2017 Le Mans Sunday Round Up: An Age Of Champions

It sucks being the best rider in the world. Just as you believe you have everything under control and can dominate your rivals, along comes some jumped up kid with ideas above his station, determined to administer a king-sized kicking to your behind. That kid has answers to all the tricks you learned to use to beat your rivals, and now you have to reinvent yourself, push harder than you wanted just to stay in the game.

Back in 1998, for example, a cocky Italian swaggered into the 500cc class and threatened the supremacy of Mick Doohan. Doohan finished Max Biaggi off at the end of that year, but he had to dig deep. After Doohan retired, another cocky Italian took his place to rough Biaggi up, just as the Roman Emperor thought he owned the premier class. After a string of titles, Valentino Rossi, the cocky Italian in question, found himself facing a couple of rookies giving him real trouble. Casey Stoner beat him at the second time of asking in 2007, then Jorge Lorenzo took the fight to him inside Rossi's own team, getting the better of him in 2010.

Just as Lorenzo was settling in to take what he considered as his rightful place atop the MotoGP pile, along came a cheeky-faced Spanish youngster on a record-breaking spree, winning his second race and the title at his first attempt. After winning two titles in a row, then an impressive third last year, Marc Márquez suddenly finds himself grappling with an improbably fast Yamaha rider with steel in his soul and the name of a warrior (albeit a fictional one). And in addition to Maverick Viñales, Márquez has to contend with Johann Zarco, who has sprung from Moto2 like a jack-in-the-box, scaring the living daylights out of the regulars.

This is the circle of racing. Every racing series is in a state of permanent revolution, where the newcomers dream up new ways of usurping the established riders, and the old guard have to adapt or die. The moment you get comfortable is the moment your era has passed. The ultimate reward for being top dog is to ride around with a massive target on your back.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 FP3 Result: Bagnaia and Morbidelli Fly The Academy Flag

The intermediate class was finally graced with a fully dry session, with the occasional damp patch seriously testing the riders’ attention – to more or less success, with several crashes and plenty of replay-worthy moments.

Franco Morbidelli was back to his usual antics, which meant taking the lead and letting everyone else try and catch up. Pecco Bagnaia accepted that challenge and he proved to be just as fast in the dry as he was in the wet around Le Mans, the Italian topping the session in his final few laps. Morbidelli dropped less than a tenth behind his VR46 Academy colleague to secure second position.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 FP2 Result: Marquez Steals The Spotlight Off Hernandez

With the title contenders being extra cautious in full wet conditions, that let some more names shine through at the top of the timesheets - at least until the very end, when some familiar names were cast in the top roles. Jerez winner Alex Marquez waited until the very last lap to cruise to the top and lead the session by almost eight tenths of a second.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 FP1 Result: A Sunny Morning For Baldassarri

Did someone say wet? Hafizh Syahrin probably said enthusiastically as he headed out for the intermediate class’ first practice session. While the Malaysian rider was the first leader of the session, he dropped back on a drying track and let the usual contenders fight it out at the top.

The Moto2 class had the honour of actually seeing extended patches of blue sky amongst the clouds, although the track kept some slightly damp patches throughout. The blue-wearing men usually dominating proceedings at this point in the weekend let some other names have their way at the top, Lorenzo Baldassarri grabbing the spotlight in the final minutes of the session, as threatening dark clouds were gathering once again.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 & Moto3 Prevew Press Releases

Previews of this weekend from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:


After a bittersweet weekend at Jerez de la Frontera, Team Del Conca Gresini are now looking for a strong showing at to Le Mans, where this weekend the fifth Grand Prix of the 2017 Moto3 World Championship takes place.

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