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Australia F1 race promoters seeking date change for 2018

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The promoters of the Australian Grand Prix hope to bring the Formula 1 season-opener in Melbourne forward by one week for 2018, in order to avoid clashing with the start of the new Australian Football season.

This year’s race at Albert Park was staged on March 26, taking a later slot than usual as part of a push from F1 to create a more condensed calendar.

However, this created a date conflict between the grand prix and the start of the new AFL season, resulting in reduced media coverage in Australia for F1 as a result.

In a bid to resolve this, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation is now working with F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, to bring the race forward a week for 2018, eyeing a March 18 start to the season.

“We’re working with them and we’re very confident we’ll get an outcome, and if that works out to be March 18, then we’ll be very happy,” AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott told Fairfax Media.

“The first race of the season is going to be in Melbourne and we’re working with FOM on the date. Our desire would be to have it on March 18 and if it can’t be that, then it’s March 25.

“It’s one of those two dates.”

Liberty Media has already approved one change for the Australian Grand Prix weekend, allowing the V8 Supercars support race to become a points-paying event. It was previously a non-championship round so as to avoid detracting attention from the F1 race.

MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo scores third win of season

MotoGP Fabio Quartararo
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Fabio Quartararo won the Catalan Grand Prix, recapturing the MotoGP points lead and his championship momentum Sunday with his third victory of the season.

Quartararo, who opened the season with his first two career victories in the premier series, took his first checkered flag in two months by winning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya aboard his Petronas Yamaha SRT.

The French rider opened an eight-point lead (108-100) over Joan Mir, who finished second Sunday. Alex Rins was third.

After winning the previous race, Maverick Vinales slipped to 18 points behind Quartararo after a ninth-place finish.

Andrea Dovizioso was the points leader entering the race but crashed his Ducati in the second turn and placed last. Dovizioso fell three spots to fourth in the championship rankings, 24 points behind Fabio Quartararo in MotoGP.