September 2020

Official At Last: Valentino Rossi Confirmed At Petronas Yamaha SRT For 2021 MotoGP Season

Valentino Rossi at Misano in 2020 - Photo Cormac Ryan Meenan

The deal is done at last. Today, the Petronas Yamaha SRT team has announced that Valentino Rossi will partner Franco Morbidelli in 2021. Rossi has signed a one-year extension of his contract with Yamaha, to race in the Petronas Yamaha SRT team.

This has been a long and difficult negotiation since the beginning of the year. Back then, Yamaha had faced the problem of trying to fit three riders into their factory Monster Energy team.

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2020 Barcelona Moto2 FP3 Result: Lowes In The Limelight

The final practice session for the intermediate class turned into the Turn 2 Show, as cameras spent more time showing dusty dented machines in the gravel trap than riders setting fast times. In traditional Moto2 fashion, Friday’s benchmark didn’t last long, especially when confronted to a returning Jorge Martin, but ultimately, top spot went back to Sam Lowes by two tenths of a second. Marcos Ramirez found some speed late on to make a surprise jump into second position, with championship leader Luca Marini comfortably in third.

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2020 Barcelona MotoGP FP3 Result: The Quartararo Show

It was another crisp morning in Montmelo but the premier class turned up the heat for the final handful of minutes of FP3, in the fight for a Q2 place. Fabio Quartararo was in a rush to claim top spot and showcase his consistent pace, so the Frenchman put his name at the top of the timesheets early on and despite a solid challenge from future teammate Maverick Vinales, Quartararo reclaimed the lead on his final flying lap. Vinales got demoted to second by four hundredths of a second, with Miguel Oliveira another half a tenth back.

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2020 Barcelona Moto3 FP3 Result: Arbolino Takes Over

A deceptively sunny morning in Barcelona didn’t give the full picture in terms of how low track temperature was, but the wind that was a main feature on Friday calmed down and led to a little less action in the gravel. Tony Arbolino started the session at the top of the timesheets and ended the session in the same place, despite interruptions from several rivals. Romano Fenati was one of those men, briefly leading for the final shootout but eventually getting demoted to second by a tenth and a half.

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Barcelona MotoGP Friday Round Up: Low Grip, Heavy Winds, Meaningless Times, And Coronavirus Concerns

"It's only Friday." Something you tend to hear from riders on, well, Fridays, when you ask them who they think is looking strong. Friday is the day that people are getting up to speed, evaluating different setup directions, making a preliminary assessment of tires, and putting in a banker lap when time and conditions allow. Drawing conclusions from either session of practice on Friday is fraught with difficulty.

Doubly so for Friday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona. The track hosted three days of action for the WorldSBK series last weekend – now with double headers for the World Supersport and Supersport 300 classes due to the compressed 2020 schedule – and so received a layer of Pirelli rubber. There have been rainstorms during the week which have washed some of that rubber from the track, changing grip levels once again. And the wind on Friday was, in the words of Jack Miller, "pretty savage".

On the face of it, you might say that Franco Morbidelli, Johann Zarco, and Brad Binder are capable of quick times, Morbidelli and Zarco dropping under 1'40. On race pace, you might want to conclude that Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir, Alex Rins, and Maverick Viñales are all quick on used tires. But the results from Friday need to be read like you might read tea leaves. Sifted through in the hope of finding patterns; but fearful of leaping to conclusions which the future simply will not bear out.

Clean track, low grip

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 164: Steve And Gordo Look Back At Barcelona

It has been a busy week in the world of world championship motorcycle racing, with both WorldSBK and MotoGP on last weekend. After the Misano 2 MotoGP podcast released earlier this week, there is a second helping of Paddock Pass Podcast for you, this time with Steve English and Gordon Ritchie discussing how the series' first visit to the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo near Barcelona played out.

They start off their look at the events of the weekend and the state of the championship with a look at what makes Jonathan Rea so good. How he fits in his team, and how Rea and his Provec squad manage to keep perhaps the oldest of the Superbikes winning week in, week out.

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2020 Barcelona Moto2 FP2 Result: Schrotter Shows Some Speed

Although sunny and warm, the leaves invading the Montmelo circuit made for a rather autumnal picture throughout the last session of the day for the intermediate class. There was little room for improvement on the timesheets but Marcel Schrotter spent almost the entire session at the top and was one of the few men to improve on their FP1 times. Fabio Di Giannantonio in second was another of those riders, six hundredths of a second off top spot and two tenths quicker than Xavi Vierge.

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2020 Barcelona MotoGP FP2 Result: Morbidelli From Gravel To Glory

With the surface warming up nicely for the second practice session, premier class riders had a good opportunity to fine tune race setup, but the wind didn’t help the cause much. Gravel traps didn’t see as much action as in the lightweight class but still caused some trouble for the likes of Franco Morbidelli, who lost the front at turn 10 halfway through proceedings and took time to rejoin. But when he did, he shot straight to the top of the timesheets with the first 1:39 time of the weekend.

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2020 Barcelona Moto3 FP2 Result: Masia Leads Eventful Session

Although temperatures kept rising in Montmelo, the wind posed a challenge for the junior class and gravel traps at turns 3 and 10 in particular got a lot of airtime early on. Jaume Masia was the exception by sliding out at turn 7, but the Leopard rider went on to pick up the lead of the session in the final time attack, when he became one of the few riders to improve their FP1 times, while Darryn Binder also improved to come within three tenths of a second of the Spaniard.

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2020 Barcelona Moto2 FP1 Result: Lowes Leaps Ahead

Barcelona was starting to warm up by the time the intermediate class took their turn around the Montmelo circuit and at the end of the 40 minutes, the Lowes/Marini battle got settled in the British rider’s favour. Sam Lowes finished the morning two tenths of a second quicker than championship leader Luca Marini, with Tetsuta Nagashima making a much better start in Spain, three tenths off the Italian. Back on home soil, Aron Canet also put his name at the top of the timesheets, albeit only briefly, before dropping to fourth, half a second slower than the leader.

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