Wheelies 2017 – Moto3 Top 10 – Part 1

As we all know, the 2017 MotoGP World Championship has reached its conclusion on the 12th of November, in Valencia. We have decided to make a Top 10 of the riders in each class, taking into consideration factors like performances, team, age, constructor, previous motorcycling experience, injuries and so on. Here is our take on the Moto3 class: 

 

10. Tatsuki Suzuki (#24)

Having debuted in the category in 2015 with the CIP team and racing for them also in 2016, the young Japanese rider caught the attention of Paolo Simoncelli, the father of the late 2008 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli, who entered the competition this year with his own team, SIC58 Squadra Corse. Suzuki was chosen as one of the 2 riders of the team and he did not fail to repay the confidence which was put in him.

The Japanese managed to finish inside the top 10 in 4 of the first 9 races, with a best result of 8th in both Argentina and Assen. However, he was also followed by some bad luck as he scored 4 DNFs in a row (Austin-Jerez-Le Mans-Mugello). The second half of the year was better in this aspect as Suzuki finished in the points zone in 6 out of 9 races. He had his moment of glory on home turf in Motegi, where he cruised to a superb 4th place on the soaked track. He finished the championship 14th overall, having gathered a total of 71 points. Nothing really amazing for the Asian, but considering his lack of experience on a Honda and the fact that his team was at their maiden season in the World Championship, he did good, exceeding the expactations.

 

9. Gabriel Rodrigo (#19)

The rider followed by the biggest amount of bad luck throughout the 2017 season of the ligtweight class was definitely Gabriel Rodrigo.

The Spanish-born Argentine rider raced for the RBA BOE Racing Team, the team with whom he raced from 2014. He started the year by showing great pace in the Free Practice sessions of the Qatar GP, but he was forced to miss the race after suffering a collarbone fracture due to a crash sustained in the Qualifying session. He did his best in order to get back on track for his home GP in Argentina and he managed to do so, but, unfortunately, crashed out of it.

Having gathered few points in Austin and Jerez, Rodrigo suffered another injury which forced him to sit out both the French and Italian GPs. His comeback in Catalunya was once again unfortunate as he crashed while battling for a position in the top 5. Rodrigo finally managed to complete a weekend successfully in Assen where, having started 12th, crossed the line in 7th, at about half a second behind the race winner. Good things seemed to be finally coming Rodrigo`s way.

Unfortunately for the young Argentine rider, that was not the case. He opened the second half of the season with an amazing pole position in Brno, but he crashed in the very last lap while running inside the top 10. Rodrigo did not let this affect his morale and he struck back with another fabulous pole position one week later in Austria. This time he kept himself on the bike and ran in the front group from start to finish, eventually crossing the line in 7th, only 0.427 away from a spot on the podium. Rodrigo stayed in good form for the following GP at Silverstone, where he scored a new career best – 4th place. Only a red flag prevented him from his first ever podium finish, as he was running in 2nd when the race was stopped. However, at the end of the last completed lap, Rodrigo was only 4th.

The old “curse” started pursuing Rodrigo again in the next 3 GPs. He showed good pace on Fridays and Saturdays in Misano, Aragon and Motegi, but he ended up crashing out of all these 3 races. Good for him, he bounced back in Australia, where he equaled his personal best of 4th and also set the fastest lap of the race.

After all these enormous variations in results, Rodrigo ended the season in 16th place, with 54 points. It is obvious that he still has to improve his stability on the bike and his mentality in key moments, but his speed and his determination to come back stronger after every injury and after every heartbreaking failure determined us to give him a place in our Top 10.

 

8. Juanfran Guevara (#58)

One place higher than Gabri Rodrigo it`s his teammate, Spanish rider Juanfran Guevara. After 4 years spent in the class during which he was not able to really challange the front positions, Guevara managed to find his rhytm in 2017 alongside the RBA BOE Racing Team and was a podium contender in many races.

His first shot at a podium spot came in Le Mans, where he crossed the line in 6th, only 0.6 behind the 2nd place. Nonetheless, he scored his maiden podium finish in the very next GP, by crossing the line in 3rd place on the Mugello Circuit.

Except for the Catalan GP, Guevara scored points in every race until Silverstone, including an impressive 5th place finish in Brno. Then, at the British GP, the Spaniard stayed in the front group for a big part of the race but, unfortunately, suffered a heavy crash which left him unconscious near the asphalt. In spite of the fact that he did not suffer any serious injury, the crash seriously affected his form as he managed to gather only 5 points throughout the following 5 races. However, he managed to came back in style in the season finale at Valencia, where he brought some joy to the crowd by crossing the line in 6th.

 

7. John McPhee (#17)

One of the most beautiful surprises of the Moto3 season was Scottish rider John McPhee, who had his best season in the lightweight class since the start of his career.

After a disastrous 2016 season alongside the Peugeot Saxoprint Team, in which he finished 22nd overall, McPhee signed for the brand new British Talent Team, a team run by Dorna as part of the Road to MotoGP program.

McPhee had a brilliant start of the year and finished 2nd in both of the first two races in Qatar and Argentina. He could not mantain this amazing pace in every race, but he still played an important role in the battles inside or just outside the top 10. He scored a 3rd podium finish in Assen, by crossing the line in 3rd. In the second half of the season he was pretty inconstant as he failed to finish 3 races. However, he managed to compensate with 3 top 6 finishes in Brno (6th), Aragon (6th) and Sepang (5th), thus securing the 7th place overall at the end of the championship.

 

6. Fabio Diggianantonio (#21)

Having impressed in his debut season in 2016 by scoring 3 podium finishes and ending the season 6th overall, Fabio Digiannantonio remained alongside Gresini Racing for the 2017 season. The young Italian kicked off the season by setting the fastest lap of the Qatar GP, a race finished in 8th place.

After an unfortunate DNF in Argentina, “Diggia” struck back in Austin and climbed the last step of the podium after an intense battle with teammate Jorge Martin, who finished 2nd. The Italian prodigy mantained his great rhytm and finished inside the top 7 in all of the following 4 GPs, including a 3rd place in Le Mans and a 2nd place on home turf in Mugello.

A rough period followed for the Del Conca Gresini rider as he gathered only 5 points in the following 3 GPs. Nonetheless, Digiannantonio managed to get back to his full potential in the following 5 races, which he managed to finish inside the top 10, also scoring another 2 podium finishes in Misano (3rd) and Aragon (2nd). Two DNFs in Australia and Valencia caused Digiannantonio to lose 4th place in the standings in the favour of his teammate, Jorge Martin. However, the Italian`s season remains a very successful one and we can expect him to be a serious title contender in 2018.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second part of our Top 10, when we will reveal the first 5 positions!

photo credit – crash.net

John McPhee to race with CIP in Moto3 in 2018

John McPhee will line up on the 2018 Moto3 grid with the CIP team, making the move from the British Talent Team. He will ride a KTM and will share the garage with Kazakh rookie Makar Yurchenko.

The Brit rider has had a great start of the 2017 season, finishing 2nd in both Qatar and Argentina. He was also on the rostrum in Assen, where he crossed the line in 3rd. With some other top 6 finishes and also a lot of DNFs, McPhee sits 7th in the Moto3 standings ahead of the last round in Valencia, only 7 points behind 6th-placed Enea Bastianini and only 5 points ahead of 8th-placed Andrea Migno.

In spite of the fact that 2017 has definitely been his best season so far, McPhee s maiden career win was scored in 2016, in a rain-soaked CzechGP at Brno.

The CIP team has lined up in 2017 with Marco Bezzecchi and Manuel Pagliani as their riders. Bezzecchi scored a superb 3rd place finish at the Japanese GP in wet conditions and sits 23rd in the championship, having gathered a total of 20 points. Pagliani sits 6 places below, with 8 points.

photo credit – GiveMeSport

Preview Austin, Texas – Moto3

 

Clasa mezina a oferit doua curse extrem de disputate in debutul sezonului si ne putem astepta ca spectacolul sa rămână la aceleasi cote maxime si in etapa americana ce se va desfasura in acest weekend.

Mallorcanul Joan Mir are maximum de puncte dupa primele doua etape, deci este clar ca restul grilei a pus ținta pe spatele tanarului pilot Leopard Racing.

John McPhee i-a suflat pana acum in ceafa lui Mir, scoțianul obtinand doua clasari succesive pe poziția secunda, terminand de fiecare data la doar cateva zecimi sub Mir.

Ultima oara cand ordinea primilor 2 a fost aceeasi in primele 2 curse ale anului a fost in 2009, cand Andrea Iannone l-a invins pe Julian Simon si in Qatar si in Japonia.

La finele sezonului Julian Simon s-a incoronat insa campion mondial, spaniolul obtinand de-a lungul sezonului nu mai putin de 7 victorii. Deci, John McPhee poate rămâne optimist.

Prestații solide a oferit si pilotul lui Fausto Gresini, spaniolul Jorge Martin, care a incheiat primele doua curse pe locul 3, spaniolul considerand insa ca inca ii lipseste ceva pentru a ataca serios victoria.

Pe langa cei trei ocupanti ai podiumului din primele 2 etape, ne putem astepta ca de data aceasta sa ii vedem in față si pe cei care pana acum au fost loviți de ghinion, zile proaste, sau accidentari, precum Aron Canet, cei doi piloti ai lui Aki Ajo – Nicco Antonelli si Bo Bendsneyder – si, desigur, castigatorul din Austin de anul trecut, italianul Romano Fenati.

De asemenea, Gabriel Rodrigo poate reveni mai puternic dupa „heartbreak”-ul suferit in etapa de casa, cand a cazut, aflat intr-o batalie la finele top 10-ului.

Dupa inca 2 saptamani de pauza, clavicula fracturata in Qatar este cu siguranta mai bine. Exista de asemenea si piloti de la care se asteptau lucruri mari la inceputul sezonului si au dezamagit teribil prin prestatiile din Qatar si Argentina. Este vorba de vicecampionul en-titre, Enea Bastianini, si campionul CEV Repsol Moto3 din 2015, Nicolo Bulega.

Primul nu a reusit sa stranga vreun punct pana in prezent, terminand pe 16 in Qatar si pe un dezolant loc 27 in Argentina. Conationalul Bulega a acumulat doua puncte, ambele in Qatar, incheiind al 14-lea, clasare urmata de un loc 16 dupa o cursa de uitat pe Termas de Rio Hondo, in care plecase de pe 2. Ambii spera sa isi gaseasca in sfarsit ritmul si sa reintre in batalia pentru podium.

Primul antrenament al clasei Moto3 va demara vineri de la ora 17:00, ora Romaniei.

 

credit foto – motogp.com

 

John McPhee va pleca din Pole Position la clasa Moto3

 

Scotianul John McPhee a obtinut al doilea Pole Position din cariera dupa ce a stabilit cel mai rapid tur al sesiunii de calificari chiar cu cateva secunde inainte ca ploaia sa loveasca circuitul.

Nicolo Bulega a terminat al doilea dupa ce a stabilit un timp cu 0.154 mai lent decat al scotianului cu doar cateva secunde inainte de final, el fiind astfel unul din putinii piloti care si-au imbunatatit timpul dupa aparitia ploii. Prima linie a fost completata de pole man-ul din Qatar, spaniolul Jorge Martin.

Colegul lui Martin de la echipa lui Fausto Gresini, italianul Fabio DiGiannantonio, se va afla la mijlocul liniei a doua, intre spaniolul Aron Canet si conationalul Romano Fenati.

Pilotul RBA Racing, Juanfran Guevara, va deschide linia a treia, linie pe care se vor mai afla Andrea Migno si Tatsuki Suzuki. Top 10-ul va fi inchis de Phillip Oettl.

Eroul local, Gabriel Rodrigo, a aratat ca nu este refacut complet dupa fractura de clavicula suferita in Qatar si a terminat doar al 13-lea.

Prestatii sub asteptari au oferit pilotii lui Aki Ajo, Niccolo Antonelli incheiind abia pe 14 si Bo Bendsneyder pe 17, si Enea Bastianini care in continuare nu se regaseste alaturi de Estrella Galicia. Bestia a incheiat pe un dezolant loc 15.

credit foto – johnmcphee.co.uk