Helmets On – Assen 2018
Helmets On – Assen 2018
Alex Rins – Assen 2018
RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 8 – ASSEN
MM93 – 10: We all have that one weird friend doing stupid things so that everybody pays attention to him, right ? Marc’s that friend saving a crash in the middle of a race he ended up winning. #lifeisunfairfortheother
DP26 – 4: We do hope Dani’s M1 next season will be faster than the announcement…
AR42 – 9: There’s really no middle ground with Alex, it’s either really bad or really good. Hopefully, there’s more “really good” coming next.
JL99 – 8: Show me a better and more iconic starter than Jorge Lorenzo at Assen, i’ll wait.
AD29 – 5: Andrea, we haven’t seen Bellen in quite some times, we’re worried here !
MV25 – 9: A rare sigh this weekend at Assen: Maverick smiling and having good things to say about his race and his team. #thumbsup
VR46 – 8: Vale was so eager to know what was in that already famous ‘salad box’ on the back of the Ducatis, that he couldn’t wait any longer and tried to open it…. In the middle of the race wasn’t particulary good timing though.
AD04 – 8: Last season Andrea was “The Hope” for legion of italian fans. This year though, after rubbing shoulders with Vale a couple of times, he’s becoming more of a number 1 public enemy…
JZ5 – 6: Starting to think we officially lost Johann somewhere back in France after Le Mans. To anybody seeing him, please return him to us @ “ MGP FANPAGE: THE ZARCO SEARCH – PO 555 – Dorna Land ”
When asked in press conference on Thursday if F1 wishing to come race at Assen a good idea, both Rossi and Lorenzo agreed it’s not as it would « destroy » the track. Assen is also called the cathedral of motorcycle racing, the boys showed us why on Sunday.
1. There’s one Winner…
The biggest winner on Sunday has to be Marc Marquez. Not only did he won the race but with his title rivals failing to stop him, the spaniard also created a bigger gap between and the horde chasing him in the championship standings.
Marquez took a gamble for the race. The one who used to always race the hard compound decided to go with a softer option which proved to be decisive for the race result: « i choose the soft because i felt better with it in some corners. It’s strange but sometimes the softer tire is harder in some corners than the hard one ».
The weather conditions, glorious sunshine and higher temperatures than expected, a rarity for the DutchGP also played a part in the race: « conditions were difficult because of the wind: it was easier behind somebody but also harder to open a gap ».
Yet Marquez, who gifted us another one of his famous save, had the race in hands and knew it: « at the start Jorge was pushing a lot and i tried to overtake him but he overtook me and then I was not able to keep the same rhythm or have the same rhythm like in the practice. Then I said, OK, we will wait (…) I was just waiting and when I see ‘F7’, I said now I will give everything; I will push all what I have and use all of the tyre. I was able to open a gap and then when I see ‘+0.2’, it was good because then I was able to do my lines ». Valentino on the other hand believed Marquez had an advantage all along and pushed when he needed to. If so then the spaniard was more of a Cat playing with his food before eating it than a rider trying everything to win.
It wasn’t all easy though for Marc, as he suffered many moments in the race especially two saves against Rins and Vinales.
Marc Marquez now has an advantage up to 65 to 41 point on the riders between Jorge Lorenzo (7th) and Valentino Rossi (2nd). Such a gap will prove to be very difficult to cut down for the Honda boy’s rivals but yet nothing’s impossible in racing.
2. Those who gets a podium…
Runner up on Sunday was a surprisingly great and incisive Alex Rins on the Suzuki. The younger spaniard was on the pace all weekend and knew he could do a great race at Assen: « it was the hardest race of my life. I was in a group 4th or 5th pushing because i knew i could have a podium ». Alex pushed then, and got past Lorenzo, Rossi, Dovizioso and Vinales to found himself second behind Marquez. Rins felt so well on the bike he wanted more: « It was incredible because two or three laps before I overtook Marc I saw him very strong on that corner, but I was feeling great, I was feeling good, then I think why not ? I overtook him but on the next lap he overtook me ». Alex Rins settled for 2nd behind the alien that is Marquez and was pleased with the result. If Assen proved anything it’s that the Suzuki rider is getting closer and closer to a first MotoGP success.
On the 3rd step of the podium we found Maverick Vinales. After weeks of struggles, the spaniard finally arrived at a track he knew he could do well as it’s a clear Yamaha track judging by the brand’s incredible records there: « For sure, I felt good with the full tank – even better than the last laps of the race because it was difficult; we prepared the bike for the first laps and it was nice to feel strong at the beginning, to overtake many riders. (…) I think the track helped a lot, it’s a good track for me and I know how to go fast here in Assen, but anyway I hope the problem got fixed and still on the electronics we need to work a lot ».
Hoping his old demons are now behind him, Vinales wish Yamaha could bring something new after the summer break so that he could finally fight for the title.
3. And there’s those for whom you wish there was more places on the podium
Behind the 3 spaniards were a whole bunch of deserving podium finishers.
Rossi fought as much as he could hoping he could end Yamaha’s current failure to win a race since the 2017 DutchGP. The italian feels they still need to do a step forward in acceleration to fight for the win and believes their form this weekend was mainly due to the track suiting their bike than to the M1 improving.
The two ducati riders, Dovizioso and Lorenzo, also failled to take a place on the final podium but that was not for lack of them trying though. Number 99 did a start that will probably go into motorcycle history books as one of the very best one in modern era, coming from 10 on the grid to 2nd by the end of turn 1. Fired like a bullet Lorenzo lost no time to take on the lead from Marquez, putting his hammer down hoping to create a gap that could give him a 3rd win in a row. The spaniard tried, but his tires deteriorating too much causing spinning and the fights everywhere on the track left him without enough energy to battle for the win. Thinking positive first, Lorenzo was happy with the race itself more than the result and also glad his save in the early part of the race causing Rossi to touch him on the back didn’t ended up into them crashing out.
If Lorenzo was happy with his race, Dovizioso wasn’t so much as he feel like the incident with Rossi caused him to lost a podium well needed. Nonetheless, it’s one down, one to go for Ducati as the next race in Germany (sachsenring) will also proved to be difficult for them and if they want to have a real chance at the championship they will have to get as many points as possible there before going to tracks where they should easily fight for the first place after the summer break.
4. Honorable mentions
Even though we didn’t talk about it, it’s worth mentioning that Cal Crutchlow found a place in the leading group’s craziest fight, ending up 6th.
Johann Zarco seems to have found the very highest level he could get from his current M1 as he, once again, couldn’t really shine his usual shine at Assen. Never really in the fight, he finishes at a lonely 8th place, few seconds behind the lead group.
Another weekend and another nightmare for Dani Pedrosa. Again forced to go in Q1 on Saturday he qualified 18 and finished the race 15th scoring just one point. The spaniard believes having his future not yet sorted (the retirement still being an option) is forcing his head not to focus only on the track’s action. Rumor has it that while the Yamaha/Petronas satellite team should be announced during the Sachsenring weekend, Dani’s deal with them is far from being done, lots of talks regarding the spaniard’s demands still being up in the air.
Alex Rins – Catalunya 2018
There’s nowhere like italy, and no race like the Italian GP. With it’s inimitable atmosphere, passionate (sometimes too much) fans and one of the most enjoyable and fascinating track of the calendar, the Italian GP is on everybody’s bucket list.
1. Lorenzo il magnifico
After weeks of speculation regarding his future ans possible retirement, it’s a determined and confident Jorge Lorenzo who arrived at the track on thursday.
Insisting that he has absolutely no intention of retiring, the mallorcan made his point clear in QP where he lost the pole position to Valentino Rossi in the very last minutes.
Second on the grid, sure of himself and in what he believed he could achieved, Lorenzo fired his desmosedici from the starting grid onto the main straight like a bullet out of a gun. He took the lead in the first corner to never gave it back until the finish line.
It’s a classic and masterclass win that Lorenzo delieved on Sunday. He, the man so many love to hate and never believed in, won on a Ducati, in italy in front of all of Ducati’s bosses and ducatisti. Lorenzo’s clear joy, emotions and enthusiasm were not only a blessing to witness but also a proof how just how hard the last year and a half has been for him.
In « caliente » the spaniard stated winning on the Ducati was the best day of his life. The pride and joy of annexing the « Red Stands » with his famous Lorenzo Land flag was obvious but sadden by the fact this story will not continue in the coming years.
2. A win and.. what’s next ?
Behind closed doors, Lorenzo who felt like Ducati were not interested a bit about his case nor had any love left for him, has been maneuvering with his management team, Dorna and Lin Jarvis to prepare a team in which he could get his hands a Yamaha M1, much like his arch nemesis Valentino Rossi did after his red debacle.
Ducati, who is said to have signed Danilo Petrucci just hours before Lorenzo’s win, found themselves in a very curious position indeed.
There’s no denying Dovizioso’s progress through the years, but one can only wonder if he’ll ever really be title’s material. A combo Dovi/Petrucci will sure win races, but it misses that little sparkles, that little something that transform a chance of title into a proper title.
It’s that sparkle they wanted when they signed Lorenzo and that’s that little extra something he could give them if only they were giving him time. At the end of the day, that’s the main problem: after only a year on the bike they asked Jorge Lorenzo to do what their new favorite needed 5 years to do. Can Ducati found a way to convince Lorenzo to stay ? Do Dovizioso and Petrucci have a real chance to get a world championship against Marc Marquez ? Is it too late to keep Lorenzo ? Judging by the mallorcan’s own words after the race, it is: “One side of my heart is sad. I am very happy with this victory but one
side of me is sad because I believe if I had this modification before I
could tell you that I would stay with Ducati but the pieces arrived too
late and the next two years I will be with another bike.”
Ducati’s faillure to keep the spaniard could well end up into a gift offered to Yamaha: a team which desperately need some Lorenzo’s magic again judging by their current form.
3. Some smiles, some don’t
It was a mix of content and frustrated faces you could found at Yamaha on sunday evening.
First, Valentino Rossi, the man all of italy consider as the personification of Jesus on Earth, not only took the pole position on Saturday (his 65th) but he also made it to the podium in 3rd place after one hell of a fight with Petrucci, Rins and Iannone.
The italian, genuinely happy for his old teammate’s win, was on cloud 9 to be back on the podium at the Mugello: « all the training and suffering is worth it for these 10 minutes on the podium ». Awww Our Hearts, Vale !
Less vocal but critical nonetheless, Rossi believed they still could play a part in this year’s championship and urges Yamaha to solves their recurent problems which are the reason behind their lack of win since Assen 2017.
On the other side of the box, Maverick Vinales was way more angry, vocal and frustrated than his famous teammate.
He stated after the race: « Yamaha promised me that i’d win, not fight with satelite Ducatis (…) they have a rider to fight for the championship, but they need to give me the tools for that». OUCH !
Since his last win at the 2017’s french GP, Vinales has been doing the « yo-yo » to the point where, in the very same weekend he can go from being nowhere in to be seen in FPs to 3rd on the grid to barely taking a top 10 in the race.
One can only wonder WHY did both sides of this equation agreed to continue together as early as they did before the season started. (A question we ask ourselves non stop since the annoucement).
4. Marquez couldn’t save it while Pedrosa needs saving
Marc Marquez, King of saves and gravel trap’s favorite Gardener, crashed out of the Italian GP, rejoining the race to finish only outside the top 15, getting absolutely no points, except maybe ours for his determination to try always and forever, but then again, these do not count at the end of the year.
On hard tires, the spaniard made a gamble which would lead him to fall visibly forcing too much on his front to match Lorenzo’s early race pace. While losing 25 or less points might make him frustrated and unhappy of his weekend, it’s the fans’ reaction which infuriated him on sunday evening: “To celebrate the crash of a rider is sad because we are taking risks on
the track. I don’t know if many people ‘celebrated’ my crash today but,
well, it is curious that they celebrate a crash of a rider more than a
victory of another. It is a curious thing about bike racing.”
Used to boos and cheers when he goes down since 2015 and his famous clash with Rossi, Marc insisted he hoped his fans will never act like that, in any circumstances: “I said before in 2015 and in 2016 that I hope they support the racing as
much as me and respect all the riders. This is the most important.”
Marc couldn’t save his crash but it’s Pedrosa’s situation which becomes worrying for next season. The spaniard has been very quiet about his future. Only a few rumors of a 1 year deal he would have refused coming from Honda have escaped from the paddock (then again, is it even true ?). At the end of the day, it might not be Captain Lorenzo who needs saving from Carmelo Ezpeleta but Soldier Pedrosa.
Rumor has it, Honda, after trying to get Dovi, Mir and Zarco without success, tried to buy Jack Miller back home from his current multiple years Ducati deal. It might be very different from the inside, but looking at it from the outside, we cannot help but think Alberto Puig and the HRC are keen and giving the ride alongside Marc Marquez to ANYONE BUT Dani Pedrosa.
As seats for next season are almost all taken now, it’s becoming a reality that Pedrosa, if nothing happens that could save his current place, could very well be heading home in 2019. This end of Dani’s MotoGP chapter would be unacceptable, not only to his many fans, but to the rest of the MotoGP paddock. A rider should never be forced to retirement, especially not one with Pedrosa’s palmares.
Now i do not know where we have to sign or whom we have to threaten but, if he is without a ride, just give him the M1 on that satelite/petrona team they are building, alongside Lorenzo or not.
5. Honorable mentions
Andrea Iannone was on fire the whole weekend showing a form that could have made a title contender has he only be consisten the rest of the time. He’ll leave Suzuki at the end of the year, surely to get an Aprilia next season.
Zarco was nowhere to be seen this weekend after his missed opportunity in France.
Alex Rins was back where he belongs, fighting for top positions.
Danilo Petrucci couldn’t stop whining about Marquez’ pass on him in the early race and we couldn’t care less because, well, he should remember he does the same pretty much all the time.
Cal Crutchlow was a tuff one this weekend, still suffering from his huge crash last time out.
Alex Rins – Le Mans 2018
Helmets On – Le Mans 2018