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MotoGP 2014: Marquez ahead of rivals as first Sepang test concludes


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

Repeating his dominance of the first two days, Marc Marquez concluded the first Sepang test of the 2014 preseason ahead of his rivals, thanks to a rapid early best time.

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The MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez wasted no time on the final test day at the Malaysian venue, laying down a superb 1’59.533 marker in the cooler temperatures of the morning. His pace-setting lap was marginally quicker than the previous best Sepang test time of 1’59.607, registered by Casey Stoner also on the Honda prototype in 2012.

Marquez later produced a strong performance in a race simulation with 15 consecutive laps under the 2’01 mark.

The early running had seemed more like a qualifying practice than a test session with the top riders battling each other for top spot in a time attack.

Nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi set his own personal best Sepang test time of 1’59.727, whilst Jorge Lorenzo clocked the third best time of the day with a notably quick 1’59.866 effort on just his second lap.

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Like Marquez, both Yamaha Factory riders later produced longer runs as they too worked on tyre durability and fuel consumption in preparation for their battles this year with the incoming ‘Open’ class machines – which will have a 24 litre fuel limit compared to the 20 litre capacity of the Factory entries.

Showing the potential of the new ‘Open’ bikes was the consistently impressive Aleix Espargaro on the FTR Yamaha of NGM Mobile Forward Racing, with his 1’59.998 best time coming on the second of 43 laps. The older Espargaro brother’s pace is one of the talking points of the week and he was able to lap nearly two seconds quicker than his teammate Colin Edwards who concluded Thursday’s session 14th.

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LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl (+0.579) was close behind Forward Racing’s Espargaro in fifth, despite falling at turn one early on Thursday. That was of course the corner where he fractured his ankle in October’s Grand Prix, but on this occasion he was unhurt and immediately remounted.

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa made a slower start and also had an off track excursion early in the morning, but later moved towards the business end of the timesheet, going up to sixth place with a 2’00.223 lap in the afternoon.

A decent time for Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (2’00.370) put him seventh on Thursday, the Italian producing one of Ducati’s best ever Sepang test times. Indeed Dovizioso’s time was a 0.776s improvement on his Wednesday best and was 0.7s faster than his new teammate Cal Crutchlow’s final time, as the Englishman ended up 12th.

Both Ducati riders expect machine upgrades for the second Sepang test later this month.

Like his older brother Aleix, rookie Pol Espargaro also impressed, finishing as the faster of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders in eighth place, 1.122s down on Marquez’ best time.

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Fellow Tech 3 man Bradley Smith was 11th overall, though he may not have been shooting for out and out pace on Thursday and will hope to improve his competitiveness if the team can secure access to the Yamaha seamless shift gearbox early in 2014.

The top ten was completed by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, with both riders just over a second off the pace. Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding were 13th and 21st respectively and will both hope to go faster on the new RCV1000R before the season starts.

Suzuki Test Team rider Randy de Puniet will also continue his work throughout the year in testing as he looks to close a three second gap to the front with the evolving Suzuki machine. He was 17th on the timesheet.

The majority of riders broke for lunch shortly before 2pm local time as the heat increased, with more race simulations and longer runs a key focus after the initial morning runs. The data from those longer runs are crucial for fuel economy calculations for the ‘Factory’ bikes in particular, as they have one litre of race fuel less than 2013.

A new Bridgestone tyre was also tested by the riders this week – a similar construction to that used in Valencia testing in November, with a compound slightly adapted to suit the Sepang heat. The Japanese tyre supplier will therefore hoped to have gathered useful data for improved performance in 2014.

The premier class riders will be back in action at the Sepang International Circuit for further testing from 26th to 28th February.

MotoGP 2014: Marquez domina anche la seconda giornata di test


Doppietta Repsol Honda nella seconda giornata di test ufficiali al Sepang International Circuit.
Il neo campione del mondo Marc Marquez continua a dominare seguito dal connazionale compagno di squadra Dani Pedrosa. Valentino Rossi è quarto a più di mezzo secondo.
Ottima la prestazione di Aleix Expargarò con la sua “Open” nella top five virtuale.

Marc Marquez

Tramonta il sole a Sepang, ma la storia non cambia. Infatti anche oggi a dettare legge al Sepang International Circuit è sempre lui, il campione del mondo Marc Marquez. Il pilota spagnolo, rimane in testa nella classifica virtuale per l’intera giornata di test, permettendosi anche il lusso di abbattere il muro dei 2″ facendo fermare il cronometro, poco prima della pausa pranzo, sullo spettacolare tempo di 1’59.926, a soli 3 decimi dal record della pista tuttora detenuto dal campione australiano Casey Stoner.
Il team Repsol Honda può sicuramente ritenersi soddisfatto visto che alle spalle di Marquez c’è il suo compagno di squadra Dani Pedrosa con un ritardo di 4 decimi di secondo.

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Stefan Bradl completa il terzetto Honda chiudendo il podio virtuale che va così completamente alla casa giapponese.
In questa seconda giornata di test il pilota tedesco del team Honda LCR è stato sempre tra i più veloci non allontanandosi mai dalle primissime posizioni.
Ad interrompere il predominio nipponico ecco, al quarto posto assoluto, Valentino Rossi e la sua Yamaha M1. Durante il corso della giornata il pilota di Tavullia si è dedicato soprattutto alle regolazioni di assetto della sua moto, atte a trovare il feeling migliore. Ma la vera sorpresa di questo secondo turno è stato sicuramente il quinto posto di Aleix Espargarò che porta la sua Open del Team NGM Forward Mobile proprio a ridosso del pilota italiano, accusando un solo decimo di distacco dal nove volte campione del mondo.

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In ritardo Jorge Lorenzo, che non è riuscito a tenere il passo dei primi, concentrandosi quindi sulle regolazioni e sui vari set-up della sua M1. Segue il pilota inglese del Team Yamaha Monster Tech3 Bradely Smith; alle sue spalle ecco la prima Ducati, ma non è quella ufficiale, ma quella di Andrea Iannone e a seguire la Honda del Team Gresini di Alvaro Bautista

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MARC MARQUEZ (Honda HRC Repsol):
“Oggi abbiamo continuato con la tabella che avevamo programmato, valutando diversi componenti. Abbiamo fatto diverse prove con miglioramenti in alcuni punti.” ha detto il giovane talento fornendo preziose informazioni agli ingegneri HRC.”Per quanto riguarda la messa a punto, abbiamo migliorato la stabilità in frenata, credo che abbiamo finalmente trovato un buon compromesso.”

DANI PEDROSA (Honda HRC Repsol):
“Oggi abbiamo testato il nuovo telaio mettendolo a confronto con la versione precedente; continueremo anche domani, perché non mi è chiaro quale sia la migliore. Con i due avevano buoni sentimenti , ma ho bisogno di più giri per scegliere uno chiaramente.”

STEFAN BRADL (Honda LCR):
“Oggi sono veramente soddisfatto: è bello stare di nuovo lì davanti con Dani e Marc. Abbiamo fatto dei grossi miglioramenti e ho girato un secondo più forte rispetto a ieri grazie anche alle modifiche sull’anteriore che mi hanno permesso di essere più a mio agio in frenata. Sapevamo che il nostro potenziale su questa moto era maggiore e oggi siamo stati veloci e costanti. Spero di continuare così anche domani; abbiamo in programma una simulazione di gara per chiudere i test e tornare a casa con una buona base per il futuro”.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ (OPEN NGM Forward Mobile):
“Sono molto contento perchè questa mattina sono riuscito a girare 1 secondo piú veloce rispetto a ieri. Certo c’è molto da fare perchè devo non solo conoscere meglio l’elettronica, ma anche adattare il mio stile di guida alla moto, per sfruttarne al massimo il potenziale. Oggi abbiamo lavorato sul telaio e provato cinque tipi diversi di gomme. Domani avremo invece un long run per capire come si comporta l’elettronica, specie nella seconda parte di gara”.

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team):
“Sono contento dei progressi che abbiamo fatto, non mi aspettavo di provare delle sensazioni così buone nel primo test dell’anno” ha commentato Andrea Dovizioso, 11° quest’oggi col crono di 2’01.146. Siamo riusciti a migliorare in inserimento e anche ad avere un po’ più di velocità in centro curva. Acceleriamo un po’ più forte perché la moto si impenna di meno e quindi possiamo usare più potenza. Ci siamo avvicinati ai primi come tempi, come passo anche, ma c’è ancora tanto lavoro da fare. Però giudico i miglioramenti che abbiamo fatto in questi primi due giorni più che positivi.”

CAL CRUTCHLOW (Ducati Team):
“Credo di essere uno dei piloti che ha migliorato di più oggi come tempo sul giro” ha esordito un raggiante Cal Crutchlow. L’inglese, oggi 12º dietro il suo compagno di squadra, ha continuato: “Ieri ero un po’ arrugginito e non avevo il feeling giusto sulla moto, ma il problema è stato soltanto mio. Oggi abbiamo girato solo con la GP14, testando alcuni assetti che non avevamo avuto tempo di provare ieri. Il risultato è stato positivo e quindi abbiamo fatto un buon passo in avanti. La nuova moto è molto migliorata nell’ingresso in curva, ed è un fatto positivo per la Ducati.”

CRONO DELLA SECONDA GIORNATA DI TEST:

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap
1 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:59.926
2 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 2:00.336 0.410 0.410
3 BRADL, Stefan LCR Honda MotoGP 2:00.339 0.413 0.003
4 ROSSI, Valentino Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.464 0.538 0.125
5 ESPARGARO, Aleix NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:00.547 0.621 0.083
6 LORENZO, Jorge Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.573 0.647 0.026
7 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.603 0.677 0.030
8 IANNONE, Andrea Pramac Racing 2:00.855 0.929 0.252
9 BAUTISTA, Alvaro GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:00.897 0.971 0.042
10 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.061 1.135 0.164
11 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 2:01.146 1.220 0.085
12 CRUTCHLOW, Cal Ducati Team 2:01.396 1.470 0.250
13 PIRRO, Michele Ducati Test Team 2:02.177 2.251 0.781
14 HAYDEN, Nicky Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.287 2.361 0.110
15 EDWARDS, Colin NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:02.545 2.619 0.258
16 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2:02.675 2.749 0.130
17 AKIYOSHI, Kosuke HRC Test Team 2:02.692 2.766 0.017
18 AOYAMA, Hiroshi Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.825 2.899 0.133
19 NAKASUGA, Katsuyuki Yamaha Factory Test Team 2:02.970 3.044 0.145
20 DE PUNIET, Randy Suzuki Test Team 2:03.064 3.138 0.094
21 REDDING, Scott GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:03.117 3.191 0.053
22 LAVERTY, Michael Paul Bird Motorsport 2:03.528 3.602 0.411
23 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 2:04.551 4.625 1.023
24 PARKES, Broc Paul Bird Motorport 2:04.619 4.693 0.068
25 ABRAHAM, Karel Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.261 5.335 0.642
26 DI MEGLIO, Mike Avintia Racing 2:05.355 5.429 0.094

Domani, dalle 10 alle 18 ora locale (GMT +8 ), la terza e ultima giornata di questa prima settimana di test ufficiali a Sepang della MotoGP.

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MotoGP 2014: Marquez rapid as Espargaro’s Open finishes fifth


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez upped the pace as testing continued in Malaysia on Wednesday, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro placed an Open specification bike inside the top five for the first time.

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With conditions just as good as they had been on Tuesday, it was Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa who led the way for much of the first half of the day. The World Champion then smashed through the two-minute barrier shortly before his lunch break, after which there were substantially less changes in lap times. It remains to be seen as to whether Marquez can better Casey Stoner’s 2012 pre-season time of 1’59.607, also registered on a Repsol Honda motorcycle.

With Repsol Honda first and second, Stefan Bradl was third for LCR Honda MotoGP (three thousandths down on Pedrosa) with Valentino Rossi fourth for Yamaha Factory Racing. Aleix Espargaro again displayed the promise of the new Open FTR-Yamaha combination, as his Forward machine was barely two tenths down on the nearest Factory Honda, with Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo sixth; the former double title winner was attempting to improve handling issues, encountered on Day 1 as a result of setup changes made in a bid to improve fuel consumption, as for 2014 the Factory Option bikes are limited by a further litre of fuel to just 20 across a race distance.

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Bradley Smith spearheaded the Monster Yamaha Tech3 charge, with Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in eighth position; on the leading Ducati, the Italian was some seven tenths of a second quicker than he had been on Tuesday. Alvaro Bautista was ninth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, but his day was not without its problems; at 11:30, the Spaniard suffered a technical problem and thus took a shortcut back to the pit lane. The top ten was completed by Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro, while brother Aleix’s team-mate Colin Edwards was the only rider to not improve his lap time today, but his best effort from Day 1 still leaves the American 15th on the combined timesheet.

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Ducati Team bikes were locked together once again, this time filling positions 11 to 13 with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and test rider Michele Pirro, with their quickest lap time some 1.3 seconds quicker than it had been 24 hours earlier. In the Honda RCV1000R ranks, the quickest rider was again Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden as the 2006 World Champion managed to circulate 1.1 seconds faster than he had on Day 1. As ever, the true pace of all bikes is difficult to gauge as fuel loads and other such details remain highly secretive. However, more clues may be available on Thursday as a selection of riders aim for race simulations; such long-run pace often serves as a better indicator, although this is only the first of four Official pre-season tests set to be staged prior to the season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar on 23 March.

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The Suzuki Test Team ended the day 20th with Randy de Puniet – 3.1 seconds behind Marquez but eight tenths of a second faster than the Frenchman’s own best lap of Tuesday – as they continued their journey ahead of a MotoGP™ return in 2015. Elsewhere, premier class rookies Scott Redding, Broc Parkes and Mike di Meglio continued adapting to their respective Honda RCV1000R, PBM and Avintia bikes for the corresponding Gresini, Paul Bird Motorsport and Avintia Racing teams.

Thursday will mark the third and final day of this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test, with identical running times of 10am-6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP 2014: Marquez leads on opening day of Sepang test


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

World Champion Marc Marquez topped the timesheets as this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test began today. The Repsol Honda Team rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, with leading Open rider Aleix Espargaro seventh for NGM Mobile Forward.

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Following the usual break for lunch in the middle of the day, the final of the eight hours saw track temperatures drop which allowed riders to push for quicker lap times. This duly saw Marquez post 2’00.286, half a second up on Rossi as both the Italian and Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa jumped ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the final minutes of the day. The top six was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.

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At Repsol Honda, this year’s RC213V features a larger air intake in an attempt to increase top speeds and improve throttle response on the exit of corners, with Marquez posting the leading effort fresh from historically claiming the title in Valencia last year. In the Yamaha garage, Rossi continued to develop his working relationship with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera, who first worked alongside the nine-time World Champion for the post-race test after the final Grand Prix of 2013.

Much attention was on Ducati Team, with talk continuing to circulate that the outfit could elect to race under the new Open regulations this year; this would allow up to 24 litres of fuel as opposed to the 20 of the Factory Options, as well as working on engines during the season and not being limited by the new engine freeze. Also this season, all bikes in the field are running the spec ECU hardware for the first time; however Factory Options are free to use their own software, whereas Opens must adapt the spec software as supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.

The leading Open representative on this occasion was Forward’s Aleix Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mates) helping to complete the top ten. Colin Edwards (Forward) overcame early technical difficulties to finish 11th quickest, as Ducati Team filled spots 12 to 14 with Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow. The leading Honda RCV1000R customer bike was that of 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) in 17th place.

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At Paul Bird Motorsport, Michael Laverty (25th position) suffered a frustrating start to proceedings, plagued first by brake problems and then by an engine failure. All teams were present with the exception of IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 track debut at the second Sepang test which is to run at the end of the month.

Testing continues at the Sepang International Circuit over the next two days, again running between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP 2014: MotoGP™ all set to touch down at Sepang


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MotoGP™ Official Test Sepang 1
Monday, 3rd February

Tomorrow will see the much-awaited opening MotoGP™ test of 2014 as the field gathers in Malaysia. For the first time this year, Factory and Open machines will share the track as riders and personnel get to grips with new teams.

Tuesday will see the much-awaited opening MotoGP™ test of 2014 as the field gathers in Malaysia. For the first time this year, Factory and Open machines will share the track as riders and personnel get to grips with new teams.

Following on from the post-Valencia Grand Prix test in November that saw new bikes break cover for the first time, 2014 testing now begins in earnest with the traditional early-year trip to the Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Key terms this season are ‘Factory’ and ‘Open’, with the CRT label having now disappeared from the sport. Furthermore, the first Sepang gathering will mark one of only two occasions on which all teams and riders are able to share a race track for testing this pre-season, as the March Tyre Test at Phillip Island in Australia will feature only the official riders of the factory teams, with those in question then not taking part in the following test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

At Sepang this week, Marc Marquez will continue development with Repsol Honda Team as he retains the number 93 plate, having elected not to take on the World Champion’s privilege of running number 1. On the other side of the garage, Dani Pedrosa will continue to adapt to no longer working directly with long-term mentor Alberto Puig. There are also staff changes for Valentino Rossi, as he resumes work with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera who replaces Jeremy Burgess.

For Ducati Team, 2014 is the start of a new era. Andrea Dovizioso reunites with former Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow, as ex Aprilia guru Gigi Dall’Igna joins the outfit for what is hoped to be a dramatic turnaround in fortune over the next few seasons. The Italian, now in the role of General Manager for Ducati Corse, aims to start by improving communication between team members working at the circuits and those back at base in Bologna, Italy. Boosting the line-up for this test, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro will also be in action at Sepang, as well as Yamaha Factory Test Team’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Wataru Yoshikawa plus HRC Test Team representative Kosuke Akiyoshi.

The satellite riders take on new challenges as well. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl returns to Sepang for the first time since breaking his ankle during last year’s race meeting, while Tech3 field reigning Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro – younger brother of Aleix – alongside Bradley Smith. Preparation for the test has been slightly disrupted for the French outfit, which two weeks ago suffered an untimely flood in its Bormes-les-Mimosas base. The satellites are completed by Alvaro Bautista with GO&FUN Honda Gresini and the Pramac Racing Ducati of Andrea Iannone. Both Gresini and Pramac have split their development, however, as second riders Scott Redding and Yonny Hernandez will race Open equipment. At the time same, Gresini is the only team on the grid to be competing with Showa suspension and Nissin brakes on both of its bikes.

For the first time ever, all bikes in the premier class are now running the Dorna-supplied electronic control unit (ECU) as part of the continued initiative to lower running costs in MotoGP™. Yet there are numerous subtle differences between Factory and Open specification bikes. The Open machines must also use the spec software supplied with the ECU by Italian firm Magneti Marelli, whereas Factory entrants are able to make use of their own programs. However, Open riders will be able to enjoy 12 engines per season, contrasting with the five powerplants of Factory bikes which are frozen in development and may not be modified during the season; with this in mind, engine management now becomes more critical than ever before. On top of this, Factories are constricted to running 20 litres of fuel across a race distance (one less than last year), while there are 24 for the Open riders.

Other exciting additions to the grid include four brand-new Honda RCV1000R customer bikes, to be ridden by Gresini’s Redding, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and the Drive M7 Aspar Team pairing of Hiroshi Aoyama and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, who is competing on a Honda motorcycle for the first time in over five years. NGM Mobile Forward racing is running an FTR-Yamaha package including a lease engine deal; with this, the outfit will have five Yamaha engines per rider across the season (three new units and two rebuilds). Within the team, Colin Edwards is joined by Aleix Espargaro.

A total of five rookies are on this year’s grid, with former Moto2™ rivals Pol Espargaro and Redding accompanied by Britain’s Leon Camier (British Supersport and British Superbike title winner of 2005 and 2009, respectively) with IodaRacing Project, although the team is not testing this week. Australian Broc Parkes has signed up with PBM – with the team this year racing two own-built bikes for the first time – while France’s Mike di Meglio returns from an injury-affected 2013 to make his premier class debut with Avintia Racing.

The first Official MotoGP™ Test of 2014 will run between Tuesday and Thursday, with the Sepang track open between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP™ 2014 pre-season testing schedule:

1.Feb 4-6: Sepang 1
2.Feb 26-28: Sepang 2
3.Mar 3-5: Phillip Island (Tyre Test)
4.Mar 7-9: Losail

MotoGP 2013: Valencia test commences with Lorenzo on top


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MotoGP™ Official Test at Ricardo Tormo
Mon, 12 November 2013
Report day 1/3

After his stunning win at Valencia in the final race of the season on Sunday it was Jorge Lorenzo who topped the timesheet again on Monday in the first day of 2014 ‘pre-season’ testing.

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Lap times of course do not mean a great deal at this stage, with some riders swapping machinery, many tweaking set-up and some joining new teams, but Lorenzo set the standards again – with a 1’31.257 late in the day. That lap was quicker than anyone went in Sunday’s race and came on the 2013 YZR-M1, although Lorenzo also has a 2014 development Yamaha available this week.

On the other side of the Yamaha Factory Racing box Valentino Rossi spent the day working with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera. The Doctor’s best time of the day was just 0.093s off Lorenzo’s best, also coming on his 2013 bike, though he too is already using the 2014 development M1.

Repsol Honda’s new World Champion Marc Marquez and his colleague Dani Pedrosa were both at the circuit but did not test on Monday – though they are expected on track on Tuesday as the battle to stay ahead of Yamaha continues.

Stefan Bradl was the fastest Honda rider on track on Monday, using his RC213V from this season to set the third best time of the day – 0.5s off Lorenzo’s pace.

New Ducati recruit Cal Crutchlow has taken Italian Crew Chief Daniele Romagnoli with him from Tech 3 to the Italian factory Ducati and the pair were working alongside new Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi Dall’Igna for the first time on Monday.

Crutchlow matched Ducati’s Sunday race pace, and was sixth overall just over 0.1s (check) behind new Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso who was fifth best. Dovizioso lapped in a similar pace to fourth fastest rider of the day, Andrea Iannone on the Pramac Racing Ducati.

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro was 0.6s behind Crutchlow in seventh, just ahead of Yonny Hernandez – who was confirmed today to remain as Iannone’s teammate in the Pramac Racing Team permanently during the 2014 season.

Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro rode his first laps on his new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP bike, in tenth spot on the timesheet, with a lap around two seconds off Lorenzo’s pace. His new teammate Bradley Smith sat things out and expects to get through all his test work for this week on Tuesday.

The new Honda RCV1000R was used for the first time by the GO&FUN Honda Gresini team as Scott Redding also got his 2014 MotoGP preparations underway, the Englishman ending up 11th overall. Cristian Gabarrini from HRC got Redding’s initial feedback on the new prototype, which the teams will adapt to over the winter.

Hiroshi Aoyama officially joined the Power Electronics Aspar team on Monday, but with Aspar only having one of their new Hondas ready for today, Nicky Hayden will have to wait until Tuesday to ride it. Aoyama was ninth best on the timesheet, 1.8s down on Lorenzo’s P1 pace.

Mike di Meglio has not ridden since the Brno Moto2™ race due to serious injury, but he was back on track today testing with the Avintia Blusens team.

Randy de Puniet should be testing with the PBM team on Tuesday as they look to confirm direction for next season, with the 2014-spec ART being prepared for the Frenchman on Monday.

The testing action at the Ricardo Tormo circuit will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday (10am-5pm both days). Live video coverage will be available again through motogp.com on Tuesday (11am-2pm).

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MotoGP2013: Marquez begins Valencia title-charge ahead of Lorenzo


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Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana
Report Day 1
Fri, 8 November 2013

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As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of Free Practice at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana concluded it was Marc Marquez who set the pace with his teammate Dani Pedrosa only 0.066s behind him, and title rival Jorge Lorenzo 0.158s off the pace in third.

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Despite the windy conditions in the afternoon’s FP2 at the Valencia track, Marquez stepped up the pace in the second half of the session, with his best time of 1’31.220 not far off Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844 from last year. Pedrosa was very close to his Repsol Honda colleague, with both of them still looking for more grip – using both the softer and harder option rear tyres.

Lorenzo improved late on in the session on his regular number-one machine, having spent time before on his number-two bike with holes in the front bubble to cope with the windy conditions. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a great day as he ended up fourth overall despite a late low-side crash, from which he escaped unhurt. The Englishman rides in his last GP for the team this weekend before departing for Ducati.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who is working with Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess for the last time this weekend, was fifth fastest on Friday, 0.4s off the pace. After his statements that he needs to get quicker for next year, he will hope for a strong push in tomorrow’s practice.

The top ten was rounded out by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Ducati Team pair Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Bradl is keen to resolve front-end grip issues, whilst Batista is working with a new Showa rear shock provided for this weekend.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was unhurt after he crashed his ART machine, which was the new bike him and his team are testing this weekend for the Italian outfit. Despite switching bikes on Monday, Team Manager Gino Borsoi said that the team is pleased to help Aprilia until that day, hence why Espargaro is giving feedback on the new bike featuring a different frame, swingarm and engine. He ended the day 13th on the timesheet.

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Having topped the FP1 timesheet, new Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro was fastest again on Friday afternoon at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with his 1’35.548 lap keeping him 0.142s ahead of Tuenti HP 40 teammate Tito Rabat, and 0.426s in front of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Thomas Luthi.

Espargaro will ride a Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP™ bike in testing next week and the pressure is off in many ways, having already clinched the title, but he now intends to end the season on a high. The Spaniard dominated both sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday but almost had a clash with wildcard rider Gino Rea during the afternoon, with both riders just managing to avoid going down.

Behind Espargaro, teammate Rabat aims for a strong finish to the season in his last race for Sito Pons’ outfit, and that pair could do battle for the win on Sunday if today’s pace is anything to judge by. Switzerland’s Tom Luthi would also be a good bet for a podium finish, though having also lapped in the top five Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) will aim to run at the front as the weekend progresses.

The top ten was completed by Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio, Nico Terol, Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, all lapping within tenth tenths of a second of the leading time.

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The Friday Moto3™ Free Practice sessions at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana were topped by the trio fighting for the title, with Luis Salom leading Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales.

Salom’s best time of 1’40.403 from FP1 was the best of the day and the Red Bull KTM Ajo man’s best FP2 time was just a tenth of a second slower, as Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) topped the timesheet in the latter session with a 1’40.489 fastest lap.

Team Calvo’s Viñales was third best in both sessions and his FP2 time of 1’40.580 was his best time of the day, as the three Spanish title candidates flexed their muscles in front of the home fans.

German rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Australian competitor Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) were fourth and fifth overall respectively, but both were unable to improve on their morning best times in FP2.

The overall top ten was completed by Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold).

Khairuddin has had some costly crashes in recent weeks and he walked away from a big highside at the conclusion of the session, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri was also unhurt in a light crash towards the end of the outing.

Brad Binder was taken to the Medical Centre with a suspected collarbone injury, as was Alan Techer, after both had FP2 crashes. Whilst Binder was cleared with shoulder contusion, Techer has suffered a left wrist fracture.

MotoGP2013: Marquez and Lorenzo commence tense Championship decider


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Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana
Race Preview
Thu, 7 November 2013

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Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo are set for the big decider this weekend at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, where one of the two will walk away as World Champion. They spoke to the assembled press at the Thursday pre-race press conference joined by Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden as well as Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith.

In a slight change to the norm, that press conference was preceded by one featuring the Moto3™ title protagonists in the form of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom, Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins – all of who could also be crowned World Champion on Sunday.

Back in the premier-class however it was Marquez who commenced proceedings: “We need to finish in the top four and that is not easy with all of those guys in MotoGP. The mentality is the same as on other weekends: try to do my best Friday, Saturday in the Warm-Up and the race. We will see whether we can fight for the win, fight for the podium or just fight for some points.”

Lorenzo, who has a 13-point deficit over Marquez, knows he has a tough task at hand: “I am sure that, if he can, Valentino will help me, just as I would help him if he found himself in the same situation as me. The important thing is to be fast from Friday onwards and of course especially in the race. I think Marc and myself should be very proud as two Spaniards fighting for the MotoGP world title. I think the best strategy is try to win the race. That’s it. That’s the only thing I can do. We are fighting with a lot of Honda riders and that’s the only thing we can do. Let’s see if it rains on Sunday, but in normal circumstances I think it is very difficult.”

Pedrosa, who won in Valencia last year, had to respond to journalists on the topic of “Team Orders”: “HRC has no team orders as far as I know and I think he is still 13 points ahead and always on the podium, so I think he’s capable of doing it anyway, but sure I’ll try to do my best in the race. And winning it would be the best way of helping the team.”

Rossi, veering off topic slightly, announced the split from his long-term crew chief Jeremy Burgess: “The target is to fight with the top three each weekend. This season it has happened, but not so often. We have had some very good races, with some podiums, and especially one victory. For me, the best way to help Jorge is to try and be in front of Marc. I know it’s very difficult, but for sure I will try. The rumours are true. Not that I am not happy with Jeremy, but I think next year Jeremy will not be my chief mechanic. It was a very difficult decision for me because I have a great history with him. He is not just my chief mechanic but part of my family and my father of racing. But I have decided that next year I need to change something to try and find new motivation to have a new boost to improve my level and my speed.”

Hayden, who clinched the title here in 2006, does not see a great similarity between his race here and what the two Spaniards are about to commence: “Not really. Obviously it’s a lot better to be eight points down [as he was in 2006]. He has a bigger margin, so he needs more to happen. You have to think Marc is in a much better spot – I would much rather be in his spot than Jorge…actually, I would rather be in any of their spots! Marc is not exactly your typical rookie and you would think without any problems he should get it done, but you never know until the flag flies on Sunday.”

Smith, coming to the end of his rookie season, is pleased with how things have gone, yet also believes that next year’s newbies will maybe have more of an instant impact: “We seem to have been ahead of our own personal targets and also what Yamaha expected of me, so that is really nice. I am pleased with the final outcome and also looking forward to the winter before coming back and having another go next year. I didn’t really have the best end to my Moto2 championship and didn’t come into this season with the highest confidence, so I think my jump was a bit more from what we’ll see from Scott and Pol.”

The Moto3™ contenders are tightly bunched at the top of the table, with Salom holding only a two-point lead over Viñales. The Red Bull rider commented: “I want to say thanks to Maverick and Alex for making this championship so nice. I have enjoyed this year a lot and the position on Sunday won’t matter. Of course I want to win if I can, but I won’t mind about the position. But I will remember this season forever and have always remembered fighting with them. We have won seven races this year, which is a lot and we need to continue as we have been doing across the other races.”

Viñales, who knows he has to win, will be giving all he can to take the title: “I don’t believe it! Japan was incredible. This is an opportunity and we will try to make the best result and find the best setting for the race. We have worked really hard all season but this weekend we’ll try to work even harder than usual. Winning is the only result we can do to win the championship. We’ll try to do our best and do the best possible in the race.”

Rins added: “My team and I will try to work in the same line as we have at other circuits – and that’s it. Maybe in the race we need to do a better strategy, like Salom’s strategy, which with he has won seven races, so maybe I can do that strategy but in the end we will see.”

Earlier in the day, Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow, Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro and Mapfre Aspar’s Nico Terol took part in a popular Spanish sport called Padel at the Agora Tennis Court in Valencia. They received the best tuition possible with the stars of the World Padel Tour, Pablo Lima, Juani Mieres, Miguel Lamperti and Maxi Grabiel at hand to show them the ropes.

MotoGP 2013: Marquez heads test as Hernandez joins Pramac


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MotoGP Official Test at Misano Report
Mon, 16 September 2013

Marc Marquez was quickest in Monday’s post-race test at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. As the championship leader moved ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, Suzuki continued its programme ahead of a MotoGP™ return and Yonny Hernandez made his first appearance in Ignite Pramac Racing colours.

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The full day of testing gave those present a perfect opportunity to put right what had not worked over the San Marino Grand Prix race weekend, as well as trialing new and updated components both for the rest of this season and for 2014. For the record, Marquez’s last-gasp lap of 1’33.264 demoted Lorenzo by two tenths of a second, with Valentino Rossi completing the top three on the second Yamaha Factory Racing bike.

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For Repsol Honda Team, the programme revolved around a non-liveried evolution bike of the one first sampled in the Aragon test that followed the Catalan GP in June; this was the first time that particular version of the machine had been ridden, as rain had prevented Casey Stoner from doing so at his last Motegi test. Marquez and Dani Pedrosa also worked with the current bike, focusing on a new swingarm and new rear shocks.

Suzuki stuck to their usual plan in terms of rider roles, with Randy de Puniet serving as the main tester alongside Nobuatsu Aoki. Ahead of the company’s return to the World Championship in 2015, running at Misano is likely to come as a great help in order to extract data from a new track in a bid to define chassis development to a greater level; the marque continues to test with Mitsubishi ECU software for the time being, but is working with the Magneti Marelli spec system back at base. Individually, Suzuki will continue testing at Misano across Tuesday and Wednesday.

There was a new challenge for Yonny Hernandez, as the Colombian is now riding for Pramac Racing Team to cover for the injured Ben Spies. He used the test as an opportunity to adapt to the bike ahead of the Aragon race, while teammate Andrea Iannone looked into Brembo brake discs and smaller components, experimenting with settings ahead of specific upcoming race events. Brakes was also the prime focus for Ducati Team, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso then looking into both software development and clutch settings. Michele Pirro was back in Ducati Test Team colours, sharing his bike with Franco Battaini to analyse a 2014-spec engine plus new software, in order to share feedback with engineers who continue to work on the development of next year’s machine.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista made the top five, placing the emphasis on Showa front forks and his Nissin brakes, as he and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl sandwiched Pedrosa into sixth position. In Bradl’s case, the workload consisted of mapping and bike geometry, including suspension modifications. At Avintia Blusens, Hector Barbera resumed work with the new pneumatic valve engine, having suffered chatter during Sunday’s race, while teammate Hiroshi Aoyama began the day with his more conventional engine that had failed during Free Practice on Friday.

The timesheet was completed by Michele Magnoni, currently competing in the Superstock 1000 championship. The Italian rode Lukas Pesek’s Came IodaRacing Project machine and could soon become the team’s official reserve rider, while compatriot Claudio Corti was involved in trying out a Magneti Marelli ECU software upgrade at NGM Mobile Forward Racing; this was also run by Michael Laverty, who was otherwise kept highly occupied with back-to-back comparison runs between the PBM in-house bike and the ART machine previously ridden by Hernandez.

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Although Marquez shook things up by posting the eventual quickest time with the 2014 prototype Honda right before the chequered flag signaled the end of an eight-hour day, activities had started very calmly as the circuit had been left drenched by a heavy rainstorm during the night.

MotoGP 2013: Lorenzo edges Marquez in Silverstone thriller


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MotoGP 2013: PRESS RELEASE
Sun, 1 September 2013

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Jorge Lorenzo has returned to winning ways in a highly dramatic Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone, beating championship leader Marc Marquez by less than one tenth of a second. Dani Pedrosa completed the podium as home favourite Cal Crutchlow struggled to seventh place.

On Saturday, Marquez had clinched his third pole position in five race meetings but further participation was put in doubt when he dislocated his left shoulder by crashing in Sunday morning Warm-Up. After being given the green light in the circuit Medical Centre, the 20-year-old Repsol Honda Team rider headed up the front row from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Crutchlow.

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Critically for Lorenzo, the Mallorcan made another strong start and dived into the lead at Copse corner. In a near repeat performance to Brno last weekend, he would proceed to resolutely defend from both Repsol Honda Team riders. Marquez then seized the advantage at Brooklands just over two laps from home, only for Lorenzo to retake the lead as he confidently out-braked his opponent at Vale. On the final lap, Marquez again grabbed the advantage at Brooklands, before Lorenzo re-passed in a confident move at Luffield, which featured slight contract between the two bikes.

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The leading duo crossed the finish line separated by just 81 thousandths of a second, meaning Silverstone continues a pattern from Brno of witnessing the closest finish of the season so far. Struggling for rear grip, Pedrosa was a further one and a half seconds behind, having been unable to take advantage of the battling pair in front of him. In fourth spot was Valentino Rossi who, having dropped back after his strong start, had become involved in yet another entertaining battle with GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, while LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl finished in sixth place.

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Having missed his home race in 2011 before starting at the back in 2012, Cal Crutchlow had hoped for a much stronger Silverstone weekend in 2013. He crashed twice on Saturday and again in Sunday’s Warm-Up, then paid the price for a poor getaway as the Tech3 rider plummeted from third to sixth at the start. He would fall back to his eventual finishing position of seventh when the charging Bautista – who had lined up eighth on the grid – overtook at the end of Lap 1.

Crutchlow’s teammate Bradley Smith again found himself dicing with the pair of Ducati Team riders, but was ultimately taken advantage of by Nicky Hayden for eighth place. Smith would end the day ninth, while Andrea Dovizioso crashed out on the penultimate tour. The Italian joined second-lap faller Lukas Pesek (Came IodaRacing Project) on the sidelines, promoting Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro into the top ten despite a broken finger and injured neck after a Saturday crash; he therefore led home the CRT riders as PBM’s Michael Laverty ended his maiden home race in 19th position, ahead of Colombian teammate Yonny Hernandez.

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Following the race, it was announced that Marquez has been given two Penalty Points under the new system due to not slowing down under the yellow flags in the morning Warm-Up. This also happened to be the moment that saw him crash at the same turn as Cal Crutchlow. Not to be confused with Championship Points, the penalty system was introduced in 2013, under which Up to 10 penalty points can be imposed, with sanctions applied at certain thresholds. Any rider reaching four penalty points starts the next race from the back of the grid, while seven points lead to a pit lane start and 10 points a race ban.

With the triple-header of Indianapolis, Brno and Silverstone now over, MotoGP™ returns in two weekends’ time with the GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini from Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. With six events remaining in 2013, debutant Marquez carries an advantage of 30 points over Pedrosa, with Sunday’s winner Lorenzo now trailing the championship leader by 39 points.

MotoGP™ Qualifying Race Classification

1- Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 40:52.515
2- Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda +0.081
3- Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda +1.551

1st CRT

10- Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART +53.196

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Moto2™ championship leader Scott Redding has won his home Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider, who took the lead off the start line, was assisted in the closing stages as a tight battled raged for second place. Pole-sitter Takaaki Nakagami and Tom Luthi completed the podium.

On Saturday, Japan’s Nakagami had claimed his second pole position within the space of a week, but it was Redding who seized the lead as the red lights went out. Critically for the English rider, much fighting over the remaining rostrum places would prove a decisive element in his first home victory since 2008, when he had claimed a career-first win in the 125 class at Donington Park.

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A race-long duel between Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team) and Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) featured various changes of position, not least on the last lap when the duo swapped places at Vale and Club corners before battling deep into the Brooklands complex. The Japanese would finish ahead of the Swiss, with Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter in close attendance. Redding’s teammate and Brno winner Mika Kallio was sixth.

Sunday was a difficult affair for title contender Pol Espargaro. Following a crash at the start of the Warm-Up session, the Tuenti HP 40 rider started sixth on the grid but lost ground in the early stages of the race – falling to as low as 11th. He fought back up to eighth behind Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco, but crucially loses a further 17 points in his championship fight with Redding. Six races remain in 2013.

Three riders failed to finish. Argiñano & Gines Racing’s Alberto Moncayo was an early faller, while British wildcard Gino Rea (Gino Rea Montaze Broz Racing, fracturing the fourth metacarpus of his right hand) and Xavier Simeon (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team) crashed across the final pair of laps.

At JiR Moto2, Australian Jason O’Halloran finished 25th as he replaced France’s Mike di Meglio, injured at Brno last weekend, while both Blusens Avintia’s Dani Rivas and Argiñano & Gines Racing’s Steven Odendaal missed the race following a multiple collision at the end of the morning Warm-Up.

Moto2 continues in two weekends’ time, with the GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Scott Redding – who has become the first Briton to win an intermediate class race in his home country since Tom Herron triumphed at the Isle of Man TT in 1976 – will head to Italy with a 38-point championship advantage over Pol Espargaro.

Moto2™ Qualifying Race Classification

1- Scott Redding (GBR) Kalex 38:22.897
2- Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) Kalex +1.066
3- Thomas Luthi (SWI) Suter +1.170

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Luis Salom has extended his Moto3™ championship lead with a second consecutive victory, beating Alex Rins by just 49 thousandths of a second in the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Alex Marquez rounded out the rostrum while pole-sitter Maverick Viñales just failed to establish a new podium finishes record.

Silverstone marked the end of the triple-header, which had first taken the championship to Indianapolis and Brno; with this in mind, many were keen to sign off with victory ahead of a two-week break until the next race.

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Salom started as he meant to continue by shooting into the lead from third on the grid. Before the 17 laps were completed, however, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider would exchange positions on various occasions with Team Calvo’s Viñales and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Rins, with Rins’ teammate Marquez also very much in the battle. Salom would confirm his sixth win of the season by less than half a tenth of a second, with second-placed Rins having had to defend as well as attack on the final tour.

Marquez’s top three result was his second in three races, while in fourth Viñales finished off the podium for the first time this year; in the process, he just misses out on becoming the first rider in history to claim 11 successive podium finishes from the start of a season in the lower class of the World Championship. The top six was completed by Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, while Britain’s John McPhee (Caretta Technology – RTG) scored two points in his home Grand Prix, finishing 14th.

Four riders failed to see the chequered flag, including La Fonte Tascaracing’s Alessandro Tonucci who was involved in a high-speed Woodcote collision with Aspar’s Eric Granado in the closing stages of the races. The first pair of retirements were CIP Moto3’s Juanfran Guevara and teammate Alan Techer, both out of the race in a first-lap collision at Vale with Racing Steps Foundation KRP’s Wayne Ryan. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, teammate to Salom, recovered to 20th place after being forced to start from the pit lane following technical problems on the grid.

Salom’s championship lead over Viñales is now 26 points, with Rins a further seven behind. Moto3™ continues at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, with the GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini taking place in two weeks’ time.

Moto3™ Qualifying Race Classification

1- Luis Salom (SPA) KTM 38:17.291
2- Alex Rins (SPA) KTM +0.049
3- Alex Marquez (SPA) KTM +0.698

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