MotoGP New Year gossip, intrigue and rumour

Picture: Bonnie Lane

Yamaha’s MotoGP chief Lin ‘Martin’ Jarvis reckons his factory team would have encountered the same issues in 2017 whether or not they had kept hold of Jorge Lorenzo.

Jarvis believes that newcomer Maverick Vinales was more than up to the task of filling Lorenzo’s boots and it was the machinery that let down the Spanish youngster, not talent.

“I think we would have encountered the same problems that we encountered with or without Jorge. I miss him on a social level, but I don’t think in terms of performance,” said Jarvis.

“Maverick has had a very good season with us, finished third, he’s making a step forward. Potentially he could have done better if we’d given him a better tool.”

Cal Crutchlow, who bagged only one podium last season, is apparently asking the same from Honda as multiple champion Marc Marquez and that is a more natural-feeling RC213V in 2018.

But the pair are wary of changing too much in case the good points of the bike are neutralised in the hunt for a better all-round package. Crutchlow believes HRC has already lost some of the bike’s corner entry speed but hopes the bike that arrives at Sepang will be less of a monster to ride.

Fellow Brit Bradley Smith has admitted being a factory rider is a bit more difficult than he had expected after ending the season physically and mentally drained. The Oxfordshire coppertop hung on to his seat for 2018 with some improved results at the end of the year but said that the constant race/test work with KTM had left him knackered.

“Whether it’s the extra tests that we do, the extra strain from being a development team, or at least in a development process as a manufacturer. Certainly, it’s been a lot more demanding mentally, physically than I imagined.”

Ducati have had a little dummy spit, saying that changing the testing restrictions meant they had to change their arrangements with very little notice.

With only a couple of weeks left in the season, MotoGP chiefs announced that for the 2018 season only three of the five test days allocated to race riders can take place at tracks where MotoGP races have yet to be held.

Sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said: ““We think that it was disrespectful to the companies that had already planned testing activities and also the allocation of bikes between factory teams and satellite teams.” Bless.

Marc VDS boss Michael Bartolemy believes that Franco Morbidelli is the most talented rider he has stabled since ‘Super’ Shinya Nakano - which must have cheered up Scott Redding no end.

Grand Prix circuit designer Hermann Tilke is apparently engaged in a project which will see a new track built in Indonesia’s Palembang area by the end of this year and ready for MotoGP use. It is being build next to the rowing lake which will feature in the 2018 Asian Games, so marshy ground is already causing headaches. Tilke has also built a new track in Kazakhstan and says it is suitable for MotoGP but not make benefit glorious nation of F1.

Aleix Espargaro will become a father to twins this year. So his luck hasn’t changed.

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