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Vinales takes Misano MotoGP pole as Marquez crashes out

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Maverick Viñales will start the San Marino Grand Prix from pole position after edging out MotoGP championship leader Andrea Dovizioso in the final stage of qualifying on Saturday at Misano.

Entering the weekend as Yamaha’s sole factory rider following Valentino Rossi’s leg break in a training accident, Viñales produced a stunning final lap in Q2 of 1:32.439, beating Dovizioso by 0.162 seconds.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez had been the favorite for a fifth straight pole heading into qualifying, only to crash out on his final run, leaving him P3 at the checkered flag.

Dovizioso slotted into P2 for Ducati, and will be looking to extend his nine-point advantage over Marquez in the riders’ standings at Misano on Sunday.

Cal Crutchlow was the leading satellite rider, taking fourth for LCR Honda, while Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed one of his stronger qualifyings of the season so far to take fifth place on the grid.

Johann Zarco wound up sixth for Tech3 Yamaha ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Danilo Petrucci, while Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista completed the top 10.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.