Ferrari looks set to be the first team to unveil its 2009 car, according to reports in the Italian press.
La Gazzetta dello Sport claims the Maranello-based outfit will reveal its F2009 at Fiorano in the middle of January.
The most likely date is January 15, the same day that Toyota is scheduled to reveal images of its TF109.
On the following day, the new McLaren will be launched at its Woking headquarters, and on January 19 the 2009-specification Williams and Renault cars will be test-debuted in Portugal.
On January 20, BMW Sauber's F1.
09 will run for the first time at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Red Bull does not plan to begin testing its RB5 until February, and Force India will wait until March.
Ferrari looks set to be the first team to unveil its 2009 car, according to reports in the Italian press.
NEW YORK -- Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets top the Western Conference after the second returns of 2009 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by T-Mobile. Howard, the reigning Sprite Slam Dunk champion, is the overall leader with 1,421,882 votes.
The 58th NBA All-Star Game will be played in Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 15. The game will air live (8pm ET) on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Phoenix also hosted the All-Star Game in 1975 and 1995.
James, the 2008 NBA All-Star Game MVP, paces all Eastern Conference forwards with 1,259,764 votes, followed by Boston's Kevin Garnett (905,506), the leading vote-recipient in 2008. Miami's Dwyane Wade, the NBA's leading scorer, leads all Eastern Conference guards with 1,229,858 votes, followed by Detroit's Allen Iverson (858,469). Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert (232,733) is running second to Howard at the center position.
Bryant leads all Western Conference players with 1,280,912 votes, followed by Yao (1,114,709). The Houston Rockets' Tracy McGrady follows Bryant at the guard position with 746,098 votes. San Antonio's Tim Duncan (903,311) and Phoenix's Amar'e Stoudemire (626,796) pace all Western Conference forwards, with Shaquille O'Neal (546,583) of the Phoenix Suns trailing Yao at the center position.
The 2009 NBA All-Star Balloting program, which also includes partner 2K Sports, allows fans around the world to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for the All-Star Game in a variety of ways, including: at each NBA arena; in 20 languages on NBA.com; and through mobile phones at t-zones® on T-Mobile phones or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier. A T-Mobile-branded All-Star Balloting widget is available on NBA.com so that fans can "grab" the widget and place it on their blogs, social network pages, or personal websites allowing others to vote directly from the widget. Voting will continue through Jan. 11, for paper balloting and Jan. 19, for NBA.com and wireless balloting.
NBA All-Star 2009 is a week-long celebration that enables fans to experience the thrill of the world's greatest athletes playing the game they love and features a full slate of community-enhancing activities including the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service and fan festivals such as NBA All-Star Jam Session.
One hundred twenty players -- 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences -- are listed on the NBA All-Star ballot. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media experts who regularly cover the NBA. This year's panel included Paul Coro (Arizona Republic), Ernie Johnson (TNT), Jack McCallum (Sports Illustrated), David Moore (Dallas Morning News), Marc Spears (Boston Globe) and Marc Stein (ESPN.com).
Updated results for the Eastern and Western Conferences will be issued regularly leading up to the announcement of the All-Star starters on Thursday Jan. 22, prior to a TNT doubleheader. Following the completion of fan voting and the starting line-up announcement, the head coaches in each conference will vote to determine the remaining All-Stars in their respective conference, which will be announced Thursday, Jan. 29 prior to a TNT doubleheader.
As the presenting partner of the 2009 NBA All-Star Balloting program, and in support of the NBA's season-long effort to better the various communities in Phoenix, T-Mobile will donate $1 for every ballot cast on t-zones, T-Mobile's wireless Web portal, to help the youth of Phoenix. The week leading up to the 58th NBA All-Star Game will feature a full slate of community-enhancing activities and fan festivals, such as NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 13.
In conjunction with All-Star Balloting, 2K Sports will give fans the opportunity to experience Phoenix and the best of basketball by entering the NBA 2K9 Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to NBA All-Star 2009 and to have their likeness as a digitized player incorporated in next year's game, NBA 2K10.
2009 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Leaders of the Eastern Conference in the second returns of NBA All-Star balloting for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.
LeBron James (Clev) 1,259,764
Kevin Garnett (Bos) 905,506
Yi Jianlian (NJ) 762,162
Chris Bosh (Tor) 500,700
Paul Pierce (Bos) 313,474
Shawn Marion (Mia) 210,040
Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 137,035
Danny Granger (Ind) 116,238
Josh Smith (Atl) 110,186
Michael Beasley (Mia) 100,257
Tayshaun Prince (Det) 98,262
Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,229,858
Allen Iverson (Det) 858,469
Vince Carter (NJ) 600,087
Ray Allen (Bos) 354,642
Devin Harris (NJ) 267,504
Gilbert Arenas (Wash) 205,223
Derrick Rose (Chi) 203,687
Luke Ridnour (Mil) 197,933
Jose Calderon (Tor) 193,715
Jameer Nelson (Orl) 174,081
Joe Johnson (Atl) 162,772
Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,421,882
Samuel Dalembert (Phi) 232,733
Rasheed Wallace (Det) 163,279
Jermaine ONeal (Tor) 147,534
Andrew Bogut (Mil) 112,708
Al Horford (Atl) 107,118
Ben Wallace (Clev) 89,809
Emeka Okafor (Char) 69,015
Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas (Cle) 60,970
Kendrick Perkins (Bos) 54,772
Brendan Haywood (Wash) 28,182
2009 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Leaders of the Western Conference in the second returns of NBA All-Star balloting for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.
Tim Duncan (SA) 903,311
Amare Stoudemire (Pho) 626,796
Carmelo Anthony (Den) 602,457
Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 553,611
Ron Artest (Hou) 509,717
Pau Gasol (LAL) 424,135
Shane Battier (Hou) 292,287
Bruce Bowen (SA) 286,923
Josh Howard (Dal) 209,802
Luis Scola (Hou) 181,253
LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 145,857
Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,280,912
Tracy McGrady (HOU) (746,098)
Chris Paul (NO) 725,251
Manu Ginobili (SA) 386,846
Tony Parker (SA) 358,107
Jason Kidd (Dal) 299,107
Steve Nash (Pho) 281,909
Jason Terry (Dal) 226,754
Rafer Alston (Hou) 211,017
Brandon Roy (Por) 174,244
Chauncey Billups (Den) 170,645
Yao Ming (Hou) 1,114,709
Shaquille ONeal (Pho) 546,583
Andrew Bynum (LAL) 259,331
Mehmet Okur (Utah) 235,292
Greg Oden (Por) 144,650
Andris Biedrins (GS) 101,115
Al Jefferson (Minn) 86,296
Tyson Chandler (NO) 85,452
Nick Collison (OKC) 67,338
Marcus Camby (LAC) 49,235
Chris Kaman (LAC) 19,415
WBC BOXER OF THE YEAR - Manny Pacquiao, Philippines: Manny won the World Boxing Council super featherweight world title by decision against defending champion Juan Manuel Marquez in March, then won the WBC lightweight world title by TKO against defending champion David Diaz three months later in June. Manny finished the year in December with a sensational TKO win against Oscar De La Hoya in the welterweight division..
WBC HONORABLE MENTION BOXER OF THE YEAR
Edgar Sosa, Mexico: Edgar successfully defended the WBC light flyweight world title four times, defeating top level opponents which included mandatory challenger Juanito Rubillar of the Philippines in November.
WBC COMEBACK OF THE DECADE
Vitali Klitschko, Ukraine: He came back as WBC Emeritus Champion in the heavyweight division in October after almost four years without fighting. He won the WBC heavyweight world title for the second time with an impressive performance in his TKO win against defending champion Samuel Peter in October.
WBC FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez: The third fight between these two great Mexican champions in March was a spectacular battle. Vazquez was knocked down in the fourth round, but came back to knock down Marquez in the twelfth round and retain the WBC super bantamweight world title by decision.
WBC MOST DRAMATIC FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Carl Froch vs. Jean Pascal: Froch, the new British sensation, won the vacant WBC super middleweight world title by decision against Canadian warrior Pascal in an intense and dramatic fight in December.
WBC KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR
Vic Darchinyan, Australia: The new WBC super flyweight world champion knocked out talented and accomplished defending champion Cristian Mijares of Mexico, and fulfilled his dream of winning the green and gold belt.
WBC GREATEST PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
Samuel Peter vs. Oleg Maskaev: For the first time ever, a heavyweight world championship fight was held in Mexico - it was a top-notch promotion and great success in paradisiacal Cancun in March. The atmosphere in the bullring was electric with a capacity crowd in attendance, and the broadcast on HBO was excellent. Interim champion Peter, a native of Nigeria living in Las Vegas, Nevada, won the WBC heavyweight world title with a ninth-round TKO against defending champion Maskaev, a native of Russia living in Sacramento, California.
HOPKINS, MARQUEZ AND ORTIZ WIN BIG IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S 2008 BOXING AWARDS
LOS ANGELES, December 22 - As a spectacular 2008 boxing campaign comes to an end, Golden Boy Promotions is pleased to congratulate three of its top fighters on the awards they received from the world-renowned and respected Sports Illustrated.
Named on SI.com’s 2008 Boxing Awards list were future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, whose stirring victory over Kelly Pavlik on October 18, 2008 was voted Upset of The Year; pound-for-pound superstar Juan Manuel Marquez, whose knockout of Joel Casamayor on September 13, 2008 earned Knockout of The Year honors; and rising star Victor Ortiz, who went 3-0, 3 KO’s in 2008 was celebrated as SI’s Prospect of The Year.
“I’d like to congratulate Bernard, Juan Manuel and Victor on their well deserved awards,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “It was an exciting year for all of us at Golden Boy and we’re gearing up for an even bigger 2009.
By Paul McCreath: The World Boxing Council: The alphabet group that created such a mess a few months ago that they actually had three of their own world heavyweight champions all at the same time! It is a good thing there were no unification bouts with the belt holders of other organizations or we might have had four champs. As it is we had Oleg Maskaev as the regular belt holder after he took the title by KO from Hasim Rahman. They also had Vitali Klitschko as the champion emeritus (whatever that means) and later they added Sam Peter as their interim world champ. Sam of course had to win two eliminators over James Toney and then defeated Jameel McCline to become the interim belt holder. McCline had qualified for the title shot by losing in three rounds to Nicolay Valuev, the WBA champ. Does anyone see a lack of logic here?
At any rate after many months of changed decisions and threats of legal action the three titles were gradually whittled down to one when Peter stopped Maskaev for the regular title then in turn lost it to Vitali. Before all this came about all three fighters were held up from earning a living while the WBC diddled and dithered while trying to avoid court action and reach a decision about who would fight whom first.
Meanwhile the mandatory challengers were piling up. Juan Carlos Gomez defeated Oliver McCall to qualify for a title shot but the WBC made him fight still another eliminator this time against Vlad Virchis. He won again in September to become the mandatory. Not satisfied to have one mandatory the WBC then sanctioned another in November between Jameel McCline and Mike Mollo. McCline had qualified by losing an earlier eliminator in March to John Ruiz while Mollo got there by losing in 12 rounds to Andrew Golota. Are you still with me?
Are these guys nuts?
You might wonder what happened to John Ruiz while all this was going on. He skipped over to the WBA and lost a title bout to Valuev. After all, as the winner of a WBC eliminator he could hardly expect a title match with that organization since only the losers get that chance, right?
Would you not think that after all these foul-ups the WBC would have learned their lesson? This past week they were at it again... Jose Sulaiman the WBC president announced that Vitali Klitschko was obliged to defend his title not later than April 30 against Gomez, with of course the possibility of an extension as late as June 30. I have no problem with Gomez getting his chance. At least they got one thing right. Gomez has earned his shot twice, just like Sam Peter had to do earlier. But of course the alphabet boys never get anything entirely right do they?
In addition to that possible time extension from April 30 they also announced that Oleg Maskaev would get the next title shot within 120 days or maybe 180 days from the date of the Vitali vs Gomez fight. Maskaev qualified for this chance by getting KO'd by Sam Peter before he in turn got stopped by Vitali. That must make him the ideal opponent, but what happened to McCline who won his eliminator?
The real reason Maskaev will get this opportunity in my opinion is that he presently is suing the WBC over the way he was treated while he held their title. He was not allowed to fight a voluntary defense against Wlad Klitschko and there are also issues over the purse split in the bout with Sam Peter. It looks to me that the naming of Maskaev as a mandatory is just an attempt by the WBC to avoid going to court. Maskaev has won only one tune-up fight with Robert Hawkins since losing his title. It that is enough to warrant a title match then I guess we can expect the undefeated prospect Denis Boytsov to be named soon too. He also beat Hawkins this year.
The sad part about all this is that the fight that everyone would prefer to see will possibly be washed out by all these manoeuvres. That would be the already agreed to match between Vitali Klitschko and David Haye. They want to fight in June but it seems unlikely now. The WBC could have avoided all the trouble and controversy by simply ordering a final eliminator between Haye and Maskaev with the winner to meet the Vitali-Gomez winner but that would be much too logical for these guys.
The long and the short of it is that the WBC have messed up again and once more the sport of boxing and the fans are losers. How can we get rid of these clowns?
Merry Christmas and happy new years Everybody!
Team Sauerland will reconsider its plan to offer Evander Holyfield a rematch against WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev following Tommy Brooks´ outrageous remarks in the press. The coach of the 46-year-old boxing legend, who lost a close majority decision by the scores of 116-112, 115-114 and 114-114, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I think it was just some home cooking for a promoter’s fighter. I think somebody was just greasing somebody’s palms..”
Wilfried Sauerland was shocked when he found out about the statements. “I can understand his disappointment,” the manager said. “After all, his fighter put on a an impressive performance for which he deserves our respect. However, I cannot comprehend his remarks at all. They are derisive, outrageous and absolutely untrue. I would not have expected such unsporting behaviour from him. We offered Holyfield a rematch straight away but now we will have to reconsider it.”
Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer admitted that the bout was difficult to score. “It was a very close fight. The judges agreed on just four rounds. Also, the fight looked much different on TV than it did from inside the arena. Most of the experts at ringside had Valuev winning. It is funny to see how the European and US media disagree about the outcome.”
A string of highly-respected boxing writers – just like WBA president Gilberto Mendoza - had Valuev ahead. Among them Phil Woolever of The Sweet Science (“For the record, I had it 115-113 Valuev”), Ron Lewis of The Times and Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph. All three of them were at ringside.
Here is what Ron Lewis wrote in his blog article titled ‘Valuev was a worthy winner’:
“Sometimes, I guess you think the world has just gone mad. After one very long night in Zurich, I returned home this morning to discover everyone up in arms that Evander Holyfield was supposedly robbed against Nikolay Valuev in their WBA heavyweight title bout on Saturday night. That was certainly not the case.
“Yes the crowd booed, but they booed Valuev before the start. They booed him after he beat Ruiz in August and that was one-sided. Ringside - where I watched the fight from - opinion was split about who had won. Everyone sitting near me had Valuev a clear winner and I had him ahead by five rounds. No one in Holyfield's camp roared "robbery". Sure, they said they thought they did enough to win, but that was it. Expect that to change by the time they get back from America, when they discover that the power of television has whipped up support in their favour.”
Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph holds a similar opinion. He wrote in his blog:
“Why was it that so many who saw the fight on television thought Holyfield had won ? Because you see a different on tv - plus commentary, plus crowd support - than what is in front of you. Live coverage enhances perception, not television. That's why we go to these events.
“From ringside, there were varying degrees in opinion, and on the judges' cards, it came down to the final round. From my position, I thought Valuev had won the fight. Yet to call it a fix, as some websites and commentators have done, is wrong.”
2009 250cc class FIM provisional rider entry list:
4. HIROSHI AOYAMA, SCOT RACING TEAM 250cc
7. AXEL PONS, PEPE WORLD PONS WRB
8. BASTIEN CHESAUX, RACING TEAM GERMANY
9. TONI WIRSING, RACING TEAM GERMANY
10. IMRE TOTH, TEAM TOTH APRILIA
12. THOMAS LUTHI, EMMI - CAFFE LATTE
14. RATTHAPARK WILAIROT, THAI HONDA PTT SAG
15. ROBERTO LOCATELLI, METIS GILERA
16. JULES CLUZEL, MATTEONI RACING
17. KAREL ABRAHAM, CARDION AB MOTORACING
19. ALVARO BAUTISTA, MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM
21. HECTOR BARBERA, PEPE WORLD PONS WRB
25. ALEX BALDOLINI, WTR SAN MARINO TEAM
28. GABOR TALMACSI, BALATON RACING TEAM 250cc
35. RAFFAELE DE ROSA, SCOT RACING TEAM 250cc
41. ALEIX ESPARGARO, CAMPETELLA RACING
48. SHOYA TOMIZAWA, TEAM CIP
51. STEVIE BONSEY, APRILIA MADRID
52. LUKAS PESEK, AUTO KELLY - CP
58. MARCO SIMONCELLI, METIS GILERA
63. MIKE DI MEGLIO, MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM 250cc
75. MATTIA PASINI, TEAM TOTH APRILIA
2009 125cc class FIM provisional rider entry list:
5. ALEXIS MASBOU, LONCIN RACING
7. DOMINIQUE AEGERTER, AJO INTERWETTEN
8. LORENZO ZANETTI, WWC
11. SANDRO CORTESE, AJO INTERWETTEN
12. ESTEVE RABAT, BLUSENS APRILIA
16. CAMERON BEAUBIER, RED BULL KTM 125
17. STEFAN BRADL, KIEFER RACING
18. NICOLAS TEROL, JACK & JONES PONS WRB
24. SIMONE CORSI, JACK & JONES PONS WRB
27. STEFANO BIANCO, CBC CORSE
29. ANDREA IANNONE, WWC
30. PERE TUTUSAUS, MATTEONI RACING
32. LORENZO SAVADORI,FONTANA RACING
33. SERGIO GADEA, BANCAJA ASPAR TEAM 125cc
34. RANDY KRUMMENACHER, DEGRAAF GRAND PRIX
38. BRADLEY SMITH, BANCAJA ASPAR TEAM 125cc
44. POL ESPARGARO, BELSON DERBI
45. SCOTT REDDING, BLUSENS APRILIA
60. JULIAN SIMON, BANCAJA ASPAR TEAM 125cc
66. MATTHEW HOYLE, MAXTRA TEAM
71. TOMOYOSHI KOYAMA, LONCIN RACING
72. MARCO RAVAIOLI, CBC CORSE
73. TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI, WWC
81. JASPER IWEMA, KIEFER RACING
88. MICHAEL RANSEDER, MAXTRA TEAM
93. MARC MARQUEZ, RED BULL KTM 125
94. JONAS FOLGER, WWC
99. DANNY WEBB, DEGRAAF GRAND PRIX
TBC. xx, BELSON DERBI
MotoGP is the world’s premier motorcycling championship, with a season of 18 Grands Prix in 14 countries bringing together the world’s top motorcycle manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, Kawasaki, Aprilia and KTM - plus an elite crop of riders from every corner of the globe.
The motorcycles used for MotoGP are purpose-built racing prototypes which are unavailable for purchase by the general public and cannot be legally ridden on public roads.
The Grand Prix Road-Racing World Championship was first organised by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949 and has been administrated by commercial rights owners Dorna Sports under the supervision of the FIM since 1992. It is the oldest motorsport World Championship in existence.
MotoGP began a new era in 2002 when revised regulations allowed for the participation of bikes with four-stroke engines. For the 2007 season the adaptation of MotoGP bikes from 990cc engine capacity to 800cc resulted in an even more exciting spectacle, with higher corner speeds and even more competitive races – patterns which are continuing this year.
Furthermore, in the opening round of 2008, MotoGP become the first motorsports World Championship to host a night-time Grand Prix, with the Losail International Circuit’s state-of-the-art new floodlight system permitting a superb start to the season in Qatar.
Grand Prix Weekends
On a Grand Prix weekend there are three individual races, one for each of MotoGP’s three categories:
* MotoGP – the ultimate test for the finest talents in motorcycle racing, in which maximum engine displacement capacity is now the aforementioned 800cc (four-stroke engines) and the minimum age for riders is 18.
* 250 – the intermediate category where maximum engine displacement capacity is 250cc (twin cylinder engines) and the minimum age for riders is 16.
* 125 – the class which offers young riders the chance to take their first step into Grand Prix, where maximum engine displacement capacity is 125cc (single cylinder engines), the maximum age for riders is 28 (or 25 years of age for wild-card riders or for newly contracted riders participating in a 125cc race for the first time) and the minimum age is 15 years old.
Races begin from a grid which is composed of three starting positions per row (four per row in the 250cc and 125cc classes), with starting places secured by qualifying times - the fastest rider earning the famous pole position. The races can vary between 95km and 130km in distance and usually last approximately 40-45 minutes, each being a spectacular sprint to the finish line, with pit-stops being rare rather than the norm.
Tyre selection is therefore absolutely crucial and is undertaken by the teams following consultation with their riders based on knowledge of the track, weather conditions and the feel of the bike during free practice, qualifying and the pre-race warm-up sessions. A critical balance has to be found between grip and the endurance of the tyre, as soft, ‘gripping’ tyres permit quicker speeds and faster lap times but wear out quickly, whilst harder, less ‘sticky’ tyres last longer but do not assist the rider in achieving maximum velocity.
The current MotoGP World Champion is Australian Casey Stoner of the Ducati Marlboro team, who sensationally won the 2007 title in just his second season in the premier class – securing ten race wins along the way.
In defending his title in 2008 Stoner is faced with stiff competition from the likes of Valentino Rossi, the five-time MotoGP World Champion, and Dani Pedrosa, last year’s runner-up. Meanwhile, Rossi’s new Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning 250cc World title holder, and Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda colleague Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP World Champion, are also stars of the show, with talent in abundance in each case.
Indeed, the level of racing ability throughout the 2008 MotoGP grid is exceptionally high, with the likes of Loris Capirossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards, John Hopkins, Marco Melandri and James Toseland also competing for podium finishes.
In the 250cc category the title race should be wide open this year, following the promotion of the likes of Lorenzo and Dovizioso to MotoGP. A strong Aprilia challenge is presented by Spanish trio Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Alex Debon, battling with KTM riders Mika Kallio and Hiroshi Aoyama.
In the single cylinder World Championship the current title holder is Hungary's Gabor Talmacsi, one of the older 125cc competitors, who defends his crown against a plethora of young riding talent in 2008.
The list of participants in each Grand Prix is composed of the permanent riders, contracted and nominated by their teams for the whole season, and wildcard entries – who are often local riders. Approximately 18 participants enter each MotoGP race, about 25 take part in each 250cc race and the 125cc races usually involve around 35 riders. The ages of the Grand Prix riders range from 34 for MotoGP’s Loris Capirossi, down to the previously stated minimum age limit of 15 for the youngsters in 125cc. The youngest regular rider in the championship is Repsol KTM rookie Marc Marquez.
Riders from around the globe take part in the World Championships including the following countries: Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and USA.
For profiles of every rider from all three Grand Prix categories visit our dedicated Riders section.
He played down his title chances in 2008 before a stunning start to his rookie season in MotoGP and, despite establishing himself as one of the top riders in the premier class, Jorge Lorenzo is still adamant that there is no pressure to pick up the World Championship crown in his sophomore year.
`There have been no objectives set out, and nobody is demanding that we win the title,´ says the 21 year-old. `I think that if I can improve my results then it will be an extraordinary season.´
Lorenzo will not be using the complete 2009 Fiat Yamaha package until February, leaving him just six days with which to familiarise himself with a new engine before the opening Grand Prix of the year.
The latest version of the Yamaha M1, modified with the principle intention of giving better power delivery when cornering, is being worked on in Japan, although Lorenzo has plenty with which to get accustomed at this month´s Official Test in Jerez.
`I have only had the chance to try the new bike for a day, with the intention of adjusting to the new regulations,´ said the Spaniard of his first run with Bridgestone tyres after a year with Michelin.
`The bike isn´t working perfectly, so in Jerez we will be working above all with the chassis, now that we won´t have the engine until Sepang.´
Another novelty set to come is a new racing number for the former two-time 250cc World Champion, who is retiring his `48´ for the beginning of a new era. Having narrowed the options down to two -23 and 99- with the help of Spanish newspaper readers, Lorenzo is now taking his time to settle on the final figure.
`We´ve done some tests to see how the two would be aesthetically, but the decision will be made further down the line. We will definitely make the choice in January.´
In the meantime, the factory rider is bringing the `Loren-show´ to the world of four wheels, competing in the Monza Rally this weekend. Like his MotoGP aspirations, the chances of a good result are being played down in the run-up to his rally debut.
`It´s an opportunity to have a fun three days on four wheels. I had a little incident in practice on Thursday that made me realise that it is a little more stable than a bike,´ he explained. `It´s just for enjoyment and, as there are plenty of riders with more experience than myself, I´m sure to finish near last. My goal is to complete the race.´
The Monza Rally takes place this weekend in Italy.
The provisional entry list for MotoGP in 2009 has been released by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) as follows:
3. DANI PEDROSA, REPSOL HONDA TEAM
4. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO, REPSOL HONDA TEAM
5. COLIN EDWARDS, TECH 3 YAMAHA
7. CHRIS VERMEULEN, RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP
14. RANDY DE PUNIET, LCR HONDA MOTOGP
15. ALEX DE ANGELIS, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI
21. JOHN HOPKINS, KAWASAKI RACING TEAM
24. TONI ELIAS, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI
27. CASEY STONER, DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM
33. MARCO MELANDRI, KAWASAKI RACING TEAM
36. MIKA KALLIO, PRAMAC RACING
46. VALENTINO ROSSI, FIAT YAMAHA TEAM
52. JAMES TOSELAND, TECH 3 YAMAHA
59. SETE GIBERNAU, GRUPO FRANCISCO HERNANDO
65. LORIS CAPIROSSI, RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP
69. NICKY HAYDEN, DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM
72. YUKI TAKAHASHI, SCOT RACING TEAM MOTOGP
88. NICCOLO CANEPA, PRAMAC RACING
99. JORGE LORENZO, FIAT YAMAHA TEAM
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