Sunday Summary at Argentina: Of New Tracks, Doohanesque Domination, & The Merits of a Rossi Revival

04/27/2014 @ 11:12 pm, by David Emmett33 COMMENTS

Sunday Summary at Argentina: Of New Tracks, Doohanesque Domination, & The Merits of a Rossi Revival marc marquez termas de rio hondo hrc 635x421

There is much to be said in praise of the first running of the Argentinian round of MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. First and foremost, praise should be heaped upon the circuit itself. Designer Jarno Zafelli took a formerly pedestrian layout and added just enough kinks and twists to make for an exhilarating and difficult racetrack.

There are plenty of places to pass, and sections different enough that teams and riders can concentrate on their strengths, though that makes them vulnerable at other parts of the track. Add in a final section which lends itself to last-gasp attacks – at the risk of penalty points, as Romano Fenati found out – and you have an utterly superb track for motorcycle racing.

If Jarno Zafelli of Dromo was hired more often, instead of Hermann Tilke, there would be a lot more fantastic circuits to race at.

The only negative was the fact that the track was still so dirty, a result of it not yet having seen enough action. Once the riders got off line, they found themselves struggling for grip, losing a lot of ground.

Fortunately for the races, almost everyone got off line at some point or other, putting them all on an even footing. Once the surface cleans up properly, the track should offer even more places to attack, and alternate lines through sections. The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is a fine addition to the calendar.

Crowds and racers thought so too. Attendance wasn’t as high as expected: nearly 53,000 paying customers on Sunday, well shy of the 70,000 which had been hoped, but over 6,000 more than Laguna Seca, the race it replaced, despite being a long way from the nearest large conurbations.

But the atmosphere was electric, and people came from all over South and Central America to see the action. Adding a race in this part of the world was badly needed. The authorities built it, and the crowds came.

The circuit produced a mixed bag of races: a thrilling Moto3 race, a dominant display in Moto2, and a MotoGP race which was closer than expected. Race of the day was Moto3, which Jack Miller looked like he had in the bag. At a fast track like Argentina getting away is impossible on a 250cc four-stroke single, and drafting is inevitable.

Miller had pushed on with Romano Fenati and Efren Vazquez, being joined by Alex Marquez and Alex Rins later on. Rins got tangled up with Vazquez and dropped off the back, leaving just Miller, Marquez and Fenati to sort it out among themselves.

The lead swapped regularly, the hard right of Turn 5 at the end of the back straight being one favorite passing spot, as was Turn 7 and Turn 1. But as the last couple of corners approached, Miller felt he had the situation under control. The Australian slid underneath Alex Marquez to take the lead on the turn into Turn 13, exactly as he had planned.

What he hadn’t planned on was Romano Fenati making a last-gasp attempt to pass the leaders, running out of tire and bumping into both Marquez and Miller. Fenati said he couldn’t control his front tire, and so couldn’t get the bike stopped as he had hoped.

That loss of control gave Fenati the win, despite Race Direction awarding him a penalty point after the fact. It was a hard move by Fenati, but most of all, it was a mistake rather than a calculated and cynical attempt to bump his rivals out of the way. Miller was livid, but accepted the outcome.

He still has a comfortable lead of 17 points over Fenati, but he also probably has revenge in his heart. Next time Fenati gets too close, Miller will be prepared. The fans will love it. Race Direction may not.

After a close Moto3 race, you might expect Moto2 to be more of the same. Times during practice for the intermediate class had been close, many riders within a second of the leader. But Tito Rabat had no intention of hanging around, making a break and going on to take the win unchallenged.

Rabat’s advantage is even larger than Miller’s, the Marc VDS Racing rider leading his teammate Mika Kallio by 28 points, or more than a win. Rabat’s lead in the championship is a reflection of the consistency of the Spaniard. His rivals keep failing, Maverick Viñales crashing out in Argentina, with Viñales’ Pons teammate and former Moto3 rival Luis Salom taking his first podium.

Belgian rider Xavier Simeon more than made up for his error at the last race in Texas by hanging on to come home in second. This time, Simeon stayed calm, and did not make any mistakes. Rabat was beyond his reach, but a podium was not, just rewards for the Gresini rider.

Simeon was not the only Belgian to do well, Livio Loi had taken his best ever finish a little earlier in Moto3. Loi’s fourth place was an excellent result for the Belgian, especially as it came on his 17th birthday. Given the debut win by Michael van der Mark in the World Supersport race in Assen earlier in the day, it was an excellent day all round for the residents of the Low Countries.

Then came MotoGP. The first few laps provided some genuine excitement, with a massive battle going on behind Jorge Lorenzo, who managed to get away at the front. It proved a bit of a false dawn: once Marc Marquez had elbowed his way past the bunch ahead of him, he quickly chased down Lorenzo.

There he sat, quietly and calmly, until he saw his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa start to close in. Seeing it was time to make his move, he passed Lorenzo, dropped his lap times by half a second, and cruised home for the win. Victory in Argentina made it three wins in a row, and a perfect record for Marquez. Three poles, three wins, 75 points and an advantage of 19 points over his nearest rival, teammate Pedrosa.

The ease with which Marquez switched tactics, blitzed past Lorenzo and then put a couple of seconds into the Movistar Yamaha rider in just a few laps speaks volumes of exactly how easy this win was for Marquez. The outcome was never really in doubt, especially as Marquez had dominated practice.

The Spaniard is imposing a genuine reign of terror: the last time a rider won the first three races from pole position was in 1971, when Giacomo Agostini was dominating on the MV Agusta.

Ominously, that year Agostini took pole in the first eight races, which he also went on to win. The difference with 1971 is that where Agostini was riding a 500cc triple and competing with single cylinder Manx Nortons and the very first two strokes, Suzuki 500cc twins, Marquez faces a field full of factory-built bikes, Hondas, Yamahas, and Ducatis. Still, Marquez rule is complete.

If it continues in this vein, we could be in for another period of Doohanesque dominance. In the second half of the 1990s, the question was not who would be world champion in premier class, but rather how early Mick Doohan would be able to wrap the 500cc title up.

It was a dark period for Grand Prix racing, fans fading away to watch World Superbikes, which featured closer racing, but more importantly, a larger-than-life character in ‘King’ Carl Fogarty, complete with comedy villains such as Frankie Chili.

Luckily for Marquez – and for MotoGP fans – the Spaniard is a much frothier and friendlier character than the dark and dour Doohan, and though the racing in World Superbikes is excellent, there is no great narrative, no story being handed to journalists and fans on a plate. Fans are likely to stick with Grand Prix racing simply because there is no alternative, with Marquez’s sunny disposition making him easier to watch.

Can Marquez’s dominance be fixed? It seems unlikely. Marquez’s reign of terror is not based on greatly superior machinery, though the Honda RC213V is clearly the best of the factory bikes.

The rule changes coming in 2016 will make little difference in this regard, and given Marquez control of the Moto2 class on an inferior machine – though Marquez’s Catalunya Caixa Suter was immaculately prepared, it was nowhere near as easy to ride or turn as the Kalexes which dominated the grid – there is little room for hope.

Much has been made of the three-class system in MotoGP, with the Factory Option bikes, Ducatis, and then Open class machines. In reality, there are only two classes: Marc Marquez, and the rest.

I always believed there was no greater racer than Giacomo Agostini, and then came Valentino Rossi. When I understood exactly what Casey Stoner was doing, I believed I would never see a better motorcycle racer than Stoner, the Australian eclipsing Rossi in terms of raw talent.

Now, here comes Marc Marquez, shattering expectations, making the very best motorcycle racers in the world look rather silly. The sooner Maverick Viñales, Alex Marquez, Jack Miller, maybe even Fabio Quartararo join MotoGP’s premier class, the better.

Though Marquez’s talent is beyond question, clearly he also has an advantage in terms of equipment. The Honda simply manages the liter less fuel and harder 2014 tires better than the Yamaha. A fairer reference point is Dani Pedrosa, who sits in second spot in the championship. Pedrosa leads the Yamahas, but is no match for Marquez.

The advantage which the Hondas have is starting to get to Jorge Lorenzo. Asked in the press conference where the Yamaha is losing out to the Honda, Lorenzo said the pattern was much the same as 2013.

“We miss more or less what we missed last year, but a little more,” he said. “The bike needs to brake a little bit later, and it needs to stop in a short time. Also, we are missing a little bit of acceleration and top speed. More or less the things we were missing last year.”

The problem is that the engine freeze means that Yamaha can do nothing to the engine to try to make up the deficit. “We can still improve the electronics and the chassis. I will try to improve myself, and the set up with my mechanics and engineers,” Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo was at least more like the rider he was last year. Recovering some of the fitness he lost over the winter after undergoing a number of operations to remove various bits of metalwork from his body, Lorenzo is concentrating better than he did in the first couple of races, and is thinner and mentally tougher.

But he is running into the limitations of the equipment he has. Yamaha will have to find some improvement if they foster any illusions of challenging Marquez. Where they will find such improvement remains to be seen.

Which brings us to the million dollar question: why does Yamaha let Honda make the rules? The reduction in fuel capacity was Honda’s idea, which was accepted without question by Yamaha. The idea for an engine development freeze came from Dorna, but Yamaha were happy to acquiesce.

Yamaha is getting its behinds poached, lightly grilled, and served up to them in a white wine and green herb sauce. It is a predicament of their own making, and one which they could at any time have avoided, either by switching to the Open class, as Ducati did, or by rebelling against the Honda-led MSMA.

If Yamaha riders are to beat Marc Marquez, they need every advantage they can get. Meekly accepting every proposal Honda makes merely puts you even further on the back foot. At least Ducati has the moral conviction to stand up to HRC.

Which brings us to Valentino Rossi. The Italian finished 4th once again, the position he had a virtual monopoly of last year. Yet Rossi leaves Argentina optimistic. Where previously Rossi did not stand a chance of running with the top three, in Argentina, he had a shot at the podium. Getting tangled up with Stefan Bradl put him out of contention, the Italian claimed, where otherwise he would have been on the podium.

Is this true? What is certain is that Rossi is finishing much closer. In Argentina, Rossi was just under five seconds behind the winner. He was also just 1.6 seconds behind his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who had led the race. Rossi says he has the pace, and when you look at the lap charts, you have to say he is not that far off the truth.

Valentino Rossi lapped in the 1’39s on 12 occasions in Argentina, just two less than Dani Pedrosa, and five less than Marc Marquez. If you look at the twenty fastest laps set during the race, Marc Marquez posted eight of those laps, Pedrosa set seven, and Rossi managed four.

Rossi’s five fastest laps were a quarter of a second slower than Marquez’s best five, but nearly three quarters of a second off the pace of Dani Pedrosa, who finished second. Rossi’s ten fastest laps were a second slower than Marquez’s ten quickest, and his fifteen best were 1.3 seconds slower than Marquez.

It is clear that Valentino Rossi has made great strides forward from last year. Rossi looks and talks as if he can be a factor again, and that has made a difference to his riding. The timesheets show that he is indeed nipping at the heels of the top three, but the question of whether he has managed to discard the moniker of the fourth best rider in the world remains to be seen.

In Argentina, Rossi was once again fourth, a position he remains all too familiar with. On the evidence of 2014, Rossi will be much closer to the top three, which was his objective for the season. His trouble is that catching the leaders is one thing; regularly beating them is another thing altogether.

Valentino Rossi will see a lot more of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. The question is, just how close up will he be? The next race at Jerez will be an important pointer.

It is a circuit which Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi all love, though if you had to name a favorite, Dani Pedrosa would surely be it. Rossi’s aim will be to find himself with a shot at the podium on the final laps, but he faces stiff opposition. The old master has his work cut out to keep the young wolves from his back.

Photo: HRC

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

Comment:

  1. smiler says:

    So, Dorna is Spanish, the circuit is now the 5th Spanish related track being in aformer Spanish colony, the top three were Spanish with Spanish sponsors.
    Trying to make out that putting a MotoGP round in the middle of nowhere in the far south of the Americas is really missing the point. It is there because of the Spanish sponsors, no other reason.
    People criticse F1 but at least they really make an effort to cover the world. MotoGP has 5/18 Spanish related rounds. No ther international race series would be taken seriously if this was the case.

    Yet again it is down to Rossi to being an ouch of interst to what was nother predictable race. Merguez first, with no racing at all. Pedro plodding along behind and Lorenzo unable to make any real impact. We even had the now classic Bautista first lap crash.

    To compare Doohan and Merguez is really well wide of the mark. Merguez is clearly on the best bike by a country mile. Doohan had to continually fight Hinda engineerins wanting to continually change the bike and often make it even more eveil. The RCV is like riding a horse, the NSR kike a rodeo bull. Doohan dominated his rivals in different way. Merguez is just faster.

    WSS and WSBK provied substantially more and better racing this weekend again.

  2. BBQdog says:

    Considering myself a hardcore motorsport fan watching 500cc and MotoGp races for a long time I fear for the rest of the MotoGP season. The first 3 laps were exiting but after that is was business as usual. And I hardly watch Moto2 as I consider it a cup class with no development. Maybe the first 2 years of Moto2 were exiting but now I got a feeling of have it seen it all. As it wasn’t for the very exiting Moto3 race I would not be willing to spend any money on a MotoGP subscription and could do with a short ‘highlights’. I am not willing to pay any money for a predictable Spanish Open with filling of some other nationalities.

  3. BBQdog says:

    Addition: I loved the track, pitty it was so dusty ….

  4. Gutterslob says:

    Yeah, track was great. Too bad most of the other recent circuits are the usual insipid Tilke snoozefests. Smiler above mentioned F1 at least making the effort to cover the globe, which is a fair point, but I’d honestly rather see 3 races each in the proper circuits of Italy (add Mugello to Monza and Imola) or England (add Brands Hatch and Donnington to Silverstone) than watch ‘racing’ in tracks like those (modern) ones in Korea or the UAE. Heck, the only good track Tilke ever designed, Istanbul, doesn’t even host F1 anymore.

    With regards to motorcycle racing this weekend, WSBK at Assen was way more entertaining. Personally, I think I’d rather pay for a WSBK subscription than a MotoGP one, even though it’s money into Dorna’s pockets either way.

  5. Joe Sixpack says:

    What Smiler said.

    With these BridgeHondaStones, put Marquez on the Yamaha and he finishes behind Lorenzo and Rossi.

  6. froryde says:

    Dear Dorna:

    I WANT MY MOTOGP.COM SEASON PASS MONEY BACK!!!!

    Grudgingly,

    Notafan

  7. Kaw4Life says:

    @smiler – Dont hate man. Ever think that maybe Spanish cultures welcome two wheels? I know mine has been tainted by a bunch of ASS HATS!

    @ Joe Sixpack – If grasshoppers packed .45’s, birds wouldn’t eat them. It is what it is. Enjoy.

  8. Xan says:

    @smiler: I get what you’re saying, but it is not nearly as simple as “just do events elsewhere”. The time, money, logistics, planning and coordination that is required to make these races happen is insane. These Spanish tracks are some of the best in the world, and until other places can step up, it would be silly for the GP to try and spread it out. Coupled with the fact that a lot of Spanish stakeholders have a lot of money in it, it is natural that these events happen where they do.

    I’m American, and I wish there was more interest in the sport here, but it doesn’t mean I expect the GP to focus anywhere but where the vast majority of fans are.

  9. Kalle says:

    Spain is dominant in terms of event and riders, not because of some weird conspiracy. They’re dominant because the walked the walked and invested hard money into creating a mecha for motorcycle racing.

    When/if other countries do the same, they will reap the benefits too.

    Countries with a huge population and a huge economy, but have a national series that only covers 5 rounds and only half of a vast country, are especially excluded from any rights to whine about spanish dominance.

    That said, I’m seeing glimmer of hope. People are taking matters into their own hands with the west coast super bike shootout, a series that has real grass roots connection with the local club racing. It could be the start of something great.

  10. smiler says:

    Kaw4Life – It is not a question of hating but getting continually disappointed with Dorna being unable to manage a race series correctly:
    5 different classes in the same race, with one that rewards failure.
    5 / 18 rounds are in Spain or ex colonies. Even during the days of Marlboro, Pepsi and Lucky Strike sponsorship, there was no US round until 1988 and then only maximum 2.
    It shows the results of a Spanish feeder series (not anyother series) on the MotoGP site.
    MotoGP and WSBK attendance has been dropping as prices are increased and it reduces media access, both by charging print media and restricting other media to exclusively pay per view. The BT deal in the UK has annoyed so many people. Can you see it all live in the US?
    There are three manufactuers in MotoGP….3.
    MotoGP attendance in “regular” places is as good if not better than Spain and it’s former colonies.
    There are plenty of other tracks and countries with very strong motocycle culture if Dorna stopped trying to line its pockets at every round.
    Even after 14 years Rossi is still the only rider providing any real entertainment.
    Spanish riders are being promoted and kept because they are Spanish and not because they are the best. It has wlays been the case but not to this extent. Pedro should have gone several years ago. Crashista, who crashed yet again on the first lap has not scored a single point this year, to name but two.
    There are nine Spanish riders in Moto2.
    How likely is it that when Rossi and Pedro go, their replacements will not be Spanish?
    The rookie rule was instigated because of the death of a rider and dropped for a Spanish rider.
    It is the only world motorsport series where the FIM is excluded.
    WSBK, STK and WSS were much more enjoyable yet again than MotoGP. That is just not how it should be.

  11. David says:

    I’m with BBQ. The season is over.

    No need to subscribe to any coverage. I’ll just check in on the web occasionally to get updates.

    The first race of the year was the proverbial dream that keeps an old guy like Rossi thinking he still has what it takes.

    But Rossi should now no he is over the hill. Hate to see him go out like this. But I understand the desire for an aging Hero to not want to give it up.

  12. Lewis Dawson says:

    Hey, Smiler…

    Where exactly are the circuits that are ready, willing, and able to host MotoGP events but are being prevented from securing a round by Dorna? Ready *and* willing *and* able means the circuit has suitable GP-level safety and facilities and also can pay the costs of the event. Until you can produce these alternatives, it makes no sense to complain about four rounds in Spain.

    And what’s this attempt to count Argentina with Spain, that is just stupid. How many rounds are in England and former English colonies?

  13. dc4go says:

    Im not sure what the hate is all about the track was awesome MM93 is just to fast. Everyone else just has to step up their game factories/riders and out race him. Get rid of the tire rule please and t/c and racing will be alot closer. As far as Dorna going to Arg. cause it’s a Spanish based track is pretty bogus the majority of the Arg. population is 75% of Italian decent, and the rest German/Spanish.

  14. TonyC says:

    It was a very entertaining race to watch. The first 5 laps were the best in a long while. But I would have to agree with what had already been said – the season is over. MM and the Honda is just too good to beat. In addition to the engine development freeze, there is nothing more Yamaha can do to counter.

  15. I agree, this track is awesome, about as close as you can get to a racetrack designed for motorcycle racing anywhere in the world, certainly the best motorcycle track in the series. Every other track was designed for auto racing, just like virtually ever top-tier track in the world. But this thing is filled with beautiful sweeping parabolic corners that go on and on. These are the kind of tracks that motorcycles are supposed to race on. Road racing is about turning, that’s what makes it fun for the rider, pulling out that perfect smooth corner attack on the very edge, there is nothing more exhilarating in my book. And this track has corners where you can do that.

    The big power GP bikes hardly even have a place to lay down their power aside from that one straightaway, negating most of the engine advantages you see on other tracks.

    Looks like the word has come down from the team heads, who are no doubt getting significant pressure from the sponsors, pushing the riders to go all out at the beginning of races so that Marquez doesn’t walk away with every race the entire season.

    Nobody likes foregone conclusions in racing, spectators get bored and stop watching, TV viewership drops into the toilet. So riders are being told, put it all on the line, and push it to the brink, and that’s exactly what we saw early on. And that’s why everyone is killing themselves to try to get the pole position, because that’s the only chance you got against Marc, start ahead of him. That’s also why you see riders at the back going down on the first corner, they’re being told, move up or lose your job.

    As for Marquez’s race, he looked like he was on cruise control out there, walking through supposedly world-class riders as if they were backmarkers. Then when he made it to 2nd, he was making up at least 4/10 a second a lap on Jorge like it was nothing. And when he reached Lorenzo, he just hung back, watching, studying and planning for about 6 laps. When he finally made a move, it only took him one serious attempt to get by. Then after he put a few tenths on Jorge, he went back into cruise control, and didn’t even bother to push anymore, just held his pace. I imagine he was told to not just leave them all in the dust, specifically to give Pedrosa a chance to get second. Keep Lorenzo’s attention while he gets reeled in by Dani.

    As for those who don’t appreciate Marquez’s ability, and think that any of the other top riders could do what he’s doing on the Honda, you’re deluding yourself. Wake up.

    The Yamahas are barely competitive in comparison to the Hondas, the only advantage they really have is in the early acceleration out of the corners, better torque, but even on this track, where that provided some significant advantage, it wasn’t even close to enough. I didn’t see how much lean Dani was getting, but Marquez was getting 62°, where Lorenzo was getting 58°. It’s almost as if he’s accepted that he can’t win, and is not going to risk going down by pushing too hard, perhaps those are even team orders. Yamaha seemingly made zero progress in the off-season in the handling and engine areas, that’s just not acceptable, especially in a series were the Hondas are just about perfect, that won’t cut it.

    As for the Ducatis… well. Cal Critchlow injuring himself trying to go faster, got him injured and put him out. Their bikes don’t deserve a rider as good as Cal. Another manufacturer who can’t seem to make any genuine performance improvements, why is that?

    Tires did not seem to be an issue in this race, amazing. But I put that down primarily to the track design which has a pretty equal number of right and left corners, keeping heat distribution and wear nice and even. If only the other circuits were as nice as this one for motorcycles, the Bridgestones wouldn’t have near the PR problem they have now. Their showing in this series certainly isn’t going to help them sell their Battleax street line/crap.

    The questions posed in this piece about why Yamaha acquiesces to supposedly Honda proposed changes, I imagine has more to do with business. If you think Yamaha isn’t getting something, then you’re fooling yourselves. This series is about the business of selling motorcycles, which has a myriad of complexities in changing global markets that are ever more dependent on behind the scenes deals and partnerships. The Japanese have had to close in and come together in the face of emerging outside threats.

    Yes Ducati does a beautiful job of standing up to HRC, and look where they are, slotted back nicely, right where they belong, out of the money. Maybe if they had played ball, they might have been allowed to improve enough to challenge the Yamahas.

    The fix is in kids, the only way to make this series truly fair, is to write a rule that mandates riders swap motorcycles every other race. But even with Marc Marquez on a Ducati, he probably still wins… every race :)

  16. Kalle says:

    I would also argue that a true fan can just sit and admire the technique and skill of a rider at the top of his game. Just sit back and enjoy the excellence. I sure could sit through 45 minutes of just difference angles of MM riding around the track.

    There’s also plenty of action happening further down the field. If on the #1 spot fight is interesting to you, I can’t think of any GP racing that will entertain.

  17. “There’s also plenty of action happening further down the field.”

    For that matter, the first few laps of MotoGP featured such epic scrapping all through the field that it more resembled a Moto3 race. Although the outcome may have been predictable in that Doohan-/Schumacheresque fashion, there was plenty of good stuff happening in the opening laps.

    Moto3 killed it, though, from start to finish. Moto2’s feature battle between Salom and Corsi was thrilling. All in all, I was happy to watch from start to finish for all classes.

  18. Bruce says:

    Kalle,

    Thanks for some sane comments. Holy sh*t, we have some spoiled whiners posting up comments. Fans today get to watch racing on TV! Or on the internet. Or get same day results. For those fans who have been around awhile and remember waiting days or a week for their Cycle News to arrive to read about week-old results, this is a great era. I enjoy the sport of motorcycling and whether it’s on the street, track or dirt. Watching these guys on TV is a privilege that too many fans take for granted. Even better is going to the races in person of course. Sure I love a close battle as much as the next guy, but even if it’s a runaway, I’ll still watch the for the sheer pleasure of watching professionals wring the neck out of some awesome machines.

  19. dc4go says:

    @ A Brown ………… agree with putting MM93 on the Ducati and i still think he would win every race, lol…

  20. Lewis Dawson says:

    I don’t know what Aaron Brown is snorting, but I want some.

  21. Richard says:

    so the “cheating” ducati factory team is not on the podium this time? they didn’t cheat hard enough for this race, I guess.

  22. Justaguy says:

    1- What is up with Nakagami? I want the guy to win. He seems like a nice guy. But he is all over the place results wise. C’mon Taka!

    2- Remember when Rossi started the leg thing and it was mocked? Remember last season at Texas when KR or Eddie (maybe it was Freddy?) spoke about how Marquez is ‘off’ the bike and how he doesn’t keep the wheels in line, riding like he (whomever it was commenting) had never seen before?

    Why didn’t Danny and Jorge spend the off season ‘learning’ to ride like that? Forcing themselves to adapt so they could win. 3 races in and I still see the 2 Spanish robots riding like it was last season……

    Isn’t that the mark of a true champion? Being able to see what the enemy is doing and co-opting it yourself to insure victory?
    The Eddie slide? The Rossi leg. The Bubba Scrub in Super/Moto-X. The Marquez elbow………..

  23. BBQdog says:

    @Bruce: I don’t know where you live but over here we have been able to watch 500cc and MotoGP for over 25 years live. Nothing to do with ‘spoiled’. All to do with ‘predictable’ and ‘boring’.

  24. Runciter says:

    I just did ctrl F on this page and typed “Nicky”

    WTF ?

  25. article dan says:

    Im so glad ITV do a highlights show. Shame its a whole day later Though. Think the only interesting thing this year will be can marquez win every gp this year?

  26. TexusTim says:

    U have to agree that the zafelli layout has a better flow than the new tilke tracks..better for riders and spectators.

  27. Jw says:

    Wow, a lot of bitching. As for me, anything can happen to this season. It ain’t over till it’s over, right? As far as Dorna and Spain, I see other countries that dominate in one particular sport, so what. If they own the show we as fans deal with it or take up some other sport to be a fan of.

    Nik Harris said there were 100k there, yet about Half in reality. Too bad they didn’t reduce ticket prices, get more in and perhaps build a stronger fan base in South America.

    Alvero I think will be unemployed next year.

    Pedro did very well and actually in second place is where Honda needs the second rider to be in.

    Does Honda really need to change riders when right now there are running in the top 2? Why pay giant money for Jorge in 15 when they have a great number 2 man right now.

    Fanati bumping miller and all the Drama, LOL, yet I have seen Rossi do this to other riders many times.

    Wonderful track, one of the best IMHO

  28. “Alvero I think will be unemployed next year.”

    I fear you may be right. Álvaro simply hasn’t come up with the goods yet this season, despite looking promising at times during last season and during testing. I suspect that Redding will get Bautista’s seat and somebody else, likely from Moto2, will take the spot on the production racer next season. Unless Álvaro starts getting consistent points equivalent to or better than Bradl, I’d be surprised were Gresini to renew.

  29. crshnbrn says:

    ^ Bautista showed some promise early on in Qatar, but since then he has reverted to his old ways. He needs to come good by scoring some serious points and bringing the equipment back to the paddock in pretty much the same way he left on it, except for maybe the tires.

  30. @crshnbrn: Agreed about Qatar. There’s no question about the boy’s pace; he just needs to consistently bring home the points. Thus far, he’s 0-for-3. :-(

  31. crshnbrn says:

    ^ With stats like that, chances aren’t the greatest of finding a seat when the music stops during silly season.

  32. Jw says:

    Bautista is one of those riders you kinda Cringe when he is on the bike, fearing what he’s gonna do next. I have to believe his money sponsors don’t like that in a rider. Some riders can have a fast few laps but never be consistent. Crashing up the equipment all the time plus the enormous expense of getting the team to each race, all to crash crash and crash. This does not make an economic case for him, unfortunately.

  33. Justaguy says:

    ^
    That makes reminds me, how the hell does Yonny Hernandez have a ride? Seriously. I expect that guy to crash as soon as he pulls away from the pit box.