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RennMotorrad is the blog to keep up to date with news and commentary about BMW's racing efforts in World Superbike and MotoAmerica, as well as following events in MotoGP. Local racers running BMWs will also get some love - let us know who you are! Opinions stated in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect policies, positions or practices of BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, BMW Motorrad, BMW NA, BMW AG, or any other organization or corporation.

 

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Jerez gives Rossi Wing[let]s

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Monday, April 25, 2016

Many racing series are plagued at various times by predictable outcomes. The same one, two, or three racers winning week after week. While that hasn't been the case in a very competitive MotoGP field for last year or this season so far, the dominant powers did control the race from the start, and I didn't mind one bit. 

I may be saying this because I'm one of the millions that support Valentino Rossi, but also because at least in the initial laps, Jerez showed some awesome racing and challenges from the major parties, all which looked initially to be closely matched. 

Lorenzo took a few good stabs at Rossi, who led from the start at pole position. Marquez kept regular pressure on Lorenzo, who has a turn at Jerez dedicated to his name. Maverick Viñales lurked behind the lead group on his Suzuki, looking forward to his premier ride in 2017 where he'll be in the mix for the championship, and Dani Pedrosa lingered nearby, ready to pick up any pieces if the leaders faltered.

 However, Lorenzo soon faded. He had gambled on a softer tire compound, which should have given him superior pace early on but it deteriorated as the race wore on. He did hang in for a frustrated 2nd, almost 5 seconds ahead of Marquez who also left his best in the 1st half of the race.

 What's notable is that Rossi took the pole then ultimately went on to a dominating victory, after making the switch this week to a bike that included the winglets on the front end. Some of this decision may have come from the search for stability after crashing in a previous contest or just a better feel after trying both options earlier in the week in practice. Most impressive this week was the lack of trouble in the pack from front end slippage. Word had been that troubles with the Michelin tires would be reduced once the competition moved onto the European tracks and so far it looked good in Spain at Jerez. 

The big news to note, although it was the worst kept secret and about a week old at this point, is that Jorge Lorenzo has officially signed to ride with Ducati in 2017. While this information isn't fresh, the impact on other riders remains to be seen, as we start silly season unusually early this year. I'm looking for Maverick Vinales to join Rossi at Yamaha and finish no worse than third next year. 

Another impressive sight at Jerez was the attendance. This scenic area of Southern Spain brought in over 100,000 fans on Sunday and the image of the motorcycle parking lot was stunning.

This coming weekend has MotoAmerica and World Superbike on BeinTV, and a great way to have breakfast before a ride, F1 live from Russia on CNBC at 7:30am

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F1 thoughts for China GP, Shanghai - HAMILTON Penalty

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton, will be hit with a 5 place grid penalty in his Mercedes to start this weekend's race in China.

His team has taken the penalty after opting to change out his gear box, which may have been damaged in an incident in turn 1 of the last race, in Bahrain.

That incident, in which Bottas in his Williams ride caught the inside of Hamilton's car, as Hamilton tried to close his line and the door on Bottas, caused Bottas a drive through penalty at the time. I thought it would have most likely been ruled a simple racing incident or that they would have applied fault to Hamilton

This week, F1 returns to the old rules for qualifying, THANK GOD.

A more subtle rule change that has received less attention is a tweak to the clutch applications at the start. While Hamilton may very well be the most talented driver out there, he has a history of being a bit stunted at the start line. This rule has directly impacted him and perhaps targeted him. He's been slower off the starts, seeing Ferrari (Vettel) blow past him in race one, and then Bottas trying the same from behind in Bahrain. 

Now will Hamilton starting no better than 6th with this penalty, he'll certainly have his work cut out for him on Sunday if he wants to keep pace with teammate Niko Rosberg, who has the lead in this year's championship points. 

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Red Wedding at COTA

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Monday, April 11, 2016

The weekend in Austin was really a bloodbath. I can make light of it because there were no serious injuries, but there were many unforced errors in both practice and the race that defined the weekend, it what was otherwise a very dull race.

Lorenzo lost his front end in practice. I couldn't confirm if he was forced onto the backup ride for the race, but his pace suggested that he was. 

Rossi lost his front end in an unremarkable corner and was forced to retire.

Most terribly, Dani Pedrossa lost control of his Honda and it careened into the side of Andrea Dovizioso just at the apex of a turn. Dovi seems to have escaped without serious injury in what could have been a terrible incident. 

These incidents, along with others this weekend, make me question if the Circuit of the Americas has a fit surface for racing at this level. Kevin Schwantz was a driving force in the creation of COTA as a track with motorcycles in mind, but it didn't offer much grip or lead to much action this weekend.

Marc Marquez got off to an early lead and wasn't challenged through the day, continuing to build on his gap through the end.

The event itself appears to be successful, bringing in over 130k attendees over the weekend. It may have received some boost from the cancellation of annual MotoGP event in Indianapolis. The IndyGP brought in about 75k for raceday on their last event. Meanwhile Dorna, the organization behind both MotoGP and WSBK, continue to host 4 races in Spain, some which bring in fewer than 30k in attendance. Dorna is bent on supporting Spanish events and Spanish riders. They see Europe as their focus today, and Asia as the future. North America is clearly an afterthought. 

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MotoG-Weeeee!

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In an action packed Sunday of top level racing, MotoGP takes the lead as the most amazing spectacle. 

First, there was a combination of changing weather conditions and a track that may have been unsafe for these bikes on typical tire compounds. Redding experienced catastrophic tire failure in practice but managed to keep the bike up.  This led Michelin to withdraw both softer compounds as options for the race and replace with a stiffer tire. Additionally, a series of contingencies were put in place, depending on the weather conditions, but race direction also imposed a mandatory pit stop midway through a shortened race, whereby the riders were required to change to their alternate bikes, which would have fresh rubber. 

This set the stage for the TALE OF TWO RACES.

Off the initial start, there was lots of bumping and riders led wide, which allowed initially the factory Ducatis to led a group that included also Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha M1, future champion Maverick Viñales on his Suzuki, Marc Marquez on Honda, followed closely by Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrossa, et al. 

While the Ducatis continued to show good pace, for the first 10 or so laps, Rossi and Marquez rose to clear lead, battling back and forth, while meanwhile reigning world champion Lorenzo lost the bike and crashed into a DNF.

Marquez narrowly led Rossi into the pits for the mandatory swap, which occurred without much drama. However, once back out on the track, Marquez had a clear advantage and built a commanding lead for the rest of the race. Rossi swapped onto his "B" bike which didn't have the pace of his primary ride and he struggled to keep in position for a podium. 

He fought hard with the Ducatis, after Vinales left contention in his own crash, and it appeared that Rossi would have to settle for 4th place until this happened:

 

On one of the final corners, Ianonne pushed for 2nd place, cutting underneath his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, but lost the bike in the process, taking them both onto their sides and into the gravel. Incredibly, Dovi was able to pick up and push his bike over the finish line for 13th place and a few important points. Ianonne would later be handed a grid penalty for the next race for his actions.

With the Ducatis removed, Rossi was able to claim 2nd place, while Dani Pedrossa came from way back off the lead to claim the final podium spot in third.

 There's not much time to relax for the MotoGP crews, as they travel now to the USA for the next race this coming Sunday in Austin TX! Follow me on Twitter for more thoughts and breaking news @BMWRennmotorrad 

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Sunday April 3rd needs more hours!

Posted By Chase Hinderstein, Monday, March 28, 2016

It's not enough that I have my fantasy baseball auction on Sunday, or that it's also the finale of The Walking Dead, or that it's time to get my vegetable garden going, but there's also more than 7 hours of quality racing to be watched!

This weekend is the trifecta. World Superbike in the medieval Spanish city of Aragon, F1 heads to Bahrain, and MotoGP heads to Argentina. That's 4 races in all if you're keeping count, as WSBK races twice. All competition has been good so far, with no forgone conclusions to be drawn. However, this week it's MotoGP for me that holds the most anticipation. Argentina was the location of the first of many clashes between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez in 2015. Marquez lost that battle, by crashing out after making contact with Rossi. The rivalry has only gained steam and  vitriol since then. 

I'll post some updates later in the week as the races approach. For now, I need to catch up on TWD, watch the frost reports, and hopefully grab at least one of the Mets starting pitchers. 

Hard to find time to ride myself, notice I haven't mentioned that. Riding to the auction may be as good as it gets for now. 

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