“Did you really think it was gonna be anything else?”
So after the most controversial racing weekend in god knows how long, I decided to open the floor for your questions, and surprise – MotoGP came up. A lot. I know, you’re as shocked as I am. So I’ll be tackling that, some interesting leadership questions and more in this new edition of “Ask Dre”! Enjoy!
“Do you think there’s much substance to the rumours about Casey Stoner going to Ducati to replace Dovi in 2017?” – Danny Brennan
Short answer? No. Ducati have a REALLY strong Factory rider in Andrea Iannone as it is, not to mention having Scott Redding waiting in the wings with the Pramac Satellite Team. If they work out okay, and they can retain their talents, is a 32-year old Casey Stoner really that appealing?
Besides, Casey quit because he lost the passion he once had for the sport, and hated the media and PR side of it all, he just wanted to ride the bike and go back home to fish. After this last week, you really think he wants to come back? Did YOU see the responses he got on Twitter when he threw shade at Vale?
“Thoughts on the 2016 Indycar calendar and who are would you like to see in the series besides Mr Daly ?” – Marcus Hoare
Overall, I really like it. It’s a really balanced calendar, with 5 Road Courses, 5 Race Courses and 5 Ovals, being a newer fan, I look forward to seeing what all the fuss was about with Phoenix, and a lot of the tracks I like – Especially excited for Road America, probably my favourite track in the world. A small shame the series race of the year in Fontana has been scratched, but it’s understandable why given its simply horrific attendance. So yeah, on the whole, I like it.
As for drivers, well, as you know, I’m a sucker for Conor Daly, but I’d also love to see McLaren’s driver academy of Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne have a crack at it, as well as Red Bull Academy’s Dean Stoneman. Think he’d love it over there, given he has next to no chance at F1.
“Given the ridiculous support for Rossi in MotoGP, will it be able to keep such a high profile after Rossi retires? What will the Rossi fans do?” – Luke Julyan
I’ve been saying this for some time, the sport is too dependent on Valentino, like I’ve said about track and field and Usain Bolt – With Bolt retiring at the end of 2017, where the heck does the sport go from there? Who’s the next megastar? Same story here.
There is no-one out there like Vale in terms of popularity. He’s a Roger Federer, a Bolt, a Ronnie O’Sullivan, a David Beckham. Someone who transcends their own sports popularity and has “mainstream” success. I think there will be a chunk of fans who drop off post-46 era because he has SUCH a massive following that a lot of fans just won’t look at the sport in the same way, which is a shame…
…Because I think Marc Marquez has a chance of being the next guy. He’s already hugely popular, the women love him, I personally think he’s very likeable, he speaks pretty good English for 22, and he has every chance of making the sport is own, like Rossi did in the past. I mean, he’s even got the Rossi celebrations down. Remember Motegi last year? Samurai Jack would have been proud.
“Do you think that the rule changes for next year to make the engines sound more noisier with something with the exhaust will make fans enjoy the noise again? (purely for the fans who would rather prefer the v8’s and the v10’s)” – Richard Evans
Nope. I think this is one of those things that fans who like the sound of their own voices talk about. It’s not really a massive criticism. If you’re a hardcore F1 watcher, the only thing you’re probably going to always rag on about is Sky’s horrendous agenda-pushing coverage. The sound is just one of those things you’ll get used too, like your girlfriend’s awful Dad or something.
If people want to listen to V10’s… YouTube is your friend. If anything, I’ve been told by my fans that it’s actually a good thing the engine’s are a bit quieter so you don’t need as many ear protectors and you can actually have a conversation during the race. Neat. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like there’s a certain hive of fans who still hope it’s 1999. Or 1989.
“What do you of the (might be) Force India re-brand a step in the right direction?” – Josh Lem
For those unaware, there’s a rumour doing the rounds that Force India might be partnering up with Prodrive to become “Aston Martin Racing”.
I don’t see how it could be a bad thing for them. A partnership tends to mean more sponsors and hence, more money on the table. And very quietly, without many talking about it, Force India have bounced back from their early season struggles, and are set for their best season ever, cracking the Top 5 of the WCC for the first time in their history. Force India are seemingly a team on the up, and I hope it can continue down the road. They have a great driver pairing, an underrated car… who knows what they can do with a bit more money in their back pocket?
“Do you think that next year is Dani Pedrosa’s last chance at a MotoGP title? Or is he even in with a shot?” – Eoin Harrington
*sighs* Here’s the problem with Dani P. He’s always good to win the odd race or two, but it’s hard to believe he’ll actually challenge for a title now. He’s 30 now, and he has to beat Marc Marquez on the same bike… His record against Marc since 2013? 15-34. Ouch. If he can’t beat Marquez over a season (A season where Marquez has had SIX DNF’s), what chance does he really have?
I love Dani P, he’s a fighter and it’s insane how he’s bounced back from a career-threatening injury. But for me, I don’t see him as a true title contender and a guy who can beat Marquez or Lorenzo over a season.
“Do you think F1 struggles to attract new audiences with the Mercedes dominance?” – Len Morrison
Not if Mexico’s anything to go by, 80,000 fans in for PRACTISE. Damn. Allen Iverson would be amazed.
Not sure on this one, mostly because it’s hard to pin-down any concrete evidence to support it. I know people mentioned Sepang and MotoGP, F1 couldn’t sell all the tickets on the door, while MotoGP’s was a sellout… But bikes and bike racing are a HUGE thing over there. It’s no surprise MotoGP wants to crack Indonesia so bad. If you’ve ever seen Top Gear’s Vietnam Special, you know what I mean.
Anywho, I’m genuinely not sure. Live sport is always so much more enthralling than the TV, even if you’re bored of Mercedes dominance. What might be putting people off, is the massive ticket prices for the more “blue ribbon” tracks like Silverstone, Hockenheim, etc. Sure, you could argue Mercs is a factor, but I don’t think people that want to go to an F1 race are gonna stop and say: “Shit, Hamilton will probably win, better not bother.”
“Do you think Ferrari can truly challenge Mercedes F1 on pace next year, with the supposed “clean sheet” design of the 2016 car lead by James Allison?” – Cameron Buckley
I agree with what James Allison said last week – Ferrari need another increase on the same level as the one they got from 14 to 15 to really give Mercedes something to be worried about. Compared to where they were last year, they’ve improved tremendously and the boys from Maranello have a lot to be happy about. Their chassis is much, much better, the power deficit isn’t as big, and they’ve had one of the most reliable cars in the field too (Something people don’t talk about.)
James Allison is an excellent designer and did great work with Lotus before jumping ship, so I have every reason to think there’s a chance, especially with Sebastian Vettel set to have more input on the 2016 car – another underrated part of Seb’s game that isn’t spoken about, and that’s how well he’s able to develop a car, and the feedback he’s able to give.
Ferrari also have one of the biggest budgets too. So, the signs are all there. It’s just a matter of seeing if the team can put it all together. I think they’ll be just short, but if they can win some more races on sheer merit like Seb has done three times this season already, then game on.
“Do you think the Internet will break with Rossi diehards having a meltdown if Lorenzo wins the title? – Gareth Hunt”
Is the Pope Catholic?
Haas’ comments about the leadership styles of F1 and NASCAR were interesting – saying NASCAR was ‘like a dictatorship’ as NASCAR have all the power to make the rules as they see fit, taking feedback from teams/drivers but ultimately making the decisions themselves, whilst F1 had ‘more drama’ because of everyone having a say, ideas being thrown up all the time by Bernie/CVC and teams having power of veto preventing firm decisions being made. Which leadership style do you think works better, and if F1 were to have a ‘dictator’ who had the power to make decisions and changes overriding even the teams, who would you trust to fill that role? – Adam Johnson
Like many systems, there’s pro’s and con’s with each, but to me, it boils down to what would you prefer, a system where nothing gets done, or a system where everything gets done?
Now, my NASCAR knowledge is limited, I don’t really watch the series, but I know that in F1, it’s a system that includes the Strategy Group, and then the Commission, and it’s a system where you need unanimous decisions in order for anything to get done. So yeah, nothing gets done. Especially when it’s a sport where Ferrari have so much power, they can veto any new regulation change up for debate, like we’re getting now with the engine cost cap rules. Is that really better though than just one guy who has near limitless power and can do what he wants?
I would like for someone to take F1 by the throat and shake some plans out, but it all comes down to the right person – I mean, people still genuinely think Bernie has power, which is hilarious. Me personally, I’d like Max Mosley back. I always thought he had some very sound and reasonable ideas, but yeah… Think he may be busy having Swastikas being spanked onto his arse. Beyond that, I’m really not sure. Maybe Ross Brawn or Stefano Domenicali? I could throw a heap of names out there, but honestly, I’m struggling. The F1 Political landscape is so crazy, it’s almost impossible to comprehend. And that alone, is scary enough.