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RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 15 – THAILANDMM93 – 1…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 15 – THAILAND

MM93 – 10: A+ to that show-off of Marc Marquez who can wheelie on the line with Dovizioso & Vinales on his tail like it’s nobody’s business. #TooEasy

SR45 – 5: If you’re on social networks you’ll unterstand why we’re putting Scott right behind Marc. Afterall, he is SO glue to his back lately. #Bromance 

AD04 – 8: There was a time where Dovizioso was able to defeat Marquez in a last lap fight. And he was really good at it. Well… Not anymore.

JZ5 – 7: Cocorico is back ! Almost.

MV25 – 8: A round of applause for Maverick’s race start! See ? When you don’t drop like a stone at the start, everything else works fine.

AB19 – 7: WSBK is getting itself a new Star with Alvaro. Another top 10 in the bag!

VR46 – 8: Leading a good part of the race is progress but even all of the old dog’s tricks weren’t enough to race around the bike’s problems.

DP26 – 7: We were cheering. We ended up heart broken.

Bonus: Is that Jordi Torres kicking a few regulars’ butt i see there ? #OUCH

ROUND 15: THAILANDFirst time racing in Thailan…

ROUND 15: THAILAND

First time racing in Thailand was a success for MotoGP judging by the huge attendance showing up all weekend long at the Chang International Circuit. Was the racing good though ?

1) Team Mani

Marc Marquez continues to mark history each times he goes out as he now is the first ever winner of the Thai GP. Still fierce and incisive in his every moves, the spaniard has to fight hard to get the best out of Dovizioso for the win: “I saw that Dovi’s pace was good and I was able to be slightly faster,
maybe, but I wasn’t able to overtake him because my front tyre was
overheating and I wasn’t able to stop the bike on the brake points. For
that reason I tried to attack before the last lap, to try to cool down a
little bit the front tyre, but Dovi was really smart and he overtook me
really quick every time. Then I said okay, we will see on the last lap.
I tried to forget everything, the championship, all these things and I
just give all that I have.

Was the racing good then ? It was fine. Was it the best race ever like many like to say every sunday now ? Hell no! What’s the problem then ? The entertainment, the fights, all this only happened in the last couple of laps, leaving you watching the rest of the race like you where watching the boring middle part of the 24h of Le Mans. This isn’t Marquez’ fault by any mean though but it brings us to our next point: Dani Pedrosa and the Michelin tires.

It’s no news that Dani Pedrosa is living one of the hardest time of his career right now. While he will retire at the end of the current season, one could wonder: is he simply not good enough to win a GP or is he not being give the tools to shine ?

Some weirdo will tell you he cannot do it anymore, that he is not one of the Aliens. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, let’s just say we do not share this point of view. Proof is the Thai GP. At a hotter track where he was quicker to bring the tires to temp, suddenly, Pedrosa looks in good form, do well in FP and QP and was at some point of the race before his crash, the fastest man on track with a real chance of winning. His smaller size has always been a threat to his natural talent ever since he joined MotoGP but since Michelin took over the paddock, Pedrosa’s problem went from bad to worse. And ever since they comeback, no solution was being given to Dani. Something which, to me, is incomprehensible: “We were forced to use the hard rear and I had a huge, massive,
disadvantage on that. Because for me, to warm-up this tyre was almost
impossible. It took me five laps [in the race] and I had to
do two extra laps before the grid, to clean the tyre and try to
give temperature, when all my rivals put the new tyre in on the grid. I lost so many seconds, maybe four seconds, in the first couple of
laps but then I caught back to them before the crash. So this is the
positive part but unfortunately it ended in a crash and I think it would
be a lot different if I could start from the front. But the disadvantage was massive today on the rear tyre at the beginning. That’s the problem, but… nobody cares.
” 

We do care, Dani. We do. 

2) Magic Trick ?

The Iwata brand is living it’s worse time in the Grand Prix paddock since so long ago that i probably wasn’t even born yet to witness it. All jokes aside, the men in blue were hoping racing on a whole new track on the calendar might help them save what they can from that dreadful season.

Twenty Four races without winning and still counting, both Rossi and Vinales looked to be in better shape this weekend. Being fast during practice doesn’t means much though once Sunday comes. Yamaha’s miracle did not arrived in time for the Thai GP but we did saw a few sparkles of it.

Indeed Valentino Rossi not only made it to the front row of the grid but he also led the race for a while, which he hasn’t been able to do in quite some times: “For me, this is the best race for Yamaha in the second half of the season. This is so important. It
was a lot better, because we fight in the top group. At the end,
unfortunately, we are always struggling a little bit too much with the
tyres. But today we are not far. During the weekend Maverick followed another way with the set-up. He was
able to ride that type of bike and maybe saved the tyre in a better
way. So Maverick was a bit stronger than me at the end.”

Vinales on the other side could only take away the positive of the weekend. The spaniard seemed more relaxed, being all smile most of the time which marks a radical change compared to the last races. Finally getting a start worth of his factory rider’s status, Maverick needed some times at first to match the leader’s pace. Once he did though, he closed on Dovizioso and Marquez like melting snow to the point where he probably didn’t saw a race win this close in ages: “It is really difficult to ride like this, up and down, because you never
have enough trust but I think that race was a different situation
because I could have the chance to attack on the last laps. I was there, really close, but we need more feeling because in five or
six races I was not able to be less than ten seconds from the top. I
arrived there really close, I was able to fight, so I am happy that we
did a good job this weekend, so let’s see in Japan – no expectations, I
will try to be clever like I was this weekend and we will see if we can
manage.”

3) The Boys in Red

Jorge Lorenzo came to Thailand suffering from his foot and left suffering from his foot even more AND from his wrist. After one hell of a hot summer for the spaniard, the last couple of weeks have been a complete disaster for Lorenzo, losing every chances go be runner up and making it even hard now to finish 3rd in the standings. Nobody can blame him for deciding not to race this weekend after the awfully scary highside he suffered in FP2 (due to a mechanical problem on his desmosedici but with Ducati not wanting to provide anymore infos on the matter): “As I told you,
the chances to compete here were minimal [after the Friday accident] –
even before I had the scan, when I found out that I have a fissure in
the end of the radius bone. So my left wrist is
hurting a lot and for sure in my opinion there is no meaning to take
more risk, knowing the circumstances, knowing the pain, and I decided
not to race. I don’t want to miss any grand prix and, as you
know, I did whatever it takes to arrive here and try. Obviously, the
right foot that was already injured is a little bit more painful, but
the main problem now is the wrist. If I was fighting for the
championship, I would probably make a desperate effort not to lose
points here. But knowing my position in the championship, knowing the
risk to be bad also in the next races, there is no meaning to try now.

Dovizioso on the other had a rather normal weekend. Having a pretty good pace, he challenged Marquez for the win the last laps but failed to stop the younger spaniard: “I am always trying all my career to do that (harness aggression) and it
has happened with Marc and with most other riders, because I am not that
rider to try and create a problem. Yes, I can be aggressive but not
over, and it is good when the race is like that: a lot of overtaking but
try to be in the safe way. I’m happy if we continue like this.

A 2nd place and another podium which leaves him without any pressure to take the 2nd place in the overall standings and prep for next season: “I am really happy to have another four races and continue to work and
try to improve a little bit because we need that if we really want to
fight for the championship next year.

Reading Germán Garcia Casanova’s blog post on Motorsport dot com (here’s the link: x) though we cannot help but agree to the fact that being a good rider isn’t enough against Marc Marquez. In order to beat him you must be willing to take every risks, to try anything. Dovizioso lacks that. He could have tried to do a Lorenzo and go away instead of saving his tires as he was showing a very strong pace, but he didn’t. He could have pushed Marquez even further in his moves, but he didn’t. To quote german: “Dovizioso is a
great driver, but he does not have the competiviness, irreducible gene of not wanting to lose that makes you one of the greatest. (…) Dovizioso did
not risk, he did not give everything, he did not seek the limit, the
Italian complied, without a doubt, he did his role, and in the end,
he even made ‘a Márquez’ move in the last corner, but you could be expecting a little more coming from the rider with the best bike on the grid.

With Lorenzo probably back at Motegi, a track he loves, and judging by the Ducati’s improvement, the pair should be hard to beat in the last couple of rounds, at the exception of maybe Phillip Island. Or maybe not ?

4) Honorable mentions

Kuddos to Scott for doing the last few laps completely sick in his helmet even though he couldn’t bring home a point by finishing 16th.

Johann Zarco felt better this weekend too and was able to take a very welcomed top 5.

Alex Rins continues to slowly progressing. Not top 5 this time but a good 6th place ahead of his teammate Andrea Iannone.

Danilo Petrucci in 9th still not showing any factory rider worthy material.

Rookie and replacement for the injured Tito Rabat, Torres is showing some skills. Finished 19th in front of regulars of the like of Nakagami, Luthi and Espargaro (the last one is still recovering from his previous injury though). 

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Scott Redding – Misano 2018

Scott Redding – Misano 2018

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RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 12 – SILVERSTONEVR46 …

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 

Scott Redding – Austria 2018

Scott Redding – Austria 2018

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 11 – AUSTRIAJL99 – 10…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 11 – AUSTRIA

JL99 – 10: “If we fix the corner speed, fire Claudio and get Andrea back on a number 2 salary, do you think he’ll come back ?” – Davide, Gigi and Paolo, ploting for 2021 somewhere near Bologna…

CC35 – 8: This one only has one thing in mind: winning at Silverstone. 

MM93 – 9,5: Marc on Thursday: we need to think about the championship 

Also Marc: almost crashing out of the race, still block passing Lorenzo

MV25 – 3: So Maverick, dropping to 16 after the race start, who’s to blame for that this time ?

AD04 – 8: Even Grumpy cat wouldn’t master the face of desperation like Dovi did in the parc fermé

JM43 – 1: “Ducati track” they said.. “You’ll be fast” they said… #not

VR46 – 8: The old fox always has one last magic trick up his sleeve when race day comes

SR45 – 3: Scott was faster testing the new red Marc Marquez shoes on his instagram than while riding his aprilia during the race… #awkward 

DP9 – 7: Someone needs to tell Danilo that taking a tow from Andrea in every FP and QP sessions will simply never help him once race day comes…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 9 – SACHSENRINGVR46 -…

RATING THE RIDERS: ROUND 9 – SACHSENRING

VR46 – 9: 1 year and a few weeks. The clock’s ticking! #ChasingtheDreamChashingaWin 

AD04 – 6: If anyone see “2017 Andrea Dovizioso”, please contact us, we would like to have him back !

MM93 – 10: The term “alien” doesn’t even begin to describe Marc Marquez anymore. At least when it comes to races at the Sachsenring. 

SR45 – 4: We see you there, Scotty boy, trying to make #HelmetDown being the new #kneedown … 

DP26 – 7: Dani will be leaving us soon. Nope, we’re not crying, you are. #snif

MV25 – 8: Two podiums in a row, Maverick be careful there, we might be impressed !

DP9 – 7: Is shaming Lorenzo the new trend or are Danilo’s ankles just too big for his boots now ? Just asking because i’m on the edge of blocking everything that comes out of his b*tchy mouth lately. 

JL99 – 7: What’s the first thing Jorge did to start his summer break ? Eat a paella. Yup, for some of us, food does comes first. 

AB19 – 8: CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE A DAMN RIDE TO ALVARO ! *signing a petition* *calling everybody i know* *eating chocolate waiting for the bad news*

PE44 – 4: Did you eat Andrea Iannone at breakfast, Pol ? Because stricking everybody during lap 1 is more of #29 thing to do than you…

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.