Thomas Luthi dominated FP3 at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit Saturday, with a 1'50.373 that bested second place by three-tenths of a second. Franco Morbidelli’s 1'50.709 was just enough put him into second, just in front of Moto2 championship points leader Johann Zarco (3rd).
What is the biggest downside of the flyaways? The three back-to-back races are crucial on the way to the end of the championship. This is the time you need to perform, where you can make the difference by pushing that little bit harder. The downside, of course, is that if you push too far you can lose everything. "Three races in a row is always complicated," Valentino Rossi told the press conference on Thursday. "You can have a small problem in the first race and pay a lot."
Preview press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix:
Red Bull KTM Ajo begin flyaway rounds with Moto3 title in hand
Following Brad Binder's Moto3 World Championship coronation at Aragon, he takes on the Japanese GP in the first of three consecutive rounds outside of Europe. Bo Bendsneyder looks to adapt to an unfamiliar track.
10/12/2016 - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
MotoGP is suddenly all afroth about rudeness and lewdness; but does it really matter?
Next week the MotoGP circus heads to Japan, possibly the politest nation on earth, so this may be a good time to investigate MotoGP’s new penalties created to stop riders being rude to each other.
In fact, there’s no specific new rule that punishes riders for making obscene gestures, but there’s a catch-all in the disciplinary code of the MotoGP regulations.
The 2017 season is starting to take shape. After the announcement of the provisional 2017 MotoGP calendar in the run up to Aragon, Dorna published the schedule of official tests for the 2017 preseason. Like the race calendar, the test calendar looks remarkably similar to last year.
Testing kicks off after the final race of 2016 in Valencia, and as last year, the riders get a day off between the race and the test, with the bikes taking to the track on Tuesday. Up until last year, the test had always started on the Monday after the race, but that was changed last year, with the explanation that the teams needed an extra day of preparation to get the bikes set up with the Michelin tires and spec electronics.
No major technical rules are to change for 2017 (with the exception of the banning of winglets), but the extra day of rest is to be maintained. Teams felt that the quality of feedback on Monday was often poor, with riders having spent all their energy in the last race of the year, the effort of the season just past catching up with them. A day off to recover, both physically and mentally, should allow the riders to focus more during the two-day test, and provide better feedback.
Momentum. That's what the last race before the Australasian triple header is all about. Momentum heading towards the end of the championship. Coming out on top and carrying it forward to Motegi, Phillip Island, and Sepang is vital. The deal may get done on one of the flyaways, but Aragon is the place where the riders put their chips on the table.
All three races on Sunday had a huge impact on the MotoGP championship. In the first race of the day, a title was settled. In the second race of the day, the championship was blown even further open. The final race of the day saw another brick hammered into the wall of Marc Márquez' third MotoGP title, and further cemented his legacy. It was a good day's racing.
There are a lot of ways to win titles, but the way the 2016 Moto3 championship was settled was about as fitting as it could be. At the end of a classic Moto3 race, where a strong group battled for control until the final four laps, four men broke away from the pack. That group consisted of Brad Binder, the two men who could still mathematically challenge Binder for the 2016 title, Enea Bastianini and Jorge Navarro, and rookie revelation Fabio Di Giannantonio.
The round up from Sunday's three races at the Motorland Aragon circuit has been delayed. Ill health (nothing serious, just a severe bout of flu, and not of the 'man' kind) means I am unable to concentrate sufficiently to produce the quality of work my readers expect and deserve. The aim is to have the round up on the website on Tuesday.
My sincere apologies for the inconvenience and delay.