Moto GP in the U.K.
An interesting announcement last week from Dorna – owners of the Moto GP circus – stated that the Moto GP in the U.K. would be moving to the Circuit of Wales near Ebbw Vale (no, I can’t pronounce it either) for five years starting in 2015, with an option for a further five years. It’s interesting in a couple of ways; the race has been firmly fixed at the classic Silverstone circuit for a while now, and the Circuit of Wales doesn’t exist except on paper.
There’s no way there’ll be a racetrack in Wales in 2015, and given some local opposition to the project, perhaps not in 2016 either.
The press release said, “The Circuit of Wales is a £280 million project to develop a purpose-built hub for the multi-billion pound British motorsport industry around a state-of-the art track, Britain’s first purpose-built motorcycle Grand Prix circuit, with unrivalled facilities for visiting fans. Sitting on the fringe of the picturesque Brecon Beacons, the Circuit of Wales will be a major catalyst for business, leisure and tourism as it spearheads the regeneration of the Blaenau Gwent region.”
Well, let’s hope. I’ll be visiting the Brecon Beacons next month and I’ll try to drop by and let you know how the place looks, potential race-track-wise.
Silverstone management, meanwhile, stated that while they were sorry to lose the race, the sanctioning fees demanded by Dorna had reached an “unsustainable” level, so they simply couldn’t afford to continue. Amusingly, Silverstone appears to be at the top of the list for the Circuit of Wales to in effect sub-contract the race until the Welsh track is actually ready.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
English racer Bradley Smith, in his second year of Moto GP, has been having a rough time. He’s fast, but has been inconsistent with many (expensive) crashes. When asked at the recent Indianapolis round about his future, he responded glumly, “They haven’t found a replacement for me yet.”
The team just announced, however, that Smith will be retained for 2015. It’s a one-year deal, so he’s going to have to settle down, stop crashing, and start beating his Spanish team-mate Pol Espargaro if he wants a crack at a good ride in 2016.
The Texas cowboy’s relationship with the NGM Forward team has been rather rocky this season, with Edwards acting more as a test rider than a committed racer. He had already announced that he planned to retire at the end of the season, and now it appears that the retirement is effective at once, although he still holds out hopes that he’ll be on a bike at Silverstone in the U.K. (where he’s immensely popular) and at Valencia for the season-ender.
In the meantime the team has been silent on his comments, and has hired Alex de Angelis to ride the bike for the remainder of the season.
Edwards seems likely to be testing the new for 2016 Michelin tires for Yamaha, once the French company starts producing competition rubber. He’s had a long, successful, and friendly relationship with both companies.