2018 Aragon MotoGP Friday Round Up: Test Benefits, Ducati Development, And The Yamaha's Fundamental Flaws

What is the value of a MotoGP test? About a morning, if Aragon is anything to go by. At the end of FP1, before any real rubber had built up on the track, four Ducatis topped the timesheets. When I asked Davide Tardozzi whether he was happy with the Ducatis looking so strong so early, he replied that this was just the benefit of testing. Watch and see what Marc Márquez does in the afternoon, Tardozzi said.

Sure enough, by FP2, Márquez had caught up and then passed the Ducatis. The Repsol Honda rider ended the day on top of the timesheets, a tenth ahead of the factory Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo, and half a second quicker than Andrea Dovizioso. Cal Crutchlow was just behind Dovizioso on the LCR Honda, while Andrea Iannone was a fraction over a half a second behind Márquez. The advantage was already gone.

For Yamaha, there wasn't any advantage at all. The Movistar Yamaha team had come to the track and found some gains, Maverick Viñales in particular taking confidence from the test, which he carried into the Misano weekend. That lasted all the way until Sunday, when the grip disappeared in the heat, and the Yamahas slid down the order. Friday at Aragon was more of the same: competitive in the morning, when there was some grip, but nowhere in the afternoon, when the grip went. Rossi and Viñales made it through to Q2 by the skin of their teeth, though with no illusions of a podium, or more. Yamaha are in deep trouble, with no end to their misery in sight, but more on that later.

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2018 Aragon Moto2 FP2 Result: Bagnaia Hogs The Spotlight

With no cloud to hide under, sizzling tarmac welcomed the intermediate class for the final action of the day. Pecco Bagnaia welcomed the challenge and promptly put his name at the top of timesheets but a couple tenths slower than the best time of FP1. The only real threat to his lead came in the final ten minutes, when some new rubber encouraged his rivals to attack. Alex Marquez came closest but the Spaniard could not grab this particular headline at his home race and had to make do with second, barely half a tenth off Bagnaia.

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2018 Aragon MotoGP FP2 Result: Marquez Reclaims MotorLand

It was a hot affair in Aragon and one man familiar with sunbathing weather was Andrea Iannone, the Suzuki man taking charge of the session soon after its start and holding station until the final shootout. With conditions requesting hard tyres throughout the session, some softs made an appearance with five minutes left on the clock and even the reigning world champion played along this time. Marc Marquez might have sat out Friday shootouts of late but he was anything but rusty, picking up top spot and keeping it to the checkered flag.

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2018 Aragon Moto3 FP2 Result: The Beast Tops The List

Under the hot Spanish sun, it was an Italian stealing the show at the checkered flag, Enea Bastianini showing good speed to top the session by two tenths of a second. Several opponents tried to depose him but the Leopard rider bounced right back to keep top position. Gabriel Rodrigo was an early leader of FP2 but ended the day second best, with Nicolo Bulega sneaking back into the top three on his final flying lap.

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FIM Withdraws Romano Fenati's Race License For Rest Of 2018 Season

In an unprecedented move, the FIM has overruled the FIM Panel of Stewards' decision at Misano to ban Romano Fenati for two races. After meeting with Fenati and his representative at FIM headquarters in Switzerland, the FIM decided to withdraw his racing license for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Fenati will now have to reapply for a racing license according to the FIM procedures if he wishes to race in 2019. Whether he will or not is unknown: after he lost his 2018 ride with the Snipers team, and the 2019 ride with the MV Agusta Forward team, Fenati announced he would retire from racing altogether. He has already had his license issued by the Italian federation FMI suspended pending further notice.

The FIM press release appears below:

FIM withdraws Romano Fenati’s licence after discussions in Mies, Switzerland

Moto2 rider Romano Fenati attended a meeting at the FIM Headquarters in Mies on Tuesday 18 September following an incident in Misano during the Moto2 race on Sunday 9 September 2018.

Mr Fenati, accompanied by his legal representative, was received by FIM President Vito Ippolito and FIM Deputy CEO and Legal Director Mr Richard Perret.

Mr Fenati was asked to explain in person his act on the track in Misano, which has given rise to many extreme reactions in the traditional media and on social media platforms.

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2018 Aragon Moto2 FP1 Result: Schrotter Steals The Opening Show

The intermediate class was basking in bright sunshine by the time they took their turn on the dusty tarmac. Pecco Bagnaia was on rails straight away, setting camp at the top of the timesheets and awaiting challengers. The first one came in the shape of Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman tentatively back in the limelight after a few low key performances. While Quartararo got within two tenths of a second of the championship leader, Marcel Schrotter went on to pick up the pace and with it the lead with eight minutes left of the countdown.

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2018 Aragon MotoGP FP1 Result: Ducatis As Far As The Eye Can See

While the crowds were enjoying a late summer holiday in a hot Aragon, the premier class were hot on the pace as soon as they were unleashed from pitlane. And none more so than local boy Marc Marquez, who aimed to make his mark in the corner recently named after him. The Spaniard picked up the lead of the session straight away and ran a consistent pace on medium tyres while his rivals were still finding their feet.

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2018 Aragon Moto3 FP1 Result: Kornfeil Tops And Tumbles

The last European outing before the final showdown started off under lovely sunshine and the fastest men of the lightweight class came to the fore straight away. Despite having to give up on any championship aspirations last time out, Enea Bastianini was right back on the pace to lead the early part of the session but Jakub Kornfeil took charge of proceedings in the final five minutes. The Czech rider was on course to seal the deal with an even faster lap when he ran wide and hit the tyre wall at an uncomfortable angle.

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2018 Aragon MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Eponymous Corner Carnage, No V4 For Yamaha, And The Fenati Lynch Mob

Naming a corner after a rider confers a particular honor on that rider, but it also puts enormous pressure on them. The last time it happened – Jerez in 2013, where the final corner was named after Jorge Lorenzo – things didn't quite work out the way the honoree had hoped. Dani Pedrosa went on to win the race comfortably, while Lorenzo was bumped aside in his eponymous corner by Marc Márquez, finishing the race in third, and clearly upset. That gave rise to an episode of "Handshakegate", a recurring paddock melodrama, where Jorge Lorenzo refused the proffered hand of Marc Márquez, wagging his finger in the younger Spaniard's face as a sign of disapproval.

So what does this mean for Turn 10 at the Motorland Aragon circuit? The long left hander which starts at the bottom of the "Sacacorchos", Aragon's very own version of Laguna Seca's Corkscrew, dips then rises round towards Turn 11, and the back half of the circuit. Today, after resisting for several years, Marc Márquez finally accepted the honor of having the corner named after him, in a ceremony featuring Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta, the circuit director Santiago Abad, and circuit President Marta Gaston.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Dovizioso and Giribuola: MotoGP’s best pitlane partnership?

In conversation with the man behind Andrea Dovizioso’s late title push, crew chief and mechatronics expert Alberto Giribuola

Since the summer break Andrea Dovizioso has been the strongest rider in MotoGP, with two wins and one third place finish. His Misano victory moved him into second overall. The title is a long shot but not entirely out of range for the Italian and his crew chief Andrea Giribuola (above with Ducati general manager Gigi Dall’Igna). Andrea and Alberto, who have worked together since 2016, comprise arguably the cleverest pitlane partnership in MotoGP. They challenged for last year’s title by understanding the bike/tyre combination better than most. This year it has taken them longer to build their challenge because a slight change in Michelin’s rear slick had them confused for the first half of the season.

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