Earlier this week, I wrote an article setting out why I think that Marc Márquez is the favorite to win at the Sachsenring. What the riders told the media on Thursday at the Sachsenring merely cemented the Repsol Honda rider’s status as front runner.
Despite his entirely mediocre results since his return to racing, Márquez was identified as at least a potential podium candidate by just about anyone you asked.
Should this be a surprise? Not when you consider that, as veteran US journalist Dennis Noyes pointed out to me, Marc Márquez has quite the record at anticlockwise circuits, tracks with more left handers than rights.
How good? He wins nearly 7 out of every 10 races he starts at a track which mainly turns left.
Five races into the 2021 MotoGP season, and with the Covid-19 pandemic abating in some places while flaring up in others, there are the first signs of movement in motorcycle racing.
Teams, factories, and riders are starting to open (and in some cases, complete) negotiations for this year and beyond, and races are slowly starting to open up to fans.
Although for a variety of reasons, the moves have not been covered in separate stories, here is a quick round up of the latest news and speculation from around the paddock.
Episode 62 of the Brap Talk motorcycle podcast is out with another “weekly” episode, for your two-wheeled listening pleasure.
This is our follow-up episode that explains why we’ve been slow to get shows out (as well as articles on A&R). Spoiler alert: Jensen broke his collarbone, again.
Naturally then, we start the episode by talking about Jensen’s recent on-track crash. This gets us into a conversation about the mental side of the sport, and probably why this podcast is going to come out late (which it did).
From there, we take a look at the new Suzuki GSX-S1000 street bike, as well as Valentino Rossi’s decision to take money from the Saudi Arabian government.
We finish the show with a fun discussion about our favorite bikes with different engine configurations.
As you can tell, it’s a packed show, and we think you will find it to be an interesting. As always, keep checking back for our “weekly” chats.
You can find the latest episodes of the Brap Talk Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud, or via your RSS feed. If you would like to become an A&R Pro member, you can do so here.
And if you’re not already, you should also listen to our sister podcasts, the MOTR Podcast and the Paddock Pass Podcast.
There comes a time in every racer’s career that they have to ask themselves if it is time to stop. It is a question they invariably spend a long time giving the wrong answer to; the life of an elite athlete means they always travel more in hope than in expectation.
But, sometimes that hope is justified: they find the speed they were missing. The setback was not their fault, but down to circumstances. But proving the reverse, that circumstances won’t ride in on a white horse to save them, takes a very long time to accept.
Episode 202 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this show covers the on-track action from the Spanish GP, as well as the fallout after the checkered flag waved.
On the mics, we have Steve English, Neil Morrison, David Emmett, and Adam Wheeler, as the trio discusses the MotoGP action from Jerez.
There is good news and bad news for MotoGP. The good news is that the VR46 team will, as expected, make the full-time leap to the premier class for 2022, replacing the departing Esponsorama team.
The VR46 team has signed a five-year deal with Dorna to compete in MotoGP during the next contract period, from 2022-2026.
Which bikes the VR46 team will use is still to be determined. The choice appears to be between Ducati and Aprilia, with a decision to be made in the next month or so.
Given that VR46 are already fielding Luca Marini in MotoGP via a collaboration agreement with the Esponsorama squad, alongside Enea Bastianini, the most logical step would be for the team to continue working with Ducati.
“I’m so glad to hear that a lot of the riders are confused! Because I am too, I really am.” Franco Morbidelli, like just about everyone in the MotoGP paddock in Qatar, has spent so long trying to get his head around the Losail International Circuit and the tricks it can play, with grip, with wind, with track temperatures, and so much more, that he is utterly lost.
“I don’t know what’s going on. Something is going on, and I hope that whatever is going on, it will go away as soon as possible, because it is tricky to work like this.”
“Consistency has been difficult this weekend because the track is different every time we exit the pits,” Jack Miller agreed. “There’s only one more day left here in Qatar and I’ll try and make it a good one and get out of here in one piece.” After nearly a month in the Gulf state, on and off, and ten days riding around the same track, everyone is very, very over being in Qatar.
Saturday was a day for smashing records in Qatar. First up was the top speed record, Johann Zarco hitting 362.4 km/h at the end of the front straight during FP4.
Not just the top speed record for Qatar, but the highest speed ever record at a MotoGP track, the previous record 356.7 km/h set by Andrea Dovizioso at Mugello.
To put that in to context, it is 100.666 meters per second. Or put another way, it took Johann Zarco less than one second to cover the distance which takes Usain Bolt 9.6 seconds. It is a mind-bending, brain-warping speed.
Can the 2021 MotoGP season match the weirdness and wildness of 2020? The circumstances are different, but the path that led to Qatar 2021 has laid the groundwork for another fascinating year.
2021 sees two trends colliding to create (we hope) a perfect storm. There is the long-term strategy set out after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, with support and backing from the many bright minds in Dorna and IRTA.
2021 is going to be a decisive season for Valentino Rossi. Then again, we have been saying that for some time, as the 42-year-old Italian MotoGP legend continues his career well beyond what even the most experienced MotoGP hands ever expected.
Will he carry on racing? Has he still got what it takes to chase podiums and win races? Is a seventh MotoGP title and tenth Grand Prix title still a realistic possibility?
Those are big questions after Rossi’s worst ever season in Grand Prix racing. The Italian scored his lowest points total with 66 points from 12 races, his lowest points average at 5.5 points a race, and his worst finishing position in the championship with a 15th position.
He scored a single podium, matching his previous worst season tally in Grand Prix in 2011, when he also ended with just one podium during his disastrous first year at Ducati.
Episode 188 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one covers the launch of the Petronas Sepang Racing Team and the dynamic between the squad’s two riders: Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi.
On the mics, we have Steve English, David Emmett, and Adam Wheeler, along with some audio from Franco Morbidelli’s media scrum from the Petronas Yamaha launch event.