Valencia, Spain

2016 Valencia MotoGP FP3 Result: A Marquez Kind Of Morning

In the sunny but chilly Saturday morning session, riders took their time getting close to their FP1 times, Marc Marquez the only one to narrowly beat it in the early part of the session. Andrea Dovizioso and both the Suzukis led the Yamaha duo before everybody put on their qualifying shoes.

Cal Crutchlow was the first to challenge the timesheets, the LCR rider getting himself back into a top ten position before the mad dash started. Although the strategy did not pay off in the end, the British rider getting pushed back once again in the final moments of the session.

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2016 Valencia Moto3 FP3 Result: Locatelli Leads Guevara

The day started in less than ideal conditions for the Moto3 class, but Andrea Locatelli put in a late charge to grab the lead, only a tenth off the best time from Friday. With almost thirty riders within a second of the Italian, the hierarchy was a bit of a lottery in the late dash to the flag.

FP1 leader Juanfran Guevara followed in second, almost two tenths off, with a big improver in third, Aron Canet putting his Honda in a prime position. World champion Brad Binder found his way to the top of the timesheets in no time but was eventually bumped down to fourth position.

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2016 Valencia MotoGP Friday Round Up

The media is a fickle beast. Normally, journalists and TV only have eyes for the top half of the timesheets. Or more realistically, the top half of the top half of the timesheets. As Valentino Rossi once joked one weekend during his time at Ducati, when only four or five journalists turned up to speak to him, rather than the thirty or forty he used to see at Yamaha, "So this is what it's like to finish seventh."

If media interest beyond tenth place is sparse, it is absolutely nonexistent for last place. Normally, the rider who finishes last has no visits from journalists, nor will anyone come to speak to their crew chief. But Friday at Valencia was anything but normal.

A brand new manufacturer joining the grid is anything but normal, however. And even when the rider on the new bike finishes last, the media crowd waiting outside the garage is seriously impressive. The back of the KTM garage was thronged with journalists, first to speak to Mika Kallio about his day on the RC16, and then to grill Kallio's crew chief Paul Trevathan about the bike, and the problems they encountered.

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2016 Valencia Moto2 FP2 Result: Morbidelli Takes Control

Another session, another good start from Franco Morbidelli, the Italian beating Tom Luthi’s FP1 time by a mere tenth of a second. With an initial gap of over three tenths of a second, the Estrella Galicia rider was unperturbed at the top, Takaaki Nakagami getting as close as a tenth of a second to put his name next on the timing screens. The Japanese rider had a lot of track time to recover after the rodeo adventures from the morning session but did so successfully, going straight up to second and keeping his position for much of the session.

Johann Zarco has also staged a bit of a comeback for the afternoon session, the recently crowned champion cutting his deficit to the leader to three tenths of a second to finish third. Half a tenth down on the world champion was Julian Simon, perhaps a sign of the unusual configuration of the rest of the top ten.

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2016 Valencia MotoGP FP2 Result: Lorenzo Shows His Speed Once More

The shark was unleashed as soon as the light turned green, Jorge Lorenzo shaving tenth after tenth off his own leading time from the very start. The still Yamaha rider put the new style medium front tyre on for his second run, gaining three tenths on his closest challenger, the reigning world champion, while also dropping his teammate by over half a second.

Marquez wouldn’t accept this minor defeat easily, becoming the first rider to get into the 1:30s in the final ten minutes of the session. A fast last run from Lorenzo helped him join the club and regain the privileged position at the top of the timing screens from Marquez

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2016 Valencia Moto3 FP2 Result: Bastianini Leads Guevara

After the massive crashes suffered in the morning session, both Enea Bastianini and Jorge Navarro were out to make amends and they were off to a good start, the Italian leading the Spaniard at the top of the timesheets after the initial run.

They were not there to stay as the RBA duo replicated their FP1 result, Juanfran Guevara getting close to the best time of last year’s FP2 session. The time was eventually beaten in the last minute rush by Joan Mir, the young Spaniard putting in yet another impressive audition for the role of Rookie of the Year.

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2016 Valencia Moto2 FP1 Result: The Luthi Resurgence Continues

With four consecutive podiums in the last races, Franco Morbidelli seemed to have gotten a taste for top positions, the Estrella Galicia rider being the first leader of the session. Just as Jonas Folger took over at the top of the pack, a red flag popped up with thirty-seven minutes to go, due to some fluid spilling in turn fourteen following a crash for Takaaki Nakagami. It was a rough morning for Nakagami, the Japanese rider having a few moments before the bike finally threw him off, luckily without consequences.

After the session was resumed, Thomas Luthi looked like threatening Folger’s position, getting as close as a tenth of a second before putting in a fast set of laps at the end to grab the top position. Foger lost second position too as Simone Corsi sneaked ahead of him in the final minutes.

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2016 Valencia MotoGP FP1 Result: A Morning In LorenzoLand

As the session started, the M1 of Valentino Rossi was already in holiday mood, the bike showing signs of trouble just out the pits as the light turned green, the Italian taking the Yamaha for a stroll through the paddock.

As he rejoined the slightly cool track on his second bike, his main rivals were switching places at the top, Marc Marquez then Jorge Lorenzo taking over the leader board, within five hundredths of each other. After the usual mid-session lull, the world champion jumped back ahead of his countryman, Pol Espargaro joining the party soon after, splitting the duo but over three tenths down on Marquez.

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2016 Valencia Moto3 FP1 Result: Guevara Leads Chilly Morning

Probably anxious to get his hands on the Aspar Ducati, Pecco Bagnaia was fastest out of the gates, although the adrenaline was only enough for eighth place in the end. Equally excited to see the back of 2016 and get a fresh start was Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman soon taking over at the top, with the now customary lap cancellations included in the FP1 package. He eventually dropped back to fourth.

That was really just the opening act for Brad Binder, the world champion taking it easy at the start but making his way to the top with ten minutes to go. Although he didn’t really have it all his own way, the South African getting pushed back to third by an impressive Juanfran Guevara, the Spaniard followed by his teammate, Gabriel Rodrigo, the two RBA riders topping the session for the first time this season.

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2016 Valencia MotoGP Preview: Farewell To Teams And Sponsors, Hello To New Opportunities

And so the 2016 MotoGP season is nearly at an end. Though the major honors have been awarded, there are still the final few t's to cross and i's to dot. We have our three champions, Johann Zarco the last to wrap up the title in Moto2 at Sepang. Honda are hot favorites to win the constructors' championship, while Movistar Yamaha hold a narrow lead in the team championship. Cal Crutchlow has a commanding 17-point lead in the battle for top independent rider. Second place in both Moto2 and Moto3 is still up for grabs.

In reality, these don't matter all that much. Once the championship is settled, the riders on the grid race for pride. And given that we are talking about the best professional motorcycle racers in the world, there is an awful lot of pride at stake. So the battle at Valencia will be just as fierce as anything that has come before. If anything, it will be even more fierce, given that nobody has very much to lose.

They will need an extra dash of abandon at Valencia. The circuit is pushed up against a hillside, and encircled by grandstands, cramming a serpentine four kilometer track into a very tight space. Reaching the required Grand Prix length requires a lot of corners, and that drops the average speed. Valencia is the slowest circuit on the calendar, and with so many tight corners, passing spots are few and far between. Turn 1 is an obvious candidate, a hard-braking left turn at the end of a long straight. Turn 6, another sharp left hander after a short straight. And a final dive up the inside into Turn 14, after the long and glorious left at Turn 13.

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