Tony Arbolino has made a splash on the final day of the Moto3 test at Jerez by taking another tenth off of the unofficial lap record set yesterday by Enea Bastianini. The Snipers Team rider took the lap record to under the 1'45.5 mark, taking half a second off the existing official pole record set by Jorge Martin back in May last year.
Enea Bastianini got the better of Jorge Martin to top the timesheets on the second day of the Moto3 test at Jerez. The Leopard Racing rider destroyed the Moto3 lap record, a result of the circuit resurfacing which took place last year after last year's Grand Prix at Jerez in May.
Dorna issued the following press release confirming the shortening of races in all three Grand Prix classes, as we reported earlier. Seven MotoGP races are to be shortened, ten Moto2 races are to lose laps, and eight races in Moto3. The press release explaining the full list of changes appears below:
FIM MotoGP™ World Championship race durations to change
The number of laps in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races are to be adjusted to ensure greater parity in race duration.
Jorge Martin has topped the timesheets on the first day of the Moto3 test at Jerez. The Gresini Honda rider got off to a strong start topping both dry sessions in the morning and in the afternoon, the lunchtime session having been hit by rain and a wet track.
The official start of the WorldSBK season is less than two weeks away, with practice for the first round set to kick off at Phillip Island on Friday 23rd February. And to get fans in the mood for the return of actual racing, the coming week sees a full program of testing take place.
The week kicks off in Jerez, where the full grid of Moto2 and Moto3 has now assembled. After skipping the Valencia test last week, the Marc VDS Moto2 team, Sky VR46 team, and Swiss Innovative Investors team are all on track together in Jerez. The test will last for three days, from Monday through Wednesday 14th February, with the Moto2 and Moto3 classes taking to the track in separate sessions.
The final day of the combined Moto2 and Moto3 test at Valencia was another sunny but cold one, restricting the usefulness of the morning sessions for the riders. Jorge Martin ended the day as the fastest of the Moto3 riders, just edging out the Italian Enea Bastianini. Marco Bezzecchi was the first of the KTM riders, finishing fractionally behind Bastianini and ahead of Aron Canet. Niccolo Antonelli ended the day in fifth, apparently benefting from a switch from KTM to Honda over the winter.
Gabriel Rodrigo was the fastest of the Moto3 riders at a dry but chilly Valencia circuit. The Argentinian rider just pipped Jorge Martin for the top spot, while Marco Bezzecchi set an impressive third-fastest time.
A dry track, in contrast to yesterday, the first day of the three day test, meant a lot more track action for the Moto3 riders assembled at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. But the cold weather saw a spate of falls: six riders took a tumble, including Tatsuki Suzuki twice, though all walked away unhurt.
The first day of the three-day test for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes at Valencia was a washout. Cold and wet weather meant there was next to no action on track. Only four riders put in any laps at all, the rest preferring to stay in their garages, or wander through the paddock.
With MotoGP and WorldSBK both already having had their first tests of the season, it is now the turn of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams to get the 2018 season underway. Over the next three days, a large contingent of riders from the two Grand Prix support classes will gather in Valencia for their first test of the year.
The complete Moto2 and Moto3 field will not be present at the Valencia test. According to the official website of the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, 26 Moto2 riders and 14 Moto3 riders will be participating in the test. Riders present will include Moto2 favorites such as KTM riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, Gresini's Jorge Navarro, Marinelli Rivacold team's Romano Fenati, and Swiss rider Domi Aegerter, who has successfully managed to raise nearly €170,000 towards his season through a special crowdfunding scheme for Swiss athletes.
As I will be writing my MotoGP travel guides in the same order as the calendar, I will start it in the same place that MotoGP kicks off every year: in Qatar. Why does it start in the middle of the desert so very far away from the vast bulk of MotoGP fans? The answer is simple: money. Qatar pays a lot of money to be the first race of the MotoGP season (and the last race of the WorldSBK season). So if you want to see the MotoGP season opener, you have to travel out to a sandy peninsula in the Persian Gulf.
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Where is it?
The Losail International Circuit is located some 30 kilometers north of the center of Doha, the capital of Qatar. It is situated just off the Al Khor Coastal Road. It is clearly visible from the plane when you fly into Doha, and visible as you drive to the track because of the floodlight system, which appears after the bulbous blue-and-white Lusail Multipurpose Hall, a sports facility.