Jerez, Spain

Subscriber Feature: Marc vs Maverick - The Making Of A Rivalry

Two men have emerged from the 2017 preseason as favorites. In many ways, Marc Márquez and Maverick Viñales are alike. Both are young, handsome Spaniards with an aura about them. Both grew up racing, and were immediately fast on every new bike they swung a leg over. Both have a keen intelligence, especially about racing, and what matters.

But above all, both Márquez and Viñales are driven by their ambition. They enter each championship with the fixed intention of winning. They have talent to spare, but more than that, they both have a deep understanding of what it takes to win a world championship, and are prepared to put in the work, to make the sacrifices needed to achieve their goal. They are single minded, obsessed with winning.

They are two very different characters. Márquez is cheerful, gregarious, outgoing. Whenever you see him, he is always laughing or smiling, joking with the people around him. He loves company, and spends almost every waking minute of each race weekend in the garage with his crew. When he joined the Repsol Honda team, he was allowed to take most of his Moto2 team, and crew chief Santi Hernandez worked under the tutelage of Cristian Gabarrini. At the end of his first year, Márquez demanded that HRC brought the last two members of his former Moto2 team into the Repsol Honda garage, and Gabarrini was moved on to other duties, despite being regarded as perhaps the best crew chief in the business.

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Miguel Oliveira Interview: On KTM's Moto2 Bike, Encouraging Young Talent, And Life As A Dentist

Miguel Oliveira is one of the brightest minds in the Grand Prix paddock. A quiet, calm presence, the Portuguese rider is widely admired throughout the paddock. His modesty and his down-to-earth attitude mean that he does not garner a great deal of attention off track, nor does he seek it. 

His performance on track does, though. Oliveira came very close to winning the 2015 Moto3 championship, staging a remarkable comeback which saw him recover from a 110-point deficit with six races to go to close to within 6 points of Danny Kent at Valencia. At the Jerez Moto2 tests, Oliveira was similarly impressive, finishing regularly in the top three. 

That success is in no small part due to his return to Aki Ajo's Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport team. At Jerez, Finnish team manager spoke glowingly of his return to the fold, and Oliveira returned the compliments. We spoke to Oliveira at some length at Jerez, covering a vast range of subjects. Oliveira spoke of the KTM Moto2 bike, and of its development. He told us why he went endurance racing last year, and what he is doing to help develop young Portuguese talent. And he talks about his other career, studying to be a dentist. That study, and his approach to it and to racing, gives a fascinating insight into a very intelligent and grounded young man.

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at the end of the three-day IRTA test at Jerez:

Márquez and Morbidelli top the timesheet in Jerez

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS dominated proceedings at the three-day IRTA Jerez test, with Álex Márquez topping the combined Moto2 timesheet and Franco Morbidelli finishing just over a tenth of a second behind in second place.

Márquez's time of 1'41.989, which he posted in today's opening Moto2 session, was more than half a second under the existing Jerez pole position record, set by Sam Lowes in 2016.

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Friday Moto3 Results: Bulega Ends As Fastest

Nicolo Bulega leaves Jerez as the fastest man of the three-day Moto3 test. The Italian was quick on Friday, just as he had been on Thursday. Aron Canet ended the test in second, the fastest man on the first day of the test and spending the rest of the test in hot pursuit of the times set by Bulega.

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Friday Moto2 Times: Marquez Leaves Jerez As Fastest Moto2 Man

Alex Marquez leaves the Moto2 test at Jerez in an upbeat frame of mind, having set the fastest time on the final day of testing, and a new best time around the Jerez circuit on a Moto2 machine. The Spaniard was the only man to crack the 1'41 barrier, going over a tenth faster than his Marc VDS teammate Franco Morbidelli. 

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Friday Moto2 Morning Times: Marquez Fastest Once Again

Alex Marquez has topped both sessions on Friday morning, the Marc VDS rider showing exceptional pace, even in hot conditions. In the morning, the Spaniard set the fastest ever lap around the track on a Moto2 bike, cracking the 1'41 barrier. Even in the heat of the afternoon, Marquez was close to the pole record set during last year's race. 

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Friday Moto3 Morning Times: Bulega's Reign Continues

The same names keep cropping up at the top of the Moto3 timesheets at Jerez. On Friday morning, it was once again Nicolo Bulega who was fastest, the Sky VR46 rider just edging out Aron Canet to take top spot. Behind Canet, a few new names popped up, with Jakub Kornfeil taking third, ahead of Marcos Ramirez and Gabriel Rodrigo.

Two more sessions remain for the Moto3 riders.

Times from the first session for Moto3:

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Thursday Final Moto2 Times - Morbidelli Leads Marc VDS 1-2

The Marc VDS Moto2 riders dominated the second day of testing, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez taking turns at the top of the timesheets. Morbidelli ended up with top honors, setting a fast time in the cool of the morning, when the track offers the most grip. Taka Nakagami ended the day in third, four tenths behind fastest man Morbidelli, while Fabio Quartararo impressed on his switch to Moto2.

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Thursday Final Moto3 Times - Bulega Ends The Day Fastest

Nicolo Bulega has ended the second day of the Jerez Moto3 test as fastest. The Sky VR46 rider was over a tenth of a second faster than Aron Canet on the Estrella Galicia Honda, though the Spaniard had been quick all day. Jorge Martin was third quickest on Thursday on the Gresini Honda, finishing a fraction ahead of Romano Fenati. The Italian has been solid on his return to racing, and sits well on the Honda. 

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2017 Jerez IRTA Test Thursday Moto3 Times - Bulega Tops First Two Sessions

Nicolo Bulega was the fastest man in the first two sessions for the Moto3 class at Jerez, the Sky VR46 rider almost exactly matching his pole time from last year's race. The times were quicker in the morning, with Aron Canet second, Jorge Martin third and Romano Fenati fourth quickest.

Bulega was fastest in the lunchtime session as well, this time holding off Romano Fenati, Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Aron Canet. That put three Moto3 manufacturers in the top three spots.

Times from the first two sessions on Thursday:

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