No disrespect to Dani Pedrosa, but I was really hoping Marc Marquez was going to win the Czech round of the MotoGP championship this past weekend. It would have been his 11th win in a row, a record-breaking achievement, surpassing none other than Giacomo Agostini. More to the point, it would have strengthened my argument about the 2014 MotoGP season so far: the racing has been kinda boring. It’s not Marc’s fault; the kid is amazingly talented and will surely receive Hall of Fame status when he eventually hangs up his leathers. Sure, the resurgent Rossi has been inspiring to watch, and other riders (Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro) have shown flashes of brilliance, but c’mon, at the end of the day, we all know Marquez is going to wrap this thing up.
That’s why I’ve turned to Moto3. Did you see this weekend’s action? Those 249cc four-stroke Singles may be the lowest class of the MotoGP championship, but don’t call them slow (it’s not unusual for a Moto3 machine to clock 150 mph trap speeds!) and definitely don’t call them boring. For much of the Brno race, the leading pack of riders was 17 deep ! Heck, there are weekends where an AMA Superbike race will be lucky just to have that many bikes entered.
Here’s what makes the class so appealing to me: the Moto3 youngsters (many are teenagers; all are kicked out of the class on their 28th birthday) don’t have any concept of the word patience. From the moment the lights go out, it’s bar-banging action from beginning to end. As you move up the ladder in motorcycle racing, tactics and gamesmanship rule the day. In Moto3, it’s brute force from the start of the race until the checkers drop.
Championship points leader, Australian, Jack Miller, is piloting a factory KTM, the machine everyone wanted to be on last year as it was clearly ahead of the Hondas and Mahindras. This year, however, both the respective Japanese and Indian (yes, Indian) motorcycle companies have stepped up their game, bringing the fight directly to the Austrian KTM at every round. All three makes are fighting at the front during every round, and while the Mahindra has yet to win a race, its handful of podium finishes suggest it’s only a matter of time. So, not only do you have fearless riders going at it every lap, but also there’s an exciting manufacturer’s battle going on, too.
Then, of course, you have the personalities. There are three that catch my attention. The aforementioned Miller exhibits the charm Aussie riders are known for: He’s daring when he needs to be, fearless in all conditions, and he’s always good for a quote or two after the race. He’s even rumored to be in for a MotoGP seat next season, skipping the intermediate Moto2 class entirely.
Alex Marquez, second in the points chase, is the younger brother to one Marc Marquez. He’s generally quiet and composed on the grid, but when the visor goes down, he’s all business. The elder Marquez brother has even stated on occasion he thinks Alex is the more talented one. If Marc’s right, the rest of the GP field is in trouble.
Lastly, there’s Romano Fenati. Riding for the VR46 team, there’s a certain amount of pressure laid on you when your boss is Valentino Rossi. Fenati handles the pressure in stride, using his aggressive style to barge his way to the front if he even thinks he has a sniff at the podium. It makes for great racing from a fan’s perspective, while his competitors know they’re in for a handful if he’s anywhere around.
I’ve been watching motorcycle racing for a long time, and if you ask me, some of the best racing action in recent years has come from the 2014 Moto3 class. A spectator is never sure who will win the race, as there are at least 12 guys with a legitimate shot at the top step. If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is. Sure, I’ll continue to watch the other two classes, but when I want guaranteed excitement from my racing, I know I don’t have to look any farther than Moto3.