Results of World Superbikes race 1 at Valencia:
The comment that I have probably received most since I started this blog was "I want your job!" And frankly, I have to pinch myself to see if this is still all really happening, so it is a sentiment I can completely understand. Being allowed to work in the MotoGP paddock and up in the press room feels like a genuine privilege, and being surrounded with people who share the same passion is truly remarkable.
I often wonder at how this all came about. Just over four years ago, I posted a season preview on the Adventure Rider motorcycle forum, and now, I learned today, I am the first journalist from an online publication ever to receive a permanent pass from Dorna. In the intervening years I have worked hard both to keep learning as much as I can about racing, and communicate my passion for the sport to a wider audience. It has cost me blood, sweat, tears, and more money than I like to think about, but all these would have been to no avail if it wasn't for one factor: The Internet.
Results of the Moto2 QP session at Qatar:
Results of QP for the MotoGP class:
Results of 125cc QP at Qatar:
The Moto2 class continues to surprise, with the results of practice still completely unpredictable, and very few common factors from one session to the next. The second session of free practice turned into a two-horse race between Forward Racing's Jules Cluzel and Viessmann Kiefer's Stefan Bradl. Bradl took control in the latter stages of the session, and tightened his grip at the end, extending his advantage to a quarter of a second.
Cluzel looked like taking 2nd, but a flying lap by Tech 3's Yuki Takahashi dropped the Frenchman down to 3rd, the Japanese rider taking over 2nd. Alex de Angelis ended the session in 4th, just a few hundredths behind Cluzel and Takahashi.
The closeness at the front was mirrored throughout the field. The gap from Bradl to Julian Simon in 5th was seven tenths, but from there, one second covers 22 riders, all the way down to Gabor Talmacsi in 27th. The scenes during free practice were chaotic, with scraps breaking out as if it was a race. If free practice is this tough, the race is likely to be a complete free-for-all.
Results of Moto2 FP2 at Qatar:
Casey Stoner started on Saturday where he left off on Friday, firing to the top of the timesheets in the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Qatar and never relinquishing his spot. The Marlboro Ducati rider's chief opposition came from Valentino Rossi, but every time the Italian close the gap on Stoner, the Australian put in another fast lap and opened it back up. By the end of the session, Rossi had closed the gap from yesterday, though, cutting Stoner's advantage by two tenths to just 0.34 seconds.
Randy de Puniet confirmed his strong start from yesterday, pinching 3rd place ahead of the factory Repsol Honda of Andrea Dovizioso. Jorge Lorenzo struggled early, but came good on his final lap, the Fiat Yamaha leaping from 10th up to 5th in the standings. This pushed Pramac Ducati's Mika Kallio down to 6th, an excellent result from the Finnish rider, while Monster Yamaha's Ben Spies ended up 7th, building on his start from yesterday.
Results of the FP2 session of the MotoGP class:
Nico Terol was the fastest man in the first session of the day at Qatar, heading the second session of free practice for the 125cc comfortably. The Bancaja Aspar rider was three tenths of a second faster than Tuenti Derbi teammates Pol Espargaro and Efren Vazquez. Ajo's Sandro Cortese was 4th fastest of the session. British rider Bradley Smith improved his position from yesterday, leaping from 12th up to 6th, having solved the carburettor problems he had with this bike on Friday.
Results of the QP2 session for the World Supersport class at Valencia:
Results of Superpole for the World Superbike class at Valencia:
Max Biaggi dominated the final session of free practice for the World Superbike class at Valencia, putting a quarter of a second behind his Alitalia Aprilia and the Alstare Suzuki of Sylvain Guintoli. Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa took 3rd spot, ahead of Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow.
Results of the FP2 session for World Superbikes at Valencia:
A new season means new jobs not just for riders, but also for mechanics, press officers, hospitality staff and many other people inside the MotoGP paddock, as the off-season team shuffle moves personnel about. In the Fiat Yamaha Team, the biggest change was the departure of Daniele Romagnoli as manager of Jorge Lorenzo's side of the garage, and his replacement by Wilco Zeelenberg, former 250 and World Supersport star, and manager of Yamaha's championship-winning World Supersport team last year.
MotoMatters.com caught up with Zeelenberg at the end of the day at Qatar, and sat down for 10 minutes to talk about his new role. How was he getting on as manager to Jorge Lorenzo? "I'm fitting in very well," the Dutchman said. "There's a good atmosphere in the team and everyone is working very well together."
Fitting in to the job had been relatively easy for Zeelenberg. "The job I am doing here is basically the same as I did in World Supersport," he said. "Just the surrounding hype is much bigger."