Category: review

ROUND 3 OF RATING THE RIDERS: 2019 AMERICAS GP

ROUND 3 OF RATING THE RIDERS: 2019 AMERICAS GP

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AR42 – 10: Here at MGP_Fanpage we always knew Rins would do great at some point. A long awaited result that just show the rider’s potential when doing 1 with his bike. Sure enough, there’s much more to come!

MM93 – 6: Turns out, MotoGP’s very own alien is just human after all. Also, let’s note that the AmericasGP was once again proof that most of the time, only Marquez can beat Marquez.

VR46 – 9: it’s pretty obvious age is just a number and, at the end of day, you’re as old as you feel. On this note, i guess Vale was feeling 22 last night!

JL99 – 5: It’s pretty obvious now that HRC’s second bike is cursed. This, or JL killed a bunch of black cat secretly and is getting his ass kicked with bad luck for ever since.

JM43 – 9: *cuff cuff* doing better than Petrucci *cuff cuff*

MV12 – 3: Just when we thought he finally had a reasonable enough start, turns out, he jumped it! Oh Maverick, what are we gonna do with you…

AD04 – 6: *start taping* Forever the bridesmaid & never the bride.

*Hearing Dovi screaming* Yet, leading that championship!!

JZ5 – 4: If KTM’s test rider, Dani Pedrosa, has any magic trick up his sleeves, now would be a good time to show them to Johann!

HS58 – 1: Yes, Hafizh isn’t doing particularly well so far, but he’s still our favorite weird dancing person when it comes to gifs!

ROUND 2 OF RATING THE RIDERS: 2019 ARGENTINA G…

ROUND 2 OF RATING THE RIDERS: 2019 ARGENTINA GP


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MM93 – 10: Impressive. Unbeatable. Maestro. Out of this world. Boys, they better watch how hard this guy is gonna hit them all in two weeks at Austin…

MV12 – 6: Yes he crashed but let’s all keep in mind that, for once, he had a good start!

VR46 – 9: There will always be something magical about Valentino Rossi. He crossed the line 2nd and he celebrated it like he had won for the biggest pleasure of all the tifosi around the world.

JZ5 – 3: There’s some signs that doesn’t lie and right now facts are that Oliveira is doing better on that KTM than you Johann…

AD04 – 8: On a day where Marquez was unbeatable, the best Dovi could have done was 2nd. Except he did not even finished 2nd…

FQ20 – 7: Last time out Fabio was crying his eyes out, this time he wasn’t. This time Fabio delivered one hell of a ride !

JL99 – 4: Remember Jorge’s famous jumped start from the US GP ? Well this ArgentinaGP one will soon be as legend as the former one. Let’s find a name for it: drawning start ? How to have a bad start in one lesson ? Mum, i hit the wrong button start ?

JM43 – 8: An impressive ride from the man Ducati said “NO” to for the second factory seat… Danilo, where were you ?

CC35 – 7: He moved. As harsh as it is, Cal did moved on that line. Now you can argue, maybe the penalty was too strong or maybe not, but the penalty was deserved, that’s for sure.

AI29 – 2: Lately, Andrea is having way more success on Instagram than on track. Maybe now would be the right time have a new look at your priorities and what you really care for ?

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RATING THE RIDERS: 2018 SEASON

MM93 – 10: The unbeatable Marquez’ done it again this year. Focus, aggressive, smart but yet still a burn head, the spaniard is becoming the greatest rider of all time, even though he might never beat Rossi on being the most loved. His ability to add titles to his name like we do pearls on a necklace is incredible to witness even though it could become boring at some point. That’s where his whole new teammate for 2019 comes in play…

VR46 – 5: Not a single win this season is bringing Valentino right back to the worst time of his career: his switch to Ducati. A few years later, the italian bike is a weapon while the M1 never stops loosing ground on her opponents. 

AR42 – 7: A superb end to his 2018 season has push Alex into being rider n*1 for Suzuki. He’ll now have to work harder than ever before as Iannone is out by the window while a shinning new star named Joan Mir is coming in right by the front door. 

DP9 – 5: Let’s all be honest here, the only great thing which happened in 2018 for Danilo was Lorenzo saying “CIAO!” to Ducati so he could (finally) joined his best buddy Desmo Dovi on the big red beast. It’s only for a year though, so you better watch out for your back Petrux…

AD04 – 7,5: Another year, another championship lost for Andrea Dovizioso. The italian, now being Ducati’s main arrow for next year’s title target, is strong and can win multiples wins per season. But as the last two years proved, you need more that having the best bike on the grid to become World Champion. Can 2019 be his year ?

DP26 – 6: Seasons were becoming harder and harder for Dani Pedrosa so it was only fitting for him to call it quits. Yet that doesn’t mean we won’t miss him. Don’t be a stranger, Little Samurai. Come to the paddock many times, work as well as we know you can for KTM. We’ll always be cheering for you in whatever you do. <3

AB19 – 7: Another guy is leaving us. Soldier Bautista will be looking for better and greener grass in World SBK next season with Ducati. All we can wish now is for him to be a real threat to Rea’s crown. If someone can, it’s Bauti!

JL99 – 8,5: The man who is a World Champion and not just a great rider didn’t delivered his best season, yes, but he made another Hollywood comeback that only him can. Switching from 0 wins almost retired and depress to 3 wins, multiple poles and a new shinning deal with the best team in the world was THE story of the season especially as it all happened in just a couple of days. Last year we said life was like a ferris wheel and that Lorenzo would back to glory and so he did.

MV25 – 6: Like his legendary teammate, The Doctor, Maverick went from bad to worst this season. Only one win this year for the multiple times MotoGP Test World Champion is not even disappointing anymore but a total disaster. We now hope that a change as simple as switching from #25 to #12 will finally put Vinales right where everybody expected him to be when he joined Yamaha. Yet, we could not be more unsure of anything else… 

JZ5 – 6: A second season far from being as good as his rookie one, a chance to be a HRC rider thrown to the bin and a new challenge with KTM, a bike far from being good enough yet to challenge for the win: 2018 wasn’t what we expected from Johann Zarco. 

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2018 SEASON REVIEW : MOTOGP AWARDS

Man of the season : Marc Marquez

I mean.. DUH ! Who else could really compete with the multiple times reigning World Champ ?

Bromance of the year: VR46 & JL99 – Mugello 

Imagine Valentino and Jorge, together on a gondola in Venice. Impossible ? Not if you’ve watched the Mugello GP’s post race press conf. “But with nice girls” Jorge added. Of course. 

Race of the season: Assen

We’ve been blessed with many incredible races this season but nothing compares to the DutchGP. A classic track made for bikes and only for bikes providing one hell of a fight for the win until the very end of the race. What’s more to like than that ?

The “It’s not me, it’s him” award: Jorge Lorenzo – Aragon

To be agree with Jorge Lorenzo, or not to be ? That’s a good question. One we’re still unsure of how we feel about. One thing’s clear though: Jorge could have prevented the crash by simply loosing a few places.

Most impressive crash of the year: Pirro (mugello) & Lorenzo (Buriram)

Pirro’s horrific crash at the Mugello won this easily up until Lorenzo had this scary highside in Thailand that cost him so much in the second half of the season. The Ducati might be the fastest on track but she’s also quite the threat to a rider’s life…

Worst haircut of the year: Scott Redding’s dreadlocks

Without even a freaking doubt! 

Pass of the season: Jorge Lorenzo – Austria

Most of Lorenzo’s pass are always a delight to see because they are as precise as a knife cutting skin. This one wasn’t. To beat Marquez you have to play like Marquez. He does block passes. You have to do the same. Lorenzo studied well and mastered the block pass for a race win on the block pass King himself. Impressive. 

Save of the year: Marc Marquez – Catalan GP (Q1) 

This has to become Marc Marquez’ lifetime award. Nobody else can do these like he does. After last year save while leading the ValenciaGP against Zarco, we thought he could never best that. WE WERE WRONG! Proof: his never ending slide and save at Catalunya! Don’t lie, we were all mesmerized by it and watched it a couple of hundred times on replay. 

The “Quote for the ages” awards: Jorge Lorenzo

I’m not a great rider, i’m a world champion”. You take that Domenicalli! A world champion you’ve just lost! 

The “Going from bad to worst” award: Yamaha

Last season was quite a bad one with only 4 wins but this season was a disaster. Only Maverick Vinales was able to save a little bit of the Japaese’s brand honor in Phillip Island, winning their only victory in 2018 after Marquez and a few other challengers went down.

Most tearfully goodbyes of the season: Dani Pedrosa’s farewell

The year has finally come where we had to say Goodbye to one of our OG. One of the best rider ever and someone most people between 20 and 30 admired and loved. The year has finally come to say Goodbye to Dani Pedrosa. Even though be knew it was coming, we still weren’t ready for that.

Worst season of his never ending career award: Valentino Rossi

With no win at all in 2018, Valentino’s season felt as bad as back when he was at Ducati. Something he probably never thought would happen at Yamaha… 

Phone call of the decade: Jorge Lorenzo & Alberto Puig

Jorge Lorenzo should have never go to the HRC if you listen to most experts. The bike will never suit him, the HRC only has eyes for Marquez bla bla bla. And yet, with just one phone call, Alberto Puig’s made himself one of the most successfull time in MotoGP history. Let’s be honest, if someone can beat Marquez with his own weapon, it’s Lorenzo. And vice-versa.

Worst closet you’ve ever seen: Jorge Lorenzo’s Philipp Plein collection

We did not questioned Jorge’s fashion sense when he started wearing very long shirt. We stayed quiet about the pink swimwear he loves so much. We even thought his red hair was a cute touch last season. His collection of funky jackets and colorful shoes from Philipp Plein though was too much for our eyes! 

The “i knew he could do it” award: Alex Rins

Man of the second half of the season, the rise of Alex Rins was long awaited by some of us. Now let’s see how well does he feel in the “leading man for Suzuki” shoes.

“Most useless person” award: Uccio – Argentina

You’re not Lin Jarvis. Nor Carmello Ezpeleta. Do not dare tell Marc Marquez to go away ever again.

The “Lady luck loves you” award: Marquez & Zarco – Phillip Island

That huge crash at a very fast part of Phillip Island could have ended so bad. Luckely for both men, a few scratches and bike parts destroyed was all there was to deplore.

Favorite Helmet this season: “King Mugello” – JL99 – CatalanGP

We love a good graffity helmet and so we were really glad to see Jorge Lorenzo bring this one back with a whole new and updated version at Catalunya.

Breakup of the year: Andrea Iannone & Bellen !

I’m still refusing to think about it… *ugly cries*

The return of the spartan award: Jorge Lorenzo’s back to back wins

After almost a year and a half without winning a race, Jorge Lorenzo made the 2018 summer his by: calling Alberto for a deal, telling his boss (Claudio) who’s the real boss, winning his first race for Ducati at the Mugello, making official he was leaving his team at the end of the season at the italian GP press conference, announcing his whole new shinny deal with Honda a few days later, winning again in Catalunya, taking so many pole position even Marquez was jealous and mastering the block pass. All this while making sure Dovizioso really was pissed off. Good job Jorge. 

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RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 19 – VALENCIA

AD04 – 9: I swear i saw Andrea do a rain dance in the middle of the race… 😉

MM93 – 5: Patience is a vertue Marc, and at Valencia, you definitely needed more of it.

JL99 – 5: Years  are starting to show on Jorge. And by show i mean i would have never thought a wrist injury could slow down this much the guy who finished 5th a few hours after a collarbone surgery.

DP26 – 8: Oh Dani, i can tell you there was not one dry eye in your fanclub grandstand on Sunday. They almost got me out of tissue papers!

VR46 – 7: Vale tried to win. Again. But failed. Again. When luck runs out, it’s really out!

SR45 – 5: If the bike racing stuff does not work, Scott has a career of underwear model waiting for him judging by his way of celebrating his last race in MotoGP!

AR42 – 9: After a 2 part race like this, i bet Suzuki are fine letting Andrea go. Alex’s ready for that number 1 rider spot.

PE44 – 7: And just like this, out of nowhere, Pol gives KTM their first podium in MotoGP! Good job Polyccio!

MV25 – 6: I do not know if switching from 25 to 12 will make Maverick go faster but it can definitely not make him, or rather his M1, go slower.

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 18 – MALAYSIAMM93 – 9…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 18 – MALAYSIA

MM93 – 9: Marc Marquez aka the man who wins even when he fails. #machine

AD04 – 6: Sometimes even with the best bike on the grid you cannot win.

JZ5 – 8: … And suddenly, Johann is back !

DP9 – 4:Can we swap them, get Danilo in WSBK and keep Alvaro ?” – Every Ducati fans out there…

VR46 – 9: Fate must have something against you when you crash out of the most perfect ride you’ve been able to do all season. We don’t know about you, but we were sad.

AR42 – 8: Rise and Shine, we’re pretty certain Alex was the revelation of this Asian trip !

DP26 – 8: Hold on your tears everyone, Valencia is coming…

AB19 – 8: Can you stay Alvaro ? Please. We’re begging you.

MV25 – 7: YOUR RACE STARTS MAVERICK FFS ! #angryface

HS55 – 7: Local hero providing heroic ride for his home fans.

ROUND 18: MALAYSIALast round of the Asian tour…

ROUND 18: MALAYSIA

Last round of the Asian tour for the MotoGP paddock took
place at Sepang. The Malaysian track always provides it’s lot of drama due to
the weather conditions and the fair wars betweens riders going into the last
part of the championship. This year Malaysian GP was no exception.

 1) Fate favors the Brave …

 Having
the start from 7th on the grid due to a “dangerous behavior being too slow
on the racing line
” penalty, Marc Marquez knew from the very start that
the race would be a hard one and that he would have to push for the win: “It
was a very, very hard race. First because we started from seventh place, so
that was an extra motivation because I’d never won from the third row. The
first lap was not the best of my career and I had to overtake some riders, but
then I saw that Valentino was pushing really hard from the beginning. So I
pushed too, but I was riding like qualifying and I overheated my tires.”

Pushing is one thing, but in Marquez’
case, pushing also means saving a handfull of crashes, which once again he did
all weekend long: “I was just riding by instinct, not by using my head,
and pushing on the limit. I was fighting against myself and the bike to be
as close to Valentino to attack in the end. I nearly crashed 3-4 times during
the race.”

Lady luck though already had her plan moving
and while Marc Marquez almost made a mistake at each lap it’s Rossi who went
down while he was leading at the front from Marquez and Zarco: “The plan
was just to try to be there at the end! I mean, I didn’t have anything more. We
were both riding on the limit. A really fast pace. But he was on the limit too
and I saw he was starting to struggle, but there were only 4-5 laps left so it
would be very close, because our level was very equal. (…) When I was only
six tenths behind he did a mistake because he was a little bit wide and when
you are fighting like this you don’t want to lose any time, so he tried to come
back on the line too quickly and crashed. When I saw that Valentino fell,
my body just relaxed and I was riding in another way, because both of us were
pushing a lot.”


 2) … Or maybe it doesn’t.

After
a very disappointing race at Phillip Island where teammate Maverick Vinales
won, Valentino Rossi was desperate to finally find the miraculous recipe to get
back on the top step of the podium, and for a while, he did, thanks to the many
changes his team made on the bike: “We modify a lot the bike, the setting to
try and make everything help the rear tyre. At the end it worked. Already from
Friday morning I felt good. We worked well with the team. We just made a small
adjustment. We can be competitive for all the race. Also Maverick was not so
bad, and also Zarco. Because Maverick started from very behind, no? This time
the three Yamahas were quite competitive. It was more mechanical [than
electronics changes]. In the last races we improved the electronics, like three
or four races ago that helped a bit. But now it’s more mechanical. For me the
problems are not fixed and we have to improve. Like I said, we worked well on
the software but we have to make something more in the hardware from Japan. I
think we need some details, especially in the electronics and also in the
engine. We speak a lot with the Japanese and it looks like it will work.”

But
fate, karma or whatever you would like to call it had other plans for Rossi and
so, even though he made a pitch perfect race start and went on to do a
fantastic job at leading the race, the only mistake made by the italian proved
to be lethal for his hopes of a win: “It’s a mixed feeling. From one side I’m
very happy for the race because it’s the best race of the season for me and
also it was coming in difficult conditions at a difficult track for us. This is
very important. On the other side it’s a great, great shame. I’m very
disappointed for the mistake. To make a race like this and go home with zero
points is frustrating, yes. We have to say it’s my
first mistake of the season because I arrived always at the end except in
Argentina. But maybe it’s the worst moment. But like you said, I’m devastated
for the crash. But I’m also happy because anyway we lived the dream for 15
laps. After the victory of my brother also, it can be a great, great day. But
it’s like this.”

The
crash cost Valentino Rossi a lot as this zero point taken makes him lose the
runner up position in the championship standings to Dovizioso and he will now
have to fight against Vinales for 3rd at Valencia, a track he doesn’t keep
close to his heart: “Also today the result can be very important also for the
championship because if I don’t win and I arrive second I close the third place
with Maverick and I can be five points from Dovi [Andrea
Dovizioso
] for second in Valencia. Now Dovi has gone and we have to
fight with Maverick for the third place. But I think Valencia is an important
weekend because it’s one of the most difficult tracks. If we are able to be
strong also there it’s positive.“

Valentino
might have lost the 2nd place in the standings but he did won back the
admiration of many fans who were desperate to see him do well again. He also
impressed his former teammate Jorge Lorenzo who congratulated and praised him
on twitter:

JL99:
"Apart from the crash, I’ve never seen Valentino Rossi so consistent. More
than 10 laps in just 1 tenth at the hottest and longest track impressed me. And
some said he started to feel his age after last race”

Such
praise coming from the number 99 could only soften Rossi who answered:
“Grazie  Jorge!”

We
couln’t be happier to see them finally having a respectfull releationship !

 

3) Behind Marquez

Behind the race winner, Alex Rins took another podium
leading him to a fantastic 2nd half of the season: “Our Suzuki is going
very good. The factory deserves it. They have done a really good job during all
the season, because since Qatar I felt we had a very competitive bike. But it
looks like since the middle of the season we did a very big step. At Assen,
Suzuki brought me a new engine, with a little bit more top-end power, and since
this point we improved a lot. We were able to hold the slipstream and fight
with Yamaha and Honda on the straight. And then also I think the experience of
trying to control more the tyres and electronics. Suzuki are now working for
next year, taking a lot of information, and already Guintoli is trying a new
engine that looks very good. We will see what happens next year. For sure I
will give my best to try to beat these guys and be more constant at the
front.”

 It’s
been a while since Johann Zarco was able to fight for pole positions and race
podiums but in Malaysia, like his yamaha teammates, the frenchman was back to
his old self and fought for the 2nd place most of the race, only giving it away
to Rins at the very end: “The strong beginning of the race was key for
the podium. I had a great start from pole and it helped me to go well in the
first two corners. Valentino was pushing a lot and going so fast. I was
not able to overtake him,  but following him was good enough to go away
and save the podium. Later I did a mistake in corner 14 and Marc overtook me
very cleanly and then I tried to stay behind him. I expected Marc could catch
Vale quickly but instead he was closing step-by-step. I lost a little bit to
him, but I was able to keep a good pace and have a bigger gap to the guys
behind me. After Valentino crashed I was second, again with a good gap, I thought I could control it but five laps from the end I saw
on the pit board that Alex was coming maybe five-tenths per lap faster than me!
I tried to push but I was not fast enough and in the last lap when he overtook
me in turn four I wanted to overtake him again and fight a little bit. But
there wasn’t the possibility and I almost crashed in turn 11. I got the podium
last year here in tricky conditions, but this year was like a real constant
race and the strong beginning helped me finish on the podium. Third is just a
fantastic present because I’m now the first Independent rider. I’ll try to keep
it in Valencia and being on the same points as Rins means whoever finishes in
front can be in the top five of the championship.”

Now the paddock is heading back to Europe and back to Spain for Valencia and it’s legendary end of the season race. Jorge Lorenzo should make a full comeback after a failed attempt at Sepang. Rossi and Vinales will fight against each other for the 3rd place in the standings while the Team, Best independent and Rookie of the year titles are still to be given away.

Buckle up, Valencia is coming. And we will be there. #CannotWait 

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 !!

ROUND 16: JAPANThe Japanese GP held at the Twi…

ROUND 16: JAPAN

The Japanese GP held at the Twin Ring Motegi track is the
home round of many manufacturers in the premier class but most of all, the home
of Honda. With Jorge Lorenzo out again of the race weekend due to his wrist
injury, Marquez had one opponent less to worry about regarding his first match
ball in Japan.

1) Level 7

With 3 races to go in 2018, Marc Marquez was crowned World
Champion again, this past sunday at Motegi. It’s the 7th time of his career
that the young spaniard is taking the title home, to Cervera. At only 25,
Marquez already has a place with Legends of the sport that have won multiple
world titles and only has Valentino Rossi (9), Angel Nieto (12+1) and Giacomo
Agostini (15) in front of him.

The
youngster that first rode a bike before he was even 5 is domininating the field
since he first came into MotoGP winning 5 of the last 6 titles with only
another extremely  talented spaniard, Jorge Lorenzo, being able to
get the title in 2015:  “It was
impossible to imagine and I say every season it is a dream come true, but I’m
living a dream. Of course, (being) a MotoGP rider is one thing, but every year
to fight for the title, be there in the top positions and win the title, is
something that nobody can imagine. Even if you are a super talented rider and
you are winning everything in the smallest category, you cannot imagine because
in MotoGP are the best riders in the world and there are 19 races in a year, so
it is so difficult to find the best level during all the season.”

Even
though he is making history as we watch him continue his journey, Marc Marquez
isn’t focussed on the record breaking but on the new season to come.

Indeed,
the spaniard will face a whole new challenge as Dani Pedrosa’s retirement means
Marquez will now share the box with one of his main opponents so far. A threat to
him and his dominance, but a threat he knows about and is already getting ready
to face as his will to win again and again is still as intact as ever: “I never thought
about records because every season is different, but I have a two-year contract
with Honda and these two years, I will try to fight for the championship. In
the pre-season, I will work for another title and this is the way. I know that
I will have the pressure, like all top riders, but all top riders are working
to win the championship. If you finish second, it is a good season, but the
goal is not achieved. As long as I stay here, I will try to increase this
number.”

Do
not open you seat belt just yet, this ride is far from being over, the
Marquez Era has just begun !

2) The Race

Marc
Marquez did got the title on Sunday by winning the Japanese GP but he did not
do so without a trick or two.

On
a real stop and go track, Ducatis were the favorite. With Lorenzo back to
Europe to heal his wirst, all hopes of a win were on Dovizioso’s shoulder. A
burden that might have been to big to bear for the italian. With Marquez
starting from 6th on the grid, Dovizioso took the early lead and tried to get
away ”à la Lorenzo“ knowing Marquez’ pace in FP4 was fierceless. A
failled strategy in the end as by the end of lap one, the spaniard was right
being Desmo Dovi, stalking his every moves.

From
there, started the now usual and very boring – let’s wait and save as much
as possible the tires for the end – show delivered to us by Michelin. Not
much happened until 10-5 laps to the end where Dovi and Marquez started their
usual on track feud for the win with Cal Crutchlow right behind, ready to take
any opportuny that would come his way.

On
the penultimate lap of the race, Dovizioso, pushed to his very maximum by the number 93, made a mistake and crashed out leaving Marquez to take
both the win and the title, with Crutchlow in 2nd and Rins in 3rd: "I’m
obviously pretty disappointed because we wanted to win this race at all costs,
but all-in-all it has been a positive weekend because we were very quick and we
confirmed our competitiveness. Pity about the crash: I didn’t overdo it but
simply tried to prepare for the exit of the turn in the best possible way in
order to attack him and I made a small mistake that cost me dearly. Even though
we did a good race we were unable to make the difference against Marquez, and
so I want to congratulate him because also this year he deserved to win the
championship.”

Having
Dovi lead the race though seams to have provide Honda an understantement of
Ducati’s strategy, at least that’s what Crutchlow believes: “The problem was
that Dovi was yo-yoing the pace again. Now we know the strategy of Ducati,
which they have done for four or five races in a row now: they do two or three
fast laps, then he slows the pace down, and the he does two or three fast laps
again. It’s so difficult to pass the Ducati because even when he slows down for
a lap, the Ducati has so much power off the turns.“

Finally
it’s worth noting that Yamaha is now at more than 25 races without winning. After their
great revival in Thailand, the boys in blue (and black aka Zarco and Syahrin)
had to deal once again with a disappointing race weekend and a bike that still
doesn’t want to obey them. A situation that cannot continue and which is leaving
both Rossi and Vinales absolutely desperate: “I think we worked well, we made
another step [in warm-up] and I feel better on the bike and I started quite
optimistic to fight for the podium. Unfortunately the two Suzukis and also
[Cal] Crutchlow are faster than me. I tried to not give up and not make any
mistakes, tried to arrive at the end with good pace.But our potential is
this. It’s more this than Thailand, unfortunately. Suzuki did a very good
step compared to last year, because they work in the right way. Better than us.
They are strong. If Iannone didn’t crash, he would have arrived in front. They
are fighting for the podium, they are stronger.”

We
now go to Phillip Island, which is definitely MotoGP’s brightest jewel. Jorge Lorenzo will again miss the race and will be replaced by best
Ducati rider during the Japanese GP, Alvaro Bautista. The 5 times World Champ
hopes to be back for Sepang. Free of any kind of pressure, will Marc Marquez celebrate his new title with a win on the Island ? History is agains’t him on that note as each time he won a title at Motegi, a DNF followed right back at Phillip Island…