All season long, we at MO have been chanting the mantra, “Let Valencia Decide.” With the title unsettled heading into the weekend, the opportunity for a riveting finale existed (if only mathematically), Marc Marquez holding a 21 point lead over Ducati pilot Andrea Dovizioso as the riders lined up on the grid. The math caught up with Dovi on Lap 25 when, desperate to get past insubordinate teammate Jorge Lorenzo, he ran hot into Turn 8, ultimately laying his GP17 down gently in the gravel. And so the 2017 title was awarded at Valencia, having been decided some weeks earlier.

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While many fans were hoping for a dramatic final battle with Andrea Dovizioso at Valencia, the result was somewhat anticlimatic, resulting in Marc Marquez winning the 2017 MotoGP championship.

Practice and Qualifying

All weekend, the MotoGP world appeared to be owned lock, stock and barrel by a sublime Marc Marquez. He spent Friday and Saturday zipping around the Ricardo Tormo circuit, seemingly without a care in the world. His approach to racing is unique and reflects his high racing IQ: He finds The (elusive) Limit on Friday and Saturday, then goes out and manages it on Sunday. As a result, despite hitting the deck 27 times over the course of the season, he crashed out of only two races.

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Facing a 21-point deficit to Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso found himself in an even deeper hole at Valencia due to his struggles during qualifying.

Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso, The Great Italian Hope of 2017, was having problems coming to grips with the short, tight circuit that is Valencia. FP3, for Dovi, was a mess, and almost forced him to endure the ignominy of going through Q1. Q2 was little better, as Marquez laid down the first sub 1:30 lap of the weekend early in the session while Dovi could do no better than the back of the third row. The good news for him, if any, was that Marquez was joined on the front row by Johann Zarco and Andrea Iannone, both of whom have been intemperately endowed with gobs of reckless abandon.

Despite the dreadful company on the front row, Marquez appeared buoyant all day Saturday, and the weekend had anticlimax written all over it. The racing god in charge of qualifying, facing ridicule Saturday evening from the other racing gods, was heard to say, “Bollocks. You guys wanted Dovi on pole and Marquez 9th? No idea how I got that switched around. Bloody hell.” And, before we get started, let me raise the ire of some readers while I mention needlessly that Dovi and Marquez, the last two left standing, received stunning upgrades in the brolly girl department. (By comparison, Jorge Lorenzo’s brolly person was 6’3” tall with long dark hair and an Adam’s apple.)

The Race

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Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa had strong starts, making it difficult for Andrea Dovizioso to have a shot.

As the red lights went out on the 2017 season, the two Repsol Hondas of Marquez and Dani Pedrosa jumped out front, which was big. Zarco, starting well, dispatched Iannone on Lap 1. Gaining confidence on the great 2016 Yamaha M1, he went through on Pedrosa on Lap 2 and was allowed through by Marquez on Lap 4, as expected. Marquez, he of the high racing IQ, had a rabbit in front and a wingman behind him; he couldn’t want for more. With a loosely gathered lead group of five, the race proceeded, um, processed this way for the bulk of the day.

Marquez Being Marquez

Lap 24 would prove instructive. Zarco continued to lead, visions of his first MotoGP win, and the first ever win by a satellite Yamaha, dancing in his head. But Marquez, rather than maintaining a safe gap between himself and the leader, began inching closer to Zarco, appearing to be lining…him…up. Lining him up, when the title was sitting there on a platter. But with Dovi stuck back in fifth…

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Showing again why he is the 2017 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, Johann Zarco led for much of the race while battling with the factory Repsol Honda team.

MM’s lizard brain took over on Lap 24 and #93 went through fast on Zarco at the end of the main straight, executing another transcendent save before riding through the turn, the run-off area and a large expanse of gravel, practically needing to purchase a ticket to get back in the race. He re-entered in fifth position and finished on the podium after the factory Ducati team imploded.

Was this part of the Marquez team strategy? To let someone take the lead, wait until late in the race, see what’s up with Dovi and, unless he’s leading, go for the win and if it doesn’t work out oh well? Must be, since second place was there for the taking. Unlike Lorenzo, Marquez seems to stick with the plan.

Drama in the Ducati Garage

Jorge Lorenzo – expected, at a minimum, to stay out of Dovi’s way while the Italian tried to make his way up front – inexplicably and blatantly blocked him for the first 12 laps. On Lap 13, JLo received the first of three notorious dashboard alerts – Mapping 8 – code directing him to allow Dovizioso through. All of which he ignored. After having said he hadn’t seen the exact same messages at Sepang two weeks earlier.

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Was Jorge Lorenzo more hindrance than help? Andrea Dovizioso was gracious when asked about being stuck behind his Ducati teammate for several laps.

By Lap 20 he had also ignored three clear pit board directions to allow Dovi through. My notes on Lap 21 included “insubordinate.” Lorenzo was, finally, gracious enough to crash out on Lap 25, clearing the way for Dovi who, as excited as an Iowa farm boy in a Vegas whorehouse, almost immediately ran hot into Turn 8, entered the gravel trap, and fell victim to river rock, the 2017 championship chase with him, dusted and done.

The post-race meeting between Lorenzo, his team, and the visiting suits from Bologna promises to be interesting. And all this, after Dovi declared just a month ago what a fine teammate Lorenzo has been in 2017, especially in comparison to The Maniac he shared the garage with last year.

Repsol Honda Magic

With five laps left, Zarco led a menacing Pedrosa and a distant Marquez. The last lap of 2017 took shape between Zarco and Pedrosa, not the matchup many of us expected, but a good one nonetheless. The grizzled veteran and the impudent rookie. The Frenchman with nothing to lose and the Spaniard with nothing to gain.

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Dani Pedrosa won his second race of the season, helping Honda secure the triple crown of the rider, team and manufacturer world champions in 2017.

Pedrosa made short work of Zarco at Turn 1 of the last lap and easily held him off on the way to his second win of the year, with Marquez gaining the third step on the podium. His win, and the Ducati debacle, delivered HRC a rare triple crown in MotoGP – top rider, top team and top constructor. It also saved Yamaha from finishing outside the top two OEMs for the first time since the earth cooled.

Key Moment of the Season

Unfortunately, there is no obvious event one can easily point to as being the decisive moment of the 2017 campaign. Marquez says it was winning at Sachsenring and Brno, finishing the first half and starting the second half strong. Others might say it was the collection of impossible saves (races in Assen and Valencia, practices in Brno, Mugello, Motegi and, famously, the Save of the Century during FP4 at Sepang). Personally, I think it was Phillip Island, where Marquez’s win and Dovi’s dumpster fire fanned an 11-point lead into a virtually insurmountable 33 with but two rounds left.

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There were many pivotal moments in the 2017 season, with Marc Marquez winning in Phillip Island being one of them.

The Last Word

Despite the fact that a sizable portion of the MotoGP fan world dislikes Marc Marquez, there can be little argument that he is the best rider in an age of strong riders and relative equity in the distribution of quality bikes. I never thought I’d say anything very complimentary about Carmelo Ezpeleta, the big cheese at Dorna, but his goal, begun years ago, to level the playing field and lower costs for the teams is working out, at least the first part. There is more and better competition these days, and what used to be a sharp line separating the haves from the have nots has become blurred. Much more proletarian, with the exception of the party leaders at the very top.

Listening to Marc Marquez discuss the championship in the post-race press conference, it became clear just how much mental energy he devotes to his craft. Yes, he has the entire package of physical attributes and a great company behind him. He freely admits to practicing crashing on Fridays and Saturdays, learning to avoid injury and allow the possibility of re-entering a race. (See Joan Mir’s performance in today’s Moto3 finale. Dude has Alien written all over him.)

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Marc Marquez tends to crash more often on Fridays and Saturdays than he does when it matters on Sundays.

Six world championships at age 24. Valentino Rossi holds the record of nine at age 38. There was once a day where it appeared inevitable a young Tiger Woods would eclipse Jack Niklaus’ career-record 18 wins in major tournaments, and many of you know how that worked out. Granted, there is a world of young talent out there readying itself to take on Marc Marquez in MotoGP. They’re all fast. But do they have the will, the mental discipline, the determination found in few athletes – Tom Brady and Peyton Manning come readily to mind – it takes to string together world championships like a daisy chain at such a young age?

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A new generation of bright young talents will try to challenge Marc Marquez including Moto3 Champion Joan Mir (left) and Moto3 Champion Franco Morbidelli (right).

Only time will tell. For now, the motorcycle racing world has a perfectly adequate example of excellence at work in the premier class of MotoGP.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
—Vince Lombardi

Thank you to the handful of readers who put up with this nonsense year after year. It is a pleasure delivering it to you and laughing out loud at your comments.

I’ll be taking a glance at testing on Tuesday and Wednesday on my blog, motogpindy.wordpress.com, where I occasionally post during the offseason. I’m discussing covering both MotoGP and WSBK next season with The Powers That Be at MO, so be forewarned. I will try to talk them into ordering a 2017 Season Recap for a few weeks from now. Otherwise, I look forward to your constructive criticisms and hysterical comments again next year. Peace.

  • Deryl Clark

    Gigi Dall’Igna believes that Lorenzo had a good pace and was just trying to carry Dovi to the front of the pack. Man I got log cabin on an aspen lined meadow facing a permeate snow capped peak just out side Abilene he needs to buy.
    Not that it makes any difference as I don’t think anyone could put enough pressure on Marquez to force him into a mistake he could not recover from, not even himself.
    Great year, thanks for your hard work.

    • Fivespeed302

      It was a great race, with Marquez damned near crashing out! Both Ducatis got a solid sand blasting. Zarco came in, acted like a boss, but then Pedrosa stole the whole thing! It’ll be a long wait until March, but I’ll be waiting for news on testing to hold me over.

    • Kos

      “Gigi Dall’Igna believes that Lorenzo had a good pace and was just trying to carry Dovi to the front of the pack.”

      Public statement.

      The private discussion is going to be somewhat different, in both content and tone.

  • Gruf Rude

    Bruce, I’ve looked forward to your write-ups ever since you began posting here on MO, You are going to cost me money if you add WorldSuperBike as I’ll be forced to purchase their streaming service!

    • I am touched. My wife says the only reason I work at all is on account of the strokes I get from you and the gang. As much as y’all seem to look forward to the posts—it IS a column, whether MO likes or not—I look forward to the conversation afterwards. 2018 should be great, and 2019 a real knees-up. Looking forward to bringing it to you.

      • Old MOron

        And your rash of shit. Tell her not to forget your rash of shit!

        • My wife has some health issues and is unable to fulfill her daily quota of shitgiving. Lucky for her, we have you lot to pick up the slack. Stay outta the weeds.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            TELL YOUR WIFE …

            … we said Godspeed.

  • JMDGT

    Racing is one of the few real sports left. MotoGP is the best of all. I haven’t cared much for race commentary as a rule preferring to watch the races as much as possible and figuring out the dynamics myself through the standings. Since Bruce started his commentary here I always read his analysis and appreciate what he brings to the table. I am a fan. Well done. With all that has happened this year next year will be very very interesting. See you next year bitches.

    • When I first started covering MotoGP, I didn’t know s**t from apple butter. 90% of each article was me moonwalking around the race, not talking about the stuff about which I knew nothing, which was everything. Today, I try to make it 90% content and 10% BS. Mo readers seem very loyal, and they should be. MO hires talented riders and writers, mostly leaves them alone, and pays them as agreed. Unlike a lot of websites. Hope you have a safe offseason.

      • JMDGT

        Lang may yer lum reek.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Guess when my birthday is?
          Also, guess what my name is, and for whom I was named.

          • JMDGT

            No clue Rock. You got me.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Goggle: Hogmanay.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            What is the design of the Saltire? 😉

          • JMDGT

            Cross.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Cross of?

          • JMDGT

            Saint Andrew.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Bingo! And my birthday is?

            Now, really, what your original comment, and first response and answer SHOULD have been was: “Who cares? Who gives a crap about you, Scotland, Canada, or your stupid name? This is a bike site. Give it a rest, you goof. Talk about bikes and keep your nationalistic crap and politics to yourself. (I’d add keep your comments to bikes, but I don’t even like your bike comments).”

            And, of course, I’d at first be offended, but then quickly think ‘fair play.’

            Although, truly, the ‘goof’ comment was a wee bit harsh. Do try to be a bit nicer.

          • JMDGT

            It all seems to be going somewhere Mr. Stonepebble. If I made a comment you would like to discuss do so. If being cryptic somehow helps you I seriously doubt I can be of any assistance. Ride safe. I wish you well.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            It was a joke! Even I recognized my anal tendencies! WTF is wrong with you folk? I made fun of, and insulted myself and even up-voted you! WTF! You quoted an old Scottish Hogmanay greeting (my f*cking birthday!) and I thought I’d f*cking joke about it, assuming you were Scots, or knew WTF you were talking about!

            First, the idiot BTR, then the right wing psycho Smag, and now you? I’ve done nought but make f*cking jokes about me, Scotland, and Canada. FFS, pull your f*cking thumb out.

            IT WAS A F*CKING INSULT TO F*CKING ME!

          • JMDGT

            Lighten up Rock. It doesn’t matter. None of it does. Lang may yer lum reek. Clan Donald by the way.

          • Old MOron

            Hey Rocky, toggle off your CAPS LOCK and slow down for a moment. You’ve to remember…

            https://youtu.be/KHJbSvidohg

          • Old MOron

            Your name is:
            Charles, named for Charles Rennie Mackintosh
            Henry, named for Harry Lauder
            Robert, named for Robert Frost

            And the one I really hope it is:
            Tim, named for Tim the Enchanter

          • Rocky Stonepebble
          • Old MOron

            No fair. I’d already guessed your name was Scots. Give me another hint.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            NM …

          • Old MOron

            Norm, is it really you?!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            The clue was as subtle as a hammer to the head …

          • Old MOron

            Especially since earlier you’d said you don’t believe in violence. Respect.

          • Old MOron

            PS: in case it slipped your mind, Tim the Enchanter…

            https://youtu.be/WObQK2vunAk?t=33s

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            It didn’t

          • Ozzy Mick

            Aye, ye olde English banner.
            Be that yer onya bike at the TT lookin back fer Campbell?

  • Ozzy Mick

    Bruce, what about your tranches? I know it’s all over, but it would have been interesting to see your final tranche.
    Did you pick up in the commentary that Suzuki would miss out on concessions next year if they had a rider on the podium? What was that about?
    And before you tell me to do some research, l am – I’ve just asked the fount of all motogp knowledge, haven’t l?
    Enjoy your well deserved break, looking forward to your coverage in the GP and WSBK.
    if it gets cold over there, come on down under. We can watch some cricket, and you can learn how us civilized people live.

    • Ozzy Mick

      Oh, and also, any news on riders and teams for next year? Gaze into your crystal balls if you haven’t heard anything.

    • Gruf Rude

      Rules for new teams provide that until they are competitive enough to podium, they get unlimited testing and extra engine allowances. Suzuki would have lost that advantage for the 2018 season if they managed to get Rins or Iannone on the podium.

      • Ozzy Mick

        Thanks for the feedback GR, but what’s the definition of “new”? Isn’t this Suzuki’s 2nd or 3rd year back?

    • Starmag

      Nice hat mate!

      • Ozzy Mick

        We loved the Kentucky Kid down under.

    • I am disinclined to tranche riders after yesterday, since close to a dozen riders had nothing to ride for. Half crashed out, and the other half finished at the bottom. I will do a comparison of the final standings and the final tranchings at my post-season review or at my blog. Have a safe winter, and I’ll be sending you some Shout, which is an excellent cleaning product for removing grass stains from white clothing.

      • Ozzy Mick

        Safe winter to you buddy, hot summer down under.
        I’ll check out your blog.
        Cheers!
        BTW, a shout in Oz means buying a round of drinks, as in “It’s your shout, Brucey”

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Is there a bigger c**ks****r than Jorge Lorenzo?

    I mean, MM is a f*****g wanker, but Lorenzo is a total ****!

    If I was Dovi, I’d kick that ******* **** in the ***** and beat the sh*t out of him in the paddock.

    What a small minded, selfish prick that dirty ******** is.

    But, I do not believe in violence, nor the death penalty, so maybe a good glowering.

    • Gruf Rude

      Gotta say I’d be looking to cancel the balance of his contract if I were Ducati.

      • Didn’t appear to be “helping” Dovi yesterday. I’d put him on a GP13 next season and wish him best luck.

    • Old MOron

      As it turns out, Dovi has been perfectly gracious, and said something to the effect of, “Naw, Jorge didn’t slow me down. I was already on the limit.”

      But I still think you’re right.

      • Holy Kaw!

        No, No, No! You Guys Carry on and on… The fact that the People Involved are all good with what happened should have no influence on your rants! Never let facts get in the way of your opinions!

        PS Not you “Old MOron” just the rest of the “Would you like some Whine with your cheese?” crowd.

        I feel better now. Hey to all the old “MOrons”.

        • Old MOron

          Hey right back atcha. I don’t think the other MOrons are off their rockers. It would be nice if we could take the things Ducati says at face value, but you don’t really expect them to say anything less than harmonious in front of the whole world, do you? Even when the Maniac Joe took out Dovi last year, Ducati didn’t come out and say the guy’s a menace.

          They put that Mapping 8 message on Jorge’s dashboard six times. When that failed they put it plainly on his pit board. I guess they could really mean it when they say, “Jorge knew better than we,” but I’m not convinced.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is hard for me to figure out what those ******** are. Is this a crossword puzzle?

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Please excuse my “flowery language.” I’m not like that in real life.

        … I don’t leave out letters.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I guess everybody else understood what you said.

          • Fivespeed302

            I just substituted what I would have said. It flowed pretty smoothly since I cuss like a sailor IRL.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            LOLOLOL

    • Well said. How undeserving is he to have a teammate who refuses to throw him under the bus where he appears to belong.

    • JSTNCOL

      I’d like to up vote this twice please!

    • Lewis

      Just send them all to the TT and make them race for points. That should take care if em’ all. No need for violence. It would be priceless to see the looks on their face when they can’t compete with guys that hang drywall for a living.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Bruce, your reports made the season more enjoyable. Looking forward to hearing from you next season, if not before.

    • You should write more next year. Have you been lurking? As Jim Rome used to say, all you need is a take that doesn’t suck. You appear to qualify. Have a safe offseason.

  • john burns

    way to go Bruce, thanks for all the hard work. I so hoped the Maniac would take MM out about lap 3… Go Rossi!

    • Told SKA you should cover WSBK next season and we can play Dueling Race Articles for eight months. As usual, no reply…Thanks for the kind words.

  • Old MOron

    That was a fantastic season, just fantastic. And following your commentary and analysis made it all the better. Have a great winder break, Brucey. I hope you’ll do a MOronic season recap, with final tranches, forecasts for next year, etc – including WSBK!

    • I’ve done an exhausting analysis of comments over the past several season and you are by far the easiest reader to entertain. Did you know my father? He was funny as hell. At least I thought so. Thanks for the kind words all year, and please ride safely over the winter. Talk to you at motogpfordummies.com!

  • schizuki

    Gigi is not happy with Jorge…

    ——-

    Dear George –

    I have no idea what we’re going to test on Tuesday.

    Oh wait…I know! Let’s test Reading And Understanding Team Messages On Your Dashboard.

    Here’s some homework. Learn this. There will be a test.

    Suggest Mapping One – Lose a Tear-Off. It Might Help You See
    Suggest Mapping Two – Come Back Into The Pits So I Can Slap You.
    Suggest Mapping Three – Marquez Is Winning Again. Just Finish The Race Without Crashing
    Suggest Mapping Four – Stop Mashing Your Fist Against The Dash. There Is No Map Four. It’s Code For Stop Mashing Your Fist Against The Dash.
    Suggest Mapping Five – Try To Pass Someone. Anyone. Even Rabat Will Do At This Stage.
    Suggest Mapping Six – Why Are You Waving At The Crowd? There’s Six Laps Left To Go.
    Suggest Mapping Seven – You’re Going The Wrong Way.
    Suggest Mapping Eight – Get Out Of the Way You Embarrassingly Slow Arsepigeon.

    http://www.bikeme.tv/index.php/did-you-tape-your-visor-up-when-i-wasnt-looking-or-are-you-riding-with-your-eyes-closed-again/

    • Superb. #7 had me shooting coffee out my nose.

      • Erin

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    • Allison Sullivan

      I waited all weekend for that. The one from midweek was good too.

      But seriously. Just when you start to think that maybe the fans are right and maybe George isn’t such a d-rag after all … nope. I wonder if there will be a wall down the middle of the garage again next year.

  • Starmag

    LOL. Even when it couldn’t possibly matter, (Dovi didn’t have the pace), Jlo still finds ways to make people hate him.

    Eminem’s “lizard brain”. Well put. Or you could have just called him a moron for that. Risking the whole season to make that pass stick. Either way, no one past or present makes that elbow save to save the championship. Unfreakin’ believable. It might be luck if he did it occasionally, but he makes these almost every race/practice. Tranche 1 by himself indeed.

    Kudos to Ducati (really Gigi) for being an actual threat to Yamaha and Honda this year. Still have some dry work to do, either that or buy a cloud seeding plane for next year.

    Yamaha apparently needs to go back to last years bike. The GOAT Rossi beating rookie Zarco by 34 in the championship isn’t much of a gap.

    Now if only Suzuki could step it up instead of going backwards into less restrictions.

    Another great season of racing and analysis from Bruce. How long is it to the next race? Damn.

    • I’ll try to post some testing stuff and unsubstantiated rumors over the winter. Moved my blog to http://www.motogpfordummies.com. Be safe.

      • Fivespeed302

        Oooohhhh… (rubbing hands together) RUMORS!

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Bruce: Your reports have been less than satisfactory.

    (Sorry, but after reading all of the other posts, I thought we were all going to start s**k**g each others c**ks. Just had to keep it real)

    Live long, and rock on with Rossi and Bucky.

    • Irresponsible journalism at best. Find any other respectable racing publication that would stoop to posting an article having to do with MotoGP with but a single passing reference to Valentino Rossi and ignoring Maverick Vinales completely. Disgracious. No mention of Alex Rins, who finished fourth. The author needs to work a little harder at this.

  • Shlomi

    Bruce, thank you very much for making the race weekend last a bit longer (while i read your column). Seeing MM save today after the save he had at Sepang i finally understand your view of him being the (new) poster child of the sport. One thing for sure Lorenzo will never be that poster child. Probably the most hated person in Motogp (including his own crew, and most likely his girlfriend too).

    • I used to admire Lorenzo. But Lorenzo is in it for Lorenzo. Douche. Safe winter.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        You do know that Jorge Lorenzo is paid 12.5 million euros a year by Ducati?

        • Gruf Rude

          They are not getting their euros’ worth.

  • Kos

    Damn, that wasn’t boring, or without drama!

    MM: New tranche — Super Alien.

    Dovi: “Best but for MM” is nothing to be embarrassed about.

    Zarco: Damn! On a satellite bike.

    Lorenzo: I propose renaming him “he who shall not be named or mentioned”. Does this guy make any money on endorsements?! Hi, even my team hates me. I’d like to rep your product.

    Vinny: A less than stellar second half, but I’m predicting a lot from him next season, esp if they sort the bike a bit more.

    Bruce, thanks for a great season of writeups, and wordsmithing like “both of whom have been intemperately endowed with gobs of reckless abandon” and “excited as an Iowa farm boy in a Vegas whorehouse”.

    • It takes me all winter to think this shit up. Plus I read a lot of fiction. Reading a Don Winslow book last night about a confidential informant this cop was working who went by the handle Stinky Ass “because he always smelled like he had a round in the chamber.” I remember stuff like that and great meals, and that’s about it. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to keep you guys happy. Have a safe offseason.

      • Kos

        Scary. Don Winslow is one of my favorite authors, though his more recent stuff has gotten a little TOO dark for my tastes. Frankie Machine FTW! Have a great winter.

    • Fivespeed302

      I know he’s sponsored by Shark Helmets, because his HJC helmet malfunctioned during a race.

  • spiff

    Suzuki lucked out. They appear to have figured something out, and they get concessions back.

    Ducati learned something. Lorenzo is a crap employee. Oh, and Dovi is a good one.

    KTM had a good start to their Motogp program, Smith had a decent day. Marquez is really going to move their program forward in 2019.

    Marquez is the only Alien. Lot’s of incredible riders, but one Alien.

    Aprilia is the weakest link.

    Yamaha should give Zarco a factory bike like Petrucci.

    Yamaha should let Vinales have more input on the bikes development.

    I hope Rossi gets along with his Yamaha next year. If so he will be in the hunt.

    • I agree down the line, other than I’m sure Suzuki is disappointed in their 2017 program. They probably would have preferred to lose the concessions. Iannone showed a little promise late in the year. I still believe Rins will be a baller. Two new riders in 2019 for sure.

      • spiff

        So you agree that Marquez will be a part of KTM? Cause if you asked me that is the one that I most want to be true.

        • Kos

          Crazier things, etc., etc.

          When Dungey went to KTM everybody thought he was nuts, but it worked out just fine, to say the least.

          OTOH, when McGrath tried it a decade or so earlier, it worked out like everybody predicted. Poorly.

          Don’t jump until they’re ready MM!

          • spiff

            McGrath made the move in his twilight. Carmichael, the original and possibly the only definitive GOAT, had already shown his dominance. The last minute move to Suzuki is the one I bet he wishes he could have back.

          • Kos

            Fair point about the timing of McGrath’s move.

            And Carmichael. He was so good at his peak that he made outdoor MX boring.

            I wonder who will get second today?!

          • spiff

            Carmichael the OG, “original GOAT”.

          • Dude, you gotta be older than me! But when Tinkers went to Evers, who went to Chance, that worked out, as I recall. That’s about as far back as I go.

        • JSTNCOL

          Zarco. New interview out with Pieier or Bieier or which ever one of those guys holds the money.

          • spiff

            That would be cool.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Where is the interview with KTM’s Stefan Pierer or Pit Beirer?

          • spiff

            Rossi has signed one more year. Unless Vinales leaves there is no factory Yamaha for Zarco. Bonus for ktm is that their riders are familiar with the Yamahas.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          How would he know? No one will know until the silly season starts at the end of next year. If he goes for a interview then people will know. If he asks for too much money it may not happen. KTM likes to groom their own people for championship.

        • I suspect Marquez will try to win titles 7, 8, 9 and 10 with Honda. After that, he might want a different challenge. I am blown away by the progress KTM made in a single season. Espargaro slings that bike into turns looking like MM on the RC. Zarco would look great on that bike in 2019.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        I hope they don’t pull out of MotoGP like they did with MXGP and All Japan Motocross.

  • spiff

    Thanks for the words Bruce. I will keep track of your blog for the off season gossip.

    • When we first started doing this Disqus thing here I thought you took, as dad used to say, a dim view of my stuff. Glad to hear I was mostly wrong. Enjoy the offseason, be careful out there…

      • spiff

        Nope, just dry, sarcastic, and like to debate.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Sounds like my ex-wife.

          • Old MOron

            And after you broke up, since only you remained, naturally you became the master debater.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Plus, I tossed off a LOT!

          • Old MOron

            Plus ça change

          • And you, sir, having revealed this, are exactly the type of reader this column appeals to. Tell your friends.

  • Konstantin Troitskiy

    Dear Bruce,

    Thanks a lot for your column. It’s been a real pleasure to read. Looking forward to the next season, although I believe the 2019 should be a lot more interesting as I hope MM gets finally bored winning title after title and swaps a manufacturer. I personally would love to see him on a Duc. I think he is the only rider out there capable of getting them the next title. The rest do not seem to have what it takes to ride a Duc. Dovi lacks the mind set of a champ (was satisfied with this season no matter if he wins it or not, unwilling to push to the limit each time out, staying “relaxed” as he himself was saying all the time) and the rest seem too much dependent on the type of a bike they ride whereas the Duc seems to favor nobody.

    Maybe I missed something, but the “Voice of MotoGP” seems to have retired. He was a nice man. So my appreciation also goes to Nick Harris.

    PS
    I hate these people retiring. Rossi is the greatest character out there right now and he probably is the next one in line for pension. They will be missed dearly.

    • I met Nick at Indy a few years ago, and he was as gracious and personable as he was in the booth. Learned more from him than anyone other than David Emmett, who was very kind to me in my early years. Don’t know where Dylan Gray is heading, always enjoyed his running around.

      • Old MOron

        Huh, is Dylan leaving, too? Bummer.

  • I thought it was very nice of MO to publish the link to my blog. I have assured them that I get about 10 visitors a day and that it will not impact their eyeball counts. Today, of course, I bought a new domain for the blog, one which will be easier to remember, until I get sued by Dorna and the publishing company that owns the For Dummies series. At some point today it will switch to motogpfordummies.com. Should be suitable reading for all you mutts, at least for awhile. At some point they’ll probably make me change it back.

    • Old MOron

      Give ’em hell, Brucey.

    • Fivespeed302

      Bookmarked and joined the email list.

  • Buzz

    In other news: Nick Harris has retired as the voice of MotoGP. There is a nice tribute video of the riders imitating him on the website and you tube.

  • Allison Sullivan

    “Marquez, he of the high racing IQ, had a rabbit in front and a wingman behind him; he couldn’t want for more.” And then when he pushed his luck and ran into the weeds, I jumped out of my chair screaming. Animals went in all directions. I am still disappointed that Zarco couldn’t hold off Dani and take his first win, but there’s always next season.

    There will be some interesting post scripts from that race, I’m sure. Looking forward to hearing your take on the passing parade in the off season, and back at it in the spring. Thanks for your commentary this season, it’s the one MotoGP writeup I always tune into come Monday and always enjoy.

    • If you hang out with this crowd you need to be able to take a joke. You seem perfectly capable. Welcome to the conversation. Watch out for Old MOron. The notches on his virtual bedpost look like the helmets of seniors at Ohio State.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        That guy’s a mad man! I hear he mixes tea with coffee!

    • Rocky Stonepebble
  • hasty hughie

    Bruce, thanks for your write ups and dialogue. It has been dynamic, provocative, colourful, insightful, and much appreciated. In this postseason, I am intrigued by Rossi’s comment that he is not the only one going slower over the last couple of seasons. Is this a distraction away from factory Yamaha’s unsuccessful year or are race times declining and why ?… be well, have a good off season, hh

    • Tires and control ECU, most likely.

      • hasty hughie

        My theory which is based on my entire lack of any knowledge other than that taken in by riding around and exchanging molecules with the bike via the seat of my pants with thanks to Flan O’ Brien for elucidating that disturbing and insightful proposition in the Third Policeman, a highly recommended read, is that the current bike spec has possibly reached a design zenith and the engineers are noodling the bikes off the apex waiting for some other factor such improved tires or ECU development to enable better lap times. Perhaps it is time to change the spec to more cc’s, or higher revs/more gas more engines, less weight I just don’t know, much. Be well, hh

        • Thanks for the tip on O’Brien. As for the rest of your ideas, I’m in over my depth. One of the guys in this conversation will have an answer. I’d jangle Old MOron or Gruf Rude.

  • JSTNCOL

    And Jorge has now repaid his debt to Marquez for the 2015 title.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      LOL!

  • Vrooom

    Bruce, we’d love you to cover WSBK! And think how similar it is, Johnny Rea is the Mark Marquez. Your first paragraph seems to say that Dovi crashed passing Lorenzo, but you get it right later. I make it clear I’m not a Marquez fan, despite him being the best racer in GP by a good margin, so I have to wonder whether Lorenzo’s sudden blindness came from owing Marquez a favor from 2015. Marquez didn’t need the favor, but when you owe somebody, you’d rather get it off your back as soon as possible. The question is will Ducati want to employ someone who willingly ignores clear and unmistakable team orders.

    • You rock. But, seriously, JL is another narcissist, only interested in JL. To think he would crash out to pick up some kind of marker from 2015 gets the bells ringing in my head. Like I said elsewhere, give him a GP13 to ride next year.