Category: andrea iannone

ROUND 17: PHILLIP ISLANDPhillip Island provi…

ROUND 17: PHILLIP ISLAND

Phillip Island provides both a gorgeous landscape with sea
in the background (and seagull playing around) and a fast floating track. It’s
no surprise then that it always makes good racing and it’s a favorite for many
fans and riders.

1) FINALLY

After 25 races of plain struggles and no wins at all, since
Valentino Rossi’s Assen GP victory, Yamaha finds the top step once again thanks
to Maverick Vinales. Funilly enough it’s Maverick who’s racing his famous 25
number…

The
spaniard couldn’t hide his joy on Sunday, happy to finally get the chequered
flag first once again and proud to be the one ending Yamaha’s victory drought: “This
is the best feeling ever, honestly! We’ve been in the dark all year, and
suddenly we came into the light! The season has been difficult. I needed that
win. We needed that win. Yamaha needed it also, to start next year. I said on
Friday, ‘we need to be good and motivated to start next year really well’ and
for sure this win is going to give us a lot of motivation.”

Even
though people started to think maybe the riders were also one of the many
problems from Yamaha’s crisis, Vinales never doubted himself and his skills. In
fact it’s in yamaha that the spaniard lost faith a little at some point during
his personal 28 races victory drought: “There were two races I felt I
could win. One was Silverstone [cancelled] and another was here. So to make it
is really good and to win here is so special.”

This
win wasn’t an easy get away though. Vinales once again struggled at the start
being merely into the top 10 by the end of the first couple of laps even though
he started from the front row: “I didn’t expect to start so bad, it was
incredible. When I saw myself in tenth I just said to myself, ‘Maverick, you
are stupid! What are you doing!’” I just tried to keep my concentration. We
worked so well this morning on the electronics and I knew if I felt good I
could be fast because I was top-three all weekend. I felt good, so I said, ‘now
I have to push. Not think about the tyres, just push and push’. When I saw I
was three-seconds [clear] I could relax a little bit and save the tyre, but it
was close at the end because both Andreas were coming really fast. In MotoGP
it’s always really difficult to control the race, control the gap. They were so
fast at the end and I was struggling, thinking, ‘maybe they’ll catch me’
because in the last laps my rear tyre was really down. I just tried to control
the gas really well. Luckily I could push at the beginning. I didn’t expect to
be so fast in the beginning, but finally I made enough gap just in case the
tyre went down.“

Hoping
the 2019 will be a clear contrast against his 2018 season, Vinales made it
clear he believes and hope Yamaha will now listen to him and let him lead next
year’s bike developement as showed that, when everything is right he can win
"à la Lorenzo” too: “For Yamaha, I proved I can win races and
they need to try to provide a bike for my riding style. Especially in the
middle of the corners to turn and if we have that we have the chance to fight. I
think if we work well for 2019 we can be strong as we were in 2017. So we need
to keep working. Next year I will also have more experience and I will be
better, because I know the worst point of being here racing and the better ones.
We have a great chassis, but we have to improve the electronic and engine. I
really love the chassis because, as today, I can ride really fast.”

2) Marquez / Zarco

The
Marc Marquez’ curse continues. Indeed, each time the spaniard get to win a
MotoGP title in Japan, he finds himself impossible to finish the next race at
Phillip Island. This time though, Marquez was forced to a DNF because of a
racing incident which happened between him and french man Johann Zarco in the
very early laps of the race. The two men collide when Zarco touched Marquez’
rear, propulsing the french rider out of his bike and into the gravel trap. The
bike of his bike being too damaged, the 2018 World Champion had to get back in
his pit, scoring his first DNF since Silverstone 2017.

Both
riders were lucky enough to get out of the horrific incident without a scratch
and they both were gracious enough to not dramatise anything of what happened.

Marquez:
“When I was on the bike, I didn’t understand what happened and, honestly
speaking, I was angry, because I felt some contact from the rear. I wasn’t able
to continue because my seat was completely broken and was moving a lot. It was
impossible to ride in a good way and if it broke completely, it would become
very dangerous. Then when I arrived in the box and I saw the video I
understood what happened and it was completely a racing incident. At that point
in the track we arrive really fast. Miller was in front, I was the slipstream
behind Miller, at over 300 km/h. I braked, even a little bit late, and I just
tried to stop more, but then I felt the contact, because Zarco took the
slipstream from two bikes. Of course, you can say maybe he can consider this
[slipstream], but it’s a racing incident, I already spoke with him. I feel
really lucky today because me and him are both OK so this is the most important
thing.”

Zarco:
“I went to him to say sorry because I totally destroyed the back of his bike
and he told to me the most important thing was that I didn’t injure myself. As two racers and sportsmen we totally understood each other. It
was an accident as we are going so fast and there was not a lot of space on the
left side. He was close to Jack and he came back on to the racing line at corner
one but I was also there. So I crashed.”

3)
Vinales’ chasing pack

Behind
Vinales, Adrea Iannone took 2nd after a weekend where he showed a very
impressive pace. The italian even believes that without a couple of silly
mistakes he made, the victory was a true possibility: “I started the race
with a really strong feeling and for sure we had a really good potential to try
to win the race. But I made a mistake at Turn 4 and
lost 4-5 positions. It was not a good situation! I tried to recover but I felt
the tyre start to drop more than I expected and so I decided to remain in the
group and manage the tyres as best I could. That strategy allowed the Italian
to make a late push for victory, taking chunks out of Vinales’ lead until
another Turn 4 error. I had a little more in the last four laps and I tried to
push at 100%, I closed [on Vinales] but on the last lap I made another mistake
at Turn 4 so Dovi nearly overtook me. But at the end it was a great fight –
also with Vale, both Ducatis, Marc and Zarco. It was a difficult race and at
the end we got second position. I’m happy”

Andrea
Dovizioso closes the podium even though Alvaro Bautista, replacing injured Lorenzo,
did not make the job easy on Desmo Dovi. The italian was overall very happy to
see the Ducati finally being competitive at Phillip Island, a track where
they’ve been struggling ever since Casey Stoner left the Bologna boat for Honda
in 2011: “A lot of good things happened today. I’m really happy. That was
the last important test before the end of the season, because this is a track
where we always struggled. So we confirmed, in every practice, our improvement
over last year. The winglets, the set-up is different from last year and it
worked. The improvement is big. Still it’s not enough to really fight because
in the middle of the corner I was too slow. We accelerate more in the main
straight, but in some corners I couldn’t exit with the right speed. I was able
to put myself in the right position, that gave me the chance to fight for the
podium, but I really didn’t have the same speed as these two riders [Vinales
and Iannone]. So we still have to continue to improve, because in some
other parts we are really, really good, but still we are struggling in the
middle of the corners.”

Man
of the race though has to be Alvaro Bautista. The spaniard was given the very
uneasy job of replacing 5 times World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, on the
desmosedici GP18. After struggling a little (and crashing some more) in the
free practices, Bautista found his pace and was able to display all of his
riding skills: “It’s a bit different from the satellite team because in the
satellite team you have just a few people working for you. But in the factory
team you have the same people in the box but behind the box you have eight
people more. And they help a lot. In this category the small details make the
difference, and those small details are better in the factory team. Also for
sure the bike is different. For me I’m very impressed of the engine, the
character of the engine, the power of the engine. It’s incredible how different
this bike is from the bike of last year that I’m using. The difference is quite
big. Well, I had better results in the past but for sure it’s been good,” he
said. “Just to arrive for one weekend with a different bike, a different team,
a different way to work, and also in this track that I’ve struggled in the
past… Also with the three crashes I had in the whole weekend, and to recover
the feeling and confidence for the race was really good. I was fighting for the
podium position. I missed for the fight for the podium at the end because I had
a problem with the gearbox. When I switched to third – because the gearbox is a
bit different to what I’m using – I didn’t engage the gear and I lost the
distance with both Andreas. In any case I’m happy because I enjoyed the race
fighting at the front.”

Bautista
will have to get back on his old desmo though has Jorge Lorenzo (who congratulated his fellow spaniard on twitter for taking good cares of his 2 bikes), who got surgery on
his wrist the repair his damaged ligament, is planning on returning to action
at Sepang by the end of this week.

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 !!

Photo

Photo

Aragon 2018

Aragon 2018

Photo

Photo

29 vs 93 – Aragon 2018

29 vs 93 – Aragon 2018

Aragon 2018

Aragon 2018

RATING THE RIDERS : ROUND 14 – ARAGONMM93 – 10…

RATING THE RIDERS : ROUND 14 – ARAGON

MM93 – 10: *M a r c M a r q …* – Marc writing his name on the Tower of Champion’s trophy.

AE41 – 7: 6th place never felt this much like a race win ever before.

AI29 – 8: Andrea Iannone, from Instagram model to podium rider.

JL99 – 5: Pole position at Silverstone – Race cancelled, Pole position at Misano – Crash in the last laps, Pole position at Aragon – Crash in the first lap.The Lorenzo fan in me is hoping Jorge will not get another pole position anytime soon. #iseeapaternhere

DP26 – 7: I never hoped so much for so many engines to break at the same time than i did when i believed Dani had a chance to win this past Sunday.. #iknowiambad

VR46 – 6: “Allo ? You’re Yamaha’s Big Boss ? You’re fired !!” – Valentino, probably.

AR42 – 7: Every now and then, Alex makes sure to remind everybody what he can do.

MV25 – 4: Another race start that will go down in the “Worst Start Ever” records.

CC35 – 3: I’ve heard Cal blames Jorge for his crash. I don’t see how someone who was already out of the race could make him crash but i suppose it’s one of Lorenzo’s superpower !

PE44 – 6: Pol’s lucky to be happy in love, because he’s freaking cursed at work!

Let’s talk about this…

Let’s talk about this…

ROUND 14: ARAGONLast round in Europe before th…

ROUND 14: ARAGON

Last round in Europe before the huge month of flyaways, Aragon marks a turning point in the season as Marc Marquez gets closer to clinching another World Title.

1) Captain Marquez

On thursday Marc Marquez stated he still had the title in mind, even though his lead is already huge, and would be willing to lose 5 or 10 points to his opponents.

On saturday he went even further into this state of mind saying a top 5 would be his goal after failing to take pole position against fellow spaniard and future teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

Once sunday came, and after a good night sleep, gone was the careful Marquez and back was the crazy beast: “ I got up this morning I say okay, I want to take a risk today ”. And many risks he took indeed running wide and taking Lorenzo with him at turn 1, fighting on and on with Dovizioso, giving back every attack, switching places multiple times in one lap and finally pushing for the win in the final laps to escape the Desmo’s power in the straights.

Marquez believe the reason behind his race win at Aragon was a tire gamble he decided to take. Supposed to race the hard once again, the spaniard went against all odds and favored the soft as he believed he would be his only chance against the Ducatis: “ In the warm-up I didn’t feel well but I pushed, I crashed and then I start to think why I crash. Then we speak together with Santi [Hernandez, crew chief], with my technician and I say to him ‘I want the soft rear’. Then started a big meeting, discussions inside the team, with HRC because I did not try that soft tyre in the afternoon in hot temperature but I say I believe on this one, I can manage. Another thing is, was the only chance to fight against Dovi because with the hard I felt good but for my riding style was not working in a good way, especially on the entry.

Aragon GP win helped Marc increasing his lead advantage and even though he cannot win the title next time out in Thailand, his first match point will come right after at Motegi.

2) Two side of the same coin

The Aragon GP may have been won by Marquez and Suzuki may have got a podium but the image of the weekend certainly was Jorge Lorenzo’s monstruous highside at the first corner right after the start of the race.

An horrific incident leaving the spaniard with a dislocated a toe and fractured second metatarsal on his right foot. After being checked by the clinica on Sunday, and again in Barcelona on Monday, Lorenzo’s participation to the Thai GP is all but certain. Forced in resting his leg and foot for at least the 10 coming days, the spaniard will be checked again by the medicals later this week to see how the situation is evolving and if he could be fit enough to take part to the next grand prix in Thailand. 

Lorenzo’s foot might be hurting but so is his tongue. On sunday night the spaniard put some of the blame for his crash on future teammate Marc Marquez’ lines and block pass at turn 1: “From the outside, [it looked like] I entered too fast, I lean too much and I entered too wide in the dirty part, that’s why I crashed. From what I lived, what I experienced, I entered in the normal line, entered the corner as I did in the seven last years here in Aragon, but I watched Marc go into the inside, very aggressive, not making the corner because you saw where he finished, in the green [paint on the outside]. And when he saw that I was there, he tried not to let me pass into the corner, and I didn’t have any options [but] to go to the dirty part. Because we were very wide and already the other riders were coming, if I didn’t want to lose five or six positions, I had to open the throttle.“In Misano [last time out] the crash was completely my fault, this time Marc destroyed my race, destroyed my foot, destroyed also the big possibility that I have to win and probably also [the] Thailand race.

Lorenzo’s words were greeted with many criticizes, most people thinking it could only be his ego speaking and blaming Marquez for a mistake he did on his own. Body language though doesn’t lie and watching MotoGP dot Com’s video clip of JL’s post race debrief only shows someone who genuinely believe what he is saying. 

Is Marquez to blame ? Is Lorenzo to blame ? Is it 50/50 ? Everybody will have their own opinion on the matters but reporters can put their clickbait headline about the “Dream Team Already Fighting” to rest as both Lorenzo and Marquez went on to show what Gentlemen are made of.

On Monday night, the oldest spaniard made a twitter thread explaining his view of the incident with a more calm and resting head. He then added: “This is my version, But I want to inform you that this afternoon I
received a call from Marquez checking on me, which honors
him.
”  

Something to which Marc Marquez replied: “Get well soon! We will see each other in Thailand”.

They might not always agree and they will definitely have moment of fight next year at Honda, but when you have respect for one another, it makes everything else easier. Even the reconciliation of two great champions. 

3) Best of the rest

Failing to stop Marquez from winning his home GP, Dovizioso was pretty happy with the result anyway once in the parc fermé on Sunday. The Ducati, clearly shaping into the best bike on the grid, is so good that even Marc Marquez’ riding skills needs helps from a few tricks and gambles to win: “In Misano it was very important, but here even more because this confirms our improvement, and this improvement is the reality but is even better for the future. This is the way I want to look at the weekend, Because we come here with a lot of confidence from the [other] competitors, they thought we could win easy the race. But it’s never like this, and I’m so happy how much we improved from last year – this is the point. Unfortunately we couldn’t win, we try until the last lap, but we have to study and analyse the reality, and the reality is we did a good step – a huge step.

With Jorge Lorenzo and Crutchlow out of the race and Yamaha struggling at the back, Iannone, Rins and Pedrosa decided to give everybody a quick reminder of just what they capable of.

Showing a fairly good pace all weekend, Andrea Iannone was the revelation of Sunday’s race. The maniac, more used to playing bowling with other riders when fighting with them was the cleanest we’ve seen of him in a long time. Sharp but never on the edge, the italian gave his everything and never let a mistake made by the leader being unnoticed. After sandwiching Marc Marquez with Dovizioso though, Iannone realized he could keep up with the Honda and Ducati and settled for 3rd: “It was a really great race for us and in many cases, a real battle because first of all, I fight a lot with my tyres, especially with the rear because it is really important to manage for all the race. During the practice we worked in a good direction with the used tyres and in the race I tried to not push a lot and push the bike on the side, and I think this is a really good strategy. At the end, the last five or six laps I started to recover the gap a little bit. The Honda and Ducati are more faster than us on the straight and I think this is the negative point for the race of today, but it was a good race.

Behind him his teammate, Alex Rins, was struggling to keep his older teammate’s pace but not for lack of trying. In the end he was 4th and very happy to bring home a good result: “I’m really happy, I think we passed these expectations that we made yesterday. Mostly during all the race I was riding very comfortable with the first group. But then when there were twelve laps to go I started to feel something strange on the front. Since the beginning I believed in Suzuki, I was saying we had a competitive bike, no? In some races we’ve been a little bit at the back, for the setting or I don’t know what. But for sure our bike is very competitive and very good. Sure, we need to improve a little bit in the top speed and the small things, but I’m very happy with my bike.

A little further back, Pedrosa almost looked like his older self riding with perfect line in a way only him can. Getting the benefits of a few new pieces given to him from Honda after asking for them since Jerez, the spaniard had what seemed to be his best shot at a podium since the start of the season. A 5th place isn’t was he was hoping for but soon enough will came Sepang and we know just how strong the little samurai can be there: “I think today in the race everything was quite well, we were able to start with the front group and i was able to do some passing, but unfortunately the hard rear had no grip. I was unable to carry the corner speed and the acceleration out of the turns with the hard, and that make me lose a bit of the gap per lap that I was unable to stay in the [lead] group.“I think with a little better grip in the rear I was able today to be in the podium or fight for the victory.

4) Debacle and Disaster

If you thought the Austrian GP was a disaster for Yamaha then the Aragon GP was purgatory. At a track where former Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo used to make it onto the podium, the Rossi and Vinales duo barely made it into the top 10 after both qualifying way too far on the grid for a factory team.

If Marquez changed his mind from Saturday to Sunday, the same happened to Vinales. Not on the pace, in Q1 and struggling to get into Q2, the spaniard was penalized with a 3 places on the grid penalty for cruising on the racing line while Bradley Smith was on a hot lap. On saturday night he tweeted “we’re still motivated”.

On sunday and after a disastrous race result, there was no motovation left for box 25. Still not getting any better at race start the spaniard struggled to get closer to the top 10: “We have lost all our objectives, we don’t know what to aim for. The feeling on the bike is very bad. Now we have the Asian tour and I just hope to get it over with fast. Zero motivation, zero expectations. For me it is the worst race I’ve done in Yamaha, and the worst time on the bike, when the feeling was worst on the bike. I can’t tell really the precise problem because every area was working bad, was not even one area that was okay. I was comparing myself with non-factory bikes and they were even better than me.

Side 46 of the box wasn’t partying either. For the first time in i don’t know how many year (if it even ever happened before) we got ourselves a VR46 waiting for a tow during Q1 saying there was no way he could have had the pace for Q2 alone.

Failing to find one, the doctor qualified at a very anonymous 17th place on the grid. Only his sunday racer skills would help him get into the top 10 and beyond.

It is now 23 races since Yamaha last one a race and even though anything can happen during the flyaways one could think everybody should prepare themselves for a year without any yamaha win: “I started very much behind, but I could keep a constant pace for the race and I can take some points, I can make the top 10, that yesterday I wasn’t sure [I could do]. It’s like this, this is our potential now. We hope to improve.

Both sides of the box are hoping to see the light at the end of a very dark tunel, if only heads in japan would start doing something to solve a problem Rossi believe will not go away even with the 2019 engines: “I hope it’s important for Yamaha to react.“Maybe some top guys see the number, and somebody asks: ‘Why?’

5) Honorable mentions

Aleix Espargaro’s 6th place in the race with the Aprilia felt nothing less than a win!

Danilo Petrucci in 7th continues to be a disappointment. 

Zarco cannot do better than 14th which comes as no surprise when even the factory riders struggles to be in the top 10.

Pol Espargaro’s was forced out of the race weekend due to a crash when he was just coming back from a severe injury. 

It was nice having Jordi Torres back in the paddock. The famously #kneedown rider made a respectable job out of a great opportunity replacing Tito.