Phillip Island, Australia

2017 Phillip Island Moto2 FP1 Result: Nakagami Puts His Foot Down

The illusion of warmth continued for the intermediate class, the rays of sun reflecting in polished fairings not conveying the low temperatures and windy conditions. Nevertheless, the weekend started much like we would all like to see it continuing, with a minor gap between the two title contenders at the top of the timesheets.  

Takaaki Nakagami put himself into contention past the halfway mark of the session, the Japanese rider taking over the lead by two tenths of a second. Morbidelli was first to react but Nakagami went ahead and improved on his time a few more times to turn that gap into a chasm, seven tenths of a second separating him from the pretenders in the closing stages of FP1.

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2017 Phillip Island MotoGP FP1 Result: A Marquez Kind Of Morning

Remember that shiny ball called sun? It finally showed up to the party in Australia, although accompanied by a chilly breeze. The premier class riders could hardly complain after the adventures of little under a week ago so they got working right away.

Marc Marquez only required a handful of laps to get into the 1:29s, running the consistent pace he got us used to and only allowing five other riders to get within a second of his early time after the first runs. 

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2017 Phillip Island Moto3 FP1 Result: Bulega Braves The Wind

After the downpour of Motegi, the weather in Australia decided to help the riders acclimatise with some more drops of rain in the days leading up to practice. The rainfall stopped just in time for FP1 but the session started with damp patches still scattered on the circuit. The situation was quite quickly resolved by the strong winds, which were also somewhat unhelpful for the lightweight class.

Joan Mir would not let history repeat itself after the strange performance in Japan, the world championship leader featuring heavily at the top of the standings right out the box this time around. The Spaniard led for most of the session, until Nicolo Bulega eyed up a slipstream in the last handful of minutes and dragged Ayumu Sasaki with him over the line. The Italian didn’t get another chance to further improve his performance after an eager move into turn four slid him out of contention and took Aron Canet with him. Mir only just avoided the incident but could not improve himself so Bulega kept top honours at the flag.

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2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Preview: Showdown At The Island

There are many fine racing circuits on the MotoGP calendar, but two of them are genuinely glorious. The reasons Mugello and Phillip Island are so glorious are pretty much the same. First, the setting: Mugello sits amidst the stunning hills, woods, and farmland of Tuscany, while Phillip Island is perched atop a granite cliff overlooking the wild and windy Bass Strait. They are both tests of courage and skill, fast, flowing tracks which require a deep understanding of what the motorcycle is doing, the bravery to let it do what it's doing at that speed, and the reflexes and talent to manage the bike within the confines of its performance envelope.

Like Mugello, Phillip Island flows across the terrain, following the natural slopes, dips, and hollows of the rock it is built on. The speed and the location provide a spectacular backdrop for motorcycle racing, and a terrifying challenge for the riders. That speed also makes them dangerous, though the two tracks are dangerous in different ways. At Mugello, the walls are a little too close in places, meaning that a crash can leave you to slam into an airfence. At Phillip Island, the problem is not so much the walls, as the sheer speed at which you crash. There are only really two slow corners at Phillip Island, meaning that if you fall off, your momentum is going to carry you a long way.

Two things make Phillip Island unique. First, there's the weather. With only Tasmania between the Island and the Antarctic, and the vast Southern Ocean beyond, the westerlies batter and blast the Island, bringing harsh squalls in one moment then carrying them away the next. Four seasons in one day, the locals say, and if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. The one constant in October is the cold, however. Though the sun be out, the icy Antarctic wind can suck the heat out of tires, brakes, and bodies. The weather there is a treacherous thing.

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Broc Parkes To Replace Jonas Folger at Tech 3 For Phillip Island MotoGP Round

Broc Parkes is to step in to replace the still ill Jonas Folger in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team at Phillip Island. The Australian veteran is already part of the Yamaha family, riding for the manufacturer-backed YART World Endurance team. 

Parkes is an obvious choice, being both Australian and having previous MotoGP experience. Parkes previously rode for the PBM team in 2014, when he was teammates with Michael Laverty aboard Aprilia-based ART machines.

There is still no news on when Folger will make a return to MotoGP, as the team has not yet released any information on a diagnosis of his illness. Folger is suspected of having suffered a relapse of the Epstein Barr virus, and if that is correct, that would put him out for an extended period of time, and possibly meaning he would miss the rest of the season. If that happens, Tech 3 will have to make a decision on who would replace Folger for the last two races of the season, at Sepang and Valencia.

Below is the press release from the Tech 3 team announcing Broc Parkes as a replacement:


Broc Parkes to join Tech3 for Australian Grand Prix

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2018 Provisional MotoGP Calendar Released: Thailand Added, British Venue Uncertain

The provisional calendar for the 2018 MotoGP season has been released, and as expected, there are few surprises. The schedule has been expanded to 19 races with the inclusion of the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, which has a contract to host a race through 2020. 

The addition of Thailand hasn't altered the schedule much. The 2018 schedule is almost identical to this year's calendar, with just a few minor variations. The season kicks off a week early in Qatar, and to accommodate that earlier start, the time of the race is to be changed to 7pm local time. Starting earlier will mean that MotoGP avoids the evening dew that can render the track so treacherous.

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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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Notes From Phillip Island WorldSBK: Rea vs Davies, And The New Grid Format

Can we just have every race at Phillip Island? That's certainly what a lot of fans will be thinking after a thrilling opening weekend of WorldSBK action. The tension that has simmered between Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies over the winter came to the fore over the weekend and once again it these two riders fighting it out for wins.

Jonathan's Island

Jonathan Rea had a fight on his hands for both wins in Australia but the reigning WorldSBK champion did enough to continue his domination of Phillip Island. In claiming his fifth win in the last three years at the Australian circuit the Northern Irishman also became just the fourth rider in history to win 40 WorldSBK races.

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2017 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 2 Notes: Title Favorites Talk Season Opener

The second race of the WorldSBK season saw history made with the introduction of the much-touted revised grid that saw the podium men from Race 1 start from the third row.

This meant that Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes had to fight through the field during the 22 lap affair. It proved little challenge for Rea and Davies to hit the front but ultimately Sykes lost too much time making progress and abused his tires trying to bridge the gap to the leading group.

That leading group consisted of three Ducatis, a Kawasaki and a Yamaha with the Italian horde of Davies, Marco Melandri and Xavi Fores all taking turns at the front.

After Race 1 Rea said that it was one of the strangest races he had been involved in but in the second race it was a much more traditional affair. The pace was much faster in Race 2 but the fight at the front was as frenzied as it was during the opener.

"A few laps before the end I changed my line a little bit just because I had been in front for so long and the other riders had been able to study my riding closely,” said Rea. “I focused on making sure I had a clean last sector and good drive to the straight. On a Superbike it's better to lead onto the straight because it's difficult to overtake before the line I tried to make sure that Chaz had to come to my left, that's the worse line into turn one. It's a great win for us.”

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