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MotoGP

What a difference a week makes. Formula One had barely had time to clear out of the Paddock at the Suzuka circuit when MotoGP were setting up not too far away at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. But the weather made an appearance at both events, causing less trouble for the bikes but still enough to, in effect, nullify Saturday's practice sessions. But that wasn't the problem. Marquez having won his eighth world championship at the previous round, the Thai Grand Prix, even though there are several more coronets to collect, once the big one has gone, there seems to be more than a little desperation for the commentators trying to keep interest alive. No problem, you might say: the racing will do that. Er.. no.

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The Circuit of Catalunya, Barcelona, venue for the Spanish Grand Prix for both F1 and MotoGP is often the source of drama. But the MotoGp 2019 race was drama with what may turn out to be huge consequences. And it all began because someone started to call the Barcelona circuit "Lorenzo Land."

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This day had to come: Marc Marquez has, unusually, been defeated by the forces of nature. Holding a commanding lead at the US GP at the Circuit of the Americans in Austin, one of the most fundamental aspects of motor-racing was demonstrated and he fell off leaving the result of the race, and the Championship, to cause more shaking of heads than a room full of joyous fan-boys.

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MotoGP has, in recent years, had flashes of brilliance but periods of extreme dullness. If the first race of 2019, Qatar, is any guide, that's not going to be the case this season. And there's interest in the lower formulae, too.

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We all know motor racing is dangerous, be it F1, MotoGP, Indycar, Aussie V8s or any of a host of lesser series. But safety developments have been such that most drivers and riders walk away from the most devastating crashes. Here are some that have been spared serious injury, never mind death, by those improvements, many of which began with the work of Prof Sid Watkins, Ayrton Senna and Sir Jackie Stewart.

Valentino Rossi's week has borne promise, then failure then near possible catastrophe. Thank God it's Saturday and a new week starts tomorrow.

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Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP champion is in serious condition after being involved in a road accident near Rimini on the Italian Riviera.

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Qualifying for the Qatar MotoGP race was cancelled due to bad weather. 24 hours later, the race itself was delayed for half-an hour and then, when the riders went out on a sighting lap, several concluded that parts of the track were too wet to even attempt turn 14. Then the Stewards sent out Laurence Capirossi to check. It was a weird situation.

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As the F1 teams pack their kit to head to Melbourne, I have one thing to say on a personal note: it's good to be back.

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The Qatar MotoGP race launched the 2013 season, the entry to the senior class of double champion Marc Marquez, a new qualifying format - and proof that Valentino Rossi plans on winning a record 10th World Championship.

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How do they do that? It's usual for motor racing circuits to have a micro-climate and no one has ever been able to understand why it is so. But when MotoGP reported from Sepang that "the track was dry by 11:30" yesterday, Kuala Lumpur city centre, just 40 km away was settling in for heavy rain that brought city traffic to a standstill.

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Ant West was joyous : his second place in Moto2 at the Australian GP at Philip Island was a vindication of his work all season and the faith his team has had in him during a very tough season. But within three days, his world came crashing down around him.

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As the riders lined up in Valencia for the start of the last race of the 2012 MotoGP season, it was difficult for them to know where to start. And so it is with this final race report of the current campaign as there are more endings than beginnings.

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