Category: johann zarco

ROUND 5: FRANCE

ROUND 5: FRANCE

The frenchGP was a well waited venue this season as home boy Johann Zarco is becoming quite the phenomenon and could have been the first french rider in years to claim a win on his home soil. History had other plans.

1. Unstoppable Marquez

The “Circuit des 24 heures” is a well known Yamaha track where Lorenzo & Rossi’s palmares speaks for itself as well as Vinales win last season.

For Marquez to claim the win on Sunday at such a track, with a bloody fast pace and respectable gap on 2nd Danilo Petrucci is the living proof of just how good the RCV is this season and how the package Marquez/Honda seems unstoppable.

With a gap of already more than 30 points on Vinales (2nd) on the championship standings, the season seems already shapping into another success for Marquez.

Of course everybody remembers Marc Marquez’ incredible run of victory in 2014, which have us wondering: could the spaniard do a repeat ? Can he beat his own record ? Will anybody be able to stop the Marquez show ?

2. Down to the gravel trap

There were many crashes this weekend at Le Mans, some that could have had huge consequence on the riders (Crutchlow’s lucky he was not injured because that fall was scary as hell!) while some have change the shape of the championship.

The first few laps of the French GP were under the impression that some kind of sorcery was happening. As Lorenzo was leading (thanks to the soft tires he just wouldn’t stop using even though everybody on this planet know it won’t last the whole race), his teammate was acting like a frustrated child in a hurry to get his new toy, looking for a way – any way – to pass Lorenzo as fast as he could so that he could prevent Marquez (at that time not a direct threat) to catch him for the win.

The thing with this strategy, like Zarco will later explain, is that a Leading Lorenzo is a very hard Lorenzo to pass. The spaniard not only is killing the race start game but he then closes all doors for his opponents to make a move on him forcing them to risk everything they have if they want to lead (something at which only Marquez seems really good at). Once Dovizioso finally made his move on his teammate. He led the race for only a few seconds before crashing into the gravel trap. To Dovizioso’s own word, the crash resulted only in his own mistake.

The italian wasn’t the only one to go down trying to pass Lorenzo. Few corners later it was time for the French Man Johann Zarco to hit the ground being to impatient looking for a way in and past the spaniard. No French GP win for the home boy, but getting closer and closer nonetheless.

3. Silliest silly season

A few more pieces of the 2019 grid puzzle went done at Le Mans as Rins signed a new 2 year deal with Suzuki while Alex Espargaro and Dovizioso are staying at Aprilia and Ducati or 2019 and 2020.

The biggest pieces are still to go down though as Lorenzo and Pedrosa are both looking for a ride. The problem for them ? The future of MotoGP is already knocking at the door and Joan Mir is looking to take one their ride.

Lorenzo’s high profile and salary demands seems to put him in a position where neither Ducati or Suzuki would sign him while Pedrosa’s seat is linked to so many riders that we have lost counts.

In the coming weeks leading to the Mugello, things are about to go as crazy as one could imagine with just today, story coming GPone are linking Lorenzo back to… Yamaha. I know, crazy!

Will Pedrosa keep his seat next to Marquez ? Will Mir go blue with Suzuki or orange with Honda ? Could Lorenzo go back to Yamaha with the backing of Monster and Movistar for a 3rd factory ride ? Will we lose 2 of the biggest name in the history of MotoGP ?

4. Yamaha’s “luck” and faillure

Once the race was over i had a look at the championship standing to see just how many points Marquez was already having. To say i was surprised by who was currently 2nd is an understatement ! Who could have believe that Maverick Vinales, with his current form, would found himself 2nd in the standing ?

Don’t be fool by this though as the more we go on in this season the more it seems that the 2018´s bike is a complete faillure. The one that once was the best bike of the grid, the one team that only a few years ago had both his riders finishing Champion and Vice-Champ is now a team that hasn’t won a race in… wait for it… 15 races! That’s right, Yamaha’s last win was Rossi’s at Assen almost a year ago.

The lack of improvement from the bike, the lack of results from the riders and their ever growing frustration leading them to have strong words against their team in the press is becoming a problem that Lin Jarvis and the big boss back in Japan should adress ASAP if they don’t want to keep looking like fools against Johann Zarco. If i was Lin, i would have trouble sleeping. Someone is going to pay for all this, and i bet you Jarvis’ seat is an ejectable one…

5. Honorable mentions

Cal Crutchlow is tuff. So tuff he was riding on sunday after one hell of a scary crash on saturday and a night spent at the hospital.

Pramac Ducati showing what they were made of Le Mans taking 2nd and 4th: the top spot of the ducati squad.

Iannone might have not finish the race on sunday but he sure made an impression with his Deadpool helmet !!

Johann Zarco – Le Mans 2018

Johann Zarco – Le Mans 2018

Johann Zarco – Le Mans 2018

Johann Zarco – Le Mans 2018

Photo

Photo

Helmets On – Jerez 2018

Helmets On – Jerez 2018

Faces Of – Jerez 2018

Faces Of – Jerez 2018

ROUND 4: SPAIN (Jerez)

ROUND 4: SPAIN (Jerez)

It was finally time for the MotoGP circus to comeback to Europe and back to Spain at Jerez de la Frontera. It feels like a whole new start of the season each year once the paddock is back in Europe. Jerez is the first stop of 4 grand prix which usually end up being absolutely crucial for the whole championship. On this point, the spanish GP delivered as the first real game changer in the title fight happened just a few laps before the checkered flag.

1. The Marquez Machine is ON

There’s no denying that reigning World Champion Marc Marquez is a brilliant rider but lately he just proves to be more and more astonishing than last years.

Jerez was an important venue for the spaniard as it was not always easy for him there in the past, and neither was it for the Hondas judging by Lorenzo’s incredible records on the spanish tarmac.

Beaten during FP’s and by Crutchlow for the pole position, Marquez’ race on sunday was a masterclass and exceptionally well calculated win giving him the championship lead and the first opportunity to create a gap on his title rivals.

Even though Le Mans should be open for a win from any of the Yamahas, the Honda being so dominant at Jerez (Crutchlow’s pole, Marquez and Pedrosa’s race pace) is well enough of a reason for people at Honda to be happy as it means the bike should beautifully work at most tracks for the rest of the season. That’s a prospect that should be a reason of worries for every other team boss in the paddock.

2. Iannone’s revival and Zarco’s title fight

Another race weekend and another podium for Andrea Iannone who seems to be resurected from his own ashes. Having his seat being linked to other riders might have helped a little but it also proves the Suzuki bike is definately on the good path to become a winning machine. The question that remains at Suzuki though is: in which rider’s hands ? Even with Iannone’s last two podium finishes, talks about Lorenzo taking on the Suzuki challenge keeps on going especially now that Monster and/or Movistar seems interested in sponsoring the team, was it to be with Lorenzo instead of Iannone.

It was a huge weekend for Johann Zarco has the announcement of his future move to KTM was finally made official. There, the frenchman will team up with Pol Espargaro aboard a factory team that, he hopes, will turn all around him. It’s a huge challenge that’s waiting for Zarco as KTM’s results proves that a whole lot of work has to be done before the bike would challenge for podium finishes and even more for a win against Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and possibly Suzuki. If he was to succeed though, Johann Zarco would, for sure, write his name in history.

3. Yamaha: still far from where it should be

If things are looking well for the non-Yamaha factory rider Johann Zarco, it’s a complete different story for Vinales and Rossi. Last time out, Vinales looked amazing on the bike and was clearly having fun on it which was not the case at all at Jerez. And neither was it for Valentino Rossi. In fact the italian’s frustration was so clear that he found himself being very vocal against Yamaha during the post-race media debrief. Rossi talking about a lack of support and reactivity from the japanese brand sounds a lot like what he did back in his Ducati days. Was it really frustration or something else ? Perhaps what the italian hope is that the M1 problems won’t go un-noticed after Le Mans, a track that suits them and where they have very good chances of winning.

4. Blame on You, Blame on Me, Blame on Him

What can we say about the Pedrosa/Lorenzo/Dovizioso incident ? Well just that: it was a racing incident.

 You could blame Dovizioso for making the first move that led to the crash but, even though it seemed a little bit forced as Lorenzo was not letting any open door for his teammate to pass, isn’t the whole point of racing just to try and pass the rider in front of you ?

You could blame Lorenzo for repassing Dovizioso and colliding into Pedrosa but again, there’s no racing if you never try to save your position against the other guys on track. His defensive move though led him to be in the middle of a 3 riders line up. There was simply no way the spaniard was getting out of this corner without crashing into either Pedrosa ou Dovizioso as they were all aiming for the very same racing line and corner exit from various positions on the track.

You could blame Pedrosa for passing both Ducati at once instead of being more careful but again what else was he supposed to do ? Wait for both Lorenzo and Dovizioso to get their sh$t together and pass them one at a time ? Rubbish…

The truth, at least to me, is that the crash was a very rare but yet perfect example of a multiple riders racing incident. None is really at fault, none is really all clean.

5. Honorable mentions

Cal Crutchlow’s might always complain about not being on a factory honda yet he still know how to make his LCR bike work as proven by his pole position at Jerez.

Dani Pedrosa might have not being able to finish the race, yet it still was very impressive to see him fight for a podium just 4 weeks after his hand injury.

There was still some positive for Andrea Dovizioso as he was able to fight for the 2nd place when, on friday, he was struggling to even get into the top 10. His post race interviews though, acusing Lorenzo of “blocking him” and not letting him pass… Nope, Dovi, just NO. Racing was never about “letting another rider get past you so that he doesn’t need to make a move on you”.

As Jorge Lorenzo’s future is still totally uncertain, it was a delight to see him on such a great form again. From race winner’s own words, it was like “old Lorenzo”. Could this race help Jorge’s will to stay at Ducati ?

Photo

Photo

Helmets On: CoTA 2018

Helmets On: CoTA 2018

Johann Zarco – CoTA 2018

Johann Zarco – CoTA 2018