It’s hard to believe that another Isle of Man TT is almost upon us — the racing this year has the potential to be the best we’ve ever seen. With all the usual suspects back, the pace at the front is going to be hot.
Will we see the first 133 mph lap of the Mountain Course? Can anyone stop Michael Dunlop’s dominance? Will John McGuinness edge closer to the 26 wins of the legendary Joey Dunlop?
Then of course there’s the question that everyone is fed up of asking, can Guy Martin finally take his first win? This year could be his best chance as he’s arguably got the best machinery he’s ever had at the TT.
It is well known that Britain has not produced a Grand Prix World Champion since Barry Sheene, who was crowned 500cc champ in 1977.
In the late 1990’s, with no sign of that changing, British fans turned their attention to World Superbike in their bid to find someone to cheer for.
In recent years the fans have returned to Grand Prix racing, despite ongoing success in World Superbike. British riders have started to get competitive machinery, and there has even been the occasional 125 podium and race win to celebrate.
In 2012 things really started to look up for British fans with Cal Crutchlow flying the flag in the premier class.
Whilst riding for the Tech 3 Yamaha team he claimed two podium finishes. The following season he improved taking four podium finishes and two pole positions.
At the same time, Scott Redding was winning races in Moto2, and narrowly lost out to Pol Espagaro in the Championship race .
Meanwhile, Danny Kent, once heralded as The Great British hope was having a nightmare debut season in Moto2 on the uncompetitive Tech 3 Mistral.
Dani Pedrosa was happy with his day’s work despite crashing and remounting on the 1st lap. He reported no ill effects following his arm pump surgery, other than the expected lack of strength.
Another strong showing by Andrea Dovizioso who claimed his 4th podium of the season.
Valentino Rossi still leads the world championship but Jorge Lorenzo is starting to look threatening.
Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for 3rd place on the grid after a faulty sensor on his Moviestar Yamaha caused him problems in his 2nd qualifying run.
A fantastic effort by Andrea Iannone to qualify 5th despite his shoulder injury.
A 6th place start tomorrow for Bradley Smith. He’ll be hoping to capitalize on his best qualifying of the season in tomorrow’s race.
A good opening day for Jorge Lorenzo, who finished with the 2nd fastest time.
Marc Marquez suffered an electrical problem during FP1, and had to push his Honda RC213V back down pit lane.
Bradley Smith was the surprise package of the day finishing with the fastest time.
Whether you like the man or not, you have to admit that Cal Crutchlow is looking good this year on the satellite Honda with LCR, as he sits 6th overall in the Championship.
Cal has always been one of the most underrated riders in the MotoGP paddock — you’ll know this because he’s the first one to tell you. It’s sort of like CrossFit.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Cal Crutchlow fan. He is affable in person, and meaner than a terrier on the track — my two big criteria for any motorcycle racer.
However, it’s getting harder and harder to cheer for the British rider, even though he’s posting some of the best results ever in his GP career.
While having a quick look through some pictures from Jerez, I stumbled across this one from the pre-event press conference that made me chuckle. I thought it would make for a funny “Caption This” post for the readers of Asphalt & Rubber.
I’ll start us off with: M.M.: “I’m a little concerned Dovi. The instructions said the swelling should go down within 4 hours. That was 5 hours ago and it still looks like this.
Over to you guys.
With the dust settled on the Spanish Grand Prix, the serious business of testing got under way at the Jerez Circuit this past Monday morning.
With a live track for eight hours, this is invaluable time for riders and teams to assess new parts, fine-tune existing parts, and go in search of the elusive setup.
For a photographer, a test is an all together more relaxing experience than a race weekend. With so much time available you can linger at locations and take your time wandering around the track.
Additional locations become available as the advertising boards, which are usually too high to shoot over, have been removed. Pit lane is almost deserted, and provides opportunities that are harder to pick out on a race weekend.
With that considered, I will leave you with the gallery below from Monday’s test.
Lorenzo lead from start to finish to claim his 34th MotoGP victory and put his title challenge back on track.
Marc Marquez was able to ignore the pain from his injured hand to claim a comfortable 2nd place.
Rossi grabbed another podium and extended his lead in the championship to 15 points over Dovizioso.