Events at Aragon this past weekend have re-ignited the firestorm that has surrounded Marc Marquez since he rode in the 125cc class back in 2008 (the year I started covering MotoGP). The eight-time world champion, his boyish good looks having been displaced by a steely persona, has as many fans as detractors. Let’s see what’s at the root of this split.
Despite the fact that, virus-wise, the U.S. is starting to resemble Dante’s Inferno, over in Europe things appear to be trending well. MotoGP/Dorna has been itching, for obvious reasons, to get some kind of season started and in the books. The sheer amounts of money involved in canceling an entire MotoGP season are unimaginable. They need to get a 2020 season, this kind of MotoGP Lite thing, going, and soon.
As COVID-19 continues to spread to alarming levels around the world, it’s no surprise to hear that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas has been postponed until November 15, 2020. The American round will now be the penultimate race of the season ahead of Valencia which has been pushed to November 20-22. This, of course, comes after the first race of the season in Qatar was run without the MotoGP paddock while both Moto3 and Moto2 were able to race due to the riders having already been in the country for testing prior to the first round.
Repsol Honda phenom Marc Marquez is, as per usual, the early favorite to make it seven world championships in eight tries in 2020. Sure, there are a lot of fast challengers – Yamaha NKT (new kid in town) Fabio Quartararo, Ducati #1 Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha’s inconsistent Maverick Viñales topping that list – and Marquez is coming off right shoulder surgery. Sadly, the result is likely to be the same. If you’re planning to wager on anyone other than ReMarcAble Marc, best get yourself some odds.
16-year old Sergio Garcia won his first Grand Prix race in Moto3, becoming the 12th rider in 19 rounds to stand on the top step. Brad Binder won again in Moto2, showing the world he’s ready for MotoGP. And Marc Marquez won yet again, clinching the triple crown – rider, team and manufacturer championships – for his brothers on the Repsol Honda team. Now, it’s 2020. If you believe what you hear, the team may feature an additional brother starting this week.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Afridza Munandar, who died following a crash on the opening lap of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race held Saturday after MotoGP qualifying. The 20-year-old Munandar was an up-and-coming rider, fighting for the series championship entering the Sepang round.
Approaching Round 18, the MotoGP and Moto3 titles have been decided. All that remains is for series leader and younger brother Alex Marquez to seize the 2019 Moto2 championship by the lapels and assert his heritage. He is a Marquez and he is overdue. He needs to put his boot on the throat of the title chase and clinch in Malaysia. Above all, he must avoid some kind of dogfight in Valencia, an opportunity to choke away a title and a budding career. Otherwise he gets stuck with the “little brother that couldn’t” label the rest of his life.
The second of three grand prix motorcycle championships was decided today as Italian veteran Lorenzo Dalla Porta won the Moto3 title from the top step of the podium. In Moto2, Alex Marquez was unable to clinch the title, but held on to most of his margin, putting immense pressure on his pursuers heading to Malaysia. Over in MotoGP, Marc Marquez won another race. Ho hum.
It is now clear that Honda’s 2019 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has his sights set on the single season points record of 383 set by The Rider Formerly Known as Jorge Lorenzo with Yamaha in 2010. Why else bother winning the Motul Grand Prix of Japan when a win would mean so much more to any number of other riders? Winning motorcycle races is in #93’s DNA, much they way it was with Nicky Hayden. He just can’t help himself.