Yesterday I graded the MotoGp top 10 riders for their performances in 2012. Today I’ll look at Moto2. With much bigger fields and with a more even spread of riders, filling out a report card for this class is considerably more difficult but, as usual, the cream inevitably rises to the top.
A+ Marc Marquez. “Marquez the Merciless” as he is coming to be known, was the star of the class, winning the championship by a handsome margin though not easily. Many of his more difficult tasks were of his own making (Motegi and Valencia particularly) but, in the end, the had the bike and the talent to prevail over all of them. His outside pass on Espargaro at Estoril was worth the price of admission just by itself. It is good to remind ourselves that, but for his late-season accident in 2011, Marquez would have won the title LAST year. The man is a freak, at least as talented as Rossi at the same age and capable of easily duplicating Rossi’s career. I predict that he will adapt seamlessly to MotoGp and become the 3rd “alien” before the season is half over.
A Pol Espargaro. Smooth, fast and talented, he had the misfortune of arriving at his peak in the class at the same time as Marquez and, most of the time, Marquez had the answer for what Paul dished up. Indeed, it was mainly Espargaro’s extra ability in wet conditions that shadowed his already famous rival. With Marquez departing for greener fields in 2013, Pol should be the favourite for the Moto2 crown in 2013.
A- Andrea Ianonne. “Crazy Joe” finished 3rd in the title race but nearly 120 points behind Marquez. Brutally fast when the tyres hold out, Andrea’s Archilles heel is his qualifying which often lets him down. Having to fight hard from 22nd position has often meant that, by the time he caught the leading group, he had used up too much of his tyres to be able to go on with it. It will be very interesting to see how he copes with the recalcitrant Ducati next season. He certainly has the aggression, does he have the patience?
B+ Thomas Luthi. Another whose season was too inconsistent. Very fast and a real “scrapper” Luthi brought his 125cc skills to the party and they served him well. Tom needs to worry more about his racing and less about what those around him are doing. The sight of Luthi looking behind him on the straights was too familiar in 2012.
B Scott Redding. Gifted with an excellent bike and a good team, Redding failed to deliver the knockout punch that many hoped that he would. Again it is easy to blame the big fields in Moto2, but often Redding would be at the head of the pack in the early running only to fade late in the race and finish off the podium. Scott has to develop the ability to be ferocious for the whole race distance.
B- Mika Kallio. Mika showed patches of brilliance that we know he has but too often was mired in the pack. Getting mixed up in a brawl for 6th place doesn’t help your cause. He needs to be more decisive and aggressive.
B “Tito” Rabat. Another Spanish rider who has a good bike and good team behind him but struggles to put together a string of consistent rides.
B Dominique Aegerter. Much the same can be said as for Rabat. Flashes of brilliance but not enough consistency.
C Bradley Smith. Major disappointment of 2012. With the contract for TechIII in MotoGp in his pocket from the start of the season, Smith took his eyes off the ball and lost his way. No race wins yet for the likeable Pom, a situation that I expect to continue in the big game.
C Johann Zarco. The step up from the 125’s to Moto2 has been a difficult one. As with many others, Johann showed patches of brilliance, but crashed too often and failed to adapt. Hopefully, with the departure of several Moto2 luminaries to other classes and a year of data under his belt, Johann can show us his real talent in 2013.