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2017 Phillip Island MotoGP FP4 Result: Marquez Leads, Dovizioso Stumbles

In an apt description of Phillip Island, half the sky ahead of the final practice session was nearly black, while the other half was marshmallows on a light blue background. Making the best of the still dry track, most riders joined the action on the soft rear tyre, with the exception of a couple Ducatis, including Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci, as well as the Yamaha trio of Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.

Marc Marquez trialled both rear tyre options, starting on the soft around sixth position and switching to the medium for the final stage of the session, snatching the lead soon after. The Spaniard picked up Andrea Iannone to inadvertently show him the ropes and drag him into second position. Marquez maintained top spot to the flag and posted a short run of consistent mid 1:29s.

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2017 Phillip Island Moto2 FP3 Result: Oliveira Escapes Crash Epidemic

If you skipped the previous FP3 sessions, you would never guess the struggles of the premier class judging by the clear and sunny skies that welcomed the Moto2 grid. Back to slicks it was but the intermediate class still had to face jumpers & gloves conditions.

On a drying track, not only the times tumbled but also the riders themselves, with some fast crashes for the likes of Iker Lecuona, Lorenzo Baldassarri or Axel Pons. Miguel Oliveira escaped that faith to set himself at the top of the timesheets early in the session and holding station through the brief lull caused by some new drops of rain falling in the final fifteen minutes. The Portuguese rider went on to improve his own time and put a gap of six tenths into the pursuers.

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2017 Phillip Island MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Slips Into The Lead

While the worst the lightweight class had to contend with was a cold track and touch of drizzle, the promised rain was finally unleashed almost poetically as the premier class looked to hit the track. In typical Phillip Island fashion, things were further complicated by the rain seriously affecting specific parts of the track and completely ignoring others.

Rain tyres were the order of the day while the weather kept changing its mind between drizzle and dry patches for the first few minutes of the session but then the setting was firmly turned up to downpour with thirty-five minutes remaining.

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2017 Phillip Island Moto3 FP3 Result: Mir Fast Before Rain Turns Up

The promise of rain and the delivery of clear but significantly chilly conditions instead gave too much confidence to the feisty lot of the Moto3 grid. What that meant was a few unpleasant crashes to start proceedings on Saturday morning, fast men like Nicolo Bulega and Bo Bendsneyder giving their teams plenty of homework.

The cold temperatures made it difficult for the lightweight class to get anywhere near to Friday performance, Jules Danilo being a fresh face at the top of the timings for much of the morning session. The Frenchman kept a charging Joan Mir away until the last quarter of an hour, the world championship leader over a second slower than his own best time from FP2.

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2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Round Up: A Fast Aprilia, Marquez vs Dovizioso, And Pit Lane Safety

They say that you can experience four season in one day at Phillip Island, but on the first day of practice for the 2017 MotoGP round, the weather gods restricted themselves to just the two. The sun burned down as if it were summer, while the icy wind blew in off the Bass Straight bringing the chill of winter. I suppose if you average summer and winter, you get the Antipodean spring, which is the current season at Phillip Island chronologically, if not necessarily meteorologically.

That wind was a major problem. It buffeted the riders and bikes and stripped any semblance of stability. It also rendered the aerodynamic fairings largely useless, or for some riders, made the bikes more unstable than with the standard fairing. "The wind makes our life very, very difficult," Aleix Espargaro said, echoing a common sentiment from Friday.

It had not stopped Espargaro from being fastest on Friday, however. It was a remarkable achievement for the Aprilia RS-GP, the first time an Aprilia had been fastest in a session since the start of the four-stroke era. The last time an Aprilia was that quick was in 2000, when Jeremy McWilliams put the Aprilia 500cc V twin on pole at Phillip Island. Proof, if it were needed, that the key to speed at the Australian track is corner speed, rather than outright horsepower.

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2017 Jerez World Supersport FP2 Results: Mahias And Cluzel Continue Their Fight

Lucas Mahias and Jules Cluzel were once again paired at the top, as the top eleven riders improved on their morning's time. Gino Rea will start Superpole One as the favourite to qualify for Superpole Two, having qualified in eleventh place alongside Kyle Smith.

Results:

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2017 Jerez World Superbike FP2 Results: Rea Continues Dominance In Spite Of Crash

Jonathan Rea was quickest in the afternoon's session, even though he was unable to better his morning's time, crashing out early in the session, missing forty minutes before his team could get his Kawasaki rebuilt in time for him to set his fast time. Tom Sykes did improve, however and, along with Michael van der Mark who produced an almost identical fast lap, he squeezed onto the provisional front row. Sylvain Guintoli qualified for Superpole Two, ninth quickest, ahead of Chaz Davies, while Leon Camier had to settle for eleventh place, as the favourite to advance from Superpole One.

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