Category: johann zarco

ROUND 9: SACHSENRINGThe German track might be …

ROUND 9: SACHSENRING

The German track might be a classic venue on the MotoGP calendar but it found itself in a difficult position as Sunday’s race at the Sachsenring could very well have been the last one there.

1. The SachsenKing

And one more that makes 9! Marc Marquez won the German GP, starting from the pole position, for the 9th consecutive time. A record to give nightmares to anybody else on the grid to the point where his opponents starts to wonder if the only way to stop the « SachsenKing » from winning the German Grand Prix wouldn’t be to get rid of the Sach track once and for all.
Sources may seems to indicate though that the Sachsenring track should stay on the calendar for, at least, 2019.

There’s still hope though for Marquez’ opponent as his victory wasn’t as easy as we’ve been used to… or at least it seems so.

Not looking a dominant as everybody expected, Marquez was blown away by the Ducati armada’s apparent force at the German track. An armada led by Lorenzo during the race as, once again, he bursted into turn 1 as first. Seeing Lorenzo not being able to open the needed gap to run away with the win, Marquez kept his cool and, once he saw the older spaniard’s pace was dropping, he made his attack and took the lead. From there, the Honda rider made sure to always have all the cards in hand in order to control the whole race.

One should not be fooled by the pace being slower than in the previous years. Marquez explains it as a result of improvement on the RCV that forced them to do compromises on the strong points the bike always had at the Sachsenring.

 Comprise or no, Marc Marquez always had something more up his wrist and was smartly waiting for Valentino Rossi to come back on him to deliver an higher pace and run away: “Honestly speaking at the end of the race I had something more, I didn’t feel the drop in this race. I just tried to manage the distance to me and Valentino but I had something there. It was not necessary to use.

The spaniard now goes into the (very short) summer break leading in the championship standings. The title seems more than ever, his to lose. 

2. The Yamaha illusion

It was a real surprise on Sunday to see the two factory Yamaha on the podium. They’ve been consistent all season but their lack of improvement on the bike as left them chasing their first win in a year.

To huge situation, you take huge mesure. Last year, Jonas Folger found himself behind Marquez’ only challenger at the German track and, to Yamaha’s logic: if it worked for Jonas, it must work for Valentino and Maverick! Both factory riders decided to use Folger’s set-up as a base for the German weekend, and one can say, it worked out well!

Rossi felt stronger but still needs a little Something more coming from the electronic: “Me and Maverick are stronger and we are second and third in the championship but we need some small help from Japan to improve the electronics system Under acceleration.

Vinales also think things are getting better but he, too, hopes for improvement from the factory: “It is good to have a little bit more consistency in results but i think here being on the podium at Sachsenring, as last year we suffered a lot, this year seems to be much better so i think with the bike we’ve improved”.

The spaniard’s problems though remains the same as he still struggles in the early stages of the race no matter where he starts from on the grid: “It went really well for the last 10-15 laps but i expected to be at the front trying to battle. It is time to work and try to become even stronger and i think at the moment we are recovering this feeling that i can be fast at the end so i need to improve my riding style to be fast at the beginning”.

If the official riders are better, Zarco isn’t. Since Le Mans, the frenchman has been struggling and looking like only the shadow of himself.

Rumor has it, Johann founds himself in a huge disagreement with his confident and manager, Laurent Fellon, regarding the way the deals with HRC and KTM were andled. It’s true a place at the HRC, even next to Marc Marquez, would have been the chance of his life but his management team decided to let it go in favor of KTM where he should be number one and not only Marquez’ helper.

3. Ducati’s hope of a better future

Even though both factory Ducati riders’ frustration was palpable on Sunday night, they both decided to remain positive, hoping for better days after the summer break.

On the pace and clearly showing they should be a force to reckon with all weekend, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso couldn’t keep the illusion living during the race.

The spaniard tried, but so much he was left without any rear grip for half of the race: “I was leading but i realized that i was unable to shake off the riders behind me and when the rear tyre began to lose grip it was impossible to keep up the pace. (…) Maybe we went in the wrong direction with the setting of the bike: we focussed too much on trying to get a lot of grip at the front and we probably neglected the rear”.

Overall though, Lorenzo stays positive, knowing he took important points at his two bogey tracks (Assen + Sachsenring): “I made a great start again today and i led the race for a good number of laps. (…) Overall we made progress throughout the whole weekend but weren’t able to confirm with a good result”.

Marquez might be already too far in the standings but 2nd and 3rd could very well be possible knowing most of Lorenzo’s favorite tracks are coming and judging by his second half of season for the last couple of years: “Now the World Ducati Week awaits us at Misano and then, after a few days of rest we will concentrate on Brno where i’m convinced we will be back stronger than ever”. Read between the lines: “Where i’m gonna Hammer them all”.

If Lorenzo’s frustration was due to Petrucci’s behavior, Dovizioso’s was more regarding his results and the fact he is unable to reach last year’s level of performance: “We still don’t have the situation in hand in terms of the tyres. I don’t know if it is because there tyres are not the best for us. I cannot be pleased with my result. i did not bring home the maximum and i lost a lot of seconds so it’s better to look forward”.

Much like Lorenzo though, the italian preffers to stay positive and focus on the good points: “You cannot forget the past and so many fast Ducatis have never been seen on the Sachsenring, this is a confirmation of our improvements

Dovizioso is currently 4th in the standings but with his team-mate’s new found revival, he has to do, at least, as good as last year in the second part of the season if he still wants to be First Ducati and have a place on the final podium.

4. Pedrosa’s retirement

After two press conferences held with nothing new to say about his future, Dani Pedrosa finally announced on Thursday that he decided to retire from the sport and put a final point on his career as a championship rider at the end of 2018.

Even though Dani did his best to keep the tears to himself, the news broke millions of hearts across the world. Indeed, Dani Pedrosa’s departure is of the ones that means a lot for the fans much like Casey or Nicky before him. As he’s one of the very best rider in history, the spaniard’s story will always be marked by being the most deserving and talented rider to never get the ultimate prize that is a MotoGP title. It wasn’t by lack of trying though. Pedrosa wen’t close to get the title on 3 occasions, 2012 being probably the most obvious one. History though will remember that each time the spaniard was close to get it, fate had other plans and injuries always had the best on him.

Pedrosa’s work ethic, passion, riding style and personality made him the only one adored by all no matter if they initially wear yellow, red or blue. His retirement will leave a huge hole on the grid, not only because of his incredible skills on track, but especially because in a motorcycle world where fans (and riders) argue to know who’s the best of all, Dani’s intelligence and humility made him the voice of wisdom and the only one able to assemble in a paddock divised by the recent year’s events.

If the fans will miss Dani Pedrosa, so will his opponents on track:

JL99 « Se retira un referente del motociclismo español. Siempre recordaré nuestras grandes batallas desde 125cc hasta cuando luchábamos por el título de MotoGP. Técnico, rápido, respetuoso y por si muchos no se acuerdan, tricampeón del mundo! Disfruta de todo lo conseguido. #GraciasDani »

MM93 « Gracias @26_DaniPedrosa por ser el referente de muchos pilotos que crecíamos en busca de nuestro sueño. Has sido un gran compañero! #GraciasDani »

MV25 « Gracias @26_danipedrosa ! Enhorabuena por toda tu trayectora deportiva. Siempre serás un referente para el motociclismo español. #GraciasDani »

5. Honorable mention

– Another hard day at the office for Cal Crutchlow as overheat in his tires forced him to DNF.

– Scott Redding seemed to have only one purpose: put the helmet down. Now that it’s done, he might found it hard to stay in the championship as he still has no ride for next season.

– Pol Espargaro went from Hero in the Morning, topping the Warm UP with KTM, to Zero in the afternoon causing lap 1′s big incident.

– Not all hero wear cape, some wear white and gold leather as Alvaro Bautista made an heroic ride to P5!

– Aleix Espargaro had a weekend to forget. He went from getting a 6 places grid penalty to not being on the grid at all suffering a huge and scary crash in the Morning warm up.

Here’s wishing a very happy Birthday to Johann…

Here’s wishing a very happy Birthday to Johann Zarco! 🎊

Johann Zarco – Assen 2018

Johann Zarco – Assen 2018

Helmets On – Assen 2018

Helmets On – Assen 2018

Faces Of – Assen 2018

Faces Of – Assen 2018

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 8 – ASSENMM93 – 10: W…

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 ”

ROUND 8: ASSEN

ROUND 8: ASSEN

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.

Faces Of – Catalunya 2018

Faces Of – Catalunya 2018

Helmets On – Catalunya 2018

Helmets On – Catalunya 2018

Johann Zarco – Catalunya 2018

Johann Zarco – Catalunya 2018