2017 Misano MotoGP FP2 Result: Petrucci Feels Like Home

Bright sunshine and a warmer track meant that the premier class riders were pretty damn quick right out the box, Marc Marquez bettering his FP1-topping time on only his sixth lap on a hard front/medium rear tyre combination. Teammate Dani Pedrosa followed him through while wearing his shoes the other way around, with a medium front and a hard rear. Things calmed down soon after, in the lookout for some race pace, which both Hondas and the Ducati duo of Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso looked to have to spare, Dovizioso also giving the hard rear a good go to deal with the hotter conditions.

The final ten minutes saw the usual fast run to ensure a decent Q2 benchmark, with the notable exception of the Repsol Hondas who continued on used mediums. After struggling outside the top five for most of the day, Maverick Viñales put his new mediums to good use to narrowly miss on the top position by five thousandths of a second. The honour remained Petrucci’s, with the championship leader in third.

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2017 Misano Moto3 FP2 Result: Di Giannantonio In The Role Of Unlikely Home Hero

The welcome lunch break gave some a good opportunity for the track to bask in some more sunshine and heat up to a nicer 37 degrees.  Romano Fenati found some momentum in the improved conditions to set himself at the top of the timesheets before his bike required some tinkering back in the garage, that giving some time for compatriot Fabio di Giannantonio to get ahead mid-session.

That was the main cast until the final five minutes saw a quick run on brand new rubber for most riders. A recently revived Enea Bastianini took over at the front for what looked like a brief time as the timing screens lighted up with red sectors below him, Di Giannantonio dealing the decisive blow after the checker flag waved.

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2017 Misano Moto2 FP1 Result: Marquez Tops Then Tumbles

Following the efforts of their Moto3 and MotoGP colleagues, the track surface was nearly fully dry by the time the intermediate class took its turn on the Italian circuit.

Misano regular Franco Morbidelli jumped straight to the top of the standings at the start of the session and fended off any early challengers. Rightfully confident with his speed, Morbidelli did not put in new rubber for his final run, while the other side of the garage did, Marquez taking over top spot in the final couple of minutes. It wasn’t lucky all the way through, the Spaniard having a scary crash in turn eight in the final minute and due a visit to the medical centre.

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2017 Misano MotoGP FP1 Result: Marquez Masters Misano

After the heavy rain hit the track overnight, the Moto3 class did a good job of drying the racing line, although the big damp patches off-line were still a rather worrying sight for the premier class riders. That didn’t keep them in their garages for too long though, Danilo Petrucci the first to throw caution to the wind and go nine tenths of a second faster than his rivals on his first handful of laps. The Honda duo relegated him soon after but constantly improving conditions meant that the timing sheets featured more red than Ducati’s merchandise stand.

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2017 Misano Moto3 FP1 Result: Canet Wins Track Drying Contest

A pleasant twenty degrees of temperature could not wipe out the traces of rain that fell over the track all throughout the night before the lightweight class opened this weekend’s proceedings. A damp surface invited to some rain tyre running – unless you’re Philipp Oettl who optimistically tried some slicks straight away.

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2017 Misano MotoGP Thursday Round Up: Unchanging Championship Strategy, And A Technology Bonanza

Does the absence of Valentino Rossi from the Misano race make much difference? It is too early to tell. Certainly the media center feels a little more empty, but this is a trend which has been underway for a while. Print media has less money to spend, and non-specialist media is increasingly choosing not to report from the race track, taking their information from publicly available sources such as the ever-expanding TV coverage.

Specialist print media and websites are also suffering, though their very rationale depends on being at the track, and so they have little choice. So maybe a more empty press room is a sign that Italian newspapers have decided against sending a correspondent because Valentino Rossi is not racing. Alternatively, it could just be a sign of a more general decline in media presence.

The paddock feels pretty busy, but then it was only Thursday, and the real frenzy doesn't start until the bikes hit the track. We won't really know how badly Rossi absence affects the Misano race until the flag drops on Sunday, and official figures and empty spots on grandstands tell the true tale.

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2018 MotoGP Rider Line Up So Far - One Seat Left To Fill

After the announcement that Tito Rabat is to take the GP17 at Avintia Ducati, there is only a single seat still left open on the 2018 MotoGP grid. Xavier Simeon is expected to take that seat, but nothing is yet decided. There are still question marks over Bradley Smith's future at KTM, team bosses unhappy with the Englishman's performance this year. A decision on Smith will likely be taken after the Aragon round of the series. 

Below is the line up as it stands on the Thursday before Misano:

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Tito Rabat Signs With Avintia Ducati - One More Seat To Fill

Tito Rabat is to race for the Reale Avintia team in 2018. The move had been widely expected, talks having started when it became clear there was no future for Rabat at his current Marc VDS Honda team. 

Rabat is to ride a Ducati Desmosedici GP17 at Avintia. The second seat at Avintia is the only seat still left open for the 2018 MotoGP season, and whoever Avintia choose to put on the bike - Belgian rider Xavier Simeon is the current favorite, bringing a sizable sum of money to the team - will use a GP16. The current MotoGP rider line up is here.

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2017 Misano MotoGP Preview - A Glimpse Of A Rossi-less Future?

Will we get a glimpse of a MotoGP future without Valentino Rossi at Misano? The news that the Italian icon had broken his right leg in an enduro accident will have caused hearts to sink at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, just a few kilometers from Rossi's home in Tavullia. Recent editions have been packed to the rafters. With motorcycling's biggest draw out of action, ticket sales, the biggest source of revenue covering the cost of hosting a MotoGP race, are likely to be down.

How much, is the question, of course. Yes, Valentino Rossi is still unquestionably the biggest name in motorcycle racing, but there are plenty of reasons to be watching right now, and plenty of things for Italian fans to cheer for. An Italian rider, Andrea Dovizioso, is leading the championship on an Italian motorcycle, the Ducati Desmosedici GP17. The racing is closer than it has ever been, with any of five or six riders in with a realistic shout of the win, and a handful more a chance of a podium. More often than not, races are won on the last couple of laps, and surprisingly often, in the last corner. Though the loss of Rossi is an undeniable blow, the show will likely be as good as ever.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the signs are that numbers will be down. There are still plenty of tickets on sale for Sunday at Misano, both in the grandstands and for general admission. Normally, tickets would be few and far between. There is every chance that the grandstands, and more especially the paddock, will be a lot quieter than in previous years.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How Lowes can you go?

Who is to blame for Sam Lowes’ MotoGP demise: the rider, Aprilia or someone else? Look behind the scenes and there’s an obvious answer few have noticed

Silverstone was a weird weekend for Sam Lowes: his first and possibly (but hopefully not) last British Grand Prix as a MotoGP rider.

Lowes’ unceremonious sacking during the preceding Austrian Grand Prix caused a minor furore in the paddock and asked some major questions.

Most obviously, what is a contract worth? That’s an easy one to answer: a contract is worth next to nothing if someone is prepared to buy themselves out of it, to some extent. Lowes wanted to continue his MotoGP learning process with Aprilia next year, but all he will receive will be his salary. No bikes. It’s a miserable deal, but that’s the way the world works.

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Interview - Corrado Cecchinelli On Electric Bikes: Charging Batteries, Upgrading Tracks, And The Question Of Noise

Transport is changing, and one of the biggest ways in which it is changing is the shift to electric vehicles. That change is slowly starting to seep into the world of motorcycling as well. Electric motorcycling manufacturers have sprung up in many places around the globe, though more often than not as tech startups in Silicon Valley rather than as engineering firms from more traditional motorcycling regions.

The more established manufacturers have also started to show an interest. BMW offers an electric scooter, the C Evolution, and KTM sells the Freeride E in three different versions. Slowly but surely, a solid engineering base is starting to form for electric motorcycles.

This change has not gone unnoticed by Dorna. The Spanish firm who run MotoGP are making plans for an electric bike racing series, provisionally scheduled to be starting in 2019. That is very provisional, however: a lot of work still needs to be done before such a series can take place. Bikes need to be found, and circuits need to be modified to ensure they have the facilities needed to host, and most especially, recharge the bikes ready for racing.

To find out more about what an electric bike series might look like, and how far along the planning stage Dorna is, we spoke with MotoGP Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli.

Question: How are you involved with the electric bike series?

Corrado Cecchinelli: I’m more in the present stage, which is finding out if there is any chance at all to make a good race, and to explore the technical possibility of the present machines, and guess what it will be in a couple of years, which is difficult. Because in that field you have to assume it will be a lot different. So this is what I’m involved in. Because no decision has been taken, even about doing it or not.

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LCR Honda Press Release: Crutchlow Has Surgery On Finger After Accident At Home

Cal Crutchlow has sliced a tendon in his left index finger, and had to have surgery to repair it and close the wound. Below is the press release from the LCR Honda team explaining Crutchlow's injury:


CRUTCHLOW HAS OPERATION ON FINGER INJURY

PRESS RELEASE: 04 September 2017

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Valentino Rossi To Miss Misano

The Movistar Yamaha team have today confirmed that Valentino Rossi is to miss the Misano round of MotoGP. The injury the Italian sustained in a training accident last week is sufficiently severe that he will not be fit for his home round.

Yamaha had widely been expected to withdraw Rossi from Misano, given the fact that he had broken both the tibia and fibula of his right leg, and only had surgery to pin the bones in the early hours of Friday morning. The last time Rossi broke his leg, it was 40 days before he returned, making Motegi the earliest Rossi is likely to return.

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Takumi Takahashi To Race For Red Bull Honda At Portimao And Jerez

After the tragic death of Nicky Hayden, the Red Bull Honda team has struggled to fill the American's place in their WorldSBK team. Jake Gagne filled in at Laguna Seca, putting an American on the bike at the US round. Davide Giugliano had a modest outing on the Honda CBR1000RR at the Lausitzring, but he was not the long-term solution for the Ten Kate squad either.

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