2017 Jerez IRTA Test Preview: Full Moto2 & Moto3 Grids Assemble For First Time

As the start of the MotoGP season draws near, this is a big week for motorcycle racing. On Wednesday, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams meet for the first official test of the season at Jerez, lasting until Friday. Early Friday morning, European time, the second round of the WorldSBK championship kicks off at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Then on Friday afternoon, the MotoGP teams start the final test of preseason at the Losail circuit in Qatar.

But the first place to see action is Jerez. After several private tests scattered around Spanish tracks, it is the first chance to see the entire Moto2 and Moto3 grid on track together. Or most of the grid: injury leaves at least one rider sidelined, Stefano Manzi being out with a knee injury. The three-day test is split into sessions, with the Moto2 and Moto3 classes each going out separately.

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Carmelo Ezpeleta On The British Talent Cup: Dorna's History Of Nurturing Talent

It is terribly fashionable in some circles to regard Dorna as a blight on the face of motorcycle racing. Their alleged crimes are both heinous and manifold. They have dumbed down the sport by exerting an ever tighter grip over the technical regulations. They killed off the two strokes in favor of four strokes. They have aggressively pursued copyright and trademark claims, at the cost of broadening the appeal of the sport. They have been relentless in their pursuit of financial gain over the spirit of the sport. They have meddled in the sport to favor one rider, or one nationality over the rest.

Most of these complaints are either baseless, or an expression of anger at how the sport has changed over the years. Some points are valid: the death of the 250cc two strokes, however understandable from a financial point of view, was a tragedy, as a 250cc two stroke was perhaps the most perfect expression of a racing motorcycle. In the past, as I found myself on occasion, Dorna were slow to embrace change online, and wasted energy chasing down Youtube clips of MotoGP, rather than controlling them by providing them to fans in an easy-to-share way. (Fortunately for the fans, they have learned and bettered their ways in this regard.)

Yet it is hard to argue with results. This season, six factories – three Japanese, three European – will line up on the MotoGP grid. 23 riders from seven different countries will take the start, with a grand total of 31 world championship titles between them. The bikes they will ride are extremely close in performance, with technical differences limited. For the past two years, riders from three different countries have won the three Grand Prix titles. The MotoGP series has emerged from global financial crisis in rude health, despite some major challenges along the way.

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Aprilia Launch 2017 MotoGP Campaign In Noale

The last factory to launch their 2017 bike have done so at last. Today, at their factory in Noale, Aprilia unveiled the colors they will be flying in their assault on the 2017 MotoGP championship. The livery, a design by Aldo Drudi, is based on the Italian tricolor of red, white and green, complete with a blue pane dedicated to sponsor Sky's online TV service Now TV. 

The 2017 version of the Aprilia RS-GP uses a revised weight distribution, with the center of mass having been moved slightly, Aprilia Corse boss Romano Albesiano told the press at the launch. The bike on display used a conventional fairing, one of two different options the factory will use at various tracks. The other fairing Aprilia will use is the aerodynamic package debuted at Phillip Island.

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Alex Lowes, Hubris and Humility: Learning From The Past To Be Fast In The Future

Motorcycle racers are complex characters. If they are to achieve success, they must find a way to combine hubris and humility without their personalities veering off the scale at either end. Without hubris to believe they are the best rider in the world, they would never find the determination to dig deep in preparation, and overcome the pain and adversity the sport brings. Without humility, they would never be open to the constant process of refinement and learning, of throwing away preconceived ideas, acknowledging mistakes, and being open to the information which can help them be even better.

Few riders are willing to talk about the two horns of this dilemma they find themselves caught upon. From time to time, they may allude to it in passing, but rarely do they speak openly and candidly about it.

Which is why speaking to Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, at the launch of Yamaha's global racing program was so refreshing. In a candid and very open interview, Lowes spoke of his aspirations for the 2017 season and beyond. He talked about the lessons he learned during the 2016 season, including the hardest lesson of all, seeing his teammate get a podium. Lowes also talked about the things he learned from his stint in MotoGP replacing the injured Bradley Smith, and the insights it gave him into how to get more out of the Yamaha YZF-R1M in World Superbikes.

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Hector Barbera Breaks Collarbone In Training Accident

Hector Barbera has broken his left collarbone in a training accident, the Avintia Ducati team announced via their Instagram account. The 30-year-old Spaniard was training with a 600cc sports bike at the Valencia circuit when he crashed, fracturing his collarbone.

Barbera is due to undergo surgery at the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona on Thursday, where Dr Mir will put a plate on his collarbone to correct the problem. 

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How MotoGP anti-jerk works

The last in our series of blogs explaining the mysteries of MotoGP electronic rider aids

OK, enough with the sniggers. This isn’t a clever computer program that helps exasperated MotoGP engineers deal with petulant, prima-donna riders, it’s an important rider aid that’s become even more so since the advent of unified software.

Anti-jerk helps riders get through the transition from off-throttle to on-throttle in the middle of a corner. As they enter the corner they have the throttle fully closed, then when the right moment comes they start to ease the throttle open. At this point the engine goes through a transition from negative torque to positive torque, which causes tolerances in the transmission to deliver a jerk (or hit) in the engine. With so much lean angle and so much torque available, this can disastrous, either ruining the rider’s drive off the turn or triggering a slide from which he or she won’t recover.

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Notes From Phillip Island WorldSBK: Rea vs Davies, And The New Grid Format

Can we just have every race at Phillip Island? That's certainly what a lot of fans will be thinking after a thrilling opening weekend of WorldSBK action. The tension that has simmered between Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies over the winter came to the fore over the weekend and once again it these two riders fighting it out for wins.

Jonathan's Island

Jonathan Rea had a fight on his hands for both wins in Australia but the reigning WorldSBK champion did enough to continue his domination of Phillip Island. In claiming his fifth win in the last three years at the Australian circuit the Northern Irishman also became just the fourth rider in history to win 40 WorldSBK races.

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Repsol Honda Private Test: Marquez Dislocates Shoulder During Single Day of Testing

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. 

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 46: Testing, Testing - Talking Phillip Island, And More

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.

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2017 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 2 Notes: Title Favorites Talk Season Opener

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.

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2017 Philip Island World Superbike Race Two Results: Reversed Grid Antics

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.

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2017 Philip Island World Supersport Race Results: Red Flag Gives Exciting Ten Lap Sprint

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.

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