Marc Marquez currently leads the 2018 MotoGP championship but it was only a month ago in Argentina that the Repsol Honda rider had arguably his worst race in the premier class. While much of the post-race talk was about Marquez’s role in Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro crashing out in two separate incidents, what happened to Marquez on the starting grid was somewhat overlooked. Here’s a reminder of what happened:
Factory Yamaha kingpins Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, a mere nine points between them, would probably enjoy fighting things out for the rest of the season in a series of match races, going one-on-one on empty tracks for bragging rights in 2015. While attendance on Sundays probably would not decline by all that much, the rest of the grid, most notably Repsol Honda threats Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, would prefer to be involved. By “involved” I mean trading paint in tight spaces, hoping to disrupt things sufficiently for Marquez, at least, to have a shot at MotoGP title #3.
MotoGP starts the back nine of the 2015 season this week in Indianapolis with all four Aliens looking fast and frisky. At the top of the heap, a mere 13 points separate factory Yamaha grandees Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Factory Ducati interloper Andrea Iannone, in third, sits squarely in the crosshairs of defending world champion Marc Marquez, who finally has his Repsol Honda figured out. Hard luck Dani Pedrosa on the #2 Repsol bike, health fully restored, loves Indianapolis. Expect an all-Alien battle for the podium in the Hoosier heartland heat on Sunday.
As the 2015 MotoGP season approaches the halfway mark, the factory Yamaha team of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, the Bruise Brothers in Blue, have had things pretty much their own way. Between them, they’ve won six of the seven races to date. Double defending world champion Marc Marquez and his Honda RC213V have appeared, in the words of Led Zeppelin, dazed and confused. The annual visit to the Cathedral, the Motul TT Assen, could interrupt several recent trends.
One year ago, heading into Round 3 in Argentina, I was pretty sure of two things: 1. Marc Marquez was going to win a second MotoGP world championship in 2014, and 2. Valentino Rossi’s alien days were behind him. Going 1-for-2 is great in baseball, not so much in the world of motorcycle prognostication. As it turns out, Rossi may offer the biggest obstacle to Marquez’ quest for a third consecutive title. And Andrea Dovizioso’s application for membership in the alien club has now been approved, at the apparent expense of Repsol #2 Dani Pedrosa.
Apologies in advance if the headline of this week’s Top 10 baited you in, but by virtue of being here, at least a small part of you enjoys seeing a good highside. There’s something about seeing a rider, bike, or both catapulted into orbit that captures our imagination.
After what seems like months the 2014 MotoGP season heads for the back nine, beginning at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While Repsol Honda phenom Marc Marquez has been basking in his ridiculous domination of the grid, a bunch of other riders have been busily defecting, or getting ejected, from their current teams such that the 2015 grid will have a much different look to it. None of which will prevent Marquez from continuing to treat the premier class like his own personal sandbox.
In a déjà vu of Assen two weeks ago, chaos reigned at the start of the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. Hard rain was quickly giving way to clearing skies, and crews were rolling the dice on tire choices. After the sighting lap, 14 bikes started from pit lane after changing from wets to slicks, including all four of the factory Honda and Yamaha machines. At the end of the day, though, it was Marc Marquez leading a Honda 1-2, joined on the podium by Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
As the bikes lined up for the start of the 2014 GP Monster Energy de Catalunya, the racing gods appeared to have had enough of Repsol Honda upstart Marc Marquez. His first crash of the season at the end of qualifying relegated him to the third position at the start, ending a string of seven straight poles. Teammate Dani Pedrosa looked ready to rumble, and storm clouds were building to the west; the smell of a flag-to-flag fiasco was in the air. Would his 2014 winning streak come to an end in the rain at his home track?
Repsol Honda #1 Marc Marquez sits atop the grand prix motorcycle racing world with expectations growing at a geometric rate. Heading into Round 5, he has captured the last five poles, dating back to Valenciana last season, and has won every contest in 2014. He has topped the timesheets in most of the practice sessions. Aside from his boyish good looks, all he has going for him is timing, balance, reflexes, intelligence and a really good bike. The only hope for the rest of the grid this weekend is rain and plenty of it.
Sick of all the attention the racing gods were getting in the run-up to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the weather gods put on a show of their own. They sent Typhoon Lekima barreling toward the island on Thursday, summoned a 7.1 earthquake on Friday night, and topped it all off with Typhoon Francisco on Saturday, making a shambles of the weekend practice schedule. Undeterred by the weather, defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo ran a perfect race on Sunday, winning against all odds, and setting up a meaningful season finale in Valenciana. Take THAT, weather gods!
Once the “marine layer”, the stuff you and I call fog, burned off at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway on Sunday morning, it became obvious it was going to be a great day for Honda Racing Corporation. Having placed three bikes on the front row of the qualifying grid, the only impediment left would have been the weather; the RC213V likes it hot. And hot it was, as Repsol rookie Marc Marquez continued his amazing first season by becoming the first rookie ever to win the U.S. Grand Prix.
Two weeks ago at Assen, we witnessed the re-birth of factory Yamaha legend Valentino Rossi in what was easily the most exciting race of the year thus far. Adding to the drama was the gutty performance of his teammate, defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who defied logic, common sense and the advice of his surgeon on his way to a brilliant 5th place finish that kept him in the hunt for the 2013 title. Sunday’s eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland offers a great opportunity for the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa & Marc Marquez to strike back.
Factory Yamaha #1 Jorge Lorenzo won a number of battles today at the Gran Premio Aperol de Catalunya. He beat challengers Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez to the finish line for his second consecutive win of 2013 and his second in a row at Montmelo. He beat the Spanish summer heat that had a number of riders seeing stars. He beat the racing surface itself, which was hot, greasy and abrasive. So why does he seems destined to finish second in 2013?