Motorsport Week - MotoGP News http://www.motorsportweek.com Catch up on all MotoGP news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13585http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13585Suzuki’s Álex Rins eyes MotoGP rookie honoursTue, 17 Jan 2017 13:28:25 GMT<p><strong>Suzuki newcomer &Aacute;lex Rins says finishing 2017 as MotoGP&rsquo;s top rookie is his target as he prepares to make his debut in the premier class this season.</strong></p> <p>Rins, 21, has replaced Yamaha-bound Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales at Suzuki and graduates to MotoGP following two years in Moto2, in which he claimed four wins, along with the runner-up position in the 2015 standings.</p> <p>Rins will be one of four rookies on the grid this season, along with Tech 3 pair Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger, and Aprilia&rsquo;s Sam Lowes, the quartet all stepping up from the intermediary category.</p> <p>Rins is confident that he can finish ahead of his former Moto2 rivals across the course of the 18-race campaign.</p> <p>&ldquo;From what I saw in Valencia [during post-season testing], the goal will be to end the season as Rookie of the Year &ndash; and beat the riders I was racing against in Moto2,&rdquo; he explained to <em>Movistar+</em>.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s the goal I&rsquo;m giving myself at the moment. Maybe when I&rsquo;ve done more laps and I&rsquo;m more settled in, it will change &ndash; top 15, top 10&hellip;I have no idea.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rins is also aware of the comparisons with compatriot Vi&ntilde;ales and is optimistic that he can follow in the footsteps of the Yamaha rider.</p> <p>&ldquo;Obviously it&rsquo;s going to be a lot of pressure, because I&rsquo;m replacing Maverick at Suzuki,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;And I have always been racing him and battling with him in the smaller categories.</p> <p>&ldquo;And in Moto2, he left Pons Racing and I joined them, so there&rsquo;s always been a bit of comparison.</p> <p>&ldquo;But hopefully that will continue in MotoGP due to me having had two incredible seasons. I&rsquo;ll try to equal what he did &ndash; or even beat it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rins will partner former Ducati rider Andrea Iannone at Suzuki this season.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13515http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13515Pol Espargaro excited to show what KTM can do in debut seasonSat, 07 Jan 2017 12:31:49 GMT<p><strong>Pol Espargaro is excited to show what KTM can do in its debut MotoGP season, but admits it will be a year of learning for them both.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard has moved from the Yamaha Tech3 team to race for the KTM factory team and although it lacks experience, the company overall is very successful in what it does and Espargaro is therefore confident heading into 2017.</p> <p>&quot;KTM have big ideas,&quot; he told the official MotoGP website.&nbsp;&quot;Where they go, they win. So they&rsquo;re confident of their potential, but it&rsquo;s still a very young project.</p> <p>&quot;We need experience. But I&rsquo;m quite positive. From the first race we need to keep improving, until the last one. We&rsquo;re here to try, and show that KTM can do it.&quot;</p> <p>KTM is trying a number of developments which haven&#39;t been seen in MotoGP before and although Espargaro admits it&#39;s a bit of a concern, he says they have to try these things if they&#39;re to succeed.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;re using different front forks that&nbsp;no one is using &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if that will be a problem or an advantage, but it&rsquo;s certainly different.</p> <p>&quot;The tubular chassis is the most worrying thing &ndash; not because it&rsquo;s bad; because it&rsquo;s new. Nobody has tried it. KTM uses it everywhere else they race &ndash; but it&rsquo;s really different to what MotoGP is used to. So we&rsquo;re going to try it!&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13462http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13462Valentino Rossi came 'very close' to racing in F1Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:44:10 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi previously came &ldquo;very close&rdquo; to making the switch over to Formula 1, according to his father.</strong></p> <p>Rossi has won nine MotoGP world titles, seven of them in the premier class, and first tested an F1 car earlier in his career back in 2004.</p> <p>It took place at Ferrari&rsquo;s Fiorano test track alongside Michael Schumacher. He then tested in F1 several more times over the years.</p> <p>The Italian was linked to an F1 drive numerous times, including when Felipe Massa was injured during the 2009 Hungarian GP weekend.</p> <p>The Brazilian was ruled out of the rest of the season, with Ferrari eventually opting to replace him initially with Luca Badoer before bringing in Giancarlo Fisichella.</p> <p>&ldquo;Valentino was very close to driving in Formula 1,&rdquo; Rossi&rsquo;s father Graziano said in a video posted on the <em>MotoGP website</em>.</p> <p>&ldquo;Because the only thing which is comparable to a MotoGP bike is a Formula 1 car, and [competing in] other motorsport [categories] would be taking a little step down.</p> <p>&ldquo;Valentino refused [a move] &ndash; his love for MotoGP was too big.&rdquo;</p> <p>He added: &ldquo;If the day after tomorrow he still wants to go fast in a rally car, for example, or in a touring car race, or something other than Formula 1, then he can. But only after he has ended his mission to be number one in the world.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13453http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13453MotoGP confirms new layout for 2017 Catalan Grand PrixThu, 15 Dec 2016 10:11:19 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP organisers have confirmed they will use a new layout for the Catalan Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2017 following the tragic death of Moto2 rider Luis Salom earlier this year.</strong></p> <p>The changes are aimed at slowing riders through sector three and will see MotoGP use the Formula 1 layout at Turn 10, whilst a new chicane will be added after Turn 13, but before the F1 chicane &ndash; though they are similar in design.</p> <p>The new layout is slightly shorter than before at 4,652m and work will begin in January.</p> <p>The race is due to be held on June 11 and is the seventh round of the 2017 season.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/motogp-catalunya-layout.jpg" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13426http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13426MotoGP announces tweaks to 2017 calendarWed, 07 Dec 2016 17:48:04 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP has confirmed tweaks to the 2017 calendar, with the German Grand Prix being brought forward.</strong></p> <p>The Sachsenring race was originally set to take place on the 16 July, three weeks after the Dutch Grand Prix and three before the Czech GP.</p> <p>But it has now been moved forward by one week to the 2 July date, increasing the summer break to over a month.</p> <p>All other dates from the provisional calendar remain unchanged for 2017.</p> <p><strong>Updated 2017 MotoGP calendar:</strong></p> <p>26 March: Qatar (Losail)*</p> <p>9 April: Argentina (R&iacute;o Hondo)</p> <p>23 April: Americas (Circuit of the Americas)</p> <p>7 May: Spain (Jerez)</p> <p>21 May: France (Le Mans)</p> <p>4 June: Italy (Mugello)</p> <p>11 June: Catalunya (Barcelona)</p> <p>25 June: Netherlands (Assen)</p> <p>2 July: Germany (Sachsenring)</p> <p>6 August: Czech Republic (Brno)</p> <p>13 August: Austria (Red Bull Ring)</p> <p>27 August: Great Britain (Silverstone)**</p> <p>10 September: San Marino (Misano)</p> <p>24 September: Aragon (MotorLand)</p> <p>15 October: Japan (Motegi)</p> <p>22 October: Australia (Phillip Island)</p> <p>29 October: Malaysia (Sepang)**</p> <p>12 November: Valencia (Ricardo Tormo)</p> <p>*Evening Race</p> <p>**Subject to the contract</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13424http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13424Repsol and Honda extend MotoGP deal through to 2018Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:33:18 GMT<p><strong>Repsol and Honda have extended their MotoGP sponsorship deal through to the end of the 2018 season, it has been announced.</strong></p> <p>Spanish energy company Repsol is currently a title sponsor of the Honda factory MotoGP squad, which currently fields 2016 champion Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Repsol and Honda&rsquo;s partnership began back in 1995 and the two have claimed 12 riders&rsquo; titles together.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are delighted with the renewal of the agreement with our title sponsor Repsol through the end of 2018,&rdquo; said Tetsuhiro Kuwata, Honda Racing Corporation racing manager. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This year we celebrated together our 12th MotoGP world title in 22 years of collaboration, an amazing achievement in the history of the motorcycle World Championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;This record demonstrates the great value of this partnership which, in addition to including a great sponsorship agreement, has also benefitted us with crucial technological development.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13288http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13288Maverick Vinales fastest on both days of Valencia MotoGP testThu, 17 Nov 2016 18:36:16 GMT<p><strong>Maverick Vinales ended both days of the Valencia post-season MotoGP test at the top of the timesheets on his debut for Yamaha.</strong></p> <p>Vinales put in a 1m30.930 near the end of the first day to move to the top of the timesheets, finishing 0.020 seconds clear of his new team-mate Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>Rossi emerged as the pace-setter in the morning but crashed at Turn 10, only returning to the circuit with 90 minutes to go.</p> <p>Jorge Lorenzo made his official debut on a 2016 Ducati and ended the day third, putting in 39 laps in total.</p> <p>He spent most of Tuesday towards the bottom section of the top 10 before moving up the order to go 0.122s down on Vinales.</p> <p>2016 world champion and Honda rider Marc Marquez was fourth, ahead of Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Dovizioso &ndash; running the 2017 bike &ndash; and Cal Crutchlow. Suzuki&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone was seventh.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Vinales remained at the top of the order, this time putting in a 1m29.975 late in the day to move ahead of Marquez.</p> <p>It was a disrupted day of testing, with an hour-long red flag from 11am after Suzuki riders Alex Rins and Iannone crashed at Turn 12 within a short period of time from each other.</p> <p>Marquez also suffered a crash during the day, early in the afternoon, but he was able to continue. Dovizioso was third fastest, ahead of Iannone and Honda&rsquo;s Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>LCR Honda&rsquo;s Crutchlow and Yamaha rider Rossi were sixth and seventh, after putting in identical lap times. Part of Rossi&rsquo;s programme included running Yamaha&rsquo;s 2017 engine.</p> <p>Lorenzo put in his final test outing for Ducati until the end of January and ended the final day of the Valencia test in eighth.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13281http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13281Marc Marquez 'ran out of laps' at ValenciaTue, 15 Nov 2016 21:29:58 GMT<p><strong>Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez has admitted he ran out of laps and pushed like he had nothing to lose during the MotoGP 2016 finale at the Valencia circuit.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard started from second place but a poor getaway dropped him to sixth and he was forced to fight back to the podium.</p> <p>He went hunting down Jorge Lorenzo in the final laps but despite closing in on the Ducati-bound rider, the current MotoGP champion &ndash; who secured the crown in Japan &ndash; ran out of time.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was the worst start of the year,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;There was a mistake or problem with the clutch, a big wheelie and I lost a lot of time.</p> <p>&ldquo;And I lost time overtaking [Valentino] Rossi and [Andrea] Iannone &ndash; here it&rsquo;s difficult to overtake. Then when I tried, the Ducati just passed me on the straight.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I opened a small gap I pushed like I had nothing to lose, and I was catching Jorge&hellip;it was difficult but I tried, and I ran out of laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;But no excuses &ndash; the race is 30 laps and Jorge won. It was really nice to celebrate the title here with family and friends.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13264http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13264Jorge Lorenzo takes season-ending Valencia win in final race for YamahaSun, 13 Nov 2016 14:14:09 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo ended the 2016 MotoGP season with a win in Valencia, also marking his final race with the Yamaha team to claim their first win since June, as he kept a charging Marc Marquez behind him.</strong></p> <p>Lorenzo, starting from pole, quickly raced off into the lead as he opened up a small gap in the early laps - helped by a record breaking laptime on his second tour of the circuit - putting distance between him and second-placed Andrea Iannone of Ducati.</p> <p>Lorenzo&#39;s team-mate Valentino Rossi eventually moved up to second as he passed Iannone, but the Spaniard was already 2.5 seconds clear by then.</p> <p>Rossi was accompanied by&nbsp;Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales as they scrapped over second place.</p> <p>Eventually, with ten laps remaining, Marquez would get past Rossi to begin his chase of Lorenzo at roughly half a second a lap - helped by his hard front-tyre which provided the extra grip he needed in the closing stages, as Lorenzo struggled with a graining medium.</p> <p>The final lap saw Marquez just over a second behind, which proved too much as Lorenzo crossed the finish line to take his third victory of 2016 and what will likely be his last for Yamaha.</p> <p>Marquez was second, following Iannone, Rossi, Vinales in fifth, also on his final outing for Yamaha Ecstar.</p> <p>Pol Espargaro pipped Andrea Dovizioso to take sixth, with Aleix Espargaro eighth, followed by Tech 3&#39;s Bradley Smith.</p> <p>Both Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow crashed out. Pedrosa falling at Turn 2 in the opening laps, whilst the latter came off at Turn 14.</p> <p>Aspar Ducati&#39;s Yonny Hernandez and KTM&#39;s Mika Kallio also failed to finish.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/valencia-16-result.png" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13257http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13257Jorge Lorenzo smashes lap record to take Valencia pole positionSat, 12 Nov 2016 15:09:17 GMT<p><strong>Yamaha&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo will start the final race of the 2016 MotoGP season from pole position after he smashed the Valencia lap record by six-tenths, to post a time of 1m29.401s, putting him three-tenths ahead of champion Marc Marquez.</strong></p> <p>The pair were the only riders to dip into the 1m29&#39;s as&nbsp;third-placed Valentino Rossi could only manage a 1m30.128s to claim the final front-row starting position for Yamaha.</p> <p>The second row is headed up by Suzuki Ecstar&#39;s Maverick Vinales in fourth as he makes his&nbsp;final appearance for the team. Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso and Yamaha Tech 3&rsquo;s Pol Espargaro were fifth and sixth, both nine-tenths back.</p> <p>Seventh went to Andrea Iannone as he continues to recover from a cracked vertebrae sustained in Misano, with Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa eighth as he too is recovering from an injury.</p> <p>The top ten was completed by&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), despite crashing out in the session, and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) will start P11 having crashed out, forcing him to sprint back to the pits to jump on his second bike.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/grid-valencia-06.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13238http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13238Dani Pedrosa declared fit to race at Valencia after medical checkThu, 10 Nov 2016 14:03:25 GMT<p><strong>Dani Pedrosa has been declared fit to race at this weekend&rsquo;s MotoGP 2016 season finale at the Valencia circuit after a medical check.</strong></p> <p>The Spanish rider crashed heavily during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Motegi circuit last month.</p> <p>He suffered a fractured right collarbone, right fibula and the fourth metatarsal in his left foot, being forced out of the next three races.</p> <p>Following a medical check at the Valencia track, Pedrosa was given the all-clear to return to his Repsol Honda bike and race at the finale.</p> <p>Honda confirmed the news that Pedrosa will be back racing at Valencia on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ValenciaGP?src=hash">#ValenciaGP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/26_DaniPedrosa">@26_DaniPedrosa</a> declared FIT to race after the medical check <a href="https://t.co/RzYSQFlu4s">pic.twitter.com/RzYSQFlu4s</a></p> &mdash; Repsol Honda Team (@HRC_MotoGP) <a href="https://twitter.com/HRC_MotoGP/status/796700928808251392">November 10, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>He had been hopeful of returning to his Honda bike ahead of the medical check but remained unsure if he would be fit enough to race.</p> <p>The 2016 riders&rsquo; championship has already been wrapped up, with Marc Marquez securing the title in Japan.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13236http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13236MotoGP to remain at Barcelona until at least 2021Thu, 10 Nov 2016 13:17:48 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain have announced an extended deal that will see the track host the Catalan Grand Prix until at least 2021.</strong></p> <p>A new five-year contract has been agreed MotoGP organisers Dorna Sports and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, securing the future of the race.</p> <p>Barcelona has hosted a MotoGP round since 1992, initially being run under the European Grand Prix name before adopting the Catalan Grand Prix from 1996 onwards.</p> <p>This year&rsquo;s race at the Barcelona track took place in June and was won by Yamaha&rsquo;s Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>&ldquo;Without a doubt, the renewal of the contract with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya until 2021 is fantastic news for MotoGP and all the fans,&rdquo; said Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpelteta.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is an institution that has been tied to us since the beginning, in 1992, and its commitment to our sport and its dedication could not be clearer.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team that manages and drives the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and its modern facilities has long since consolidated it as one of the permanent fixtures in the MotoGP calendar which it now cannot do without.</p> <p>&ldquo;The fact that Catalonia has secured MotoGP until 2021 shows that the trust and alliance between both parties is extremely strong.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13227http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13227Jorge Lorenzo: Saying goodbye to Yamaha won't be easyWed, 09 Nov 2016 14:54:18 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo has admitted saying goodbye to the Yamaha MotoGP team &ldquo;won&rsquo;t be easy&rdquo; ahead of his switch to Ducati in 2017.</strong></p> <p>The Spanish rider will compete with Yamaha for the final time in Valencia this weekend, at the MotoGP season finale.</p> <p>His move to Ducati alongside Andrea Dovizioso will end a nine-year run competing for Yamaha at the top-tier of MotoGP, after he started racing in the series in 2008.</p> <p>He&rsquo;s won three MotoGP titles with Yamaha over the years but now takes on a new challenge with Ducati, having signed a two-year-deal from 2017.</p> <p>Lorenzo is hoping to end the 2016 season and his time at Yamaha on a good note with a strong result in Valencia.</p> <p>&ldquo;The season is almost over and finally we arrive to Valencia, where I have some good memories, especially last year when we became World Champion again,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;Valencia is going to be a very special race for me because after nine years [in MotoGP] with the Yamaha family I have to say goodbye and it won&#39;t be easy.</p> <p>&quot;I had a lot of good feelings with Yamaha and together we won a lot of races and titles...</p> <p>&quot;I would like to finish this season in the best way possible and that&#39;s with a victory, so I will do my best to try to win in Cheste and secure third in the championship as well.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13197http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13197Dani Pedrosa hoping to make MotoGP return in ValenciaThu, 03 Nov 2016 18:56:50 GMT<p><strong>Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says he is hoping to return to the MotoGP series at the 2016 season finale in Valencia, Spain.</strong></p> <p>He suffered a fractured collarbone and right fibula after crashing out of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.</p> <p>Test rider Hiroshi Aoyama replaced him in Japan and Malaysia alongside full-time rider Marc Marquez.</p> <p>His place was filled in Australia by former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden. Pedrosa says he is working towards a return in Valencia and is hopeful, but remains unsure as to whether he will race.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m getting better with every day that goes by,&rdquo; he explained in a blog for Repsol.</p> <p>&ldquo;Physical therapy is going well, and at this time all I can think about is racing once again.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m working hard with my mind set on recovering in time for Valencia, but I&#39;m still not entirely sure whether it will be possible as I will know next week.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13184http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13184Jorge Lorenzo admits Malaysia podium was 'lucky'Tue, 01 Nov 2016 14:28:26 GMT<p><strong>Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo has admitted his podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix was &ldquo;lucky&rdquo; after several rivals crashed out.</strong></p> <p>The race at the Sepang International Circuit took place in challenging and damp conditions, which caused riders like Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone to suffer falls.</p> <p>Lorenzo moved into the lead at the start but was quickly shuffled down several places, making up ground as others crashed to claim third place.</p> <p>&ldquo;I stayed on the bike although I didn&rsquo;t feel very good today &ndash; it was worse than the qualifying with more water,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I feel lucky because all the crashes were in front of me and that gave me the chance to get on the podium in the rain, but that&rsquo;s good for confidence. I stayed on the bike.</p> <p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want a mixed race, so I was almost praying for it to rain &ndash; and then maybe it rained too much.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had some moments on the sighting lap and so I told Loris and race direction that we should delay the race, which we did and when the track was safe, we were able to ride quite well.</p> <p>&ldquo;Valencia will be an emotional moment because nine years with one team who gave me so much is emotional. So I&rsquo;ll train and give my best, and finish in the best way possible.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13181http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13181Andrea Dovizioso: Malaysian GP victory 'very important'Mon, 31 Oct 2016 11:55:38 GMT<p><strong>Andrea Dovizioso has hailed his first MotoGP victory since 2009 as &ldquo;very important&rdquo; after finishing in first place at the Malaysian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>The Ducati rider finished second on three occasions earlier in the season, but finally stood on the top step of the podium at the Sepang International Circuit.</p> <p>The race took place in tricky and challenging conditions, but Dovizioso started from pole position and managed to hold off the advances of his rivals to take victory.</p> <p>It was only his second MotoGP win, having claimed his first victory at Donington Park back in 2009.</p> <p>&ldquo;From outside it looks like I was controlling the race but that wasn&rsquo;t the reality,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the start of the race there was a lot of water and the pace was very fast, but I didn&rsquo;t make a mistake and I&rsquo;m very happy about that because it allowed me to fight for the win later on.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was very important to get this result, and here in Malaysia at a great track although I&rsquo;d never won here.</p> <p>&ldquo;When the conditions are like this anything can happen but I&rsquo;ve done a lot of races in these conditions &ndash; I didn&rsquo;t think much about the weather because we can&rsquo;t control it.</p> <p>&ldquo;After that long behind Valentino [Rossi] I didn&rsquo;t expect to make a gap to him but then on the straight again I saw a 1.7 second gap and I knew I had a chance.</p> <p>&ldquo;I could keep good pace &ndash; I could take risks or push if I needed, but I had a really good bike. The traction on the rear was really good and it allowed me to be that little bit faster.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;This victory was important for me. In Austria, I felt that victory was mine but I made the wrong decision.</p> <p>&ldquo;So to get this result now - this year - is very important. A lot of people work hard at home, and to win with Ducati is something different.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13168http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13168Andrea Dovizioso claims first MotoGP win in seven years in thrilling Malaysia GPSun, 30 Oct 2016 09:40:43 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso claimed his first MotoGP win in over seven years and became 2016&#39;s ninth different winner during a delayed Malaysian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>A heavy rain shower saw the race delayed by 20 minutes and shortened by a lap from 20 to 19, but Dovizioso would matser the conditions to outclass his rivals, with only Valentino Rossi for company during much of the race.</p> <p>The thrilling victory adds to his only other MotoGP career win way back in 2009 at the British GP.</p> <p>The start of the race saw Jorge Lorenzo lead from the off, but the pack was tighly bunched in the opening laps and Lorenzo quickly fell down the order to sixth as Rossi took the lead ahead of Andrea Iannone and team-mate Dovizioso.</p> <p>The pair tussled over the lead as Dovizioso watched on from third.</p> <p>Lap 12 saw both Cal Crutchlow and Marc Marquez taken out of the action&nbsp;as the former crashed out and the latter&nbsp;fell at Turn 11 in the difficult conditions before managing to recover, but it&nbsp;left&nbsp;just the three in the fight for the victory.</p> <p>That didn&#39;t last long though and soon it was a two-way battle as Iannone fell a lap later, dropping it at Turn 9.</p> <p>All it took was a small error from Rossi to allow Dovizioso to snatch the lead with five laps remaining and there he remained until the checkered flag.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/malaysia-result-16.png" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13158http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13158MotoGP to race at Sepang until at least 2021Sat, 29 Oct 2016 13:07:04 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP has announced that it will race at the Sepang International Circuit until at least 2021 after agreeing a contract extension.</strong></p> <p>Organisers Dorna Sports and the Sepang track have signed a contract renewal for the next five years, securing the future of the Malaysian Grand Prix.</p> <p>The news was announced following qualifying for this weekend&rsquo;s Malaysian GP at the Sepang circuit, with Andrea Dovizioso securing pole position.</p> <p>Malaysia hosted its first race in 1991 at the Shah Alam circuit, before it moved to Sepang for the 1999 season and has remained on the calendar ever since.</p> <p>Sepang has also been used as a pre-season test venue by the series, with the track being familiar with the current riders.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am happy to inform that we have signed a contract extension for another five years, ending 2021, that was completed this morning,&rdquo; said Tan Sri Azman Yahya, chairman of the Sepang circuit.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will continue with MotoGP for the next five years, and think we will see even better response from the public.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very pleased to announce this as it&rsquo;s my first negotiation as the Chairman of Sepang, and I hope our decision is supported and welcomed.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13156http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13156Dovizioso beats Yamaha duo to Malaysian GP poleSat, 29 Oct 2016 12:49:48 GMT<p><strong>Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso stormed to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix in wet conditions at the Sepang International Circuit.</strong></p> <p>The Italian put in two laps quick enough for pole during the final Q2 session, with his last improvement of a 2m11.485 snatching him first place on the grid.</p> <p>After a dry third practice session, conditions were damp for qualifying after rain between the two sessions.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s Dovizioso&rsquo;s second pole position of the 2016 MotoGP season, with the Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo two and a half tenths further back.</p> <p>This year&rsquo;s world champion Marc Marquez was fourth fastest in qualifying, while Cal Crutchlow &ndash; who set the pace in Q1 and recovered from a fall &ndash; was fifth.</p> <p>Dovizioso&rsquo;s team-mate Andrea Iannone took sixth on his return from injury, with Suzuki&rsquo;s riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales next up.</p> <p>Alvero Bautista and Loris Baz completed the top 10, ahead of returning Avintia rider Hector Barbera and Tech 3&rsquo;s Pol Espargaro.</p> <p>Bradley Smith found himself down in 13<sup>th</sup>, just 0.009 seconds clear of Jack Miller. Stefan Bradl recovered from a fall to take 16<sup>th</sup>, just behind Danilo Petrucci.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13140http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13140Hiroshi Aoyama replaces Dani Pedrosa in Malaysia, Hector Barbera returns to AvintiaWed, 26 Oct 2016 16:06:03 GMT<p><strong>Repsol Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama will replace the injury Dani Pedrosa for this weekend&rsquo;s MotoGP race weekend in Malaysia.</strong></p> <p>Pedrosa fractured his right collarbone in a crash during practice in Japan and was replaced for the race at Motegi by Aoyama.</p> <p>Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden stood in for Pedrosa in Australia but has commitments with World Superbikes.</p> <p>Honda says Pedrosa&rsquo;s injury is healing well but he is still not ready to return to his Honda bike, confirming Aoyama &ndash; who has started 69 races in the premier class &ndash; as his replacement.</p> <p>Meanwhile Hector Barbera will return to Avintia Racing for the race at Sepang, after replacing Andrea Iannone at Ducati.</p> <p>Iannone fell during practice at Misano and suffered back injuries, being replaced by Barbera in Japan and Australia.</p> <p>Avintia has now confirmed Barbera will return to the team for the Malaysian GP, with Iannone looking set to return to racing with Ducati.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13118http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13118Crutchlow wins at Phillip Island after Marquez crashSun, 23 Oct 2016 11:11:20 GMT<p><strong>Cal Crutchlow claimed the second MotoGP win of his career in the Australian Grand Prix, after Marc Marquez crashed out of the lead.</strong></p> <p>The LCR Honda rider quickly moved up to second place in the early stages of the race, with newly-crowned champion Marquez almost three seconds clear out front.</p> <p>Crutchlow started to close the gap to the leading Honda rider but just as Marquez responded, he crashed at Turn 4 before the half-way mark.</p> <p>Having taken over first place, Crutchlow proved to be untouchable and claimed his second win of the 2016 season. Earlier in the year at Brno he ended a 35-year run without a British winner.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi battled from 15<sup>th</sup> place to finish in second, 4.2 seconds behind Crutchlow. He had made rapid progress in the early stages and moved into the runner-up spot just before Marquez&rsquo;s crash.</p> <p>It was a strong recovery from the Yamaha rider at Phillip Island after his worst qualifying result in six years.</p> <p>Maverick Vinales bounced back from a disappointing 13<sup>th</sup> on the grid to move past Andrea Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaro to finish third.</p> <p>Ducati rider Dovizioso held onto fourth, while Espargaro crashed out at Turn 4. Early leader Pol Espargaro claimed fifth, ahead of a distant Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>Scott Redding led a fierce midfield battle to finish seventh, ahead of Bradley Smith, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13104http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13104Marc Marquez takes record 65th MotoGP pole at Phillip IslandSat, 22 Oct 2016 10:22:59 GMT<p><strong>Champion Marc Marquez secured pole position by a huge eight-tenth margin to second place as he dominated qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.</strong></p> <p>The Honda rider took a risk during Q2&nbsp;by sitting out much of the session despite the&nbsp;constant threat of rain. That paid off as the rain never came and the track dried enough for slicks, allowing Marquez to immediately go quickest on his first flyer.</p> <p>He starts ahead of LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow, with Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Pol Espargaro joining the pair on the front-row.</p> <p>Rounding out the top five were Suzuki&#39;s Aleix Espargaro and Marc VDS rider Jack Miller, who at one point looked to have secured a front-row slot before last-second improvements for the Espargaro brothers.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi endured his worst&nbsp;qualifying in five years as he slumped to 15th, failing to make the Q2 cut after going with a strange tyre strategy of a full wet at the front and an intermediate on the rear.</p> <p>Bradley Smith almost made the cut before falling with just over a minute on the clock, meaning he starts between Maverick Vinales and&nbsp;Rossi in P14.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/phillip-gris-2.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13088http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13088Nicky Hayden to replace injured Dani Pedrosa at Australian GPThu, 20 Oct 2016 12:09:12 GMT<p><strong>2006 MotoGP champion and World Superbike racer Nicky Hayden will stand in for the injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda for this weekend&rsquo;s Australian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>Pedrosa injured his right collarbone in a crash during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi and returned to Barcelona for surgery.</p> <p>Hayden has already competed this MotoGP season, having replaced Jack Miller at Marc VDS for the Aragon GP last month.</p> <p>He will race at Phillip Island for Honda, before going on to compete for the Japanese manufacturer at the World Superbike finale in Qatar.</p> <p>&ldquo;First of all my best wishes to Dani, I&rsquo;m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does,&rdquo; Hayden said.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it&rsquo;s crazy hard work but it&rsquo;s a chance, ten years after winning my world title, to get back to my old &lsquo;dream team&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;Doing a week-end in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it&rsquo;s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I&rsquo;m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me.</p> <p>&ldquo;I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I&rsquo;m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13074http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13074Hector Barbera to remain at Ducati for Australian Grand PrixSun, 16 Oct 2016 14:10:51 GMT<p><strong>Hector Barbera will continue to ride for the Ducati factory MotoGP team at next weekend&rsquo;s Australian Grand Prix, having replaced the injured Andrea Iannone in Japan.</strong></p> <p>Iannone suffered a back injury in practice for the Misano race and was forced to miss it, before pulling out of an attempted return at Aragon.</p> <p>Barbera was named as Iannone&rsquo;s replacement at Ducati for the Japanese Grand Prix, temporarily moving over from Avintia Racing.</p> <p>He started from the third row of the grid at Motegi but fell during the race, eventually finishing in 17<sup>th</sup> place.</p> <p>Barbera has now been confirmed as Ducati&rsquo;s second rider alongside Andrea Dovizioso at Phillip Island for the Australian GP, as Iannone misses another round.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it was a fantastic opportunity to ride the 2016 Desmosedici GP and race for a factory squad like the Ducati team and so I want to thank both Ducati and Avintia Racing for giving me this opportunity,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a great experience and I am very happy that I have been given another chance next week at Phillip Island.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13072http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13072Marc Marquez crowned MotoGP champion as title rivals crash out in MotegiSun, 16 Oct 2016 10:52:26 GMT<p><strong>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez has secured a third MotoGP title following his Japanese Grand Prix victory at Motegi on Sunday, as title rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of the race.</strong></p> <p>The 2016 champion headed into the event talking down his chances of taking the title in Japan, but his rivals made it rather easy as Rossi retired on lap 10 following a crash, whilst Lorenzo, who only needed a podium to remain in contention, later lost control and fell too, leaving Marquez with an open goal.</p> <p>Marquez has now secured a third title in just four seasons and celebrated as he crossed the finish line with some wild kicks.</p> <p>The race began with pole sitter Rossi falling down to third as Marquez initially took the lead before falling to second at the first corner behind Lorenzo, the Yamaha rider staying there until lap four when Marquez passed on the inside at Turn 9.</p> <p>Rossi also got past the Yamaha a couple of laps later, but by that time the leader was almost a second clear and in his pursuit, Rossi pushed too hard and crashed out. Although he managed to get going again, he returned to the pits to retire on the next lap.</p> <p>Lorenzo was therefore second and his title hopes, although distant, remainded alive. That was until he too fell with just five laps remaining.</p> <p>Marquez was swiftly told the news and he drove faultlessly to see the checkered flag.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso took second ahead of Suzuki&#39;s&nbsp;Maverick Vinales, who claimed the final podium spot following a pass on team-mate&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro in the closing laps of the race.</p> <p>LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow finished a distant fifth after an unusual strategy choice, with Tech3 Yamaha&#39;s&nbsp;Pol Espargaro&nbsp;sixth ahead of the Aprilia and Pramac Ducati riders to complete the top ten.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/motegi-16-result.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13068http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13068Valentino Rossi surprises rivals to take Motegi pole from Jorge LorenzoSat, 15 Oct 2016 10:09:14 GMT<p><strong>Valentino Rossi will start from pole for the third time this season as he outclassed his rivals during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.</strong></p> <p>The Yamaha rider beat championship leader Marc Marquez by almost two-tenths with a lap of 1m43.954 to secure his first pole since Mugello in late-May.</p> <p>The result will surely have surprised both Rossi and Marquez as the Italian was off the lead pace in all practice sessions and even during the first qualifying runs, which Honda&#39;s Marquez led from Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>Mistakes during his second and third&nbsp;run cost the Spaniard before he encountered yellow flags on his final run, forcing him to settle for second, with Lorenzo on the front-row in third despite finding himself in hospital earlier in the day following a practice fall.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso was fourth ahead of Cal Crutchlow - who fell late in the session - with the&nbsp;Suzuki pair Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales in sixth and seventh, five tenths adrift each.</p> <p>Duacti&#39;s Hector Barbera was eighth ahead of&nbsp;Tech3 Yamaha&#39;s Pol Espargaro,with Pramac Ducati&#39;s Danilo Petrucci completing the top ten.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/grid-motegi-16.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13065http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13065Dani Pedrosa ruled out of Motegi weekend after fracturing collarboneFri, 14 Oct 2016 10:26:07 GMT<p><strong>Repsol Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa will miss the remainder of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend after fracturing his collarbone.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard suffered a heavy crash at Turn 11 during second practice at the Motegi track and his injury will require surgery.</p> <p>Pedrosa has won the Japanese GP three times in his MotoGP career but the heavy landing after his FP2 crash has now ruled him out of the race.</p> <p>He limped away from the accident and was taken to the medical centre, where doctors assessed his condition and diagnosed a fracture of his collarbone.</p> <p>His team has confirmed he will fly back to Spain tonight, where it is likely he will undergo surgery. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m obviously very sad about what happened, as I was looking forward to racing in Japan at Honda&rsquo;s home circuit and one of my favourite tracks,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was on the out-lap of my last run in FP2 when I momentarily lost the rear entering turn 11, and when the tyre found grip again it launched me in the air.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not much more to say; now I just want to focus on recovering in order to get back on my bike as soon as possible.</p> <p>He will be replaced by 2009 250cc champion Hiroshi Aoyama, who has made 68 MotoGP starts and a best finish of fourth at the 2011 Spanish GP.&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13062http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13062Hector Barbera to replace Andrea Iannone at Motegi, Mike Jones in at AvintiaThu, 13 Oct 2016 14:10:13 GMT<p><strong>The injured Andrea Iannone will be replaced for this weekend&rsquo;s MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi by Avintia Racing rider Hector Barbera.</strong></p> <p>Ducati did not originally confirm a replacement for Iannone when the team announced he will not be racing in Japan due to an injury sustained at Misano.</p> <p>But Avintia rider Barbera will now move over to replace Iannone and race alongside Andrea Dovizioso at Ducati for this weekend&rsquo;s race.</p> <p>Australian Superbike racer Mike Jones will make his MotoGP debut with Avintia, filling in for Barbera at Motegi.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very happy because I&rsquo;ve waited a long time for an opportunity like this and this weekend it becomes reality,&rdquo; Barbera said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The first thing I want to do is thank Avintia and all our sponsors for making this possible, because without their support it would not be a reality.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited, motivated and want to do well &ndash; but until I get on the bike tomorrow I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;m going to believe it.</p> <p>&ldquo;Now I&rsquo;m doing interviews and all the things that come with being a factory rider, but I feel like a kid at Christmas, although it&rsquo;s becoming more real. I&rsquo;m sure it&rsquo;s going to be a special weekend and I hope I can do my best.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13056http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13056Bradley Smith expecting tough MotoGP return at MotegiWed, 12 Oct 2016 17:36:08 GMT<p><strong>Tech3 rider Bradley Smith is looking forward to returning to MotoGP at the Japanese Grand Prix after missing three races due to injury, but is expecting a tough weekend.</strong></p> <p>The Motegi circuit hosts the 15th&nbsp;round of the 2016 MotoGP season and will be Smith&rsquo;s first time riding his Yamaha bike in seven weeks.</p> <p>Smith suffered serious ligament damage to his left knee in a crash during practice for the Oschersleben eight-hour endurance race in August.</p> <p>After missing three rounds, he thinks it will take a little time to settled back in the seat of his Tech3 bike but is excited to return to the series.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am excited about jumping back on my YZR-M1 and even though I know it will be a challenging race, I am determined and I will do my very best,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It will be the first time that I can ride a MotoGP bike after seven weeks and even though I am almost fit, it will take me a bit of time to fully adjust to being back on the Yamaha.</p> <p>&ldquo;This will be the initial goal of the weekend, but I am confident that I can quickly get up to speed again.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Japan is a special place, with it being the home of Yamaha and also the country where I won the Suzuka 8 Hours event last year. Plus, the fans are fantastic and really supportive which will motivate me even further.</p> <p>&ldquo;However, I know this weekend will be physically demanding due to the stop and go nature of the circuit, plus, there are a lot of hard braking corners but I am certain that we can start the flyaway races positively before we head to Phillip Island.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13044http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13044Ducati confirms Andrea Iannone will miss Motegi MotoGP raceMon, 10 Oct 2016 19:49:33 GMT<p><strong>Andrea Iannone has been forced to miss the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at the Motegi circuit, Ducati has officially confirmed.</strong></p> <p>The Italian rider suffered a back injury after a fall during first practice at the Misano track, which caused him to miss the rest of the weekend.</p> <p>He attempted to ride at Motorland Aragon but he withdrew after practice. He will now miss the Japanese GP too.</p> <p>&quot;The excess fluid in his back injury had been almost totally absorbed and that the calcification process of the T3 vertebra was now well underway,&quot; Ducati said.</p> <p>The team also confirmed Iannone will not be replaced for the up-coming round at Motegi and will run only Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>Iannone returned Ducati to the top step of the podium earlier this year at the Red Bull Ring, but will move to Suzuki for 2017.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13011http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13011Jorge Lorenzo tests Mercedes Formula 1 car at SilverstoneThu, 06 Oct 2016 22:07:24 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo tested a Mercedes Formula 1 car on Thursday at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, which the Yamaha rider described as a &quot;dream come true&quot;.</strong></p> <p>Monster Energy,&nbsp;which sponsors&nbsp;both&nbsp;Lorenzo and the Mercedes F1 outfit,&nbsp;organised the test.</p> <p>The Spaniard got behind the wheel of Lewis Hamilton&#39;s 2014&nbsp;championship winning W04 and completed a number of laps during the course of the day.</p> <p>In preparation for the test, Lorenzo drove a number of single seater cars, including a&nbsp;Dallara GP2/05 car, to familiarise himself with the Silverstone circuit on four wheels, instead of two.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13001http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/13001MotoGP confirms 2017 winter test scheduleTue, 04 Oct 2016 23:29:21 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP has confirmed its pre-season test calendar for the 2017 season, with&nbsp;Valencia, Sepang, Phillip Island and Qatar all returning.</strong></p> <p>Valencia will play host to the first two-day&nbsp;test on November 15-16, just days after the current season concludes at the same circuit.</p> <p>The series will then move to Malaysia&#39;s Sepang for the first actual test of 2017 on January 30, concluding on February 1.</p> <p>Australia&#39;s Phillip Island will host the penultimate winter test&nbsp;from February 15-17, before heading to Qatar for the final test on March 10-12. The season starts at the same circuit a week later.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12929http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12929Marc Marquez fights his way to Aragon MotoGP victorySun, 25 Sep 2016 16:24:39 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez secured his fourth victory of the 2016 MotoGP season as he fought his way to the win in Aragon. </strong></p> <p>Despite starting from pole position, it wasn&#39;t a straight path to the checkered flag for the&nbsp;championship leader, who almost fell on lap three as he dropped back to fifth, forcing Marquez to make some impressive passes to regain the lead.</p> <p>Marquez enjoyed a battle with&nbsp;Suzuki&rsquo;s Maverick Vinales and Yamaha&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo during the opening laps as the lead changed hands before Marquez&nbsp;lost control of the front-end of his bike at the corkscrew section, although he kept it on track, he fell back to fifth, giving the lead to Vinales.</p> <p>A fight back to the front ensued and it wasn&#39;t until just 12 laps remained&nbsp;that Marquez finally retook the top spot with a pass on&nbsp;title rival Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>Rossi couldn&#39;t hang in during the final laps, losing out to team-mate Lorenzo, but keeping his bike ahead of Vinales as they completed the top four riders.</p> <p>In fifth was Cal Crutchlow who dived up the inside of Dani Pedrosa with seven laps remaining to claim the position, forcing Pedrosa to settle for sixth ahead of&nbsp;Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech 3) and the Aprilias of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl to complete the top ten.</p> <p>Pramac Ducati&#39;s Scott Redding crashed out at Turn 12 after making contact with team-mate Danilo Petrucci, who later received a ride-through penalty for the clash.</p> <p>Tito Rabat also fell, whilst his stand-in team-mate Nicky Hayden secured the final point with P15.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/aragon-result.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12928http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12928Marc Marquez dominates qualifying to take Aragon MotoGP poleSat, 24 Sep 2016 14:57:05 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez got off to the best start possible as he looks to protect his lead, with a dominant&nbsp;qualifying performance for the Aragon Grand Prix, taking pole position by more than half a second.</strong></p> <p>The Honda rider kicked off the session with the first timed lap which put him 1.5 seconds clear of the field as they completed their first runs, but that gap was eventually halved by Suzuki&#39;s Maverick Vinales as he crossed the line.</p> <p>As the riders began their second laps, it was clear Marquez had done enough to secure pole and needn&#39;t improve on his second attempt - which he didn&#39;t - giving him the top spot by 0.631s with a lap of 1m47.117s.</p> <p>Vinales held onto second place and will line up on the front-row alongside Yamaha&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo, just 0.030s further back.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s&nbsp;Andrea Dovizioso will start fourth ahead of Cal Crutchlow with Valentino Rossi completing the second row. The Italian&#39;s best was eight tenths shy of Marquez&#39;s best effort.</p> <p>Crutchlow was one of two riders to crash out in the closing minutes of qualifying, the other being Dani Pedrosa, although the Honda rider did enough to secure sixth on the grid alongside Suzuki Ecstar&#39;s Aleix Espargaro and Ducati&#39;s Danilo Petrucci.</p> <p>Scott Redding (Pramac), Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech 3)&nbsp;and Stafen Bradl (Aprilia) completed the top ten.</p> <p>Michele Pirro crashed out at Turn 8 during the session and will start P17, two places ahead of Nicky Hayden who makes his first MotoGP appearance since 2015 as he stands in for Jack Miller at Marc VDS, a place lower than team-mate Tito Rabat.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/aragon-motogp-grid.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12926http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12926Lowes to miss Aragon GP qualifying after FP3 crashSat, 24 Sep 2016 12:15:43 GMT<p><strong>Tech 3&rsquo;s Alex Lowes will miss the Aragon Grand Prix qualifying session after a crash during third practice on Saturday morning.</strong></p> <p>Lowes is standing in for the injured Bradley Smith for a third weekend in a row. He fell at Turn 19 during FP3 and limped away from his bike.</p> <p>He finished the session at the bottom of the standings and was taken to the medical centre for assessment.</p> <p>Tech 3 later confirmed that Lowes will not take part in qualifying later this afternoon due to the crash.</p> <p>He will be checked over by medical staff on Sunday morning to determine whether or not he will be able to race in the 14<sup>th</sup> round of the season.</p> <p>Should he be declared fit to race, Lowes will line up for the Spanish race in 21<sup>st</sup> place on the grid.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12923http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12923Andrea Iannone rules himself out of Aragon following practiceFri, 23 Sep 2016 12:57:04 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Iannone has chosen to sit out this weekend&#39;s Aragon Grand Prix, after deciding during&nbsp;first practice that the pain is too much to endure, adding that he doesn&#39;t have the energy to compete.</strong></p> <p>Iannone fractured his T3 vertebra during a practice crash a fortnight ago at Misano, but was cleared to participate this weekend.</p> <p>Although he set the sixth quickest time in practice on Friday, Iannone has ruled himself out of further running in order to be fully fit for the next race in Japan.</p> <p>&quot;If I stop my weekend now, my situation improves [for Japan],&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;If I continue this weekend, after Sunday, my situation is worse than now, because I&#39;d push a lot on my back and this is completely worse for the future.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12917http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12917MotoGP extends Motorland Aragon contract until 2021Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:42:04 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP has announced an extension of the Motorland Aragon circuit&rsquo;s contract, meaning it will host the Aragon Grand Prix until at least 2021.</strong></p> <p>The race will remain on the calendar for the next five years, after a new contract was signed after this weekend&rsquo;s Aragon GP press conference.</p> <p>The Spanish track will host the 14<sup>th</sup> round of the 2016 MotoGP season this weekend, as the race for the title heats up.</p> <p>Motorland Aragon joined the MotoGP calendar for the 2010 season, shortly after the track was opened.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s the latest venue to confirm a contract extension with MotoGP, after Valencia&rsquo;s deal was extended to 2021 earlier this week.</p> <p>The <a href="http://grandprixtimes.com/news/id/12913">provisional 2017 MotoGP schedule</a> was recently confirmed and will see the Aragon Grand Prix take place from the 22-24 September.</p> <p>Shortly after the new contract was announced, Aragon was named the winner of the best grand prix for 2015 &ndash; the third time in six years.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12913http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12913MotoGP announces provisional calendar for 2017 seasonWed, 21 Sep 2016 15:54:23 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP has officially announced its provisional calendar for the 2017 season, comprising of 18 rounds.</strong></p> <p>Only two rounds look set to swap places compared to the current schedule, with Qatar kicking things off once again.</p> <p>The season will begin on the 26 March and conclude at Valencia on the 12 November. Jerez will mark the start of an 11-race run at European venues.</p> <p>The only change on the calendar is the Brno and Red Bull Ring races swapping places.</p> <p><strong>Here&rsquo;s the full provisional 2017 calendar:</strong></p> <p>26 March - Qatar* (Losail)</p> <p>9 April - Argentina (R&iacute;o Hondo)</p> <p>23 April - Americas (Circuit of the Americas)</p> <p>7 May - Spain (Jerez)</p> <p>21 May - France (Le Mans)</p> <p>4 June - Italy (Mugello)</p> <p>11 June - Catalunya (Barcelona)</p> <p>25 June - Netherlands (Assen)</p> <p>16 July - Germany (Sachsenring)</p> <p>6 August - Czech Republic (Brno)</p> <p>13 August - Austria (Red Bull Ring)</p> <p>27 August - Great Britain** (Silverstone)</p> <p>10 September - San Marino (Misano)</p> <p>24 September - Aragon (MotorLand)</p> <p>15 October - Japan (Motegi)</p> <p>22 October - Australia (Phillip Island)</p> <p>29 October - Malaysia** (Sepang)</p> <p>12 November - Valencia (Ricardo Tormo)</p> <p>*Evening Race</p> <p>**Subject to the contract</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12911http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12911Loris Baz to attempt MotoGP return at Aragon Grand PrixWed, 21 Sep 2016 15:40:20 GMT<p><strong>Loris Baz will attempt to return to the MotoGP series at the Aragon Grand Prix, if he passes a medical test at the track on Thursday.</strong></p> <p>The Avintia Racing rider suffered a crash at the start of the British Grand Prix, suffering fractures to the lower part of the tibia and astragalus in the ankle of his right leg.</p> <p>He was forced to miss the Misano MotoGP race and was replaced by Xavi Fores, but will start practice at the Motorland Aragon circuit before assessing his condition.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m not quite at the maximum and the foot stills hurts quite a lot, but I think I can get on the bike - and my doctors and physiotherapist who are treating me agree,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;On Thursday I&#39;ll pass a medical at the track and then head out on track on Friday and see how I am.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since the crash I&#39;ve been working with the physic and doing a lot of exercise in the pool to increase mobility. It&#39;s getting better bit by bit, but we&#39;ll have to see how it is on the bike.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m going to Aragon with the intention of having a good weekend, trying to score points if possible, but mainly to get a good feeling back so I can head into the triple-header on good form.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12904http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12904Nicky Hayden to replace Jack Miller for MotoGP Aragon Grand PrixTue, 20 Sep 2016 11:48:19 GMT<p><strong>2006 MotoGP champion and World Superbikes racer Nicky Hayden will replace the injured Jack Miller for the Aragon Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>Miller was forced to skip the Austin MotoGP race after picking up a wrist injury during Austrian Grand Prix warm-up, which also saw him miss the following event in the Czech Republic.</p> <p>He returned to racing at Silverstone but was then ruled out of Misano due to the wrist injury. He will also miss the race at the Motorland Aragon circuit.</p> <p>Marc VDS has confirmed that Hayden will return to MotoGP as Miller&rsquo;s replacement. He has 216 starts, three wins and a title to his name, having raced in the MotoGP series between 2003 and 2015.</p> <p>&ldquo;First of all I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;He is a buddy of mine and he is a rider I believe in a lot, so I hope he can get healthy as quickly as possible to show the high potential we all know he has got.</p> <p>&ldquo;He just needs to get his body right so he can perform. This is an unusual experience for me because I&rsquo;ve never been a stand-in rider before.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I have a good relationship with Honda and when the idea first came up they were behind it and Ten Kate gave me their blessing, so it is nice to go and help out another Honda team.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it&#39;s just a chance to go and have fun. I know MotoGP is not a place that&rsquo;s always easy to have fun because the level is so high but I&rsquo;ve got a lot to learn and it won&rsquo;t be a walk in the park.</p> <p>&ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t ridden the bike and there are different tyres and electronics but I&rsquo;ve got a lot of experience and I get another shot at MotoGP, which is great for me personally.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12852http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12852Dani Pedrosa storms to first 2016 MotoGP victory at MisanoSun, 11 Sep 2016 14:21:00 GMT<p><strong>Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa charged to his first victory of the 2016 season at the San Marino Grand Prix, becoming the eighth different winner of the year.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard started from eighth on the grid at Misano but quickly made his way through the field at the start, finding himself in fourth place on the soft tyre.</p> <p>He gradually picked off other riders, first moving ahead of team-mate Marc Marquez, before passing pole-sitter Jorge Lorenzo&rsquo;s Yamaha.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi had hit the front of the field after passing Lorenzo early in the race, giving him the advantage. He was running around one second ahead of the field before Pedrosa moved into second.</p> <p>The gap between the top two was cut as Pedrosa stormed towards the Yamaha, putting in a new lap record before completing a brave pass at Turn 4 for the lead.</p> <p>He then pulled away from the pack in the final few laps to claim his first win of the 2016 MotoGP season, only his third podium appearance of the year so far.</p> <p>Rossi had to settle for second place, with Lorenzo completing the podium in third. Marquez, running on the hard tyre, was fourth.</p> <p>Maverick Vinales beat Andrea Dovizioso to fifth, while Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro made a late move on Cal Crutchlow to grab seventh.</p> <p>Crutchlow lost another place due to a penalty for exceeding track limits, moving Pol Espargaro up to eighth. Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top 10.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12850http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12850Jorge Lorenzo claims San Marino pole with record laptimeSat, 10 Sep 2016 14:22:27 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo will start the San Marino round of the MotoGP championship from pole position after beating Yamaha team-mate and home favourite Valentino Rossi by more than three-tenths of a second.</strong></p> <p>Lorenzo&#39;s 1m31.868s was the first ever sub 1m32s&nbsp;time around the Riviera Di Rimini circuit as he secured his&nbsp;64th pole - taking him one above Marc Marquez and Rossi in the record books.</p> <p>The Yamaha pair start alongside Suzuki&#39;s Maverick Vinales on the front row of the grid with the Spaniard just over a tenth shy of Rossi&#39;s 1m32.216s P2 time.</p> <p>The second row sees championship leader Marquez in fourth for Honda ahead of the Ducati pairing of Michele Pirro - in for an injured Andrea Iannone -&nbsp;and Andrea Dovizioso, fifth and sixth.</p> <p>LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow heads up the third row Honda main team rider&nbsp;Dani Pedrosa, with Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top ten.</p> <p>Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) were P11 and P12 to complete the Q2 entrants.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/grid-san-marino-16.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12846http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12846Iannone ruled out of San Marino GP due to back injuryFri, 09 Sep 2016 14:29:11 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone has been ruled out of this weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano due to a back injury sustained in a FP1 crash.</strong></p> <p>Iannone was the first rider to fall in the session after losing control of his bike at Turn 13. He got up after the crash but was then taken to the medical centre for x-rays.</p> <p>His Ducati team then announced he was transported to Cesena hospital, where checks revealed a back injury.</p> <p>MotoGP said during the second practice session that Iannone has been &ldquo;declared unfit due to [the] back injury sustained in [his] FP1 crash&rdquo;.</p> <p>Iannone looks set to miss the remainder of the weekend at Misano, with Ducati down to two riders &ndash; Andrea Dovizioso and wildcard entry Michele Pirro.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi set the pace in a messy first practice session for the San Marino GP, with Pol Espargaro then moving to the front in FP2.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12845http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12845MotoGP announces retirement of Simoncelli's race numberFri, 09 Sep 2016 11:44:06 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports has confirmed that the late Marco Simoncelli&rsquo;s race number, 58, has been formally retired.</strong></p> <p>The news was announced ahead of this weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, which was Simoncelli&rsquo;s home race.</p> <p>250cc world champion Simoncelli lost his life at the age of 24 after an accident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.</p> <p>His number has remained unused in MotoGP since then, apart from when Loris Capirossi raced with the number 58 as a tribute to Simoncelli at Valencia last year.</p> <p>During a press conference at Misano, which was named in Simoncelli&rsquo;s honour in 2012, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed the number will be retired and now belongs to his family.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a big pleasure, you remember we talked about this year to retire the number 58 from the grid of MotoGP for the future, and this is what we&#39;re doing,&quot; Ezpeleta said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will give to Marco&#39;s father, Paolo, a sign that this number from now belongs to the Simoncelli family, and we will not use it for anybody unless they decide somebody can use this number.&rdquo;</p> <p>It has also been announced that the team of Simoncelli&rsquo;s father, Paolo Simoncelli, will enter the Moto3 class in 2017.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12836http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12836Misano to remain on MotoGP calendar until at least 2020Thu, 08 Sep 2016 13:06:53 GMT<p><strong>The Misano circuit will continue to host the San Marino Grand Prix until at least 2020 after signing a new MotoGP deal.</strong></p> <p>The track is located in the Rimini region of Italy. It has been the venue for the San Marino GP since 2007.</p> <p>A four-year contract extension has been agreed for the race to remain on the MotoGP calendar until at last 2020, ahead of this weekend&#39;s event.</p> <p>&ldquo;The confirmation of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini GP for the next four years guarantees the MotoGP calendar a date of great sporting importance,&rdquo; said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports.</p> <p>&ldquo;Here it has been possible to reinforce a winning formula between public promoters and the circuit. During these ten years we witnessed an impetuous growth of interest and attention.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the same time, a number of promotional projects are coming out on top, exalting a global cradle of passion for motors, with extraordinary champions and new talents on track.</p> <p>&ldquo;The circuit has spent generous and incessant investments to safely welcome spectators and races. There are all the ingredients for further growth.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the meantime, let&rsquo;s get ready for the days ahead where the common passion for motorcycling, thanks to the events and challenges in the circuit, will have again provide unrivalled satisfaction and emotion.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12829http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12829Michele Pirro, Katsuyuki Nakasuga set for MotoGP wildcard entriesWed, 07 Sep 2016 16:59:52 GMT<p><strong>Ducati test rider Michele Pirro and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga are set to race wildcard entries in the MotoGP.</strong></p> <p>Pirro will ride for Ducati at this weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, while Nakasuga will make a wildcard appearance at the Japanese Grand Prix next month.</p> <p>Racing at Misano will be Pirro&rsquo;s seventh time competing in MotoGP this season, having finished 10<sup>th</sup> at Mugello and 12<sup>th</sup> in Austria with Ducati and filled in for riders at Pramac and Avintia.</p> <p>He has so far collected 23 points from the seven races he has competed in, with a best finish of eighth at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.</p> <p>Meanwhile Nakasuga will ride for Yamaha at the team&rsquo;s home event in Japan next month alongside Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>He has raced six times in the MotoGP series so far in his career, with a best result of second at the Valencia finale in 2012.</p> <p>Nakasuga&rsquo;s appearance for Yamaha will be his fifth in a row at the Motegi track. He finished eighth in the race last year.</p> <p>He currently competes in the premier JSB1000 class of the All Japan Race Championship and is on a 10-race winning streak, as he goes for a seventh overall title.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12825http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12825Loris Baz ruled out of Misano due to Silverstone crash injuriesTue, 06 Sep 2016 19:53:32 GMT<p><strong>Avintia Ducati MotoGP rider Loris Baz will miss this weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano due to injuries sustained in a crash at Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>Baz was caught up in a heavy crash with Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.</p> <p>The incident brought out a red flag. Initial checks cleared him of any fractures but further inspection in Switzerland found some fractures in his right foot.</p> <p>He will not be able to compete this weekend in the San Marino Grand Prix due to the injuries. World Superbike racer Xavi Fores will replace Baz at Avintia Ducati for the race at Misano.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a real shame and something I wasn&#39;t expecting, but once I arrived in Switzerland I had an x-ray and they found some fractures in my right foot,&rdquo; Baz explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;The two main ones are in my talus bone and at the bottom of my tibia. It can&#39;t be operated on, it needs time and rest.</p> <p>&ldquo;Therefore it will be impossible to race in Misano. But I still consider myself lucky to not have suffered anything worse in the crash at Silverstone. It&#39;s really bad for the team because we were doing really well and getting better and better.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a shame, but I&#39;ll try and come back as soon as possible to finish the season the best I can. It has been another setback after what happened in Mugello, but I have to be positive and look forward.</p> <p>&ldquo;I hope Xavi enjoys it a lot this weekend. MotoGP machines are incredible and I&#39;m sure he&#39;ll do great. As well as that, he has an amazing team, and I&#39;ll be there to try and give him some good advice.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12815http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12815Vinales: First MotoGP victory a 'dream come true'Mon, 05 Sep 2016 21:32:17 GMT<p><strong>Maverick Vinales has described his maiden MotoGP win a &ldquo;dream come true&rdquo; after dominating the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The Suzuki rider started third but took the lead, before the race was stopped and restarted due to an early accident.</p> <p>He soon found his way back to the front of the field after the restart and proved to be unchallenged, taking his first victory in the premier MotoGP class.</p> <p>It was also Suzuki&rsquo;s first win in the series in nine years, bringing the Japanese team&rsquo;s drought to an end.</p> <p>&ldquo;It feels incredible, for what I&#39;ve fought for all the time to come true,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You know to have a race like that where all the time I could manage the gap, the lap times were so good.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team has worked so much and I&#39;m so grateful to them. I came into the weekend thinking I could win because I&#39;ve always been so great at Silverstone, and my bike was on a really good level.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did a lot of laps on the hard tyre and worked so hard. For us the restart was difficult because a lot of people put on a new tyre but we kept the same one.</p> <p>&ldquo;The key was yesterday in the rain because they gave me a bike to be able to be on the front row. Today, we did it. This is a dream come true and I hope I can give Suzuki more things like this.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12810http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12810Vinales secures maiden MotoGP victory at SilverstoneSun, 04 Sep 2016 19:41:50 GMT<p><strong>Maverick Vinales scored his first victory in the MotoGP series at Silverstone, ending Suzuki&rsquo;s nine-year win-less streak.</strong></p> <p>He lined up in third place for the British Grand Prix after a strong qualifying effort in tricky conditions, behind pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>Vinales moved into the lead at the start, quickly pulling out a gap over those behind him before the race was stopped.</p> <p>This was due to a heavy crash at Maggotts between Pol Espargaro and Loris Baz. At the second start Crutchlow led away but Vinales soon found himself out front.</p> <p>He soon built up a sizeable lead, proving to be unbeatable at Silverstone. Vinales crossed the line to score his maiden MotoGP win and Suzuki&rsquo;s first in many years.</p> <p>Crutchlow had to hold off the Hondas and Ducatis, as well as Rossi, before emerging in second place at the chequered flag.</p> <p>Rossi finished in third place. Marc Marquez ran wide late on at Stowe but recovered to fourth, after passing his team-mate Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso was sixth for Ducati, with team-mate Andrea Iannone crashing out at Luffield while battling at the front.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro was seventh, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo &ndash; who had a low-key run &ndash; and Danilo Petrucci. Alvaro Bautista completed the top 10.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12785http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12785Cal Crutchlow masters the wet to claim British MotoGP pole positionSat, 03 Sep 2016 15:45:43 GMT<p><strong>Briton&#39;s Cal Cruthlow will start his home race from pole position just a fortnight after claiming his maiden MotoGP victory.</strong></p> <p>The LCR Honda rider eased to pole at Silverstone by a second in wet conditions on Saturday, posting his fastest lap - a 2m19.265s - with seven minutes of the session remaining. His time went unchallenged as the checkered flag fell on the session.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi will line up in second place for Yamaha ahead of Suzuki&#39;s Maverick Vinales, third.</p> <p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa heads the second row ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez. The Spaniard had held second position before he crashed out of the session at Copse.</p> <p>Eugene Laverty looked as though he would pip Marquez and even Pedrosa to claim fourth as he improved on his final lap, before also crashing out. His previous lap however good enough to see him start sixth.</p> <p>Scott Redding was seventh ahead of factory Ducati riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Doviziosoin eighth and tenth, with&nbsp;Jorge Lorenzo splitting them.</p> <p><center><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/british-gp-grid-16.png" width="90%" /></center></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12685http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12685Eugene Laverty quits MotoGP to make World Superbike's returnWed, 24 Aug 2016 08:32:06 GMT<p><strong>Eugene Laverty has confirmed that he will quit MotoGP at the end of the current season to return to the&nbsp;World Superbike Championship, after signing a deal with Aprilia Racing.</strong></p> <p>The Northern Irishman had previously raced in the WSC series between 2011 and 2014, finishing runner-up in 2013, just 23 points shy of champion Tom Sykes.</p> <p>He moved to MotoGP in 2015 with Aspar and currently sits 11th in the standings with a best finish of fourth in Argentina earlier this season.</p> <p>Laverty says he&#39;s looking forward to a new challenge which will ultimately give him the opportunity to fight for championships rather than top ten finishes.</p> <p>&quot;I am excited to return to World Superbike with Aprilia,&quot; said the 30-year-old. &quot;I&rsquo;ve had a lot of success there, it was a great period.</p> <p>&quot;During my two years in MotoGP I have learned a lot; there&rsquo;s been some difficult times, of course, but I have improved a lot as a rider and I&rsquo;m looking forward to this next stage in my career.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very motivated because for the last two years it has been a different kind of fight; I&rsquo;ve been in the middle of the field, trying to improve. So, to go back with a factory Aprilia and the chance to win races and fight for a world title is a different mindset and one I am really prepared for.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m returning with one objective: to be World Champion.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12672http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12672Cal Crutchlow claims maiden MotoGP win in Brno thrillerSun, 21 Aug 2016 15:03:47 GMT<p><strong>LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow stormed to a thrilling maiden MotoGP victory during the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.</strong></p> <p>Crutchlow started in 10th&nbsp;place for the wet race, following rain showers earlier in the day. Some opted to start with soft front and rear wet tyres but Crutchlow went for hard tyres all round.</p> <p>Andrea Iannone led the way in the early stages as those on the hard tyre struggled, while Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi fell from second and sixth to 10th&nbsp;and 12th.</p> <p>Crutchlow also lost ground on the hard tyres but the momentum soon moved in his favour as riders on the soft compound started to struggle.</p> <p>The British rider was the first to put in a 2m08s lap and soon found himself moving up the order, finding himself around four seconds off the lead by the time he passed Aleix Espargaro.</p> <p>He caught the lead pack, before displacing pole-sitter Marc Marquez, Hector Barbera and Scott Redding to move into second place.</p> <p>Once he was ahead of Iannone, Crutchlow was able to eke out a lead and cross the line seven seconds clear of the recovering Rossi.</p> <p>He became the first British rider to claim a premier class victory since Barry Sheene at the 1981 Swedish Grand Prix. Marquez bounced back on the soft tyre to finish third.</p> <p>Loris Baz was on the same strategy as Crutchlow and finished fourth, ahead of Barbera, Eugene Laverty and Danilo Petrucci.</p> <p>Lorenzo was down in 17th&nbsp;after a pitstop to change bikes, while Iannone and Redding dropped to eighth and 15th. Dani Pedrosa was down in 12th&nbsp;and Andrea Dovizioso retired.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12669http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12669Marc Marquez secures Brno MotoGP pole with frantic final lapSat, 20 Aug 2016 14:38:27 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez will start the Brno MotoGP race from pole position after a frantic final lap which saw him overtake championship rival Valentino Rossi to cross the finish line quickest.</strong></p> <p>The Honda rider posted a sensational 1m54.596s laptime to beat Yamaha&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo by just over two-tenths. Marquez looked under pressure as he left it to the final minutes to post his quickest time, which saw him overtake Rossi at the final turn to ensure he wasn&#39;t held up.</p> <p>He also came close to making contact with Pol Espargaro&#39;s Tech 3 bike as he raced up to its rear tyre as he crossed the line.</p> <p>Lorenzo had to settle for second on the grid despite&nbsp;showing&nbsp;sublime form all weekend, which saw him break the lap record during FP3, and top&nbsp;FP4 before losing out to championship rival Marquez.</p> <p>Lining up alongside them will be Andrea Iannone. The Italian&nbsp;was the last man to cross the line and had to wheel the bike back up the pitlane to parc ferme, having failed to realise how well he&#39;d qualified.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro will start fourth, just a tenth shy of Iannone, with&nbsp;Hector Barbera completing the top five.</p> <p>Rossi meanwhile will start sixth, almost a second adrift of the leading pace, as his final flyer was compromised by Marquez&#39;s overtake which lost the Yamaha rider a chunk of time.</p> <p>Seventh-placed Dovizioso had a delayed start to his session as he chose to change his front forks. On his return to the track, his first run was aborted when his&nbsp;rear wheel came well off the ground under braking at Turn 11.</p> <p>Completing the top ten is Mavrick Vinales (Suzuki Ectstar), Dani Pedrosa (Honda)&nbsp;and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/motogp-grid-brno.png" width="90%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12653http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12653Andrea Iannone takes maiden MotoGP victory as Ducati secure Austria 1-2Sun, 14 Aug 2016 15:41:14 GMT<p>Andrea Iannone scored his maiden MotoGP victory on Sunday at the Austrian Grand Prix as he battled against Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, to give the team their first win since&nbsp;2010 and&nbsp;their first 1-2 since 2007.</p> <p>The pole sitter fought hard against his team-mate in the opening laps as Dovizioso taking second from Valentino Rossi at the start, before later taking the lead of the race.</p> <p>Rossi meanwhile dropped back to fourth as Jorge Lorenzo claimed third, though they remained in touch of the leaders.</p> <p>That was until Dovizioso and Iannone pulled a gap in first and second before the latter managed to retake the lead with just eight laps of the race remaining. The pair would finish less than a second adrift of one another as the fight went down to the final lap.</p> <p>Lorenzo managed to hold off Rossi for third and fourth respectively whilst Marc&nbsp;Marquez completed the top five ahead of&nbsp;Maverick Vinales.</p> <p>Avintia&rsquo;s Hector Barbera finished seventh but was later disqualified for failing to serve a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.</p> <p>A number of riders were caught out for false starts, including&nbsp;Cal Crutchlow, Yonny Hernandez, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl.</p> <p>Barbera&#39;s DSQ promoted Honda&#39;s&nbsp;Dani Pedrosa with&nbsp;Eugene Laverty (Aspar Ducati),&nbsp;Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati) and Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top ten.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro was the only&nbsp;retirement.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/austria-result-16.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12651http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12651Iannone beats Rossi to MotoGP pole position in AustriaSat, 13 Aug 2016 14:14:41 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone will line up on pole position for the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix after narrowly beating Valentino Rossi in a close qualifying session.</strong></p> <p>The Italian kept up Ducati&rsquo;s strong practice form to challenge the Yamaha pairing of Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in the final Q2 session.</p> <p>Iannone put in the fastest time with a 1m23.142 to go just under one and a half tenths faster than Rossi.</p> <p>His Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had held provisional pole earlier in the session but settled for the final spot on the front row, just 0.009s behind second place.</p> <p>Lorenzo claimed fourth and Marc Marquez recovered to fifth. The Honda rider dislocated his shoulder and was sent to hospital for checks after a crash in FP3 earlier in the day.</p> <p>Suzuki&rsquo;s Maverick Vinales, LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding were next up. Aleix Espargaro, Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty were classified in positions 9-11.</p> <p>Honda rider Dani Pedrosa&rsquo;s struggles continued and he finished slowest of the Q2 riders in 12<sup>th</sup>.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were the first drivers knocked out of qualifying in the first segment.</p> <p>Yonny Hernandez was 16<sup>th</sup>, ahead of Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro, rookie Tito Rabat, Alvaro Bautista and Jack Miller, who fell at Turn 4. Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz completed the order.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12649http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12649KTM officially unveils 2017 MotoGP challenger in AustriaSat, 13 Aug 2016 13:07:11 GMT<p><strong>KTM has uncovered the livery and bike, called the RC16, it will debut with in MotoGP next season at a launch event in Austria.</strong></p> <p>The manufacturer has been putting its prototype RC16 through its paces since last November and recently went up against other MotoGP teams in a test at the Red Bull Ring.</p> <p>The KTM MotoGP programme was officially launched at an event in Austria, where the RC16 livery and bike were unveiled.</p> <p>Tech3 Yamaha riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will race for KTM in its first MotoGP season.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="420" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/150214_Studio_KTM_RC16_2016.png" width="770" /></p> <p>But test rider Mika Kallio will give the RC16 an early debut as a wildcard entry at the 2016 finale in Valencia later this year.</p> <p>The newly-liveried RC16, which mirrors KTM&rsquo;s Moto3 design, will turn a handful of demo laps on Sunday prior to the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12647http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12647Marc Marquez cleared to take part in Austrian GP qualifying after FP3 fallSat, 13 Aug 2016 12:16:46 GMT<p><strong>Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez has been cleared to take part in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix after a heavy fall in third practice.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard lost control and crashed in the early stages of FP3, narrowly avoiding a collision with his team-mate Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Marquez was seen nursing his left shoulder after the fall, which was dislocated. It popped back into place but after checks at the track he was to Leoben hospital for checks for further evaluation.</p> <p>It has now been confirmed that Marquez has been cleared to take part in qualifying later today at the Red Bull Ring.</p> <p>Marquez later sent an update to his fans on Twitter, saying: &quot;It has only been a fright! All is OK.&quot;</p> <p>He is currently leading the championship by 48 points after nine rounds of the 2016 MotoGP season, as he hunts for his third title.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Iannone finished ahead of his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in the third practice session on Saturday morning.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12646http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12646MotoGP looking to introduce dashboard communication systemFri, 12 Aug 2016 16:52:41 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP is looking at introducing a dashboard communication system to keep riders more informed during races.</strong></p> <p>The series had considered team radio similar to Formula 1, but believe the system would not only be too costly to introduce, but would put riders off if they were being spoken to mid-corner or when battling hard against a rival.</p> <p>Therefore an alternative system, one that uses a small screen on the dashboard, is being considered for the 2017 season and could be trialled later this season, most likely at one or more of the season closing races.</p> <p>The technology is already in place, with race control using it to communicate certain messages such as: jump start; black flag; red flag and a problem with their bike.</p> <p>Dorna&#39;s Javier Alonso says it could be opened up the teams, allowing them to send various messages, such as gaps between riders, rather than using a pit board.</p> <p>&quot;We decided to talk to our engineers to see if the system used by Race Control to warn riders of certain things could be used by teams,&quot; Alonso told Spanish newspaper&nbsp;<em>El Periodico</em>.</p> <p>&quot;There is no point in having radio communication, but if we implement this system, riders can&nbsp;have better access to information at the time they need it.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12641http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12641Sachsenring concludes five-year MotoGP contract extensionThu, 11 Aug 2016 17:30:06 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP will continue to visit the Sachsenring, which&nbsp;has regularly hosted the German round of the championship&nbsp;since 1998, after securing an extension to its hosting deal through 2021.</strong></p> <p>Race organisers agreed a new five-year deal which was concluded this week and will see the circuit, which will celebrate it&#39;s 20th anniversary next year, remain on the calendar for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>ADAC sport president Hermann Tomczyk hailed the deal:&nbsp;&quot;The Sachsenring is certainly the most ideal venue for a German motorcycle grand prix.&nbsp;I am therefore very pleased that it will now be hosting a world championship race for the next years. The event has been a huge success ever since 1998.&quot;</p> <p>Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of series rights holders Dorna Sports added: &quot;The German Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sachsenring is a spectacular event with great fans and is an important fixture on the MotoGP calendar.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We welcome the announcement that the German Motorcycle Grand Prix will&nbsp;continue to take place at the Sachsenring in the coming years.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12640http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12640MotoGP to use modified final corner for Austrian Grand PrixThu, 11 Aug 2016 12:44:26 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP will use a modified version of the Red Bull Ring&#39;s Turn 10 following safety concerns raised during a private test at the circuit last month.</strong></p> <p>MotoGP will return to Austria for the first time since 1997 this year, with series organisers hosting a private test at the circuit to understand the layout.</p> <p>Following a discussion between FIM safety officer Franco Uncini and riders of the safety commission, it was decided that the final corner, known as Red Bull Mobile, should be tweaked to reduce exit speed.</p> <p>The&nbsp;width of the&nbsp;circuit has therefore been reduced from 13 to 10 metres around the corner with the addition of new kerbs, expanding the run-off as well.</p> <p>Due to this change, the times set during the private test are likely to be quicker than those posted this weekend.&nbsp;Ducati&#39;s&nbsp;Andrea Iannone was quickest during the test, setting a best time of&nbsp;1m23.240.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12621http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12621KTM to complete demo run at Austrian GP with new MotoGP bikeFri, 05 Aug 2016 15:26:21 GMT<p><strong>KTM will give its new MotoGP bike its first public appearance with a demo run before the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.</strong></p> <p>The RC16 will run at 13:15, shortly before the start of the Austrian GP, with KTM test riders Mika Kallio and Alex Hofmann completing demo laps.</p> <p>KTM will compete in its first full MotoGP season next year, but looks set to make an early debut with a wildcard spot at the 2016 finale in Valencia.</p> <p>The demo laps in Austria will come after a press conference hosted by KTM Group CEO Stefan Pierer on Saturday about the project.</p> <p>KTM recently completed a private test at the Red Bull Ring with the new bike, finishing two seconds off the pace.</p> <p>Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have already been confirmed as KTM&rsquo;s riders for the 2017 season.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12543http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12543Stefan Bradl to leave MotoGP at the end of 2016Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:40:25 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP racer Stefan Bradl has confirmed he will leave the series at the end of the 2016 season.</strong></p> <p>He took the Moto2 crown in 2011 before graduating to MotoGP the following year with LCR Honda, finishing seventh in the standings.</p> <p>Bradl then switched to Forward Yamaha for 2015 but made the switch to Aprilia mid-way through the season.</p> <p>The manufacturer has opted for Aleix Espargar&oacute; and Sam Lowes next season, leaving Bradl without a drive for MotoGP in 2017.</p> <p>&quot;I will not be there in Grand Prix racing next year,&quot; Bradl, currently 15<sup>th</sup> in the 2016 riders&rsquo; championship, is quoted telling <em>Speedweek</em>.</p> <p>&quot;The MotoGP World Championship will take place without me, although my decision was not easy.</p> <p>&quot;I made my decision in early June at Barcelona [that] if I did not continue at Aprilia then there would be no more competitive place in MotoGP for me.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12467http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12467Marc Marquez fights back to take sensational Sachsenring victorySun, 17 Jul 2016 16:27:16 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez further extended his championship lead over second placed Jorge Lorenzo with an inspired victory at the&nbsp;Sachsenring for the German round of the MotoGP championship.</strong></p> <p>The Honda rider started from pole position in wet conditions as the heavens opened before lights out, but a switch to full wet tyres saw him drop down the field before a mistake at Turn 8, which saw him run off into the gravel, dropped him out of the top ten.</p> <p>That forced Marquez to take a risky strategy move with an early switch to the slick tyre as the track showed signs of drying out. It was a risk that would pay off, with the Spaniard taking back the lead and opening up a massive ten second advantage over LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow.</p> <p>Timing was everything. Andrea Dovizioso looked set to take the win - his first since 2009 - but he switched to the slicks too late and lost the lead, dropping to third come the checkered flag.</p> <p>Pramac&#39;s Danilo Petrucci also looked like a candidate for victory having led the race before he crashed out. His team-mate Scott Redding would go on to finish fourth.</p> <p>Another rider to get the timing of their slick stop wrong was Valentino Rossi. The Italian was in a battle with&nbsp;Dovizioso and Crutchlow for the lead, but stopped later than them and paid the price as Rossi would go on to finish only eighth, but it helped him to close the championship gap to his team-mate to just 11 points in second and third.</p> <p>Lorenzo&#39;s nightmare weekend continued as scored just a single point for 15th place as he struggled to keep pace in the latter stages of the race, despite running in the top ten for the first half.</p> <p>Local rider Stefan Bradl was forced to miss him home race after a fall during the&nbsp;warm-up. He was taken to the local hospital for a CT scan after suffering a concussion in the crash.<img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/german-motogp-result.png" width="100%"/></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12464http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12464Marc Marquez takes Germany pole as Jorge Lorenzo crashes out twiceSat, 16 Jul 2016 16:16:28 GMT<p><strong>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez will start the German round of the MotoGP championship from pole position after nearest championship rival Jorge Lorenzo crashed out twice, meaning the Yamaha rider starts just 11th.</strong></p> <p>Marquez secured a dominant pole by more than four-tenths to Avintia&#39;s Hector Barbera on Saturday around the&nbsp;Sachsenring, with the pair sharing the front-row with Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi, third.</p> <p>There have been no shortage of crashes this weekend so far, but with perfect conditions for qualifying, fewer crashes were expected. But Lorenzo suffered a nightmare session as he fell in Q1 at Turn 8, narrowly making the Q2 cut by just 0.050s.</p> <p>The Spaniard would fall again though on his second run in Q2 at Turn 1, putting him 11th on the grid, just behind Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone also fell on his second lap, but managed to recover and finished up ninth behind Suzuki Ecstar&#39;s&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro, eighth and Andrea Dovizioso, seventh.</p> <p>Britain&#39;s Cal Crutchlow came close to making the Q2 cut - and forcing Lorenzo out in the process -&nbsp;but blamed Stefan Bradl for getting in his way and costing him time, to finish P13&nbsp;overall.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/motogp-qual-germany.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12461http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12461Maverick Vinales quickest from Andrea Iannone in Sachsenring MotoGP practiceFri, 15 Jul 2016 15:12:14 GMT<p><strong>Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales topped the practice times for the German Grand Prix on Friday, putting in a 1:22.161, with just one rider, Andrea Iannone, able to get within half a second of the Spaniard.</strong></p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Iannone ended up two-tenths off, with Marc Marquez third, more than six-tenths adrift for the Honda team.</p> <p>The session saw a slow start with little action until Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s&nbsp;Bradley Smith headed out, followed by&nbsp;Valentino Rossi five minutes later. That seemed to kick things off as the remainder of the field soon joined them.</p> <p>Vinales, although quickest and close to 2015 lap times, didn&#39;t have it all his own way after recovering from a nasty fall during the session. He was quickly back up and running though and did enough to keep himself top.</p> <p>Fourth was LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow. The Briton was just 0.042s adrift of Marquez, but a tenth quicker than&nbsp;his&nbsp;former team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Ducati were again the only team to have both of their bikes in the top five.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Ducati Team) completed the top ten.</p> <p>Loris Baz made his competitive return following an injury, to go P21 and last, 2.8 seconds off the leaders.</p> <p>Turn 11 claimed more than just Vinales during the session, with Tito Rabat also falling, whilst&nbsp;Eugene Laverty crashed at Turn 1. All were unharmed.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12457http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12457Johann Zarco confirmed at Tech 3 Yamaha for 2017 MotoGP seasonThu, 14 Jul 2016 16:56:22 GMT<p><strong>2015 Moto2 champion Johann Zarco has been announced at Tech 3 Yamaha for the 2017 MotoGP season.</strong></p> <p>The French racer will step up to the MotoGP series after claiming the Moto2 championship last year with Ajo Motorsport.</p> <p>He is currently tied with Alex Rins at the top of the Moto2 standings in the 2016 season, after eight of the 18 rounds.</p> <p>Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro are both moving across to KTM for next year, with Zarco joining the team alongside fellow Moto2 rider Jonas Folger.</p> <p>His contract is for the 2017 season in MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha but it also includes a one year option with the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;It goes without saying that I am very happy to join the MotoGP class with Tech3 and I am confident that we can form a solid partnership,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team has a deep relationship and long history with Yamaha and they have proved that they can manage well in every situation and have had a good package year after year.</p> <p>&ldquo;This pleases me and it gives me extra motivation for reaching my targets in the 2017 season. Of course, it seems like a logical step for a French team and a French champion to work together, and now finally the deal is done which is certainly positive news.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really will do my best and prepare myself for the maximum because I think it&rsquo;s more than possible to get some top results in MotoGP after my long experience in the intermediate class.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12304http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12304Aleix Espargaro secures two-year MotoGP deal with ApriliaTue, 28 Jun 2016 15:32:11 GMT<p><strong>Aleix Espargaro has been confirmed at the Aprilia MotoGP team for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard has secured a two-year deal and will partner Sam Lowes next year, meaning Aprilia will field an all-new line-up next year.</p> <p>Alex Rins was recently announced as Andrea Iannone&rsquo;s team-mate at Suzuki, which confirmed Espargaro&rsquo;s departure from the team.</p> <p>He will now make the switch to Aprilia for his seventh full season in MotoGP, partnering current Moto2 frontrunner Lowes. The news was announced over the Dutch TT weekend at Assen.</p> <p>Espargaro made his MotoGP debut in 2009 with Pramac and started racing full-time in the series in 2012, riding for ART, Forward Yamaha and Suzuki.</p> <p>His best finish in the final standings so far has been seventh place in 2014. Since moving up to MotoGP he has scored one podium and two pole positions.</p> <p>The news of his switch to Aprilia leaves current riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl without seats for the 2017 season.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12294http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12294Jack Miller scores maiden MotoGP victory in dramatic Dutch TTSun, 26 Jun 2016 18:06:23 GMT<p><strong>Australia&#39;s Jack Miller secured his maiden MotoGP victory at the Dutch TT at Assen in torrential conditions which saw the race red flagged and then restarted when the weather improved.</strong></p> <p>The race began under wet conditions but the track began to dry during&nbsp;the early laps. Valentino Rossi led on the first lap and began to stretch out a lead over second-placed Andrea Dovizioso before Aspar&#39;s Yonny Hernandez made a move for the lead.</p> <p>As Dovizioso began to close on Rossi, the rain intensified, causing Hernandez to fall, handing the lead back to Rossi whilst Scott Redding joined the action at the front of the field.</p> <p>With Danilo Petrucci taking over second and Dovizioso the lead, conditions began to worsen&nbsp;and the race&nbsp;was red-flagged with 12 laps remaining.</p> <p>Dovizioso started on pole for the restart, followed by Petrucci and Rossi but the lead immediately changed as Dovizioso rolled through the gravel, ending his race and victory hopes.</p> <p>Rossi was the next man to crash out from the lead a lap later, handing the lead to Marquez, with Miller second. The pair swapped positions a few laps later, leaving Miller with just four lead laps to claim his maiden win.</p> <p>Marquez finished second ahead of Britain&#39;s Scott Redding to complete the Assen podium.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/assen-result.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12292http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12292MotoGP to ban aerodynamic winglets from 2017 seasonSat, 25 Jun 2016 21:35:39 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP will ban the use of aerodynamic winglets from the 2017 season, the Grand Prix Commission confirmed this week.</strong></p> <p>The use of the small wings, often used to control wheelie&#39;s under acceleration and help with cornering, have become increasingly common and more intricate with each passing race.</p> <p>Ducati pioneered them leading to other manufacturers to complain, before swiftly copying them.&nbsp;</p> <p>A statement from the Grand Prix Commission, which is comprised of series promoter Dorna chairman Carmelo Ezpeleta, Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), confirmed they would remain legal for the remainder of the 2016 season.</p> <p>&quot;The Commission unanimously agreed that, with effect from the 2017, the use of aerodynamic wings in the MotoGP&nbsp;class will be banned,&quot; it read.</p> <p>&quot;The actual regulation will replicate those for the Moto3 and Moto2&nbsp;classes where the use of wings is already prohibited.</p> <p>&quot;Wings that comply with current technical regulations may continue to be used for the remainder of the 2016 season.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12290http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12290Andrea Dovizioso secures dominant Assen MotoGP pole in damp conditionsSat, 25 Jun 2016 14:31:44 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso will start the Dutch MotoGP race from the front after securing a dramatic pole position around the Assen TT track in damp conditions.</strong></p> <p>The session began under damp conditions and although they began to dry come Q2, the majority of riders stuck with the full-wet tyres as patches of water were still visible in places.</p> <p>Dovizioso took a dominant pole, mastering the conditions to go more than seven-tenths quicker than Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi. The Italian will start second alongside Pramac&#39;s Scott Redding, the Briton securing his first ever front-row start.</p> <p>Championship leader Marc Marquez qualified in fourth place, more than a second down on pole, but crucially several places ahead of nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo in tenth - promoted a position thanks to Andrea Iannone&#39;s penalty.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Yonny Hernandez (Aspar), Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech3), Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki Ecstar) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac)&nbsp;complete the top ten.</p> <p>The session saw multiple riders fall, including Maverick Vinales early on. During a low speed corner he lost his bike and had to sprint back to the pits.</p> <p>Marquez crashed on his outlap, but managed to commandeer a photographer&#39;s scooter to get back to the pits and jump on the second bike, allowing him to return to the action with minutes to spare.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/assen-grid-16.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12288http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12288Andrea Iannone quickest again in Assen practice as Valentino Rossi closes upFri, 24 Jun 2016 17:20:19 GMT<p><strong>Andrea Iannone was once again the quickest rider in practice for the Dutch TT at Assen, though the competition began to close in on the Ducati&#39;s - which had dominated opening practice, filling four of the top five positions.</strong></p> <p>Iannone pipped Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi by just 0.004s to go quickest, but was the only Ducati rider in the top five in FP2 as championship leader Marc Marquez found some pace, getting to within two-tenths of the top spot to go third.</p> <p>Suzuki&#39;s Maverick Vinales was fourth, three-tenths back, followed by Yamaha&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo to complete the top five, all split by just four-tenths of a second.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci continued his impressive form to secure seventh behind Andrea Dovizioso,&nbsp;beating&nbsp;brothers Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) and Pol Espargaro&nbsp;(Tech 3) as well as his team-mate Scott Redding, tenth.</p> <p>Avintia Ducati&#39;s Hector Barbera crashed out after suffering a lowside at Turn 3, which was the same location&nbsp;Alvaro Bautista lost control of his Aprilia bike after just a few minutes of the session starting.</p> <p>Bautista suffered a second crash, this time at Turn 5.&nbsp;Aspar Ducati&#39;s&nbsp;Eugene Laverty got caught up in the accident.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12285http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12285Andrea Iannone goes quickest in Ducati dominated Assen first practiceFri, 24 Jun 2016 13:47:53 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Iannone was quickest during opening practice for the Dutch TT at Assen, closely followed by team-mate Andrea Dovizioso with the pair split by two-tenths at the top of the timing screens.</strong></p> <p>The Italian rider is set to start the race at the back of the grid following his collision with Jorge Lorenzo last time out in Barcelona, but that didn&#39;t put him off showing what Ducati can do as he topped the leaderboard for much of the session.</p> <p>Tech3&nbsp;Yamaha rider&nbsp;Pol Espargaro was third, a further tenth back, followed by Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci on identical times - 1m34.660s - to give Ducati four of the top five positions.</p> <p>Jorge Lorenzo was sixth, 0.373s off the pace, only just outpacing team-mate Valentino Rossi in seventh.</p> <p>Honda seemingly struggled around Assen, failing to make the top ten as championship leader&nbsp;Marc Marquez finished 11th, more than six-tenths down on Iannone.&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12265http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12265Alex Rins joins Andrea Iannone to complete Suzuki's 2017 MotoGP line-upMon, 20 Jun 2016 11:02:50 GMT<p><strong>Moto2 rider Alex Rins will graduate to the Suzuki MotoGP team for the 2017 season, the team confirmed on Monday.</strong></p> <p>Rins will join Andrea Iannone as part of an entirely new line-up for the Japanese manufacturer, with <a href="http://www.grandprixtimes.com/news/id/12058">Iannone&nbsp;joining from Ducati</a>&nbsp;for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, replacing&nbsp;current riders&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.</p> <p>&quot;Alex is a young rider who has already proven to have much talent, always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship since his debut in every class, making him the type of rider who we want to support for the future,&quot; said Suzuki team boss David Brivio.</p> <p>&quot;To pair Andrea Iannone, an experienced rider with such a young talent as Alex creates a perfect combination for our challenge.&quot;</p> <p>Brivio thanked Espargaro for his&nbsp;time with the team: &quot;It wasn&rsquo;t an easy choice and we feel sorry for Aleix who we would like to thank for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started,&quot;&nbsp;he added.</p> <p>&quot;We wish him all the best for his future but in the meantime we will support as best as we can to try to get the best possible results together until the end of this season.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12232http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12232MotoGP return postponed to Germany for Loris BazFri, 17 Jun 2016 10:51:32 GMT<p><strong>Avintia has confirmed that its rider Loris Baz will not race at the up-coming Dutch TT at Assen, with his MotoGP return being delayed to next month&rsquo;s round in Germany.</strong></p> <p>Baz picked up a foot injury during the Italian Grand Prix after a first corner collision. He was forced to skip the following event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.</p> <p>He had hoped to return in The Netherlands at the Assen track but while rehab is going well, doctors have said he will not be able to race in Germany. Michele Pirro will replace him once again.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m really disappointed to not be able to ride in Assen,&rdquo; Baz explained. &ldquo;This was my target after the crash in Mugello.</p> <p>&ldquo;But to be honest, from the very first moment the doctors told me that being ready for Assen would be really difficult.</p> <p>&ldquo;I tried my best from the beginning, but I&rsquo;ll have to wait until next Thursday to remove some metals I have on my foot, and it will be impossible to ride the bike just on Friday.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame because I love Assen and I have some good memories like the WSBK lap record. Last year I enjoyed racing there, but I&rsquo;m eager to get back to my garage and work with my guys to solve the problems.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would like to be there, but I&rsquo;m forced to wait a couple of weeks and head Germany with a stronger foot. Everything is going perfect and I work hard every day.</p> <p>&ldquo;I want to wish good luck to Hector, I&rsquo;ll be supporting him from home. And also to Pirro, so he can get a good result for the team. See you in Sachsenring.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12163http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12163Valentino Rossi 'stronger' now than he was last year says Marc MarquezSun, 05 Jun 2016 23:32:23 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez believes Valentino Rossi is stronger this year than he was last year, when he came within five points of taking his eighth title.</strong></p> <p>Yamaha rider Rossi secured his 88th MotoGP victory on Sunday in Barcelona after a race long battle against Honda&#39;s Marquez, which saw the pair trade the lead of the race more than once.</p> <p>Speaking after, Marquez admitted he was wary of Rossi&#39;s current form and believes the Italian - who is now just 22 points adrift in the stadings -&nbsp;could be a title contender.</p> <p>&quot;It was a nice race with Valentino,&quot; said the Spaniard.&nbsp;&quot;He&#39;s in a moment that, since I&#39;m here in MotoGP, it&#39;s his strongest moment.</p> <p>&quot;Last year he was strong but this year he&#39;s stronger, he has the pace. We will be careful with him, he has a really good level.&quot;</p> <p>Reviewing his own race, Marquez admitted to some struggles which meant he was never 100 per cent comfortable.</p> <p>&quot;I was suffering a little with the increase in temperature and was never completely comfortable, so I was unable to try overtaking at the right time,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&quot;I had a couple of scares and started doing the math for the standings in my head, knowing that Jorge Lorenzo was out of the race, and I think that in the end, a podium finish is a very positive result for the championship.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12160http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12160Valentino Rossi takes thrilling Catalan victory as Jorge Lorenzo crashes outSun, 05 Jun 2016 15:07:01 GMT<p><strong>Valentino Rossi denied pole sitter Marc Marquez a third lights to flag victory of the season as he took a sensational victory in Barcelona, despite dropping to eighth at the start of the race.</strong></p> <p>The Italian rider found himself dropping down the order thanks to a bad start, whilst reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo&nbsp;seized the lead before his race began to unravel a few laps later.</p> <p>Rossi would fight his way back through the pack to take the lead at Turn 1 on lap six, as Lorenzo was passed by Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Maverick Vinales in quick succession.</p> <p>Lorenzo&#39;s race weekend took a big hit with ten laps remaining as he and Andrea Iannone made contact at Turn 10, taking both the Yamaha and Ducati rider out of the Catalan GP.</p> <p>Meanwhile at the head of the field, Rossi came under pressure from Honda&#39;s Marquez as the pair fought over the lead, trading quickest times as the gap rarely stretched beyond a few tenths.</p> <p>Marquez found a way past at Turn 10 with four laps remaining, but it didn&#39;t last long as just seconds later Rossi snuck past, emerging in the lead. However on the same lap Marquez made another move, breezing past the Italian down the start/finish straight, only for Rossi to beat Marquez on the brakes.</p> <p>It didn&#39;t end there though. Marquez got past a lap later and made the move stick and looked as though victory might go to the Spaniard. But Rossi wasn&#39;t done and remained close enough to challenge on the penultimate lap, where he would go on to take the lead and his 88th MotoGP victory.</p> <p>Pedrosa would complete the podium as he finished almost 20 seconds clear of Vinales in fourth and Pol Espargaro in fifth.</p> <p>LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow worked his way to sixth to seal top Independent Team rider honours and take his best finish of the year and his first top ten since Valencia 2015.</p> <p>Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was demoted a position at the end of the race for exceeding track limits. This granted Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) his first ever-top ten in the premier class.</p> <p>Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was forced to retire on the sixth lap, technical problems dropping him down the field.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was also forced to retire, his rear tyre offering no grip by the 19th lap of the race.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <center><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/catalan-results.png" /></center> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12156http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12156Marc Marquez takes stunning Catalan Grand Prix pole positionSat, 04 Jun 2016 16:09:40 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez secured pole position for the Catalan Grand Prix on Saturday with a stunning lap around the shorter Formula 1 circuit.</strong></p> <p>The Honda rider posted a 1m43.589s lap to go almost half a second quicker than reigning MotoGP champion&nbsp;Jorge Lorenzo, who starts second on the grid for Yamaha.</p> <p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa will start in the final position on the front-row, with a lap just over two-tenths slower than Lorenzo.</p> <p>Marquez started the session with a blistering lap which would go unchallenged until the final few seconds, but as the checkered flag fell, Marquez put in his best lap to become the only rider to dip below the 1&#39;44 mark, taking his third pole of 2016 - his previous two of which have been converted into victory.</p> <p>Yamaha&#39;s riders admitted to some struggles in the final sector - following the switch to the F1-spec layout which features a slow chicane - resulting in second for Lorenzo and fifth for Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>Slotting in between the Yamaha pair is Pedrosa and Avintia&#39;s Hector Barbera in third and fouth respectively.</p> <p>Maverick Vinales completes the second row in sixth, just two-thousandths behind Rossi - with the top six covered by just seven-tenths.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) formed the remainder of the top ten.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/catalan-2016-grid.png" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12155http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12155Maverick Vinales tops third practice for Catalan Grand PrixSat, 04 Jun 2016 12:55:04 GMT<p><strong>Maverick Vianles topped the third practice session for the Catalan Grand Prix - the first session to take place on the Formula 1 layout following Luis Salom&#39;s fatal accident on Friday.</strong></p> <p>With the change to the slightly shorter circuit coming at late notice, third practice was extended to give riders a chance to familiarise themselves with the modified final sector, which includes a chicane on the approach to Turn 12.</p> <p>Vinales was quickest come the checkered flag, narrowly beating Marc Marquez by just over a tenth of a second, whilst the second Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa was third, a further tenth off.</p> <p>Marquez suffered a fall at Turn 2 during the session, forcing him to sprint back to his garage to jump on the spare bike.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi&nbsp;looked as though he&#39;d&nbsp;struggle to secure a Q2 place as he languished in the bottom half of the field. However a late flyer put him fourth&nbsp;ahead of Pol Espargaro and Jorge Lorenzo, half a second off the pace.</p> <p>Britain&#39;s Scott Redding was seventh, with Danilo Petrucci, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone completing the top ten.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12153http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12153MotoGP switches to Barcelona F1 layout after rider deathFri, 03 Jun 2016 22:02:31 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP will switch to the Formula 1 layout of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the remainder of the Catalan Grand Prix weekend, following the death of Moto2 rider Luis Salom&nbsp;on Friday.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard succumbed to injuries he sustained during a practice crash at Turn 12 - a high-speed corner which hasn&#39;t been&nbsp;used by Formula 1 drivers since 2007, as the run-off doesn&#39;t feature a gravel trap to slow cars or bikes down.</p> <p>The F1 layout bypasses this corner thanks to the addition of a&nbsp;chicane, which was added to slow the cars down.</p> <p>MotoGP and its feature races will now use this layout after riders expressed concern over the incident.&nbsp;</p> <p>The changes shorten the lap length by almost 1,000 metres, and riders will be given an extended hour of practice on Saturday morning to familiarise themselves with the new layout.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12152http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12152Moto2 rider Luis Salom dies following Barcelona practice crashFri, 03 Jun 2016 17:14:27 GMT<p><strong>SAG team rider Luis Salom has passed away following a crash during Moto2 second practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, series officials have confirmed.</strong></p> <p>The Spanish rider fell at Turn 12 on Friday, resulting in the session being red flagged with 25 minutes remaining.</p> <p>Two medical cars and&nbsp;two ambulances were immediately on scene to treat the 24-year-old and the medical helicopter was also deployed to assist in his treatment.</p> <p>Due the severity of his condition, the decision was taken to transfer Salom by road to the nearby Hospital General de Catalunya. On arrival, he underwent surgery, but despite the best efforts of the trauma team, he passed away at 16:55pm local time.</p> <p>Grand Prix Times wishes to pass on its condolences to the family, friends and team of Salom.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12150http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12150Pol Espargaro to make KTM switch for 2017 MotoGP seasonFri, 03 Jun 2016 13:19:26 GMT<p><strong>On Thursday Pol Espargaro and Yamaha Tech3 announced they would be <a href="http://grandprixtimes.com/news/id/12141">parting company</a> at the end of the 2016 MotoGP, with the Spaniard confirming his switch to KTM shortly after.</strong></p> <p>Espargaro moved up to MotoGP with Yamaha in 2014, finishing sixth in the championship before ending the 2015 season in ninth overall.</p> <p>He is currently seventh in the standings in what will be his final season with Yamaha before moving over to KTM for 2017 and 2018 to join his current Tech3 team-mate Bradley Smith.</p> <p>KTM joins the series next year as a factory outfit, with the Austrian manufacturer now completing its line-up with the signing of Espargaro.</p> <p>&quot;I am going to sign with KTM for the next two years and join the new adventure with them,&rdquo; he said on the news.</p> <p>&ldquo;New team, new bike in MotoGP. I saw the opportunity to try something different and to try and be with these guys in the future.</p> <p>&ldquo;Working together with KTM will be crazy hard, but I&rsquo;m ready to work. They also showed me they&rsquo;re ready to work.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have an agreement for two years and I want to thank Yamaha, Herve and Lin as they gave me the chance to grow in MotoGP and this is my dream come true.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have to say thanks and also to Ducati and Avintia because they showed a lot of interest too but we couldn&rsquo;t go that way. Happy to face this adventure with KTM and finish this year well.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12144http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12144Marc Marquez extends Honda MotoGP contract to 2018Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:38:25 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez will remain at the Repsol Honda MotoGP team until at least 2018 after signing a new two-year contract extension.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard recently confirmed he will be racing <a href="http://grandprixtimes.com/news/id/12138">for Honda</a> in 2017 but revealed a contract had yet to be finalised. Now it has done and Marquez has secured his future in MotoGP for the next two seasons.</p> <p>Marquez moved up to MotoGP in 2013 after taking the previous year&rsquo;s Moto2 title. He took back-to-back championships before finishing third in 2015. He is currently second in this year&rsquo;s standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m very happy to announce this renewal with HRC, especially coinciding with Grand Prix of Catalunya, my home GP, where I have some really good memories,&rdquo; he said on the news.</p> <p>&ldquo;HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] and I have a very strong relationship, and I&rsquo;ve always wanted to continue being a part of the Repsol Honda Team.</p> <p>&ldquo;In three and a half years together, we&rsquo;ve enjoyed some unbelievable moments, with great victories and two world titles, as well as a few challenging moments that I believe are making us stronger.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re working very hard this year to regain the title. It&rsquo;s a great honour to be a part of the Honda family, and I&rsquo;m glad to remain with this special group of people for another two seasons.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12141http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12141Pol Espargaro to split from Yamaha Tech3 team at end of 2016Thu, 02 Jun 2016 10:54:35 GMT<p><strong>Monster Yamaha Tech3 has confirmed Pol Espargaro will leave the MotoGP team at the end of the 2016 season.</strong></p> <p>The Spaniard won the Moto2 title in 2013 before moving up to MotoGP with Tech3 for the following season, placing sixth in the standings and taking home the &lsquo;rookie of the year&rsquo; accolade.</p> <p>Last year Espargaro finished the championship in ninth place, with three top five finishes. He is currently seventh in the 2016 standings after six races.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. look back with great appreciation on Espargaro&#39;s contributions to its racing successes over the past two and a half years and wish Espargaro the very best in furthering his racing career,&rdquo; Yamaha Tech 3 said in a statement.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yamaha and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team will continue to put their full efforts into finishing the 2016 season with Espargaro in the best possible manner and hope to share many more memorable moments during the upcoming twelve MotoGP rounds of the 2016 World Championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;The 2017 Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team replacement for Pol Espargaro will be announced in due course.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12138http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12138Marc Marquez confirms he will remain with Honda in 2017Wed, 01 Jun 2016 17:58:59 GMT<p><strong>Marc Marquez has dropped a big hint all but confirming&nbsp;that he will remain with the Honda MotoGP team next season and possibly&nbsp;beyond.</strong></p> <p>During a presentation for the Catalan Grand Prix this weekend, the Spaniard admitted he would be riding for Honda, although a contract has yet to be signed between the two parties.</p> <p>&quot;I have not signed yet, but this will be my bike next year,&quot; he is quoted as saying by&nbsp;<em>Motorsport.</em></p> <p>&quot;A contract has to be written properly. This year has been the exception because everything moved too fast. First Valentino renewed, and then Jorge. But I don&#39;t like that.</p> <p>&quot;Now, Jorge and Maverick [Vinales], for example, have to co-exist with a team they know they won&#39;t be with in 2017.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12076http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12076Valentino Rossi: Big gap to Jorge Lorenzo 'very bad' for title ambitionsMon, 23 May 2016 08:59:23 GMT<p><strong>Valentino Rossi has called the gap to championship leader Jorge Lorenzo &#39;very bad&#39; after losing a&nbsp;potential victory and a handful of points through no fault of his own.</strong></p> <p>Rossi had secured pole for the Italian Grand Prix at the weekend and was locked in a battle with team-mate and eventual race winner Lorenzo during the race, before an engine failure forced the Italian to retire.</p> <p>Speaking after the race, Rossi believed he had the pace to challenge for the win and close up in the standings.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s always a great shame when you have a technical failure in the race, but this race even more because I was very strong all weekend,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;For sure I could fight for victory. I was behind Lorenzo, but sincerely I think I had a little bit more pace compared to him, so for sure I could have attacked.&quot;</p> <p>The failure now means Rossi is 37 points adrift of the championship leader with just 13 races remaining.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately the engine broke, I think it&rsquo;s the same problem that happened to him [Lorenzo] in warm-up. We were a little bit worried, because usually [this kind of problem] doesn&rsquo;t happen.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a great shame for the championship, because I scored zero and Lorenzo and Marquez arrived first and second,&quot; he added. &quot;So now the distance to the top [of the standings] is 37 points, which is very bad, quite a big gap.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12071http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12071Lorenzo takes MotoGP win at Mugello, Rossi retires with engine failureSun, 22 May 2016 15:31:20 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo beat Marc Marquez by just 0.019 seconds at the Italian Grand Prix, as polesitter Valentino Rossi retired with engine failure.</strong></p> <p>Lorenzo jumped from fifth to first at the start of the race, with the two Yamaha riders battling closely at the front of the field.</p> <p>However, on home soil, Rossi&rsquo;s challenge came to an end when he suffered an engine failure, with white smoke pouring from the back of his bike.</p> <p>Marquez remained close to the lead fight and moved up to second place due to Rossi&rsquo;s retirement. He passed Lorenzo and took the lead mid-way through the race at Turn 4.</p> <p>The Honda rider was able to eke out a small advantage but he came under pressure from Lorenzo in the closing stages.</p> <p>The two went head-to-head on the run to the chequered flag, with Lorenzo using the slipstream to just beat Marquez to victory. Andrea Iannone bounced back from a tough first lap to complete the podium.</p> <p>Dani Pedrosa was fourth for Honda, with Andrea Dovizioso in the second Ducati running wide at Turn 1 late on and falling to fifth.</p> <p>A poor start saw Maverick Vinales drop down the order from the front row but he recovered to sixth, ahead of Bradley Smith and Danilo Petricci. Aleix Espargaro and Michele Pirro completed the top 10.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12063http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12063Valentino Rossi storms to MotoGP pole for home race at MugelloSat, 21 May 2016 14:34:09 GMT<p><strong>Valentino Rossi will start his home MotoGP race at Mugello from pole position after setting the pace in qualifying with a late run.</strong></p> <p>In front of euphoric crowds, Rossi put in a 1m46.504 in Q2 to secure first place on the grid for Sunday&rsquo;s Italian Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Yamaha rider beat Suzuki&rsquo;s Maverick Vinales by just 0.094 seconds, with Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone taking the final spot on the front row.</p> <p>The Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were fourth and seventh, split by championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Aleix Espargaro in the second Suzuki bike.</p> <p>Bradley Smith and the two Pramac riders of Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding completed the top 10, ahead of Ducati&rsquo;s Michele Pirro and Yonny Hernandez.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso struggled at Mugello and could only manage 13<sup>th</sup> on the grid for his home race. Pol Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow both crashed in Q1 and qualified 14<sup>th</sup> and 16<sup>th</sup>, with Hector Barbera between them.</p> <p>Jack Miller, Eugene Laverty, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl are next up on the grid. Loris Baz will start last following the withdrawal of Tito Rabat due to injury.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12060http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12060Andrea Iannone dominates second MotoGP practice in MugelloFri, 20 May 2016 23:37:28 GMT<p><strong>Andrea Iannone topped the second practice session for the&nbsp;Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on Friday, posting a late-flyer to seal his place at the top of the timing screens.</strong></p> <p>The Yamaha-bound rider - who on Thursday confirmed he will leave Ducati for 2017 -&nbsp;ended up almost half a second quicker than second-placed&nbsp;Jorge Lorenzo with a time of 1m47.696s - just over a second shy of the lap record.</p> <p>Michele Pirro took a surprise third as Ducati impressed,&nbsp;ahead of Suzuki&#39;s&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro and Marc Marquez completing the top five for Yamaha.</p> <p>The second Yamaha of Valentino Rossi was sixth fastest, six-tenths off the lead pace as he struggled with rear grip issues.</p> <p>Maverick&nbsp;Vinales, Scott&nbsp;Redding, Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro completed the&nbsp;top 10, with all covered by less than eight-tenths.</p> <p>Aspar rider Eugene Laverty was the only faller of the session, while Loris Baz suffered a mechanical problem with his Avintia Ducati that cost him valuable track time.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12058http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12058Suzuki signs Iannone for 2017 and 2018 MotoGP seasonsFri, 20 May 2016 13:30:42 GMT<p><strong>Suzuki has confirmed Andrea Iannone for the 2017 MotoGP season, with the Italian signing a two-year deal with the factory team.</strong></p> <p>Iannone is currently riding in his fourth season in the MotoGP series with Ducati, holding 10<sup>th</sup> in the championship after the opening five races.</p> <p>With Ducati signing Jorge Lorenzo for the 2017 season and retaining Andrea Dovizioso, Iannone has been squeezed out of the team.</p> <p>However, he has found a new home with Team Suzuki Ecstar and will ride for the Japanese factory outfit until at least 2018, signing for two seasons.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our team for the next two years,&rdquo; said team manager Davide Brivio. &ldquo;He is one of the top riders in MotoGP and he is also very passionate and motivated; which fits into our racing philosophy.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our technical project is continuously improving since our debut in 2015 and we are working hard to make our GSX-RR very competitive so that it can fight consistently close to top and victory as soon as possible.</p> <p>&ldquo;We wanted a rider that could help Suzuki continue its road to the top. Andrea is a fast rider who has the hunger for success and his riding style could suit our machine&rsquo;s characteristics, therefore giving us good hopes for a positive partnership.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being in his fourth year in MotoGP he&rsquo;s also an experienced rider from which the whole team will benefit.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12054http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12054Maverick Vinales joins Yamaha on two-year deal to partner Valentino RossiThu, 19 May 2016 09:11:18 GMT<p><strong>Mavrick Vinales will replace the outgoing Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha next season, the Japanese MotoGP team has confirmed.</strong></p> <p>Vinales will partner Valentino Rossi in 2017 and 2018, with both signing <a href="http://www.grandprixtimes.com/news/id/11579">two-year contracts with Yamaha</a> this year.</p> <p>&quot;It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces the signing of Maverick Vinales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018,&quot; read a team statement.</p> <p>&quot;Vinales, who is presently 5th in the MotoGP championship standings, will partner nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March this year.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12047http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12047Dovizioso to partner Lorenzo at Ducati as Iannone loses rideTue, 17 May 2016 21:49:33 GMT<p><strong>Andrea Iannone will lose his seat at Ducati for the 2017 season, with incoming Jorge Lorenzo to replace the Italian, whilst Andrea Dovizioso will remain, the team confirmed on Tuesday.</strong></p> <p>Reigning MotoGP world champion Lorenzo announced last month that he would switch from Yamaha to Ducati next season, leaving the manufacturer to decide between&nbsp;Dovizioso and Iannone.</p> <p>The team have now confirmed that&nbsp;Dovizioso will continue as&nbsp;Lorenzo&#39;s team-mate until at least the end of 2018.<br /> <br /> &quot;I am very satisfied to have reached this agreement with Ducati and to be able to continue the adventure begun back with them in 2013,&quot;&nbsp;said Dovizioso.</p> <p>&quot;In the last few years we have worked with a lot of commitment and we have succeeded in taking the Desmosedici GP to an excellent competitive level, and so I am convinced that soon we will obtain the satisfaction that we deserve.&quot;</p> <p>Iannone, who has yet to secure a ride elsewhere, thanked the team for the opportunity they afforded him after he made his debut with the Pramac team before being promoted to the factory outfit last year.</p> <p>&quot;Obviously I am sorry that my time with Ducati will draw to a close at the end of this season, but I am grateful to the Bologna manufacturer for the opportunity it has given me in the last few years,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;I made my MotoGP debut with Ducati and I have grown up with them, always succeeding in improving my level of performance.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12040http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/12040Honda confirm new two-year deal with Dani PedrosaMon, 16 May 2016 14:07:49 GMT<p><strong>The Repsol Honda MotoGP team has officially confirmed that Dani Pedrosa will remain with the team for the 2017 season after signing a new two-year deal with the Japanese outfit.</strong></p> <p>Pedrosa had been linked with the vacant seat at Yamaha to partner Valentino Rossi, but with confirmation from Honda ending such rumours, it strengthens&nbsp;speculation Maverick Vinales will now make the move.</p> <p>Pedrosa will partner Marc Marquez,&nbsp;although the two-time champion has yet to officially confirm&nbsp;a new deal with Honda.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team,&quot; said Pedrosa. &quot;I&#39;m very grateful to Honda for the trust they&#39;ve shown in renewing with me for an additional two years.</p> <p>&quot;I think it&#39;s best for me to continue with the company I was with at my very first race. I&#39;m happy that the negotiations have been quick, and now I can just focus on racing.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11971http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11971Jorge Lorenzo dominates as just 13 finish crash filled French GPSun, 08 May 2016 15:50:57 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo moved to the top of the championship standings with a dominant display at the French Grand Prix, taking a flag-to-flag victory as main rival Marc Marquez finished last, outside of the points.</strong></p> <p>Lorenzo made a good start to lead into Turn 1, whilst Marquez dropped to fifth, but the Honda rider was soon up to fourth as he dispatched&nbsp;Pol Espargaro. Meanwhile Ducati&#39;s&nbsp;Andrea Dovizioso found himself second.&nbsp;</p> <p>As they crossed the finish line for the first time Lorenzo&#39;s lead stood at half a second with Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone behind. It was not the start Rossi had wanted, able to make up just a single place from seventh on the grid as the second lap began.</p> <p>Iannone lost third when he became the first rider to fall. The Italian coming off his bike at Turn 8 before rejoining, but he later&nbsp;retired&nbsp;from the race. He was followed soon after by Cal Crutchlow - who suffered his fourth race crash of the year.</p> <p>Just a lap later, Tito Rabat came off at Turn 6 to become the fourth rider to fall.</p> <p>Rossi continued to fight his way through, dispatching Marquez to claim fourth. However Rossi would inherit second just a few laps later as both&nbsp;Dovizioso and Marquez crashed out on lap 16. There was no contact between them, the pair both losing the front in synchronisation.</p> <p>The falls continued with Jack Miller and Bradley Smith the latest retirements, to leave just 13 runners as Lorenzo crossed the line to take his fifth victory at the Le Mans circuit, ten second ahead of team-mate Rossi.</p> <p>It was a day of celebration for both Suzuki and Vinales, the Spaniard taking his first podium finish in the premier class.</p> <p>Dani Pedrosa, Pol Espargardo,&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci, Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl&nbsp;completed the top ten.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/french-results-race.png" width=100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11966http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11966MotoGP extends Le Mans race hosting deal until 2021Sat, 07 May 2016 18:26:40 GMT<p><strong>MotoGP will continue to race at the Le Mans&#39; Bugatti Circuit until 2021, following an extension of the current race hosting deal, at was announced on Saturday.</strong></p> <p>The French venue has hosted motorcycle racing for much of its history and became a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar in 2000.</p> <p>The contract extension will see the 32nd MotoGP event at the venue when the extended deal comes to an end in 2021.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">NEWS: The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FrenchGP?src=hash">#FrenchGP</a> will be held at Le Mans until 2021 following an agreement between event promoter &amp; the circuit. <a href="https://t.co/qWUuAzTntO">pic.twitter.com/qWUuAzTntO</a></p> &mdash; MotoGP&trade; (@MotoGP) <a href="https://twitter.com/MotoGP/status/728887187127697409">May 7, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11965http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11965Jorge Lorenzo takes Le Mans MotoGP lap record and pole positionSat, 07 May 2016 15:05:59 GMT<p><strong>Jorge Lorenzo smashed the Le Mans MotoGP Lap record to put his Yamaha bike in pole position for the French Grand Prix, with his rivals helpless, left&nbsp;looking on as they struggled to get within half a second of the Spaniard.</strong></p> <p>Lorenzo was immediately on the pace from his first flying lap, posting the quickest time seen all weekend. His best, a 1m31.975s just under five-tenths quicker than second-placed Marc Marquez could manage for Honda.</p> <p>Andrea Iannone&nbsp;fell while on his out lap. The Italian immediately sprinted back to the pits and jumped onto his second bike without so much as pause for breath, to finally go third quickest for Ducati.</p> <p>Pol Espargaro will start Sunday&rsquo;s French GP in fourth and as the leading independent team rider. Behind the Spaniard will be Andrea Dovizioso as Ducati were once again the only factory team with two bikes inside the top five.</p> <p>Spanish GP winner Valentino Rossi was no match for his team-mate, finishing seventh quickest and eight-tenths down to start behind Yamaha satellite team rider Bradley Smith in sixth - his best qualifying result of the season.</p> <p>Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten. Petrucci also suffering&nbsp;a fall during the session.</p> <p>Another to crash was Honda&#39;s&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.6;">Dani Pedrosa. With just over eight minutes of the session remaining he quickly returned to the pits for his second machine. Fortunately for Pedrosa his experienced team were immediately ready with his second bike. He starts 11th.</span></p> <p>Home rider Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) had a difficult day, struggling in Q1 and subsequently starting last on the grid for his home round.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/Grid/french-grid.jpg" width="100%" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11962http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11962Iannone quickest to Lorenzo in Le Mans third practiceSat, 07 May 2016 11:14:36 GMT<p><strong>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Iannone set the quickest time in third practice for the French Grand Prix, partly in thanks to a tow from Jorge Lorenzo down the straight, to post a 1m32.528s.</strong></p> <p>The Italian finished ahead of Lorenzo by the smallest of margins, with just 0.005s separating the pair, ahead of Yamaha Tech 3 rider&nbsp;Pol Espargaro.</p> <p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez was fourth with Suzuki rider Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales&nbsp;in fifth. Both riders were under three tenths from Lorenzo&rsquo;s best time, the battle for pole position is sure to be fierce as the new Michelin tyres are helping to tighten the field.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi saw some of the biggest improvements during the first half of the session, cutting eighth tenths off his FP2 time, though the Spain winner could only manage seventh, almost half a second down on Iannone.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) all secured safe passage to Q2 by ending in the top ten.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro lost the front of his GSX-RR going into Turn 14, sliding off before pushing his bike back to the pits. He will be forced to go through Q1 with the likes of Scott Redding and the returning Danilo Petrucci as they ended outside the top ten on combined times.</p> <p>Tito Rabat fell midway through the session at Turn 3 but was unharmed.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11956http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11956Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo lead the way in French GP practiceFri, 06 May 2016 16:24:48 GMT<p><strong>Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo set the pace in Friday&rsquo;s two French Grand Prix practice sessions at Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>Honda rider Pedrosa ended FP1 with a best time of 1:34.042, finishing just four hundredths clear of Lorenzo. His team-mate Marc Marquez was third.</p> <p>Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Dovizioso and Andre Iannone were fourth and sixth, with Valentino Rossi&rsquo;s Yamaha between the two. Pol Espargo was seventh, ahead of Maverick Vinales, who was the highest placed Suzuki.</p> <p>Loris Baz and Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10, despite the former falling at Turn 8 late in the session. Yonny Hernandez also crashed at the same bend earlier in FP1.</p> <p>Lorenzo moved to the front of the pack in second practice later on Friday, putting in a 1:32.830 to end the session three tenths clear of Iannone.</p> <p>Marquez was third, with the Espargo brothers of Pol and Aleix in fourth and sixth, split by Dovizioso. Pedrosa, Vinales, Hector Barbera and Valentino Rossi rounded out the top 10.</p> <p>Crutchlow, Baz and Scott Redding all suffered falls during the session at Le Mans on Friday afternoon.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11950http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11950Jonas Folger signs with Tech3 for 2017 MotoGP seasonThu, 05 May 2016 16:47:46 GMT<p><strong>Moto2 race winner Jonas Folger has been confirmed at the Tech3 team for the 2017 MotoGP season.</strong></p> <p>The German rider is currently in his third Moto2 campaign, having debuted in the series in 2014 with Kalex after several seasons in the 125cc and Moto3 classes.</p> <p>He finished sixth in the championship last year after scoring two wins and two further podium finishes. Folger currently holds fifth in the 2016 standings after four rounds.</p> <p>The deal is for the 2017 season, with a one year option. He will try out the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike for the first time at the Valencia test in November.</p> <p>&quot;I am super excited about the news and I still can&rsquo;t believe this is happening,&quot; he said. &quot;I have been racing for years in the motorcycling World Championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true.</p> <p>&quot;Furthermore, it&rsquo;s an honour to make this step with Yamaha, Herv&eacute; Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock.</p> <p>&quot;I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I&rsquo;m really looking forward to the new adventure.</p> <p>&quot;However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can&rsquo;t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11944http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11944Valentino Rossi targeting back-to-back wins with Le Mans victoryWed, 04 May 2016 22:10:51 GMT<p><strong>Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi is eyeing back-to-back victories with a win at the French Grand Prix this weekend.</strong></p> <p>The Italian rider won his first race in almost a year with victory in Spain last time out, and believes the characteristics of the Le Mans Bugatti layout will suit his Yamaha bike once again.</p> <p>&quot;Le Mans is a track where the YZR-M1 usually goes very well,&quot; said Rossi, who has won at the circuit three times before and finished second last year behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>&quot;The negative thing about Le Mans is the weather, it is always very uncertain. It can rain, it is often cold and so there are many factors that you must be careful of.&quot;</p> <p>Rossi is hoping to go one better this year:&nbsp;&quot;Last year I had a good race but I was not able to beat Jorge &ndash; I&#39;ll try again this year.</p> <p>&quot;First we will start the weekend in the same way as we did in Jerez. There we found a good set-up on Friday and this has helped us to be competitive in the race.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11902http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/11902Danilo Petrucci to make MotoGP return at next weekend's French Grand PrixFri, 29 Apr 2016 14:17:51 GMT<p><strong>Pramac&#39;s Danilo Petrucci will return to the MotoGP grid at next weekend&#39;s French Grand Prix, having missed four races whilst recovering from a hand injury.</strong></p> <p>The Italian suffered a high-speed crash during pre-season testing earlier this year and&nbsp;broke three metacarpals in his right hand, which required two lots of surgery to repair.</p> <p>As a result, he pulled out of the season-opening Qatar GP and a further three races in Argentina, the US and Spain where reserve&nbsp;Michele Pirro replaced him.</p> <p>Petrucci now believes he&#39;s in a position to return next weekend:&nbsp;&quot;I&#39;m happy to be back and I feel good,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;We must see the reaction to the first impact with the track as the intense workout made at home certainly cannot be compared to a race weekend, but I&#39;m very confident.<br /> <br /> &quot;I want to thank all the people who helped me.&quot;</p>