Johann Zarco – Misano 2018
Johann Zarco – 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.
RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 12 – SILVERSTONE
VR46 – 7: Vale wasn’t at the safety meeting. You see, it was nap time for him. #ZZzzz
AR42 – 8: Hero of the weekend. Probably saved a few guys from spending their saturday night at the hospital.
JL99 – 9: Jorge Lorenzo took the pole position on mix conditions. I repeat: ON MIX CONDITIONS! If that’s not a proof that the world is going upside down, i don’t what is..
JZ5 – 8: The french rooster has found back all of his A game just in time for qualification. Too bad he couldn’t score any points on it.
MV25 – 8: Was that a bird ? A plane ? No. That was Maverick back to his top form. At least right until it started raining than ABRACADABRA like magic Maverick disappeared…
SR45 – 4: i’ve heard Scott wanted to race. Well, of course. Home crowd and co. Also, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference as he would have ended up in the gravel trap or with a mechanical problem anyway.
DP26 – 5: We were glad Dani wasn’t forced into doing this race because, let’s be honest, with the amount of luck he has, he would have been the one with broken bones by the end of Sunday…
AD04 – 8: Andrea wasn’t at the safety commission. Nobody told him. Well, like a friend of mine said, if he was still on speaking terms with his teammate, he would have known about the meeting…. #justsaying
MM93 – 7: Marc’s one lucky boy. The one time he was about to loose a few precious points on his main opponents, a flood came to Silverstone, drowning the track just enough to cancel the race! #theforceisstrongwiththisone
Silverstone – 0: I feel for the fans. The one event they go during the year was ruined for them only because the track decided to let the resurfacing job to a shitty company. Hopefully, they’ll do better next year… if we go there. Maybe i should consider giving them a point for getting Tom Holland aka Spiderman to come though… #NextTimeSaveYourMoneyAndGoToSpainOrItaly #NoNeedToThanksMeForThatTip
Johann Zarco – Brno 2018
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 Zarco! 🎊
Johann Zarco – Assen 2018
Helmets On – Assen 2018
Faces Of – 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 ”