Sport Renewed calls for MotoGP qualifying format change

16:45  21 april  2017
16:45  21 april  2017 Source:   Read Sport

Marquez: Alonso's decision 'difficult' to understand

  Marquez: Alonso's decision 'difficult' to understand Three-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez says Fernando Alonso’s decision to skip the Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete in the Indianapolis 500 is “difficult to understand.” The Spaniard, who currently trails championship leader Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales by 37 points after two rounds, was surprised by the news. “The decision on my side is difficult to understand because Monaco is one of the good tracks that maybe with McLaren he can get a good result,” Marquez said. “[The Indy 500] is a race that’s difficult to understand from outside.You must be really lucky, slipstream is very strange. “But the talent of Alonso, all of the drivers in Formula 1 say is one of the best ones in a car. “His talent is there, I think he’ll be really fast.” One of Marquez’s closest rivals MotoGP veteran Valentino Rossi, was also shocked at Alonso’s choice and admits it will be a real challenge. “It was a surprise because it’s strange that Alonso won’t race in Monaco,” Rossi said. “But I think the situation with the car [McLaren] is difficult and he wants to try something else. “It will be very interesting to understand the potential of Alonso at Indy because it’s completely another world, especially when you race on the oval. “The one time I went [on an oval] with NASCAR and it was very interesting, but you understand it’s very different. “It will be a great challenge and very interesting to see.

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Ahead of the third round of the 2017 MotoGP season in Texas, several riders have expressed their desire to have the current qualifying format altered.

Introduced for the 2013 season in a bid to make free practice more interesting for spectators, MotoGP’s qualifying session is split into two 15-minute shoot-out sessions, with combined times from practice deciding who takes part in what session.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport © Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport

At the end of free practice three, the top 10 on the combined times make direct passage into the pole shoot-out session, while the rest contest QP1, with the fastest two from that session making it into QP2.

Vinales half a second clear of Marquez in Austin FP1

  Vinales half a second clear of Marquez in Austin FP1 Maverick Vinales continued his perfect start to 2017 as he topped first practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas. MotoGP championship leader Vinales ended FP1 0.577s clear of Austin specialist Marc Marquez, who has traditionally dominated in previous seasons, winning all four races at the Circuit of the Americas since 2013. Marquez led team-mate Dani Pedrosa after the first runs but Vinales soon stamped his authority on proceedings, being the first and only man to dip into the 2m04s on Yamaha. Andrea Dovizioso went third ahead of Johann Zarco and Alvaro Bautista late on with the former using a soft rear tyre. Like Ducati team-mate Dovizioso, Lorenzo opted for the soft rear tyre and improved significantly on his initial benchmark to go sixth. Dani Pedrosa ended up seventh and was just over a second shy of Vinales’ benchmark. Like it has been for the whole of 2017, Valentino Rossi lagged well behind his younger team-mate and languished outside the top 10 before putting on two soft tyres to go eighth fastest. Aleix Espargaró and Danilo Petrucci were ninth and tenth fastest respectively. Cal Crutchlow recovered from an early crash at Turn 6 to end first practice in 11th ahead of Jack Miller. FP2 for MotoGP gets underway later this evening at 2005 BST.

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Last year, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow called for the format to be changed, as he believed the mini qualifying runs at the end of each free practice were ‘a waste of time’, and that the majority of the field would prefer qualifying groups be decided purely on the times at the end of FP3.

Crutchlow argued that riders were disregarding tyre allocation for QP2 just so they could secure a place in the pole shoot-out group. To counter this, the Grand Prix Commission agreed to give the top two from QP1 an extra soft tyre for this season.

Former Tech 3 and Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso has joined the Briton in asking for change, as has Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding.

Dovizioso – who was caught out in Argentina by bad weather in FP3 having failed to set a top 10 time on Friday – believes, despite Friday’s running then being rendered boring for fans, it is ‘essential’ the format is altered as he feels riders are losing crucial set-up time in practice to trying to set a fast lap time.

Aron Canet continues Austin dominance by taking Moto3 pole

  Aron Canet continues Austin dominance by taking Moto3 pole Aron Canet was in a class of his own as the Spaniard took pole position for tomorrow’s Moto3 race at the Circuit of the Americas. EG 0,0 rider Canet was over a second quicker than everyone else, setting a new outright lap record of 2m14.644s in the process, and looked comfortable throughout the entire qualifying session. Behind Canet was championship leader Joan Mir, who recovered from a disappointing FP3 to go second quickest. Romano Fenati continued his pace shown in FP3, but couldn’t get anywhere near Aron Canet’s time down in third on his Ongetta Rivacold Honda. Nicolo Bulega was fourth, whilst the Gresini pair of Jorge Martin and Fabio di Giannantonio will start tomorrow from fifth and sixth. The third row will consist of a renewed Enea Bastianini, Niccolo Antonelli and John McPhee. McPhee finally got in a good time, after having dismal practice sessions that saw the Scot near the back of the field. Bo Bendsneyder was the final rider inside the top ten despite an early tumble, with Darryn Binder and rookie rider Tony Arbolino joining him on the fourth row. The Moto3 race gets underway at 17:00 BST.

Qualifying for MotoGP 's 2017 season opener in Qatar has been cancelled due to wet weather. That changed with storms and heavy rain on Saturday, and even though it stopped falling several hours Fresh calls for T-wing ban after FP2 incident Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has renewed calls

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Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport © Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport

“I am one of the riders who believes we have to change the system,” he said on Thursday at the Circuit of the Americas.

“I have pushed a lot since last year for it, but so far it hasn’t been taken into consideration. But In Argentina I went back to the subject once more, and this time I found enough support from all the riders.

“In my opinion, it’s essential that it happens. If we change the rule, Fridays become dull and worthless.

“But on the contrary, with the current system you don’t have time to work, because before the end of each session you have to set a time and get in the top 10 so you can progress.

“That means you have to use more tyres, and always work knowing that before finishing the session you have to set a time.

“In every session you make three runs, and if one of these you have to set a time, you only have two to work on the bike and you cannot try all the tyres.”

MotoGp of Argentina - Free Practice © Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport MotoGp of Argentina - Free Practice

Crutchlow disappointed to miss out on podium .
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is dissapointed to have missed out on a podium after yet another strong performance from the Briton. Crutchlow started the race well and moved quickly into fifth after Maverick Vinales crashed out in the early stages of the race. He was then involved in a battle with Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco throughout the race, pipping the Frenchman to fourth on the final lap of the race. Although he is disappointed to have missed out on a podium spot, Crutchlow is upbeat about his performance at the Circuit of the Americas “It was a good race, I felt confident throughout and my team did a fantastic job all weekend,” he said. “Of course, I’m a little disappointed not to get the podium because we were very close, but I took too long to pass Johann Zarco and after that I lost a little bit of time running off the track.” Crutchlow is also happy about his start to the season, the LCR rider tallying up a third and a fourth in Argentina and Texas. He hopes to carry on in this fashion when the world championship heads to the Spanish Grand Prix next month. “I felt comfortable during the race and physically strong, and I was still able to push towards the end. “I would have liked another podium, but a third in Argentina and fourth here in Texas is good from the last two flyaway races. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the first European round in Jerez.

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