MotoGP Season 2017 and the Riders


With the majority of MotoGP seats filled before this season’s halfway point, thanks to Valentino Rossi opting again for Yamaha and Jorge Lorenzo huffily signing for Ducati as long ago as April, we missed out on the traditional silly season of speculation. Some paddock wags even suggested re-starting the season in July with 2017 teams and riders.

Marc Marquez’s decision to stay at Honda and keep countryman Dani Pedrosa alongside him suits everyone. For most of the season the Honda, with a backwards-spinning crank limiting top speed, new Michelin tires unsuited to Marc Marquez’s riding style and with the team apparently slow to optimize new, limited, engine management software, was supposed to be a nail no-one could win on. Three quarters of the way through the season, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow had all won races on it.

With Valentino Rossi choosing to serve what’s left of his riding career with Yamaha, his new team-mate is super-fast Spaniard Maverick Vinales, fresh from a win on his Suzuki GSX-RR. Unable to match the riches Yamaha laid on the table, Suzuki lost the man who could have taken more wins for them in 2017, and instead gained notorious crasher and reckless Ducati reject Andrea Iannone. He’ll race the blue and white bikes alongside Moto2 graduate Alex Rins.

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Soaked Sepang Battle Delivers Double Yamaha Podium


Heavy rain saw the start of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix delayed and the race distance reduced to 19 laps, but the more than 95,000 attendees still got plenty of thrilling racing action. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo fought hard during the race to take second and third, their fifth double podium of the season.

Rossi had dropped two places from his position on the starting grid as the 21 MotoGP riders stormed out of the gates. As a result he went into the first corner in fourth, but quickly worked his way to the front over the next couple of turns. Rossi swiftly gained the lead and tried to break away but he was soon joined by Andrea Iannone. The following 11 laps were a consistent tug of war for the lead in the race between the two Italians.

The Doctor used the nimble character of the Yamaha to the fullest in the twisty sections of the Sepang circuit. With 12 laps remaining Iannone made his first attempt to take off at the front, but Rossi didn't let him escape and upped his pace further to close the gap within two laps, with Andrea Dovizioso in tow.

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World Superbike Championship Needs Some Changes


It’s fair to say the World Superbike Championship has been a bit flat this year. The racing hasn’t been that great and the Kawasakis have just dominated, despite an improved showing by Ducati in the second half of the season.

There used to be so many strong characters in WSB, like Carl Forgarty, Scott Russel and Noriyuki Haga, who certainly weren’t as politically correct as the current riders. It’s weird to say this, but there are almost too many British riders in the WSB -British Superbike has a more international grid than WSB these days!

The new two-day format just doesn’t seem to be working either and Dorna are being very cagey about it. We know about motor sport reporters trying to interview one of the top men at Dorna about crowd figures and TV audiences but they seemed to take offense, and made it clear it was a question they didn’t want to talk about.

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Cal Crutchlow and Team ask for more HRC Help


Phillip Island race winner Cal Crustchlow has called on Honda Racing Corporation for more technical support as a result of his stunning 2016 performances.

The Brno and Phillip Island MotoGP winner has clear goals and knows the level of technical support he needs to achieve them, but admitted to the press after Sunday’s race that he feels it’s unlikely he’ll get the level of backing from Honda he needs.

A factory motorcycle isn’t going to happen, explained the satellite LCR Honda rider. I’m happy with my team, but maybe I deserve more support from my factory. When I rode for Yamaha, I had good support. At Honda we get good support, but I think they should help me, and LCR as a team, more.

It’s disappointing to win a race and not see the boss at the press conference. I know there are people there internally who really help me, and that there are also people internally who don’t like them doing it. It’s a sport and a business, but unfortunately a lot of them see it as just a business.

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MotoGP - Suzuki Set for Sepang Penultimate Race


The Malaysian circuit of Sepang awaits the MotoGP™ riders for the penultimate round of the Championship this weekend.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró have arrived in Malaysia with enthusiasm, in particular Viñales, who is still filled with positive feelings from his recent podiums aboard the GSX-RR in Motegi and Phillip Island. Despite the weekend in Australia proving difficult because of the weather conditions, his third position has given the young Spaniard confidence for the upcoming race.

Espargaró too has strong and positive feelings following his increased competitiveness that he has found in recent races. In Australia, the Spaniard was unlucky to crash when he was fighting for a podium position in the closing stages.

The Sepang International Circuit has been recently updated with new tarmac and slight modifications in the banking of some corners and this is expected to increase the grip, which will require the teams to make some updates to their previous circuit data.

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Rossi Grabs Gutsy Second Place in Powerful Phillip Island Performance


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi took the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to another level today, with a charge through the field from 15th on the grid to a stunning second place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo overcame the challenges thrown at him this weekend by pushing hard from 12th on the grid and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in sixth place.

Rossi made a good start to the race at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he jumped two places to 13th on the opening lap. Overtaking Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales, the Doctor fought his way past Nicky Hayden as he continued to battle his way to the front of the field. Having climbed up to eighth, he was trailing teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who he quickly overtook on lap three and then the pair smoothly pulled ahead of Danilo Petrucci.

Rossi gradually closed down the 0.4s margin to tack onto the back of Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaró's bikes. He then put the hammer down and set a provisional fastest lap of 1'29.795s, leaving behind his two rivals a lap later. He kept pushing in fourth place, trying to bridge the 0.4s gap to Aleix Espargarò and a podium finish.

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Marc Marquez - MotoGP World Champion


Many MotoGP fans find Marc Marquez annoying. Trouble is, he is annoying – annoyingly brilliant.

He’s like one of the really irritating kids at school who was so effortlessly brilliant at everything. And his ability to adapt, evolve to suit and master his environment is incredible. He’s had a lot to deal with in his 23 years, not least having an epic and very public fallout with his childhood hero, Valentino Rossi, at the tail end of last season. But, as ever, he learned to cope with everything thrown at him. On top of the emotional reverberations of 2015, he then had to make an awkward Honda RCV comply with his wishes.

Not outwardly a workman who blames his tools, Marquez fought incredibly hard to find a way. At the start of the year when fellow Honda riders were crashing and messing about mid-pack, Marquez was winning and finishing on the podium round after round.

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Yamaha MotoGP Head South for Second Overseas Race


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team continues its relentless pace this weekend as the paddock heads from the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan to Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia, for the second consecutive race weekend, the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi looks forward to defending his second place in the championship from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. As one of the most successful riders at the Phillip Island circuit, he will be using his experience to secure a top result and visit the Australian rostrum again. After taking third place in 2000, the Doctor enjoyed an impressive five-year winning streak from 2001 to 2005, followed by five more consecutive podium finishes in the premier class. He claimed second place in 2008 and 2009 and scored three third places in 2006, 2007, 2010. Rossi returned to the podium again three years later with a third place in 2013 and a first place in 2014, when he, teammate Lorenzo and Monster Yamaha Tech3's Bradley Smith made it an all-Yamaha podium.

Lorenzo is also prepared to take on the competition on Phillip Island, one of his favourite circuits where he got to lift a trophy after the race many times. He scored two second places in the premier class in 2010 and 2012. From that point on the Mallorcan has not finished off the podium, securing the victory in 2013 and two more second places in 2014 and 2015. Lorenzo aims to keep the trend going this year and is ready to enjoy the beautiful Phillip Island circuit whilst fighting for second place in the championship.

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Yamaha MotoGP Encounters Dramatic End to Motegi Race


Today’s Grand Prix of Japan started with an incredible fight for the lead involving Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, but came to an abrupt end for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team with a double DNF at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team were unlucky to see both riders crash out of a promising second place at the Twin Ring Motegi track after heroic efforts of the two teammates. Jorge Lorenzo was riding impressively at the start of the 24-lap sprint and was defending his position until a crash at turn nine meant the end of his challenge. Earlier on in the race, pole-setter Rossi also suffered an unfortunate premature halt to his strong pursuit of the lead in turn ten.

Lorenzo had a good start to the 24-lap race when he launched from third on the grid to arrive at the first corner in second place, passing his teammate. He immediately also overtook Marc Marquez in turn two, who had snatched the holeshot into turn one, to take over the lead.

With a feisty fight ensuing between Rossi and Marquez, Lorenzo put his head down to increase his advantage to over 0.6s, but the two chasing riders were not out of the race yet. The first attack came from Marquez on lap three. Lorenzo spurred on his Yamaha to prevent his compatriot from clearing off at the front and was followed closely by the Doctor. Lorenzo had to let his teammate pass on lap six but regained the position when Rossi crashed out of the race.

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MotorGP Racing and Dorna Sports


Can it really be 25 years since Dorna stuck its oar and took over MotoGP? I guess that means the grandstands and TV couches are people who don’t know any different. To whom the good-old/bad-old days are nothing more than a few fading photographs. Pictures in which at least you could tell which class of motorcycle was involved by the color of the easily legible numbers.

That wasn’t the only good thing about the old days. There was also an informal camaraderie. Riders were accessible and for the most past friendly too – just ordinary motorcyclists who happened to be exceptionally good at it. All part of an often impoverished and always fraught traveling circus.

The answer to the question at the top is: yes. It not only can be 25 years, but at Assen a fresh five-year contract was signed between Dorna and teams’ association IRTA, taking the cooperation up to 30. This was announced on race eve, with much mutual backslapping between Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and IRTA president Herve Poncharal, with IRTA general secretary Mike Trimby managing to maintain his dignity alongside, in spite of a barrage of syrupy compliments from the pair of them.

Yet neither the self-congratulation nor the soft soap was entirely misplaced, given the progress achieved over the past 25 years.

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