2017 MotoGP Valencia GP

The 18th and final round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia in Spain, and we have championship decider between Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso in what has been one of the greatest seasons in MotoGP history.

Márquez (282 points) leads the world championship on his factory Honda by 21 points over factory Ducati rider Dovizioso (261 points) after 17 races filled with excitement and unpredictability!

Márquez has taken six wins, 11 podiums, three fastest laps, and seven pole positions in 2017. Márquez has also finished inside the top six in 14 of the 17 races in 2017, including finishing 16 times inside the top four, but has suffered three retirements. A crash in Argentina, a crash in France, and a rare, but dramatic engine failure for his Honda during the British Grand Prix.

Márquez has also had to come back from a 37-point deficit (although both times against Maverick Viñales, who is out of championship contention) to take a lead of the championship in eight of the last nine rounds of the season heading into the title decider in Valencia, where he is looking to win his fourth MotoGP World Championship.

Conversely, Dovizioso has only led the championship after two seperate rounds in 2017 in where he has finished 16 of the 17 races, only crashing out in Argentina, and finishing inside the top eight on 15 occasions on route to six wins, eight podiums, and two fastest laps.

Dovizioso is attempting to come back from a deficit of 30 points or greater for the third time this season, and needs to score 21 points than Márquez if he is to win his first MotoGP World Championship. If he were to win the championship, and not claim pole position in Valencia, he will become the first rider since Wayne Rainey in 1992 to win a premier class world championship after not securing a single pole position during a season.

Viñales is third in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship on 226 points on his factory Yamaha, but is out of championship contention, but has secured third spot in the championship since he can’t move ahead of Dovizioso in the championship, and Valentino Rossi, who is fourth in the championship on 197 points can’t move ahead of Viñales in the championship standings.

So, for Márquez to secure his fourth premier class world championship at the Valencia Grand Prix, one of these scenarios must happen:

  1. If Dovizioso doesn’t win.
  2. If Dovizioso wins the race, Márquez must finish 11th or higher.

For Dovizioso to secure his first premier class world championship at the Valencia Grand Prix, this scenarios must happen:

  1. Dovizioso must win the race, and Márquez has to finish 12th or lower.

So, who is going to win the Valencia Grand Prix, and most importantly, who is going to win the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

For starters, it must be pointed out that Andrea Dovizioso has never won in Valencia at any point during his grand prix motorcycle racing career, and has only finished on the podium in Valencia twice. Those were a second-place finish in 2004 on route to claiming the 125cc World Championship, and a third-place finish in 2011 in his last race for the Respsol Honda Team.

In addition to this, Dovizioso’s poor record, and Márquez’s great record on anti-clockwise circuits in 2017 should be noted, with Márquez outscoring Dovizioso by 100 points to 30 in the four races on anti-clockwise circuits in 2017.

There are also a number of other riders wanting to win the final race of 2017. Maverick Viñales wanting to win his first race since the French Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi wanting to claim his first victory since the Dutch TT, Dani Pedrosa wanting to claim his second win of the season to help his teammate Márquez secure the title, and Jorge Lorenzo wanting to claim his first victory for Ducati, and his first win since Valencia last year!

I think Lorenzo can break his duck and claim his first victory on-board the factory Ducati, given the recent speed and form that he has shown, with Márquez in second, Viñales in third, Dovizioso in fourth, Rossi in fifth, and Pedrosa in sixth in what will be for the most part a tight, and tense race.

Before I go, as you may have heard, the Valencia Grand Prix will be the final race in the commentary box for Nick Harris. I would like to wish Nick Harris all the best in his final race as a MotoGP commentator, and all the best in his retirement. You have been the voice of grand prix motorcycle racing, and one of the greatest sports broadcasters we have ever seen! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (7:55pm, and 12:05am Saturday morning AEDT). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (7:55pm AEDT), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (11:30pm AEDT), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (12:10am and 12:35am Sunday morning AEDT). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (7:40pm AEDT), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (12:00am Monday morning AEDT).

 

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2017 MotoGP Australian GP – Preview

The 16th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia, which is located about 140 kilometres south-south-east of Melbourne, and it is the second of three-straight flyaway weekends (Japan, Australia, and Malaysia), and from what we saw in Japan, we are set for some great racing at this breathtaking circuit.

Marc Márquez (244 points) leads the world championship on his factory Honda, but his championship lead over factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (233 points) has been cut to just 11 points after the Italian’s sensational victory at the Twin Ring Motegi in very wet conditions, overtaking Márquez on the final lap to grab his fifth victory of the season, which is the most wins Dovizioso has had in a season since he claim the 125cc championship in 2004. It was also Dovizioso’s seventh podium of the season, which is the equal most he has achieved in a season during his premier class career (2010, 2011, and 2017).

And while the lead for Márquez was cut to 11 points, the Spaniard could celebrate his 100th podium in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing in just his 165th race, and with that podium, it is the seventh time in the last eight years that Márquez has achieved 10 podiums or more in a season across all classes.

Third in the championship is factory Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (203 points), 41 points behind Márquez after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix, struggling in very wet conditions on his Yamaha, a bike that has struggled all season long in wet conditions, and after scoring three wins in the opening five races of the season, Viñales has only been able to manage three podiums in the last 10, a run of form that will surely cost him any hope of winning his first MotoGP World Championship in 2017.

Dani Pedrosa (170 points), the teammate of Márquez, is the last rider in mathematical contention for the world championship, but is 74 points (out of a possible 75) behind Márquez in the championship after retiring from the Japanese Grand Prix, and will need a miracle if he was to win his first MotoGP World Championship in 2017.

Valentino Rossi (168 points) is fifth in the championship on his factory Yamaha, but officially out of championship contention after crashing out in Motegi, struggling like his teammate Viñales in the wet conditions.

Johann Zarco (125 points) is ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (116 points), and Danilo Petrucci (111 points) in the battle for sixth in the championship, which will be battle outside of the championship battle that will be sure to captivate great interest among the fans as this season draws closer to the end.

Cal Crutchlow (92 points) is ninth in the championship, and is ahead of Jonas Folger (84 points) who missed the Japanese Grand Prix due to a mystery virus, and looks set to miss the Australian Grand Prix, as well as the Malaysian Grand Prix the week after.

As far as who is going to win at Phillip Island, Honda, Ducati, and Yamaha should all have strong bikes to handle the fast, sweeping corners around this iconic circuit.

It is important to note that Phillip Island is one of just five circuits on the current MotoGP calendar that run in an anti-clockwise direction, and at the three anti-clockwise circuits (Circuit of the Americas, Sachsenring, and Motorland Aragón) MotoGP has been to in 2017, Marc Márquez has won all three, while Andrea Dovizioso has struggled, finishing sixth, eighth, and seventh respectively at those three circuits.

However, Márquez has only won the Australian Grand Prix once since joining the premier class in 2013, but could have potentially won all of those races. Márquez was disqualified in 2013 after failing to pit within the prescribed pit-stop window in the first-ever dry flag-to-flag race, before crashing at Turn 10 in 2014 while leading the race comfortably, before winning a thriller in 2015 when he was out of championship contention, overtaking Jorge Lorenzo on the last lap, and then crashed at Turn Four (Honda Corner) while leading the race again in 2016.

Conditions this weekend are set to be fine, but cool, which should suit the Yamaha better, but I think the Honda and Ducati have been developed much further and better than the Yamaha, and given his record on anti-clockwise circuits, both in 2017 and in general, it is very hard to tip against Márquez moving a step closer to a fourth MotoGP World Championship, and his sixth championship across all classes.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 10:55am, and 3:05pm local time (10:55am, and 3:05pm AEDT). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 10:55am local time (10:55am AEDT), FP4 on Saturday at 2:30pm local time (2:30pm AEDT), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 3:10pm and 3:35pm local time (3:10pm and 3:35pm AEDT). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 11:40am local time (11:40am AEDT), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 4:00pm local time (4:00pm AEDT).

 

2017 MotoGP Japan GP – Preview

The 15th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, which is about 150 kilometres north-north-east of Tokyo, and is the first of three-straight flyaway weekends (Japan, Australia, and Malaysia) that could well determine who becomes the 2017 MotoGP World Champion, and with four-races to go, the battle looks set to go down to the wire.

Marc Márquez (224 points) on his factory Honda, leads the world championship by 16 points over factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (208 points) after winning the last two races, including last time out in Aragón in Spain three weeks ago. He has now equalled his win tally from last year to become the first rider since Valentino Rossi to achieve five race victories (or more) in a MotoGP season for five-successive years.

And despite a couple of scrappy qualifying sessions by his own high standards, has the bike, the speed, and the momentum in his quest to win his fourth MotoGP World Championship, and his sixth world championship overall.

Dovizioso, meanwhile had a much more difficult time in Aragón, struggling for pace during the race, coming home in seventh place, and leaving his hopes of winning his first MotoGP World Championship in a difficult position, but is having the best season of his MotoGP career, there is no doubt about that!

Maverick Viñales (196 points) is third in the world championship on his factory Yamaha, 28 points behind Márquez despite having not won a race since the French Grand Prix back in May, and the factory Yamaha team have struggled to find that extra speed and confidence, particularly in hotter conditions to challenge Honda and Ducati in the world championship battle, but you feel Viñales is riding well at the moment, with six-successive top six race finishes.

Fourth in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship is Márquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa (170 points) after a second-place finish in Aragón, and remains in mathematical contention for the title, along with Yamaha teammate of Viñales, Valentino Rossi (168 points), who made a miraculous comeback from a broken leg in Aragón, qualifying on the front row, and then managing to finish fifth in one of the most remarkable performances that we have seen, given the circumstances, in recent years.

Johann Zarco (117 points) is sixth in the world championship, but out of contention to win it in his rookie season in MotoGP, and is ahead of factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo (106 points). Lorenzo scored just his second podium of in 2017 at Aragón, and is showing some promising signs that he might be getting back towards race-winning form in his first season on the factory Ducati, although time is running out to secure a race victory, and avoid having a winless season for the first time since joining the premier class in 2008.

Completing the top 10 in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship are Danilo Petrucci (95 points), Cal Crutchlow (92 points), and Jonas Folger (84 points), riders who are all capable of achieving another podium or two before the season comes to an end.

Looking at who can challenge for a race victory at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, it is pretty hard to go against Marc Márquez, who won the race last year in securing his third MotoGP World Championship, but he has got some heavy competition for the victory at the Honda-owned circuit in 2017.

In the Bridgestone era (2009-2015) at the Japanese Grand Prix, Yamaha had won three times (all for Jorge Lorenzo), Honda had also won three times (all for Dani Pedrosa), and Ducati only won once during that time with Casey Stoner back in a difficult 2010 for the Italian manufacturer, the year which started their downward spiral, which they have recovered from.

You also sense that this circuit should suit both the Yamaha and the Ducati, perhaps even more so than the Honda, and both Viñales and Dovizioso desperately need a victory to keep their championship hopes alive, and to not allow Márquez to get a total stranglehold on proceedings.

While I would tip Márquez given his current form to win for the second year in a row at the Twin Ring Motegi, if I wasn’t going to tip him to win the race, I think Jorge Lorenzo will break his duck and claim his first race victory for Ducati, while I think Maverick Viñales will get his first podium since the British Grand Prix.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (11:55am, and 4:05pm AEDT). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (11:55am AEDT), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (3:30pm AEDT), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (4:10pm and 4:35pm AEDT). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (11:40am AEDT), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (4:00pm AEDT).

 

2017 MotoGP Aragón GP – Preview

The 14th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from Motorland Aragón in Alcañiz in Spain, and with five races remaining in the season, the battle for the championship is set to go right to the very end of the season in Valencia in Spain with three riders realistically in the championship hunt.

Marc Márquez leads the world championship on his factory Honda on 199 points after claiming victory in Misano in what was one of the best performances of his career in really wet conditions, overtaking Danilo Petrucci on the first corner of the last lap to grab maximum points after being forced to retire the race before at Silverstone due to a blown engine.

Márquez is equal on points with Andrea Dovizioso (199 points), but ahead of the factory Ducati rider due to having two more second-places. Dovizioso finished a conservative third in wet conditions at Misano, and has been very consistent throughout 2017.

However, you feel that the Italian is very much the underdog in this world championship battle, and that Márquez has, barring the retirement at Silverstone, has all of the moment heading into the last five rounds of the season, and while Márquez and the Repsol Honda Team wouldn’t admit this, I think Dovizioso and his Ducati Team would happily admit this, even though the dream for Dovizioso would be to claim what would be a hugely unlikely first MotoGP World Championship.

The other genuine contender to win the 2017 MotoGP World Championship is factory Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales. Viñales is third in the championship on 183 points, 16 points behind both Márquez and Dovizioso, but he, along with his factory Yamaha team, have struggled to put together a run of strong, consistent results, and you sense that Viñales has been frustrated throughout most of the season of his team’s inability to produce a fast, consistent bike that is strong in all conditions and scenarios, and you now sense that he is frustrated that he is not in a position to challenge Márquez, a rider who he believes he can match on equal machinery.

At the moment, you sense that the best Viñales can hope for in the championship is to finish second behind Márquez, but if Yamaha can improve dramatically, Viñales still has a strong hope of winning his first MotoGP World Championship.

Fourth in the world championship is the injured Valentino Rossi (157 points) on his factory Yamaha, who will attempt to race this weekend at Aragón, having been declared fit by MotoGP Medical Staff for Free Practice One. Yamaha Superbike rider Michael van der Mark will remain on stand-by just in case Rossi can’t continue for the rest of the weekend.

Dani Pedrosa (150 points) is fifth in the championship on his factory Honda, but has seen his championship hopes evaporate for another year after finishing 14th in Misano, struggling for tyre temperatures in wet conditions. Pedrosa and Honda will need to work out ways of helping out Pedrosa so that he can be competitive in all conditions. So far, Honda have most of the time failed miserably over the last 12 years to give Pedrosa the package that he needs to win the MotoGP World Championship. If he had been on a Yamaha during this time, I am sure Pedrosa would have won a premier class title, and if he was on the factory Ducati this year, I am sure Pedrosa would be the favourite to win the world championship.

What a waste of talent!

Below the top five in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship, there is a great battle for sixth in the championship that should go to the very end of the season between Johann Zarco (110 points), Danilo Petrucci (95 points), Cal Crutchlow (92 points), Jorge Lorenzo (90 points), and Jonas Folger (84 points).

However, in terms of who I am going to tip to win the Aragón Grand Prix, Marc Márquez has won here twice in MotoGP, and three times across all classes, and has taken pole position in each of his first four years in MotoGP, and in six of the last seven years across all classes.

Márquez was dominant here last year, and given the form that he is currently in, it is almost impossible to tip against him here!

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (5:55pm, and 10:05pm AEST). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (5:55pm AEST), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (9:30pm AEST), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (10:10pm and 10:35pm AEST). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (5:40pm AEST), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (10:00pm AEST).

 

2017 MotoGP San Marino and Rimini’s Coast GP – Preview

The 13th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on the Adriatic coast of Italy, and after an amazing British Grand Prix, a brilliant win for Andrea Dovizioso, a huge blow for Marc Márquez with the engine on his Honda failing in spectacular fashion on the Hangar Straight at Silverstone, and an upturn in form from Yamaha to give them some hope going forward in the championship.

However, the news last week that seven-time premier class world champion, and nine-time world champion across all classes Valentino Rossi had broken his right leg in an endurance training accident near his family home in Tavullia, breaking both his tibia and fibula, has really rocked everyone, and Rossi will likely miss the next two races of the season at Misano and at Aragon respectively at least.

The seriousness of the injury obviously brings into question the future of Valentino Rossi in the sport as a rider. He is currently 38 years old, participating in a game that is clearly a young man’s game, and having broken the same leg which he broke in a spectacular high-side crash in Mugello in 2010, although only the tibia on that occasion, and even though that particular accident happened over seven years ago, that this injury has happened to the exact same leg almost near the place where he injured it before will cause some concern among many about his future in the sport going forward.

And while we have marvelled at Rossi’s longevity in the sport, it can only take one serious accident to change one’s thoughts towards retirement, exactly what happened to Mick Doohan at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez in 1999, breaking his right leg, the same leg that he broke, and almost had amputated in 1992, and Doohan retired shortly afterwards.

And while Rossi will attempt to comeback from this serious injury, there can be no doubt the possibility of retirement is in his mind.

Looking at the championship battle, Andrea Dovizioso (183 points) for Ducati leads the world championship by nine points over Marc Márquez (174 points) after a wonderful victory at Silverstone, and after the Honda engine on the bike of Márquez failed.

Close behind in third is Maverick Viñales (170 points) on his Yamaha, 13 points behind Dovizioso after a good ride into second behind the Italian rider at the British Grand Prix.

Fourth in the championship is the Yamaha teammate of Viñales, Valentino Rossi (157 points), who is 26 points behind Dovizioso in the championship battle. However, as I mentioned earlier in this preview, Rossi will likely be out for the next two races at least, with no replacement rider for Rossi at Misano, due to the broken right leg, ending all realistic chances of a championship challenge.

Fifth in the championship is the Honda teammate of Márquez, Dani Pedrosa (148 points), who is 35 points behind Dovizioso in the championship, and is probably the only other rider, besides Dovizioso, Márquez, and Viñales, with the injury to Rossi, that can challenge for the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

Behind the main championship protagonists is Johann Zarco, who is sixth in the championship on 109 points in his first season in the premier class, showing everyone, albeit in patches, that he could one day in the future challenge for the top positions in the championship, and could potentially be a replacement for Rossi at some point in the future.

Seventh in the championship is the teammate of Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo (90 points), who finds himself in the unusual position of not being in championship contention, while his teammate does for really the first time in his premier class career, and this must be really hard for Lorenzo to take.

Right behind Lorenzo in eighth position in the championship is Cal Crutchlow (89 points), who really showed an upturn in form by finishing fourth at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, followed by Jonas Folger (77 points), and Danilo Petrucci (75 points), who complete the current top 10 in the championship.

Looking ahead to Misano, which is usually quite warm, often hot at this time of year, you would have to be looking towards the two Honda’s of Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa to be the two main challengers for the victory, and while Pedrosa won in hot conditions last year, Márquez won in changeable conditions in 2015, and there is some rain on the forecast at Misano this weekend.

I am tipping Márquez to bounce back from the mechanical failure at Silverstone to take a crucial victory for his championship challenge at Misano.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (5:55pm, and 10:05pm AEST). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (5:55pm AEST), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (9:30pm AEST), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (10:10pm and 10:35pm AEST). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (5:40pm AEST), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (10:00pm AEST).

2017 MotoGP British GP – Preview

The 12th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom, and after a titanic battle between Ducati and Honda, and in particular Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez at the Red Bull Ring in Austria a couple of weeks ago, MotoGP is set to roar into action at the home of British motorsport.

Márquez heads into the British Grand Prix with the championship lead on 174 points on his factory Honda after finishing second at the Red Bull Ring last time out, 16 points ahead of Dovizioso, who is on 158 points on his factory Ducati after winning the Austrian Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago, which was his third race victory of the season. This is the most victories by a rider on a Ducati in a season since Casey Stoner back in 2010, who won three races in that season.

Maverick Viñales is third in the world championship on 150 points, 24 points behind Márquez after finishing sixth at the Red Bull Ring on his factory Yamaha, and is nine points ahead of his teammate Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, who will start in his 300th premier class race on Sunday, is fourth in the world championship on 141 points. The factory Yamaha bike has been performing inconsistently of late, and things will need to change at Silverstone, a track that should suit them, especially if the conditions are cool.

Fifth in the championship is Dani Pedrosa. The teammate of Márquez is currently on 139 points after achieving three podiums in the last three races, and is still in championship contention, 35 points behind Márquez in the world championship battle.

Johann Zarco is a clear sixth in the world championship on 99 points after finishing fifth at the Austrian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, and has finished inside the points in all but one race, which happened to be at the opening race of the season in Qatar.

He is 20 points clear of Dovizioso’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who sits seventh in the championship on 79 points after a fourth place finish at the Red Bull Ring. It has been a tough season for the Spaniard who has only achieved a single podium finish so far in 2017, by far his worst season in the premier class in this regard since he made his debut in 2008.

Lorenzo is closely followed in the championship by Jonas Folger (77 points), Cal Crutchlow (76 points), and Danilo Petrucci (75 points), with four points separating Lorenzo in seventh and Petrucci in 10th.

Looking ahead to the British Grand Prix, only the top 10 riders in the standings have made it onto the podium, with only the top five riders winning races so far in 2017.

This looks set to continue again, however, if two riders were to break through to claim a race victory in the remaining seven races in 2017, it would likely be Johann Zarco and Jorge Lorenzo.

As far as the circuit characteristics are concerned, this should be the perfect place for Yamaha to hit back in the championship, and both Viñales and Rossi need a victory to kick-start their championship challenge.

Viñales hasn’t won since the French Grand Prix back in May, while Rossi hasn’t won since claiming his sole victory of the season so far at the Dutch TT back in June, and considering the cooler conditions that you usually expect at Silverstone at this time of year, and considering the performance of the Yamaha in cooler conditions this year, both Viñales and Rossi should be considered the favourites to win this weekend.

However, if Yamaha aren’t on song again, then we can expect Honda to be very strong, and their bike has really improved recently, and both Márquez and Pedrosa have greater confidence with the front of the bike, particularly under braking.

And while you cannot rule out Ducati this weekend, I believe that the Yamaha will be stronger around Silverstone, and both Viñales and Rossi are due to break their victory droughts. However, if the Yamaha doesn’t prove to be the stronger bike, I expect Márquez on his factory Honda to move one step closer towards his fourth premier class world championship, and his sixth world championship across all classes.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (6:55pm, and 11:05pm AEST). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (6:55pm AEST), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (10:30pm AEST), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (11:10pm and 11:35pm AEST). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 11:00am local time (8:00pm AEST), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 3:30pm local time (12:30pm Monday morning AEST).

MotoGP Austria GP – Preview

The 11th round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg in Austria, a week after the Czech Republic Grand Prix that amazed in so many ways.

Marc Márquez leads the world championship on 154 points after taking his second-successive victory of the season at the Brno Circuit after him and his team made some very smart calls in regards to their race strategy.

Starting in very intermediate conditions, bordering on dry conditions, Márquez and his Repsol Honda Team decided to start on the soft wet rear tyre, a tyre which in the eyes of many would degrade quicker than the medium wet rear tyre in those conditions. However, when Márquez realised that this wasn’t working, as he was falling back down the field, he pitted at the end of Lap Two to change bikes for one with dry tyres (medium front, medium rear), and it worked!

Most of the field were slow to realise that the track conditions had changed, and were made to look like fools by the fast-thinking Márquez, and his team, cruising in the end to a 12.438 second victory over his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who now sits fifth in the championship on 123 points, 31 points behind Márquez.

Second in the championship is the man who finished third in the Czech Republic, Maverick Viñales. The factory Yamaha rider was lucky not to lose more points against his main championship rival after pitting two laps later than Márquez. Viñales is now on 140 points, 14 points behind his fellow Spaniard.

Andrea Dovizioso is third in the world championship for Ducati on 133 points, 21 points behind the championship leader after finishing in sixth in the Czech Republic.

Dovizioso pitted three laps later than Márquez, and one lap later than teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who got caught out by his team not being ready for him to pit, meaning that he finished 15th in the race, and leaves Lorenzo down in 10th position in the championship on 66 points in what has been his worst season to date.

Valentino Rossi is fourth in world championship on his factory Yamaha on 132 points, 22 points behind Márquez after finishing fourth at the Brno Circuit, pitting three laps later than the race winner and championship leader.

Johann Zarco is sixth in the championship on his Yamaha on 88 points, 11 points ahead of his teammate Jonas Folger (77 points), who is ahead of both Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow, who are both on 75 points each.

Looking ahead to the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, it looks to be a circuit on paper that suits the Ducati down to a tee. They were dominant last year at the Red Bull Ring, picking up a one-two finish with Andrea Iannone finishing ahead of Andrea Dovizioso at one of the most power sensitive circuits on the calendar, rewarding the straight-line speed and engine power of the Ducati.

The Red Bull Ring is also a circuit that also rewards a well-handling bike, with the Yamaha’s of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finishing under four seconds behind the race winner, despite the supposed lack of power and straight-line speed from the Yamaha and their engine.

Also, despite their bad performance last year at the Red Bull Ring, you cannot rule out the two factory Honda’s having a big say in who is going to win the Austrian Grand Prix.

The maximum temperatures for the weekend in Spielberg are set to be ranging between 19 and 22 degrees Celsius, and that will certainly suit the factory Yamaha’s of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi over the factory Honda’s of Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa if previous history is anything to go by in 2017.

However, as far as the track characteristics are concerned, all signs point to a Ducati win, and I believe Jorge Lorenzo will get his first victory for the Italian manufacturer in a one-two finish ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.

 

MotoGP Practice on Friday at 9:55am, and 2:05pm local time (5:55pm, and 10:05pm AEST). MotoGP FP3 on Saturday at 9:55am local time (5:55pm AEST), FP4 on Saturday at 1:30pm local time (9:30pm AEST), Q1 and Q2 on Saturday at 2:10pm and 2:35pm local time (10:10pm and 10:35pm AEST). MotoGP Warm Up on Sunday at 9:40am local time (5:40pm AEST), and MotoGP race on Sunday at 2:00pm local time (10:00pm AEST).