Press releases from the organizers and teams after the first day of practice at Magny-Cours:
With almost everyone improving on their morning's time, it's no surprise to see Kenan Sofuoglu at the top again in the second red-flagged session of the day. The surprise was the fastest ESS rider Illia Mikhalchik in third place just two places ahead of ESS rival Axel Bassani.
Several big names, including PJ Jacobsen in eleventh, missed out on qualifying for Superpole Two.
Chaz Davies continued his morning's form to grab the provisional pole position ahead of Leon Camier and the Kawasakis of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea. Michael van der Mark made up for his lost morning, sixth quickest, behind Alex Lowes.
Nicky Hayden and Davide Giugliano both surprised with failing to get into Superpole two while Markus Reiterberger and Matthieu Lagrive sit in eleventh and twelfth, the favourites to get promoted to the second session.
Kenan Sofuoglu once again dominated the first hour's session, leading his teammate Randy Krummenacher by four tenths of a second with Jules Cluzel and fast newcomer Niki Tuuli almost a second off the pace.
The first hour at Magny-Cours ended with Chaz Davies quickest, just four hundredths qucker than Jonathan Rea. Xavi Fores held off Tom Sykes who was quickest throughout most of the session. Michael van der Mark didn't record a lap and has not yet qualified as a result.
Pawel Szkopek is not racing this weekend as he has parted company with Team Toth in spite of having his best weekend last time out in Germany.
Press releases from the series organizers and teams ahead of this weekend's WorldSBK round in France:
Don’t believe the hype – it’s not what you think
What an amazing season! The most thrilling and unpredictable in recent memory and eight different winners in eight consecutive races, something that’s never happened before in almost 70 years of premier-class racing. It seems like MotoGP is entering a new golden era, the like of which we’ve never seen.
All thanks to Dorna, of course, for forcing the manufacturers to lease fully competitive motorcycles to independent teams and telling them to junk their priceless, tailor-made electronics in place of Magneti Marelli’s same-for-all unified software. Suddenly it seems like pretty much everyone has a chance of winning a race because the machinery is so equal.
Momentum. That's what the last race before the Australasian triple header is all about. Momentum heading towards the end of the championship. Coming out on top and carrying it forward to Motegi, Phillip Island, and Sepang is vital. The deal may get done on one of the flyaways, but Aragon is the place where the riders put their chips on the table.
All three races on Sunday had a huge impact on the MotoGP championship. In the first race of the day, a title was settled. In the second race of the day, the championship was blown even further open. The final race of the day saw another brick hammered into the wall of Marc Márquez' third MotoGP title, and further cemented his legacy. It was a good day's racing.
There are a lot of ways to win titles, but the way the 2016 Moto3 championship was settled was about as fitting as it could be. At the end of a classic Moto3 race, where a strong group battled for control until the final four laps, four men broke away from the pack. That group consisted of Brad Binder, the two men who could still mathematically challenge Binder for the 2016 title, Enea Bastianini and Jorge Navarro, and rookie revelation Fabio Di Giannantonio.
The FIM and Dorna have agreed on a new entry class for the World Superbike championship. A Supersport 300 championship has been created to house the burgeoning market of lightweight sports machines, such as the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the KTM RC390.
The concept for the class came about after consultation with manufacturers. Motorcycle manufacturers have seen sales of 600cc supersports bikes plummeting, while sales of lightweight machines have been booming. More and more manufacturers have been entering the class, though each with slightly different machines and different engine capacities.
That presents the series with its first major challenge: balancing different motorcycle concepts against one another, while still ensuring that racing remains affordable. For 2017, four machines have been homologated: the Yamaha YZF-R3, the KTM RC390, the Honda CBR500R (previously raced in the European Junior Cup) and the Kawasaki Ninja 300, one of the first bikes to be launched in the segment.
Performance balancing the concepts will initially be done via minimum weights and maximum revs, with adjustments made by agreement in the Superbike Commission, the governing body of the series. In keeping with previous performance balancing concepts, such a decision is only likely to be taken if one bike is either obviously dominating or lagging severely behind.
The round up from Sunday's three races at the Motorland Aragon circuit has been delayed. Ill health (nothing serious, just a severe bout of flu, and not of the 'man' kind) means I am unable to concentrate sufficiently to produce the quality of work my readers expect and deserve. The aim is to have the round up on the website on Tuesday.
My sincere apologies for the inconvenience and delay.