Misano, Italy

2018 Misano MotoGP Saturday Round Up: When Even The Fearless Are Afraid

In an interview I did with him at Assen, I asked Marc Márquez if he was ever afraid. "At the moment, no," he replied. The one time when he had been scared was after his big crash at Mugello, when he had locked the front wheel over the crest of the hill, and bailed at around 270 km/h to avoid hitting a wall. After that, whenever he crested the hill at the end of the straight, he had subconsciously backed off the gas. He did not believe he was afraid, until his data engineer showed him the throttle trace, which showed him closing the gas.

We can add a second occasion when Márquez was afraid. As at Mugello, it came after a crash. This time, though, it was not as a result of his own riding, but the riding of the marshal who rushed him back to the pits in record time during Q2, giving him one more shot at pole.

It started with Márquez' second run during qualifying. The Repsol Honda rider had elected to go for a two-stop strategy, and so had left the pits early and laid down a marker on his first run. That marker was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo a minute later, and so Márquez went out and pushed hard on his second run. A little too hard, as it turned out.

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2018 Misano MotoGP FP4 Result: Encouraging Signs For Viñales

The premier class got one final outing before things got serious and the circuit played along with hotter tarmac and bright sunshine. This allowed some useful long runs to unfold and for riders to show their pace on used rubber. After dominating practice, it was no surprise that Ducati had the upper hand once again, Jorge Lorenzo at the top of the standings for much of the session, ahead of his teammate by virtue of his first run on new tyres.

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2018 Misano Moto2 FP3 Result: Oliveira Steals Fernandez’s Thunder

With a wet start to the day, the lightweight and premier class had dried up the track to adequate levels by the time Moto2 riders took their turn on the playground. The added confidence resulted in some early crashes for the likes of Brad Binder, Joan Mir or Xavi Vierge but the repair job was minimal and allowed them to rejoin with sufficient time.

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2018 Misano MotoGP FP3 Result: Zarco Breaks Local Hearts

Misano welcomed the premier class qualifying day with a damp surface attempting to dry up despite the modest temperatures. The likes of Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco and Alvaro Bautista provided the early entertainment as they were sampling the conditions on slick rubber but the real action only started once their times were deemed relevant enough for their colleagues to join in for the final 20 minutes.

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2018 Misano Moto3 FP3 Result: Bulega Sparks Home Hopes

As a consequence of photogenic overnight storms, it was a slow start for the lightweight class on a damp track that didn’t seem keen to dry up. Nonetheless, Nicolo Bulega put his local knowledge to good use and circulated about a second fastest than the opposition while the surface was riddled with wet patches. The Italian’s reign was challenged when the final ten minutes of the session brought out slick tyres to a partly dry line but none of the pursuers could hold back the gangly SKY rider.

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2018 Misano MotoGP Friday Round Up: Testing vs Track Conditions, Q2 Timing, Slow Riders, And GP16 vs GP17

Surely the teams who tested at Misano prior to Silverstone would have an advantage once MotoGP arrived at the Italian circuit? With a day to set up the bikes ahead of time, they would start the Misano weekend with a head start.

That is the theory, anyway. But when I spoke to one of Johann Zarco's mechanics, he dismissed the idea out of hand. "You have an advantage for about five laps," he said. The problem is the period of time between the test and the race. Conditions change too much. "What you find is a setup for the conditions on the day. When you get there for the race, the track is dirtier, the weather's different, the temperature's lower."

The track definitely changed a lot between the test and the race weekend, as those who were at the test pointed out. "When we came here for the test, the grip level of the track was higher," Valentino Rossi said. "But for some reason, also for the rain yesterday, the track even if it's a bit colder is more slippery."

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2018 Misano Moto2 FP2 Result: Schrotter Sweeps Past Bagnaia

The fabled rain that kept getting mentions throughout the day was hinted at by dark clouds but never really made an appearance so track action could go ahead as planned for all three classes. The intermediate class rode under heavy cloud cover as well but the track was bone dry.

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