2016 Austria MotoGP Saturday Round Up: A More Level Playing Field Than Expected

So much for Ducati domination. Sure, the two factory Ducatis are on the front row, Andrea Iannone on pole, Andrea Dovizioso in third, but they did not destroy the competition in qualifying the way they did so in practice on Friday. Austria is still Ducati's best chance of a win since Casey Stoner left for Honda at the end of the 2010 season, but it is no longer the sure thing it seemed on Friday.

What happened? A lot of things, but most of all, the weather improved dramatically. That certainly helped Jorge Lorenzo find some confidence, and put him back into contention after a couple of tough races. Valentino Rossi found some acceleration, and improved his pace. Marc Márquez worked on making up on the brakes what he is losing in acceleration. That puts the Ducatis, the Yamahas and Márquez all within a tenth or two of each other in race pace. We really are going to have to wait for the fat lady to start singing on this one.

Sky VR46 Racing Team Suspend Romano Fenati - Fenati Will Not Race

Romano Fenati will not be on the starting grid at the Austrian round of MotoGP on Sunday. The Italian has been suspended by his team for "repeated behavior not in line with the disciplinary rules of a team". 

Though the team has not made a statement on the exact reason for suspending Fenati, there are reports of repeated bad behavior by Fenati in the team. state that Fenati became abusive towards his crew during qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, and this was the final straw. 

2016 Spielberg MotoGP FP4 Result: Another One For Dovizioso

New session, same old story. Andrea Dovizioso sported a new style of winglets and showcased them nicely all the way to the top of the leaderboard. His teammate had his back, Andrea Iannone a tenth behind Dovizioso. Valentino Rossi led the charge against the Bologna boys, a late lap taking him up to third and three tenths off the leader.

While the story of the morning was the world championship leader’s nasty tumble, Marc Marquez showed once again just how little these incidents affect him, the Spaniard getting back on track to make up for the lost practice time. He was the first Honda in fourth position.

2016 Spielberg Moto2 FP3 Result: Zarco Back On Top

It was an uneventful practice session for the intermediate class, with the usual contenders at the top and Johann Zarco undoubtedly leading them, the only rider to beat Luthi’s time from Friday early in the session. The Swiss rider kept close for much of the session but was eventually pushed back to third position as Alex Rins improved to go second.

Marcel Schrotter placed the AGR Team in fourth, followed by birthday boy Jonas Folger in fifth.  After a slow start on used tyres, Sam Lowes made his way into sixth position, half a tenth behind the German rider.

2016 Spielberg MotoGP FP3 Result: Ducati Reign Over Dramatic Session

Sun’s out, drama’s out in Spielberg. With eighteen degrees of track temperature, the Ducatis gave the rest a chance to catch up before seriously twisting the throttle in the final minutes of the session. An Andrea Iannone with an injured rib set the fastest time of the weekend.

Four tenths away was the Suzuki of Maverick Viñales, proving that yesterday’s performance was hardly a fluke helped by the cold weather. The reigning world champion followed in third position, Lorenzo half a second off Iannone’s time.

2016 Spielberg Moto3 FP3 Result: Binder Leads Fleet Of KTMs

As Saturday started, sunshine decided to actually make an appearance this time around and delight us with seventeen degrees of track temperature. Even so, the riders took their time in improving their lap times from Friday.

Yesterday’s fast men Brad Binder, Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo were the first riders to beat the benchmark and drop into the 1:36s, ending the session in that exact same order and without any real challenge from behind. The challenge for Quartararo seemed to be respecting track limits, the Leopard rider seeing several of his laps cancelled.