Episode 237 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one is our Moto2 and Moto3 follow-up to Episode 236, which focused on the MotoGP action from the Aragon GP at Motorland Aragon.
On the mics, we have David Emmett, Neil Morrison, and Adam Wheeler, as they walk us through the on-track action in the intermediate classes.
Episode 236 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this show covers the MotoGP action from the Aragon GP at Motorland Aragon.
On the mics, we have Steve English, David Emmett, Neil Morrison, and Adam Wheeler, as they cover what turned out to be a very eventful weekend in Spain.
Marc Marquez arrived at Aragon as the clear favorite to win. Based on his record – five wins from seven races, and crashing out of the lead in a sixth – and on the fact that this is a counterclockwise circuit, like the Sachsenring.
Before the Sachsenring, Marquez had a seventh, a ninth, and three DNFs, but he went on to win the race in Germany with ease, despite still not being completely fit.
Marquez arrived at Aragon – his third most successful circuit – with a seventh place, an eighth, a fifteenth after a fall, and a first-lap crash with Jorge Martin. If the pattern is to repeat itself, then surely Marquez is on for another win at the Motorland Aragon circuit?
Two crashes on the first two days suggest that may be harder than we all thought.
With 21 riders covered by less than 1.3 seconds at a track over 5 km long, it is hard to pick a winner after Friday.
Take Jack Miller’s stellar lap out of the equation, and it’s even closer: the gap between Aleix Espargaro in second place and Joan Mir in 21st is precisely 1 second; Espargaro to Enea Bastianini in tenth is exactly two tenths of a second; Espargaro to Danilo Petrucci in fifteenth is half a second.
If ever you needed an example of just how close the current era of MotoGP is, Friday at Aragon delivered.
These past two pandemic-stricken season have been strange years for me as a journalist. Instead of heading to race tracks almost every weekend, I have been sat at home, staring at a computer screen to talk to riders.
There have been ups and downs: on the plus side, we journalists get to talk to more riders than when we were at the track, because computers make it possible to switch from one rider to another with a couple of mouse clicks, rather than sprint through half the paddock from race truck to hospitality and back again.
Marc Marquez has had a rough 2021 so far. Since his return from the injury, which kept him out of MotoGP for almost the entire 2020 season (the only exception being Jerez, where he sustained the fractured humerus in the first race, and overstressed the first plate inserted to fix the bone during practice for the second), he has struggled.
His record: ten race starts, six crashes (one each at Mugello, Barcelona, Austria and Silverstone, and two at Le Mans), and twelfth in the championship with just 59 points.
Of the six races where he has been classified, he has finished fifteenth, ninth, eighth, seventh twice.
Episode 170 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one comes to us from the MotoGP paddock in Motorland Aragon.
On the mics, we have our usual grand prix duo, David Emmett and Neil Morrison, and joining them on this show is MotoGP photographer Cormac Ryan-Meenan.
The guys dive into the results of the Spanish round, which showed the promise of Alex Marquez, and vaulted Joan Mir to the top of the MotoGP Championship standings.
It looked like we would have another twist in this weird and unsettling season this morning. At Turn 14, the current MotoGP championship leader’s Yamaha M1 got a little squirrelly as he rode over the kerbs.
A little too squirrelly, the front stepping out and then the rear gripping and flicking Fabio Quartararo up into the air, and down onto his left hip. When the Frenchman finally slid to a halt, he struggled to get up, clearly in enormous pain.
He was stretchered into a waiting ambulance, and taken off to the medical center.
For a while, it looked like this could be a serious blow to Quartararo’s title chances, handing the advantage to Joan Mir.
But scans and X-rays revealed that the Petronas Yamaha rider had gotten off relatively lightly, with only bruising and a hematoma in his left hip.
A match for the bruise to his right hip suffered in a crash on Friday morning.
There is a particular type of crash which happens in the wet. A rider will be heading toward a corner, and will start to brake for a corner. At the moment they start to tip the bike into the corner, the front wheel whips out from underneath them almost instantaneously, dumping them on the floor.
The crash happens without warning, and without there being anything the rider can do about it. One minute you are up, the next you are on the ground.
The crash happens because on a wet track, grip is unpredictable. Tires cool, and where you thought there was traction, there was in fact none. A tire that might have been working on one side a couple of corners previously has lost so much heat due to the rain, the wind, that the grip you had previously disappears into thin air.
We saw a lot of those crashes in MotoGP FP1 this morning at Aragon, despite clear blue skies and a bone dry track. The reason? The track temperature was simply too cold, and as a result, the tires don’t reach the required temperature either.
The rubber which is soft and sticky when up to temperature is suddenly stiff and slick as glass, like the tires on a 1:12 Tamiya replica of a MotoGP bike.
Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo both went down at Turn 14, a notorious point for that particular type of crash to happen.
In Brno, it was a TV cameraman. In Austria, it was a rider in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. At Misano, it was Jorge Martin. At Le Mans, it was a Yamaha engineer.
And at Aragon, the coronavirus finally reaches the MotoGP grid, with Valentino Rossi testing positive for the virus on Thursday afternoon, before he was scheduled to depart from his home in Tavullia to travel to Aragon.
It was inevitable really. As case numbers start to explode at the start of the European winter, and with a group of 1400 people traveling between their homes (if they are lucky – staff from outside of Europe are stuck in Europe until the end of the season, with no opportunities to see friends and family until almost December) and various race tracks, the probability of Covid-19 hitting the paddock was large.
Despite the rigorous protocols put in place by Dorna for MotoGP (compare and contrast with WorldSBK, where things are much less strict) Valentino Rossi has tested positive, along with a number of other paddock workers.
It is an open question whether we make it to the end of the season, or even past the Grand Prix of Teruel at Aragon next week. As cases rise, the need to be leading the championship grows ever more imperative.
The second wave of the coronavirus outbreak is underway worldwide right now, with increases in COVID-19 cases being counted in Europe, North America, and other continents.
Even the MotoGP paddock isn’t immune to this trend, with news and rumors of positive tests occurring within its ranks in the past several days and weeks.
And now today we get news from Valentino Rossi himself that he has tested positive with COVID-19, after experiencing symptoms of the disease this morning.