From the Blog

The puzzle is almost complete

Picture courtesy of mentalfloss

Well, it’s Assen weekend and, as well as the racing, the Silly Season is percolating along. With all major seats now filled the attention has switched firmly to the few imponderables that are left. Unsurprisingly the major issue still occupying everyone’s mind is where is Dani Pedrosa going, (or is he going at all?)

With the announcement that Jorge Lorenzo was to take his place at HRC speculation surrounding the popular Spaniard has been high. Two press conferences have now been held at which either one of them it was expected that Dani would announce his future plans but both conferences have come and gone and we are still none the wiser. The choices basically are two; he either announces his retirement (I believe this is highly unlikely as he still has a lot to offer a potential employer) or he keeps racing but goes to another team. What team has been the thorny issue. Since all the major seats have been taken it looked like it would be either finishing his career at a second-tier team OR, and remember that you read it here first, at the much-rumoured but now almost confirmed, Malaysian team backed by Petronas and the Sepang International Circuit running satellite Yamahas.

Now, at the Thursday Press Conference at Assen, Valentino Rossi was openly talking about his good friend and current Moto2 champion, Franco Morbidelli, racing on a Yamaha next year and how it would suit him to be doing so. Since there is no other Yamaha team next year except the factory one it is clear that the Petronas outfit is a done deal. Since Morbidelli is presently struggling with a MotoGp bike it is equally clear that he is not yet up to being a #1 rider so, who would Petronas hire to fill that role? There is only one potential #1 rider still unattached and that is Dani Pedrosa.

Get used to this look.

How will Dani adapt to a totally different bike when he has been riding Hondas for the last 12 years? Surprisingly, I think he will adapt very well. Remember that one of his major issues is his light weight. This often prevents him from applying enough pressure on the front of the bike to get sufficient tyre warmth, especially on a wet track. This is because the Honda is, and always has been, a point-and-shoot bike. Adequate heat in the front tyre is achieved by heavy braking before the corner, a skill that Marc Marquez has, in spades. The Yamaha, on the other hand, is a point-to-point bike, gaining its lap times by smooth, flowing riding, apex to apex, as demonstrated by Jorge Lorenzo. I believe that Dani will find this much more to his liking and we could actually see a huge resurgence in his career even at the late stage of his racing. Added to this, the ability to be team leader, #1 rider, might also suit him very well also.

Now, here’s another curly one. Remember that I foreshadowed some weeks ago that we won’t be seeing Marc VDS in MotoGp next year? That has not been confirmed but it is being spoken of in the paddock as if it also is a done deal. I was predicting that the new Petronas outfit would take over the entrant’s licence of Marc VDS in order to get two grid spots for 2019. But, in another very interesting scenario, it appears that Marc VDS will, as expected be absent in 2019 but that the Petronas outfit will be taking over the entrant’s licence of the Angel Nieto Team who will also be finalising their MotoGp participation at the end of 2018. So it is looking very much like there will only be 22 bikes on the grid in 2019.

Now, about that Silly Season. There is a lot of talk in the paddock of DORNA imposing a “contracts ban” much like there is in football, preventing teams from negotiating new contracts for the following year until, say, August of the current year. This would, hopefully, prevent the absurd situation that we have seen this year where some teams had already finalised their lineups after only a few races this year. I can’t see how that could be enforced but they need to find some solution because the present situation, if allowed to continue, will see riders agreeing to switch teams before their current season has already begun!

Also there has been a lot of chatter about what the pool of available riders will be in the next few seasons. The logic against the ban is that it would prevent teams from “talent scouting” too early in a rider’s career. There is also talk that the teams have acted so rapidly this season as the reasoning is that there are no “next best things” in the wings. Given the plethora of riders in Moto3 especially (I think we can safely disregard Moto2 from here on) this might seem like a strange thing to say but, if you think about it, apart from Joan Mir, (whose future is already assured) the pickings in Moto3 of riders who could go all the way to the top is thinner than what you would have first thought. Certainly none of them are jumping up and screaming at me at this stage.

So, here’s the graphic again and you can fill in the latest “signings” Marc VDS will be gone, Angel Nieto Team will be gone and, in its place, add the Petronas Team of Pedrosa and Morbidelli.

Curiouser and curiouser, as the white rabbit said.

PS: The graphic is old but, as we noted a couple of posts ago, the PRAMAC Team is complete with Jack Miller being confirmed there in the place of Petrucci.


  1. says:

    Pramac ducati Australia’s jack miller 2019 ducati already signed

    • Phil Hall says:

      Yep. The graphic is a bit old but we have noted that in previous posts. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂