Moto2 standings after Brno:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Brno:
The Grand Prix Commission has introduced a range of measures at their meeting in Brno. Among the most important are the switch from selling Moto3 engines to leasing them, and changing the flag-to-flag procedure, in an attempt to improve safety in pit lane.
Starting from next year, the flag-to-flag procedure has been revised. The number of mechanics assisting has been reduced, with only four allowed to assist in the bike swap. Those mechanics must now wear approved helmets, which will also make them easier to identify.
After he and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo had looked well in control of proceedings after the first day of practice at Brno, Valentino Rossi warned the media against drawing premature conclusions. "I think it's just Friday, it's a long way to Sunday," he said. We in the media ignored his warnings, of course, and painted a technicolor picture of a race where the Movistar Yamaha riders took back a hefty bunch of points from Marc Márquez, reigniting the championship.
Then Saturday happened, and Valentino Rossi turned out to be right again (and not for the first time, I might add). Friday had been just Friday. It was indeed still a long way to Sunday. Saturday, a stepping stone on the way to Sunday, helped turn a lot of things around. Jorge Lorenzo is still fast. So is Valentino Rossi, though not quite as fast as he had hoped. Andrea Iannone is a genuine threat for the podium, or even his second win in a row. Maverick Viñales could still get up front and complicate things, though he has a hill to climb after a problem with the brakes saw him qualify on the third row of the grid.
But any illusions the Movistar Yamaha men had of clawing back points from Marc Márquez will have to be shelved. Not only will the Repsol Honda rider start from pole on Sunday, but he also has the race pace which was missing on Friday. All thanks to a breathtaking lap of Brno, and a large set of wings which helped cure some of the worst problems with the Honda RC213V.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Brno:
The intermediate class evened up the balance of track incidents that didn’t quite happen in the other two classes. While Lorenzo Baldassarri was flying at the front with the first 2:01 time of the weekend, Tom Luthi’s Kalex was flying over the barrier at turn eleven, in a fast and dangerous incident that made the Swiss rider lose the rest of the session while still second on the timesheets.
His main rival wasn’t much luckier, Baldassarri taking his turn through the gravel at turn fourteen and writing off his bike with twenty minutes to go. His early time proved to be good enough to lead the session until the end. Both riders walked off gingerly but unharmed.
The intermediate class got right up to speed as the light turned green in the pitlane, this morning’s leaders showing their pace was hardly a fluke, Takaaki Nakagami the early leader, with Alex Marquez in close proximity.
The duo’s domination was first challenged by Lorenzo Baldassarri, the Italian rider taking over at the front by over three tenths of a second, a result overturned after the checkered flag was waved. By who, you ask? Well, a less than fantastic morning for the championship leader was followed up by a much more encouraging afternoon, Johann Zarco making a late charge to take top spot on his last timed lap.
The chilly conditions during the first practice session for the intermediate class offered a great playground for two riders in particular. Takaaki Nakagami reigned at the top of the timesheets for the first half of the session, Alex Marquez keeping close and taking over for the second half, the duo half a second away from the rest. Umbrellas started to pop up in the final fifteen minutes, Jonas Folger splitting the two riders late into the session.
Danny Kent moved the spotlight to his side of the Leopard garage this weekend with an encouraging fourth position, followed by Lorenzo Baldassarri and fellow Italian Franco Morbidelli, the Marc VDS rider completing a good morning for the blue bikes.