The Repsol Honda team did not have a great deal of luck during their private test at Jerez. The test, scheduled for two days, was meant to help Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa make a final decision on which engine to use in their Honda RC213V for the rest of the season.
With engines due to be sealed at Qatar, the Jerez test was crucial. The tight nature of the Andalusian circuit brings out the worst in the characteristics of the Honda engine, so testing there would provide the best data on whether the new engine was an improvement or not.
We are in the middle of testing season, and so after two MotoGP tests at two very different circuits, Neil Morrison and David Emmett sit down to go over the state of play in MotoGP. The big question from both Sepang and Phillip Island is whether Marc Marquez or Maverick Viñales is the favorite to emerge from preseason testing. Neil and David weigh the pros and cons, and go over the data from the test so far.
The second race of the WorldSBK season saw history made with the introduction of the much-touted revised grid that saw the podium men from Race 1 start from the third row.
This meant that Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes had to fight through the field during the 22 lap affair. It proved little challenge for Rea and Davies to hit the front but ultimately Sykes lost too much time making progress and abused his tires trying to bridge the gap to the leading group.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the opening weekend of the 2017 season in Australia:
World Superbike standings after the first weekend of racing in Australia:
WSS standings after the first race of the year in Australia:
World Superbike race two is the first race to use the new-for-2017 reversed grid. The grid position is determined by a mix of where a rider qualified and where a rider finished in Saturday's race one. The front row is made up of the riders from fourth to sixth position, the second row is made of the riders from seventh to ninth position while the third row is the top three, the riders on the podium, only reversed, putting the winner in ninth place and the third placed rider seventh.
4 5 6 7 8 9 3 2 1
The fourth and subsequent rows are decided by where the rider qualified in Superpole, with anyone who qualified in the top nine who did not finish in the top nine pushed back to tenth place, and so on.
The opening race of the World Supersport series was not without incident as several riders crashed in isolated incidents in the first three laps and was stopped when Robin Mulhauser's Honda flipped end over end and deposited a touch of oil and carbon fibre shrapnel across the track. The race was cut down from fifteen to ten laps and the restart would use the Superpole grid as opposed to track position as too few laps were completed for anything to count. A quick restart procedure put a mechanic out with each rider but none of the usual fanfare or unnecessary latex clad brolly dollies.
WorldSBK came back with a bang in the opening round of the 2017 season. With five different leaders and four manufacturers in the scrap for the podium the Phillip Island crowd was treated to a superb season opener that eventually saw Jonathan Rea come out on top.
Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after the first WorldSBK race and qualifying for the World Supersport class:
Philip Island is a favourite track for riders and fans alike and it produces fast, close racing. The first race of the year and everyone apart from Davies and Fores used the Pirelli SC2 front tyres and the SC1 rears, ready for twenty-two laps where the results determine where you start race two. With Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty both returning to World Superbike and Stefan Breadl and Randy Krummenacher both joining the class, the new mixed with the old as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies all looked intent on continuing their three-way scrap for the title.
PJ Jacobsen as dominated qualifying up to now, with only Jules Cluzel getting close enough to worry the American's times and Kenan Sofuoglu absent for the first two rounds. Michael Canducci and Christian Gamarino were the quickest Superpole one riders going into qualifying and would have twelve other riders to beat to qualify for the second session.
Eleven riders took part in Superpole one in near-perfect conditions, aiming to take one of the two top spots to advance to the second session. Eugene Laverty, sporting duel-ready musketeer facial hair, was favourite to advance to the second session, eleventh quickest ahead of Michael van der Mark. Leon Camier, thirteenth quickest, missed out on most of the qualifying yesterday and went into Superpole with very little data and a fistful of guesses.