As usual (now that the races are back in a sensible time zone) I stayed up and watched the MotoGp live feed last night. Just when you thought you had seen it all, the broadcast delivered two races that were full of controversy and comment and one which sneaked under the radar.
The Moto2 race was Alex Marquez’s third win in the three races and he did it easily as he had done so at the last two outings. Years ago, when Alex first came on the scene, his brother, Marc, warned us that he thought Alex was a better rider than he was; a big call. Time has proven that Marc was, if you’ll pardon the pun, a bit OFF the mark with that one as Alex’s career has, so far, been dotted with inconsistencies and sketchy incidents almost since the beginning. Despite having the benefit of being in good teams and of having a “coach” to give him tips, Alex has committed far too many unforced errors, often when in comfortably leading positions in races, to be considered a serious threat to his brother’s reputation thus far.
But there are encouraging signs that he has learned a lot and is now starting to be his OWN rider, rather than just being considered as M&M’s little brother. Whether he will ever reach his brother’s level is moot (I don’t think so, but, what do I know?) but, should he go on with it this season and WIN the Moto2 championship, you would have to think that he will warrant attention from some of the better MotoGp teams. Will he end up at Repsol Honda? Again, I don’t think so, but, stranger things have happened. Notable amongst the Moto2 field was the performance (or lack of) of Marco Bezzecchi, a star in Moto3 just a year ago, languishing at the back of the Moto2 pack (as is last year’s Moto3 title holder, Jorge Martin, such a shame).
The Moto3 race was tenpin bowling on wheels, a truly crazy spectacle. 20 odd Spanish riders at a Spanish track in front of potential Spanish sponsors was always going to be a recipe for some craziness, but these guys took craziness to a whole new level. Of the 30 riders who started, only 19 were classified as finishers with multiple and single bike accidents being responsible for the bulk of the retirements. There will be some questions asked of Honda, too, after two of their top runners retired with engine troubles, how long has it been since you last saw THAT happening? And, to cap it all off, John McPhee performed the save of the year (so far), staying on when it looked for all the world that he’d be launched over the bars. You like your racing with a dash of madness? Moto3 is where it’s at.
Surely the MotoGp race wouldn’t continue the trend? Um, no. Jorge Lorenzo found himself right in the mix after a decent qualifying and an awesome start, surely the whole thing just went to his head? He was on for a podium in Turn 10 but impatience proved to be his undoing. Braking hard for the corner, he dived for a gap inside Dovi at the left-hander only to realise, way too late, that Dovi was slower than he thought, the Ducati on cold tyres and with a full fuel tank requiring a little more finesse than the Honda or the Suzuki do in similar circumstances. Jorge’s front wheel folded and he cannoned into the side of the Ducati. Vinales, unused as well to getting a great start and looking podium ready, was clobbered by Lorenzo’s Honda as it speared to the outside of the corner and Rossi (also unused to being this close to the front this early in recent times) at least had time to dive to the outside and take avoiding action. Unfortunately for him, the downed bikes were all sliding into the area where he needed to be and the Yamaha ran over Vinales’s front wheel. For a moment it looked like he would pull off a remarkable save but the bike faltered and crashed also.
In the space of a few seconds, four of the main contenders were on the deck and out of the event. Petrucci, who had been a “little” tardy off the line would later be glad he was as he missed the carnage, (able to slip down the inside of the corner and get away). Quatararo also escaped unscathed. And Marquez? Despite being hosed at the start, courtesy of Ducati’s launch control software, he had managed wrest the lead off Dovi just before the incident took place and it probably took a lap or so before he could figure out where all the heavy-hitters had gone. What was going to be a dogfight ended up as a cakewalk. Marquez suddenly had over a second lead and, history tells us that he doesn’t need even THAT much to win a race. Near race end his lead was over 5 seconds but he buttoned off in the last few laps to ensure the win, still crossing the line 2.7 ahead of Quatararo who scored his first, and well-deserved podium. Petrucci filled the last step with another excellent tyre-preserving ride, fighting off Rins to finally get on the last step.
The circus now takes a week’s break before heading to a back-to-back round with Assen one weekend then Sachsenring the weekend after. Marquez is suddenly 37 points to the better at the top of the championship table with two of his very favourite tracks up next. We are not half way through the season yet but it is looking ominous for all the riders who aren’t riding a Repsol Honda with the #93 on the front.
On the local front it hasn’t been busy, riding-wise. I had the chance of doing a Putty ride on Saturday and the weather was great, but I really have ridden it so much lately I wanted to do something else. My local group had a Batemans Bay/Goulburn ride planned for Sunday but, wouldn’t you know it, it hosed down rain on Saturday night so the ride was called off.
I am STILL waiting for the spokes to arrive from O/S for the Gold Wing. I ordered them on the 24th of May and they still haven’t arrived. I will never buy from this supplier again. Not happy, Jan.
Till next time.