“Bikes, Showdowns, and has Sebastian Vettel given up?”

Hey folks, welcome back to #AskDre! In this week’s edition, I tackle more on Sochi, look forward to Austin in 2 and a half weeks time, for the first time, talk about the British Superbike Championship, and a couple of questions regarding Marc Marquez’s Legacy in MotoGP after winning his 4th World Championship. Let’s go into some Ask Dre!

“Who did you think will get the other Toro Rosso seat?” – Owen Quenby

Good question. I mean, if you’re looking at it purely from a talent perspective, then Carlos Sainz Jr. from Formula Renault 3.5 has to be top candidate, especially if he ends up winning the Championship there. And considering Red Bull like them young, you’re essentially replacing one 20-year old in Danill Kyvat, with another. If you want a long shot, if McLaren let Kevin Magnussen go, keep an eye on that, Toro Rosso were always interested in him…

“I have just started two weeks of exams, any advice? want to do them for me?” – Nathan Green

Dude, I’m 22, been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, the LAST thing I wanna do is MORE exams!

“Motorsport question now, with Seb starting from the pit lane in Austin, is this a sign that he has sort of written off the season and wants to get to Ferrari as soon as he can?” – Nathan Green

Nah, I don’t think there’s anything personal there. Seb’s been supported by Red Bull since he was 12 years old, and 15 years later, he’s still incredibly grateful for that. He wouldn’t just throw in the towel because he’s leaving. Seb’s a classy customer and will see it out to the best of his ability.

I think the issue here, is that Sebastian’s going to use his 6th set of engine parts this weekend, and take a 10-place grid drop. Obviously, they’re gonna take it one step further and not even bother qualifying to start in the pit lane, so they can ignore Parc Ferme, set the car up how they want, and save engine mileage, because they have to make this 6th one last from now until the end of the season.

What COULD get ugly, is Red Bull not letting Sebastian test for Ferrari in Abu Dhabi as his contract lasts 3 days beyond the final test there…

“Do you think the Merc W05 is the most dominant car ever seen in F1?” – Eoin Harrington

Not quite, but it’s up there. The only two cars that stand out in contention for me, would be the Ferrari F2004, and the McLaren MP4/4 from 1988.

The Ferrari F2004 was a MONSTER with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello at the wheel, winning 15 out of 18 races in that season, scoring 262 points (With the OLD scoring system), more than double that of runners-up BAR-Honda, who had 119. Eight times, they finished 1st and 2nd.

The McLaren MP4/4 from 1988 was also an incredible car. Together, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost combined to win 15 out of the 16 races on the calendar, only Monza stopping them from perfection, and overall, scored

199 points, nearly THREE TIMES as much as 2nd placed Ferrari with 65.

I certainly think that Mercedes is in the conversation for 2nd place, and I think it’s the most broken car of the last 25 years (Despite having ropey reliability), but NOTHING is topping that McLaren car in 88′. Almost invincible.

“If you could drive for any F1 team who would it be and why?” – Alex Holland-Martin

Oh it’s gotta be Ferrari. They’re just special like that, an incredible and passionate brand and they’re just amazing. This has NOTHING to do with Sebastian Vettel’s recent switch, I promise!

“Do you think Sochi will be a regular race on the calendar, considering how boring Sundays race was? And should have Pirelli brought the softs and Super softs instead, to make the race more interesting?” – Thomas Wilson

I feel a little bit bad for Pirelli here, did anyone have ANY idea that Sochi’s pavements would be of such an amazing standard?

But in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone predicted that the track would have ZERO tyre degradation whatsoever. And I think it was definitely an element as to what made last Sunday’s race so sleep inducing. Mind you, Bernie’s never cared about base entertainment value at races. If he did, Monaco would have been scrapped 20 years ago.

If the Super Soft and Soft compound tyres could handle the pretty high loading forces of Turn 1 and the 2nd DRS Zone, sure, you could try them, but if the track’s proven to have zero degradation, then what’s the point? Some tracks are just not designed to be exciting, no matter how much the tyre falls away (Or doesn’t.)

“What makes Marc Marquez act more mature than Lorenzo? Considering Marc still has a lot of potential left and Lorenzo is at his prime…” – James White

Marquez is mature? This is a guy who sticks his tongue out at EVERYTHING, has the most kid like laugh I’ve ever seen, and for all intents and purposes, the Peter Pan of MotoGP. Could’ve fooled me, his natural enthusiasm for everything

makes me SICK!

But seriously, when the visor comes down, he’s as serious as they come, he’s like Emerson Fittipaldi only with two less wheels and much less sideburns. The funny thing is, I never used to like Jorge Lorenzo until this season. I always thought he was kinda boring, a little bit miserable and a bit whiny. But this season, when things haven’t gone this way, he’s been incredibly honest, open, candid, got his head down and gotten on with it. And it’s started to pay off as Lorenzo’s clearly back to his best. Maybe Jorge’s finally turned a corner at 27, entering his best years of his career.

“What did you think about Marc Marquez being Double Champion at 21 years old?” – Andre Silva

I already spoke about this in my Motegi Race Review, which you can see here, but Marc is simply, the best natural talent I’ve ever seen grace this sport in the 15 years I’ve been watching. No rider has EVER been this good at 21 years old. And it’s that age part that’s the most TERRIFYING part of all this. Rossi is still balling, but he’s 35. Pedrosa is the ultimate nearly man, at 28. Jorge Lorenzo’s the best of the last 5 years, and he’s 27. Marc Marquez is SIX YEARS YOUNGER than all three of them, and is already better than 2 of the 3 guys I just mentioned.

If Marquez retired tomorrow, he’d be in the MotoGP Hall of Fame, not only for flipping the sport on its head, not only for all the records he’s shattered, but for the impact he’s had on the sport, and the new fans he’s generated. Those enormous #93 grandstands aren’t a coincidence. The Marquez brothers are here to stay, and Marc is a superstar. He’s already one of the all-time greats. Goodness ONLY knows how far he can take it.

2014 BSB, BSB R09, Donington Park, UK.
“Who do you think will be the British Superbike Champion?” – Andre Silva

Ah yes, the War for Four comes to fruition for someone this weekend as the British Superbike Championship reaches its finale this weekend with the Triple Header at Brands. For those who don’t know and haven’t been watching this season, BSB’s Two Triple Champions, Shane “Shakey” Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari realistically are the only two left that have a chance at the Championship, as Josh Brookes had an awful run of 3 retirements in 4 races at Assen and Silverstone to start the Championship Showdown. (If you’re unsure on the rules, here’s a link for them)

So yeah, Byrne and Kiyo. I think the great thing about the Showdown is, it rewards you for having a good run of form at the end of the season, and these two have been trading shots every round of the Showdown to date, and they’re so hard to separate, Byrne’s drop in Assen Race 1, has single-handedly given Ryu a sneaky chance. He controls his own destiny, essentially, if he scores a Triple, he’s Champion.

But I think Byrne’s been so consistent over the

entire season, that I don’t think he’s going to drop enough points for Ryu to sneak it at the death. Wonder how badly Ryu now regrets those double drops at Oulton and Cadwell Park… But yeah, should be fantastic and I’m really looking forward to it, check it out on Eurosport this weekend!

And for a full preview, check out our show #BikeLive on Downforce Radio every Friday Night at 8pm live or on-demand, with me Louis Suddaby and  the delightful

Rebecca James break down all things in the world of MotoGP, BSB, SBK and Speedway!

As for me, I’ll catch you all again next week for another #AskDre! Be sure to ask your own questions in the comments for next week!