Hey once again i’ve been a little lax in race reporting but then again its not really the point of this blog, im assuming you saw the races of the last two weekends (F1 and Moto GP) if not there are some great places to go on the web to find out about them. My only real comment would be congratulations to Japan for the Motegi Motorcycle Grand Prix yesterday and getting that track ready in time, only 35,000 showed up on race day but the track looked immaculate. F1 arrives in town next weekend for the mighty Suzuka race (which unlike Motegi was not damaged during the Disaster (as far as im aware)).
During this point of the season with championships in the top flight of racing looking sewen up attentions turn to the season ahead and the future of the sport. First up there has been a lot of chit chat about future races from F1 blogging superstar Joe Saward about future F1 races. South Africa, Mexico and now Argentina are all looking to get onto the Calendar, along with the confirmed new races in the USA and Russia. More races on the American continent makes sense and South America has a well established fan base for the sport. It also would create more races in the US time zone which can easily be watched in the evening in Europe. However the Calendar cannot be any longer than 20 races with the final 3 being extras that have speical terms and conditions imposed on them.
The Turkish race fell on its sword after building a great track in the middle of nowhere and failing to build interest in the sport. In my opinion it was the best of the modern Tilke tracks and will be missed but so few attending or noticing the race it was an eventuality. This means that for 2013 (the last year of the 2 Litre V8 format before the 1.6 V6 Turbo engines arrive) another race will have to dissapear to make way for Sochi in Russia (which does look like an exciting track on paper). The Chinese race is a candidate as the race hasn’t been hugely well attended and is sinking as they built the track in a bog, however there is a slowly building fan base for the sport in the worlds most populous country so it really depends on the political will. Another race is the European grand prix in Valencia, im not sure anyone (teams included) really feel the need for this track as there is already a race in spain and the track is woefully dull (Webbers arial antics aside).
In 2013 we expect the French Grand Prix to return, mostly likely at Paul Ricard alternating with Spa. While it is a blow to loose Spa every other year it is under massive financial pressure. Im quite in favour of a few rotating races and Paul Ricard is a fine choice. A moving European grand prix between circuits like Imola, Jerez etc. is not a bad idea and lowers the cost and helps the calendar keep fresh and while racing on classic circuits.
Turning the attention to two wheel racing the grid for next years Moto GP championship is still very undecided. 2012 will see the premier class of prototype motorbike racing (F1 on bikes in laymens terms) move from the current 800CC regulations and return to the standard 1000CC engine size seen in most other classses. Yamaha will keep Lorenzo and Spies who have both despite an average bike produced a great year (With Spies taking his first win at “The Fortress” of Assen) and their Satellite team Tech III will keep Britian Cal Crutchlow on for a second year after a solid debut season. The french squad have said they will be running Factory spec bikes for at least the next two years and Bradly Smith will join the team in 2013 after another year in Moto 2. With vetran American Colin Edwards moving on to a CRT team (more on that below) that leaves them with a seat to fill for one year only, a bit of a headache and are likely to just get whos left after all the shuffling around.
Honda are heading into next year with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa on the Factory Repsol Honda team, leaving Dovi without a race seat at the moment (The team ran 3 bikes in factory colours this year). Simoncelli will again get a Factory Honda with a Grenesi Livery and it could be a space for Dovi at the team, but he only wants to go if he can get a factory bike there too.
Ducati remain unchanged with Rossi, Hayden and Abraham all confimed to riding Desmosedici’s next year. While Suzuki have yet to confirm whether they’ll be running no, 1 or 2 bikes this year and under what rules. Then there are the 6 Moto2 teams entering moto gp with the CRT rules which allows them to run non prototype engines in a prototype chassis with some concessions. Interwetten Paddock, Forward Racing, Marc VDS, Kiefer Racing, Speed Master and BQR-Blusens will all be on the grid next year with one bike each but it remains to be seen how competitive they will be. Forward Racing have signed vetran Colin Edwards which should be a boost to their development but the only bike to test so far has been Suter BMW which has managed to get the difference down to below 4 seconds. With around 22 seats+ next year in Moto GP it could be very interesting.