.
The Spaniard broke his collarbone in an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix, an injury that forced him to miss the Australian Grand Prix. However, having been replaced on the Aspar Ducati for that race by Damian Cudlin, the Australian would go on to crash in practice and rule himself out of action too.
Nonetheless, Barbera is confident he will be back on the Desmosedici for the Malaysian race, even if he accepts he won't be back to full strength as yet.
"I have not stopped working ever since I left the Hospital USP Dexeus,” he said. “The crash in Japan was pretty nasty and it was a shame that I got hurt but when these things happen you just have to deal with it in the best way you can.
“At first I was really upset and in a lot of pain but little by little I have been able to recover and I want to thank Dr. Xavier for the perfect job he has done on me. I also want to thank my physiotherapist Jordi Reig for his help because without him such a swift recovery would not have been possible.
“Ever since I left the hospital I have been in Alcoy with my physio, doing two sessions a day and working extremely hard to be in Malaysia in the best possible shape. I know I won't be at 100 per cent but I am keen to give my best and return to the good form we were showing before the injury."