RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 4 – SPAIN (Jerez)MM93 – 10: “Cause i…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 4 – SPAIN (Jerez)

MM93 – 10: “Cause i stay winning, Lay them up like: Swish Swish, Bish

VR46 – 6: Bring Uccio back. Valentino needs to punch his nerves and frustration onto something that is not Lin Jarvis.

AD04 – 7: You get a slap on the hand the next time you complain about having to pass other riders. That’s racing Andrea, not kindergarten.

AI29 – 7: Who kisses better Andrea ? Belen or Michelin ?

JZ5 – 8: You better hope KTM will sort their bike because otherwise, what a waste of a talent!

DP26 – 8: Titanium Man was lit !!!

MV25 – 5: Maverick’s renewed confidence has now melting back like ice cream on a sunny day.

JL99 – 8: That’s my boy right there! Next time out Jorge, more of the agressive/impossible to pass thing and less of the crash stuff.

BS38 – 3: Losing your ride and getting beaten by the test rider on the same weekend, that’s a bit much, even for your Bradley.

MotoGP Sorrow Column 21/…(starring E.Watson & L….

MotoGP Sorrow Column 21/…
(starring E.Watson & L. Mann)

ROUND 4: SPAIN (Jerez)It was finally time for the MotoGP circus…

ROUND 4: SPAIN (Jerez)

It was finally time for the MotoGP circus to comeback to Europe and back to Spain at Jerez de la Frontera. It feels like a whole new start of the season each year once the paddock is back in Europe. Jerez is the first stop of 4 grand prix which usually end up being absolutely crucial for the whole championship. On this point, the spanish GP delivered as the first real game changer in the title fight happened just a few laps before the checkered flag.

1. The Marquez Machine is ON

There’s no denying that reigning World Champion Marc Marquez is a brilliant rider but lately he just proves to be more and more astonishing than last years.

Jerez was an important venue for the spaniard as it was not always easy for him there in the past, and neither was it for the Hondas judging by Lorenzo’s incredible records on the spanish tarmac.

Beaten during FP’s and by Crutchlow for the pole position, Marquez’ race on sunday was a masterclass and exceptionally well calculated win giving him the championship lead and the first opportunity to create a gap on his title rivals.

Even though Le Mans should be open for a win from any of the Yamahas, the Honda being so dominant at Jerez (Crutchlow’s pole, Marquez and Pedrosa’s race pace) is well enough of a reason for people at Honda to be happy as it means the bike should beautifully work at most tracks for the rest of the season. That’s a prospect that should be a reason of worries for every other team boss in the paddock.

2. Iannone’s revival and Zarco’s title fight

Another race weekend and another podium for Andrea Iannone who seems to be resurected from his own ashes. Having his seat being linked to other riders might have helped a little but it also proves the Suzuki bike is definately on the good path to become a winning machine. The question that remains at Suzuki though is: in which rider’s hands ? Even with Iannone’s last two podium finishes, talks about Lorenzo taking on the Suzuki challenge keeps on going especially now that Monster and/or Movistar seems interested in sponsoring the team, was it to be with Lorenzo instead of Iannone.

It was a huge weekend for Johann Zarco has the announcement of his future move to KTM was finally made official. There, the frenchman will team up with Pol Espargaro aboard a factory team that, he hopes, will turn all around him. It’s a huge challenge that’s waiting for Zarco as KTM’s results proves that a whole lot of work has to be done before the bike would challenge for podium finishes and even more for a win against Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and possibly Suzuki. If he was to succeed though, Johann Zarco would, for sure, write his name in history.

3. Yamaha: still far from where it should be

If things are looking well for the non-Yamaha factory rider Johann Zarco, it’s a complete different story for Vinales and Rossi. Last time out, Vinales looked amazing on the bike and was clearly having fun on it which was not the case at all at Jerez. And neither was it for Valentino Rossi. In fact the italian’s frustration was so clear that he found himself being very vocal against Yamaha during the post-race media debrief. Rossi talking about a lack of support and reactivity from the japanese brand sounds a lot like what he did back in his Ducati days. Was it really frustration or something else ? Perhaps what the italian hope is that the M1 problems won’t go un-noticed after Le Mans, a track that suits them and where they have very good chances of winning.

4. Blame on You, Blame on Me, Blame on Him

What can we say about the Pedrosa/Lorenzo/Dovizioso incident ? Well just that: it was a racing incident.

 You could blame Dovizioso for making the first move that led to the crash but, even though it seemed a little bit forced as Lorenzo was not letting any open door for his teammate to pass, isn’t the whole point of racing just to try and pass the rider in front of you ?

You could blame Lorenzo for repassing Dovizioso and colliding into Pedrosa but again, there’s no racing if you never try to save your position against the other guys on track. His defensive move though led him to be in the middle of a 3 riders line up. There was simply no way the spaniard was getting out of this corner without crashing into either Pedrosa ou Dovizioso as they were all aiming for the very same racing line and corner exit from various positions on the track.

You could blame Pedrosa for passing both Ducati at once instead of being more careful but again what else was he supposed to do ? Wait for both Lorenzo and Dovizioso to get their sh$t together and pass them one at a time ? Rubbish…

The truth, at least to me, is that the crash was a very rare but yet perfect example of a multiple riders racing incident. None is really at fault, none is really all clean.

5. Honorable mentions

Cal Crutchlow’s might always complain about not being on a factory honda yet he still know how to make his LCR bike work as proven by his pole position at Jerez.

Dani Pedrosa might have not being able to finish the race, yet it still was very impressive to see him fight for a podium just 4 weeks after his hand injury.

There was still some positive for Andrea Dovizioso as he was able to fight for the 2nd place when, on friday, he was struggling to even get into the top 10. His post race interviews though, acusing Lorenzo of “blocking him” and not letting him pass… Nope, Dovi, just NO. Racing was never about “letting another rider get past you so that he doesn’t need to make a move on you”.

As Jorge Lorenzo’s future is still totally uncertain, it was a delight to see him on such a great form again. From race winner’s own words, it was like “old Lorenzo”. Could this race help Jorge’s will to stay at Ducati ?

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 3 – USAMM93 – 10: Before Maverick…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 3 – USA

MM93 – 10: Before Maverick crossed the line, Marc had the time to: workout, take a shower, clean the paddock, prepare diner, win a race and dab on the line

AD04 – 5: Gigi’s calling. He wants Qatar’s Dovi back.

MV25 – 9: Guess who’s back ? Guess who’s back ?!! Top Gun’s back! Tell a friend!

VR46 – 6: I saw you on the grid Vale, starting right next to Marc. You were not looking particularly scared to me.

AI29 – 9: What does Belen loves more than Andrea ? A podium maker Andrea.

JL99 – 3: *Currently waiting for his lawyer to call back with the best divorce proposal he could get.*

DP26 – 8: Life tips: be more like Dani Pedrosa.

JZ5 – 6: Johann made a whole bunch of new friends this weekend. Valentino Rossi and Randy Mamola are not some of those.

ROUND 3: USACowboy’s hats on, ready to tame the beasts, the…

ROUND 3: USA

Cowboy’s hats on, ready to tame the beasts, the paddock was in Austin-Texas this weekend. Following the dramatic Argentina GP, all eyes were on Marquez as he was the favorite to win the Americas Grand Prix.

1. Austin King

No surprise came out of this US weekend as Marc Marquez continued his winning streak on the US sole claiming his 6th consecutive win at the Circuit of the Americas (his 10th overall in the USA).

Following the whole drama he was the center off in Argentina, Marquez made sure nobody, not even Race Direction, could take away from him a victory sure to come.

Used to fight for his wins, this time the spaniard stated he wanted to change his strategy (so that nobody could complain about his fiercely riding style) and went full Lorenzo-mode, took the lead early in the race (by lap 1), created a gap he then could control for the rest of the race.

The fact Marc Marquez seems so dominant so early in the season (his pace was also was way above everybody else in Argentina) should worry his opponents and give their bosses’ a whole bunch of new white hairs. Everybody still remember his fantastic 13 wins in 2014 which led him to his 2nd MotoGP title.

Can he repeat it this year ? Marc Marquez on any bike is a scary prospect but Marc Marquez on a bike he adores is a living hell for everybody else.

2. CoTA: C for Comeback!

It took times (since Maverick’s last win in France last season, to be precise) but Vinales finally seems to be back on form!

The spaniard was clearly enjoying himself and riding his bike the whole weekend. During practices he even seemed to be the only one that could have stopped Marc Marquez.

Qualified 2nd but starting from pole (due to Marc’s 3 places grid penalty), Maverick really was pushing to match Marquez’ pace but ended up 2nd. If Vinales can improve his first half of the race’s form, he could found himself being the only one able to fight the Repsol Honda rider this season.

Third on the podium is another man which we haven’t been talking a lot lately, or if we have, it definitely was not in good terms.

This US weekend felt like a resurrection for Andrea Iannone. Always on the pace and even challenging Marc Marquez for a lap or two at the start of the race, the italian wants to stay right were he is now, at Suzuki. Due to Rins’ certain renewal (official announement should come soon) and Lorenzo being linked to the second seat, Iannone had to show just what he is made off.

Will it be enough ? You can never say never but Iannone’s old demons are never too far away and one brilliant weekend can’t hide many aweful ones.

3. The case of Ducati

Qatar’s win seems so far away now for the guys in red as both factory riders and Danilo Petrucci struggled the whole weekend to found a decent pace.

While Andrea Dovizioso did not shine at all in the USA, he still managed to keep his cool and took very important points, the lead of the championship was a bonus.

Lorenzo on the other hand seems to be coming to the conclusion that his marriage with Ducati was doomed from the beginning and should end soon as he was « sad and disappointed » by his race. The spaniard out qualified his italian team mate but he never found the pace to fight for top positions during the race, leaving him at a very unnoticed 11th place finish.

I must admit, as much as i want this JL/Ducati combo to work, it just pains me to see such a brilliant rider not able to shine like he used to. Some found it boring but i found it fascinating to see Jorge Lorenzo aligned fast laps after laps in a way only him can like did on the M1.

Both riders hope things will change once they’re back in Europe. One thing is sure, Jerez might come as Ducati’s last chance to make it work with Lorenzo as the never ending rumors linking him to Suzuki next season are growing stronger than ever before.

4. The bravest of the Braves

Dani Pedrosa coming to the USA to race just a few days after his hand surgery was already a showcase of how brave the spaniard is.

Going straight to Q2 and finishing the race in 7th was unbelievable and unthinkable at first, yet, Pedrosa did it.

He later said that the points he took at Austin were worth the pain he had to endure during the whole weekend but, judging by the lastest rumors around Johann Zarco signing a 2 years deal with KTM, it might have also totally saved his ride.

We say « saved » but in all honesty, no matter how good Zarco is, Pedrosa still seems to be the best rider you can found for Repsol Honda’s second seat. He should also be rewarded for his constant loyalty to the HRC even in times where he should have totally left them in the sh*t they were.

Also, we want Dani to stay right were he is because we ship #TeamMani. And we’re not ashamed of it – AT ALL.

5. Honorable mentions:

Nicky was in everybody’s mind this weekend.

His Ducati was on display in the paddock and we loved seeing it again, the Hayden’s Hill is a lovely tribute from the Circuit of the Americas to the last US champion in date and Vinales & Lorenzo’s # 69 on their helmets were lovely gestures.

Marc Marquez also wanted to honor Hayden’s memory. His victory lap with the 69 flag had us crying heavy tears. Nicky, you are so missed. ❤️