Moto3 standings after Brno:
Results and summary of the Moto3 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 Moto3 class in Brno:
The Moto3 class opened Saturday’s proceedings with track conditions similar to FP2, twenty-one degrees and some clouds looming over the action. Seemingly perfect conditions for Brad Binder to post the first (and only) 2:07 time of the weekend, a tenth off the circuit record and six tenths ahead of the rest of the grid.
The rest of the top five was a familiar view until the final minutes, when several riders made quite a massive jump from the back of the timesheets. Jorge Martin was second, always there or thereabouts, while Hiroki Ono in third improved twenty-one places in the final minutes of the session.
Despite the temperatures getting a bit more daring, the sun still failed to feature heavily during the second Moto3 session of the day. That meant the riders struggled to match the times from FP1, the top three being the only ones able to improve on that benchmark. The first of them, championship leader Brad Binder, eventually retook his rightful place at the top of the timesheets.
Following Fenati’s exclusion from the team, the unofficial role of team leader is highly disputed this weekend, with Andrea Migno popping into second place, followed by FP1 leader Enea Bastianini, less than a tenth away.
A chilly misty morning was waiting for some action in Brno, although far from Spielberg-like cold. The young riders managed well those sixteen degrees, with very few incidents, Hiroki Ono being one of the first to take a harmless tumble in turn seven.
At the top of the timesheets, championship leader Brad Binder led after the first timed laps but Nicolo Bulega came out strong too, as did Gabriel Rodrigo, the first to drop into the 2:09s. Andrea Migno was the rider to spend most of the session at the top of the standings but ultimately dropped back as a last lap dash saw Bastianini take over at the top from Jorge Martin and Brad Binder.
It is but a short trip up the road from Spielberg to Brno, but it is a journey between two very different worlds. From the hyper-modern facility at the Red Bull Ring, to the frayed-around-the-edges buildings of Brno. From a track which has been missing from the calendar for the best part of twenty years to a circuit which has seen racing almost since its inception, where teams often come to test. From a track with a paucity of corners, all hard braking and acceleration, to one which flows from corner to corner, where bikes mostly exit in third gear when getting on the gas.
The starkest difference between the Red Bull Ring and Brno is the layout. Both tracks snake up and down hillsides, but where Austria is a track stuck up against a mountain, Brno is a winding road which threads its way through hills and vales. Where Spielberg is basically seven corners, three of which are almost hairpins, all fourteen of Brno's corners are long and flowing.