Category: Alex Rins

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 18 – MALAYSIAMM93 – 9…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 18 – MALAYSIA

MM93 – 9: Marc Marquez aka the man who wins even when he fails. #machine

AD04 – 6: Sometimes even with the best bike on the grid you cannot win.

JZ5 – 8: … And suddenly, Johann is back !

DP9 – 4:Can we swap them, get Danilo in WSBK and keep Alvaro ?” – Every Ducati fans out there…

VR46 – 9: Fate must have something against you when you crash out of the most perfect ride you’ve been able to do all season. We don’t know about you, but we were sad.

AR42 – 8: Rise and Shine, we’re pretty certain Alex was the revelation of this Asian trip !

DP26 – 8: Hold on your tears everyone, Valencia is coming…

AB19 – 8: Can you stay Alvaro ? Please. We’re begging you.

MV25 – 7: YOUR RACE STARTS MAVERICK FFS ! #angryface

HS55 – 7: Local hero providing heroic ride for his home fans.

Alex Rins – Sepang 2018

Alex Rins – Sepang 2018

ROUND 18: MALAYSIALast round of the Asian tour…

ROUND 18: MALAYSIA

Last round of the Asian tour for the MotoGP paddock took
place at Sepang. The Malaysian track always provides it’s lot of drama due to
the weather conditions and the fair wars betweens riders going into the last
part of the championship. This year Malaysian GP was no exception.

 1) Fate favors the Brave …

 Having
the start from 7th on the grid due to a “dangerous behavior being too slow
on the racing line
” penalty, Marc Marquez knew from the very start that
the race would be a hard one and that he would have to push for the win: “It
was a very, very hard race. First because we started from seventh place, so
that was an extra motivation because I’d never won from the third row. The
first lap was not the best of my career and I had to overtake some riders, but
then I saw that Valentino was pushing really hard from the beginning. So I
pushed too, but I was riding like qualifying and I overheated my tires.”

Pushing is one thing, but in Marquez’
case, pushing also means saving a handfull of crashes, which once again he did
all weekend long: “I was just riding by instinct, not by using my head,
and pushing on the limit. I was fighting against myself and the bike to be
as close to Valentino to attack in the end. I nearly crashed 3-4 times during
the race.”

Lady luck though already had her plan moving
and while Marc Marquez almost made a mistake at each lap it’s Rossi who went
down while he was leading at the front from Marquez and Zarco: “The plan
was just to try to be there at the end! I mean, I didn’t have anything more. We
were both riding on the limit. A really fast pace. But he was on the limit too
and I saw he was starting to struggle, but there were only 4-5 laps left so it
would be very close, because our level was very equal. (…) When I was only
six tenths behind he did a mistake because he was a little bit wide and when
you are fighting like this you don’t want to lose any time, so he tried to come
back on the line too quickly and crashed. When I saw that Valentino fell,
my body just relaxed and I was riding in another way, because both of us were
pushing a lot.”


 2) … Or maybe it doesn’t.

After
a very disappointing race at Phillip Island where teammate Maverick Vinales
won, Valentino Rossi was desperate to finally find the miraculous recipe to get
back on the top step of the podium, and for a while, he did, thanks to the many
changes his team made on the bike: “We modify a lot the bike, the setting to
try and make everything help the rear tyre. At the end it worked. Already from
Friday morning I felt good. We worked well with the team. We just made a small
adjustment. We can be competitive for all the race. Also Maverick was not so
bad, and also Zarco. Because Maverick started from very behind, no? This time
the three Yamahas were quite competitive. It was more mechanical [than
electronics changes]. In the last races we improved the electronics, like three
or four races ago that helped a bit. But now it’s more mechanical. For me the
problems are not fixed and we have to improve. Like I said, we worked well on
the software but we have to make something more in the hardware from Japan. I
think we need some details, especially in the electronics and also in the
engine. We speak a lot with the Japanese and it looks like it will work.”

But
fate, karma or whatever you would like to call it had other plans for Rossi and
so, even though he made a pitch perfect race start and went on to do a
fantastic job at leading the race, the only mistake made by the italian proved
to be lethal for his hopes of a win: “It’s a mixed feeling. From one side I’m
very happy for the race because it’s the best race of the season for me and
also it was coming in difficult conditions at a difficult track for us. This is
very important. On the other side it’s a great, great shame. I’m very
disappointed for the mistake. To make a race like this and go home with zero
points is frustrating, yes. We have to say it’s my
first mistake of the season because I arrived always at the end except in
Argentina. But maybe it’s the worst moment. But like you said, I’m devastated
for the crash. But I’m also happy because anyway we lived the dream for 15
laps. After the victory of my brother also, it can be a great, great day. But
it’s like this.”

The
crash cost Valentino Rossi a lot as this zero point taken makes him lose the
runner up position in the championship standings to Dovizioso and he will now
have to fight against Vinales for 3rd at Valencia, a track he doesn’t keep
close to his heart: “Also today the result can be very important also for the
championship because if I don’t win and I arrive second I close the third place
with Maverick and I can be five points from Dovi [Andrea
Dovizioso
] for second in Valencia. Now Dovi has gone and we have to
fight with Maverick for the third place. But I think Valencia is an important
weekend because it’s one of the most difficult tracks. If we are able to be
strong also there it’s positive.“

Valentino
might have lost the 2nd place in the standings but he did won back the
admiration of many fans who were desperate to see him do well again. He also
impressed his former teammate Jorge Lorenzo who congratulated and praised him
on twitter:

JL99:
"Apart from the crash, I’ve never seen Valentino Rossi so consistent. More
than 10 laps in just 1 tenth at the hottest and longest track impressed me. And
some said he started to feel his age after last race”

Such
praise coming from the number 99 could only soften Rossi who answered:
“Grazie  Jorge!”

We
couln’t be happier to see them finally having a respectfull releationship !

 

3) Behind Marquez

Behind the race winner, Alex Rins took another podium
leading him to a fantastic 2nd half of the season: “Our Suzuki is going
very good. The factory deserves it. They have done a really good job during all
the season, because since Qatar I felt we had a very competitive bike. But it
looks like since the middle of the season we did a very big step. At Assen,
Suzuki brought me a new engine, with a little bit more top-end power, and since
this point we improved a lot. We were able to hold the slipstream and fight
with Yamaha and Honda on the straight. And then also I think the experience of
trying to control more the tyres and electronics. Suzuki are now working for
next year, taking a lot of information, and already Guintoli is trying a new
engine that looks very good. We will see what happens next year. For sure I
will give my best to try to beat these guys and be more constant at the
front.”

 It’s
been a while since Johann Zarco was able to fight for pole positions and race
podiums but in Malaysia, like his yamaha teammates, the frenchman was back to
his old self and fought for the 2nd place most of the race, only giving it away
to Rins at the very end: “The strong beginning of the race was key for
the podium. I had a great start from pole and it helped me to go well in the
first two corners. Valentino was pushing a lot and going so fast. I was
not able to overtake him,  but following him was good enough to go away
and save the podium. Later I did a mistake in corner 14 and Marc overtook me
very cleanly and then I tried to stay behind him. I expected Marc could catch
Vale quickly but instead he was closing step-by-step. I lost a little bit to
him, but I was able to keep a good pace and have a bigger gap to the guys
behind me. After Valentino crashed I was second, again with a good gap, I thought I could control it but five laps from the end I saw
on the pit board that Alex was coming maybe five-tenths per lap faster than me!
I tried to push but I was not fast enough and in the last lap when he overtook
me in turn four I wanted to overtake him again and fight a little bit. But
there wasn’t the possibility and I almost crashed in turn 11. I got the podium
last year here in tricky conditions, but this year was like a real constant
race and the strong beginning helped me finish on the podium. Third is just a
fantastic present because I’m now the first Independent rider. I’ll try to keep
it in Valencia and being on the same points as Rins means whoever finishes in
front can be in the top five of the championship.”

Now the paddock is heading back to Europe and back to Spain for Valencia and it’s legendary end of the season race. Jorge Lorenzo should make a full comeback after a failed attempt at Sepang. Rossi and Vinales will fight against each other for the 3rd place in the standings while the Team, Best independent and Rookie of the year titles are still to be given away.

Buckle up, Valencia is coming. And we will be there. #CannotWait 

Alex Rins – Sepang 2018

Alex Rins – Sepang 2018

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RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 16 – JAPANMM93 – 10: …

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 16 – JAPAN

MM93 – 10: All Hail to King Marquez ! May his reign be even longer than Queen Elizabeth II !

VR46 – 7: The M1’s poor ambitions are outweighing Vale’s talent. And Lin isn’t doing anything about it !

AI29 – 3: The maniac crashed out of the race BUT THANKS GOD, he did not scratch his pretty Instagram worthy face.

AD04 – 7: One of the many differences between a Great Rider and a Champion has to be being able to deal with title pressure. Two years in a row that Andrea is lacking in that department… #atleasthetried

DP9 – 5: I’ll be honest, i did not even saw him during the race. Maybe i should have woken up for every session to see a glimpse of Danilo…

CC35 – 8: I’ve heard Cal sais he hoped to finish in front of Lorenzo in the standings to « show his value ». Has someone told him yet that Jorge hasn’t even been racing lately ? No ? Well…

SR45 – 3: We know you adore Marc, but that’s no reason to try and broke him so you could have him all for yourself buddy.. 😉

AR42 – 8: Slowly but surely someone is finally getting there. And it’s a joy to see!

BS38 – 7: Is that some real progress that we’re seeing with the KTM ?!?!! 👀

MV25 – 6: Maverick, sweety, it’s decided. You’re SO getting race start private lessons during the winter.

AB19 – 8: Jorge might be grumpy and forced to stay at home but at least it’s making someone else happy. Cheers to Alvaro for getting a well deserved opportunity !!

ROUND 16: JAPANThe Japanese GP held at the Twi…

ROUND 16: JAPAN

The Japanese GP held at the Twin Ring Motegi track is the
home round of many manufacturers in the premier class but most of all, the home
of Honda. With Jorge Lorenzo out again of the race weekend due to his wrist
injury, Marquez had one opponent less to worry about regarding his first match
ball in Japan.

1) Level 7

With 3 races to go in 2018, Marc Marquez was crowned World
Champion again, this past sunday at Motegi. It’s the 7th time of his career
that the young spaniard is taking the title home, to Cervera. At only 25,
Marquez already has a place with Legends of the sport that have won multiple
world titles and only has Valentino Rossi (9), Angel Nieto (12+1) and Giacomo
Agostini (15) in front of him.

The
youngster that first rode a bike before he was even 5 is domininating the field
since he first came into MotoGP winning 5 of the last 6 titles with only
another extremely  talented spaniard, Jorge Lorenzo, being able to
get the title in 2015:  “It was
impossible to imagine and I say every season it is a dream come true, but I’m
living a dream. Of course, (being) a MotoGP rider is one thing, but every year
to fight for the title, be there in the top positions and win the title, is
something that nobody can imagine. Even if you are a super talented rider and
you are winning everything in the smallest category, you cannot imagine because
in MotoGP are the best riders in the world and there are 19 races in a year, so
it is so difficult to find the best level during all the season.”

Even
though he is making history as we watch him continue his journey, Marc Marquez
isn’t focussed on the record breaking but on the new season to come.

Indeed,
the spaniard will face a whole new challenge as Dani Pedrosa’s retirement means
Marquez will now share the box with one of his main opponents so far. A threat to
him and his dominance, but a threat he knows about and is already getting ready
to face as his will to win again and again is still as intact as ever: “I never thought
about records because every season is different, but I have a two-year contract
with Honda and these two years, I will try to fight for the championship. In
the pre-season, I will work for another title and this is the way. I know that
I will have the pressure, like all top riders, but all top riders are working
to win the championship. If you finish second, it is a good season, but the
goal is not achieved. As long as I stay here, I will try to increase this
number.”

Do
not open you seat belt just yet, this ride is far from being over, the
Marquez Era has just begun !

2) The Race

Marc
Marquez did got the title on Sunday by winning the Japanese GP but he did not
do so without a trick or two.

On
a real stop and go track, Ducatis were the favorite. With Lorenzo back to
Europe to heal his wirst, all hopes of a win were on Dovizioso’s shoulder. A
burden that might have been to big to bear for the italian. With Marquez
starting from 6th on the grid, Dovizioso took the early lead and tried to get
away ”à la Lorenzo“ knowing Marquez’ pace in FP4 was fierceless. A
failled strategy in the end as by the end of lap one, the spaniard was right
being Desmo Dovi, stalking his every moves.

From
there, started the now usual and very boring – let’s wait and save as much
as possible the tires for the end – show delivered to us by Michelin. Not
much happened until 10-5 laps to the end where Dovi and Marquez started their
usual on track feud for the win with Cal Crutchlow right behind, ready to take
any opportuny that would come his way.

On
the penultimate lap of the race, Dovizioso, pushed to his very maximum by the number 93, made a mistake and crashed out leaving Marquez to take
both the win and the title, with Crutchlow in 2nd and Rins in 3rd: "I’m
obviously pretty disappointed because we wanted to win this race at all costs,
but all-in-all it has been a positive weekend because we were very quick and we
confirmed our competitiveness. Pity about the crash: I didn’t overdo it but
simply tried to prepare for the exit of the turn in the best possible way in
order to attack him and I made a small mistake that cost me dearly. Even though
we did a good race we were unable to make the difference against Marquez, and
so I want to congratulate him because also this year he deserved to win the
championship.”

Having
Dovi lead the race though seams to have provide Honda an understantement of
Ducati’s strategy, at least that’s what Crutchlow believes: “The problem was
that Dovi was yo-yoing the pace again. Now we know the strategy of Ducati,
which they have done for four or five races in a row now: they do two or three
fast laps, then he slows the pace down, and the he does two or three fast laps
again. It’s so difficult to pass the Ducati because even when he slows down for
a lap, the Ducati has so much power off the turns.“

Finally
it’s worth noting that Yamaha is now at more than 25 races without winning. After their
great revival in Thailand, the boys in blue (and black aka Zarco and Syahrin)
had to deal once again with a disappointing race weekend and a bike that still
doesn’t want to obey them. A situation that cannot continue and which is leaving
both Rossi and Vinales absolutely desperate: “I think we worked well, we made
another step [in warm-up] and I feel better on the bike and I started quite
optimistic to fight for the podium. Unfortunately the two Suzukis and also
[Cal] Crutchlow are faster than me. I tried to not give up and not make any
mistakes, tried to arrive at the end with good pace.But our potential is
this. It’s more this than Thailand, unfortunately. Suzuki did a very good
step compared to last year, because they work in the right way. Better than us.
They are strong. If Iannone didn’t crash, he would have arrived in front. They
are fighting for the podium, they are stronger.”

We
now go to Phillip Island, which is definitely MotoGP’s brightest jewel. Jorge Lorenzo will again miss the race and will be replaced by best
Ducati rider during the Japanese GP, Alvaro Bautista. The 5 times World Champ
hopes to be back for Sepang. Free of any kind of pressure, will Marc Marquez celebrate his new title with a win on the Island ? History is agains’t him on that note as each time he won a title at Motegi, a DNF followed right back at Phillip Island… 

Alex Rins – Motegi 2018

Alex Rins – Motegi 2018

Alex Rins – Thailand 2018

Alex Rins – Thailand 2018

ROUND 15: THAILANDFirst time racing in Thailan…

ROUND 15: THAILAND

First time racing in Thailand was a success for MotoGP judging by the huge attendance showing up all weekend long at the Chang International Circuit. Was the racing good though ?

1) Team Mani

Marc Marquez continues to mark history each times he goes out as he now is the first ever winner of the Thai GP. Still fierce and incisive in his every moves, the spaniard has to fight hard to get the best out of Dovizioso for the win: “I saw that Dovi’s pace was good and I was able to be slightly faster,
maybe, but I wasn’t able to overtake him because my front tyre was
overheating and I wasn’t able to stop the bike on the brake points. For
that reason I tried to attack before the last lap, to try to cool down a
little bit the front tyre, but Dovi was really smart and he overtook me
really quick every time. Then I said okay, we will see on the last lap.
I tried to forget everything, the championship, all these things and I
just give all that I have.

Was the racing good then ? It was fine. Was it the best race ever like many like to say every sunday now ? Hell no! What’s the problem then ? The entertainment, the fights, all this only happened in the last couple of laps, leaving you watching the rest of the race like you where watching the boring middle part of the 24h of Le Mans. This isn’t Marquez’ fault by any mean though but it brings us to our next point: Dani Pedrosa and the Michelin tires.

It’s no news that Dani Pedrosa is living one of the hardest time of his career right now. While he will retire at the end of the current season, one could wonder: is he simply not good enough to win a GP or is he not being give the tools to shine ?

Some weirdo will tell you he cannot do it anymore, that he is not one of the Aliens. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, let’s just say we do not share this point of view. Proof is the Thai GP. At a hotter track where he was quicker to bring the tires to temp, suddenly, Pedrosa looks in good form, do well in FP and QP and was at some point of the race before his crash, the fastest man on track with a real chance of winning. His smaller size has always been a threat to his natural talent ever since he joined MotoGP but since Michelin took over the paddock, Pedrosa’s problem went from bad to worse. And ever since they comeback, no solution was being given to Dani. Something which, to me, is incomprehensible: “We were forced to use the hard rear and I had a huge, massive,
disadvantage on that. Because for me, to warm-up this tyre was almost
impossible. It took me five laps [in the race] and I had to
do two extra laps before the grid, to clean the tyre and try to
give temperature, when all my rivals put the new tyre in on the grid. I lost so many seconds, maybe four seconds, in the first couple of
laps but then I caught back to them before the crash. So this is the
positive part but unfortunately it ended in a crash and I think it would
be a lot different if I could start from the front. But the disadvantage was massive today on the rear tyre at the beginning. That’s the problem, but… nobody cares.
” 

We do care, Dani. We do. 

2) Magic Trick ?

The Iwata brand is living it’s worse time in the Grand Prix paddock since so long ago that i probably wasn’t even born yet to witness it. All jokes aside, the men in blue were hoping racing on a whole new track on the calendar might help them save what they can from that dreadful season.

Twenty Four races without winning and still counting, both Rossi and Vinales looked to be in better shape this weekend. Being fast during practice doesn’t means much though once Sunday comes. Yamaha’s miracle did not arrived in time for the Thai GP but we did saw a few sparkles of it.

Indeed Valentino Rossi not only made it to the front row of the grid but he also led the race for a while, which he hasn’t been able to do in quite some times: “For me, this is the best race for Yamaha in the second half of the season. This is so important. It
was a lot better, because we fight in the top group. At the end,
unfortunately, we are always struggling a little bit too much with the
tyres. But today we are not far. During the weekend Maverick followed another way with the set-up. He was
able to ride that type of bike and maybe saved the tyre in a better
way. So Maverick was a bit stronger than me at the end.”

Vinales on the other side could only take away the positive of the weekend. The spaniard seemed more relaxed, being all smile most of the time which marks a radical change compared to the last races. Finally getting a start worth of his factory rider’s status, Maverick needed some times at first to match the leader’s pace. Once he did though, he closed on Dovizioso and Marquez like melting snow to the point where he probably didn’t saw a race win this close in ages: “It is really difficult to ride like this, up and down, because you never
have enough trust but I think that race was a different situation
because I could have the chance to attack on the last laps. I was there, really close, but we need more feeling because in five or
six races I was not able to be less than ten seconds from the top. I
arrived there really close, I was able to fight, so I am happy that we
did a good job this weekend, so let’s see in Japan – no expectations, I
will try to be clever like I was this weekend and we will see if we can
manage.”

3) The Boys in Red

Jorge Lorenzo came to Thailand suffering from his foot and left suffering from his foot even more AND from his wrist. After one hell of a hot summer for the spaniard, the last couple of weeks have been a complete disaster for Lorenzo, losing every chances go be runner up and making it even hard now to finish 3rd in the standings. Nobody can blame him for deciding not to race this weekend after the awfully scary highside he suffered in FP2 (due to a mechanical problem on his desmosedici but with Ducati not wanting to provide anymore infos on the matter): “As I told you,
the chances to compete here were minimal [after the Friday accident] –
even before I had the scan, when I found out that I have a fissure in
the end of the radius bone. So my left wrist is
hurting a lot and for sure in my opinion there is no meaning to take
more risk, knowing the circumstances, knowing the pain, and I decided
not to race. I don’t want to miss any grand prix and, as you
know, I did whatever it takes to arrive here and try. Obviously, the
right foot that was already injured is a little bit more painful, but
the main problem now is the wrist. If I was fighting for the
championship, I would probably make a desperate effort not to lose
points here. But knowing my position in the championship, knowing the
risk to be bad also in the next races, there is no meaning to try now.

Dovizioso on the other had a rather normal weekend. Having a pretty good pace, he challenged Marquez for the win the last laps but failed to stop the younger spaniard: “I am always trying all my career to do that (harness aggression) and it
has happened with Marc and with most other riders, because I am not that
rider to try and create a problem. Yes, I can be aggressive but not
over, and it is good when the race is like that: a lot of overtaking but
try to be in the safe way. I’m happy if we continue like this.

A 2nd place and another podium which leaves him without any pressure to take the 2nd place in the overall standings and prep for next season: “I am really happy to have another four races and continue to work and
try to improve a little bit because we need that if we really want to
fight for the championship next year.

Reading Germán Garcia Casanova’s blog post on Motorsport dot com (here’s the link: x) though we cannot help but agree to the fact that being a good rider isn’t enough against Marc Marquez. In order to beat him you must be willing to take every risks, to try anything. Dovizioso lacks that. He could have tried to do a Lorenzo and go away instead of saving his tires as he was showing a very strong pace, but he didn’t. He could have pushed Marquez even further in his moves, but he didn’t. To quote german: “Dovizioso is a
great driver, but he does not have the competiviness, irreducible gene of not wanting to lose that makes you one of the greatest. (…) Dovizioso did
not risk, he did not give everything, he did not seek the limit, the
Italian complied, without a doubt, he did his role, and in the end,
he even made ‘a Márquez’ move in the last corner, but you could be expecting a little more coming from the rider with the best bike on the grid.

With Lorenzo probably back at Motegi, a track he loves, and judging by the Ducati’s improvement, the pair should be hard to beat in the last couple of rounds, at the exception of maybe Phillip Island. Or maybe not ?

4) Honorable mentions

Kuddos to Scott for doing the last few laps completely sick in his helmet even though he couldn’t bring home a point by finishing 16th.

Johann Zarco felt better this weekend too and was able to take a very welcomed top 5.

Alex Rins continues to slowly progressing. Not top 5 this time but a good 6th place ahead of his teammate Andrea Iannone.

Danilo Petrucci in 9th still not showing any factory rider worthy material.

Rookie and replacement for the injured Tito Rabat, Torres is showing some skills. Finished 19th in front of regulars of the like of Nakagami, Luthi and Espargaro (the last one is still recovering from his previous injury though).