Dunlop is to remain the official tire supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes for the next three seasons. The European arm of the US-based tire conglomerate is to keep the role it has had since the start of the two four-stroke classes. That, in itself, was an extension of the near total dominance Dunlop had in the 125cc and 250cc classes which preceded them.
Once again, MotoGP’s accident figures broke all records. But does that mean the racing is getting safer or more dangerous?
Late November is a guilt-ridden time of year to be a MotoGP journalist. While dozens of riders check themselves in for post-season surgery, like a reckless driver booking his car’s annual bodyshop makeover, we sit comfortably at our desks analysing MotoGP’s annual Falls Report.
This year’s report runs to 159 pages and contains almost as much pain and anguish as a war novel. Every single crash is recorded in detail: where, when and what were the injuries? And then Dorna’s Friné Velilla divides the accidents into numerous bar graphs, by class, by race track, by year and so on.
The Falls Report isn’t just a ghoul’s delight. There is science behind the data, which is used by MotoGP staff to improve safety. And sensible analysis of the crash statistics can tell us a lot about what’s going on in MotoGP, especially about how each rider gets along with his bike.
Testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes has wrapped up for the winter, as the riders completed the second and final day of testing at Valencia. It was the turn of the Italians to shine, with Pecco Bagnaia topping the timesheets in the Moto2 class, while Enea Bastianini took the honors in Moto3. Bagnaia was fractionally faster than Miguel Oliveira on the KTM, while Monday's fastest man Alex Marquez ended the test in third.
After testing last week at Jerez, some of the Moto2 and Moto3 have migrated north again, back to Valencia. At the end of Monday, Alex Marquez was the fastest of the Moto2 riders, a couple of tenths quicker than Pecco Bagnaia and Luca Marini. Joan Mir showed good improvement as a rookie, moving up to eighth quickest overall, eight tenths slower than Marquez.
The time schedule for the 2018 round of MotoGP at Qatar is to undergo a radical shake up. As we have previously reported, from next season, the time slots are to be moved up much earlier, with most of the action taking place during the day, and only the MotoGP race to take place completely at night.
The change has been made to address a range of problems at Qatar. The 2017 race came under threat when rain started falling between the end of the Moto2 race and the planned start of the MotoGP race. Fortunately, the track dried sufficiently for the race to start with a 45 minute delay, but the later start pushed the race right into the time period during which the dew usually starts to settle on the track, rendering it treacherous.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the two-day test at Jerez:
Oliveira and Binder start 2018 preseason with strong showing
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders begin preparing for next year with two-day test at Jerez Circuit, in which the Portuguese rider was fastest.
11/17/2017 - Jerez Circuit, Spain
Miguel Oliveira and Aron Canet leave the Jerez joint Moto2 and Moto3 test as the fastest in their respective classes. Among the Moto2 riders, Oliveira knocked nearly eight tenths off his time from Thursday to go a tenth quicker than Pecco Bagnaia, who was fastest yesterday. Alex Marquez - who will be staying on to ride the Honda RC213V MotoGP bike next week - ended Friday as third fastest, ahead of Oliveira's Red Bull KTM teammate Brad Binder. Danny Kent had a very strong day on Friday, setting the fifth fastest time just four tenths off Miguel Oliveira.
The Jerez circuit has a busy week or so ahead of it. On Thursday and Friday, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams are testing there, then from Monday to Friday, there is a combined MotoGP and WorldSBK test at the Spanish circuit.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final round of the season:
MARTIN WRAPS UP 2017 IN STYLE WITH MAIDEN WIN AT VALENCIA
After nine pole position and eight podium finishes, Jorge Martin took a well-deserved maiden Moto3 World Championship win today after a superb performance at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit – the track which hosted this weekend the season finale of MotoGP.
In a season which has been rammed to the rafters with drama, it is entirely appropriate that the final round of the year should be just as dramatic. It was partly to be expected, of course, with a championship at stake. Sure, Marc Márquez entered the weekend with a nigh insurmountable 21-point lead. But he still had to finish at least eleventh or else hope that Andrea Dovizioso did not win the race.
Things were looking good after qualifying: Márquez would be starting from pole, while Dovizioso would have to line up on the third row of the grid. Between the two, a host of fast rivals capable of getting in the way of Dovizioso's charge to the front, and perhaps even depriving him of the race win by taking victory in their own right.
By the time the checkered flag fell at the end of the race, enough had happened to fill a Greek epic. Team orders and betrayal, crashes and near crashes, deceit and disguise, secret swapping of bikes, and a bunch or people finishing much higher than any had a right to expect. An intriguing winner, a rider deprived of victory, and at last, a champion crowned. If the 17 races before Valencia had generated plenty to talk about, the final race of the year topped it all.