The provisional rider line up for the Moto2 class has been published for the 2018 season. The class is as popular as ever, with 33 riders entered to race for the season. With the arrival of NTS, who will be racing in collaboration with the RW Racing team, there are now 6 manufacturers in the grid: KTM, Kalex, Suter, NTS, Tech 3, and Speed Up. Kalex still dominates, with 19 bikes, but KTM has stepped up its program to a total of 6 bikes, the others all fielding two riders apiece.
The provisional line up for the Moto3 class has been announced. The field is slightly reduced this year, to 28 entries, partly as a result of the withdrawal of Mahindra. Just two manufacturers remain, KTM and Honda. KTM will be fielding 15 bikes, Honda 13. As ever, Spanish and Italian riders dominate, with 7 Spaniards and 9 Italians on the grid, but there are a grand total of 11 nationalities starting next year, including on rider from Kazakhstan.
The provisional rider list appears below:
For the fourth time in twelve years, Valencia will play host to a MotoGP title showdown. On Sunday, Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez will slug it out for who gets to call themselves the 2017 MotoGP champion. If you want a detailed breakdown of who has to finish where to wrap up the championship, you can read our separate story here. But it boils down to two simple premises: If Andrea Dovizioso doesn't win the race, the title belongs to Márquez, but Márquez can put it out of reach of Dovizioso by finishing eleventh or better.
If you are staging a championship showdown, the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, near Valencia, is a fine venue to choose. Set in a natural bowl, the circuit owners have managed to snake 4km of asphalt into a confined space. The upside to that is that spectators can see just about every part of the track from whichever stand they sit in. The furthest point of the track is at most a kilometer away, no matter where you sit.
Cramming so much track into such a tight space has obvious consequences. There are a lot of tight corners in Valencia: of the fourteen turns the circuit has, three are first gear corners, six more are second gear corners, while half of them are tighter than 90°. The compact space into which the track is crammed, combined with the long front straight create a lot of complications for tire manufacturers.
Maverick Viñales started this season as MotoGP title favourite. But he’s not won a race since May. What went wrong?
It’s been a strange year for Maverick Viñales. He has lived his first season in the shadow of the sport’s brightest sun – Valentino Rossi – and has become a shadow of his former self.
Since Qatar his gait has changed entirely, so much so that he looks a different man. Back in March he was all relaxed smiles, now he looks worried, haunted, defeated.
And with good reason. Preseason was a dream: Viñales and his Yamaha YZR-M1 topped all three tests, then he comfortably won the first race in Qatar and ran away with round two in Argentina. “He was already world champion!” recalls Marc Marquez, who had amassed just one quarter of Viñales’ points haul after the first two races.
On Sunday, Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso will line up on the grid for the final MotoGP race of the 2017 season. At stake is the title of 2017 MotoGP champion. For Marc Márquez, it would be his fourth MotoGP title, making him the most successful Spanish rider in the premier class. For Andrea Dovizioso, it would be his first title, the one which is always most highly prized.
Dovizioso's challenge cannot be underestimated. He trails Marc Márquez by 21 points. His path to the championship is difficult, and relies heavily on things going wrong for others. Marc Márquez, on the other hand, faces a much easier task. The Repsol Honda rider has his destiny entirely in his own hands.
Michael van der Mark is to make a second appearance in MotoGP. The Dutchman is to step in once again to replace Jonas Folger in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team at Valencia.
Though the announcement is not yet official, the Dutchman revealed he would be riding at Valencia in a Dutch-language interview for the WorldSBK website, and published by the Dutch website Racesport.nl. Recorded after the final round of WorldSBK at Qatar on Saturday, Van der Mark says, "It's great to be riding in MotoGP again next week in Valencia. It's a shame Jonas [Folger] is still ill, but I'm deeply honored that Hervé [Poncharal] has asked me once again to replace him. It shows that I did my best in Sepang."
The final standings in the 2017 WorldSBK championship:
The final standings in the 2017 WorldSSP championship:
Press releases from the WorldSBK series organizers and teams after the final race of the year at Qatar:
The last race of the year, with all the titles decided, all that remains is Jonathan Rea's chance at a points total record, attempting to beat the 552 points hauled in by Colin Edwards in 2002 and the fight for second place in the championship between Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies.
The World Supersport championship came down to the last race, with Kenan Sofuoglu keeping it alive in spite of breaking his hip five weeks previously. Lucas Mahias led the fight by twenty points going into the last round.
Press releases from the WorldSBK and WorldSSP teams after the first race of the weekend in Qatar:
WorldSBK standings after the first race at Qatar:
Seventeen laps in the desert under artificial lighting, the air temperature was 28ºC and it was the penultimate round of the battle for second place between Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies.
World Supersport qualifying had some surprising names in Superpole one, fighting for only two slots in Superpole two.