The Existing World Order in MotoGP remained intact on Sunday in Barcelona. A resurrected Jorge Lorenzo won his second race in a row, from pole no less. He has shuffled the tranches more than he has the standings, as the riders look ahead to The Cathedral at Assen.
Virtually lost amidst the frenzied game of musical chairs being played in MotoGP is the fact that, pursuant to his careless crash in Italy ten days ago, Marc Marquez has returned to Earth. Though the title still appears to be his to lose, his margin of error has been trimmed. Another off in the next few rounds will breathe life into his six closest pursuers. Or, he could win the next three rounds without breaking a sweat, forcing us to start thinking about 2019. Dude records way more wins than DNFs.
The small fleet of 747s that is the MotoGP Moving & Storage Company lands this week in Barcelona for the second of four Spanish rounds. The track, recently reconfigured for safety reasons, has been roundly criticized by the riders as no longer fun or “MotoGP-worthy.” Blah blah blah. By the time Friday rolls around, every rider with a drop of Spanish blood in him will be banging on about the history of Montmelo and overflowing with optimism about his team’s prospects. Business as usual amongst the yachting class.
Just like Bruce Allen says in his preview of Catalunya, “Suddenly, the season is getting away from Rossi.” Can the chosen one earn his first win in Barcelona in seven years? Is it a foregone conclusion that one of the three dominant Spaniards will win? Or maybe the kid from Figueres will mark his arrival as an official alien, having now sewn up the Yamaha contract, by winning on homeground. The spoilers to the party are Dovizioso and Iannone, both with something to prove.
Heading into Mugello two weeks ago, the world appeared to be Movistar Yamaha matinee idol Valentino Rossi’s oyster. Sure, he was sitting in third place, courtesy of his slide-off in Austin. But he was within striking distance of both Repsol Honda nemesis Marc Marquez and teammate/rival Jorge Lorenzo. His sense of the moment led many to expect a dramatic win at his home crib. Instead, a blown engine on Sunday has put him squarely behind the eight ball, the not-so-magic eight ball that had falsely predicted something grand in Scarperia.