Motegi, Japan

2018 Motegi MotoGP Friday Round Up: Losing Lorenzo, Dovizioso's Stable Base, And A Yamaha Revival

Will we see a Ducati vs Honda showdown at Motegi? After the first day of practice at the Japanese track, it looks like that is still on, though we lost one potential protagonist. Jorge Lorenzo went out to test how well his injured wrist would hold up, but found his wrist unwilling to play ball. He did two out laps, but couldn't cope with the immense strain which the braking zones at Motegi – the toughest on the calendar – put on him. After those two laps, Lorenzo decided to withdraw from the Japanese Grand Prix.

"Yesterday my feelings weren’t very positive and unfortunately today I had confirmation not only of the pain, but also that there was a serious risk of making the fracture worse," he said afterwards. "On hard braking I couldn't push with my left wrist and I had a lot of pain in the left corners and especially in the change of direction. I wasn't fast, I wasn't comfortable and I wasn't safe, so there was no meaning to continue."

Despite the loss of Lorenzo, Ducati are still in a very comfortable position, Andrea Dovizioso having finished the day as fastest, despite sitting out FP2. The Italian wasn't alone in that choice: Marc Márquez, Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro, and Jordi Torres all elected to skip the afternoon session, which started out damp, the track never really drying out fully by the end of the session, though half the field managed to squeeze in a couple of slow laps on slicks on a drying track at the end of the session.

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2018 Motegi Moto2 FP2 Result: Lecuona Finds the Fast, Dry Line

Iker Lecuona set the fastest Moto2 lap time on Friday at Motegi as the circuit finally dried sufficiently for riders to push hard on full slicks -- at least for the early part of the afternoon session. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia slotted into second, a tenth of a second from the leader's time. It also was the Kalex rider's first posted time of the weekend as he didn't emerge from the pits in the mixed conditions of FP1. Agusto Fernandez rounded out the top three.

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2018 Motegi MotoGP FP2 Result: Pedrosa Leads the Pack; Top Dogs Sit

In mixed conditions that saw one-third of the field spend more time in the pits than on the track, Dani Pedrosa seized the top time of the session at the Motegi circuit in Japan. Pedrosa's 1'48.136 topped second-place Scott Redding's best lap -- also set at the end of the drying, afternoon FP2 -- by more that half a second but still remained three seconds from the top laps of FP1.

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2018 Motegi Moto2 FP1 Result: Schrotter Tops Stop-Start Session

Not in unusual fashion, the intermediate class got the worst of both worlds, enjoying barely five minutes in fully dry conditions before raindrops started falling, on and off throughout the session but not significant enough to decisively stop play. This allowed for three short runs for most of the grid who did not want to risk too much but some longer bouts of bravery were repaid as well.

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2018 Motegi MotoGP FP1 Result: Another Round Goes To Dovizioso

The lovely weather was generous with the premier class and allowed them a fully dry playground for the first practice session, although clouds were starting to gather as the action hotted up. The morning started with Johann Zarco in charge of proceedings but while the grid was struggling to follow the early leader’s suit into the 1:46s, Marc Marquez promptly did eight tenths of a second better and raised the bar for the opposition.

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2018 Motegi Moto3 FP1 Result: Kornfeil Surprises Canet

No sign of the rain that soaked things up earlier in the morning and the familiar clouds gave way to bright sunshine by the time the lightweight class went out to play. After missing the trip to Thailand due to being convalescent, Aron Canet was back in action and went all in, crashing out in turn nine right after jumping to the top of the timesheets ten minutes into the session. The final five minutes changed the narrative and late attacks brought Jakub Kornfeil to the limelight, the Czech rider keeping the lead of the first practice session until the checkered flag came out.

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2018 Motegi MotoGP Preview: Dovizioso vs Marquez, The Rematch?

MotoGP's Asia-Pacific races tend to get lumped together in the popular imagination. They are "The Flyaways", formerly three, now four races in parts East, a long way away from the homes of the vast majority of the paddock. The triple header – Motegi, Phillip Island, Sepang – is especially susceptible to this, as the three back-to-back races tend to leave the paddock in a state of constant befuddlement, fatigued from jet lag, and spending much of their time on 8+ hour flights between the various venues. Everything tends to become one big blur.

Yet there are vast differences between all four flyaways. Leaving the crushing heat of Thailand, the paddock heads east to Motegi, a track where conditions can be almost Northern European, with mist, rain, and cold mornings. Across the equator to Australia, and the edge of the Bass Strait, from a massive circuit complex to an old-fashioned facility perched on a cliff above the sea, from stop and go to fast and flowing. Then north again to Malaysia, and more oppressive tropical heat.

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Provisional 2019 MotoGP Calendar: 19 Races With Minor Reshuffles

Dorna today unveiled the provisional MotoGP calendar for 2019, confirming much of what we already knew. The schedule will consist of 19 races, as the circuit in Mexico City will not be ready to host a MotoGP race next year, and the Kymiring in Finland is also still under construction. Both races are provisionally expected to be on the 2020 calendar.

The calendar is broadly similar to this year's schedule, with a few tweaks. The season kicks off at Qatar on 10th March, earlier than usual and a week before F1, which normally starts before MotoGP. Three weekends later, the series is racing in Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, and two weeks after that, the whole circus heads north for the US round in Austin.

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2019 Calendar To Be Announced At Misano: 19 Races, No Mexico, No Finland

We are a week away from being able to book (provisionally, with free cancellation) to see a race in 2019. The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2019 is due to be published at the Misano round in just under 10 days' time. 

As the official MotoGP.com website revealed over the weekend, there will only be 19 rounds in 2019. The numerical symmetry of that may be pleasing, but there were plans to have 20 races next season. The debut of the Kymiring in Finland has been delayed by a year to 2020, as the circuit will not be ready in time for a 2019 date. And the planned round in Mexico at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City has been dropped, unless the circuit is prepared to make changes.

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