March 2017

2017 Motorland Aragon World Supersport FP2 Results: Rain Makes Session Moot

With riders unable to improve on the times set in the dry this morning, PJ Jacobsen heads into Superpole Two the fastest. Only thirteen riders ventured out on to the wet track, all recording times well outside the slowest time set this morning, apart from Roberto Rolfo who didn't record a lap in the first session.


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2017 Motorland Aragon World Superbike FP2 Results: Rain Doesn't Slow Rea

Three quarters of the way through the session, it started to rain lightly and the pace dropped accordingly, with some riders, Jonathan Rea included, deciding to pit in and call it a day. With a few minutes left, Rea decided to head back out anyway, and recorded a 1'50.062, knocking the Ducatis of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies down a spot. Tom Sykes was also pushed back a spot by his teammate, but all four riders improved on their mornings' times. 

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Alex Rins Suffers Ankle Injury In Training Crash

Alex Rins has suffered a setback which could see him not participate in the second race of the season in Argentina. The factory Suzuki rider crashed while riding his Suzuki motocross bike, and suffered a partial fracture his talus, the bone which sits at the top of the ankle and transfers the weight between leg bones and the foot.

Rins was examined at the Dexeus Institut by Dr Xavier Mir, who diagnosed him with a partial fracture. Rins is due to have another scan on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, and how it is recovering, but the injury does put his participation in the Argentinian GP at Termas de Rio Hondo in doubt. 

Recovery times for full fractures of the talus bone are long: up to 12 weeks for normal humans, which in racer terms generally equates to half that. If the injury is not too severe, he may be able to make a tentative start in Argentina, and will almost certainly be fit for Austin.

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2017 Motorland Aragon World Supersport FP1 Results: Jacobsen comes out on top

In a session where eleven different riders took their turn at the top of the timing sheet, PJ Jacobsen came out on top with a 1'54.751 on his MV Agusta, over a second and a half off the outright lap record set by Jules Cluzel in 2015 but almost half a second quicker than anyone else today. Kyle Smith and Hikari Okubu on Hondas were second and third quickest ahead of Sheridan Morais on a Yamaha and Christian Gamarino on another Honda.

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2017 Motorland Aragon World Superbike FP1 Results: Rea Fastest Throughout

Jonathan Rea was first out on track and set a laptime that only he could beat, setting the fastest lap five times throughout the session, with only Alex Lowes able to keep close. Rea also set the fastest speed, 313Km/h down the straight on the Kawasaki, equalled only by Eugene Laverty's Aprilia.

Chaz Davies suffered a mechanical problem five minutes into the session and he only registered one timed lap, over three seconds off the session's final pace. Xavi Fores was the fastest Ducati, over three tenths quicker than seventh-fastest Marco Melandri.


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Editor's View: The Danger Of Expanding The Calendar

It is looking increasingly like the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand will be added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season. (I understand from sources that there was a significant hurdle to be overcome: circuit title sponsor Chang is a major beer brand in Thailand, and a rival to the Official MotoGP Beer Singha, also a major beer brand in Thailand and further abroad. The race can only happen if a compromise has been found to accommodate this conflict.)

This is good news for Thailand, and good news for fans in Asia. The World Superbike round at the circuit is always packed, and MotoGP should be even more popular. It is hard to overstate just how massive MotoGP is in that part of the world. From India, through Southeast Asia, motorcycle racing in general and MotoGP in particular has a huge following. But the only country in the region which has a race is Malaysia, hosting its Grand Prix at Sepang.

So expanding the calendar to include Thailand is a welcome addition for fans in the region. If the financial and logistical problems with organizing a race in Indonesia ever get sorted, then there might even be a third race in the region, at the Palembang circuit in South Sumatra. Given the massive interest in MotoGP from that country, it is a racing certainty that any race there will be a complete sell out.

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Grand Prix Commission Scraps MotoGP Penalty Point System

The MotoGP penalty point system is no more. The system, introduced for the 2013 season, whereby Race Direction could punish rider infringements with penalty points, which would accumulate throughout the year and could result in a race ban, has been scrapped at the latest meeting of the Grand Prix Commission.

The penalty points system had been introduced in response (at least in part) to a number of incidents involving Marc Marquez through the 2012 season. There were complaints from the fans, but also from teams and other riders, that Race Direction was not being even-handed in applying existing penalties to riders. It was sometimes hard for Race Direction to explain why one rider had been given a particular punishment, but another rider who had done something apparently similar had not.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 49: I Can't Stand The Rain - Qatar MotoGP Review

MotoGP is back at last, and the season opener gave us all such a lot to talk about. Neil Morrison and David Emmett have a lot to cover in the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast.

First, there was the rain, and the folly of organizing a night race in the desert during the "rainy season", however loosely that term may apply to Qatar. Then there was a spectacular and thrilling MotoGP race, with Johann Zarco leading early, Maverick Viñales winning on his first time out on the Yamaha, a podium that even Valentino Rossi didn't expect.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP: in the lap of the gods

The Qatar GP very nearly didn’t happen on Sunday. Might it be time to admit that Losail’s floodlit folly is no more than a dazzling definition of more money than sense?

Man makes his plans and the gods laugh. All the way through the four days and nights of the Qatar Grand Prix you could look to the heavens and see the weather gods sitting atop their clouds, laughing loudly as several thousand frail little human beings rushed hither and thither around a paddock thrown into disarray by one biblical downpour after another.

The weekend schedule melted to nothing in the rain and remained fluid throughout. No one knew what was happening, except the rain gods, who spent the weekend puncturing the hubris of the billionaires and their floodlit vanity project. It had cost these megalomaniacs – who live above the world’s largest gas supplies – 44 diesel generators at 30,000 euros each, 500 kilometres of electrical cable and 3000 tonnes of concrete to turn night into electrical day. Surely they had defeated nature?

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