Photo by @cormacgp
Franco Morbidelli – Misano 2018
As we are getting closer to the end of the season, it’s at
Misano, near Rossi’s hometown that we were racing this weekend. A weekend where
Ducati was favorite but the crowd had only eyes for The Doctor.
1) Dovi’s moment of proud
Andrea Dovizioso took his 3rd win of the season a Misano. A
very important win as Ducati won both italian GP this season and it’s also the first time they win 3 races back-to-back since the Stoner
Dovi knew his main rival would be his teammate. Somehow, if
he wanted to win he first had to stop Jorge from running away “à la
lorenzo” but the italian was confident he had the pace to rush at the
front: “my strategy was to be on front and make my rythm because i knew i
had a good pace but sometimes Jorge make a special race and Marc is always very
Once the mid-race mark was checked it seemed Lorenzo was
coming back on Dovizioso like a repeat of the previous races but Dovi had the
race under control and pushed more just when he wanted: “i was trying to
play with lap times to see and understand the competitors. i had the margin to
go faster and take more risks under control”.
As always though, the italian adaptated his pre-race
strategy to what was happening live during the race “it’s important that
you have your strategy but at the end you have to make some part of it during
As for the championship, Andrea is up to 2nd now in the
standings but there’s no illusion on their real chances to win it, it’s
Marquez’s to lose “we are focus on that (getting ready for 2019) because
Marc is ahead. If we do something important this year, good, but if we can’t we
have to be even more ready for next year”.
And next year Dovizioso will have some help! Indeed,
Lorenzo’s replacement, Danilo Petrucci, know he’s been signed, not to win, but
to help Dovi win the next title. Think i’m joking ? Nope. It’s Marca which reported this very strange and awkward line said by Domenicalli himself (link of the article here)
“Petrucci will make sure that Dovizioso has a whole lots of points by the end of the year”. Now i do not know how Danilo feels about playing second field but i know i wouldn’t like it!
2) Pen already well in hand
Marc Marquez might have arrived at Misano with a comfortable
lead in the championship but that doesn’t mean he is not willing to take some
risks if a win is a stake. After a good fight with Lorenzo that left us on the
edge of our seat and salivating for next season, the spaniard saw that
Dovizioso was escaping, but there was nothing he could have done to prevent
that from happening: “when i saw Dovi going away i tried to be behind
Jorge, to attack him in the end but i was on the limit, i was pushing too much.”
Knowing a mistake was likely to be made after his crash
during the qualification session (where he gave us one hell of a show running
back to a scooter, rushing back to his box and going back on track on his 2nd
bike in less than 5 minutes), Marquez wasn’t willing to let too many points
escape him: “i was fighting against the bike, i was fast but riding
In the end Marquez vs Ducati went, once again to Ducati:
“i tried to follow them, to be aggressive on the first laps but today Dovi
was riding perfect. I was just following the ducatis, i wasn’t able to overtook
them. Jorge just made a mistake and went wide, that’s how i was able to pass
In Marc Marquez fashion though, the spaniard had to try
first before giving up and settling for points: “when you never give up
sometimes you get something. This time we get 20 points.”
Even if the spaniard hasn’t won since the Sachsenring, he
can still be pretty happy to extend his championship lead after the San Marino
GP: “i arrived with 59 points at the front and we leave with 67 so we’re
3) Lorenzo, Ganador, Campeon, Guerrero
Jorge Lorenzo was a man with a plan this weekend in Italy. Strong from a confidence build by a very good test at Misano for the ducati team earlier this summer, the spaniard was the clear favorite even before the action started on track.
His pole position on saturday, breaking the track’s record (a record he owned as he had set it previously on Yamaha), made that cristal clear for anybody else still doubting. Lorenzo wouldn’t be happy with anything else than a race win on sunday. Fate had other plans for him though.
The hot temperatures forced Lorenzo to race a combo of medium tires which he never felt at ease with: « i have to use the medium front and rear that normally i don’t like, especially the front. I didn’t have any grip on the side and not a food grip in the center of it ». Lorenzo stated he had to use way too much of the brakes than what he likes because of this bad feeling with the tires.
The spaniard tried to escape though but that wasn’t going to work today. Starting from pole position, Lorenzo made another rocket start only him has the secret of and, with the soft, he believed it could have made the difference at least at start even though it woudn’t have last for the whole race distance: « with the softs i think i would have had something more on Dovi and Marc but with the mediums we were on the same pace ».
Favorite before the race thanks to a superb test earlier, the spaniard lamented the tires weren’t working the same « the softs were very constant during the tests but this weekend after 5 laps it was destroyed ».
A wrong choice of tires leading to a crash while he was chasing Dovizioso for the win. Jorge Lorenzo could have settled for the 2nd place in the race. This would have pushed him into 2nd in the championship standings but if you ask him, 2nd isn’t ever enough. He had nothing to lose, Marquez being already gone in the title chase, so he went for it, win it or bin it style.
Lorenzo is now 4th in the standings. With 6 races to go and 24 points between him and 2nd Dovizioso, the spaniard isn’t one to stop trying easily and one can be sure, he’ll give his everything to make sure to not only finish in front of teammate Dovizioso in the standings but also to win more races than him and, like the cherry on the top of cake, try to give Ducati the constructor’s championship. Is Domenicalli still certain it was the right choice to get rid of the spaniard ? I bet Honda are rubbing their hands…
4) 22 races
The streak of shame continues for Yamaha. It is now 22 races
since they’ve last won one. As the situation doesn’t look like it’s going
to be solves anytime soon, riders still try to understand what is going on into
what was once the best team on the grid.
Maverick Vinales seemed to have found some of his old form
back being in the top spots most of the practices but the race is always
another story: “i felt very strong in FP4 but we had a big drop in feeling
from saturday to sunday. It’s been a year and a half that we are suffering
during races and we still have to understand where we lose out”
The spaniard wants to keep focus on the positive though as
for once he didn’t messed up his race start: “after the start i was really
happy because i thought now i can take the slipstream from the fast guys”.
Even a few positive notes cannot keep Vinales from worrying
about Aragon though: “it will also be difficult because it’s very hot and
slippery there but we have some adeas to try”.
Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, was clearly more downcast from having to do a very anonymous race on his home turf. He was finally back
to Misano (as written on his special helmet) after having to miss last year’s
San Marino GP due to an injury. A comeback yes, but not a party: “difficult race, a
big shame to not be competitive in Misano. I expected to be stronger because in
FP4 i was not too bad. But today was more difficult for me, Maverick and also
The italian stating he was close to being one second slower
on sunday than he was on saturday is frustrated by the fact the team still
hasn’t found any reason behind that drop of form: ”maybe it’s because of
moto2 rubber but honestly we don’t know“.
Reflecting on his last seasons, Rossi gives a great insight into what could be one of the reason behind Yamaha’s form these last few
years: “in the last 3 seasons we start good, i make a lot of podiums in the
first par of the season but during the second par we suffer more. it looks like
Ducati and Honda are able to develop their bike in a better way. This is a
problem Yamaha needs to understand why.”
With Lorenzo’s crash, Rossi still finds himself 3rd in the
standings, a result which should cheer him up but the italian knows best:
“we have to stay concentrated and give the maximum because in the
championship miraculously i am 3rd and i don’t understand how!”
If that’s not throwing shades to yamaha, then i do not know
5) Dani’s future
Between good and bad memories, Misano is a track where Dani
Pedrosa used to be a favorite on race day.
This year though, what ended up
being an overall good weekend for the spaniard resulted in nothing better than
a 6th place. Something Pedrosa cannot be proud of: “Today 6th place was
the best outcome, it’s positive but not enough. We’re far from where we want to
Still motivated to end his career on a good note, Pedrosa
couldn’t keep up with his main opponents on sunday: “i wasn’t able to get
closer to Rins and Maverick. We need to work on the bike setup to get closer to
the front group”.
Regarding his future, even though a possible job as a Honda
test rider and ambassador isn’t out of question just yet (at least officially), rumor has it Dani is
talking with KTM to become the new star of the testing team.
A good news for
Dani even though we can’t hide the fact that we would have love to see him race
for the Austrian team. Something which won’t happen as it’s being said that
Pedrosa, even though he would gladly take on the role of test rider, has no
intention of doing wildcards next season.
Valencia then might very well be the
last time we will see him race… Glad i have my ticket!
6) honorable mentions
Another disappointing weekend for Johann Zarco who couldn’t
take more than a 10th place finish on sunday.
Pol Espargaro made his comeback to the race tracks after his
horrible crash which forced him to skip multiple races. Even though it was nice
to have him back, the spaniard couldn’t bare the pain and had to stop mid-race.
Morbidelli’s on a flying form since the announcement of his
future as a Yamaha rider in the whole new SIC-Petronas team. After a great
weekend he took 12th during the race.
Petrucci might be replacing Lorenzo next season, but so far,
he’s not showing any championship winner material with a very disappointing
11th place during the San marino GP.
Cal Crutchlow took a podium home! A great way to celebrate
his new contract with LCR.
Alex Rins’ 4th place comes as both a very impressive and
huge improvement on the form he was showing latelly.
Syahrin started the season so well but is now turning into a
disappointement. 19th is no where near what he should get.
Franco Morbidelli – Silverstone 2018
Stefan Bradl replaced Franco Morbidelli for the German GP
Stefan Bradl replaced Franco Morbidelli for the German GP
Franco Morbidelli – Assen 2018