The Italian Renaissance
I always had a feeling we’d see more Italians on the podium this season, and we had an all-Italian podium for the 2nd time this season, as Valentino Rossi triumphed and dictated the race up the front when the rain came down, in a race that had to be restarted after everyone peeled into the pits due to a sudden rush of rain just minutes before the start.
He was chased by Marc Marquez, showing real commitment to try and keep Rossi in his sights, but crashed at Copse with a dozen laps to go, effectively ending the Championship. A real disappointment after Marc had tried to hard to get back into the title race, and with Lorenzo down in 5th at the time, it was a real open goal for Honda. A microcosm of their problems this season.
But the star of the show, without doubt, was Danilo Petrucci. He was being quoted as saying on Friday that he “liked England a lot, because it rains a lot”, and despite starting in 18th on the grid, he surged through the field, and eventually got up to 2nd place, and was gunning down Valentino until the final 3 laps. I dunno how that GP14.1 is so competitive in the wet, but I don’t care, it was a magnificent performance from Danilo.
Danilo has been slept on all season long. He was put on a 14.1 at the start of the season, compared to Yonny Hernandez’s superior 14.2, and has been thoroughly faster and consistent all year, and this was his reward. And he’s getting a 14.2 from Misano onawards, and it’s thoroughly deserved. One of the great surprise MotoGP performances, and it was a breath of fresh air to have a new face up the front of the field. Hopefully, a sign for the future. Genuinely delighted for him, and I don’t think any true MotoGP fan would have any other reaction. Here’s some more thoughts:
- An hour before the race, Scott Redding was officially announced as Pramac Ducati’s new rider for 2016, probably replacing Yonny Hernandez, after Danny Kent rejected the team. It’s looking much like Danny will be heading back to Moto2, in a Kiefer lead team. Still not sure why you’d turn that seat down if you’re as good as you think you are, but there’s nothing wrong in taking the safe route.
- Big move for Redding though, and his 3rd year in MotoGP is going to be by a mile, his most important. He complained in 2013 that his production Honda didn’t showcase his talent. He got the Factory bike this year, and has struggled (Despite an excellent 6th today), and complained about that bike too. Ducati loves him and he loves Ducati. He was faster than Iannone in a test in 2012. He no longer has any excuses, especially with a GP15 probable to head their way. If he struggles next season, he risks being exposed, and Petrucci’s the exact kind of rider Scott needs to beat.
- I think Jorge Lorenzo still has the wet weather “yips”, after that crash from Assen 2013 and the separated shoulder he suffered. He wasn’t anywhere near Valentino today, claiming a misted up visor slowed him down. I’d buy this normally, but Lorenzo’s not had a good wet weather performance since that day. And before anyone says Aragon, EVERY major contender dropped in that race. I don’t think he’ll ever be the same guy in the rain again. He ought to hope the rest of the season stays dry.
- There was some questionable riding in that race, especially from Jack Miller. I was astonished he tried a divebomb on Cal Crutchlow, his own teammate, on Lap 4, and a move he had practically ZERO chance of making. I’d say he should be due another visit from Race Direction, but by now, he probably has a key to the place. Man needs to learn. Fast. A potentially brilliant day for LCR got ugly very quickly.
- Can someone please give me a reason for Pol Espargaro’s Factory Contract? Asking for a friend.
- If you were one of the Rossi “fans” at Silverstone who cheered when Marc Marquez crashed, fuck you. Revelling in someone else’s failure is the WORST and I hate it when someone does it. Rossi fanatics are one of the most awful things about the MotoGP fanbase, and it ruins it for the minority of good, humble fans that don’t mock when other riders crash. Would you still be cheering if he had hurt himself?
Wow. Johann Zarco just has no weakness. What an exhibition from the Frenchman as he controlled another race from the front, with no-one being able to provide an answer. His 5th win of the season, and his 11th consecutive podium, and all of a sudden, Rabat’s points record from just last season is very much under threat. The changeable conditions brought the best out of many a rider, and once again, it was Alex Rins who was the best of the rest, narrowly beating out Tito Rabat, who had shredded his wet tyre in the 18 lap race, a decent recovery after a nasty crash the previous day.
Another excellent performance from Baby Alien Jr., as Alex Marquez matched Brno with another 4th place. That podium is coming, for sure. It could have been tonight if it had not been for Xavier Simeon, who got in the way after trying to un-lap himself. I don’t think Alex will be sending any Christmas cards after the season finishes. Some more bonus notes:
- Sam Lowes qualified on pole. The first home British pole since 1977 (Take a drink for every time a broadcaster mentioned Barry Sheene this weekend). He finished 6th, and 28 seconds behind Zarco. Now, was he celebrating with the fans because it was in Britain, or was he covering up the insecurities of what was no question, a crappy performance?
- Big shout out to Ricky Cardus in 8th place, the best any Suter chassis bike has finished this season. Nice bit of revenge after Tech3 unceremoniously ditched him mid-season. Hey, Herve, how about making a competitive chassis before blaming the rider that’s on it?
- After switching bikes early, Florian Alt set the fastest lap of the race on dry tyres and unlapped himself. A smart move, it got him on the hard camera. Get that sponsor money!
Danny Kent’s Homecoming
An absolutely critical win given the circumstances from Danny Kent. Enea Bastianini had taken 20 points out of Kent’s lead the last two rounds, and Danny needed a response, and he gave it in a dominant performance. Now, it wasn’t straight forward, as it was Issac Vinales who took the holeshot, but once Danny was clear upfront, he was 2 seconds a lap faster than his main opposite, which to everyone’s surprise, was another unlikely Czech – Jakub Kornfeil, managing his best ever finish in 2nd place. And how about Niccolo Antonelli – You wait a long time for a podium in your career, and then two come along at once! Yay, London man makes London buses joke!
This race though, had an enormous rate of attrition: SIXTEEN riders failed to finish, with a handful more crashing at least once before the end of the race, like Romano Fenati. The most notable of which, was championship contender Enea Bastianini, who binned his Gresini Honda with 2 laps to go, effectively ending his slim chances at the title. Here’s some more notes:
- Seriously, Keith Huewen needs to go. I know I ranted about him last weekend, but his joy in seeing Andrea Locatelli crashing with his statement of: “Oh well, that means more points for McPhee!”, was awful, disrespectful, rude and downright unprofessional. Tainted what was already a bad race even further. I know BT Sport are unashamedly biased, but that’s too far and something needs to be done.
- And what made it worse, was that Toby Moody was there to commentate… but on the Ultra HD channel. Which about 17 people watched because seriously, who the fuck owns a 4k TV? I think bull semen would be a smarter investment. What a waste of one of the best commentators in all of sport.
- And I have an issue with Moody saying this was “One of the Top 5” races ever. No. Just no. Being wet was the WORST thing to happen to this race. Silverstone is a massive track where the slipstream was worth a second a lap. It split the field up and a lot of top contenders dropped off at Turn 3, including pole sitter Navarro, Hanika, Vinales, and Binder.
- Gutted that Maria Herrera fell from P5 as well, would have been a moment of history, and a brave ride from the Spaniard.
- Livio Loi didn’t get anywhere NEAR enough credit for his 5th placed finish. For those unaware, he qualified in 28th. An outrageous turnaround for the young Belgian who seems to have a real knack in chaotic races. Now if only his dry speed was a bit quicker…
MotoGP – 7/10*, Moto2 – 6/10, Moto3 – 4/10
*No people, this wasn’t the all-time classic that many people are touting it as. Sure, it had a surprise outcome, but as a race, I guarantee you it will NOT age well. Rossi was completely unchallenged the entire race. If Jorge Lorenzo had won that race, we’d have called it a procession. I don’t believe in double standards.