It is a dangerous thing to write a rider off. We learned that with Valentino Rossi, the old man currently leading the championship after two terrible years at Ducati, one tough year at Yamaha and then the first sign of resurgence from the middle of 2014.
Rossi adapted, learned, progressed, and came back stronger. After the first seven races of 2015, the wolf pack in the media center had written off Marc Márquez and HRC.
The Honda RC213V was too aggressive an engine to be tamed by electronics, the chassis too stiff to contain the stampede of horsepower contained in the 90° V4. The bike span, wheelied, and worst of all, slid the rear wheel unpredictably when it touched down ready for braking into the corner.
Márquez was trying, but perhaps a little too hard, riding every lap as if it was his one shot at pole, overloading the front tire to compensate for the lack of braking at the rear.
Márquez was pushing his luck, and it kept running out during the race, the Repsol Honda man either finishing down the order, or ending up in the gravel once the front cried enough.
If you enjoyed our first sampling of the Paddock Pass Podcast, which is mysteriously titled Episode 2, then we think you will enjoy our latest installment: Episode 3, which we just recorded at Sachsenring for the German GP.
On the mics are David Emmett (MotoMatters.com), Scott Jones (Photo.GP), and Tony Goldsmith (Asphalt & Rubber). The boys talk a little bit about “The Pass’n at Assen” and then get into the happenings at the opening days of German GP.
An embedded SoundCloud version of the podcast is waiting for you, after the jump.
Marc Marquez was back down to business, setting the quickest time in both sessions on Day One at Sachsenring.
You could probably write a book about Valentino Rossi’s “Routine” — he has that many. First up, he always closes his visor with both hands as a walks to his bike from the pit box.
Bradley Smith was only 0.119 seconds behind Marc Marquez at the end of FP2.
The Sachsenring treated us to its usual surprises on Thursday, with rain and squally winds blowing through the paddock in the morning, and the sun coming out as the day went on.
Fortunately, the only people out on track were the riders doing reconnaissance laps on the scooters, and safety officers cutting fast laps during their usual pre-weekend track inspection.
As an observer, it is hard to tell the difference between a circuit safety inspection and hooning round the track in one of the many high-end BMW sports cars that the German car-maker provides to Dorna, but I’m sure that as ex-racers, both Loris Capirossi and Franco Uncini know what they are doing.
Weird weather has already had its effect on the tire allocation. Originally, Bridgestone had brought three specifications of front tire, the soft to deal with the cold mornings, the medium to deal with the warmer afternoons, and the asymmetric tire with soft rubber on the right and a compound closer to the medium on the left, to handle the wind gusting to cool the right side of the tire.
As the name implies, the livery celebrates 30 years of GSX-R sport bikes, which have sold over one million units since their first debut in 1985.
Helping celebrate the special occasion, the 30th anniversary livery bikes will be available globally from Suzuki, though there’s no word right now on how much they will cost in the USA, or when they will be available.
What makes for great racing? Many things, but great last corners really help. A great last corner, or sequence of corners, allows riders to attack the bike ahead of them, and take one final shot at victory.
Even better is when the option to attack offered by the final corner comes with some risk attached: getting ahead is one thing, but staying ahead to the line is quite another.
MotoGP moves from one track with a last corner which guarantees spectacle to another. The final GT chicane at Assen produced fireworks with the clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez, and the last two corners at the Sachsenring offer similar opportunities.
At Assen, the hard-braking right corner is followed by a quick flick left, giving the defending rider the chance to counterattack if he is passed.
At the Sachsenring, the long drop down the steep, steep hill provides the ideal platform to launch an attack from, diving up the inside on the brakes on the way into the penultimate left hander.
That line comes at a price, though, as it forces the attacker to run wide on the exit. That opens allowing the defending rider to strike back up the inside on the approach to the final turn, the last left uphill towards the line.
Even entering that corner ahead is no guarantee of the win: like Turn 12, Turn 13 offers two lines, inside and outside, both of which can be used to pass.
Marco Melandri has had his last race for Aprilia in MotoGP. The two parties have at last reached agreement to go their separate ways. As such, Aprilia test rider Michael Laverty will replace Melandri for the rest of the 2015 season.
Melandri had always been a reluctant participant in Aprilia’s MotoGP project at best. The Italian was halfway through a lucrative two-year deal with Aprilia in World Superbikes in 2014, when Aprilia announced the switch to MotoGP for the 2015 season.
Melandri’s priority was always to remain in World Superbikes and fight for the championship, and it was clear that Aprilia’s first season in MotoGP – a year earlier than anticipated – was going to be a transitional one.
At the time, Aprilia’s plan was to leave World Superbikes, only later lining up the Red Devils Roma team to run their factory operation. By then, it was too late for Melandri to make the change.
As the MotoGP season reaches its mid-point, injuries are starting to take their toll. Riders are being forced to miss races, and replacements have to be found.
The latest victim is Stefan Bradl. The German fell heavily during the race at Assen, fracturing the scaphoid in his right hand. Though he immediately drove home to Augsburg for surgery on the broken bone, the time between Assen and the Sachsenring has proven too short for Bradl to be fit for his home GP.
Stefan Bradl is to undergo surgery to fix a fractured scaphoid in his right hand. The German had a major highside during the race at Assen on Saturday, being thrown from his Forward Yamaha on lap six, at Duikersloot.
Bradl landed heavily and immediately knew something was wrong. X-rays showed that he had fractured his scaphoid, with photos shown on the Speedweek website indicating that it was a fracture at the waist of the scaphoid.