Results and summary of the Moto3 race in Aragon:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Aragon:
Besides the extra rays of sunshine opening the proceedings on Saturday morning, it looked like the recent contract announcement helped Fabio Quartararo find some more focus on track, the Frenchman in good form to keep it within track limits and top the session by a slender margin ahead of Brad Binder.
Within a tenth of a second of the two was also Jorge Navarro, followed closely by Juanfran Guevara in fourth position. While these names were highly predictable at the top of the standings after the first day of practice, a surprise came from Nicolo Bulega, the Italian finding over a second to jump some fifteen places from Friday. His teammates also had a good morning, Lorenzo Dalla Porta in seventh and Andrea Migno ninth.
Neither the several hours of track action nor the lunch break did much to change track conditions for the small class, the youngsters struggling to get faster than the morning session.
Brad Binder was the first to beat the FP1 benchmark early in the session and shaved off another half a second in his final laps. Perhaps surprisingly, Andrea Migno was his closest challenger in the end, the Italian nowhere in sight during the morning session but a late lap behind the championship leader helped him find about two and a half seconds.
For such an unpredictable class, practice sessions always start oh-so-predictably this season. Jorge Navarro, Brad Binder and Enea Bastianini were fast from the start and let the other play catch up as they struggled for grip on a dirty track.
In the end Navarro stayed on top as the only rider lapping under the 2-minute mark, Juanfran Guevara almost four tenths down on the leader. Bastianini finished a mere two thousands of a second back with rookie Aron Canet keeping really close as well.
Is there such a thing as momentum in sports? Athletes – that includes MotoGP racers, who are in peak physical condition and should be considered as such – believe strongly in momentum. Statisticians disagree. Momentum exists for as long as a team or an athlete keeps winning, or achieving success. Once they stop, then the momentum is gone. But there is never an explanation for why they lose, and why something tagged as momentum should so suddenly disappear.
Whatever statistics may say, if athletes believe momentum exists, then momentum matters. And if there was a moment when momentum matters, it is going into the three-race flyaways. After Sunday night, the MotoGP grid faces a brief break, and then three races in three weekends with long flights in between. It is the toughest part of the MotoGP schedule, and it helps to go into it with a strong mindset. A good result on Sunday will help a lot in that respect. If that is what momentum is, then momentum matters.
There is a current fashion in moviemaking, of taking proven formulas from the past, giving them a light makeover and then relaunching them, then trying to spice them up by referring to them as a "reboot" or "reloaded". Dorna executives must have been to see Ghostbusters, Mad Max, and many more, as the 2017 MotoGP calendar is best described as 2016 Reloaded.
The 2017 MotoGP calendar is almost identical to the 2016 calendar, with a couple of minor tweaks. Those tweaks are a clear improvement on 2016: there are fewer large gaps, and there are fewer back-to-back races. There have been some changes to help with logistics, and some to help with race organizations.
There are few more intimidating atmospheres in motorcycle racing than the MotoGP race at Misano. Unless, of course, you are from what the regional government refer to as Motor Valley, the area which stretches from the Adriatic coast and the up the Po valley towards Milan. The fans are fiery, passionate, and vocal. If you are not a local, to come here and race is to enter the lion's den.
The irony is that since 2010, Spaniards have won every MotoGP race held in Italy, with the exception of the 2014 race at Misano, which was won by Valentino Rossi. The enemy has come into the heart of Italy, and left victorious. It is a grave wound to Italian pride.
For the second time this year, it looked for a long time that Valentino Rossi would heal that wound. At Mugello, it was Yamaha who broke the hearts of Italian fans, after turning up the revs on the Yamaha M1 just a little too far, and causing the engine to detonate, leaving Rossi dejected at the side of the track. At Misano, Rossi took the lead with a firm pass, exploiting a minor mistake by Lorenzo and diving through the barn-door sized opening Lorenzo had left on the inside of Turn 14. There would be fall out from that pass, but not until the press conference.