Portraits from the Argentina GP – 2018
Johann Zarco – Argentina 2018
RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 2 – ARGENTINA
CC35 – 10: That awkward moment when 90% of the press don’t show up on your glory day.
AR42 – 9: The next big thing ?
JZ5 – 7: Hitting him on the back of the head with my baguette : « Don’t you ever touch Dani again! »
MM93 – 1: What kind of drugs was he on, on-track ?!
VR46 – 5: Time to keep your BFF in line, he’s putting himself in the middle of everything like his last name was Kardashian.
JL99 – 3: « If you don’t want the internet to burn you to the ground, you better stay out of Drama and not comment on it » – #loqueaprendihastolos30
AD04 – 6: A miserable weekend saved, job done ✔️
JM43 – 7: *i shall not move from that starting grid, alone on it or NOT*
TR53 – 7: We almost forgot Tito was in MotoGP up until he got his hand on a Ducati
What. The. F.!
Three little words that can totally describe the Argentina GP in a nutshell. The whole weekend went from strange to crazy to “BLOWING YOUR MIND” and i just don’t know what to do with it. I won’t even bother to try and recap or review the whole joke that was this GP round so, if you don’t mind, let’s all just check the facts!
1. Miller’s first pole position in MotoGP
Astonishing, brilliant and completely unbelievable. It was a huge gamble to take the slicks on the drying track and Jack was almost crashing down at every corner of the track but yet, he made it work. Glory favors the Brave, they say…
2. Cal’s win makes history
On the pace the whole weekend, Crutchlow’s wins comes as no surprise once the race favorite (aka Marc Marquez) was out. It’s a very well deserved win for both Cal and his team and it should (one can dream) finally make him stop asking for the HRC factory seat everybody’s know he wouldn’t do better on.
3. Rins rising to the top
I have a soft spot for this one, i must say it, so i might not sounds quite neutral right now but it’s a fact i couldn’t help but cheer for him to get a podium or even more. Alex Rins is a great talent that will keep on shinning brighter and brighter as the years pass on. His whole new 2 years deal with Suzuki (which is yet to be officially announced) is a blessing for him, the team and us.
4. Zarco getting closer
Johann made an impression last season and keeps on a that path. The frenchman is clearly getting closer and closer to his first motogp win as the races go on. We should remind him, though, that when he can get a win, it would be better to do it without pushing someone else to crash down.
5. Pedrosa’s lack of luck continue
Once again the spaniard has been taken out of a race by another rider. This time Zarco went past him quite hard, pushing him on the edge, forcing Pedrosa onto a wet patch on track leading Dani to his first (let’s hope his last) highside of the season. So far, no announcement has been made regarding any injury Dani Pedrosa could have had.
6. Ducati’s desapearence
If Losail went on to be a great weekend for, at least, one of the men in red, Argentina resulted into a nightmare for both Lorenzo and Dovizioso. The italian was nowhere to be seen the whole weekend while Lorenzo shinned by his lack of any pace or result. The only headline they all got were due to Movistar’s interview the spaniard (you can read the full thing here and yes, it’s way less polemical than what we all thought with that trailer… Context is EVERYTHING)
7. Starting Grid’s CHAOS
Rules book are being made along with history but something needs to be done to MotoGP’s one regarding the grid and start’s procedure ASAP. There’s no way we can let 20+ riders start from the pit-lane as well as we cannot accept that a rider taking a risky choice (here, Jack Miller) can be robed of a possible great result because of everyone else’s second thoughts. The whole start of the race was a farce from everyone going back to the pits to Miller refusing to get out of the grid and everybody starting 3 row behing him.
8. Marquez’ case
His whole personal start chaos was clearly against the rules (even though it’s true an official in charge of the starting procedure did cleared him…#awkward) but one can only admire his devotion trying to restart that Honda, something almost impossible to do on your own with these kind of motogp prototype.
Marc’s moves on many riders were totally on the edge and unnecessary regarding the pace he showed the whole weekend. There’s no excuse for his behavior on track during the race and the penalty he got (30 sec – his first 0 point of the season) was clearly deserved.
It was great on him to go to Valentino’s box to apologies though, if only Uccio had let him in.
9. Valentino’s off track behavior
His strong words against Marquez during the post-race interviews were kind of a joke. There’s absolutely no truth, at least to me, in saying that Marquez is destroying the sport or that he wants other rider to crash. If you ask me, Vale just sounded bitter…
Of all riders on the grid, Valentino is the very last one that should be able to say someone else is dangerous on track because, well, let’s be honest here: Jerez (Stoner/Gibernau), Motegi (Lorenzo), Sepang (Marquez) and so on… Is your memory short Valentino or do you just not like the taste of your own medecine ?
Anyway, Marquez should have calm down on track, Rossi should have calm down off track…. Both men should know better, and both went on to be losers of the day (that’s saying a lot considering Lorenzo finished 15th…)
And please someone just fire that grumpy old prick that is Uccio!
Helmets On – Qatar 2018
RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 1 – QATAR
AD04 – 9: The curse of always being the Bridesmaid and Never the Bride has been broken at Losail ! HALLELUJAH
MM93 – 9: If Marc Marquez comes 0.027s close to a win at Losail, does this mean he’ll win with 10 minutes gap in Austin ?!
VR46 – 8: Retirement isn’t part of Vale’s vocabulary.
JZ5 – 7: COCORICO on Saturday, ICE-COLD SHOWER on Sunday.
DP26 – 7: Oh, you wonna take Dani’s seat next season ? First step first, finish in front of him.
JL99 – 5: Brakes or no Brakes, Grumpy was at his TOP 10 level of grumpiness this weekend.
JM43 – 7: AirPlane Jack lands into the top 10 !
MV25 – 7: Be brave Mack, Vale will not race forever… Or will he ?
AR42 – 6: Even with a DNF, Alex is outshining Andrea, but Iannone’s instagram game is still stronger… STORY TBC !
After the cold – snowy winters comes spring and with it, bike racing! Once again it’s in the middle of the desert at Losail that lights went off for the first time of the 2018 season. An opening round which tasted the exact same as last season with Dovi and Marquez fighting out on the line.
1. New alien here to stay
In the whole new motogp clip realised prior to the Qatar race, you can hear a voice say « they say they’re not human, some calls them aliens ». Well, let me tell you that if the alien club is still a thing then Andrea Dovizioso bought himself a place in it last season and he’s definitely here to stay from now on.
At Losail the italian dominated almost every session leading to the race, the only shadow to his weekend being the miss opportunity of a pole position and front row on Saturday.
Dovizioso being fast and winning the opening round shouldn’t come as a surprise though as he ended up runner up many time already behind the likes of Rossi or Lorenzo. Losail suits the italian.
It also suits the red beast. In a past not so far away, some would remember Stoner’s incredible dominance at the Qatari track.
Even though Desmo Dovi fought up to the very last corner and onto the line to get that win, we can easily say it would have been a disappointment for the italian combo to finish anywhere else than on the 1st step this year.
2. (Brake)ing the limits
If the opening round felt like a dream to Dovizioso, it was the exact opposite to his teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
The spaniard being on his second year at Ducati, each one of his moves is being looked on with a magnifying glass. The hopes are high, and so is the disappointment.
Can we blame Jorge Lorenzo for this first DNF this season ? Clearly no.
It’s true the spaniard struggle the whole weekend, not being able to found a pace giving him a chance to challenge Dovizioso or Petrucci but his pace, pretty much identical to Vinales, in the second half of the race could have pushed him into a top 5 or 6. Lorenzo suffered a strange weekend marked by God’s only knows how many mechanical issues. The biggest one of them happening in the race.
Lorenzo’s crash wasn’t due to mistake on his part like we could have thought at first but to a brake pad which went missing leaving the 30 years old to be in the middle of the track without any working brakes. He later explained he was forced to run wide and let go of his bike once he was in the gravel trap.
The scary prospect of having a rider left with no brakes, forced to crash out not to hit a wall or someone else did not shut the mouth of Lorenzo’s haters thought. Oh the joy of being Motogp’s vilain….
3. When the old feels better than the new
Yamaha’s winter and early days of the 2018 season were highly spoken off, especially due to their silly season being cut short with both Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi signing new 2 years deals with the japanese brand before the red lights even went out.
Rossi received a whole lot of question regarding his new contract. It’s true the news is quite exciting as he will be well past 40 in 2020. The italian shut down every questions about it on Sunday night stating this new motogp podium and being able to fight for wins shows it was the right decision to carry on racing.
At this point, even though it feels like this should be his last deal, one can only expect him to stay in the paddock, and most probably on track, for as long as he will enjoy riding these bikes.
If Rossi renewal didn’t come as a surprise, Vinales’ did. The spaniard is struggling in his quest to tame the M1 since he last won a race in the spring of 2017. Being forced into Q1, a bad start and an early part of the race glued in 15th at some point didn’t help his confidence.
Vinales leaves Losail happy though. After month of looking for a working set up, his team decided to go back to what they knew worked. His pace and incredible journey back to a well deserved 6th place in the second half of the race proves that MotoGP’s very own TOP GUN is on the right path to being competitive again.
4. About scary prospects
There’s two names who both stand outs this weekend: Marquez and Zarco.
First, the frenchman. Talks about him are going on since last november and it went crazy since Poncharal’s announcement that tech 3 will be a KTM team next season splitting from Yamaha after more than 20 years together.
Rossi & Vinales’ new deals leave most of us wondering: why isn’t Zarco promoted to the factory team when it’s as clear as water that he could be a real title contender if one would give him an official package ?
After saturday lap record pole position and even though it did not resulted as a win or a podium, the question of his near future is still going on. Rumor has it he could be in talks with KTM and.. the HRC. Would the RCV be a good fit for the frenchman though ?
For now, Johann is only happy with his weekend, regretting only an issue with his front tyre past mid race.
Marquez on the other hand did not suffered any problems with his tyres. On a track which is known to be far from one of his favorites, the spaniard took 20 points and a 2nd place with joy.
Even if it’s a now 3-0 for Dovi in terms of last corner battle wins, the simple fact that Marquez was able to fight and came THIS close to get the win at Losail against the power of the Ducatis in the straight should give nightmares to each and everyone of his opponents on the grid.
It’s no surprise the spaniard celebrated his 2nd place like he would have won the race and couldn’t stop telling anybody listening just how happy he was to be so close to Dovizioso. If Marquez is able to do this at Losail, i cannot even begin to imagine what he’ll be do in Austin soon…. Like i said, scary prospect, indeed!
5. Honorable mentions
Alex Rins might leave Losail with a DNF but he surely made an impression all weekend long.
Cal Crutchlow winning the 1st independant place proves just how strong the RCV is getting and that the progress made over the winter are to be taken seriously.
Last minute’s new comer Hafizh Syahrin takes his very first point in MotoGP.
Dani Pedrosa struggled all the way to the race but a very positive bunch of early laps left him feeling great about his weekend overall.
I will never stop yelling about how Johann is underestimated by everyone
The first race of 2018 starts today.
2018 Grand Prix of Qatar, Losail International Circut
Maverick VIÑALES, Johann ZARCO, Marc MARQUEZ (photos by Cormac Ryan Meenan), Valentino ROSSI (photo by Gigi Soldano)
Qatar 2018’s pole man : Johann Zarco