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MotoGP calendar finalized ahead of 2017 season

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The calendar for the 2017 MotoGP season has been finalized by its governing body, the FIM, and commercial rights holder Dorna.

The most recent provisional MotoGP schedule was published in December, comprising 18 rounds and only a couple of date changes compared to the 2016 calendar.

Earlier this week, the FIM and Dorna confirmed via MotoGP’s website that the calendar for the forthcoming campaign was now final.

Honda rider Marc Marquez heads into the new MotoGP season as the defending champion, with the biggest talking point being the number of seats that have changed hands.

Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo ended his long-running relationship with Yamaha to join Ducati, while Maverick Viñales has been hired as his replacement to partner nine-time world title-winning Valentino Rossi.

As in 2016, just one MotoGP round will be held in North America this year, with the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas hosting a race on April 23.

MotoGP’s junior classes, Moto2 and Moto3, will appear on the undercard for all 18 rounds on the 2017 calendar.

The new MotoGP season begins on March 26 at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.

Final 2017 MotoGP calendar

1. Qatar – March 26
2. Argentina – April 9
3. USA – April 23
4. Spain – May 7
5. France – May 21
6. Italy – June 4
7. Catalunya – June 11
8. Netherlands – June 25
9. Germany – July 2
10. Czech Republic – August 6
11. Austria – August 13
12. Great Britain – August 27
13. San Marino – September 10
14. Aragon – September 24
15. Japan – October 15
16. Australia – October 22
17. Malaysia – October 29
18. Valencia – November 12

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.