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/16687http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16687Petrucci and Pramac are to part ways at the end of the 2018 seasonTue, 23 Jan 2018 11:00:46 GMT<p>Danilo Petrucci has confirmed he will be leaving the satellite Pramac Ducati team at the end of the 2018 season as he&nbsp;looks to secure a factory ride for 2019.</p> <p>The Italian stepped up to the Pramac squad in 2015 after several years with the struggling Ioda team aboard CRT and Open class machinery, and signed a deal directly with Ducati to ride a GP17 in Pramac colours last year.</p> <p>Speaking with Italian outlet <i>Gazzetta dello Sport</i>, Petrucci revealed he has an option to step up to the factory Ducati team for 2019 should the Italian manufacturer wish, though he feels the potential for contracts to be decided early in the year will put him at a disadvantage.</p> <p>&ldquo;Paolo Campinoti (Pramac team owner) and I are both aware: he pulled me out from hell, but we knew this would be our last year together,&rdquo; said Petrucci, who has scored five podium finishes for he Pramac team.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have a contract with Ducati, I have an option that expires in June to step up to the factory team &ndash; otherwise I&#39;m a free agent.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is the dream, but I believe everything will be decided in the first few races and I don&#39;t think this is very fair.&rdquo;</p> <p>Petrucci was linked to a move to Aprilia for this season after the Italian marque terminated rookie Sam Lowes&#39; two-year deal following a tough start to his campaign.</p> <p>The Italian admits a move to the Noale factory was &ldquo;very appealing&rdquo;, but was not keen to opt out of his deal with Pramac and Ducati early.</p> <p>&ldquo;In 2017 there was a strong temptation to go to Aprilia, riding for another Italian team was very appealing.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I didn&#39;t want to be &#39;divorced while living together&#39;. However, after seven years in MotoGP, the dream is this (to ride for a factory team).&rdquo;</p> <p>Earlier in the month, <i>Gazzetto dello Sport</i> reported double Moto3 race winner and Moto2 frontrunner Francesco Bagnaia was finalising a deal to step up to the premier class with Pramac for 2019.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16680http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16680Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop will test 2017 Suzuki MotoGP bike at SepangSun, 21 Jan 2018 10:55:31 GMT<p>Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop is set to test Suzuki&#39;s MotoGP bike at a private test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia next week.</p> <p>15-times TT winner Dunlop has been offered his first taste of MotoGP machinery as a token of gratitude from the Japanese manufacturer for taking the new GSX-R1000 Superbike to Senior TT glory at last year&#39;s event.</p> <p>The Ballymoney rider will be joined by former MotoGP race winner, 2010 Moto2 world champion and reigning MotoAmerica Superbike champion Toni Elias and Australian Superbike champion Josh Waters at the two-day outing which will take place on January 25-26, before the first official test of the year gets underway two days later.</p> <p>Dunlop&#39;s late uncle Joey &ndash; who still holds the record for most TT wins with 26 &ndash; made two wildcard appearances in grand prix racing in 1979 at Le Mans in the 350cc class, and in 1985 in the 250cc race at Silverstone. Dunlop managed to take points from both events, with ninth and tenth-place finishes respectively.&nbsp;</p> <p>Elias &ndash; who last raced in MotoGP as Stefan Bradl&#39;s replacement at the Forward team towards the end of the 2015 campaign &ndash; Waters and Dunlop are all expected to ride the 2017 version of the GSX-RR, while official test rider and former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli will run the 2018 bike.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16678http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16678Dorna Sports eyeing up a potential city race for MotoGPSat, 20 Jan 2018 15:34:17 GMT<p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm">MotoGP owners Dorna Sports are considering the idea of staging a MotoGP event on closed city streets in the future, with plans for such a race already taking shape.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm">CEO of Dorna Carmelo Ezpeleta said in an interview with Spanish publication <em>Expansion</em> that the proposed urban street grand prix project, to be held in an as-of-yet unnamed &ldquo;warm city&rdquo;, is &ldquo;solid&quot;, with the Spaniard outlining his idea for where the main straight and paddock would be situated.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">&ldquo;It is possible that there is an urban circuit in MotoGP,&quot;&nbsp;Ezpeleta said. There is a solid project in a warm city.&nbsp;</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">&ldquo;In theory, the main straight of the track would be held on a street and the paddock would be covered, integrated in an exhibition centre.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">&ldquo;For the grand prix weekend it will be used for the race, and many other things during the rest of the year.&rdquo;</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">Currently, the only international motorcycle racing event to be staged on closed city streets is the Macau Grand Prix, though no grand prix riders or machinery contest the event anymore.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">The 2018 MotoGP season is set to be the longest in the series&#39; near 70-year history, with the addition of a race in Thailand &ndash; to be staged at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram &ndash; nudging the number of races up to 19.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">A Finnish Grand Prix has been mooted for 2019, though financial troubles of late with the KymiRing could see another event take its place.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">In the same interview, Ezpeleta revealed that at least eight countries have been in contact about potentially holding a race, though he remains adamant that the calendar will not exceed 20 events.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-weight: normal">&ldquo;Right now there is a list of about eight countries that would choose to have a championship round, but we cannot do 26 races,&rdquo; he explained.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16662http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16662Jonas Folger withdraws from MotoGP season to focus on recoveryThu, 18 Jan 2018 08:40:25 GMT<p>Jonas Folger has withdrawn from the entirety of the 2018 MotoGP season in order to focus on his recovery from illness.</p> <p>Folger stepped up to the premier class with Tech 3 last year and finished on the podium at his home event in Germany, having challenged Marc Marquez for much of the race.</p> <p>Folger, though, missed the latter phase of the campaign due to illness, which was subsequently diagnosed as a strain of Gilbert Syndrome, a common genetic disorder, in which the liver is unable to process toxins effectively.</p> <p>The youngster had targeted a comeback this year but has announced that he will be unable to participate this season.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m incredibly sad to be saying this, but I will not be racing MotoGP in 2018,&rdquo; said Folger.</p> <p>&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t able to make the improvements I was hoping for, and at this stage I don&rsquo;t feel able to ride a MotoGP machine at 100 percent.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to thank everyone involved, but especially the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, Yamaha Factory Japan, Monster Energy, HJC, IXON, Forma Boots and Rudy Project.</p> <p>&ldquo;I hope to be back one day and want to thank you all for your ongoing support.&rdquo;</p> <p>Tech 3 chief Herve Poncharal expressed shock at Folger&rsquo;s decision as he goes in search of a full-season replacement rider.</p> <p>&ldquo;I received a call from Bob Moore, Jonas Folger&rsquo;s personal manager,&rdquo; explained Poncharal.</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t believe what Bob was telling me on the phone, that Jonas Folger has decided not to race the 2018 MotoGP season because he doesn&rsquo;t feel 100 percent mentally and physically recovered.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is still very difficult for me to believe, that he&rsquo;s not going to race with us in 2018, especially because he has been somebody I had lot of faith in and I was sure we would reach top level together this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;I completely respect his decision, although it&rsquo;s hard to swallow. Yet, I will try to find a solution for a replacement rider, which is a very difficult mission, as all of the fast riders are already contracted.</p> <p>&ldquo;But as always in racing we need to be proactive, inventive and hopefully we can make someone very happy. We will keep all of you informed about the evolution of the situation.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16647http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16647Jorge Lorenzo sure of MotoGP title challenge with DucatiTue, 16 Jan 2018 09:50:47 GMT<p>Jorge Lorenzo has outlined that &ldquo;everything is in place&rdquo; for him and Ducati to compete for the MotoGP title this season, despite his sub-par 2017 display.</p> <p>Lorenzo, following nine years with Yamaha, which yielded three premier class titles, switched to Ducati for 2017, ostensibly as team leader, alongside Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>However, it was Dovizioso who emerged on top, claiming six victories, in the process taking the title fight down to the Valencian finale, where he was beaten by Marc Marquez.</p> <p>Lorenzo, meanwhile, finished only seventh in the standings with a trio of podiums &ndash; his first win-less campaign in the top flight &ndash; but reckons lessons learned through last season will prove beneficial in 2018.</p> <p>&ldquo;2017 was quite a difficult year for me, because I didn&rsquo;t even win one race and at the start of the championship I wasn&rsquo;t able to fight for the podium,&rdquo; Lorenzo explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I was patient and never gave up, and in the last few races we finally scored some quite good results.</p> <p>&ldquo;The work of the team was very important and Ducati helped me a lot to adapt the bike to my riding style, and so I think that in 2018 we&rsquo;ll be starting with a much more competitive base.</p> <p>&ldquo;Andrea and the Desmosedici GP demonstrated that we have everything in place to try and win the world championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think that I have the strength and the experience necessary to fight together with him to achieve this aim.</p> <p>&ldquo;I believe a lot in our chances and I&rsquo;m convinced that we are stronger than one year ago.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to repay the passion and the support we receive from Ducatisti all over the world with lots of wins and, if possible, with the world title.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16639http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16639Ducati unveils 2018 MotoGP liveryMon, 15 Jan 2018 12:12:20 GMT<p>Ducati has unveiled its 2018 MotoGP livery during a launch event on Monday at its&nbsp;Borgo Panigale headquarters.</p> <p>The livery, which was shown off on their GP17 bike, will be used by its two riders for the upcoming season,&nbsp;Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>It features a primarily red design with splashes of white and the addition of grey this year.</p> <p>The Italian team isn&#39;t due to launch its 2018 machine, the GP18, until Sepang testing later in January.</p> <p>The pair will be hoping for another solid campaign with Dovizioso taking the title fight to the final race against eventual champion Marc Marquez, whilst Lorenzo, seventh last year, will be looking to get a better start to his season after some early 2017 struggles.</p> <p><img alt="" height="457" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/3-_8504596_.jpg" width="789" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="533" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/2-_8505222.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="533" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/MotoGP/1-_8504779.jpg" width="800" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16635http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16635MotoGP makes rider airbags compulsory in 2018Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:26:27 GMT<p>Rider airbags will become compulsory in 2018 across all classes of the FIM MotoGP championship, which includes the Moto2 and Moto3 series along with the premier MotoGP class.</p> <p>There are two exceptions to the rule, with wildcard riders not having to use the safety system and replacement riders having a two-race exemption. After those two events, replacement riders will be&nbsp;subject to the same requirements and specifications as those of permanent entrants.</p> <p>The airbag should cover and protect at least the shoulders and the collarbone, with the full or central portion of the back being&nbsp;optional. However, if a manufacturer chooses to have back protection, it must cover the whole spine.</p> <p>Small variations according to the specifics of each system are allowed, as are variations to accommodate the different morphology of each rider, but the same key areas and guidelines are in place for every manufacturer.</p> <p>Each airbag system must pass a series of tests to prove it fully complies with the regulations. Requirements range from the battery and electronics to deployment and inflation times, with accidental deployment also an important factor. An accidental deployment of the airbag must not risk causing a rider to crash or impede a rider from controlling their motorcycle.</p> <p>In addition, airbag systems must not require any parts to be added to the motorcycle, and must be triggered without the rider being tethered to the bike.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16548http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16548Aspar team renamed Angel Nieto in tributeWed, 27 Dec 2017 13:52:13 GMT<p>The Aspar team will be renamed after &Aacute;ngel Nieto in honour of the Spanish rider who passed away earlier this year, meanwhile Nieto&#39;s eldest son, Gelete Nieto, joins as team principal to lead the project.</p> <p>&quot;&Aacute;ngel Nieto is synonymous with motorcycle racing, a sport that gave him so much and to which he gave so much in return,&quot; said team owner&nbsp;Jorge Mart&iacute;nez &quot;Aspar&quot;.&nbsp;&quot;Motorcycle racing is what it is in Spain thanks to the man who laid the first stone and we want to pay homage to that fact by renaming our team the &Aacute;ngel Nieto Team.</p> <p>&ldquo;You would always learn so much from being alongside him. &Aacute;ngel helped so many people, me amongst others, and he was an important part of my life, as are his sons Gelete and Pablo and his nephew Fonsi. &Aacute;ngel was particularly excited about this whole project.</p> <p>&quot;He trusted me to give Gelete his start in racing and he told me, &#39;I know that with you he will learn.&#39;&nbsp;To be able to pay tribute to his memory and continue with this project in the hands of his eldest son, who was one of the first to ride for my team, gives me enormous pride.&quot;</p> <p>Gelete competed with the Aspar Team from 1993 to 1997 and picked up a European Championship victory in Barcelona and another in the Spanish Championship at Jerez, as well as making 28 Grand Prix appearances.</p> <p>&ldquo;I took my first steps in racing with Jorge Mart&iacute;nez &ldquo;Aspar&rdquo;, he guided me to the top step of the podium in the European and Spanish Championships,&quot; explained&nbsp;Gelete Nieto.&nbsp;&quot;He has always been an important person to our family and alongside him I am now about to start a new chapter of my professional life in a team that will carry the name of my father.&quot;</p> <p>The Aspar team finished ninth in the overall 2017 standings with 107 points.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16337http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16337Marc Marquez says visit to hairdresser changed his approach to final racesMon, 13 Nov 2017 13:12:42 GMT<p>Marc Marquez says a visit to the hairdresser forced him to change his approach mid-season, which he believes was the key to turning his season around and winning a fourth MotoGP championship at the weekend.</p> <p>Marquez trailled Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales at the mid-point of the season before going on to take five wins in eight races to lead the championship and eventually claim the title at the season finale in Valencia.</p> <p>It was a warning that he was losing his hair due to stress that forced the Spaniard to change his approach and believes that was the reason for his success this year.</p> <p>&quot;It has been a really tough season, many ups and downs and many difficult and good moments,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;Especially the first part of the season was very hard. I will tell you a thing: after Montmelo I was with my hairdresser and she said, &lsquo;what&rsquo;s going on, what&rsquo;s happening?&rsquo; I asked why and she said, &lsquo;because you are losing your hair&rsquo;. I thought I&rsquo;m 24, it&rsquo;s impossible and my father my grandfather have hair, but then I went to the doctor and he said I need to change the approach to the races because the stress inside my body was too much.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m always smiling, always happy, but inside of me we are human and the tension is there. When you have such a good team around you it helps a lot and you can go out and be better and better.</p> <p>&quot;The second part of the season for me has been perfect; we controlled all the timings, all the moments and finished always on the podium, [apart from] Malaysia.</p> <p>&quot;I changed my approach but especially I changed the feeling with the bike. We did a big change and then I got the correct feeling again and started to enjoy it again. After Le Mans, I said I was not enjoying riding the bike and we said first of all, we changed the mentality and we needed to find a way to enjoy on the bike and then we will find the results.&quot;</p> <p>Despite a very strong end to the season, Marquez says there are still some changes that need to be made for the 2018 season after he suffered 27 falls during the season.</p> <p>&quot;Twenty-seven-and-a-half!&quot; he added, joking about his moment during the final race. &quot;It means that it was not easy and I was pushing every practice; I was always all-in since FP1 and I was going out and being convinced that I was able to be fast.</p> <p>&quot;Of course it is something we need to change for the future and always I try to be realistic. We won and we are happy that we won, but there are a few points that we need to improve for next year.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16322http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16322Marc Marquez takes a fourth title as Dani Pedrosa wins in ValenciaSun, 12 Nov 2017 14:55:46 GMT<p>Marc Marquez was crowned a four-time MotoGP champion on Sunday in his home country of Spain as he finished third in Valencia behind race winner Dani Pedrosa and Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco.</p> <p>Marquez got a great start from pole, with Honda team-mate Pedrosa slicing through from the second row to slot in behind&nbsp;&ndash; and Zarco pushed down to third. Dovizioso made a good start to move up to sixth, then past Andrea Iannone and glued to the back of the second Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>Early on, Zarco took over in the lead &ndash; with Marquez seeing him coming and slotting into second. Pedrosa remained in third, with the two Ducati machines glued together around a second behind and the tense tick of the clock counting down.</p> <p>After a Zarco error, a Marquez pass and then the Frenchman hitting back, laps ticked down before Marquez struck for the lead &ndash; and ran wide. Sliding on his knee for a stunning save into Turn 1, the reigning Champion headed for the gravel &ndash; but managed to rejoin, yet behind Dovizioso.</p> <p>Lorenzo then bolted to chase down Pedrosa and Zarco ahead, before the Ducati Team rider went down suddenly &ndash; and just as suddenly, the dream was over for his teammate. A run off into the gravel that couldn&rsquo;t be saved saw Dovizioso&rsquo;s title hopes disappear after a nevertheless stunning season to take the runner up spot.</p> <p>Pedrosa vs Zarco was then the duel for the win, with Pedrosa initially attacking at the final corner but the Frenchman able to hit back. As the last lap dawned, the Spaniard tucked in and then pounced into Turn 1, managing to hold off Zarco around the tight Circuit Ricardo Tormo Circuit to take his second victory of the season.</p> <p>Marquez, back into the podium places after the falls ahead, kept his calm to the end to take third and the title, making him the youngest ever six-time World Champion and the youngest to take four premier class championships.</p> <p>Suzuki&#39;s Alex Rins put in an impressive rookie ride into fourth, ahead of Valentino Rossi after a more difficult race for the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo;. Iannone dropped back slightly after a run off at Turn 1 to take sixth, ahead of a great final race with EG 0,0 Marc VDS for Jack Miller in P7.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow moved up after crashing out in Q1 and qualifying outside the top ten to cross the line in P8, with Michele Pirro putting in another solid wildcard appearance to come home in ninth. Tito Rabat also impressed, locking out the top ten.</p> <p>Bradley Smith rounded out the Austrian factory&rsquo;s first season in the premier class in P11, and it was a tough weekend and final race of 2017 for third-placed in the championship Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, as the Spaniard came home in P12.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16314http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16314Marc Marquez takes pole for MotoGP title decider despite fallSat, 11 Nov 2017 16:15:24 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez will start on pole position for the final race of the MotoGP season as seeks a fourth championship.</p> <p>The Spaniard&nbsp;set a scintillating lap mid-way through qualifying at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo&nbsp;and that proved enough for pole &ndash; despite then taking a tumble after a front end washout on his final run.</p> <p>Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco takes second after improving on his final lap, three tenths off polesitter Marquez, with Andrea Iannone completing the front row in another show of good pace in the season finale.</p> <p>Friday&rsquo;s fastest Jorge Lorenzo heads up the second row after a fast crash when setting red sectors &ndash; rider ok &ndash; with the five-time World Champion only a tiny margin off a top three start at the venue where he holds the pole lap, race lap and most premier class wins records.</p> <p>The rider with the most victories at the circuit across all classes, Dani Pedrosa, is just behind Lorenzo in fifth after ending Day 1 in P2. Ducati Team test rider and wildcard Michele Pirro completes the second row.</p> <p>Alex Rins completes the top ten, ahead of Q1 graduate Pol Espargaro, who went eleventh fastest but will start from the pitlane due to an engine penalty.</p> <p>Jack Miller takes P12 and was another to crash in the session, moving one place forward on race day as Espargaro&rsquo;s penalty shuffles the grid forward.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s good news for Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales after a tough day at the office for the rider from Roses, qualifying in P13 and gaining one place. He&rsquo;s followed by Tito Rabat, with Danilo Petrucci and Q1 faller Cal Crutchlow completing the fastest sixteen and the top fifteen on the grid.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16298http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16298Aleix Espargaro returns to action as Aprilia goes (RED) in ValenciaThu, 09 Nov 2017 09:59:04 GMT<p>Aleix Espargaro will return to action this weekend in Valencia for the final race of the 2017 MotoGP season, with his Aprilia team going (RED) for the second year in a row.</p> <p>Both Espargaro and team-mate Sam Lowes&nbsp;will run a special (RED) livery for the race in partnership with the AIDS charity.</p> <p>Espargaro missed out on the penultimate race of the year due to a hand injury he sustained at the previous round at Phillip Island. However after a successful round of surgery, he has been declared fit to take part this weekend.</p> <p>&ldquo;I can&#39;t wait to get back in the saddle,&quot; said the Spaniard. &quot;I have missed the RS-GP!</p> <p>&quot;I was sorry to miss the Malaysia round due to the injury. Unfortunately ours is a dangerous sport and these things can happen.</p> <p>&quot;I am confident. My hand is better and despite the fact that there is still some pain, I will give 100 percent. The entire team and I deserve to finish this season well.</p> <p>&quot;We have worked hard and we want to tackle preparation for 2018 with the right confidence.&quot;</p> <p>Aprilia is currently tied for fifth in the Constructors&#39; Championship with KTM, therefore the race is an important one to score well in to avoid finishing dead last in the standings.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16236http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16236Title goes to the finale race as Andrea Dovizioso claims Malaysia winSun, 29 Oct 2017 10:57:46 GMT<p>The 2017 MotoGP championship will be decided at the final race of the season in Spain after Andrea Dovizioso claimed a much needed victory to keep his title hopes alive, although a fourth place for leader Marc Marquez means he&#39;s on the cusp of a&nbsp;fourth crown.</p> <p>Dovizioso sliced&nbsp;through the rain to catch and pass Ducati&nbsp;team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, Dovizioso was seven tenths clear of the Majorcan at the flag in a 1-2 for the team. Johann Zarco completed the podium after a stunning start, wrapping up the title of top independent team rider.</p> <p>It was Marquez who took an incredible initial holeshot from the third row, but the reigning champion headed wide along with Lorenzo &ndash; allowing Zarco to slice through into the lead. Once there, the Frenchman lit it up to escape into the distance, and Lorenzo moved through to chase the Tech 3 rider down. Marquez slotted into third, with Dovizioso initially the man to lose out &ndash; but the Italian soon began to move through.</p> <p>Zarco&rsquo;s lead began to diminish, Dovizioso passed Marquez, and then both Ducatis were able to pass the Frenchman. It seemed Marquez would have the pace to take third from Zarco, but the reigning Champion couldn&rsquo;t make up the ground. At the front, Lorenzo was holding firm as the two red machines streaked away &ndash; but the number 99 then suffered a moment at Turn 15 with a foot off the footpeg. &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; saw his chance to strike, then facing down some nervous laps as the end of the race neared. Lorenzo managed to bring it back to seven tenths over the line, with Zarco back on the rostrum in third.</p> <p>Marquez was eight seconds further back in fourth, with polesitter and team-mate Dani Pedrosa completing the top five after a more promising showing in the wet for the former winner at the venue in similar conditions. Danilo Petrucci put in a superstar performance in the wet as he was forced to start from the back after a technical problem with his number one bike, and moved up to take sixth over the line &ndash; a gain of over 15 places.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi was close to his compatriot by the end of the race to take seventh and only four tenths back, ahead of a more lonely finish for EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller into P8. Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales had a tough race for ninth, with Pol Espargaro giving KTM another consecutive top ten finish after another impressive race.</p> <p>Alvaro Bautista&nbsp;took P11, with the points scorers completed by Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Hector Barbera and Cal Crutchlow.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s now truly everything or nothing for the two title challengers, and the Championship comes back to Europe for the final showdown at Valencia. Marquez leads by 21 points, so it&rsquo;s a long shot for &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo;&hellip;but never, ever say never.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16225http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16225Dani Pedrosa on pole in Malaysia as Marc Marquez tumblesSat, 28 Oct 2017 09:36:50 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa topped an incredible qualifying shootout at the Sepang International Circuit, with the front row split by only 0.024 seconds.</p> <p>Pedrosa, the pole record holder, put in a number of quick laps towards the end and stole it on his final attempt to take his eleventh front row and fourth&nbsp;pole at the venue.</p> <p>Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco was second making him now only the&nbsp;top Independent team rider, but also the top Yamaha, ahead of the first of the title challengers:&nbsp;Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>Dovizioso was only 0.024 seconds off pole and was the man provisionally set to take it until the final few seconds, but the Italian holds the cards after key rival and points leader Marc Marquez had a more difficult session and will line up seventh &ndash; on the third row.</p> <p>Marquez crashed on his first flier, taking a tumble at Turn 15 but able to get the bike going and head down pitlane, and was unable to threaten once back out on track. It&rsquo;s only the second time ever in the premier class the reigning champion has failed to qualify in the top six.</p> <p>The second row is headed by Valentino Rossi after he was able to get the better of&nbsp;team-mate Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, with the Spaniard just 0.040 off the veteran Italian and lining up in fifth.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo completes an all-star second row, again within a tenth of the man ahead of him.</p> <p>Behind Marquez in seventh is Alex Rins &ndash; the first of the Q2 graduates &ndash; who just beat team-mate Andrea Iannone, with Cal Crutchlow completing the top ten after a crash.</p> <p>Marc VDS rider Jack Miller lines up P11, with Pol Espargaro&nbsp;in twelfth and once again keeping the Austrian manufacturer in Q2 as their impressive form continues.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci and teammate Scott Redding line up in thirteenth and fourteenth, with Alvaro Bautista&nbsp;rounded out the fastest fifteen.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16174http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16174Marc Marquez extends title lead with stunning Phillip Island victorySun, 22 Oct 2017 09:26:13 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez claimed a sixth win of the season and extended his title lead at the top of the MotoGP standings on Sunday at Phillip Island, putting the Spaniard in prime position to score a fourth championship with just two rounds remaining.</p> <p>Marquez led Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi across the line following an intense eight-way battle for the race win mid-race, which was whittled down to four in the final laps with Rossi beating team-mate Maverick Vinales to second place.</p> <p>Vinales pipped Johann Zarco by just 0.016 to claim the final podium spot as the top four were separated by just 1.8 seconds.</p> <p>Title rival Andrea Dovizioso suffered an early run off and was only able to fight back to 13th, leaving Marquez with a 33-point lead in the standings and a lot of work for his rivals if they want to beat him.</p> <p>Home favourite Jack Miller was seventh for Marc VDS but led at the start as he shot past polesitter Marquez. He even began to pull away before his rivals reeled him and began passing one-by-one, with Miller unable to do anything but watch.</p> <p>The race for the win was on with one of the most aggressive and hard-fought battles of the season, decade or more, the passes came thick and fast &ndash; including a move for Zarco around the&nbsp;<em>outside</em>&nbsp;of Doohan corner &ndash; as rubber was left on the road; a little on opponents&rsquo; leathers and a little paint was swapped in one of the most incredible fights in history.</p> <p>Once Marquez was ahead, however, the reigning Champion was able to begin pulling a gap with five laps to go. Pulling the pin as the battle raged on behind him, the number 93 began to sprint away &ndash; and the podium fight was down to three by the final laps: Rossi vs Vi&ntilde;ales vs Zarco.</p> <p>With some of the tightest lines ever ridden around the Island at times on that final lap, Rossi was able to take it &ndash; but all three were almost neck and neck over the line. And over that&nbsp;line, it was Vi&ntilde;ales just edging ahead of the Tech 3 of the Frenchman &ndash; taking third for a return to the rostrum but a definite end to his chance at the title. Zarco&#39;s fourth, meanwhile, confirmed him as Rookie of the Year in 2017.</p> <p>After Iannone getting pushed back in the latter stages, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) took fifth ahead of the Italian, with Miller, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and another double delight for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing completing the top ten; Espargaro just pipping Smith. Dovizioso suffered late heartbreak after losing out on the drag to the line to both Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and coming home 13th, with Karel Abraham (Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) completing the top fifteen.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16154http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16154Marc VDS rider Jack Miller passed fit for Australian GPThu, 19 Oct 2017 21:44:28 GMT<p>Marc VDS have confirmed that Jack Miller has been passed fit to take part in his home race, the Australian Grand Prix, this weekend.</p> <p>Miller sustained a fractured leg while training last month and as a result was forced to sit out the Japanese round of the championship, with&nbsp;Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama filling in for the Australian.</p> <p>On Thursday, Miller underwent a mandatory medical check and was declared fit to compete in this weekend&#39;s event at Phillip Island.</p> <p>Miller has just three races remaining with Marc VDS before he switches to Pramac Ducati for the 2018 season. He is currently 13th in the standings.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16124http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16124Andrea Dovizioso beats Marc Marquez in a rain-soaked Japanese GPSun, 15 Oct 2017 09:12:47 GMT<p>Andrea Dovizioso claimed his fifth victory of the 2017 MotoGP season on Sunday in Japan as he and title rival Marc Marquez duelled race long for the honour of standing atop the podium and claiming the maximum amount of points.</p> <p>The battle could only be described as &#39;epic&#39; as the pair tussled for the lead of the race down to the final corner of the final lap, crossing the finish line split by just two-tenths and now 11 points apart in the championship.</p> <p>Pramac&#39;c Danilo Petrucci completed the podium places, but was a massive ten seconds adrift.</p> <p>The race began with Marquez takingt he lead, followed by Jorge Lorenzo, before the Ducati rider snatched the lead. Dovizioso stormed through from ninth on the grid to slot in behind&nbsp;Petrucci and Johann Zarco in fifth, as Marquez fought for the lead once again, only to lose it to Petrucci moments later, with Dovizoso also passing to go up to second.</p> <p>With six laps to go, Dovizioso attacked at Turn 6, and the cat and mouse continued. Marquez then hit back with a brutal pass in Turn 3 with three laps to go, and the fuse was lit. Dueling it out with some of the most spectacular racing of the season &ndash; and in the pouring rain &ndash; it seemed Marquez was holding the cards as the final lap approached.</p> <p>Pushing hard to catch the race and championship leader, the gap was hovering just over half a second for Dovizioso, until Marquez suddenly suffered a moment at Turn 8 and the Ducati was back on him. The Italian struck to take the lead soon after and prepared himself for the aptly-named victory corner - knowing the number 93 was close behind and undoubtedly with Austria on his mind.</p> <p>The door didn&rsquo;t prove closed for Marquez as he shot up the inside, but Dovizioso was prepared for the move and kept it together as the Repsol Honda headed wide. Almost neck and neck over the line, it was &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; who took the victory in a duel that will go down in history.</p> <p>Behind the trio on the rostrum it was a stunning ride for Andrea Iannone&nbsp;into fourth, as the Italian picked his way through from P12 on the grid as was able to close in on his teammate Alex Rins, then getting past him in the latter stages. Rins was top rookie after his own display of brilliance, however, earlier shadowing Zarco and then moving through as the Frenchman faded.</p> <p>After dropping back after a stunning start, Jorge Lorenzo was able to move back past those ahead of him to cross the line in sixth for another good haul of points &ndash; getting back Aleix Espargaro as his final victim, with the Spaniard coming seventh. Zarco faded in the latter stages to head home in P8, ahead of a difficult day for Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Vi&ntilde;ales is now 41 points off Marquez at the top of the table.</p> <p>Loris Baz completed the top ten as he sliced through in the rain, with Pol Espargar taking another top result for the Austrian factory in P11. In twelfth, it was wildcard Yamalube Factory Racing rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga &ndash; 2017 Suzuka 8H winner and former MotoGP&nbsp;podium finisher &ndash; as the Japanese veteran impressed as ever.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16026http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/16026Injured Jack Miller ruled out of Japanese Grand PrixTue, 03 Oct 2017 07:40:44 GMT<p>Jack Miller has been ruled out of next weekend&rsquo;s Japanese Grand Prix after sustaining a broken leg in a training accident.</p> <p>Marc VDS confirmed that Miller was training on a trials bike in Andorra and fractured the top of the tibia &lsquo;when he put his right foot down to save a slow speed front-end crash.&rsquo;</p> <p>Miller underwent surgery in nearby Barcelona and has had a plate and eight screws inserted to stabilise the fracture.</p> <p>Miller is hopeful of being sufficiently fit in order to compete at his home event in Australia the following weekend, but has been ruled out of action for the Motegi round.</p> <p>&ldquo;Obviously I&#39;m both disappointed and frustrated to have to sit out the Japanese Grand Prix through an injury sustained while training, especially as it wasn&#39;t even a crash,&rdquo; said Miller, who holds 12th in this year&#39;s championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were out trials riding and I put a foot down when I lost traction from the front tyre.</p> <p>&ldquo;Nine times out of ten that would have been the end of the story, especially at such a low speed, but this time I must have caught my foot on something and ended up fracturing my right tibia close to the knee.</p> <p>&ldquo;The injury has been stabilised with a plate and screws and I already have some movement, but it&#39;s clear that I won&#39;t be fit for Motegi.</p> <p>&ldquo;However, I am determined to be back on the bike at Phillip Island and that&#39;s what I&#39;ll be working towards now with the physiotherapist.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marc VDS has not indicated whether it will field a replacement rider.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15982http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15982KTM confirms Valencia wildcard outing for Mika KallioThu, 28 Sep 2017 14:24:08 GMT<p>Mika Kallio will make a fourth wildcard appearance of the MotoGP campaign at November&rsquo;s season finale at Valencia&rsquo;s Ricardo Tormo Circuit.</p> <p>Kallio, 34, has been KTM&rsquo;s test rider since the end of 2015 and gave the manufacturer its MotoGP bow during last year&rsquo;s final race of season at the Valencian circuit.</p> <p>The Finn has made three wildcard outings this year with a best of 10th at KTM&rsquo;s home race at the Red Bull Ring last month.</p> <p>KTM, which has Pol Espargar&oacute; and Bradley Smith under contract for 2018, confirmed on Thursday that Kallio will join the pair for his fourth race of the year at Valencia.</p> <p>Kallio made Q2 and finished 11th during his most recent outing at the Arag&oacute;n Grand Prix last weekend.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15955http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15955Marc Marquez takes clear championship lead with Aragon victorySun, 24 Sep 2017 20:01:54 GMT<p>Marc M&aacute;rquez claimed a brilliant victory on home turf at Ar&aacute;gon, slicing his way through the field to snatch a 16-point lead in the MotoGP standings.</p> <p>The Honda rider started fifth after falling during qualifying on Saturday, but the #93 had a pace advantage over his rivals and quickly climbed up the order to claim his fifth win of the season.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso, who was tied on wins and points with M&aacute;rquez heading into the event, limited the damage to his title hopes as he finished second followed by&nbsp;Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales to make it three different manufacturers on the podium.</p> <p>Jorge Lorenzo snatched the lead at the start of the race,&nbsp;leaving Vi&ntilde;ales to head the chasing group before team-mate Valentino Rossi struck and set off after the Ducati in the lead. With the number 25 heading wide soon after, that let both Dovizioso and Marquez move past &ndash; and the front four were able to pull away.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales was at the head of the second group and stalked by Pedrosa as Rossi was able to close in on the Ducati in the lead. As it remained impossible to call, Marquez attacked the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; and headed too deep &ndash; even cutting up the inside of Lorenzo as he briefly shot into P1 and then into the run off. But the number 93 recovered quickly and made the move stick on the number 46 at the final corner, then able to duel past Lorenzo to take the lead and his fifth win of the year.</p> <p>Pedrosa had taken Vi&ntilde;ales at Turn 1 and was able to reel in Rossi and then Lorenzo with some signature stunning pace despite his second row start, with the Movistar Yamaha duo then left to fight it out for fourth. Hard racing didn&rsquo;t give away a recently broken leg for Rossi, but Vi&ntilde;ales was able to push his way past and at least limit the damage in the standings.</p> <p>Just behind Rossi over the line, the fight for sixth was won by Aleix Espargaro at the venue where he took his first premier class podium, as the Spaniard impressively held off Dovizioso in the latter stages &ndash; who in turn defended seventh from Alvaro Bautista after struggling more in the latter stages of the race.</p> <p>Johann Zarco took ninth after a more difficult weekend including a trip through Q1, ahead of Pol Espargaro completing the top ten for the Austrian factory &ndash; making steady progress for another impressive result. Impressive was also an adjective for the man behind him, wildcard and teammate Mika Kallio, who took P11 after going straight through to Q2 on Saturday.</p> <p>Motegi changed everything in 2016. Now the paddock returns to the Japanese venue after a very different season&nbsp; - but it&rsquo;s Marquez ahead once again. With four races to go, however, it&rsquo;s anyone&rsquo;s game.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15948http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15948Maverick Vinales snatches pole from Jorge Lorenzo as Marc Marquez fallsSat, 23 Sep 2017 17:57:44 GMT<p>Yamaha&#39;s Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales&nbsp;has taken pole position for the Aragon Grand Prix, exactly a tenth of a second ahead of Ducati&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo at the front as compatriot and key title rival Marc Marquez tumbled out of contention.</p> <p>There was more headline news as an injured Valentino Rossi added another chapter to his incredible comeback, qualifying on the front row in third after missing only one event following his accident.</p> <p>Under blue and sunny skies at the stunning MotorLand Aragon, FP3 had seen a shootout for Q2 entry that lit up the timesheets, and Lorenzo was the high profile name left to head through Q1. But the five-time world champion easily moved through, subsequently qualifying on the front row.</p> <p>LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow was the man to lose out late on as he was pushed down to fourth, but the two-time GP winner remains top Independent Team rider. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez, despite his crash &ndash; rider ok &ndash; will start in the middle of the second row, which is completed by teammate Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso had a solid session to take seventh and will be looking to move forward and track Championship rival Marquez, with Aleix Espargaro impressing in P8 at the venue where he took his first premier class podium. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team) lines up ninth despite a crash, with Andrea Iannone taking P10.</p> <p>Johann Zarco was eleventh quickest after moving through Q1, with Mika Kallio&nbsp;lining up in P12 as he wildcards and impresses once again. Jack Miller missed out on Q2 by only thousandths and starts P13, with Pol Espargaro and Karel Abraham locking out the fastest fifteen for the grid.</p> <p>Now it&rsquo;s time to race, with equal points at the top between Marquez and Dovizioso &ndash; both of whom start off the front row &ndash; Rossi fighting through the pain barrier, and Vi&ntilde;ales ready to strike from pole.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15932http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15932Xavier Simeon secures 2018 MotoGP seat with AvintiaThu, 21 Sep 2017 13:54:26 GMT<p>Xavier Sim&eacute;on will graduate to MotoGP with Avintia next season, completing the championship&rsquo;s 24-rider line-up.</p> <p>Sim&eacute;on, 28, has spent the last eight years in Moto2, with a best of seventh in the 2015 standings, via victory at the German Grand Prix.</p> <p>Sim&eacute;on holds 21st in this year&rsquo;s standings but will step up to MotoGP next season, alongside Tito Rabat.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a fantastic opportunity and I have been working hard for it for a lot of years,&rdquo; said Sim&eacute;on.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really happy to realise this dream that has followed me since my childhood. Day after day, I have done everything I can to get up there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Once again I would like to thank all of my partners and fans for believing in me and the support they are bringing in this new challenge.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sim&eacute;on&rsquo;s arrival marks an all-new line-up for Avintia, with H&eacute;ctor Barber&aacute; moving to Moto2 and Loris Baz&rsquo;s future currently uncertain.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really happy to announce that Xavi Sim&eacute;on will be riding for our team next season,&rdquo; said team boss Raul Romero.</p> <p>&ldquo;He is a hard worker and he has won in Moto2, a very competitive and hard-fought category.</p> <p>&ldquo;After several seasons in the middle class, he will step up to MotoGP with high motivation, looking forward to learn everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he will form a great team with Tito Rabat, who is going into his third season in MotoGP and will be the reference inside the team.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15931http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15931Valentino Rossi declared fit to participate in Aragon Grand PrixThu, 21 Sep 2017 13:25:58 GMT<p>Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has been declared fit to ride during this weekend&#39;s Arag&oacute;n Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Italian rider suffered a fracture to&nbsp;his right&nbsp;tibia and fibula during&nbsp;an enduro training accident at the end of August and missed the latest round at Misano.</p> <p>However Rossi underwent two days of testing this week and said he felt well enough to compete this weekend, pending a medical check, which he passed on Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>&quot;Rossi&nbsp;successfully completed a mandatory medical examination carried out by MotorLand Arag&oacute;n&#39;s Chrief Medical Officer, Clemente Millan.</p> <p>&quot;He declared that the nine-time World Champion is&nbsp;fit to ride, 21 days after sustaining a leg injury.&quot;</p> <p>Rossi&nbsp;will now take part in Friday&#39;s FP1 session alongside team-mate Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, after which his participation in the remainder of the weekend&#39;s action will be determined.</p> <p>Superbike rider Michael van der Mark is on standby.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15927http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15927Hector Barbera steps down to Moto2 with PonsThu, 21 Sep 2017 10:24:36 GMT<p>Avintia rider H&eacute;ctor Barber&aacute; will step down to Moto2 next season, ending an eight-year spell in the premier class.</p> <p>Barber&aacute; moved up to MotoGP in 2010 with Aspar and has been with Avintia since 2013, aside from a two-race spell with the factory Ducati outfit, when he filled in for the injured Andrea Iannone.</p> <p>Barber&aacute;&rsquo;s future in the premier class appeared uncertain, amid a difficult 2017 campaign, and he has now secured a deal in Moto2 with Pons, returning to the team with which he finished runner-up in the 250cc championship in 2009.</p> <p>&ldquo;From the first year I arrived in the World Championship I have always been fighting to win races, achieving two runners-up,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;But after eight years in MotoGP the goals have not been achieved, as it is a championship in which more means are needed beyond the rider.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I saw the opportunity to return to Sito Pons&rsquo; team I did not think it.</p> <p>&ldquo;Together we were second in the overall world standings, winning several races and I think I&#39;m in the moment to risk and make such a decision.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very excited and I have the motivation to start this new project.</p> <p>&ldquo;I also want to thank Avintia Racing who facilitated the termination of the contract.</p> <p>&ldquo;The goal is none other than to fight to win races and the championship. It will not be easy but I am at my best: I have the experience and I am physically and mentally prepared.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15919http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15919Valentino Rossi will attempt MotoGP comeback at AragonWed, 20 Sep 2017 14:20:18 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi says he will attempt a comeback at the Arag&oacute;n round of the MotoGP championship, despite admitting just two weeks ago that it would be &quot;very hard&quot; given his recent injury.</p> <p>The Italian rider suffered a fracture to&nbsp;his right&nbsp;tibia and fibula during&nbsp;an enduro training accident at the end of August and missed the latest round at Misano.</p> <p>However following two days of testing this week, Rossi hopes to make a comeback this weekend despite doctors advising a rest period of 30 to 40 days &ndash; Rossi sustained his injury just 20 days ago.</p> <p>&quot;Fortunately, yesterday I had a good test with my YZF-R1M in Misano,&quot; said the 38-year-old.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I tried also the day before, but the rain stopped me after a few laps. Yesterday I managed to complete 20 laps and find the answers I was looking for.</p> <p>&quot;The test was positive and I want to say thanks to Dr. Lucidi and his staff, who helped me find the best solutions to feel the least amount of pain possible in my leg when I&rsquo;m riding. Obviously at the end of the test I was in a little bit of pain, but this morning I went to Dr. Pascarella for a medical check, and it came out with a positive result.</p> <p>&quot;At the end I decided I will leave for Arag&oacute;n and will try to ride my M1 this weekend. If I will be declared fit to ride, I&#39;ll have the real answer after FP1, because riding the M1 will be a much bigger challenge. We&#39;ll see.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15917http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15917Rossi enjoys 'improved feeling' in second Misano runTue, 19 Sep 2017 18:33:27 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi carried out a second run in as many days at Misano as he continues to evaluate the possibility of competing at this weekend&rsquo;s Arag&oacute;n Grand Prix.</p> <p>Rossi sustained fractures to his leg during a training accident at the end of August and was forced to miss his home race at Misano.</p> <p>Yamaha has already named World Superbike Michael van der Mark as his replacement for Arag&oacute;n, but Rossi is evaluating his fitness, ahead of a potential earlier-than-expected comeback.</p> <p>Rossi completed a few laps aboard a YZF-R1M before rain intervened on Monday, and returned to action on Tuesday afternoon, racking up 20 laps at the venue.</p> <p>Yamaha confirmed that Rossi finished his test &ldquo;with an improved feeling and a more positive impression compared to yesterday.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rossi will undergo a medical examination on Wednesday, after which a final decision on his attempt to participate at MotorLand Arag&oacute;n will be made.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15911http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15911Valentino Rossi tests fitness as he evaluates Aragon returnTue, 19 Sep 2017 10:04:51 GMT<p>Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi completed a handful of laps on a YZF-R1M machine at Misano as he evaluated the possibility of making a return to MotoGP action at Arag&oacute;n this weekend.</p> <p>Rossi sustained fractures to his right leg during a training accident at the end of August, ruling him out of competing at his home event at Misano.</p> <p>Rossi began light physiotherapy in the wake of the accident, having expressed his desire to make a swift return, but Yamaha confirmed last week that World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark would substitute at Arag&oacute;n.</p> <p>However, Rossi is still holding out hope that he can ride at MotorLand Arag&oacute;n this weekend, and completed a handful of laps on Monday at his home circuit.</p> <p>Due to inclement weather conditions, Yamaha said the test run proved &ldquo;inconclusive&rdquo;, and Rossi will determine by the close of play on Wednesday whether he will travel to Arag&oacute;n.</p> <p>Should Rossi deem himself unfit, then he has a further three weeks to recover prior to the next round in Japan.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15837http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15837Michael Van der Mark to replace Valentino Rossi for Aragon roundMon, 11 Sep 2017 10:18:58 GMT<p>Yamaha has confirmed that Michael van der Mark will replace the injured Valentino Rossi for the next round of the MotoGP season at MotorLand Arag&oacute;n.</p> <p>Rossi sustained fractures to his leg during a recent training crash but Yamaha opted not to replace the Italian for last weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix, as it evaluated its options.</p> <p>Yamaha weighed up test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, along with Alex Lowes, but has settled on Van der Mark, who will make his premier class debut at the Spanish venue.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m excited to be given the opportunity to ride the YZR-M1 at the Arag&oacute;n MotoGP round,&rdquo; said Van der Mark.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&lsquo;ve never ridden a MotoGP bike before, so this will be a completely new experience for me.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&lsquo;m very curious to see what it feels like to ride on such a machine. I realise that it won&lsquo;t be easy going straight into an official practice session without any prior testing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Nevertheless, I&lsquo;m very grateful to Yamaha for the opportunity. I&lsquo;m sure it will be a great learning experience.&rdquo;</p> <p>Van der Mark currently races for Yamaha in World Superbikes and holds seventh in the standings.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15832http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15832Marc Marquez beats Danilo Petrucci at Misano with last-lap passSun, 10 Sep 2017 14:02:02 GMT<p>Honda rider Marc Marquez secured his fourth victory of the 2017 MotoGP season at Misano, to draw level with Andrea Dovizioso in the championship.</p> <p>Rain throughout the day meant conditions were wet and tricky for the San Marino Grand Prix, with Ducati&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo storming away at the start, going from fifth to first.</p> <p>Pramac Ducati&rsquo;s Danilo Petrucci took over the lead after Lorenzo crashed out on lap seven, having gradually picked his way up from eighth on the grid in the challenging early laps.</p> <p>Marquez shadowed him for most of the race and Petrucci was unable to escape. On the final lap, Marquez made a move into the first corner to snatch the lead away from Petrucci.</p> <p>He went on to win the race, moving him level on points with Dovizioso in the standings, with Petrucci picking up his third podium of the 2017 season.</p> <p>Dovizioso claimed a slightly distant P3, struggling for pace in the closing laps. Polesitter Maverick Vinales faded to fourth, never having the speed to challenge in the wet conditions.</p> <p>Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro was fifth, ahead of Marc VDS&#39; Jack Miller and Pramac&rsquo;s Scott Redding. Suzuki&rsquo;s Alex Rins, Tech3&rsquo;s Jonas Folger and KTM&rsquo;s Bradley Smith completed the top 10.</p> <p>Those three benefitted from late drama for Johann Zarco, who was running seventh until the final lap, when he ran out of fuel, which forced him to push his bike across the line to claim the final point with P15.</p> <p>Several other riders hit problems, with Cal Crutchlow finishing a lowly 13th after running as high as fifth early on, before crashing.</p> <p>Loris Baz also spent some time in the top 10 before hitting the tarmac, finishing a lapped 16th. &nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15829http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15829Maverick Vinales takes San Marino pole in closely fought battleSat, 09 Sep 2017 13:42:29 GMT<p>MotoGP&#39;s championship top three will share the front row of the grid at the start of the San Marino Grand Prix, despite Marc Marquez crashing out of qualifying.</p> <p>It was Yamaha&#39;s Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales who&nbsp;took pole position, with the Spaniard recording the fastest lap on his penultimate run, which dethroned local favourite Andrea Dovizioso. The Ducati man had held the top spot in the closing minutes, but will start second.</p> <p>Completing the top three is reigning champion Marc Marquez for Honda, despite crashing out of the session unharmed. The Spaniard was the man to beat in the early stages, although he was forced to abort his first two runs before nailing the third before dropping to third. However he looked to be on a quicker lap before falling.</p> <p>Just two-tenths split the top three, whilst fourth to tenth was covered by a further seven-tenths in a closely fought session.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow snatched fourth despite a finger injury which he thought might rule him out for the weekend. The Britain qualified ahead of&nbsp;Jorge Lorenzo by only 0.024 seconds. Completing row two is rookie Johann Zarco for Yamaha Tech 3 after he bounced back from a practice crash on Saturday morning.</p> <p>Dani Pedrosa is seventh &ndash; one place higher than his qualifying position last year, when he went on to win &ndash; with Friday&rsquo;s fastest Danilo Petrucci taking eighth. Aleix Espargaro moved up slightly on his last lap, and completes the third row in P9.</p> <p>The final Q2 spots went to Alvaro Bautista, wildcard Michele Pirro and Karel Abraham.</p> <p>Jonas Folger and&nbsp;Jack Miller looked set to progress having both been quickest in Q1, but the pair had their times deleted after they were deemed to have exceeded track limits.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15817http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15817Valentino Rossi says Aragon MotoGP return would be 'very hard'Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:23:10 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi believes a return at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi is&nbsp;more likely than at Arag&oacute;n, which he says would be &quot;very hard&quot; given it would be just 22 days after he fractured his right&nbsp;tibia and fibula in an enduro training accident.</p> <p>The Italian rider isn&#39;t ruling out a return at&nbsp;Arag&oacute;n, but says he must take his recovery &quot;day-by-day&quot; before knowing whether he will be fit enough, however he admits it would be unlikely given the timeframe.</p> <p>&quot;I learned from the other time that in this phase, in this part of the re-education you have to live day-by-day, it depends very much on the leg, depends very much on the pain,&quot; the Yamaha rider told the official MotoGP website.</p> <p>&quot;We already work to come back as soon as possible, the next race after Misano is Arag&oacute;n, but I think it&rsquo;ll be very hard as it&rsquo;ll be just 22 days after the injury.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We need like double [that time], or a minimum 40 days. Last time I came back after 40 days, but this time the fracture is better, [it] is less painful, but it&rsquo;s very early to say.&nbsp;If I&rsquo;m not able [to return] in Arag&oacute;n I will try for Motegi.&quot;</p> <p>Motegi would be 45 days after Rossi was hospitalised and is round 15 of the season. Rossi is currently fourth in the standings and 26 points adrift of leader Andrea Dovizioso, therefore missing two rounds would likely rule him out of the title battle, with just three remaining races.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15813http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15813Tito Rabat to switch from Marc VDS Honda to Avintia Ducati for 2018Thu, 07 Sep 2017 14:16:03 GMT<p>The Avintia privateer MotoGP team has announced that Tito Rabat will be joining them for the 2018 season, where he will ride a&nbsp;Ducati Desmosedici GP17.</p> <p>The Spaniard currently rides for Marc VDS Honda after joining in 2016, his best finish a ninth place at Argentina last year. He currently sits 18th in the standings with 27 points to his name.</p> <p>Rabat is hopeful of moving forward with the Avintia team and thanked them for the opportunity.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very happy to sign with Reale Avintia Racing and to race with Ducati in 2018. Now I have a new opportunity to demonstrate that I can be fast and competitive in MotoGP.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;ll be racing in a team that I know since my childhood and with a bike that I think will suit my size and my style to perfection. This is a great opportunity and I&rsquo;ll make the best of it. I will fight and give it all to be successful. I want to say thank you to Ducati and Reale Avintia Racing for trusting in me.&quot;</p> <p>Team boss Ra&uacute;l Romero added: &quot;Tito is like a son for me. He rode his first race for me in the Spanish Championship and he made his debut in the World Championship with my team. During his career, he raced in several teams, but always comes back home. After 125cc and Moto2, this is the third time Tito returns to our team and this time is in the MotoGP class.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m convinced that this will be the pinnacle in his career and that we&rsquo;ll achieve great results together with Ducati. Tito is a hard worker and this was his secret to become Moto2 World Champion. Next season he will ride a Desmosedici GP17, a bike that is on top of the classification with Dovizioso and that has been extremely competitive this year.&rdquo;</p> <p>The team has yet to announce Rabat&#39;s team-mate, although it&#39;s believed&nbsp;Moto2 rider Xavier Simeon is favourite, whilst current riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera remain in with a chance of staying.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15799http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15799No replacement for Valentino Rossi at San Marino GPMon, 04 Sep 2017 19:00:41 GMT<p>Yamaha has confirmed that it will not field a replacement for Valentino Rossi at this weekend&rsquo;s San Marino Grand Prix.</p> <p>Rossi sustained leg fractures when he suffered an accident during training last Thursday, and underwent successful surgery on Friday, before being released from hospital the next day.</p> <p>Rossi is expected to miss several events due to the extent of his injuries, ruling him out of the battle for this year&rsquo;s title.</p> <p>Yamaha will now head to Misano this weekend with just Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, who remains in the championship hunt, holding third, 13 points behind Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>It will be the first time in seven years that Rossi has not competed at a MotoGP event.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15761http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15761Valentino Rossi 'will do everything' to be back 'as soon as possible'Sat, 02 Sep 2017 10:05:19 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi says he will do everything to ensure he&#39;s back riding as soon as possible after being discharged from hospital on Friday evening.</p> <p>Rossi suffered&nbsp;displaced fractures of the tibia and fibula in his right-leg after being involved in an enduro motocross crash on Thursday. He was taken to the&nbsp;Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti for surgery, where metal plates were inserted into his leg.</p> <p>Doctors have now given the Yamaha rider the OK to leave and recover at home, but have warned him that a minimum 30 days rest is required, which would rule him out of the next two rounds at San Marino and Aragon.</p> <p>Rossi thanked hospital staff, but said he would see how his recovery goes before making a decision on his return to racing.</p> <p>&quot;I spent a good night, I slept, and this morning I felt good,&quot; said the Italian.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The doctors visited me and they gave me the OK to go home, where I&#39;ll be able to rest even better. I will begin the rehabilitation as soon as possible and we&rsquo;ll see how my body reacts before making any decisions.</p> <p>&quot;I have to say&nbsp;&quot;thanks&quot; once again to all the staff of the &lsquo;Ospedali Riuniti&rsquo; in Ancona, but also Urbino&#39;s First Aid and the 118 Service, as well as all the friends that came to visit me.</p> <p>&quot;As I said yesterday, I will do everything I can to get back as soon as possible.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15746http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15746Valentino Rossi undergoes operation for double fracture to his right-legFri, 01 Sep 2017 09:34:17 GMT<p>Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has undergone successful surgery for&nbsp;displaced fractures of the tibia and fibula in&nbsp;his right leg, following a training accident on Thursday evening.</p> <p>The seven-time MotoGP world champion was involved in an enduro crash as was taken to the Ospedale Civile di Urbino for medical examination. Later that evening the Italian was transferred to the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti&nbsp;in Ancona.</p> <p>Immediate surgery was carried out on his right-leg by&nbsp;Dr. Raffaele Pascarella, Director of the Orthopedics and Traumatology Division. During the surgery the fractures were fixated using a metal pin &ndash;&nbsp;a locked intramedullary nail &ndash;&nbsp;without any complications, according to his team.</p> <p>Yamaha confirmed that further medical updates will be provided in &quot;due course&quot; and whether or not Rossi will be fit to take part in upcoming races. He currently sits fourth in the championship standings.</p> <p>Rossi, speaking after his surgery, says he wishes to get back on his bike &quot;as soon as possible&quot;.</p> <p>&quot;The surgery went well. This morning, when I woke up, I felt already good.</p> <p>&quot;I would like to thank the staff of the Ospedali Riuniti in Ancona, and in particular Doctor Pascarella who operated on me.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m very sorry for the incident. Now I want to be back on my bike as soon as possible. I will do my best to make it happen!&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15744http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15744Valentino Rossi hospitalised after training accidentThu, 31 Aug 2017 21:14:10 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi has been hospitalised following a training accident on Thursday, with Italian media reports suggesting he has suffered a broken leg.</p> <p>The Italian rider&#39;s Yamaha team confirmed he had been taken to the Ospedale Civile di Urbino for a check-up, having been involved in an enduro motocross&nbsp;accident&nbsp;near his hometown in northeastern Italy.</p> <p>Yamaha hasn&#39;t confirmed the extent of the 38-year-old&#39;s injuries, if any, but initial media reports suggest a&nbsp;fractured&nbsp;tibia and fibula.</p> <p>The team added that it will provide further updates &quot;in due course.&quot;</p> <p>Earlier this year, Rossi was involved in a motocross training crash in which he sustained&nbsp;injuries to his stomach and chest, but did not miss any events.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15734http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15734Jorge Lorenzo 'never found the right rhythm' at SilverstoneWed, 30 Aug 2017 15:32:12 GMT<p>Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo says he &ldquo;never found the right rhythm&rdquo; over the British Grand Prix weekend, but was pleased with the result.</p> <p>The Spaniard was more conservative at the start, but remained in the frontrunning group in the early stages of the Silverstone race.</p> <p>Lorenzo ended up crossing the line in fifth place, 3.5 seconds behind winner and Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>Despite missing out on the second podium of his 2017 MotoGP season, Lorenzo was happy with the overall result considering his struggles.</p> <p>&ldquo;This time I opted for a more conservative start than usual and maybe it slowed my progress in the early laps,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;For sure after rather a difficult weekend, in which we never exactly found the right rhythm, we have to be happy because in the race I managed to manage the throttle well and preserve the tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;In this way, the rear tyre stayed consistent throughout. It wasn&rsquo;t sufficient to catch the leading group but it was enough to keep the gap down and score my best result of the season in this sense.</p> <p>&ldquo;And I think that at Misano we can do even better. I want to congratulate Andrea, who rode a masterful race, and showed that he was perfect in managing this type of race.</p> <p>&ldquo;His results speak for themselves: four wins and the championship lead can only make the entire team happy.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15728http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15728Marc Marquez takes positives from 'unlucky' British GPMon, 28 Aug 2017 18:47:08 GMT<p>Honda rider Marc Marquez has been trying to take the positives from an &ldquo;unlucky&rdquo; British Grand Prix, after retiring with an engine failure.</p> <p>The three-time MotoGP champion was running in third place, behind Valentino Rossi and eventual race winner Andrea Dovizioso, when he was forced to retire on lap 14.</p> <p>Dovizioso finished ahead of Maverick Vinales and Rossi, putting the Ducati rider nine points clear of Marquez in the riders&rsquo; championship.</p> <p>Despite the disappointment of retiring, Marquez took plenty of positives from the weekend at Silverstone.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today [Sunday] was really unlucky, as I was feeling very good on the bike and was there with the others, just trying to manage the race and tyres, especially the front as the temperature was higher than yesterday and I wanted to save it so to attack in the end,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had already seen that Dovi had something more than Vinales and Rossi, but I thought I could try and fight with him.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, everything was going well when I suddenly had a problem with the engine at the end of the straight. It&rsquo;s a shame of course but that&rsquo;s something that can happen in racing, and it was the first time for me with Honda.</p> <p>&ldquo;The positives are that we were fast here, as we have been at other tracks, and that we&rsquo;re still there in the championship. Zero points, but I&rsquo;m still feeling good with the bike and am looking forward to the next races.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15714http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15714Andrea Dovizioso snatches championship lead with British GP victorySun, 27 Aug 2017 16:49:07 GMT<p>Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso retook the lead of the championship on Sunday as he claimed a sensational British Grand Prix victory.</p> <p>The victory gives the Italian a fourth win of the season &ndash; the most of any rider &ndash; and a nine point lead over Marc Marquez, who&#39;s race was ended by a technical problem.</p> <p>It was an incredibly close finish, with just a tenth splitting first and second, which went to Yamaha&#39;s Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, with Valentino Rossi completing the podium.</p> <p>The race kicked off with a lightning start by Rossi who took the lead and disappeared off into the distance. Marquez followed, leading a group of four riders which included&nbsp;Cal Crutchlow, Vi&ntilde;ales, Jorge Lorenzo and Dovizioso.</p> <p>That was until a puff of smoke creapt from the rear of Marquez&#39;s Honda and the Spaniard was out of the race, shaking up the championship in the process.</p> <p>The chasing pack quickly caught Rossi and with three laps remaining, Dovizioso made his move to snatch the lead, quickly followed by&nbsp;Vi&ntilde;ales.</p> <p>It was incredibly tight as the two headed around the final 5.9km lap of Silverstone. Having played his hand to perfection, Dovizioso was able to keep the advantage to the line &ndash; taking his fourth win of the year. Vi&ntilde;ales took second, with Rossi completing the podium. Crutchlow, not quite able to get close enough to make his move, took fourth.</p> <p>Lorenzo took home fifth place ahead of Johann Zarco, Dani Pedrosa and Scott Redding in eighth.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15699http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15699Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi in close British GP qualifyingSat, 26 Aug 2017 15:32:48 GMT<p>Marc Marquez claimed a close pole position for the British round of the MotoGP World Championship on Saturday with a record-breaking lap of the Silverstone circuit.</p> <p>The Spaniard is the first to break the two minute barrier with his pole lap of&nbsp;1:59.941 and he was the only rider to manage that, although things were tight at the top with Valentino Rossi just 0.084 off in second.</p> <p>Briton&#39;s Cal Crutchlow was a further 0.081 behind Rossi to secure a front-row starting position at his home event for LCR Honda.</p> <p>Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales heads up the second row a further two tenths back on Crutchlow, just ahead of the fastest man in FP4, Ducati&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo. As on Friday, the number 99 was the top Ducati at Silverstone in qualifying &ndash; just ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in P6, 0.173 back.</p> <p>Dani Pedrosa made the biggest leap forward on Saturday afternoon after a tough Friday and FP3, coming through Q1 to move up into seventh &ndash; and by only 0.006. Just behind Pedrosa in the middle of the third row is Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco, with Aleix Espargaro completing Row 3 as he rides through the pain barrier.</p> <p>Jonas Folger, the second graduate from Q1, also managed to make some progress on Saturday afternoon and will start from tenth &ndash; just ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro. Scott Redding completed the top 12.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15659http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15659Tom Luthi to make MotoGP bow with Marc VDSThu, 24 Aug 2017 09:11:04 GMT<p>Moto2 veteran Tom Luthi will make his debut in MotoGP next season with Marc VDS, the Belgian outfit confirmed on Thursday.</p> <p>Luthi, the 2005 125cc World Champion, has spent the last 11 seasons in the secondary class &ndash; under both the 250cc and Moto2 banner &ndash; and holds second in this year&rsquo;s standings.</p> <p>Luthi will partner current Moto2 title leader Franco Morbidelli at the outfit next year, marking an all-new line-up.</p> <p>&ldquo;There were a number of options open to us when we were looking for a MotoGP rider for the 2018 season,&rdquo; said Marc van der Straten, Team President.</p> <p>&ldquo;But Thomas L&uuml;thi was the unanimous choice, despite him being a MotoGP rookie.</p> <p>&ldquo;A former 125cc World Champion, his consistency over seven seasons in Moto2 has been incredible, with a sixth place in 2013 the only time he&#39;s finished outside the top five in the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;He&#39;s been a constant thorn in our side in the intermediate class and this year is no different, with his consistency again making him a serious threat to our title aspirations.</p> <p>&ldquo;Tom is a good fit for our team and I am both happy and proud to welcome him to the Marc VDS racing family.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marc VDS&#39; announcement of Luthi leaves current racer Tito Rabat without a seat for 2018.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15636http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15636Aspar retains Karel Abraham alongside Alvaro Bautista for 2018Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:24:22 GMT<p>Aspar has confirmed that it will retain Karel Abraham alongside &Aacute;lvaro Bautista in MotoGP next season, completing an unchanged line-up for the outfit.</p> <p>Abraham returned to MotoGP with Aspar this season and holds 17th position in the standings, having taken a best of seventh in the Netherlands, as well as a front-row grid spot in Argentina.</p> <p>Aspar&rsquo;s confirmation of Abraham means the Ducati satellite squad will field an unchanged pairing into 2018, leaving only Marc VDS and Avintia with vacancies.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very happy to have re-signed with Aspar and to continue with the same group of people is very important to me,&rdquo; said Abraham.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am already looking forward to a new challenge next season but right now I need to concentrate on the rest of this season, which is the most important.</p> <p>&ldquo;As I said, I am very happy, but we have to focus on the here and now.&rdquo;</p> <p>Abraham previous competed in the premier class between 2012 and 2015 for his family-run AB Motoracing operation.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15627http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15627Takaaki Nakagami gets 2018 MotoGP seat with LCR HondaSun, 20 Aug 2017 08:16:45 GMT<p>Takaaki Nakagami will graduate to MotoGP next season after LCR Honda confirmed that it will expand to a two-bike team to accommodate the 25-year-old.</p> <p>Nakagami had been linked to LCR in recent months and it was duly confirmed on Sunday that the Japanese racer will step up to the premier class for 2018.</p> <p>It will mark only the second time in LCR&rsquo;s history that it has run two bikes full-time in MotoGP, having previously fielded Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller in 2015.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since riding a pocket bike when I was four years old, I have always aimed to compete with the world&rsquo;s best,&rdquo; said Nakagami.</p> <p>&ldquo;This opportunity has become real thanks to all of my associates and fans. There are still seven Moto2 races left this season, including the Japanese Grand Prix.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be concentrating on these races, while gaining the abilities I need for next year. I hope everyone will continue to support me the way they have up to now.&rdquo;</p> <p>Nakagami holds seventh position in this year&rsquo;s Moto2 championship, his sixth season in the secondary division.</p> <p>His sole victory came in last season&rsquo;s Dutch TT.</p> <p>Nakagami will link up with the experienced Crutchlow at the Honda-affiliated outfit.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15600http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15600Aprilia backs outgoing Sam Lowes to 'express his talent'Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:51:33 GMT<p>Aprilia has backed Sam Lowes to &ldquo;express his talent&rdquo; in motorcycle racing despite opting not to retain the Briton&#39;s services for 2018.</p> <p>Aprilia signed Lowes on a three-year contract for 2016, 2017 and 2018, in which he spent the first season competing in Moto2 before graduating to the premier class this season.</p> <p>However, Lowes has finished in the points just once, courtesy of placing 14th at the French Grand Prix, prompting speculation that he would be replaced for 2018.</p> <p>Lowes&rsquo; manager confirmed last week that such a development had taken place and Aprilia announced on Monday that <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15599">it has recruited Scott Redding</a> to partner Aleix Espargar&oacute; next season.</p> <p>Aprilia chief Romano Albesiano expects Lowes to be able to display his ability, but revealed that replacing Lowes with Redding is the right move for the future.</p> <p>&ldquo;We bid Sam farewell, certainly thanking him for his commitment and efforts during this, his rookie season in MotoGP, and for the contribution he has made to the team&#39;s growth,&rdquo; said Albesiano.</p> <p>&ldquo;He is a rider who will doubtless be able to express his talent, but right now we must make choices that allow us to fulfil our commitments to the Piaggio Group and our fans.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will continue to work together with the efforts we have always made so that he can have a good season finale and we wish Sam all the best for his career in the future.&rdquo;</p> <p>Aprilia&rsquo;s confirmation of its 2018 rider line-up leaves vacancies only at Marc VDS, Aspar and Avintia, though LCR Honda has been tipped to add a second bike.</p> <p><strong>Confirmed 2018 MotoGP rider line-up:</strong></p> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Repsol Honda: Marc M&aacute;rquez / Dani Pedrosa</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Yamaha: Valentino Rossi / Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Ducati: Jorge Lorenzo / Andrea Dovizioso</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Suzuki: Andrea Iannone / &Aacute;lex Rins</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Aprilia: Aleix Espargar&oacute; / Scott Redding</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>KTM: Pol Espargar&oacute; / Bradley Smith</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Tech 3: Johann Zarco / Jonas Folger</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Pramac: Danilo Petrucci / Jack Miller</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>LCR Honda: Cal Crutchlow / TBD</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Aspar: &Aacute;lvaro Bautista / TBC</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Avintia: TBC / TBC</tt></small></div> <div style="background:#eee;border:1px solid #ccc;padding:5px 10px;"><small><tt>Marc VDS: Franco Morbidelli: TBC</tt></small></div> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15599http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15599Aprilia confirms Scott Redding for 2018 MotoGP seasonMon, 14 Aug 2017 12:09:37 GMT<p>Aprilia has confirmed that Scott Redding will race for the team in MotoGP next season, alongside incumbent Aleix Espargar&oacute;, in place of Sam Lowes.</p> <p>Redding, 24, graduated to MotoGP in 2014 and has competed for Gresini, Marc VDS and Pramac in the premier class, taking two podiums, and a best of 12th in the standings.</p> <p>Pramac confirmed last week that it had recruited Jack Miller to partner Danilo Petrucci for 2018, leaving Redding without a seat, but the Briton has now linked up with Aprilia.</p> <p>&ldquo;Scott is a rider who, in spite of his young age, has significant experience in MotoGP,&rdquo; said Aprilia chief Romano Albesiano.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are pleased to have him join our project and we think that his talent and the continued growth of the RS-GP will allow the team and him to achieving important results.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our bike has grown consistently, race after race. The goal to battle stably in the top 10 has been more than achieved.</p> <p>&ldquo;And while further steps in technical development are on their way already this season, with this agreement with Scott, we are preparing for next season.</p> <p>&ldquo;Aprilia will be at the starting line with a pair of quality riders that have interesting potential.</p> <p>&ldquo;Aleix is demonstrating more and more that he is a high quality rider and a guarantee for the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;With Scott&#39;s contribution, we expect that the team&#39;s work will bring Aprilia even closer to the top of the championship, into the positions that such a glorious brand deserves to occupy.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15597http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15597Marc Marquez 'on the limit' in dramatic battle with Andrea DoviziosoSun, 13 Aug 2017 16:44:56 GMT<p>Honda rider Marc Marquez says he was &ldquo;on the limit&rdquo; in his intense battle with Andrea Dovizioso for the Austrian Grand Prix victory.</p> <p>The Red Bull Ring hosted a dramatic MotoGP race, with Marquez and Dovizioso being contenders from the very start and enjoying some feisty battles.</p> <p>In the second part of the race, they swapped places numerous times as they fought for first place, with Dovizioso emerging ahead as the chequered flag closed in.</p> <p>Marquez attempted an overtake at the penultimate corner on the last lap, before trying again with a dive up the inside of the final turn.</p> <p>He ran wide and that let Dovizioso through, with Marquez having to settle for second. It was a risky move but he was satisfied that he gave it a go.</p> <p>&ldquo;I pushed 100% and I decided to go all-in &ndash; the championship is important but even second place is,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This year we were much closer but today Dovi, especially on the last laps, had a little bit more.</p> <p>&ldquo;A little bit everywhere except two left corners. I was losing everywhere but much faster there, maybe because he was on softer tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I got to the limit and I tried in the last corner because if not, I wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to sleep well tonight.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was risky but I&rsquo;m happy in the end because the 20 points are important. I was thinking about overtaking him in the penultimate corner but he closed the door and I&rsquo;d had a few warnings there.</p> <p>&ldquo;I tried [at] the last corner but he understood perfectly what was going to happen &ndash; and he got the undercut.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a really exciting race, when we were three hundredths apart, the adrenaline, I touched his rear at Turn 2, it was on the limit.</p> <p>&ldquo;But, we survived the race, we&rsquo;re second, and if you said to me on Thursday I&rsquo;d be second, I would say it&rsquo;s a great result.</p> <p>&ldquo;Dovi deserves it because when he was behind me he was comfortable, and when I was behind him I was on the limit.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15594http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15594Andrea Dovizioso fends off late attack from Marc Marquez in AustriaSun, 13 Aug 2017 13:18:06 GMT<p>Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso held off a late attack from Honda&rsquo;s Marc Marquez on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix to claim his third win of the 2017 MotoGP season.</p> <p>It proved to be a dramatic conclusion to an already thrilling and closely-fought race at the Red Bull Ring, with Dovizioso and Marquez involved in the lead battles throughout.</p> <p>Marquez held the lead at the start, only for Dovizioso&rsquo;s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to storm past him a few corners later to take over first place.</p> <p>Lorenzo stayed out front for the opening 10 laps, but Marquez and Dovizioso kept him in their sights and eventually got ahead as the top three moved clear of the pack.</p> <p>A mistake from Lorenzo at Turn 3 allowed Marquez to move alongside on the next straight to take over the position, but Dovizioso slipstreamed past the pair of them.</p> <p>However, Dovizioso ran deep into Turn 4 and dropped behind Marquez, before they both pulled away from Lorenzo &ndash; who was later passed by Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Marquez attempted to pull a gap but a mistake at the third corner opened the door for Dovizioso to take the lead just over the half-way mark.</p> <p>They swapped places numerous times over the next few laps as they duelled for the victory, with Dovizioso wresting back ahead to lead into the last tour of the Red Bull Ring.</p> <p>He had a small lead, but Marquez was on the attack and closed it down as the final corners approached, trying a pass around the outside at the penultimate turn.</p> <p>It did not pay off, but he dived down the inside of Dovizioso into the last corner, only to run wide and allow his rival back through.</p> <p>Dovizioso crossed the line to score his third win of the year, just ahead of Marquez, with Pedrosa a slightly distant third, having closed the gap to the leading two earlier in the race.</p> <p>Lorenzo was fourth, ahead of Johann Zarco and the Yamaha factory riders of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, who both made mistakes at Turn 1.</p> <p>Alvaro Bautista, Loris Baz and KTM test rider Mika Kallio rounded out the top 10.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15586http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15586Marc Marquez beats Ducati riders to Austrian pole positionSat, 12 Aug 2017 16:42:09 GMT<p>Marc Marquez claimed a third straight pole position as he topped the timing screens on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, beating the Ducatis to record a fastest lap time of 1:23.235, pipping Andrea Dovizioso by 0.144s.</p> <p>The Ducati riders complete the front-row with&nbsp;Dovizioso leading Jorge Lorenzo &ndash; the team-mates split by just over two-tenths.</p> <p>Marquez laid down an opening marker which was good enough to put him at the top before improving on his second run, which proved out of reach for his rivals, despite late improvements across the board.</p> <p>Championship rival Maverick Vinales starts fourth, missing out on a front-row start by a tenth of a second, but was almost overcome by the Pramac of Danilo Petrucci, who got within 0.026 of the Spaniard. Johann Zarco continued his strong form with sixth.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi had to settle for seventh on the grid, with a time seven-tenths off Marquez&#39;s best.</p> <p>The Honda&#39;s of Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow were eighth and ninth, with Suzuki&#39; Andrea Iannone tenth, despite a mechanical problem during FP4.</p> <p>Aspar&#39;s Karel Abraham and Avintia&#39;s Loris Baz both advanced directly into Q2 and finished 11th and 12th respectively.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15580http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15580Sam Lowes and Aprilia to part ways after 2017 says managerFri, 11 Aug 2017 21:40:39 GMT<p>Sam Lowes looks set to lose his seat with Aprilia for the 2018 season according to his manager, who says the team have activated a break clause in the British rider&#39;s contract.</p> <p>Lowes joined Aprilia at the beginning of the current season having stepped up from Moto2, signing a two-year deal, but that included a break clause which allowed the team to cancel the deal after one season.</p> <p>Lowes has been under pressure to up his form having scored just two points to team-mate&nbsp;Aleix Espargaro&#39;s&nbsp;40.</p> <p>Whilst the team haven&#39;t confirmed anything, Lowes&#39; manager,&nbsp;Roger Burnett, says the two parties will split come the end of the season.</p> <p>&quot;In the Aprilia agreement, there was a window of opportunity between the 10th and the 15th of August when they could actually issue a notice of termination,&quot; he told&nbsp;<em>BT Sport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;They did that yesterday, so that&#39;s official.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s not ideal, and it&#39;s a shock, and a surprise, because what they expected from a rookie, with a brand new bike, with a team-mate that&#39;s going in different directions... I&#39;m not quite sure.&quot;</p> <p>Burnett added that they would be looking at the vacancy at Marc VDS for 2018.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s no secret that there is a slot at Marc VDS and I&#39;m very much hoping to enter into discussions over the course of the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;Sam&#39;s position has been taking a GCSE student with loads of potential and put him into an A-level class with no teacher. How are they going to develop?</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s very difficult from a rider and management perspective. I don&#39;t employ anybody in that garage, so I can&#39;t call the shots, or explain what needs to be done.</p> <p>&quot;Strength in management is what is going to be a good thing for Sam, and Michael can provide that, so I&#39;m hopeful that we can enter into a discussion.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15575http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15575Jack Miller seals Ducati deal to join Pramac in 2018Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:11:47 GMT<p>Pramac Racing has confirmed that Jack Miller will compete for the team in MotoGP next year, after the Australian rider secured a direct contract with Ducati.</p> <p>Miller, 22, graduated to MotoGP with Marc VDS in 2015 after finishing as runner-up in the Moto3 category, and claimed a handful of points finishes.</p> <p>Miller caused an upset when he captured his maiden victory in a wet Dutch TT last season, and this year has taken regular points finishes to hold 12th position in the standings.</p> <p>During the build-up to the Austrian Grand Prix, Pramac confirmed that it will field Miller alongside incumbent Danilo Petrucci, though has not specified which bike either rider will utilise.</p> <p>Petrucci currently races a 2017-specification Ducati, with outgoing team-mate Scott Redding on the Italian marque&rsquo;s 2016 model.</p> <p>Redding has been linked with a move to Aprilia, heightened after current racer Sam Lowes took to Twitter, commenting &ldquo;you can never keep a good man down! Thanks for the support! Just another chapter.&rdquo;</p> <p>Miller&#39;s current team, Marc VDS, has already confirmed that Moto2 points leader Franco Morbidelli will step up to the premier class with the squad in 2018, though the identity of his team-mate remains uncertain.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15560http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15560Jorge Lorenzo encouraged by pace despite pit problemMon, 07 Aug 2017 17:44:04 GMT<p>Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo was encouraged and impressed with his pace during the Czech Grand Prix, despite finishing down in 15th place after a problem in the pits.</p> <p>Early damp and wet conditions soon dried out, but when Lorenzo &ndash; who was leading at the time &ndash; came into the pits his dry-shod bike was not ready.</p> <p>It cost him a considerable amount of time and he dropped down the order, only managing to rise up to 15th by the race finish.</p> <p>&ldquo;The race was a real shame,&rdquo; he admitted. &ldquo;The weather was so unpredictable and it stopped raining when I was really fast on the damp track.</p> <p>&ldquo;I felt pretty good and I think we could have been able to fight for the win if the conditions had remained the same.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then we made an error with the bike change, because when the team signalled to me to return to the pits the bike wasn&rsquo;t ready and we lost a bit of time, which ruined the rest of my race.</p> <p>&ldquo;For sure we&rsquo;ll learn from this negative experience and won&rsquo;t repeat the same error, but the positive thing from this weekend is that we were always competitive, both in the wet and the dry.</p> <p>&ldquo;Now we&rsquo;re going to a circuit, where we should be amongst the favourites and so we&rsquo;ll do everything possible to demonstrate it in the race.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15559http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15559Maverick Vinales: Third 'best we could do' at Czech GPMon, 07 Aug 2017 17:43:07 GMT<p>Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales says third place was the &ldquo;best we could do&rdquo; at last weekend&rsquo;s Czech Grand Prix in Brno.</p> <p>The Spaniard was pleased with the podium result, feeling that he got the maximum from a weekend where he felt Yamaha struggled.</p> <p>Early damp conditions soon dried out in the race, with Vinales believing he pitted to change to a dry-shod bike a little too late. But, in the end he moved up to a podium finish.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really happy,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Honestly, third was the best we could do. Our target was to be on the podium and we did it.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were struggling during the whole weekend. Finishing third on a tough weekend is a good result. We have to be on the podium, this has to be the norm if we want to win the championship title.</p> <p>&ldquo;I came in a little bit late, I think, but at the same time as Dani Pedrosa and some other riders, so it was good for the overall result.</p> <p>&ldquo;The track was drying out really fast. It might have been better to stop a little bit earlier, but this is the first time I finish a flag-to-flag race on the podium, so it gives me a lot of experience.</p> <p>&ldquo;In Austria it&rsquo;s going to be really important to have a good feeling and a good weekend, and winning on Sunday will also be really important.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15554http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15554Marc Marquez dominates Brno race to extend MotoGP title leadSun, 06 Aug 2017 13:47:40 GMT<p>Honda rider Marc Marquez dominated the Czech Grand Prix to score his third win of the 2017 MotoGP season, extending his lead in the championship.</p> <p>The Spaniard lined up on pole position at the damp Brno track, with all 23 riders going for wet tyres despite sunny skies.</p> <p>Marquez was the only rider to go for a soft wet rear tyre, but he struggled at the start, losing the lead to Ducati&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo before falling to the bottom of the top 10.</p> <p>But, a brilliant strategy call to pit Marquez at the end of lap two for a switch to his bike with dry tyres proved to be perfectly-timed and brought him right back into contention.</p> <p>A few others pitted at the end of the next lap, but the leading pack remained on track on wet tyres &ndash; with Lorenzo leading Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, with Johann Zarco fourth after a strong start.</p> <p>Lorenzo dived into the pits to change to his dry-shod bike at the end of the fourth tour, just after losing first place to Rossi, but he lost time with a slow pitstop and this dropped him back.</p> <p>Rossi, Dovizioso and Zarco remained out front, but they were rapidly losing time to Marquez, who was the quickest driver on the circuit.</p> <p>It took until lap five for Rossi and Dovizioso to change bikes and go to slicks, while Zarco stayed out one lap longer, despite already being passed by Marquez.</p> <p>The reigning world champion had a clear lead over the rest of the field, and he finished 12.4 seconds clear of his nearest rival to claim his 32nd MotoGP victory. His lead in the standings is now 14 points.</p> <p>His team-mate Dani Pedrosa made it a Honda 1-2 at Brno, having followed Lorenzo into the pits on lap four and moving up the field to finish runner-up.</p> <p>Maverick Vinales was another rider to stop on lap four and claimed third, after a late pass on LCR Honda&rsquo;s Cal Crutchlow, who lost P4 to Rossi on the final lap.</p> <p>Dovizioso was the lead Ducati in sixth, ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro &ndash; who picks up a three-place grid penalty for an unsafe release, which caused Andrea Iannone to fall.</p> <p>Pol Espargaro was ninth, with Jonas Folger completing the top 10 despite pitting twice within the space of just two laps. Lorenzo failed to recover from his poor stop and was 15th.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15550http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15550Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi to Czech GP pole positionSat, 05 Aug 2017 14:06:20 GMT<p>Marc Marquez will start the Czech Republic Grand Prix from pole position after beating Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi by a mere 0.092 of a second.</p> <p>Early qualifying leader Dani Pedrosa will start third, putting two Honda bikes on the front row. The Spaniard had held provisional pole before Rossi and then Marquez improved, dropping Pedrosa to third, with just over a tenth between him and the top spot.</p> <p>The second row consists of Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso, who followed his Friday performance with a strong result in qualifying to start fourth ahead of LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and the second Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo, who had an earlier lap disallowed.</p> <p>Current championship runner-up&nbsp;Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales will look to make progress in the race to ensure the points gap between him and Marquez doesn&#39;t grow further, as he starts down in seventh with Pramac&#39;s Danilo Petrucci and Aspar&#39;s Alvaro Bautista for company.</p> <p>Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco completes the top ten, with Aleix Espargaro and Loriz Baz just making the Q2 cut in 11th and 12th.&nbsp;Espargaro suffered a crash in the closing minutes of the session, ending his chance of qualifying higher.</p> <p>Suzuki Ecstar&#39;s Alex Rins narrowly missed out on a Q2 spot by just 0.006 and lines up in P13, just ahead the second Tech 3 rider, Jonas Folger.</p> <p>The weather forecast for Sunday&#39;s race suggests mixed conditions, which could add an extra challenge and unpredictablity to the race.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15536http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15536Valentino Rossi: MotoGP championship still 'wide open'Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:14:28 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi has admitted the 2017 MotoGP championship is still &lsquo;wide open&rsquo;, ahead of the series&rsquo; return to action at the Czech Grand Prix.</p> <p>After the opening nine rounds of the 18-event MotoGP season, Rossi is just 10 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez.</p> <p>He is fourth in the riders&rsquo; standings, with team-mate Maverick Vinales and Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Dovizioso second and third &ndash; five and six points behind Marquez, respectively.</p> <p>Following MotoGP&rsquo;s summer break, the series returns to the race track at the Brno circuit this weekend, with Rossi in an optimistic mood.</p> <p>&ldquo;The championship is still wide open and we will have to work hard to be always on the podium,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Brno is a track I really like, I have a lot of good memories of this circuit and I hope I can make it another nice race this weekend. It will be important to be quick from the first session.</p> <p>Rossi has rested over the summer break, but returned to training &ldquo;as soon as possible&rdquo; and is feeling good heading into the Czech Grand Prix weekend.</p> <p>Rossi&rsquo;s Yamaha team-mate Vinales admitted he must be fully focused, adding: &ldquo;It is going to be crucial if we want to fight for the championship title. There is no room for mistakes.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15528http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15528Finland set to join MotoGP calendar in 2019 with new venueWed, 02 Aug 2017 13:30:21 GMT<p>Finland will join the MotoGP schedule in 2019 with the announcement that the premier class series will visit the under construction KymiRing in&nbsp;Kymenlaakso, 110-kilometres north-east of Finland&#39;s capital city, Helsinki.</p> <p>The new circuit, which will have a capacity of 100,000 spectators,&nbsp;signed a five-year deal with MotoGP bosses this week.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a big pleasure to announce the agreement we have with KymiRing and the works are now underway,&quot; said Dorna CEO,&nbsp;Carmelo Ezpeleta. &quot;We will propose to the FIM to have Finland in the MotoGP calendar for 2019.</p> <p>&quot;This is a great day as it&#39;s&nbsp;so many years since the Imatra GP here in Finland and we are very proud to announce this new venue.</p> <p>&quot;Finland has been a traditional place for motorsport. It has had number of fantastic riders in MotoGP in the past. I remember Jarno Saarinen and recently Mika Kallio, and many other people have raced. Finnish people understand motorsport very well and I think KymiRing will be hosting incredible events in the future.</p> <p>&quot;The layout of the circuit is very nice, it&rsquo;s fast and it&rsquo;s safe, and we&rsquo;re very happy to announce this today.&quot;</p> <p>Timo Pohjola, KymiRing Project Manager added: &quot;This is something we&rsquo;ve wanted for many years and now it&rsquo;s true.</p> <p>&quot;We are the only international circuit in northern Europe and that&rsquo;s why so many other countries are interested in Kymiring. The first Finnish champion was Jarno Saarinen, then in Formula 1 we had Keke Rosberg and Mika Hakkinen and so on, but motorcycling has always been very popular in Finland.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15349http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15349Alvaro Bautista to remain with Aspar MotoGP team in 2018Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:03:21 GMT<p>&Aacute;lvaro Bautista will remain with Aspar in MotoGP next season, the team confirmed on Monday.</p> <p>The Spaniard reunited with Aspar this season in the premier class, having riden for the squad in the 125cc and 250cc classes &ndash; he claimed the 125cc title in 2006.</p> <p>Bautista currently&nbsp;holds 11th in the&nbsp;standings this year, with fourth place his best finish in Argentina. He&nbsp;will continue to ride for the team next year.</p> <p>Jorge Mart&iacute;nez, Aspar team general manager, says the deal shows their belief in the 32-year-old.</p> <p>&quot;It is good news for the Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team that we have reached this agreement with &Aacute;lvaro Bautista;&nbsp;we believe in him and we are enjoying a very strong season.</p> <p>&quot;We also have a lot of faith in Ducati, we get great support from the factory and through extending this relationship, together we can improve even more. I hope this year still holds many more high points like the ones we have enjoyed already, and that next season holds even more still.&quot;</p> <p>Bautista added:&nbsp;&quot;I am happy to be spending another season as part of the Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team family. It is a union that can help both the team and myself to grow.</p> <p>&quot;We are having a strong season, I have a good relationship with the team and I feel very comfortable on the Ducati and with the support from the factory. I think we can continue to improve and achieve good results.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15254http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15254Miguel Oliveira completes first MotoGP test with KTMTue, 11 Jul 2017 10:56:54 GMT<p>KTM has completed a two-day private test at the MotorLand Aragon circuit in Spain, with Moto2 frontrunner Miguel Oliveira getting his first MotoGP outing.</p> <p>The Portuguese rider raced for the team in his final Moto3 campaign and after a year in Moto2 with Kalex, he returned to KTM for the current season.</p> <p>He joined KTM&rsquo;s MotoGP racers Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, plus test rider Mika Kallio, for laps at the Aragon circuit.</p> <p>It was a busy two-day test for the team, with Smith admitting he feels it will give KTM &ldquo;good direction for the second half of the season, and for 2018 as well&rdquo;.</p> <p>After nine rounds of Moto2 in 2017, Oliveira is third in the standings with four podium finishes &ndash; including second places in Argentina and Germany.</p> <p>&quot;The goal was not that I was to get really fast but it was a test for myself to enjoy the day,&rdquo; he explained after the test.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had this opportunity that I think every rider would like to have in his career at least one time but I&rsquo;m really pleased to have had the chance to try that bike.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, all in all it was a very good day to do a few laps and enjoy a MotoGP bike. Thank you KTM.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15169http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15169Video: Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in a very special raceTue, 04 Jul 2017 18:38:21 GMT<p>Marc M&aacute;rquez and Dani Pedrosa take part in a very special, and rather slow, race!</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15164http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15164Jonas Folger: I finally showed my potential with home podiumTue, 04 Jul 2017 10:26:27 GMT<p>Tech3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger believes he &ldquo;finally showed&rdquo; his potential after picking up his first MotoGP podium at the Sachsenring.</p> <p>The fast-starting German lined up fifth but managed to snatch the lead away from Marc Marquez, although a mistake at the first corner meant the Honda rider found his way back through.</p> <p>Folger, who stepped up to MotoGP after three years in Moto2, kept the pressure on Marquez during the remainder of the race but lost ground in the final laps, after a few mistakes.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really know what to say other than I am so happy and I still can&rsquo;t quite believe what we achieved,&rdquo; Folger said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I fought with Marc for the victory and we had a great performance. I especially showed that I can get on the podium, which is a super feeling and a big boost for my confidence.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the past, [team-mate] Johann [Zarco] had a lot of good races whereas I sometimes didn&rsquo;t because I made some small mistakes, but today I finally feel like I showed my potential.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think that we have to enjoy this moment and take the positive points that we made here to Brno and into the rest of the season.</p> <p>&ldquo;Thanks to my team for their work and I am already looking forward to getting back on my Yamaha in the Czech Republic after the summer break.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15147http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15147Marc Marquez wins at the Sachsenring as Jonas Folger stuns home crowdSun, 02 Jul 2017 13:28:22 GMT<p>Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez recaptured the lead of the championship on Sunday at the&nbsp;Sachsenring with victory for Honda, but it was home rookie Jonas Folger that stole the show as he pushed the Spaniard at every opportunity.</p> <p>Marquez won from pole &ndash; his eighth at the circuit &ndash; but found himself in second during the early stages of the race when a quick-starting Folger took the lead from fifth on the grid on the fifth lap having made some quick passes on Dani Pedrosa, Danilo Petrucci and&nbsp;Jorge Lorenzo, who came through from sixth on the grid to third at the start.</p> <p>A couple of small mistakes for the German were enough to cost him a shot at the win as Marquez took advantage and retook the lead, where he would remain until the chequered flag, but not without a fight from Folger, who continued to hound the #93 machine.</p> <p>Pedrosa would go on to claim the final podium spot, 11 seconds down on his victorious team-mate.</p> <p>Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales claimed fourth position, with Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi for close company, the pair having made progress from their respective grid positions.</p> <p>Alvaro Bautista took sixth after proving a formidable force in the fight, with Aprilia&#39;s Aleix Espargaro crossing the line in seventh for a good haul of points ahead of the summer break.</p> <p>Championship leader going into the race, Andrea Dovizioso crossed the line in eighth and remains third in the standings, while Johann Zarco completed a strong recovery to vault from 19th on the grid to ninth.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10 for LCR Honda, with Jorge Lorenzo crossing the line in 11th spot after running at the front earlier in the race.</p> <p>Marquez now heads the title race, with just 10 points covering the top four, as the sport enters its five-week summer break.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15140http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15140Danilo Petrucci extends Pramac stay into 2018Sat, 01 Jul 2017 16:39:31 GMT<p>Danilo Petrucci will continue to race for Pramac in MotoGP next season, the team has confirmed.</p> <p>Petrucci joined Pramac in 2015, following three years with Ioda, and has racked up a trio of podiums, including two this season.</p> <p>Petrucci currently holds seventh place in the standings ahead of Sunday&rsquo;s German Grand Prix, where he will start from the front row of the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very happy to stay with Octo Pramac Racing, I am glad to remain in the team I consider my home,&rdquo; said Petrucci.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am also proud to be the longest-serving rider in the history of such an important team.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would like to thank Paolo Campinoti who welcomed me into the Pramac family and Francesco Guidotti who believed in me.</p> <p>&ldquo;A special thanks also to Gigi Dall&rsquo;Igna, Paolo Ciabatti, and Claudio Domenicali for the support of Ducati, and for providing me with a factory bike that gives me the possibility to obtain great results.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15139http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15139Sachsenring king Marc Marquez takes pole number eightSat, 01 Jul 2017 14:24:05 GMT<p>Marc Marquez continued his&nbsp;Sachsenring domination as he secured an eighth consecutive pole position at the German Grand Prix venue on Saturday.</p> <p>The Honda rider didn&#39;t have an easy time of it though as he and Pramac&#39;s Danilo Petrucci duelled over the top spot in wet conditions, with the pair eventually split by just over a tenth of a second.</p> <p>Marquez&#39;s session almost came to an early end though after he and&nbsp;Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales made contact. The Yamaha rider dived under Marquez before the Honda rider made heavy contact into the side of his rival at the following corner. The pair had a heated discussion after the session.</p> <p>Dani Pedrosa completes the front row after a weekend of impressive pace, albeit +0.647 off the lead pace.</p> <p>Briton&#39;s Cal Crutchlow will line up fourth ahead of Yamaha Tech 3 and home hero Jonas Folger, with both within a second of Marquez&#39;s pole time. Jorge Lorenzo starts sixth, completing the second row.</p> <p>KTM&#39;s Pol Espargaro took the Austrian factory&#39;s best ever qualifying result in seventh to continue the incredible form into Q2, with older brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) eighth and nine-time champion Valentino Rossi ninth.</p> <p>Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso was another of those to have a slightly more difficult session to take tenth, but starts ahead of key rival in the points standings Vi&ntilde;ales, who was eleventh fastest in the wet. Aspar&#39;s Alvaro Bautista completes the top twelve on the grid from Q2.</p> <p>Marc VDS rider Jack Miller just missed the cut to escape&nbsp;Q1 and will start P13, with Loris Baz and Bradley Smith just behind.</p> <p>Last weekend&#39;s pole sitter Johan Zarco struggled for pace and failed to escape Q1, eventually finishing 19th quickest.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15121http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15121Andrea Dovizioso 'won't change' racing approach after taking leadThu, 29 Jun 2017 11:05:33 GMT<p>Ducati&rsquo;s Andrea Dovizioso says he &ldquo;won&rsquo;t change&rdquo; his approach to racing after taking the championship lead at the last MotoGP race.</p> <p>Following on from his back-to-back wins in Mugello and Barcelona, he benefited from rival Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales crashing at the Dutch TT to finish fifth and move four points clear.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi narrowly took victory and closed the gap to the top two in the championship, three points behind Vi&ntilde;ales and seven off Dovizioso.</p> <p>Despite heading to the next round in Germany as the leader in the riders&rsquo; standings, Dovizioso said he will not change his approach to racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;It gives me great satisfaction to arrive in Germany as leader of the championship,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it won&rsquo;t change my way of racing because, even in the past, I&rsquo;ve never raced for each individual result.</p> <p>&ldquo;Always with one eye on the championship: we&rsquo;ll try and do a good job here in Germany to get the best possible result in Sunday&rsquo;s race.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Sachsenring is a track that has created a few problems for us in the past, but it has just been resurfaced and so it will be new for everyone.</p> <p>&ldquo;As always we will have to take account of the behaviour of the tyres, especially in this case seeing as no one has been able to test on the new track surface.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15090http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15090Valentino Rossi wins dramatic Dutch TT by just 0.063 from Danilo PetrucciSun, 25 Jun 2017 12:41:28 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi officially has the longest winning career (20 years and 313 days) across all classes after claiming a stunning and dramatic victory at Assen for the Dutch TT, but only just!</p> <p>The Yamaha&nbsp;rider crossed the finish line almost side-by-side with second-placed Danilo Petrucci in one of the closest MotoGP finishes, with just 0.063 splitting the pair as Marc Marquez crossed the line third, five seconds behind the lead battle.</p> <p>It wasn&#39;t all good news for Yamaha though as Maverick Vinales lost the championship lead to Andrea Dovizioso after crashing out at the final chicane, with tricky conditions catching a number of riders out.</p> <p>The race began with first-time polesitter Johan Zarco losing out to Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez, but the Frenchman remained in second ahead of the battle for third and would late reclaim the lead as a mistake for Marquez dropped him to second.</p> <p>A quick Rossi cleared Marquez and came up behind Zarco before completing a pass for the lead, but the fight was far from over as the Tech 3 rider immediately fought back. However it would prove costly as light contact between the pair caused Zarco to drop down the order.</p> <p>His Tech&nbsp;3 team-mate Jonas Folger meanwhile dropped to the very back on the opening lap after straightlining the&nbsp;Esses. Folger later crashed out at Turn 1 on Lap 10.</p> <p>As Rossi took the lead, his team-mate stumbled and fell at the final chicane to hand fifth to&nbsp;Dovizioso where he would go on to finish, although he ran as high as third at one stage, finishing behind Britain&#39;s Cal Crutchlow.</p> <p>With ten laps remaining, Petrucci spotted his moment to snatch second from Marquez and started his hunt for Rossi in the lead.&nbsp;</p> <p>Light rain began to fall on the Assen circuit as Petrucci put pressure on Rossi before taking the lead with five laps left. Just as that happened, further back and Marquez re-claimed third from Dovizioso. The lead battle continued and the order changed again with three laps remaining, with Rossi remaining the lead until the chequered flag, but it was a closely fought battle as Petrucci got held up by some backmarkers.</p> <p>The battle for the final podium spot was also a close one as Cruthlow got past Dovizioso with one lap remaining and had the race been 27 laps, he might have passed Marquez, but eventually finished just 0.042 behind.</p> <p>Last year&#39;s race winner Jack Miller was sixth ahead of Aspar&#39;s Karel Abraham and Avintia&#39;s&nbsp;Loris Baz. Aleix and Pol Esparagaro completed the top ten.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15088http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15088Franco Morbidelli to graduate to MotoGP in 2018 with Marc VDSSun, 25 Jun 2017 07:57:32 GMT<p>Marc VDS has confirmed that Franco Morbidelli will step up to MotoGP with the team in 2018.</p> <p>Morbidelli has raced for the squad in Moto2 since 2016 and currently leads the championship in the secondary class, with four wins from the opening seven rounds.</p> <p>Ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Marc VDS announced that it had extended Morbidelli&rsquo;s contract, with the 22-year-old to graduate to the premier category next season.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s good to have everything sorted so early in the season, as I can now concentrate fully on what I have to do this year in Moto2,&rdquo; said Morbidelli.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m excited by the thought of MotoGP and I&#39;m happy to be making the step up to the premier class with the team, and with people I know and have worked alongside already.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a big challenge, but it&#39;s definitely one that I&#39;m looking forward to.</p> <p>&ldquo;But for now my focus is on this year, so thinking about MotoGP will have to wait until after the final Moto2 race of the season in Valencia.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15077http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15077Rookie Johann Zarco takes maiden MotoGP pole at AssenSat, 24 Jun 2017 14:47:15 GMT<p>Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco stunned Assen to take his first MotoGP pole position for the Dutch Grand Prix, pipping three-time world champion Marc Marquez by just 0.065 seconds.</p> <p>Zarco becomes the first Frenchman to take pole in the premier class since Olivier Jacque in 2002.</p> <p>He made the most of the damp conditions whilst some big names struggled, particularly&nbsp;Ducati&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo, who starts 21st.</p> <p>Marquez had held the top spot as he crossed the start/finish straight before being beaten by Zarco, but will line up second ahead Pramac&#39;s&nbsp;Danilo Petrucci who also excelled in the tricky conditions.</p> <p>A small mistake in the final sector by Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi sees him head up the second row alongside Scott Redding and Jonas Folger, the former recovering well from an FP3 crash.</p> <p>Aspar&#39;s Alvaro Bautista crossed the line in P7 ahead of LCR Honda&rsquo;s Cal Crutchlow, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) completing the third row.</p> <p>Aprilia&#39;s Sam Lowes made the most of his first ever Q2 appearance, taking a top ten start to head up the fourth row&nbsp;&ndash; and ahead of championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales. Dani Pedrosa was P12.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15041http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15041Suzuki rookie Alex Rins to return to racing at AssenWed, 21 Jun 2017 15:41:14 GMT<p>Suzuki rider &Aacute;lex Rins will return to racing action at this weekend&rsquo;s Dutch TT, following a lengthy absence due to injury.</p> <p>Rins fell during practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas in April and sustained fractures to his left forearm and wrist, missing the following five races as a result.</p> <p>Rins participated in testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week and has now been given the all-clear to resume his rookie campaign at Assen.</p> <p>&ldquo;The recovery from injury has been long and tough, but finally I will re-join the team and again be able to race my GSX-RR,&rdquo; said Rins, who finished ninth on his debut in Qatar.</p> <p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t wait to get back to the feeling of racing and be reunited with my team again.</p> <p>&ldquo;Last week we tested in Barcelona and my feelings were positive. I&rsquo;m recovering well and made a lot of progress. We worked without any pressure, but yet we were able to make improvements.</p> <p>&ldquo;Assen is a magical circuit; I can&rsquo;t wait to ride there on a MotoGP machine.&rdquo;</p> <p>Takuya Tsuda and Sylvain Guintoli filled in for Rins during the Spaniard&#39;s absence, riding alongside regular racer Andrea Iannone.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15039http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15039LCR renews with Honda, retains Cal Crutchlow through 2019Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:01:09 GMT<p>LCR has renewed its technical partnership in MotoGP with Honda, and retained Cal Crutchlow through to 2019.</p> <p>LCR has been partnered by Honda since it graduated to MotoGP in 2006 while Crutchlow joined the squad in 2015, after previous spells at Tech 3 Yamaha and Ducati.</p> <p>Crutchlow claimed two victories in 2016 to finish seventh overall in the standings, a position he also holds this year ahead of the upcoming Dutch Grand Prix.</p> <p>&quot;I am very happy to confirm that I will be riding for HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] with the LCR team again for two more seasons,&quot; said Crutchlow.</p> <p>&quot;We have worked extremely hard over the last three seasons together and I am positive that we will enjoy more great results together.</p> <p>&quot;I would like to thank HRC for the great support they offer me and our team, and I look forward to giving my hundred percent to this project as always.&quot;</p> <p>LCR is currently the only one-rider team on the MotoGP grid.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14948http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14948Andrea Dovizioso takes back-to-back wins for Ducati with Catalan victorySun, 11 Jun 2017 13:52:28 GMT<p>Andrea Dovizioso took back-to-back victories for the Ducati team with a win this weekend at the Catalan Grand Prix &ndash; making him the&nbsp;first rider for&nbsp;Ducati to claim consecutive victories&nbsp;since Casey Stoner in 2010.</p> <p>The Italian rider came through from seventh on the grid to win his second race of the season in style, ahead of reigning champion Marc Marquez and polesitter Dani Pedrosa, with the top three split by just 6.7&nbsp;seconds.</p> <p>The race started with Honda&#39;s Pedrosa getting a great start from the lead whilst the two riders beside him; Jorge Lorezno and Danilo Petrucci, almost made contact thanks to a wheelie from the former.</p> <p>Petrucci was then forced to swerve and made contact with Marquez, though the latter escaped without major issue and held position as they headed to Turn 1.</p> <p>Current championship leader&nbsp;Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales found himself in the gravel at Turn 1 and dropped well down the order from ninth on the grid. He mounted a comeback to finish tenth to claim six points.</p> <p>Meanwhile Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi rounded-off a disappointing weekend for the team in eighth place.</p> <p>The opening laps saw a four-way battle for the lead between Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Marquez and Jonas Folger, before Dovizioso snuck around the outside to take control of the race and was swiftly followed by Marquez.</p> <p>A battle over fourth then broke out and as&nbsp;tyres began to fade, positions changed, with Folger losing out to finish sixth, behind Lorenzo and Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco.</p> <p>&#39;DesmoDovi&#39; would hold onto the lead until he crossed the finish&nbsp;line to claim a fourth career victory.</p> <p>The top ten was completed by Aspar&#39;s Alvaro Bautista, followed by Rossi, Avintia&#39;s Hector Barbera and&nbsp;Vi&ntilde;ales, whose championship lead took a major hit as Dovizioso made up 19 points to cement his position in second in the standings, just seven points shy of the lead.</p> <p>The final points positions were taken by LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Cruthlow, Avintia&#39;s Loris Baz, Pramac&#39;s Scott Redding, Aspar&#39;s Karel Abraham and Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat.</p> <p>Jack Miller, Aleix Espargaro and Petrucci were the only retirees.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14926http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14926Dani Pedrosa claims Catalan pole as Marc Marquez crashes outSat, 10 Jun 2017 13:46:51 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa claimed his second pole position of the season at&nbsp;the Catalan Grand Prix on Saturday in front of a delighted home crowd ahead of fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo.</p> <p>Meanwhile all of those ahead of Pedrosa in the championship standings struggled for pace, with leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales a lowly ninth, Andrea Dovizioso seventh and&nbsp;Valentino Rossi 13th.</p> <p>Marc Marquez meanwhile fell twice, putting him out of contention of the front-row and the Honda rider will start fourth behind Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci.</p> <p>Aprilia&#39;s Aleix Espargaro&nbsp;starts an impressive&nbsp;fifth ahead of Avintia&#39;s Hector Barbera.</p> <p>Dovizioso heads up row three ahead of Q1 graduates Jonas Folger and Vi&ntilde;ales in a tough day for the Yamaha machines.</p> <p>Aspar team rider Alvaro Bautista completes&nbsp;the top ten and was another multiple crasher on Saturday, with Pramac&#39;s Scott Redding and Andrea Iannone in P11 and P12 respectively.</p> <p>LCR Honda&rsquo;s Cal Crutchlow crashed at Turn 10 during his final run, with his timed lap only good enough for P17.</p> <p>Sylvain Guintoli missed qualifying due to illness, although not believed to be serious, whilst Bradley Smith has been declared unfit to race following a finger injury sustained during final practice.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14918http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14918MotoGP opts against using new Catalan GP chicaneFri, 09 Jun 2017 21:40:35 GMT<p>MotoGP has chosen not to use the newly installed chicane during the Catalan Grand Prix this weekend following feedback from riders during Friday practice.</p> <p>A new chicane was constructed for the 2017 event to improve safety in the final sector by slowing riders following the death of Luis Salom in 2016 &ndash; for the remainder of that race weekend, the Formula 1 layout was used &ndash; before a MotoGP specific chicane was added for this&nbsp;year&#39;s event,&nbsp;one&nbsp;hundred yards ahead of the F1 chicane.</p> <p>However feedback on Friday has led the Safety Commission to revert to the F1 layout, with riders citing bumps as the cause for several crashes during first and second practice.</p> <p>&quot;In the Safety Commission the riders complained a little about the new layout, they said the work wasn&rsquo;t done in the right way and there were a lot of bumps &ndash; that&rsquo;s why the riders decided to go back to the layout from last year,&quot; explained Dorna Sports safety advisor&nbsp;Loris Capirossi.</p> <p>&quot;That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re here, to make sure the track used tomorrow is the safest we can.</p> <p>&quot;We saw during practice today a lot of crashes too where the bike remained on the track and at the exit of the corner, and that&rsquo;s very dangerous. We have experience from last year of the old chicane and we didn&rsquo;t have any crashes like we did today, that&rsquo;s why the riders requested it. In terms of crashes, the old one is better.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14890http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14890Home advantage for championship leader Maverick VinalesWed, 07 Jun 2017 09:27:53 GMT<p>MotoGP Championship leader Maverick Vinales returns home for the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya with a healthy 26 points lead at the one third distance of the 18 round MotoGP World Championship.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 22 year old Spaniard, riding the Movistar Yamaha, arrives at the demanding 2.891 mile Circuit of Barcelona &ndash; Catalunya with three grands prix wins this year and a second place in the previous round in Mugello.</p> <p>He has a good record at his home circuit, which has been modified at turns 13- 14 following the tragic accident of Luis Salom during Moto2 practice last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>Vinales is a Moto3 winner at this circuit and finished sixth and fourth in the last two MotoGP races riding the Suzuki. Andrea Dovizioso moved into second place in the championship after his <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14868">superb home victory at Mugello</a> on the factory Ducati and a repeat performance at the Barcelona circuit, which both he and Ducati know well, would make the Italian rider and factory a real championship threat.</p> <p>Valentino Rossi&rsquo;s last grand prix win came in Barcelona 12 months ago and the 38 year old needs a repeat if he&rsquo;s going to stay in the championship hunt. He hung onto third place in the championship after a brave ride into fourth place in Mugello and has always <a href="https://www.mytopsportsbooks.com/free-picks/other/2017-motogp-odds-early-season-update">had a consistent record</a> at the track.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another World Champion desperately seeking a good result to keep his championship chances alive is current champion Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider is fourth, 37 points behind Vinales, after a disappointing sixth place in Mugello.&nbsp;</p> <p>He is on equal points with team-mate Dani Pedrosa who dropped from second place <a href="http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/motorsport/619969/motogp-results-italian-grand-prix-cal-crutchlow-angry-dan-pedrosa-crash-mugello-video">after crashing on the last lap</a> in Mugello bringing down Cal Crutchlow.</p> <p>Frenchman Johann Zarco has won the Moto2 race in Barcelona for the last two years and he returns chasing his second MotoGP podium finish of the season. In his debut season riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha the double Moto2 World Champion is seventh in the championship just four points behind Pedrosa and Marquez.&nbsp;</p> <p>Italian Danilo Petrucci took just his second MotoGP podium finish in Mugello and moved into eighth place in the championship just four points behind Lorenzo.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14878http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14878I'd have sold my house for MotoGP podium - Danilo PetrucciMon, 05 Jun 2017 12:53:56 GMT<p>Pramac rider Danilo Petrucci scored a strong podium finish at his home MotoGP race in Italy, joking he would have sold his house for a top three result.</p> <p>He was quick enough for the front row in qualifying but exceeding track limits at Turn 5 meant he was stripped of his lap, falling to ninth.</p> <p>The Italian recovered ground early in the race at Mugello and was part of the lead group, finishing behind winner Andrea Dovizioso and runner-up Maverick Vinales.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s incredible,&rdquo; he said on the race. &ldquo;If anyone asked me what I would give to be on the podium, I would have said I&rsquo;d sell my house.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s unbelievable. Yesterday [Saturday] was quite strange because I crashed on the out lap and I thought, &lsquo;what a great morning&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then I started to push with the other bike and my laptime was lowering, then I finished the bike. In qualifying from Q1 it was tough, but I was more confident compared to the others.</p> <p>&ldquo;I did a good lap but I made a mistake. Everyone said, &lsquo;OK but tomorrow you can be fast&rsquo;&hellip;I knew in previous races I&rsquo;d started badly but was fast at the end.</p> <p>&ldquo;I knew I had to stay with the others at the front to have a good race, and when I was in fourth, I said &lsquo;OK, you&rsquo;re fourth &ndash; wait for the last lap&hellip;&rsquo; but then I thought &lsquo;it&rsquo;s your home Grand Prix&hellip;try&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I passed Valentino [Rossi], then Maverick, and tried with Dovi &ndash; but it wasn&rsquo;t so easy. Trying to stay with him finished my rear tyre.</p> <p>&ldquo;When Maverick passed me I looked behind if maybe Valentino was further, but he wasn&rsquo;t. But, in the end, I managed to stay on the podium and it was a great day for me.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14868http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14868Andrea Dovizioso claims magnificent Mugello victory ahead of Maverick VinalesSun, 04 Jun 2017 20:20:45 GMT<p>Andrea Dovizioso took a magnificent win in Mugello,&nbsp;battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line over a second clear of Yamaha&#39;s Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales and an impressive home podium for second Italian Danilo Petrucci.</p> <p>Home hero Yamaha&#39;s Valentino Rossi shot off the line for the lead from P2 on the grid, denying teammate and polesitter Vi&ntilde;ales as Jorge Lorenzo stormed up from seventh to fight off Dovizioso for third.</p> <p>With the leaders in-line, over the line saw Lorenzo use the incredible speed of the Ducati to take the lead for the first time in red, dueling with old nemesis Rossi before the Italian took him back &ndash; and the next lap proved almost a replay as two of the men to have dominated the sport this decade found themselves sharing the front of the race for the first time this season.</p> <p>Then it was &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; on the move past his teammate after Vi&ntilde;ales had gone through on Rossi, the Championship leader taking the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; as the trio began to break away from Lorenzo - with Petrucci on the chase.</p> <p>Suzuki&#39;s Andrea Iannone had an incredible start from P16 after having suffered with illness throughout the weekend, moving up into seventh, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) suffered a different fate and got a ride through for a jump start.</p> <p>Petrucci caught the group before too long as Dovizioso took over at the front, and the Pramac rider then pounced on Vi&ntilde;ales after a small mistake to follow &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo;. Then it was holding station as the gaps grew and then shrunk, before the factory Ducati in the lead gained a small gap&nbsp;&nbsp;- and every member of the Borgo Panigale team held their breath as Vi&ntilde;ales took over in second, only a few laps remaining and the Championship leader with his head down.</p> <p>Closing in and then falling back, the pendulum swung between the two men until the last lap dawned &ndash; and &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; kept it inch-perfect around every corner to take his third ever Grand Prix victory, and the first for a red machine at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales took second to increase his Championship lead once again, with Petrucci putting in the dry-weather ride of his life to complete the podium after staying clear of Rossi over the last couple of laps. The &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo;, who suffered a motocross crash in training the week before the event, pushed hard through the pain barrier at home and just missed the podium but took good points &ndash; as always, putting on a great show.</p> <p>Alvaro Bautista (Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team) took a big scalp as he caught and passed reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to complete the top five, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) coming home in P7 behind Marquez.</p> <p>Lorenzo, after his early duel for the lead, suffered grip issues later in the race and crossed the line in eighth, beating Ducati test rider Michele Pirro over the line. Iannone&rsquo;s heroics following his illness saw him complete the top ten at home.</p> <p>The late drama a little further off the front saw a tough day for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) conclude in a crash as the &lsquo;Baby Samurai&rsquo; slid out, unfortunately collecting LCR Honda&rsquo;s Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.</p> <p>Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took P11, with the top fifteen completed by Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).</p> <p>Now the paddock packs up and heads for Barcelona, as the Catalan GP turns the home tables for many on the grid &ndash; sure to result in another spectacular, spectacular.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14858http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14858Maverick Vinales leads Yamaha 1-2 in Mugello qualifyingSat, 03 Jun 2017 13:29:11 GMT<p>Championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales led qualifying on Saturday in Mugello, beating Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi by just two-tenths in a very close session.</p> <p>The Spaniard beat Rossi on his home soil ahead of third-placed Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso, with Italians lining up second, third and fourth as Ducati stand-in Michele Pirro was just 0.043 off his team-mate, giving the locals something to cheer for.</p> <p>The Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez complete the second row in fifth and sixth.</p> <p>Heading up row three&nbsp;is one of Mugello&rsquo;s most successful riders, Ducati&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo, ahead of compatriot Alvaro Bautista as the top independent rider for Aspar.</p> <p>Pramac&#39;s Danilo Petrucci had seemed set for a front row start before having his fastest laptime cancelled for exceeding track limits, and the Italian dropped from a provisional P2 to take ninth on the grid at home &ndash; in front of a best ever for Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat to complete the top ten.</p> <p>Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco had a more difficult session to take eleventh, with Aleix Espargaro crashing out early and ending the session in P12.</p> <p>It was a very close session with the top 12 covered by less than a second.</p> <p>A Q1 susprise came when Cal Crutchlow failed to make the cut for LCR Honda and will line up 13th ahead of Hector Barbera and Jonas Folger, 15th.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14843http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14843Doctors give Valentino Rossi green light for Mugello weekendThu, 01 Jun 2017 11:35:25 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi has been given the green light to participate in this weekend&#39;s Italian Grand Prix, following a medical check-up at Mugello on Thursday.</p> <p>Rossi sustained mild thoracic and abdominal trauma as the result of a&nbsp;motocross training accident last week, and spent the night in hospital for observations.</p> <p>Rossi revealed on Wednesday that he was still suffering from &quot;severe&quot; pain and required medical clearance in order to be passed fit to race in front of his home fans.</p> <p>Yamaha confirmed that FIM Medical Director, Dr Giancarlo Di Filippo, the&nbsp;Chief Medical Officer of the Mugello Circuit, Dr Remo Barbagli and the MotoGP Medical Director, Dr Angel Charte, all approved Rossi&#39;s participation following the checks on Thursday lunchtime.</p> <p>Rossi trails Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales by 23 points in the standings.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14838http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14838Tech 3 retains Jonas Folger for 2018 MotoGP campaignThu, 01 Jun 2017 08:28:12 GMT<p>Tech 3 has confirmed that it will continue with an unchanged rider line-up in MotoGP next season, retaining Jonas Folger to partner the already confirmed Johann Zarco.</p> <p>Folger, 23, stepped up to MotoGP with the French outfit this season and has recorded a best result of sixth, in Argentina, to hold ninth in the standings ahead of this weekend&#39;s Italian Grand Prix.</p> <p>Tech 3 announced on Thursday that it has signed Folger for an additional year, alongside Zarco, whose 2018 deal was confirmed prior to the preceding event in France.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am really happy about continuing with Herv&eacute; [Poncharal] and the awesome Tech 3 team for 2018,&quot; said the German rider.</p> <p>&quot;So far this year, I am very pleased with the performances that we have produced, including the pre-season tests, but there is much more to come from me.</p> <p>&quot;For the rest of 2017 as well as next year, I believe that we can carry on progressing and making solid strides forward.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m already excited to see what we can do in the next months together and so, I have to thank the boss and everyone involved at Tech 3 for what they have done so far, and for having faith in me, and I will always give my absolute all on the Yamaha YZR-M1.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14835http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14835Valentino Rossi in fitness bid for Italian GP after training crashWed, 31 May 2017 10:36:38 GMT<p>Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi says he is still suffering from &quot;severe&quot; chest pain following last week&#39;s motocross training crash and faces a race against time in order to be fit for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix.</p> <p>Rossi sustained mild thoracic and abdominal trauma when he fell last week and was observed in Rimini Hospital overnight, before being discharged to continue his recovery at home.</p> <p>Rossi will require medical checks at Mugello on Thursday in order to be given the green light to participate in this weekend&#39;s event.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately I crashed while&nbsp;I was training on a motocross bike [and] the pain in the abdomen and in the chest is still severe,&quot; said Rossi.</p> <p>&quot;Fortunately, my condition is improving day by day and this allows&nbsp;me to think a bit more positively about the Mugello weekend.</p> <p>&quot;My desire to be at the start of the Italian GP is so strong and I&#39;m working on recovering as soon as possible. It will not be easy but I still&nbsp;have a few days to continue the treatment.</p> <p>&quot;On Thursday I will have to do the medical check-up to get the OK to go on the track. If all is well, I will ride my YZR-M1 on Friday to really understand my&nbsp;condition. I will do my best to be&nbsp;on track Sunday, for sure.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14787http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14787Valentino Rossi discharged from hospital after training accidentFri, 26 May 2017 18:52:23 GMT<p>Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after he was injured in a training accident on Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>The Yamaha MotoGP rider was hospitalised after he fell from his motocross bike while riding at the Cross Club Cavallara venue in Italy,&nbsp;suffering mild chest&nbsp;and abdominal trauma.</p> <p>Rossi will now continue his recovery at home after getting the all clear from his doctors, with the aim of being fit for next weekend&#39;s Mugello Grand Prix.</p> <p>&quot;Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team&nbsp;rider&nbsp;Valentino Rossi&nbsp;has returned home from the &#39;Ospedale Infermi&#39;&nbsp;in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier this afternoon,&quot; confirmed his team in a statement.</p> <p>&quot;With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning&rsquo;s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff. He will continue the recovery process in his own surroundings.</p> <p>&quot;Yamaha would like to thank the entire staff of the &quot;Ospedale Infermi&quot; for their dedication and professional care over the last 24 hours.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14737http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14737Nicky Hayden succumbs to injuries sustained in cycling crash aged 35Mon, 22 May 2017 16:10:21 GMT<p>2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden has succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a cycling accident last week. He was 35.</p> <p>Hayden was training near the town of Rimini when he collided with a car, and was rushed to hospital in Cesena, where he was diagnosed with severe brain damage, along with chest injuries.</p> <p>Further updates confirmed that Hayden&rsquo;s clinical situation had not improved, with his condition &ldquo;very critical&rdquo; and the hospital announced on Monday afternoon that he passed away as a result of his injuries.</p> <p>His fianc&eacute;e Jackie, mother Rose and brother Tommy were at his side.</p> <p>&quot;On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky&rsquo;s fianc&eacute;e Jackie I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support &ndash; it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people&rsquo;s lives in such a positive way,&quot; said Tommy Hayden in a statement.</p> <p>&ldquo;Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest &ndash; riding a motorcycle. He dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming World Champion. We are all so proud of that.</p> <p>&ldquo;Apart from these &lsquo;public&rsquo; memories, we will also have many great and happy memories of Nicky at home in Kentucky, in the heart of the family. We will all miss him terribly.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is also important for us to thank all the hospital staff for their incredible support &ndash; they have been very kind. With the further support of the authorities in the coming days we hope to have Nicky home soon.&quot;</p> <p>Hayden stepped up to MotoGP with Repsol Honda in 2003 and enjoyed a successful period with the outfit, claiming three victories and the 2006 world title, edging Valentino Rossi in a dramatic finale.</p> <p>Hayden never took another win in the premier class but continued to rack up podium finishes, his last coming with Ducati in 2011, having transferred across to the team for 2009.</p> <p>Hayden&rsquo;s final years in MotoGP were spent with Aspar, before he moved back to World Superbikes for 2016, with Honda, returning to the top step of the podium in Malaysia.</p> <p>Hayden also made two appearances in MotoGP last year, substituting for injured riders at Marc VDS and Repsol Honda, reuniting with the team 10 years after his title triumph.</p> <p>Motorsport Week extends its condolences to the family and friends of Hayden.</p> <p>RIP, &lsquo;Kentucky Kid.&rsquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14728http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14728Drama at Le Mans as Maverick Vinales takes championship leadSun, 21 May 2017 17:25:23 GMT<p>Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales won a thrilling Le Mans MotoGP from pole position on Sunday at the famous circuit to take the lead of the championship following last-lap drama, with team-mate Valentino Rossi dramatically sliding out of contention to lose the lead.</p> <p>The headlines came thick and fast, with Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech 3) taking the lead from Vi&ntilde;ales off the line and the two factory Yamaha machines slotting in behind. The Frenchman held firm at the front in style until Vi&ntilde;ales made his move.</p> <p>As the gap finally began to grow, Rossi pulled the pin from third to overtake the Frenchman and go on the charge. The &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; reeled his teammate in at the front, passed him, and then looked to escape &ndash; but the two blue machines were set for a spectacular last lap duel.</p> <p>It was the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; ahead as that last lap dawned, before an uncharacteristic mistake let Vi&ntilde;ales back through and the number 46 pushed hard to close back in. Close in he did, before the final stroke of drama suddenly found the nine-time World Champion sliding out.</p> <p>Home hero Zarco kept it calm under the huge pressures of the incredible home crowd to then cross the line in second &ndash; with Dani Pedrosa (Honda) completing the podium after an awesome slice through the field.</p> <p>Pedrosa began the race in P13, was seventh after the first few laps and then pushed his way past Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) to set off after the frontrunners &ndash; closing in on Marquez before watching his teammate slide out. Pedrosa, after a magnificent win in Jerez and the drama in Le Mans, is now the man second in the title standings &ndash; only 17 off Vi&ntilde;ales&rsquo; lead.</p> <p>&lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; fought off Crutchlow to take fourth, with the rider from Coventry completing the top five. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) took a top six finish to gain an impressive ten places from his difficult grid position, with Jonas Folger (Yamaha Tech 3) in seventh.</p> <p>Jack Miller (Marc VDS), despite a huge crash on Saturday, crossed the line in eighth, ahead of a fantastic home showing for Frenchman Loris Baz (Avintia) in ninth.</p> <p>Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top ten, with Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) in P11 ahead of both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines in the points once again. Pol Espargaro bested Bradley Smith by only half a second over the line.</p> <p>Sam Lowes (Aprilia) took his first points in P14, with Alex Rins&rsquo; injury replacement Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Ecstar) scoring a point in fifteenth.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14717http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14717Maverick Vinales on pole for Le Mans as Johann Zarco secures front-row startSat, 20 May 2017 16:46:02 GMT<p>The legendary Le Mans circuit sizzled with excitement after two superb MotoGP qualifying sessions for the HJC French Grand Prix on Saturday.</p> <p>Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales took a stunning pole position ahead of Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, a tenth splitting the pair, whilst local hero Johann Zarco stunned to snatch third at the last second from LCR Honda&#39;s Cal Crutchlow.</p> <p>The front-row start is Zarco&#39;s first since his promotion to MotoGP and probably not his last as he continues to impress.</p> <p>Lining up alongside Crutchlow will be Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez and Ducati&#39;s Andrea Dovizioso as the top six were covered by less than eight-tenths.</p> <p>Scott Redding will start P7 despite a heavy crash during third practice with KTM&#39;s Pol Espargaro giving the Austrian factory their best ever qualifying to date in P8 &ndash; an awesome achievement in their first season, and with team-mate Bradley Smith also in the Q2 shootout and lining up in tenth.</p> <p>Splitting the two KTM&#39;s is Karel Abraham for Aspar with Jack Miller (Marc VDS) and home favourite Loris Baz (Avintia) completing the top twelve.</p> <p>Jerez winner Dani Pedrosa starts a disappointing&nbsp;P13, ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Jonas Folger to lock out the fastest fifteen. Le Mans&rsquo; most successful premier class rider on the grid, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) faces a fight back on Sunday from sixteenth.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14699http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14699Johann Zarco retained by Tech3 for 2018 MotoGP seasonThu, 18 May 2017 19:46:49 GMT<p>Johann Zarco has been retained for the 2018 MotoGP season by Tech3 Yamaha, the team has announced.</p> <p>The French rider has had an impressive start to his rookie MotoGP season and is sixth in the championship after four rounds.</p> <p>After crashing out of the lead on his debut in Qatar, Zarco bounced back with fifth place in Argentina and America before finishing fourth at Jerez.</p> <p>The 26-year-old has now secured a ride for his second season in MotoGP, remaining with the Tech3 outfit.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very happy to know that I will continue my MotoGP experience with Tech3 in 2018,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the moment, I am enjoying an amazing debut in this category where I have learned a huge amount, and the team have now given me the confidence for next year, which is just fantastic.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very happy but this is only the beginning and I will keep learning and growing so that I can regularly fight for podiums, and then once I am at this level, I plan to continue in this way for as long as possible.</p> <p>&ldquo;In 2018, the rules won&rsquo;t change and I will have an entire year of experience so this will certainly help me to get to the top.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14698http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14698Hayden suffers 'severe brain damage' in accidentThu, 18 May 2017 15:39:57 GMT<p>MotoGP officials have confirmed that 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden has suffered severe brain damage, following a cycling incident in Italy on Wednesday.</p> <p>Hayden was out training, following last weekend&rsquo;s Superbike World Championship round, when he was struck by a car along the Adriatic coast.</p> <p>Emergency services were swiftly on the scene and Hayden was transported to a local medical facility, before being transferred to the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena.</p> <p>Hayden&#39;s Honda team confirmed on Thursday that he was in an Intensive Care Unit, though no further updates on his condition were issued.</p> <p>A further bulletin on Thursday afternoon followed, issued by the hospital, which read: &quot;Nicky Hayden&rsquo;s clinical condition remains extremely critical.</p> <p>&quot;The young man, who is still in the intensive care unit of Cesena&rsquo;s Bufalini hospital, has suffered a serious polytrauma with subsequent serious cerebral damage. The prognosis remains reserved.&quot;</p> <p>Hayden&#39;s close family have travelled from the United States to be by his bed side.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14689http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14689Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden in 'serious condition' after cycling crashWed, 17 May 2017 18:50:54 GMT<p>Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden has reportedly been involved in a serious road traffic accident whilst out training with friends&nbsp;in&nbsp;<font><font>Rimini, Italy.</font></font></p> <p>The&nbsp;Honda World Superbike factory rider was cycling with friends when a car is said to have struck him, causing him to hit the bonnet and windscreen at high speed, before landing on the road.</p> <p>The accident happened on Wednesday afternoon, with the American rider, 35, rushed to a local hospital in Rimini with reported chest and head injuries. Some reports, although unverified, claim his injuries to be severe and requiring an immediate transfer to&nbsp;<font><font>Bufalini hospital in Cesena for immediate surgery.</font></font></p> <p><font><font>Photos from the scene of the incident show a black Peugeot 206 with a smashed windscreen and a photo of Hayden&#39;s heavily damaged bicycle.</font></font></p> <p>His WSBK team sent their best wishes to Hayden via Twitter and called for patience.</p> <p>&quot;Thank you to all Nicky&rsquo;s fans for your support after his accident,&quot; the team posted.&nbsp;&quot;He&rsquo;s receiving medical attention in Italy, and we must now be patient...</p> <p>&quot;The medical teams are working hard, and we will provide updates as soon as they are available. All we can confirm is that Nicky was involved in an incident while cycling and&nbsp;has been transferred to a hospital near Rimini for treatment.&quot;</p> <p>Update: <font><font>Bufalini have released the following update on Hayden&#39;s condition:&nbsp;</font></font>&quot;The rider is in very serious condition and has now been moved to&nbsp;intensive care.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14686http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14686Pedrosa heads to France in 'very positive mood' after Jerez winWed, 17 May 2017 12:46:51 GMT<p>Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says he heads to Le Mans for the French Grand Prix in a &ldquo;very positive mood&rdquo; after his victory last time out at Jerez.</p> <p>The Spaniard converted pole position into victory at the Andalusian venue at MotoGP&rsquo;s 3,000th race, ahead of his Honda team-mate Marc M&aacute;rquez.</p> <p>Pedrosa is fourth in the championship, the result bringing him within 10 points of leader Valentino Rossi &ndash; with Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales and M&aacute;rquez between them.</p> <p>After such a positive result at Jerez, Pedrosa is feeling hopeful Honda can keep up the positive momentum in France.</p> <p>&ldquo;After a great weekend in Jerez we now head to Le Mans in a very positive mood,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The French GP is always challenging.</p> <p>&ldquo;To begin with the weather is usually quite changeable which makes it difficult to find rhythm in the practice sessions or to plan how to improve run by run as it may be too cold or the total opposite, very hot.</p> <p>&ldquo;The track itself is very short and the smallest differences in the lap times can make a great difference in the standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;I hope the bike works well on the new asphalt. You need good acceleration and good braking, but consistency is the real key.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are working well with the team and we&rsquo;ll try to maintain the same level also there.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14669http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14669Johann Zarco hoping to fight for a podium at home raceTue, 16 May 2017 09:36:13 GMT<p>Yamaha Tech3 rider Johann Zarco is cautiously optimistic he can fight for a podium at the next MotoGP round in France.</p> <p>He heads to his home race this weekend as the top rookie in the standings after four rounds, having come close to the top three before.</p> <p>Zarco finished the last race at Jerez in fourth place and is looking to build on his positive start to the season at his home race.</p> <p>The French Grand Prix takes place at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans and Zarco is hopeful he can challenge for a podium in front of his home crowd.</p> <p>&ldquo;The French Grand Prix is coming up and for sure, it will be a very interesting weekend,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am excited about racing in my home country because the beginning of this season has been superb so far in MotoGP with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team.</p> <p>&ldquo;As a result, I think that the French fans are waiting for me and for this event. There is some pressure but I tried to manage it at home, in the week before the GP, where I rested and saved the positive energy.</p> <p>&ldquo;The first three venues that we have visited this year are much bigger than Le Mans, but the Bugatti circuit is small like the Jerez track.</p> <p>&ldquo;In addition, I have the advantage of knowing that because I had a good feeling in Spain, I can have a great feeling in France.</p> <p>&ldquo;I will fight for the best position and possibly even a top three because I am always getting closer and closer to the rostrum, which is the main target.</p> <p>&ldquo;I aim to have a strong race and then fight for the podium to make the Tech3 team, myself and all the French fans happy.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14563http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14563Dani Pedrosa eases to victory in Jerez as MotoGP celebrates 3,000th raceSun, 07 May 2017 13:49:56 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa converted his first pole position since 2015 into victory at his&nbsp;home race in Jerez, storming away from the grid&nbsp;and never looking back until the chequered flag fell on the Spanish Grand Prix - the 3,000th race of the MotoGP World Championship.</p> <p>Pedrosa&#39;s Honda team-mate and reigning champion Marc Marquez made inroads in the points battle in second, ahead of a stunning home ride from five-time&nbsp;champion Jorge Lorenzo for Ducati. The top three were split by 14 seconds as they crossed the line.</p> <p>The race began with a strong start for Pedrosa with Marquez slotting in behind and a tussle over third, with LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow and Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco pushing&nbsp;championship leader Valentino Rossi.</p> <p>It was Zarco however that won out. The rookie claiming fourth place ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, but it wasn&#39;t without difficulty as he fought with both&nbsp;Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales and Jorge Lorenzo for the spot throughout the latter stages of the race.</p> <p>Drama struck further back as Marc VDS rider Jack Miller and Aspar&#39;s Alvaro Bautista collided and slid out, before Crutchlow then lowsided into the gravel at Criville &ndash; followed shortly by the KTM of Pol Espargaro. After a short tousle with Vi&ntilde;ales, Andrea Iannone also tumbled out, with 17 laps to go.</p> <p>The gap fluctuated at the front but Marquez was unable to make any real impression on Pedrosa&rsquo;s lead, with the three-time world champion pulling the pin in the final laps to cross the line in clear air for another stunning win &ndash; making it 16 years in a row the Spaniard has taken at least one victory in the world championship.</p> <p>Lorenzo had an incredible race on home soil for a first podium with Ducati, moving past Zarco after a positive weekend all round and pulling away to jubilation for the &lsquo;Spartan&rsquo; as he pulled into parc ferme.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) stormed back through from P13 on the grid to follow Vi&ntilde;ales over the line to claim seventh, with Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) solid once again in the top ten to take eighth.</p> <p>Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was another who moved through the field, incredibly taking 2016 Jerez winner and championship leader Valentino Rossi for ninth. The &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; found his pace in freefall in the latter laps of the race, struggling with tyre life in the hot temperatures to complete the top ten &ndash; but retain the championship lead.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14555http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14555Honda's Dani Pedrosa grabs stunning Jerez MotoGP pole positionSat, 06 May 2017 13:24:47 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Dani Pedrosa took an incredible pole position in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Spain in Jerez, going to the top in a last dash lap as team-mate Marc Marquez was unable to depose him on his last lap.</p> <p>Pedrosa was fastest on Friday and on Saturday in FP3, on the charge at his first home race of the year. Behind Marquez is LCR Honda&#39;s Crutchlow completing the front row in a Honda 1-2-3.</p> <p>Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales took fourth to head up the second row ahead of Q1 graduate and comeback king Andrea Iannone for Suzuki Ecstar with rookie Johann Zarco sixth for Yamaha Tech 3.</p> <p>Fourteen world titles start the Spanish GP from the third row, with championship leader Valentino Rossi in seventh just ahead of Ducati Team&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo only 0.002 back, as the &#39;Spartan&#39; had a good day&#39;s work on Saturday, back up the timesheets in his home race. Jonas Folger is ninth in another solid result for the German rookie.</p> <p>Marc VDS rider Jack Miller backed up his Friday pace with direct entry to Q2 and a top ten start despite a crash, with Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) in eleventh and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in P12 after graduating from Q1. The rider from Granollers was another crasher in the Q2 session.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) starts P13 from Q1, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and a stunning display from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing&rsquo;s Pol Espargaro to complete the top fifteen, just ahead of team-mate Bradley Smith.</p> <p>The lights go out for the incredible Spanish GP at Jerez on Sunday at 14:00 (GMT +2) &ndash; with Pedrosa on pole for the first time since Sepang 2015.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14451http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14451Suzuki debutant Tsuda to replace injured Rins at JerezThu, 27 Apr 2017 15:09:26 GMT<p>Suzuki has confirmed that test rider Takuya Tsuda will make his MotoGP debut at Jerez, with &Aacute;lex Rins ruled out through injury.</p> <p>Rins fell during practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas and sustained fractures to his left wrist and forearm, before undergoing surgery in Barcelona today (Thursday).</p> <p>The broken bones in Rins&rsquo; forearm and the wrist were fixed in place by two titanium plates, with further tests revealing that he also suffered an injury to his ulnar nerve, which will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks.</p> <p>Rins&rsquo; active rehabilitation will not start for another 10 days, with doctors estimating that he will not be able to return to track action for at least six to eight weeks.</p> <p>The time frame involved suggests Rins may miss several rounds, with France (21 May), Italy (4 June) and Barcelona (11 June) all holding races within the indicated recovery period.</p> <p>For Jerez, Suzuki has entrusted riding duties to tester Tsuda, who participated in pre-season group running at Sepang earlier this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are very happy that Alex surgery went well,&rdquo; said team boss Davide Brivio.</p> <p>&ldquo;Starting now he is facing a recovery period, but we are awaiting his comeback to 100% and we will be eager to have him back on our GSX-RR so he can display all the talent he has inside.</p> <p>&ldquo;Meanwhile, unfortunately, we have to replace him. And for Jerez we decided to give his bike to Takuya Tsuda, our test rider who will have his first opportunity to get real race experience.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will try to use the occasion to further the development of the bike.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14427http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14427Marc Marquez ‘back in the championship’ battle with COTA winTue, 25 Apr 2017 10:35:16 GMT<p>Honda rider Marc M&aacute;rquez says he is &ldquo;back in the championship&rdquo; fight after taking his fifth consecutive Grand Prix of the Americas victory.</p> <p>The Spaniard stormed to pole position at the Circuit of the Americas, before eventually moving ahead of his fast-starting team-mate Dani Pedrosa.</p> <p>Reigning MotoGP champion M&aacute;rquez entered the weekend 37 points adrift of championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, having crashed out of the lead at the preceding round in Agrentina.</p> <p>However, the victory at COTA now moves him to within 18 points of new title leader Valentino Rossi, and he was quick to stress the importance of the win.</p> <p>&ldquo;This was a crucial race because after Argentina it was important to come back in the best way, so we are really happy with this result,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;Although I won, it was difficult, because the temperature was much higher than on Saturday.</p> <p>&ldquo;Five minutes before the start, I said to my chief mechanic, &#39;OK, let&#39;s use the hard tyre&#39;, because I knew that I would push the medium front tyre a lot.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the beginning, I was just trying to understand the limit because I hadn&#39;t tried it a lot on Friday.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was behind Dani and when I saw that he was struggling a little bit and Valentino was challenging, I said &#39;time to attack&#39;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was able to win, and I&#39;m happy to be back in the championship.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14420http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14420Valentino Rossi: Championship lead 'a great surprise'Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:33:44 GMT<p>Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi says it is &ldquo;a great surprise&rdquo; that he finds himself leading the MotoGP standings after three rounds.</p> <p>The Italian struggled during pre-season testing but has finished on the podium at all three races completed so far.</p> <p>With his third in Qatar and runner-up results in Argentina and the USA, Rossi now finds himself in the championship lead with 56 points, six clear of his new team-mate Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales.</p> <p>&quot;It was a great surprise for me and for the team because we were struggling very much with the new bike, especially during the winter,&quot; he explained.<br /> <br /> &quot;I think we need more time to understand the setting and the way to ride it, but at the end this bike is very good, especially in the race and with the used tyres.<br /> <br /> &quot;I&#39;m so happy [about the race], because I wasn&#39;t so far from the front and it&#39;s also the best result of my career at this track, so it&#39;s good.</p> <p>Rossi was awarded an unusual 0.3-second penalty at the Circuit of the Americas after cutting the track in avoidance of Johann Zarco, who was trying to make a move.</p> <p>The stewards deemed Rossi gained an advantage and he was penalised. He said: &ldquo;For me the penalty wasn&rsquo;t right.</p> <p>&ldquo;The problem is we either do it like this, or we crash together at a very dangerous point. But for me, though accepting Race Direction&rsquo;s decision, the mistake was made by Zarco.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14413http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14413Marc Marquez claims fifth consecutive GP of Americas victoryMon, 24 Apr 2017 04:29:42 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez claims victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas as Maverick&nbsp;Vi&ntilde;ales crashes out and Valentino Rossi takes championship lead.</p> <p>Marquez initially fought it out with team-mate Dani Pedrosa for victory, before being able to break clear in the latter laps of the race to take his stunning fifth win in a row in Austin &ndash; his 11th straight win on US soil in an incredible statistic. Yamaha&#39;s Rossi then put on a late charge to take second, with Pedrosa completing the podium &ndash; and former Championship leader Vi&ntilde;ales crashing out early on.</p> <p>Off the line it was an absolutely stunning swoop around the outside for Pedrosa from the second row to lead &ndash; old habits die hard - as the Spaniard overtook teammate and polesitter Marc Marquez to lead through Turn 1, with Rossi tucked in behind the two Repsol Honda machines.</p> <p>Ducati&#39;s Jorge Lorenzo got a great launch from P6 to overtake Vi&ntilde;ales, and the two men dueled it out until Yamaha Tech 3&#39;s Johann Zarco&nbsp;got into the action and followed Vi&ntilde;ales past the Mallorcan &ndash; before the drama struck.</p> <p>After two wins from two in the first races of the season, Vi&ntilde;ales then suddenly slid out of contention at Turn 18 &ndash; lowsiding safely, but out of the fight for victory and taking home a 0 for the first time since Argentina 2016.</p> <p>Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) had moved up from his P9 on the grid to take the factory Ducati duo for fifth behind rookie sensation Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech 3), with Andrea Dovizioso getting the best of Lorenzo to move into sixth.</p> <p>A moment between Zarco and Rossi then saw the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; taking to the run off as the rookie attempted a move, rejoining a little further ahead and subsequently receiving a 0.3 second penalty for time gained, to be applied at the end of the race.</p> <p>It was then the Repsol Hondas&rsquo; time to duel, as Marquez and Pedrosa diced for the lead and the number 93 was able to begin pulling away with 13 laps to go.</p> <p>As the last laps approached, Crutchlow dueled Zarco for fourth to come home top Independent Team rider eahead of the rookie, as Rossi struck against Pedrosa to take third. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) also got in some late action, making it past Lorenzo and the Italian crossing the line for his first points haul of the season in P7.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) also made it past a Lorenzo struggling with grip to take eighth, with the five-time World Champion crossing the line in P9, as Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller just beat rookie Jonas Folger (Yamaha Tech 3) to complete the top ten - fulfilling his goal for 2017 in the first three races of the season.</p> <p>Second Pramac rider Scott Redding came home in P12, with Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) scoring points once again ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia) and Alvaro Bautista (Aspar).</p> <p>Bautista had crashed at around half distance but rejoined to score the point, with teammate Karel Abraham leaving Texas with a DNF alongside Red Bull KTM Factory Racing&rsquo;s Pol Espargaro after a mechanical problem. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini&rsquo;s Sam Lowes and Loris Baz (Avintia) also crashed out, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) pulling into the pits before rejoining to get more track time &ndash; crossing the line in P17 behind Bradley Smith (KTM).</p> <p>Next stop: Jerez. Last year, Valentino Rossi took a scorching win on &lsquo;enemy&rsquo; soil in Spain, and the paddock now makes the journey to the classic venue as we return to Europe. And who leads the Championship?</p> <p>The &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo;, six points clear and back on familiar, successful hunting ground&hellip;</p> <p><a href="http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/AME/MotoGP/RAC">For full race results, click here.</a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14408http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14408Marc Marquez beats Maverick Vinales to GP of Americas pole positionSun, 23 Apr 2017 00:50:22 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez took&nbsp;a signature last dash pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, putting in another stunner at COTA as he pulled out an ace on his final lap to take it back from key rival Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales of Yamaha.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales&rsquo; team-mate Valentino Rossi was another on a late charge, shooting up into third to complete an incredible front row.</p> <p>Marquez&#39;s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa heads up the second row at a venue that has seen him on the podium twice, with Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech3) once again top rookie in another impressive performance to line up P5.</p> <p>Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) progressed from Q1 in Austin for the first time since moving to the Borgo Panigale factory, and the five-time World Champion had an impressive Q2 session &ndash; lining up in P6 on the second row, and just out-qualifying team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>Jonas Folger (Yamaha Tech3) looks to keep his points lead in the fight for Rookie of the Year from P8, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) just behind in ninth after a crash. Compatriot Scott Redding (Pramac) completes the top ten.</p> <p>There were also crashes for Jack Miller (Marc VDS) and Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) in the session, with the two men set to line up in P11 and P12 respectively.</p> <p>From Q1 laptimes, the top fifteen is completed by Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) and Reale Avintia Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales vs Marquez vs Vi&ntilde;ales vs Marquez&hellip;qualifying at COTA should whet appetites well for Sunday&rsquo;s 14:00 (GMT -5) race, with the two men seemingly set for a showdown.</p> <p><a href="http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/AME/MotoGP/Q2">Click here for full results.</a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14388http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14388Jorge Lorenzo hopes 'difficult moment' will soon passThu, 20 Apr 2017 09:57:33 GMT<p>Jorge Lorenzo says he is confident his &quot;difficult moment&quot; will soon be over, following a troubled start to his Ducati career.</p> <p>Lorenzo has switched from Yamaha to Ducati, the first time he has changed teams in MotoGP, but managed only 11th in Qatar, having gone wide on the first lap, and crashed out at the start in Argentina, after qualifying towards the back of the field.</p> <p>The results have left Lorenzo a lowly 18th in the standings, 45 points behind championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, but the Ducati rider is optimistic that matters will improve, ahead of the third round of the campaign in the United States.</p> <p>&ldquo;Finally we have arrived at Austin, and I just couldn&rsquo;t wait to get here after my crash at Termas de R&iacute;o Hondo,&quot; Lorenzo said.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t want to think about what happened in Argentina anymore, and even though the results up until now haven&rsquo;t gone our way, I think we are on the right track to improve.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately for one reason or another, I haven&rsquo;t been able to demonstrate this. Austin is a great circuit, one where I have never won, but Ducati here has always been competitive and has been on the podium in the last three years.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a good track to keep on developing the Desmosedici and adapting my riding style. In the team we are all optimistic, we&rsquo;re working well together and I&rsquo;m sure this difficult moment will be over soon.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14277http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14277Maverick Vinales wins dramatic Argentinian GP as Marc Marquez crashes outSun, 09 Apr 2017 20:24:23 GMT<p>MotoGP&nbsp;has a tendency to keep making history of late, and the Argentinian&nbsp;Grand Prix was no different &ndash;&nbsp;as Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales became the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the year, taking a stunning victory as drama hit the grid behind.</p> <p>Team-mate Valentino Rossi created another miracle in P2, with LCR Honda&rsquo;s Cal Crutchlow completing the podium in style as top Independent team rider.</p> <p>It was reigning champion Marc Marquez (Honda) who leapt into the lead from pole, with Rossi another electric starter from seventh on the grid. In the rush for Turn 1, it was Marquez leading Crutchlow as the pack shuffled behind, with the reigning champion then making a stunning break for it as the Brit backed up the chasing Yamaha pairing of Vi&ntilde;ales and Rossi.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales soon attacked Crutchlow to take P2, before the first of the high drama hit up ahead and Marquez suddenly hit the floor at Turn 2 &ndash; having been almost two seconds clear.</p> <p>That left Vi&ntilde;ales in P1, with Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase and the gap holding steady just above half a second - before the man of the moment began to pull away. The &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; was left to hunt down Crutchlow, with the two holding station until Rossi struck with 7 laps to go, getting past the Brit in style at Turn 5 and pulling away for a second consecutive podium &ndash; in his 350th World Championship start.</p> <p>There was all-out war for P4 as Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) battled to get past Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac), with Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech3), Alvaro Bautista (Aspar) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) getting in the mix. After a short and spectacular duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, the Spaniard broke free to set the fastest lap &ndash; before disaster struck for the &lsquo;Baby Samurai&rsquo; as he crashed out of the race in the same place as team-mate Marquez had done a handful of laps earlier.</p> <p>Even then, the drama wasn&rsquo;t done as &lsquo;DesmoDovi&rsquo; went wide at Turn 5 soon after, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking the inside line and then losing the front &ndash; sliding helplessly into the Italian and both out the race.</p> <p>Behind and including Crutchlow, it was another fantastic day for the Independent Teams as the dust settled, with Bautista taking fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3&rsquo;s Zarco and Folger taking fifth and sixth. Petrucci, after running out of rear grip, crossed the line in a solid P7 &ndash; ahead of a good fight back from his team-mate Scott Redding at the head of the next group.</p> <p>Jack Miller (Marc VDS) enjoyed another top ten result in ninth behind Redding, with front row start Karel Abraham (Aspar) completing the top ten only tenths ahead of Loris Baz (Avintia) - after the Frenchman was forced wide early on.</p> <p>Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) was P12 in front of Hector Barbera (Avintia), with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pairing Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith incredibly close to the two men ahead in P14 and P15 respectively. The Austrian manufacturer is now a points scorer with both riders, opening their account early in only round two.</p> <p>After a great start from a difficult grid position, it was disaster for Ducati Team&rsquo;s Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap as the five-time World Champion crashed out early after contact with old nemesis Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) &ndash; the &lsquo;Spartan&rsquo; thankfully escaping unhurt, and Iannone continuing. The &lsquo;Maniac&rsquo; was also given a ride through penalty soon after for a jump start, dropping him down the order and out of contention to cross the line as the final finisher.</p> <p><a href="http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/ARG/MotoGP/RAC"><strong>Click here for full results.</strong></a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14261http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14261Honda's Marc Marquez romps to pole at a wet Argentinian GPSat, 08 Apr 2017 18:44:00 GMT<p>They say you can&rsquo;t keep a good man down, and after a difficult Qatar Grand Prix, reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) bounced back in stunning style after the rain came down in Argentina &ndash; mastering the tricky damp and drying conditions to take his first pole position of the year.</p> <p>With Marquez clear at the top, it was a stunning ride into P2 for Karel Abraham (Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team) &ndash; who put his GP15 straight into the mix at the front and kept it calm for his best ever premier class start. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), after also impressing earlier on Saturday, completes the front row in an exciting line up at the front.</p> <p>Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) was another who converted the Q2 opportunity into great slot on the grid, as he heads the second row from Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). Pedrosa led the charge in Q1&rsquo;s clash of the titans and moved through along with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) &ndash; setting the scene for a Q2 with a difference.</p> <p>Qatar winner and Championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completes the second row &ndash; just head of veteran Italian teammate Rossi by less than a tenth. Behind the &lsquo;Doctor&rsquo; was another solid performance from Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Aleix Espargaro, who will line up in P8 following his heroics in the Qatar GP to take Aprilia&rsquo;s best result since returning in 2015.</p> <p>Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) was an early hero in the wetter conditions with a provisional front row, and the Frenchman will line up in ninth after later improvements from many in the field. Pull&amp;Bear Aspar Team&rsquo;s Alvaro Bautista completes the top ten.</p> <p>Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was top rookie in qualifying and the only rookie in Q2, lining up just ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar&rsquo;s Andrea Iannone after the Italian had a moment on his final charge.</p> <p>Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), &nbsp;Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) complete the top 15 &ndash; just ahead of a difficult day for Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team).</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/ARG/MotoGP/Q2">Click here for full qualifying results</a></strong></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14241http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14241Alex Rins cleared to race in Argentina despite fractured ankleFri, 07 Apr 2017 11:51:50 GMT<p>Suzuki Ecstar rider Alex Rins has&nbsp;been given the all-clear to take part in this weekend&#39;s Argentinian Grand Prix, despite fracturing his ankle last week in a training accident.</p> <p>The Spaniard fell from his RM-Z motocross bike last Thursday. He underwent medical checks at&nbsp;the University Hospital Dexeus and was diagnosed with a partial fracture of the right talus, without displacement, but with bone edema.</p> <p>Further medical checks were carried out this week. Although Rins can lean on his foot with some discomfort, he has been given permission by doctors to take part in the sessions this weekend.</p> <p>Rins will continue physiotherapy and will be monitored by doctors at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.<br /> <br /> Speaking ahead of the race, Rins said: &quot;My first race in Qatar had been a very exciting experience and honestly left with me the feeling that it all went too fast and was too short.</p> <p>&quot;I can&rsquo;t wait to experience again all the emotion of MotoGP. The Argentinian circuit is one I like. I believe I will really enjoy the acceleration with the GSX-RR and I&rsquo;m expecting the straight to seem to be a lot shorter compared to last year&rsquo;s Moto2.</p> <p>&quot;I had this injury while training last week. It&rsquo;s not a bad injury but will require some time to recover. I really hope it won&rsquo;t bother me too much with the pain, as I&rsquo;m excited to continue learning in this class with my Suzuki.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14183http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14183Suzuki's Alex Rins fractures right-ankle in training accidentFri, 31 Mar 2017 19:54:41 GMT<p>Suzuki Ecstar&#39;s Alex Rins has &nbsp;suffered a fracture to his right-ankle during a training accident according to his team.</p> <p>The MotoGP rider underwent tests at the University Hospital Dexeus in Barcelona on Thursday after falling from his&nbsp;Suzuki RM-Z motocross bike.</p> <p>Rins was diagnosed with&nbsp;a small fracture in the talus bone of his right ankle.</p> <p>&quot;The doctors who evaluated the Spanish rider, led by Dr. Xavier Mir, Head of the Hand Unit, a top Orthopedic Surgeon, and Coordinator of the MotoGP Traumatology Service, and Eugenio Gimeno, Head of the foot Unit Hospital Quiron-Dexeus, concluded after a CT scan that Rins had a partial fracture of the right talus, without displacement, but with bone edema,&quot; confirmed a statement.</p> <p>It&#39;s not yet known whether Rins will be fit to take part in the&nbsp;next round of the MotoGP season, which takes place in Argentina in just over a week.</p> <p>Further news on his fitness will be released on Monday pending further examination.</p> <p>&quot;After consulting with his colleagues in the Department of Traumatology, the medical team has decided to carry out non-surgical treatment with magnetotherapy and physiotherapy, and they will examine the rider next Monday in the same clinic for a check-up before traveling to Argentina.&quot;</p> <p>Rins finished ninth in the opening race of the season inb Qatar last weekend.</p>