2017 Imola World Superbike FP1 Results: Rea And Davies And Sykes And Melandri

The Imola weekend opened with the five fastest riders being on a Kawasaki or Ducati as the two marques continue their dominance. Jonathan Rea was a quarter second quicker than Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes, the second- and third-placed riders sharing identical quickest times, ahead of Marco Melandri. Xavi Fores, the third man on a Ducati, was over half a second off fourth place. 

Results:

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer's Rider Insights - Jerez

MotoMatters.com, in association with Motor Sport Magazine, is proud to feature the rider insights of 1983 and 1985 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer. Every week after each MotoGP race, Fast Freddie will share what he saw and learned from the race.

In this edition of Freddie Spencer's video blog on MotoGP, the former 500 and 250 world champion gives his view of events at Jerez. Spencer explains the difficulty of racing at Jerez, given the changing levels of grip at the circuit. He gives his view of the crashes involving Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Grand Prix

Four races into 2017 and the racing is more unpredictable than ever, which is why even MotoGP’s cleverest engineers left Jerez confused

In 1991 Wayne Rainey referred to the start of the European Grand Prix season as the start of “the ground war”, because in that year the GP circus arrived at Jerez shortly after the first Gulf conflict.

Many riders still think of Jerez as the place where the title race gets real, because the out-of-Europe season-openers can be a bit rare-groove. Even Valentino Rossi still holds that opinion, kind of. “I don’t want to say Jerez is the start of the real championship, but…” said the seven-time Jerez winner on the eve of the 31st GP at the Andalusian track.

Rainey spoke of the ground war as separate from the rest of the championship because European tracks are different, because teams operate out of elaborately equipped trucks, instead of flight cases, and because the riders live in the paddock.

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2017 Jerez MotoGP Test Round Up: The Tire Wars Are Back, Sort Of

For some race fans, the news that the tire wars are back will be music to their ears. The trouble is, the new tire wars which broke out at Jerez are of a very different kind to the period before the advent of the spec tire, when different manufacturers went head-to-head in pursuit of outright performance.

The Jerez tire wars are a very different beast indeed. These pit rider against rider, rather than manufacturer against manufacturer, with the prize being the future direction of tire development in MotoGP. The weapon handed to both sides was a front tire from Michelin using a stiffer construction, first used at the Valencia race and test at the end of last year. The two (or perhaps three) sides in the debate are using the outcome of the Jerez test to try to gain an advantage in the remainder of the championship.

If you wanted proof that Jerez was above all a tire test, look no further than Ducati's decision taken late on Sunday night to stay on for the Monday test. Originally, they had been scheduled to skip the Jerez test and head to Mugello, where they will have a private test to prepare for what is arguably their most important race of the year. But when it became apparent just how much stock some riders were putting in the new tire, the factory Ducati team decided to stay and give the tires a whirl.

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2017 Jerez MotoGP Test Times 3pm: Viñales Remains Fastest As Times Unchanged

Testing continues for the MotoGP teams at Jerez, but during the hottest part of the day, the focus has switched to the hard work of testing rather than chasing quick times. Nobody has improved their times since the start of the day, and some have already finished.

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2017 Jerez MotoGP Test Times 1pm: Viñales Quickest In Early Times

The riders made an early start to the test at Jerez, taking advantage of the cooler track temperatures at the start of the day. With a blisteringly hot day expected, the track is likely to get extremely slippery as the day progresses. Maverick Viñales is the fastest rider so far, getting down into the 1'38s early on, and over a second and a half quicker than the best lap of the race on Sunday. Marc Marquez is second, while Aleix Espargaro holds third spot on the Aprilia, and the last rider to lap in the 1'38s.

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2017 Jerez MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Grip, Tires, And An Imperious Pedrosa

Jerez, the Spanish round of MotoGP, and the first event back on European soil, would in the end come down to a trial of grip. The riders and teams who understood the circumstances best, exploited their strengths, and disguised their weaknesses would come out on top. In all three races on Sunday, the cream rose to the top. Despite rising temperatures and falling grip levels, the smart riders and teams triumphed in all three classes.

In Moto3, KTM made a welcome return to the front, with the Austrian bikes back to challenge the hegemony of Honda in the smallest of the three classes. That race would be won in a brilliant last-corner move when the two riders battling for the lead opened the door for the bike in third. In Moto2, a tense duel would be settled by a mistake, leaving the last man standing to deal with staying concentrated for the second half of the race. And in MotoGP, a thoroughly imperious display saw one rider conquer Jerez, leaving a bloodbath in his wake. Jerez saw three deserving winners emerge.

Grip was already poor for Moto3, but the lighter bikes and their smaller tires are the least affected of the three classes. Things got a lot worse for Moto2, riders struggling for grip, and the race decided by one of the two men battling for victory crashed out a third of the way into the race. The burning Andalusian sun raised track temperatures even higher for MotoGP, and that would prove decisive in the race. Those capable of handling the poor grip triumphed, those who had counted on their good form from the morning warm up transferring to the race came away bitterly disappointed.

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