March 2017

2017 Qatar Friday MotoGP Round Up: Wild Weather, Viñales Crashing, Real Race Pace, And Decoding Lorenzo

A growing sense of, not panic, perhaps, but certainly concern is enveloping the MotoGP paddock in Qatar. The ever unstable weather is forcing the series organizers to make contingency plans for every possible scenario the conditions in the desert may throw up. Heavy rains which have been sweeping across the peninsula have made it uncertain how and when the race is to be held. It could be Sunday night in the wet, it could be Sunday afternoon, it could even be Monday.

Despite the bizarre weather – hailstones fell in the afternoon, then a downpour flooded the country in the night – practice has been pretty much unaffected. The advantage of rain in the desert is that it dries up pretty quickly when it stops. The track was a little dirtier when the MotoGP bikes took to the track for FP2 at 6pm, but it was still dry when FP3 ended, nearly four hours later.

The downpour only started at 1am, and stopped an hour later. Which suggests that the weather is weird enough for all of the emergency planning being made to be in vain, and qualifying and the race will take place as planned, in the dry, with no disruption. Still, not preparing for the possibility is a sure-fire guarantee that it will rain.

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2017 Qatar MotoGP FP3 Result: Viñales Fastest As Lorenzo Misses Q2

Maverick Viñales has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Qatar, and goes into qualifying on Saturday as the fastest man of the field. The Movistar Yamaha rider did not chase a fast lap like the other riders, comfortable as he was knowing that he had already qualified for Q2.

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MotoGP Considering All Options To Handle Wet Weather On Race Day

Dorna is working on several different scenarios to ensure the MotoGP race at Qatar goes ahead this weekend. All options are still open: the race could be held at night, on a wet track, on Sunday during the day, and even, if the worst comes to the worst, moved to Monday.

The main priority is that the race should take place, as long at it can be done so safely. "The basis is that the worse thing we can do from everyone's point of view is to cancel the race," Race Director Mike Webb told "So from there, we are sorting out what the best options are to be able to have a safe race."

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2017 Qatar Moto2 FP3 Result: Morbidelli Edges Marc VDS Teammate Marquez

The Marc VDS riders have ended at the top of the timesheets in the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class. Franco Morbidelli leads the way, just holding off a late challenge from Alex Marquez. Danny Kent finished the session as third fastest, the Kiefer Racing Suter performing well on the cold track at Qatar.

Tom Luthi finished fourth fastest, just ahead of the second Suter of Dominique Aegerter. Xavi Vierge put the Tech 3 bike into sixth, ahead of Fabio Quartararo, while Miguel Oliviera made it four chassis makes in the top eight on the KTM.


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2017 Qatar Moto3 FP3 Result: Martin Leads Fenati

Jorge Martin has topped the final session of free practice for the Moto3 class. The Gresini Honda rider took a big lead towards the end of the session to finish nearly two tenths ahead of Romano Fenati on the Rivacold Honda. Philipp Oettl was the quickest KTM rider, ending the session in third, just a fraction ahead of Bo Bendsneyder.

This was the only session of practice for the Moto3 class tonight. They reconvene again on Saturday, for qualifying.


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2017 Qatar MotoGP FP2 Result: Redding Leads Surprise-packed Session

Scott Redding has topped the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class, with riders chasing a place in Q2 with an eye to the weather later this evening. With forecasts showing a chance of rain in FP3, almost everyone put on soft tires at the end and pushed for a fast lap. 

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2017 Qatar MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Rain, An Unbeatable Viñales, And Weird Aero

Racing is back. No more messing about trying to extrapolate data points from testing to hypothetical performance on race weekends. This is a race weekend. Now, we have actual data from free practice to extrapolate data points from to hypothetical performance during the actual race. Yes, it sounds identical, yet it is subtly different. There are only three more sessions of free practice, qualifying, and then the warm up before the race. No more engine updates, no time to test new parts. Only time to nail down a decent set up and give it everything you've got, or "my 100%", as non-native English speakers like to say.

The MotoGP field were lucky to get a session of free practice in. The weather in Qatar has been extremely unstable, and storms keep blowing in and out of the peninsula. The possibility of rain has caused a bevy of emergency measures to be taken. Previously, racing in the wet had been regarded as impossible, due to the reflection of the floodlights on the wet surface, but last month, FIM and Dorna safety representatives Franco Uncini and Loris Capirossi did some laps of the track at night.

Capirossi and Uncini decided that the track as safe enough to ride, even in the wet. But the race would only happen if the riders had all had time on a wet track under the floodlights, to judge the situation for themselves. "[Capirossi] has been behind a car," Cal Crutchlow said on Wednesday. "But it's different when there are 23 people on the grid. A lot more can happen."

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2017 Qatar Moto2 FP2 Result: Bagnaia Leads Second Session

Pecco Bagnaia has topped the timesheets in only his second ever free practice session in the Moto2 class. The Sky VR46 rider put in a late charge to dislodge Taka Nakagami from the top of the timesheets, who just inched ahead of Fabio Quartararo. With Bagnaia and Quartararo in first and third, that puts two of the Moto2 rookies in the top three.

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