Notes: Mika Kallio crashed towards the end of the session, when he came together with Robin Mulhauser. Kallio was unhurt, and the bike did not suffer too much damage.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Brno:
The key to success in motorcycle racing is about controlling as many variables as you can. There are two variables which riders and teams cannot control, and which they fear for that very reason: the weather, and crashes. The weather spared both MotoGP and Moto2 at Brno on Saturday, but played havoc in Moto3. Crashes, too, made life difficult, both for MotoGP and in Moto3. It made for an intriguing day of practice.
The day started under leaden skies, with the threat of rain ever present throughout the morning. Dark clouds rolled in, then rolled right out again, chased deeper into Moravia and away from the track. They broke only briefly in the afternoon, the Moto3 qualifying session the main victim. Standing at trackside, the rain came and went so quickly that by the time I posted an update on Twitter, the weather had changed, immediately contradicting me. In the end, a red flag saved my blushes, Phillip Oettl crashing and damaging the air fence, causing the session to be halted while the air fence was repaired.
The rain had disappeared by the time MotoGP qualifying rolled around, conditions good enough for Marc Marquez to get close to Cal Crutchlow's pole record from 2013. That Marquez should take pole is hardly a surprise – that's nine out of eleven this year – but the way he controlled not just pole position, but the whole front row of the grid. Marquez jumped straight to pole on his first run out of the pits, but as he started his second run, he picked up a passenger. Andrea Iannone latched onto the tail of Marquez, and as Marquez flashed across the line to improve his time, Iannone used his tow to leapfrog ahead of his time, taking provisional pole from the Repsol Honda man. His soft tire spent, Iannone couldn't follow Marquez on his second run, the world champion going on to reclaim pole and demote Iannone to second. Further down the grid, Andrea Dovizioso followed Valentino Rossi around the circuit to improve his own time, moving up to second and demoting Iannone another spot.
Qualifying was dry, but cool, with 17º air temperature.
Thomas Luthi took early control of the dry session on his Interwetten Paddock Suter bike, knocking half a second off Marc VDS's Mika Kallio and Tito Rabat's times from yesterday. He was joined at the top by reigning World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes on the Speed Up as the only other rider under 2'03 at the halfway mark.
With fifteen minutes left, Tito Rabat went quickest, bringing with it the hungry sharks sensing chummed water, trying to latch onto him for a fast lap. Rabat evaded them with a ride through the pit lane, exiting into clear track, but he was unable to to go any quicker as the chequered flag fell.
Sandro Cortese joined the top three under the 2'03 mark, with Mika Kallio just missing out in fifth.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Brno:
The session started with the rain having stopped and the sun drying the wet track, but the conditions weren't good enough for anything but collecting wet data. As the track approached usability, Hafizh Syahrin and Anthony West traded fast laps at the top until the halfway mark.
With 20 minutes left, the top spot was occupied by several riders in succession as the conditions allowed the slick tyres to operate safely, but nobody in the top 30 was challenging the morning's times until the last eight minutes, when Mika Kallio took a tenth off his morning's best time. This was followed by a 2'03.268 that put Kallio within under two tenths off his Mark VDS teammate Tito Rabat's best time of the day. Thomas Luthi was second-quickest of the session, nearly stealing the top spot at the flag, ahead of Tito Rabat and Sandro Cortese.
Tito Rabat took the top spot off the early pacesetter Mika Kallio, and maintained his position with incrementally quicker laps throughout the session.
Sandro Cortese pipped Dominique Aegerter to second quickest at the end of the session, with both riders losing out to Rabat in the uphill third sector. Julian Simon made a rare appearance in the top four, while Mika Kallio sneaked in a quick time at the flag for fifth.
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, and Dunlop:
Karel Hanika reveals keys to Brno
Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie analyses every corner of Brno track which hosts his home Grand Prix this weekend.
08/12/2014 - Automotodrom Brno, Czech Republic
The winner of the 2013 Red Bull Rookies Cup has shown in recent races that he belongs in the Moto3 Top 10, and that he has the talent to fight in the first group in his maiden year of GP racing. Karel Hanika arrives in Brno in good shape for the Czech Republic Grand Prix, his home round and an event that he hopes will see him at his best in front of his fans. The winner of two races at the track in the last two years in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie is expected to be fast at the Automotodrom Brno from the off. Here he reveals the keys to the 5.4km circuit that he knows like the back of his hand.
The British Grand Prix is to move, if everything goes to plan. At a press conference held today, Dorna and the management of the Circuit of Wales announced that a deal had been reached that will see the track, to be built in Ebbw Vale in South Wales, will host the race for the next five seasons, with an option to extend the contract for another five years after that, until 2024.
The only problem is that the Circuit of Wales does not exist yet. The track is part of a £ 315 million project aimed at regenerating the Blaenau Gwent region, a once-prosperous region that has lost most of its employment since the coal and steel industries closed. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company have set up a scheme to create a major motorsports industry hub centered around an FIM and FIA homologated race track, capable of hosting world championship racing.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the Indianapolis Grand Prix:
Marc Marquez winning ten races in a row is starting to cause a problem for us here at MotoMatters.com. You see, we have a strict no-spoilers policy on the front page, meaning that we do our very best to write headlines for race and practice results which do not reveal the the winner. That can sometimes result in rather convoluted headlines, trying to convey the sense of the race without giving away who won it.
This is where Marquez is causing us headaches. After winning his tenth race in a row, and all of the races this season, we are starting to wonder whether announcing a Marquez win is actually a spoiler any more. The deeper Marquez gets into record territory – and he is in very deep indeed, matching Giacomo Agostini for winning the first ten races of the season, and Mick Doohan for winning ten in a row, and Doohan, Valentino Rossi, Agostini and Casey Stoner for winning ten or more in one season – the harder it gets to write headlines. It is hard to sum up the story of a race, when the story is all about Marquez and the record books.
So how did Marc Marquez make it ten in a row? It certainly didn't look as easy as some of the other races he has won this year. A poor start left him behind Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, and battling with Jorge Lorenzo. With track temperatures warmer than they had been all weekend, Marquez found the feeling with the front end not as good as during practice. After a couple of scares, he decided to take his time in the early laps, and follow Rossi around. On lap 11, an unmissable opportunity presented itself. Rossi led into the first corner, with Lorenzo diving up the inside of Marquez to take second. Marquez decided to strike back, and seeing Rossi run just a fraction wide on the entry to Turn 2, stuffed his bike up the inside of the Italian. The gap Rossi had left was big enough for Lorenzo as well, who then tried to hold the inside through Turn 3. That left him on the outside of Marquez for the left hander at Turn 4, and Marquez was gone.