Sunday Summary at Catalunya: MotoGP’s New Golden Age, Ducati’s Bad Luck, & Honda Ending KTM’s Moto3 Streak

06/15/2014 @ 10:30 pm, by David Emmett27 COMMENTS

Sunday Summary at Catalunya: MotoGPs New Golden Age, Ducatis Bad Luck, & Honda Ending KTMs Moto3 Streak 2014 Catalan GP MotoGP Sunday Scott Jones 09 635x423

Whenever I have the pleasure of running across MotoGP’s official statistician and number cruncher Dr. Martin Raines, he likes to point out to me exactly why we are living through a golden age of racing.

His arguments are backed with a battery of indisputable facts and figures, which boil down to a single fact: the races have never been closer. Not in terms of gap between the podium finishers, not in terms of gap between first and last, nor between all points finishers. This is an era of truly great racing.

As if to underline his point, the Barcelona Grand Prix served up a veritable smorgasbord of fantastic races: a strong win and thrilling podium battle in Moto3, a surprisingly hard-fought Moto2 race, and to top it off, perhaps the most exciting MotoGP race we have had since 2006, with four riders slugging it out and swapping places right to the final lap.

The winner of the MotoGP race may have been predictable – any bet against Marc Marquez looks more and more foolish each week – but in Barcelona, Marquez’s victory looked in doubt all the way to the final couple of corners.

At half a second, his margin of victory is overstated. If things had run a little bit differently, Marquez’s winning streak – now up to seven in a row – could have ended along with his string of poles.

It was a scintillating race indeed. Four men swapped the lead frequently. Dani Pedrosa got the holeshot, changes to weight distribution having given him back his lightning start. Jorge Lorenzo took off after him, taking the lead with an outrageous “porfuera” pass around the outside of Turn 1, lining him up for Turn 2.

Lorenzo then tried to pull a gap, but that simply wasn’t happening, Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi took over the lead after three laps, getting past his teammate after a brutal exchange of passes in the first part of the lap. Marc Marquez followed, exploiting Lorenzo’s moment of weakness to follow Rossi through, before latching onto the Italian’s tail.

There he found his teammate Dani Pedrosa stalking him, jabbing and probing, seeking a way past. The two exchanged blows for six laps, before Marquez finally escaped from Pedrosa’s clutches and started snapping at Rossi’s heels.

Marquez took over at the front with six laps to go, holding off attacks from both Rossi and Pedrosa, swapping the lead with Pedrosa, before the final do-or-die lap, where he countered Pedrosa’s final attack and held on for the win. Any opportunity to pass was seized, all four men just as aggressive in their passing as each other.

Though it was Marc Marquez who came out on top in the end, making it seven wins from races this season, it was by no means a foregone conclusion. As so often this year, when he rolled the dice, they came out in his favor. He attacked Valentino Rossi, and just as Rossi was about to counterattack, Pedrosa slid under Rossi to thwart the Italian’s plan.

Pedrosa sniped away at Marquez throughout the last couple of laps, but some tough defensive riding and holding a tight line saw Pedrosa run into the back of Marquez, clip his back wheel and nearly take them both out. Instead, Pedrosa ran wide, Marquez lost the rear but managed to save it, and Rossi was not close enough to exploit the situation.

The race made even more exciting by an incident on Lap 19. Marquez had just passed Rossi into Turn 1, a move which also allowed Pedrosa to follow. But Marquez found he had passed the Italian just as the marshals were busy clearing away the bike of Mike Di Meglio, while yellow flags were being waved.

Marquez spotted the flags out of the corner of his eye, realized he would be penalized if he continued, so put his hand up and slowed to allow Rossi back. Pedrosa followed suit, and once Rossi was back in the lead, hostilities resumed. The move caused a great deal of confusion for all except Marquez and Pedrosa, as nobody else – including Rossi – had seen the yellow flags.

As the race had started with a massive black cloud hanging over the circuit, it was feared that the hands were because rain had started to fall. The incident even confused the teams in pit lane, who immediately started warming up the spare bikes.

The result left Marquez jubilant with his seventh win in a row, Pedrosa happy despite only coming third, and Rossi masking his disappointment at finishing second. Marquez said this was the hardest battle of the season, and perhaps the most rewarding.

Pedrosa was delighted that his arm was now strong enough to fight all the way to the end, as well as with the changes made to the bike. The Spaniard had suffered in the early races with a change in strategy forced upon him by the team, which had shifted focus from the start of the races to make the bike better in the second half of the race.

That shift had left him floundering in the first half, but a modification at Barcelona saw Pedrosa get his usual great start, and allowed him to maintain his pace in the early laps. His goal, Pedrosa told the press conference, was first to get a good start, and when that succeeded, it gave him confidence to push in the early laps.

So much confidence, in fact, that this was the most aggressive we have seen Dani Pedrosa in a very long time, perhaps even since his races in 250s. It was an inspired sight, and gave the lie to the old complaint that Pedrosa is unwilling to fight for a place. Not only will he fight, but he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to attempt the win. That realization, perhaps above all, is why Pedrosa was so happy.

For Rossi, the outcome had the opposite effect. He may have secured a second place for the fourth time this year, and matched his podium haul for the entire 2013 season in just seven races, but the smile he displayed in the press conference resembled a grimace with gritted teeth far more than a smile of real joy.

Rossi has been competitive all year, and this time, he said, he could taste victory. It is a sweet, sweet taste, but becomes very bitter if snatched away before you actually cross the line in first. Rossi knows he is close to grabbing his 81st premier class win, and his ambition is leaving him ever more frustrated when it doesn’t succeed.

That win is coming, however. The Barcelona weekend had all the hallmarks of Rossi’s best years. The Italian was fast during practice, but missed just a little bit of speed. The team improved the bike all weekend, and on Sunday morning, found the missing piece of the puzzle.

That allowed him to fight for the win, but in the end he came up short. Rossi’s explanation was that the Honda does not stress the rear tire as much as the Yamaha does, giving them an advantage as the race progresses. The setup improvement Rossi’s crew chief Silvano Galbusera found allowed him to keep lapping in the 1’42.8s, but he was slowly losing grip, and with it, was losing braking.

What Barcelona does demonstrate is that Rossi is still as competitive as he ever was. I, like many commentators, had written Rossi off because of his age, but he has proved me wrong. He still has the hunger and the ability to win races, and surely those wins will come.

His problem is that he faces two men in Pedrosa and Lorenzo at least at the same level as him, and Marc Marquez, who seems capable of superhuman feats. The final chapter is yet to be written in Valentino Rossi’s racing history, but it will be very hard fought indeed.

After a superb race in Mugello, Jorge Lorenzo could not quite stay with the leaders at Barcelona. Many factors were to blame, above all a lack of grip and the bumps on the track. That made it hard for Lorenzo to ride as smoothly as he likes and conserve energy, needing more effort to calm the bike over the many bumps there were at Barcelona.

His biggest problem was losing time in acceleration, the price the Yamaha pays for the improvement in braking. Both Lorenzo and Rossi can brake later, harder and deeper, but at the cost of more movement in the rear under acceleration. The rear end pumps and moves when they get on the gas, and so far, the solution has been to cut power to try to keep the bike stable.

The downside of cutting power is so obvious I won’t even point it out, but Lorenzo reckoned it was costing him three to four tenths a lap. The problem wasn’t so bad with the grip the new tire offered, but as his tire dropped in performance, so did his ability to stay with the Hondas. It was a common problem, Pol Espargaro suffering exactly the same trouble.

The scintillating battle at the front meant a couple of strong performances went relatively unremarked. Stefan Bradl took a solid fifth place, after battling with the leaders for the first quarter of the race. Behind him, Aleix Espargaro proved his mettle by ending in sixth, best Open bike once again. The sight of the elder Espargaro in parc ferme still feels unnecessary, especially when Aleix is beating almost everyone but the four aliens on the factory machines, with only Bradl ahead of him.

For the other factory, the news was good and bad as ever. The good news for Ducati was that Andrea Dovizioso once again cut his gap to the leaders in half. Last year, the Italian finished 32 seconds behind the winner Jorge Lorenzo. This year, he was just 16 seconds slower than the winner, with Andrea Iannone a couple of seconds slower.

The bad news came from the other factory Ducati garage. Cal Crutchlow’s bike was struck down by gremlins once again, this time the electronics playing up and then dying. In the early laps, his bike was producing the wrong amount of power in the wrong corners, Crutchlow said. In some of the tighter corners, he had full power, in others not enough.

He switched engine maps thinking it was just a question of setup, but that killed the power altogether. His problems lasted nine laps. Before the bike died completely on Lap 10, lots of warning lights flashing and the engine going completely.

Neither Crutchlow nor his team had any idea what caused the problem, leaving both parties baffled and frustrated. The gremlins which plagued Ben Spies during his second year in the factory Yamaha team appear to have found a new home. Crutchlow will be less than pleased.

If the MotoGP race was a scorcher, the Moto2 race was settled by a much more comfortable margin. Tito Rabat won once again, increasing his lead in the championship, but this win did not come as easy as earlier victories. Maverick Viñales gave Rabat a run for his money in the first half of the race, Rabat only able to shake him off after the halfway mark.

Mika Kallio looked like losing out badly to his teammate, but a string of crashes by the riders who had passed him meant Kallio salvaged fourth, limited the damage to Rabat.

In Moto3, a streak came to an end. Alex Marquez’s impressive victory on the Estrella Galicia Honda stopped the run of 32 KTM-powered wins in a row. Marquez won using strategy and intelligence, the Spaniard managing to make a break in the early laps and defend it all the way home.

Marquez was helped by the epic battle behind, with Efren Vazquez playing a key role in slowing up the chasing pack. Vazquez seems determined to stay at the front of the group he is riding in, whether it makes any sense or not. His constant battling for the right to chase Marquez meant that the Estrella Galicia rider managed to get away.

The most impressive ride of the day went to Enea Bastianini. The young Italian is in his first season in Moto3, moving up from the Red Bull Rookies. Bastianini looked set for his first podium at Mugello, but he was taken out by Jack Miller on the final lap.

At Barcelona, he finally got the reward he deserved. To come in and outperform the highly regarded Karel Hanika is impressive. To grab a podium in just his seventh Grand Prix is absolutely outstanding. With Bastianini, Pecco Bagnaia and Romano Fenati, the future is looking up for Italian racing.

Fenati did not fair as well as his younger compatriots. The Italian rode a brilliant race, getting an outstanding start from 16th on the grid, and battling for the podium for most of the race. He lost out on the crucial last lap, dropping from third down to fifth, with Jack Miller making moves when it counted to retain his lead in the championship.

The rumors concerning his future appear to be getting to Miller, the arguments over whether he is committed to Marc VDS by contract or not continuing. Miller struggled all race, but when it came down to it, the Red Bull KTM rider realized he had to get down to business.

Fourth place is not where he wants to finish, but he got himself ahead of title rival Romano Fenati, so he got the job done when he had to. The problem for Miller is that he needs to attack early, not late.

No doubt once his manager – Aki Ajo, also his team manager – has sorted out his future, Miller will once again be able to concentrate on winning, rather than worrying about whether he’ll be in Moto2 or perhaps even MotoGP in 2015.

Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. L2C says:

    Thanks for clarifying the confusion that the yellow flags caused.

    “Pedrosa was delighted that his arm was now strong enough to fight all the way to the end, as well as with the changes made to the bike. The Spaniard had suffered in the early races with a change in strategy forced upon him by the team, which had shifted focus from the start of the races to make the bike better in the second half of the race.”

    For me, this was the gem in your reporting, David. Thank you.

    I have wondered out loud about Pedrosa’s weird and anemic team strategy on my Twitter account. FINALLY I have confirmation of my suspicions. Pedrosa had been hinting around about this strategy for many races now, and as a fan, I couldn’t understand why he or his team would continue forward with such an obviously, critically flawed plan.

    Recently, he seemed to be asking permission to revert to his more competitive strategy through the press, particularly following the race at Mugello — and it was hard for me to believe what I was reading/hearing/understanding. At the time, it ran counter to the beliefs that I held about his team.

    For all Marquez’s persistent comments about how his first priority was to beat his teammate, Pedrosa has been avoiding answering this question all season long. And now I know why. Honda. It must be said, this greatly diminishes my respect for the factory.

    A lot of people have a lot of bad things to say about Alberto Puig, Pedrosa’s former manager. But Puig has fought tooth and nail for his riders. If he were still in Pedrosa’s camp, forcing a strategy that was not competitive on Pedrosa would have been out of the question. That would have never happened.

    Now I’m wondering if Pedrosa’s arm pump issues this season were associated with the drastic changes to the setup of his bike. Changes in geometry, ergonomics, weight distribution, and body position could have negatively affected a condition that he had previously been able to successfully deal with. It would be a shame that he underwent surgery because of that. Hopefully that’s not the case.

    I knew something was wrong and that it was related to the team. I knew that it had everything to do with the team and not Pedrosa’s ability. Saturday’s qualifying session was like a dream from the past. When Pedrosa took his flying lap for pole position it was clear – crystal clear and beyond any doubt that his team had reverted to the old, winning strategy. I had not seen Pedrosa’s clean, perfect and precise lines since sometime last season. The cornering speed that he had was just the most beautiful thing to watch.

    We’ll see if Honda allows this change to remain permanent. Pedrosa hitting Marquez’s back wheel probably gave HRC a heart attack. Assen will answer this question.

  2. smiler says:

    It is a stretch to say Hinda have ended KTM’s run of wins. This is the Marquez brothers local track. Cevera is about 30kms from Barca. Indeed Rabat spends all of his off time time there. So track knowledge being so important, would appear to be the winning formula. Much to Dorna’s glee. After all Carlo used to run the track.

    As for MotoGP. For whatever reason Pedro has finally realised that he is in the same team as MM and on the same bike. Rossi, as usual had the best strategy to upset Marquez and upset he was. So finally after almost a complete season Marquez is getting some competition for first place. From Pedro finally recovered and perhaps no longer under team orders, from Rossi whose new choice of engineer seems to be bringing rewards, Lorenzo who is not fit again and Yamahahaha who seem to have got within a decent margin to Honda.

    However the past 2 races have shown Mr Marquez for the race he is. In Mugello he nearly came off whilst just following Lorenzo. he continually tried to out drag him and then missing the subsequent corner. given the speed he caught Lorenzo it was clear he was @0.5 secs faster per lap but looked very ragged and was upset by Lorenzo, making several subsequent mistakes.
    At Barca, his home track, where he should be expected to clean up, he looked even more shakey. Crashing in qualifiying, the jump bike strategy not working out. His straight on at turn one looking like an amateur mistake. For most of the race he was bested by a rider 15 years his senior on what is still an inferior bike on his home track.
    Pedro finally pushed him and it was Pedro’s mistake that ensured the race did not go to the line.

    Proper champions should and must be: charismatic, strategic, very very tough, able to ride rubbish bikes to the limit of their ability successfully and to succeed in adversity. Thus far Marquez has shown none of these traits.
    Rossi, Doohan, Lorenzo, Rainey, Schwantz, Roberts, Sheene, Hailwood and even Stoner have shown some or all of these traits. When Marquez does start showing any of them then he will start to be a champion.

    As for this being the golden age of MotoGP. Well the past 2 races have been races at least and the state of MotoGp proves that statisitcs rarely prove decisive. The best race this year, Mugello Moto3.

  3. Xan says:

    @smiler: Again, you open the comment section of an article with asinine assertions. Did you actually read your post before hitting submit? All you really said was “Marquez is so terrible! He can screw up 5 times in a race and still win!” Seriously, you write these comments as though he hasn’t won every race this season. This one was won even with his teammate hitting his back tire in the final lap. I do find it entertaining that you manage to convince yourself that he is somehow bad when he beats everyone else even when he screws up. It’s cute!

  4. Damn says:

    its no lie if you say. mm had it real easy. were was yamaha? mm could cruise to victory, even jorge could not follow mm when he open up the throttle. and now still honda is faster at least in the end of the race. vale couldn’t do anything after mm/dp pass him.

    fuel,frame,tyres,electronics, and so on. now yamaha is closer but still not there. you can ride 20 laps on top but if the 5 last laps count your not gonna win.
    Yamaha had alot to overcome befor they got a little better.+ JL/VR are bigger and more heavy.

    If mm can make a gap of 3.5 sec hold it and cruise to victory with no pushing yes its easy.
    Also the yam was in the beginning realy aggressive! all those problems and 7 wins isnt even a dream!

  5. Spamtasticus says:

    @smiler,

    Did Marc Marquez piss in your cheerioos? Your assesment of his technique and accomplishments sound like those of a jealous schoolboy. It is ok when our heros are beaten. This does not diminish the accomplishment of those who beat them. Diluting the success of a younger faster rider just because he beat someone you have vicariously pinned personal accomplishment to in order to fill in for what must be a bleak and mundane existence is just petty.

  6. smiler says:

    Spamtasticus says
    Oh how adorable we have found a true Marquez fan boy, mesmerised by his good looks and youth. Do not think everyone should share your affections though. Just trying your concept of a counter arguement.

    Most people when countering anothers position do it using logical arguement, making incorrect and unfounded personal attacks are usually the tools of a loser. You lost.

    As for this comment: : “a younger faster rider just because he beat someone you have vicariously pinned personal accomplishment to in order to fill in for what must be a bleak and mundane existence is just petty”.

    You should really not express your own feelings in your arguements. As for whether this is true.

    You feel perhaps I have pinned my personal accomplishement to another rider, for example Rossi. If so then his achievements are spectacular and no one is expecting him to consistently win against 93. Your arguement makes no sense. As for any other rider then who would that be do you think?

    Rather than showering whoever happens to be winning with accolades it is logical and much more mature to look at that persons accomplishments in perspective. As such he meets none of the charcteristics shown by the riders mentioned above. Thus far he is quickest during an 18 month long slump in MotoGP, with shrinking grids, budgets, manufactuers and competition. He has been backed to the hilt by Dorna and Repsol because he represented a solution to their PR disaster after Stoner quit. This is why the rookie rule was conveniently dropeed for him only. The racing would have been significantly better if he had been put on a satelite bike for 2 years. Still better if Simoncelli had not died.

    As for my life you clearly have no idea what I have done or not done and clearly unlike you, I just like watching motorcycle racing. For me it is entertainment not a form of worship.

    Age is irrelevant as a hinderance to admiration. Hamilton and Rosberg are both young and at the top of their game and as such I admire them. Stoner was 22 when he won the title in 2007. I do not like the rider I see but he clearly fulfills some of the criteria laid out above and I and increasingly other respect him for what he achieved and his absence from the grid, further undermining your illogical rant.

    So clearly Mr Marquez is an idol for you. I am happy for you really and please try to use an arguement rather than throwing your handbag about. It makes you look stupid.

  7. meatspin says:

    I almost wonder now if Marquez can win every race? It would be such an interesting sporting possibility that compels me to watch that little guy go round and round.

    Its been an awesome season so far, especially with Moto3.

  8. smiler says:

    Xan – if you have a crush on Marquez then just say so.

    As Doohan said:
    He’s jumped on to the factory Honda machine which Casey Stoner was on. He’s still got to perform but … I think you would’ve seen a different Marquez had he gone into a tier-two team. He was pretty much given the magic carpet to ride, he just had to stay on the thing…….

    And why was the Rookie rule dropped especially for Marquez to give him the magic carpet? Because he was the best or because Dorna needed to recover from the PR disaster when Stoner left and support their biggest and sibling sponsor Repsol and promote Spain’s fortunes. There would be no point in compromisg safety otherwise.

    Putting Marquez into perspective. Stoner was 21 when he won the title. Unlike Marquez though:
    he was on a second rate bike whilst Pedrosa, Rossi and others were on bikes clearly better.
    He was racing half way round the world on circuits he had less knowledge of than Marquez has. Marquez was born on the track at Barca.
    He won the MotoGP title in less time than Marquez.
    He then won his second title with another manufacturer.

    Just to highlight one other rider with the qualities I mentioned.

    I know Americans are genetically incapable of logical criticism, not reverting to personal attacks and comments about being gay as well as a having to support whoever is on the top step of the podium no matter what but….

    I quite like Marquez but as most other former racers have the hysteria needs to be put into perspective.

  9. Faust says:

    Say what you will about MM, but the fact is that Pedrosa’s struggles are not his fault. Pedrosa has been on a fantastic GP bike for a long time and hasn’t closed the deal on it. In the meantime, three different teammates have come on board, learned the bike and taken a world championship. That’s certainly no fault of MM. It’s also certainly not good enough to tie up that seat indefinitely. And it’s not Honda’s fault either, so save that. They set the bikes up specifically for him even after Hayden brought home a championship. He was making the big money till MM took it to Yamaha. He has been given chance after chance.

  10. Brandon says:

    @smiler,

    “Rather than showering whoever happens to be winning with accolades it is logical and much more mature to look at that persons accomplishments in perspective. As such he meets none of the charcteristics shown by the riders mentioned above. Thus far he is quickest during an 18 month long slump in MotoGP, with shrinking grids, budgets, manufactuers and competition. He has been backed to the hilt by Dorna and Repsol because he represented a solution to their PR disaster after Stoner quit. This is why the rookie rule was conveniently dropeed for him only. The racing would have been significantly better if he had been put on a satelite bike for 2 years. Still better if Simoncelli had not died.”

    I completely agree with you smiler. No other person has jumped on a factory ride ever… no one seems to remember this. I also don’t like how he’s passing riders, his ragged style makes the other riders more cautious around him.. they always know he’s just going to stuff it up the inside of them regardless if he’s quicker in that corner or not. The only rider that was doing the same thing to him was Lorenzo last year during the last 4-5 races. IMO Pedrosa could’ve just stuffed it up the inside of of MM instead of getting cautious and tapping his rear tire if he had the same attitude Marques has on passing… MM also almost hit the back of Rossi as well, that didn’t look like control to me. And no, I’m not jealous guys… just a spectator with an opinion.

    Remember how mad Stoner was at Rossi for the Laguna Seca passes in 2008? Those passes were timid compared to what MM is doing. Stoner would be freaking out if he was still racing.

  11. article dan says:

    Wow a half decent race and a good race and its a new golden age of motogp. I don’t think so

  12. L2C says:

    Nakamoto said his heart stopped once when he saw last lap contact between Marquez and Pedrosa in yesterday's epic battle of Barcelona— Matthew Birt (@birtymotogp) June 16, 2014

  13. Xan says:

    Man, it’s pretty apparent that some people hate Marquez winning. If you find yourself saying “so what Pedrosa HIT Marquez three turns from the finish… Marquez ALMOST hit Rossi halfway through the race!” you might be biased… Just saying.

  14. Xan says:

    So smiler, if winning isn’t the way to tell if someone is good… How about we compare record lap times held by everyone you mentioned with Marquez? Or is him being faster than all of them also some Honda/dorna/Spanish inquisition conspiracy as well?

  15. Chuck says:

    “I don’t care that Marquez is winning, he needs to win HARDER, but without ever pushing his limits.”

    -smiler

  16. Grimey Benson says:

    @smiler

    Why are you such a miserable twat?

  17. It’s pretty obvious that all of the manufacturers, bikes, tires, paddock girls, and riders a mere DORNA puppets. And it’s common knowledge that DORNA is controlled by the evil energy drink conglomerates that demand we live our lives slightly dehydrated and thoroughly buzzed. Marc Marquez is a robot. There’s no other explanation. That’s why @smiler and many others see through the façade and hate him beyond reason. MotoGP has never been worse. It’s safer, faster, and better produced than ever. How terrible. Our only hope is Casey Stoner but he’s too pure to engage in this false theater. This is why I watch NASCAR and WWE. You should all join me and stop watching and maybe more importantly, stop whining.

  18. @smiler

    Let´s say so…. Valentino just “jumped off” a Yamaha totally develop by Alex Barros… and win the row of titles… When he got a “zeroed bike” like Ducati, he ain´t made shit.
    So… this proves he´s a bad rider ehh?

  19. irksome says:

    @Conspiracy: MM was on the grassy knoll; I know because Eleanor Roosevelt told me thru the fillings in my teeth.

    Dorna runs the show, a boatload of riders are Spanish; ohs noes! I’m able to ignore the cults of personality and I keep watching because I love motorcycle racing. If there’s none on TV, I’ll head up to Laconia to watch the vintage bikes go at it.

    The hilarious part of all this is we see these people do their jobs for one hour every few weeks At home, Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo et al might kick the dog. Or they might love their mothers very much. To assign any sort of values or motivations to any of them is the height of human folly.

    Ignore the manufactured persona, kids; it’s all in your mind. Maybe just try to enjoy the next race.

  20. Jw says:

    I’m glad I am not a fan of any one specific rider. I like most of them and if I don’t like some I for sure respect them for what they are doing. I like to study and watch them all, I love some of the politics involved too. I’m not liking the stuff I’m hearing about Pedrosa’s team, I thought the team did what the rider wanted, (like Rossi firing his crew chief) WTF . Is HRC controlling DP’s team strategy to thwart any real chances to beat MM? Tell me this is not true. Does HRC deliberately keep DP as number 2 puppet?

    This just makes me sick..

  21. FafPak says:

    @Smiler

    The Ducati of 2007 was not second rate relative to the competition at the time. Ducati got the GP7 right and they built it early. Hell they were testing it already in 2006.

    “Testing of the GP7 in Motegi, Japan, revealed that the 800 cc machine could run faster laps than the higher-displacement 990 cc bikes, and held nearly a second advantage over the next fastest 800 cc bike, a Honda ridden by Dani Pedrosa.”

    “…The bike had a clear top speed advantage over the rest of the grid, due to its higher output motor. A new track record was set on the GP7 (Qatar 2007). Second place contender and five time World champion, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, realised that “unfortunately, there was too much difference between (our) bikes in the straight” and “Our Yamaha will never go as quick on a straight as the Ducati.” These words turned out to be true, as the GP7 enjoyed a top speed advantage throughout the season, although the other manufacturers (Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki) closed the gap significantly by the end of the year.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ducati_Desmosedici#GP7

  22. law says:

    Not taking sides but I agree that when under
    real race pressure MM is a bit on edge

    If he is leading no problems clicking off laps
    But if pressured either by not being in 1st or having someone
    on his shadow it does show a bit….as it would for anyone

    Watching the Pedrosa clipping his rear closely on replay
    it had as much to do with MM about to run wide & chopping power.
    But that is fair anyway. The running off track etc was another
    pressure induced error. It ended well as that corner was not a
    gravel trap & also MM has the ability to think quick & knew to goose it &
    re-enter track in same position etc.

    Saying this I hope to see many more of these tight races
    as it makes a big difference in enjoyment of spectating
    This one was almost Moto3 like ;)

    We are lucky to have at least 4 able to fight for the race

  23. Frank says:

    As usual smiler never fails to disappoint. He’s consistent if not absolutely miserable. Pedrosa was the fastest guy on the circuit this weekend for sure. His problem is race craft. Vale and MM have the same blood flowing through their veins and will race hard to win. People here seem to feel that Marquez races TOO hard… that’s subjective. I would say that was the case in his Moto2 years, but this year he hasn’t made a single unfair pass. Pedro had nothing bad to say about the battle after the race, in fact- he was smiling.

    Pedrosa running into Marc’s tire had to do with two things – Dani was faster and Marc was definitely riding a brilliant strategic last lap. He pulled hard on the brakes to force Pedrosa into making a decision. Vale did the same thing to Marc at the beginning of the race and forced Marc to stand up and run wide.

    And hey smiler, if you really feel like MM is not good for the sport and is not as good as his relentlessly amazing results at this point in his short GP career then I wouldn’t be surprised if you haunt these comment boards with your negativity for years to come. If you haven’t been able to believe what you are seeing by this point, then perhaps we can expect the same trolling when MM wins his second world title… and his third… and who knows. The kid is winning races, championships, setting fastest laps, setting pole, breaking records and YES, I’m sorry to break it to you, but people all over the world do indeed find him to be charming and a sincere personality in the paddock. Find something new to say because with each race weekend that goes by your comments become more and more ridiculous and baseless.

  24. L2C says:

    Hey Jw, here’s the latest from Nakamoto’s lips. We should take it with a grain of salt until the racing results agree with what he says. And it’s mighty convenient to say there will be no team orders after hobbling one of his riders for six races.

    Personally, I’m not buying what he says unless I see the results. He has double-talked the lame bikes that Hayden and Redding are riding, so he can easily say two different things on this matter.

    Anyway…

    Impressive or not, Nakamoto made clear his priority is to win rather than put on a show. “My background is as an engineer and engineers want to win every race. I never care for the grand prix itself. I want to win.”

    That however does not mean Nakamoto wants victory at any cost and he pledged not to impose team orders despite the near disaster in Catalunya.

    “I have only given a team order once. At Valencia last year. I told Marc you don’t need to win this race [to win the championship]. So the order was against Honda! And against Honda philosophy. We will never make team order for the future. I am happy if both riders win.” — Crash.net, 17 June 2014

  25. Alclab says:

    @smiler:

    WTF is up with your comments? You come across a very negative, biased and angry man. NOthing you said made sense woth the racing that we’re seeing, specially fo MM93. He is super charismatic, but that’s irrelevant. He is simply the fastest rider out there, and has won on a shitty bikes (Moto2), he not only has the racer’s blood and desire (as Vale), he’s just plain fast, breaking track records both on qualifying and race lap, add to that the style and speed, he’s just raised up the ante and everyone else has to change their technique and style to compete with him (which is why the past 2 races have been more competitive).

    Everyone is allowed to their opinions and favourite riders, and we’re talking about the fastest people on 2 wheels in the world. Some may like the aggressive style, others the sheer speed and caution, but don’t go spreading hatred and such unfounded opnions on who is one of the best riders (if not THE best, history will tell) to ever ride a motorcycle.

    Cheers!

  26. smiler says:

    Aclab. Your missing the point, we have had 2 races so far this year. The rest have been a procession where the youngest and best eqipped rider has ridden faster. Lorenzo started 2014 was recovering from injury and is now fit. Pedro has injured himself each year except 2012 in MotoGP, which speaks volumes and even though with Repsol Hinda he has been runner up to 6 different champions. Rossi is 34 and will never seriously challenge Marquez.
    Marquez moto2 ride was shitty. Since entering Moto2, Suter Honda have come: 2010: 2nd, 2011: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 2012: 1st, 4th, 8th, 2013, 5th – 7th, 9th, 10th. His ride in Moto3 was on the KTM – best bike on the grid. So you point about shitty bikes is not backed up by the facts. In Moto2 he was also backed by Repsol and I cannot therefore see that he lacked for funds.

    As if to make the point very clearly. Marquez is quite good thus far.

    Mick Doohan is a champion, there is a significant difference. Especially given the level of competition he faced in comparison to the current situation. Take a look at the entry lists and number of Factory / semi factory Hondas about then.

    http://blog.motorcycle.com/2014/06/17/videos/mick-doohan-story-video/

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, based on facts, comparison and analysis. I am the first to accept other opinions based on facts but not on petty childish and petulant personal insults.

    Another useful comparison.

    Freddie Spencer as comparison: Took his first major class podium in his 3rd ever world championship event. It was Marc’s 78th. Freddie then took his first major class win after 8 events, for Marc it was 79. Finally, Freddie won his first major class title after just 24 races while it took Marquez 96.
    He also won both the 250 and 500 titles which was 24 races in one year.
    No one can argue that riding a 2 stroke was easier and less demanding than the current bikes. An arguement that could be used for those riding back in the 50′s, who tending to ride anything and more often.

  27. “No other person has jumped on a factory ride ever… no one seems to remember this.”

    That’s some pretty impressive revisionist history. A list of recent riders who came into MotoGP as rookies on factory rides:

    Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
    Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki)
    Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
    Nicky Hayden (Honda)
    Marco Melandri (Yamaha).

    Vale’s 2000 ride for Nastro Azzurro was fully factory-backed. Chris Vermeulen’s first full season in MotoGP was with a Suzuki factory ride.