2017 Le Mans Moto3 FP2 Result: Martin Rains On Kent’s Parade

While the sun seemed to break through the clouds towards the end of FP1 sessions, Le Mans changed its mind at the last minute and a downpour hit the circuit before the lightweight class took to the track for the second time today.

Eleven degrees air temperature and a truly soaked track made for some cautious first few laps for the Moto3 riders. Wildcard Danny Kent showed off his Moto3 expertise to grab the lead midway through the session and he looked on course to keep it before crashing out in the final minutes.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 FP1 Result: A Sunny Morning For Baldassarri

Did someone say wet? Hafizh Syahrin probably said enthusiastically as he headed out for the intermediate class’ first practice session. While the Malaysian rider was the first leader of the session, he dropped back on a drying track and let the usual contenders fight it out at the top.

The Moto2 class had the honour of actually seeing extended patches of blue sky amongst the clouds, although the track kept some slightly damp patches throughout. The blue-wearing men usually dominating proceedings at this point in the weekend let some other names have their way at the top, Lorenzo Baldassarri grabbing the spotlight in the final minutes of the session, as threatening dark clouds were gathering once again.

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2017 Le Mans MotoGP FP1 Result: Miller Steals The Show

The rain in Le Mans was kind enough to stop before the start of the first MotoGP practice of the day, but the brand new tarmac stayed damp in the chilly conditions for most of the session. The final fifteen minutes saw some brave souls head out on slick tyres, Jack Miller the first to make the best of them by topping the timesheets by over three seconds at one point. The Marc VDS rider kept his top position to the flag, although the gap became a little more reasonable.

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2017 Le Mans Moto3 FP1 Result: Norrodin Tops Wet Session

A familiar picture from Le Mans was waiting for the opening act of the racing weekend: rain. The riders gingerly took to a damp track in chilly temperatures to make the most of the track time available.

A slowly drying track towards the end of the session threw in some unusual names at the top of the timesheets, with wet specialist Adam Norrodin taking top position in FP1. He was followed across the line by Niccolo Antonelli, the Italian putting in a late fast lap to end up less than half a tenth off the leader.

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2017 Le Mans MotoGP Preview: Rough Nights, More Grip, And Hayden In Our Hearts

There are few circuits on the calendar whose names ring so loudly through the annals of history as that of Le Mans. Only Assen, the Isle of Man, and Indianapolis are as inextricably associated with motor sports as Le Mans is. Like Indy, though, Le Mans is more associated with four wheels than with two. The 24h Du Mans endurance race is truly one of the landmark events of the motor sports year.

The glamor of that event rubs off on the 24-hour motorcycle race as well. That race is arguably the biggest race on the FIM EWC endurance calendar, and victory there adds extra shine to any rider's record. It is a highlight not just of the endurance racing year, but on the motorcycle racing calendar, marking the rhythm of the racing season as loudly as Jerez, Assen, the Isle of Man TT, Mugello, Phillip Island.

It sets a high bar for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans to live up to. Despite the deep and entrenched love of endurance racing in France, and especially at Le Mans (they have a 24-hour event for everything there, a taxi driver once told me: 24-hour car, bike, truck, and mountain bike race, 24-hour literary festival, even a 24-hour tiddlywinks competition), more spectators flock to the Le Mans circuit for MotoGP than for the 24-hour race. Last year, over 99,000 attended.

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2017 Le Mans MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin ahead of the French Grand Prix:


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP set to come out fighting in France

Setup

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have recharged their batteries after the Spanish GP and the Official MotoGP Jerez Test and are ready to continue challenging during the Grand Prix de France staged at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit this Sunday.

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2017 Le Mans Moto2 & Moto3 Prevew Press Releases

Previews of this weekend from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:


TEAM DEL CONCA GRESINI LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK AT LE MANS

After a bittersweet weekend at Jerez de la Frontera, Team Del Conca Gresini are now looking for a strong showing at to Le Mans, where this weekend the fifth Grand Prix of the 2017 Moto3 World Championship takes place.

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Honda Press Release: Nicky Hayden In "Extremely Critical" Condition

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team issued an update on Nicky Hayden's condition:


Update on Nicky Hayden from Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team would like to share the latest news on Nicky Hayden.

As well as having his fiancé Jackie by his side, Nicky has now been joined by his brother Tommy and mother Rose who arrived in Italy from the United States earlier today.

Below is a statement on Nicky’s condition from the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy.

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Honda Press Release: Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team statement regarding Nicky Hayden

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team have just issued the following statement on the condition of Nicky Hayden after his terrible accident while out cycling:


Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team statement regarding Nicky Hayden

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Nicky Hayden was involved in an incident while cycling near Rimini, Italy yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 17th May)

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Nicky Hayden Hospitalized After Cycling Crash In Italy - UPDATE

Nicky Hayden has been hospitalized after a collision with a car while training on his bicycle near Riccione in Italy. According to reports from local newspaper Rimini Today, Hayden was out cycling on Wednesday afternoon when at around 2pm, he was hit by a car. The causes of the accident are as yet uncertain.

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Subscriber Feature: Alberto Puig Interview - On Identifying Talent, And Making Champions

Alberto Puig has a remarkable knack for identifying talent. Since a leg injury forced him into retirement, the former Spanish Grand Prix winner has been deeply involved with the search for young racing talent, in Spain and beyond. His list of successes is vast: Puig is famous as the man who discovered Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Toni Elias, Bradley Smith, and many others.

Because of these successes, he has often been called to lead projects searching for talented young riders. He started with Movistar, then worked with Dorna to set up the MotoGP Academy, which became the Red Bull Rookies Cup. He has worked and advised on the Asia Talent Cup series, and is now involved in setting up the British Talent Cup.

How does Puig do it? What qualities is he looking for when he evaluates young riders, trying to assess whether they will be a success or not? And is there a rider where he got that assessment wrong? At the launch of the British Talent Cup back in February, I quizzed Puig on his secrets. He joked off my statement that he was one of the best at identifying young talent. "Maybe I'm lucky!" he laughed. But I persisted, and Puig explained what he was looking for in young riders in a fascinating conversation.

Q: It might be luck considered luck if you had only found Dani Pedrosa, but there are so many riders....

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Vive le Zarco!

Finalement, France has someone to cheer in MotoGP. Rookie Johann Zarco has lit up the 2017 season and will be going all-out at Le Mans this weekend

MotoGP has never seen anything like it; at least not since Marc Márquez arrived in 2013. Two weeks ago at Jerez, reigning Moto2 champion Johann Zarco rode the first few laps like he was the king and the rest were rookies. He charged past Valentino Rossi (twice), Cal Crutchlow, Maverick Viñales, Andrea Iannone and Márquez in just a few laps, finding gaps where others could find none.

“Zarco reminds me of me when I arrived in MotoGP,” grins Márquez. “He is really aggressive, he pushes to the limit and sometimes he nearly crashes. This is the way to learn, you need to push, so he’s working in a good way.”

Zarco’s pace and bravery at Jerez were magical and will bring tens of thousands of French fans to Le Mans. It’s about time France had someone to cheer in the class of kings. During 69 years of Grand Prix racing the nation has won only three races in the premier class – that’s an average of one victory every 23 years. Compare that to 230 victories by Italians, 154 by Americans, 137 by Britons and 135 by Spaniards.

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Concessions and control ECU on the cards for WorldSBK?

Momentum for a technical shake-up in WorldSBK has increased but the manner to instigate that change is a big question

The Imola paddock was full of rumor and discussion about changes to the technical regulations for 2018. With Kawasaki and Ducati having shared all but four wins since the start of the 2015 season there have been calls to grant other manufacturers some avenues with which to improve performance. Discussions between the manufacturers took place once again in Italy to lay down a framework for the future.

No answers were forthcoming but with Yamaha and Honda having brought all-new Superbikes to the series in the last year and struggled to compete with the front runners it is clear that the winds of change may be in the air. For 2017 Aprilia increased their involvement with the Milwaukee Aprilia bikes built and prepared in Italy. The former title winning marque has thus far failed live up to preseason expectations.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 51: Title Chase Tightens In Jerez

The Jerez round of MotoGP turned out very differently to the pundits' predictions, with victory for Dani Pedrosa and the Repsol Hondas while the Yamahas struggled badly. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Neil Morrison and David Emmett discuss what turned into a very eventful weekend.

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