The Week That Testing Hits Full Swing - Moto2 & Moto3 In Jerez, MotoGP In Buriram, WorldSBK In PI

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 Jerez test should give a much better indication of what is to come this year, especially in Moto2. The riders missing from Valencia included Pecco Bagnaia, Joan Mir, Alex Marquez, and Sam Lowes, all names reckoned among the favorites for 2018. Seeing how they will fare against Lorenzo Baldassarri, Mattia Pasini, and Simone Corsi, who were fastest in Valencia, should be revealing. Near-live timing is available on the website, with the Moto2 times here, and the Moto3 times on this page.

Once the Jerez test is finished, eager fans will have to wait less than a day for bikes to return to the track. On Friday 16th February the MotoGP teams take to the track at Buriram in Thailand. The full compliment of riders will be present, including Hafizh Syahrin making his debut on the Tech 3 machine. 

The Thailand test is not expected to be particularly instructive, however. Informally, the test in Buriram was being referred to as a "Michelin test" by paddock insiders. The expected heat and the layout of the track is not going to be much help in developing the bike. The Chang International Circuit, as the Buriram track is officially known, is a few long straights strung together with tight corners. What's more, the extreme heat - heat and humidity is expected to be worse than at the already tropical Sepang - will sap a lot of power from engines, making judging them difficult. Michelin, however, will get some data on the stress imposed on tires by the track.

Live timing of the MotoGP test in Thailand will be available via the website. TV coverage of the test will be similar to that on offer for the Sepang test, with regular updates during the test,and then a wrap up show at the end of the day.

The MotoGP test finishes on Sunday the 18th of February, and then we are into the first week of racing. That week kicks off with a two-day WorldSBK test at Phillip Island, ahead of the opening round of the series that weekend, from 23rd to 25th February.


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Hi David! This week is a peek at the presents. Christmas day for me is the Qatar test. At Chang we may get a better look at our rookies trying to adapt in challenging conditions. Syahrin gets a great debut, feverish humidity and traction issues? Start bold buddy! (And how do we pronounce this last name?). Wish list at this point in the season (I have been very good this year):

Trap speeds for the bikes. Super curious re this EVERY year and seldom get them.

Regular check in without particular content goal in mind with spotters/coaches. Laverty's brother always had great stuff. A half dozen of these folks must be frequently trackside - what do they notice? Re each manu's bikes? Riders? Perhaps walking out of an interview with a fantastic headline can be fostered by walking in without one? In general with interviews I love it when it seems that someone may have gotten the sense that the focused usual questions were done and there was now off the record chit chat, and sliding seemingly out of context questions in that we crave insight about.

Suzuki electronics transition - interesting bit.

Ducati cornering of course.

Zarco and tire management via right hand and strategy...according to someone at Michelin or Ohlins?

Digging further than lap time - sector, and for sure corner type. Tracks share common kinds of corners and I always try to notice which bike or rider are particularly strong and weak in which ones. Right now Lorenzo is changing and his rear is stepping out more approaching the apex on sweepers. Not quite Casey of course, but not old Lorenzo either. And his body position is a tad different yes?

Insight re the new tracks. I want to know them like our dear old ones. From a rider perspective.

Rins - We aren't hearing a lot about this guy, and he is hotting up.

Marquez falling off in FP's, staying on on Sundays. Bouncing like a chiclet.

A piece that illustrates the relative budgets, staffing, and facilities of the teams. I would love a better sense of various arsenals and coffers relative to one another.

What about loose qualitative reflections from folks in one paddock about another - I don't know, Melandri perhaps about various teams/bikes/riders in MotoGP? Shakey Byrne too?

Regular notation, perhaps an asterisk next to name, if fastest time was on a Q in SBK or a soft in GP at test.

A few folks in the circus always proffer great info - Cal is always frank about other bikes and riders. Smith insight to rider processes. What about people not currently limited by employer secrecy and media expectations? Are there colorful and insightful paddock insiders to check in with? Or outside of the paddock with lots of knowledge, a meandering Skype/phone interview with Hopkins and the like? Mamola?

Rossi is not replaceable in the bigger sense. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next. Don't sweat squeezing pop headline grabbing interviews out re that on my behalf anyway, so much better reporting to not miss!

Lastly, if and when the right person at Dorna is within shouting distance, no I do not need to see the faces of those same people in garages, yes I want to see the battle last lap further down the order, yes I need to know lap times of riders to compare during the race. I only needed to see Jarvis's flat expression once per season.
And your annual season review DVD, the results for a race should have everyone, not just the top ten. When your commentators changed from present tense to past tense it was awkward and sapped the excitement. Oh, and the music while looking at a city tourism ad (we noticed it had not changed in 6 seasons btw) is not preferable to news, circuit on board lap, and coverage throughout the order of finishers. Can you knock some sense into them for me David?

Anyone else for a sit on Santa's lap?

Big thank you to you for the Alien journo performance!