Joan Mir To Join Marc VDS Moto2 Squad For 2018

The first of the Moto2 moves for the 2018 season has been announced, and it should come as no surprise that it is championship leader Joan Mir who is moving up from Moto3 to Moto2. Mir will take one of the seats in the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS squad, aboard the team's Kalex Moto2 bikes. Mir was impressive last year on the Leopard Racing KTM, and since the team switched to Honda, has continued to impress.

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2017 Barcelona MotoGP Saturday Notes: A Primer On Asphalt, And A War Of Attrition

Sunday at Barcelona is going to be a war of attrition. Everything is conspiring against the riders, and most especially the tires. Temperatures are expected to rise even higher than they were on Saturday, when air temperatures hit over 32°C, and track temperatures climbed to 55°C and above. Those are punishing temperatures in which to race a MotoGP bike, especially at Montmelo, where the heat gets trapped in the bowl of hills which holds the circuit.

Then there's the tires. There is much complaining about the lack of grip and the fact that grip drops off a cliff after seven or eight laps. It would be more accurate to blame that on the track, though: the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has not been resurfaced in twelve or thirteen years, and is very heavily used, both by bikes and by cars. That has created a surface which is both too smooth to provide grip, while simultaneously being incredibly abrasive.

That sounds contradictory, so when Michelin boss Nicolas Goubert spoke to a group of journalists on Friday night, I asked him to explain. The Frenchman explained that grip and abrasiveness came from two different parts of the surface. Asphalt (or rather, a road or racing surface) consists two parts: binder and aggregate. Aggregate is basically small stones, specially selected for size and shape. Binder is usually a special formulation of bitumen, often containing other ingredients.

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2017 Barcelona MotoGP FP4 Result: Pedrosa Turns Up The Heat

In the melting heat of the Catalonian afternoon, the tyre combinations were limited to the harder options, many riders trying on the medium rear after a good showing from Dani Pedrosa. Marc Marquez was fastest out the gates, but another crash in turn nine while he was pushing in the beginning of the session gave Pedrosa a turn at the lead on the hard front and medium rear tyre.

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2017 Barcelona Moto2 FP3 Result: Another Headline For The Marquez Household

Since big brother managed to master every route around this track, the younger Marquez was determined to steal some headlines of his own on the circuit’s return to the F1 layout. The Spaniard led almost the entire morning session before Mattia Pasini remembered he’s the man of the moment and fired in a fast lap to go top. Marquez did one better on his final lap to end FP3 in the lead by seven hundredths of a second, pushing Pasini into second position.

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2017 Barcelona MotoGP FP3 Result: New Layout, Same Marquez

New day, new challenges, the decision to switch back to the F1 layout used in the race last year leaving the MotoGP class with only one session to set a time worthy of Q2. The change saw quite a rush of cancelled lap times before the final rush for a fast time.

The minor change still left the Hondas in charge of proceedings, Marc Marquez starting his morning in trademark style, by elegantly sliding out while topping the timesheets. After failing to restart and going back out on his second bike, the world champion picked up where he left it to recover top position.

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2017 Barcelona Moto3 FP3 Result: A Rare Estrella Galicia Monopoly

The lightweight class was left with a new challenge for Saturday after the Safety Commission decided to revert to the F1 layout used last year for the final chicane; which didn’t change much for the Moto3 teams, other than some extra information from 2016 and some track limits infringements while the riders were getting (re)acquainted with the right way around.

The usual hierarchy wasn’t disturbed either, familiar suspects trading the lead throughout the session, first Joan Mir, then Romano Fenati and finally Jorge Martin occupying the top on the timesheets until the qualifying dummy run started in the final five minutes. Then it was Estrella Galicia’s time to shine, Aron Canet putting in a late lap and a nice save to top another session in Catalunya.

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