With the 2020 MotoGP calendar compromised by world events, the FIM has announced the inaugural MotoGP of Nations. Patterned after the successful Motocross of Nations that has run since 1947, the MotoGP of Nations will feature three-rider national teams that will fill slots on a MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 machines. Eight countries will be fielding teams—Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, and Spain.The MotoGP of Nations will follow the same format as the Motocross of Nations. There will be three threes, with different combinations of classes in each 20-lap race. The first race of the day will have the Moto2 and Moto3 competitors going head to head. Next, Moto 3 and MotoGP racers take to the track together. The final race of the day will pit Moto2 and Moto 3 going head-to-head. To reduce conflict, the lower class will start at the front of the grid with a 10-second delay before the higher class starts.
With one rider per class, the various national federations have had to scramble to put the right rider on the proper machine. With runner-up finishes in the last three MotoGP seasons, Andrea Dovizioso will be riding in the MotoGP class for Team Italy. Danilo Petrucci was selected to ride in the Moto2 class, as he was the second-best Italian finisher in the 2019 MotoGP series. Valentino Rossi, the 1997 125cc World Champion, will return to the lightweight class on a Yamaha YZ250F-based Moto3 machine. Rossi accepted the ride, saying, “At my age, it’s amazing that anyone will pay me to ride a motorcycle.”Team Spain will be an all-Márquez affair. Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez will ride his MotoGP bike, while his brother Alex will be mounted on the Moto2 motorcycle he took to the 2019 Moto2 World Championship. The wild card on the team will be Marc and Alex’s younger sister, Caracol Márquez. Just 13 years old, Marc says, “Caracol is already faster than Alex or me on her Honda CRF150R!” when they take to the family’s motocross track for training. Plus, she regularly beats them on Bird scooters on the streets of Cervera. While Caracol lacks any GP track experience, her brothers are confident that her speed will more than make up for that shortcoming.Another surprise is Casey Stoner being named to ride the MotoGP class for Team Australia. Stoner, who retired after the 2012 season, says, “I’m still faster than any other Australian, and Márquez needs to be put in his place.” Jack Miller returns to the Moto3 class, where he almost won a championship. Remy Gardner will remain in Moto2, as it is slim pickings when it comes to Australian GP racers.Team France will be led by Fabio Quartararo on the MotoGP bike. Joining Quartararo will be Mike De Meglio and Randy De Puniet from MotoE. Whether De Meglio or De Puniet remember how to ride an ICE-powered motorcycle remains undetermined. Also, it will be a challenge for them to run a race as long as 20 laps without taking a few hours to break for battery charging.The combination of Takaaki Nakagami, Tetsuta Nagashima, and Ryusei Yamanaka works out to be a haiku, so that grouping was a natural for Team Japan. All three riders are active in the MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 classes, so the team will have an advantage, though expect Simon Crafar to be hopelessly tongue-tied if they are interviewed after a podium finish.Cal Crutchlow will anchor Team Great Britain, with Alex Lowes and Sam Lowes riding in the lower classes. “Alex and Sam were able to secure a sponsorship deal with Lowe’s,” Crutchlow noted, “so their money is welcome on the team. We’ll need it for repairs to our bikes after crashes, plus Lowe’s has tons of tools.”Like Team Spain, Team South Africa will be a family affair. Joining Brad and Darryn Binder at the MotoGP of Nations will be their rebellious young brother Winder. True to form, he insists that the “i” in his first and last names be pronounced as a long-i. While Darryn’s nickname is Dive Bomber, Winder’s is Passing Wind, as he is known for his quick overtakes.Team Germany has Stefan Bradl in the MotoGP class, as he’s a test rider for the Repsol Honda Team. Marcel Schrötter will ride in Moto2, as he has for seemingly ever. Dick Geiger will be in the Moto3 seat, with Bradl remarking, “I’ve never heard of him, but it doesn’t really matter. We’re not going to win, anyway.”The inaugural MotoGP of Nations will be held on the Wuhan Street Circuit at the Wuhan Sports Center in China. Previously, the course has been home to the Chinese Touring Car Championship. A date has yet to be set as of April Fools’ Day.
KTM RC 390 and Gordon McCall of Quail Motorcycle Gathering
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the new KTM RC 390. The entry-level KTM has always been an impressive motorcycle that has sold extremely well, however the factory has now taken the bike to another level, with top-spec features that are typically found on flagship machines. Clearly KTM has realized that even smaller engined machines should have high spec suspension, brakes and electronics packages. Nic tells us how well the new RC 390 is equipped, and what he thought of riding the smaller displacement rocket.
In the second segment I chat with automotive and motorcycle industry icon, Gordon McCall. Gordon is the Director of Motorsports at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, California.
This weekend of Saturday May 14th sees the annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering re-start after its Covid-forced hiatus, and having attended every one of the previous Motorcycle Gatherings, personally I’m very happy that the event is back on the schedule. Gordon chats about the event and a little of what’s happening this year. It’s a great event and if you feel like a trip to the gorgeous Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, you’ll get to meet Gordon, Roland Sands, and of course a large number of stunning motorcycles too.
From all of us at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!