2016 Aragon MotoGP FP2 Result: Maybe A Honda Track, Definitely A Honda Friday

A cloudy afternoon saw a slightly surprising name at the top of the timesheets, Dani Pedrosa clearly determined to keep his name on the top position. Despite the overcast conditions, the Misano victor led for much of the session, setting the best time of the weekend on his last lap.

Morning leader Marc Marquez started off the afternoon in the midfield on used tyres but a late run put him straight to the top, before getting pushed back by his teammate, the Honda duo being the first riders in the 1:48s. A handful of other riders followed their lead, including Cal Crutchlow, the LCR rider within a tenth of the factory Honda boys and posting that time on the asymmetric harder option front tyre.

2016 Aragon Moto3 FP2 Result: Binder Sneaks Ahead

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.

2016 Aragon Moto2 FP1 Result: The Lowes And Folger Duet

What looked to be a chance for Johann Zarco to leave a mark on his title rival’s homeland, turned into a laptime war between Sam Lowes and Jonas Folger, the two exchanging the lead countless times in the final half of the session. The Brit came out on top, narrowly leading by five hundredths of a second.

Takaaki Nakagami tried to challenge the duo and got as close as nine thousandths of a second but had to settle for third. After leading the session briefly, fourth-placed Simone Corsi was the only rider to get within half a second of the leader, Sandro Cortese in fifth over six tenths down.

2016 Aragon MotoGP FP1 Result: MarquezLand Aragon

With the track heating up nicely, Marc Marquez was quick to get within a second of the race record on his fifth lap, the field almost a second away and playing catch-up for the rest of the session. The championship leader was the first and only rider to drop into the 1:48s, the closest challenger proving to be Valentino Rossi, the Italian sneaking into the top positions on the last lap, almost two tenths off Marquez.

Maverick Viñales was another tenth down, another late charger, tied on fastest lap time with the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso but leaving the Italian fourth. Jorge Lorenzo had a tricky start to the day, the world champion suspecting a faulty tyre on his first run and delaying his mid-session coffee break to catch up with his usual rivals. The Yamaha rider did not put in a new tyre at the end of FP1 and slipped down to fifth in the order.

2016 Aragon Moto3 FP1 Result: First Blood To Navarro

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.

2016 Aragon MotoGP Thursday Round Up: On Momentum, Wings, Arm Pump and a Possible Title

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.

Milwaukee SMR Confirmed as Factory-Backed Aprilia Squad in World SBK

Aprilia have finally confirmed that they will be providing factory backing for the Milwaukee SMR squad in WorldSBK in 2017. It had been an open secret for months that the Milwaukee team were looking to make a switch to Aprilia, and they had signed Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori to contest the championship for them. But it took a long time for the official confirmation to come through.

Lausitzring Lottery-A German WorldSBK roundup

It was a weekend of contrasts in Germany. Four weathers in a race weekend is usually something associated with Phillip Island, but with 30°C temperatures having welcomed the WorldSBK paddock from their summer break, the heat gradually transitioned to a downpour on a cold and windy Sunday.

With Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea claiming the spoils in the races there was little reason to think that this was a standout weekend, but in many ways the German round of WorldSBK could prove pivotal when the season concludes.

2017 Provisional MotoGP Calendar - Almost Identical to 2016

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. 

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - A petrol-head soap opera?

After Misano, let’s hope the off-track chatter at Aragon doesn’t once again eclipse the on-track action

Right now the world’s MotoGP media is all agog, counting down the minutes and seconds to 17.00 hours on Thursday. The reason: a live edition of the latest episode of the MotoGP pantomime, a kind of petrol-head’s soap opera, during which Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be encouraged to say nasty things about each other by journalists hungry for Friday morning newspaper headlines, or Thursday afternoon clickbait.

A Question of Trust: Matching Riders to Crew Chiefs

The music has stopped for the MotoGP riders, with all of them now having taken their seats for next year. That does not mean that contract season is over, however. We are in the middle of another migration, this time of crew chiefs and mechanics.

It all started with Jorge Lorenzo. The Movistar Yamaha rider's move to Ducati for next season left him needing a crew chief. Once his current crew chief Ramon Forcada made the decision to stay with Yamaha, and work with Maverick Viñales, who takes Lorenzo's place, that precipitated a search for someone to work with the Spaniard at Ducati.

It was a search which took some time, but which saw Cristian Gabarrini tempted back to Ducati. The quiet, reflective Italian had been set somewhat adrift after the retirement of Casey Stoner, with whom Gabarrini won MotoGP titles at Ducati and Honda. First, he acted as engineering advisor to Marc Márquez and his crew chief Santi Hernandez, but Márquez made it clear he wanted only to work with Hernandez. Then he was put in charge of Honda's Open Class project, and managing the bikes.

Nicky Hayden to Replace Jack Miller at Aragon

Nicky Hayden is to make a temporary return to MotoGP. The American is to spend his weekend off between WorldSBK races filling in for the injured Jack Miller at the Aragon round of MotoGP. Hayden is to ride Miller's Marc VDS Honda RC213V, marking his first ride on a full MotoGP bike since he left Ducati at the end of 2013.

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