Jerez is ablaze. Well it's not quite that hot but the place is a hotbed of speculation and rumour. First there is the matter of Colin Edwards and his place within the Forward racing team. Colin says he's staying, that a new chassis is on the way and that Corsi will test his bike on Monday. You can find other rumors, but them's the facts at the moment.
The other rumour fest revolves around Bridgestone's decision to end it's sole-tyre supplier contract after the 2015 season. This bought about an entertainingly honest and considered response from the riders, whose main job as we know is to complain about tyres.
Valentino Rossi remembered that he last rode a MotoGP bike on a different brand back in '07 and that the difference was breathtaking. Could a new supplier come near those standards, he wondered. Asked what he wanted from a tyre supplier, Dani Pedrosa said first and foremost "a safe tyre, and then we complain for performance." That neatly encapsulates the no-win situation a spec-tyre supplier is in; when they work, they're tyres; when they don't work they're Bridgestones.
The Japanese company's second three-year agreement ends this season but they have agreed to continue for one more year to ensure a smooth handover.
All of which begs the question, what will a MotoGP bike look like in 2016? It will run spec electronics, both software and hardware, and is likely to have a rev limit, but will it run carbon brakes? Officially, the tender document for the new tyre supplier was released yesterday for a period of three weeks, but in reality the tyre companies knew about the requirement weeks ago.
Meanwhile, out on track Aleix Espargaro used an extra-soft tyre to set the fastest time of the day in the morning session before the tarmac got really hot this afternoon. It's doubtful if that's a tyre that will help him in the race, but it sure will in qualifying. Those of you hoping for a race will note that Jorge Lorenzo was faster than Marc in the morning session although Marquez was quickest in the significantly slower afternoon FP2. Race time and therefore conditions will be much closer to those in this afternoon's Free Practice, so don't get too excited.