2019 Imola World Superbike FP1 Results: Rea Heads Davies And Bautista

Jonathan Rea opened the weekend on top, ahead of the Ducatis of Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista. Unfortunately, at the scene of his great comeback from injury in 2018, Eugene Laverty ended his weekend with red flags and an ambulance trip, breaking both his wrists in a crash he luckily walked away from.


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Steve English Blog: Four Paddocks In Four Weeks - A Month Of Contrasts

There's a lot to like in this paddock…

Over the last four weeks I've been working in the WorldSBK, British Superbike, CEV and MotoGP paddocks. There's a lot of differences between them but there's a lot of similarities too.

"You'll love it at [insert circuit x, series y], they're a great bunch of people." It's a common refrain when you say you'll be leaving familiar confines and heading to another series. There's always something to take from any series. Since I started working as a journalist, I've worked in pretty much every two- and four-wheeled paddock in the world. Initially I was combining holidays or work trips with races. Pretty quickly I was combining race weekends with work trips...

Trying to get a foothold in the industry, I was lucky to already be working as a 'travelling salesman'. At the time I was a telecoms engineer offering training courses around the world, and luckily for me, most of the customers for my product happened to be in countries holding major races! There's no way I could have managed to go to Daytona for the 500 and then Sebring for the 12 Hours if it wasn't for my job. It's amazing what you can justify to the accounts department when there's a bucket list event to be ticked off!

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Just how fab is Fabio?

They called him the next Marc Márquez and at Jerez he took an important record from the world champion, so is the Frenchman the most exciting rider to hit MotoGP since 2013?

Fabio Quartararo is the fourth stellar rookie to arrive in MotoGP since Marc Márquez won the championship in his rookie 2013 season. But the 20-year-old Frenchman is different from Márquez, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.

The other three raced and won in 125s or Moto3, raced and won in Moto2 and were quickly promoted to MotoGP. Quartararo’s road to MotoGP was somewhat different. It started well, but later went so badly awry that he might never have made into the class of kings.

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Silverstone To Be Resurfaced In June, Contract Extended To 2021

The Silverstone circuit is to be resurfaced in June, ahead of the British F1 Grand Prix, and to be ready for the 2019 British round of MotoGP at the circuit in August.

The resurfacing was a condition for the Northamptonshire circuit to be able to host MotoGP. After last year's debacle, when the race had to be canceled because the track was not clearing water fast enough to be able to race safely, the FIM suspended Silverstone's license to host international motorcycle racing events. 

To avoid a repeat of that debacle, Silverstone brought in Jarno Zafelli, owner of Studio Dromo, an engineering company with expertise in track design, while Tarmac Ltd - the business founded by the inventor of the sticky black road surface - will be responsible for laying the new surface. Zafelli acts as an advisor to Dorna on track safety, design, and surfacing, and has been a key figure in overseeing the process.

Special equipment has been flown in from Japan, according to Mat Oxley over on Motor Sport Magazine. The profile of the circuit is being modified to improve drainage, and the asphalt will be a fraction more open to help disperse the water.

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Jerez MotoGP Monday Test Round Up: Quartararo Leads, Honda Use New Chassis, Yamaha Make Small Steps

The day after the Spanish round of MotoGP, the riders were back on track, busting out lap after lap with a lot of work to be done. After 25 laps on Sunday in the punishing heat, almost the entire grid did another three race distances or more on the Monday. Everyone rode, with the exception of Andrea Iannone, who was still suffering with an extremely painful ankle after a crash on Saturday, and Stefan Bradl, who had handed his test bike over to Marc Márquez to turn some laps on.

Conditions were ideal, the track all rubbered in after Sunday's race and the track temperature in the mid-40s, perfect for Jerez. That was both a good thing and a bad thing: riders who wanting to work on something specific, such as corner entry or mid-corner speed, could take full advantage of the grip to understand the finer details of what they were working. Teams and riders who are chasing traction on corner exit, like the factory Yamaha riders, or confidence in low grip conditions, like Jorge Lorenzo were not helped at all. With plenty of grip, it was much harder to work on their problems.

Fabio Quartararo ended the day as fastest, destroying his own pole record by half a second. And it wasn't just a single lap: of the 73 laps the Petronas SRT Yamaha rider put in, 21 were under the 1'38 barrier, 7 of them faster than 1'37.5. As a satellite rider, the Frenchman did not have a whole bunch of things to test, though he did have some forks from Ohlins to try.

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Jerez MotoGP Test Times Final: Quartararo Smashes Lap Record

Fabio Quartararo leaves the Jerez Monday test as fastest, having shattered his own pole record set on Saturday by half a second. Cal Crutchlow took second spot, four tenths behind the Petronas Yamaha rider, and three tenths ahead of Quartararo's teammate Franco Morbidelli.

There were a spate of crashes at the end of the day. Jorge Lorenzo crashed at Turn 6, then again at Turn 9, while Taka Nakagami crashed in Turn 3. Joan Mir also took a tumble at Turn 9. No serious injuries were reported.


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Jerez MotoGP Test Times, 2pm: Quartararo Leads Marquez

Testing continues at Jerez, with the riders putting in a lot of laps before lunch. Fabio Quartararo is still currently fastest, though Marc Marquez has closed the gap a little to take second. Franco Morbidelli is third, just ahead of Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo, and Takaaki Nakagami.

Suzuki have debuted their rear swingarm spoiler, a large item shown below. They were the last of the factories to try one out, after KTM tested one at Austin.

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Jerez MotoGP Test Times, 12:30 - Quartararo Leads Morbidelli

A day after the race at Jerez, the MotoGP riders are all back on track and testing. It's a busy day already with a lot of riders on track. Marc Marquez has already been out on the development bike Stefan Bradl has been using, with the carbon fiber covers on the frame. Andrea Iannone was declared fit, and tried to ride, but the pain in his ankle proved too much.

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Jerez MotoGP Subscriber Notes: On Quartararo, Dealing With Adversity, Young Pretenders, And A Tight Championship

What is a new surface worth? The short – and wrong – answer is just under a second a lap, for Jerez at least. The long answer is that there have been too many changes in the series to give a definitive answer. Comparisons between 2018 and 2019 are complicated, as much more than just the surface has changed.

But the track is undoubtedly much quicker, and the surface is much better. The MotoGP race was 31 seconds faster than in 2018, Marc Márquez taking seven tenths of a second off the race lap record. But the Moto3 race was only (well, "only") 9 seconds faster than last year. The Moto2 race was cut to just 15 laps, making comparison impossible, but the race lap record in the intermediate class was 0.9 seconds faster than the previous record.

So how much of that improvement is the track? Moto3 is arguably the wrong class to judge the track by: what makes the class so enjoyable is the fact that nine or ten riders spend almost the entire race engaged in fierce combat at the front, so nobody is riding an ideal line. Moto2 has different engines, different electronics, and Dunlop brought a different profile tire with a larger contact patch to Jerez, all three of those factors adding a significant element to the much faster pace of the race.

Tight and fast

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