With the World Superbike championship set to resume again this weekend in Jerez, after a long Coronavirus-induced break since the season opener at Philip Island in February, BMW felt it necessary to tell everyone how it was spending its time in lockdown – and it’s pretty fascinating.
Motorcycle categories have gotten a bit widespread, haven’t they? Companies like Ducati aren’t making things any easier when they call its 955cc Panigale V2 – an update from the 959 Panigale – a “Super-Mid.” Ironic, especially considering Ducati’s iconic 916 was formerly the cream of the sportbike crop. I think the proper way of looking at the current nomenclature is to consider the machine’s performance. With 1100cc V4s skewing the definitions of what a Superbike is, it seems natural for the Panigale V2 to follow along and break the middleweight rules, too. Because, looking at it from a performance aspect, this is the new level of middleweight performance. Time marches on, everyone, and technology just gets better and better.
Clearly, I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to ride two of my favorite sportbikes – the Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M – around one of the best circuits in the world, the Circuito de Jerez. But an evolution, not revolution, of the current R1 platform first introduced in 2015 (which, coincidentally, I was also present for) seemed hardly a reason for Yamaha to spend a sizeable chunk of cash to rent the world-renowned track, fly journalists in from all over the world, feed them, and put them up in a fancy hotel. What was up?
The MotoGP world, turned on its ear by qualifying on Saturday, was put back in its proper order today in Jerez by the incandescent Marc Marquez, who led wire-to-wire. The Petronas Yamaha SRT team, which spent Saturday night in the penthouse, ended Sunday in the outhouse. Rising Suzuki star Alex Rins took second, and Maverick Viñales found the podium for the first time since Buriram 2018. Four riders were separated by nine points heading to Jerez; four riders remain separated by nine points heading to Le Mans. Life is good.
Following the fire earlier this month that destroyed the entire fleet of Energica Ego Corsa spec race bikes, the FIM has released an updated calendar for the 2019 MotoE World Cup.
For those of us excited about the prospects of a grand prix level electric racing series in 2019, our hopes were given a severe blow this morning as the MotoE paddock in Jerez burnt to the ground, destroying the entire fleet of 18 Energica Ego Corsa spec race bikes. The motorcycles were gathered in Jerez for the second test of the series in anticipation of the first MotoE race at the venue in May. The only good news to come out of this event is that no one was hurt in the fire.
Today’s Red Bull Grand Prix de España served as a vivid reminder that in the premier class of MotoGP there is Marc Marquez, and then there are a bunch of other riders. We are clearly living in the heart of The Marquez Era in MotoGP, which appears likely to extend into the future as far as the eye can see. With the best rider in our generation astride the best bike on the grid, in mid-career, an air of inevitability has settled over the 2018 championship.
As if Valentino Rossi hasn’t already accomplished enough during his grand prix career, The Doctor is on track to record another remarkable milestone: If he completes the 15th lap of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend at the Circuito de Jerez Àngel Nieto, Rossi will have completed 8,730 laps. An amazing number on its own, the achievement will equate to having ridden 40,075 kilometers, or just over 24,901 miles – the equivalent of a lap around the world!
With but eight points separating the top five riders, MotoGP storms into Jerez on fire, happy to be back in Europe, the contenders looking for a little separation as Round Four is upon us. Jerez is one of those beloved tracks – along with places like Mugello, Assen and Valencia – where riders aspire to join the great ones. With almost a dozen legitimate podium threats starting the race, of which only four have ever won here (in the premier class), the odds of a fifth rider from this grid finishing Sunday standing on the top step of the podium has never been better. Paging Cal Crutchlow.
Repsol Honda #2 Dani Pedrosa, looking like the 2012 version of himself, won today’s Spanish Grand Prix, leading wire to wire for his first win since Misano last year. Teammate and defending champion Marc Marquez gave chase for most of the race, but never seemed to have quite enough to mount a serious challenge to Pedrosa on one of those days…
The reversal of fortune in Austin, Repsol Honda’s Maximum Marc Marquez winning while young savant Maverick Viñales kissed the tarmac for the first time in Yamaha blue, has produced an early three-man race for the top of the 2017 heap. Valentino Rossi, teammate Viñales and Marquez now stand separated by 18 points with a lot of season left. Six races in the next eight weeks means the offshore shakedown cruises are over. There’s a title to be won. In Europe.
Riding a motorcycle quickly isn’t easy, which makes it all the more inspiring to watch those who have mastered the art. It’s always fun watching and analyzing quicker riders, but personally, I’ve long been interested in what the best riders in the world do with their feet. Other than the Rossi leg dangle, not much attention gets paid to a MotoGP rider’s lower half – we’re all too busy watching everyone get their elbow down – but there are three very important points on the lower body we should be paying attention to: the butt, and both feet.
Just when we thought we knew what to expect from the 2016 MotoGP season, today happened. The practice sessions leading up to the (first of four) Spanish Grand Prix found the factory Yamaha team consistently at or near the top of the charts. Repsol Honda wonderkid Marc Marquez was competitive while struggling with rear grip. Valentino Rossi waited until the last lap of Q2 to lay down the fastest lap of the weekend, for his first Jerez pole since 2005. Today, The Doctor made a house call on Jorge Lorenzo, “administering a dose of his own medicine” in winning at Jerez for the first time since 2009.