“In a class of his own…”

Hey folks, Dre here. First blog on the brand new site, welcome to motorsport101.net! Hope you dig the new wallpaper, I picked it out myself. To break open the bubbly on this new site, I thought I’d talk about MotoGP for a little bit, and some of the things I’ve picked out over the season so far.

Marc Marquez: As natural a talent we’ve ever seen? Is that a good thing?

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I’ve said it on YouTube, and I’ve said it on Twitter, and I will say it here too…Marc Marquez is the most

naturally gifted rider I’ve ever seen grace this sport. And I’ve been watching for nearly 15 years now. Valentino Rossi’s the overall best of my era and Marquez has a LONG way to go before he ever surpasses his legacy, but in terms of pure speed and ability, not even Rossi was ever THIS dominant at the front of the field.

The destructive one-lap pace. The race craft. The ability to be in complete control of his bike, an his place in the race. I have never seen anything like it. Argentina was the microcosm of Marquez’s career so far. Destroys the field and ends up on pole by

EIGHT tenths of a second. In the race, he has an awful start, falling to 7th, but works his way quickly through the field, gets up to Lorenzo in the lead, plays it safe, makes his move with 10 laps left and wins. He made it look effortless. It was Rossi-esque in his prime, when he was playing with Sete Gibernau.

And you have to remember, this is arguably one of the most loaded field in terms of talent, that we’ve ever seen in the top class. Four World Champions, another pereniaal contender in Pedrosa, not to mention Redding, The Espargaro brothers, Bradl, Dovi, Crutchlow, Iannone etc.

Marquez’s ridiculous career numbers to date… (At time of writing)

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Last year, Marquez’s conservative change allowed Jorge Lorenzo to reel him in for a dramatic finale. This year, he’s in a class of his own, seeming like he has three tenths a lap in his back pocket on every given opportunity. He is doing things on a bike that I have never, EVER seen before, endo-ing and drifting this bike around on a sixpence. I can’t even lie, I am in owe of this man’s ability with a bike.

Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso - Lifestyle
Is that a good thing though? I say yes – MotoGP desperately needs a new star figure with Valentino Rossi’s star fading into the twilight of his career, and Marquez could be that new fresh face needed to take over the reigns. He’s still only 21, his ability transcends the field. He’s brave, he’s not afraid to gamble and race hard (Jerez, Laguna Seca 2013), and he’s a thoroughly likeable human being, always smiling and positive, humble and respectful. He may not have the creativity and sheer charisma of Valentino yet, but as I said, he’s only 21.

I know it hurts the overall spectacle of the sport in potentially having the same guy win

over and over again, but sometimes, you just have appreciate the talent that he has… Sometimes, that’s just sport. I know the casual fans want more entertainment, but that and competition sometimes doesn’t go hand in hand, and we just have to accept that. Sit back, and enjoy this man, we are seeing something truly special.

Could he win every race this season? If it doesn’t rain… Well… Let’s just say I have money on it at 16/1… (It’s now 10/1 and dropping fast…)

The Curious Case of Factory Yamaha… Especially Lorenzo…

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Across the park in Yamaha, I’m not quite sure what is going on. Valentino Rossi I think has actually surpassed expectations so far this season for me, actually beating his team mate on 3 of 4 occasions so far this season, and sits a solid 3rd in the Championship, with 2 podiums. (Possibly 3 if he didn’t shred his front tyre in COTA)

But the bigger concern to me, is Jorge Lorenzo. His season has been awful so far for a Double World Champion of his standard. Falling off the bike in Qatar, falling on Lap 1 in Qatar, jumping the start at COTA, and being outclassed in Argentina and Jerez by the Repsol’s and even team mate Rossi on occasions. He now lies 53 points behind rival Marquez, and we’re only 4 races in.

It’s odd. Again, in 2013, especially the latter half, Jorge Lorenzo seemed to have developed a killer instinct, reminiscent of when he was battling with Rossi, throwing the

HOUSE at Marquez in a desperate attempt to force himself back into the title race. It was as good as I’ve ever seen Lorenzo ride a bike. That killer instinct, that spark that set Lorenzo on that
incredible final run , doesn’t seem to be there any more. Is it the bike? Is he demoralized? Whatever it is, it’s a concern.

Jorge Lorenzo has been the most consistently great rider pound-for-pound for the last 5 years (Not finishing out of a Top 2 in a Championship since 2008), but I’ve never seen him look so average for a man who’s won 31 GP’s. For the sake of the title race, let’s hope he gets back to his best soon.

So, About Those Open Class Rules…

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When the Open Class rules were announced and the factory Ducati bikes changed entry two weeks before the season started, there was a lot of uncertainty and intrigue, personally hoping it would being the field closer together. Qualifying in Qatar was a good sign, with literally EVERYONE in contention till the final lap…

…But when the race got under way, it was the usual suspects at the front, Factory runners all the way. Dovi had a small breakthrough at COTA with an

awesome 3rd, but still 20 seconds behind the winning bike. The Extra Soft compound rubber is helping in Quali, but during the race, the advantages just aren’t big enough to contend with the other factory runners… Except Tech 3, who have looked very mediocre so far this season despite Bradley Smith taking a step forward.

Maybe it’ll have to be 2016 and the new ECU systems for the bikes for the Open Class to really close the gap.

The Battle of the (Loaded) Midfield

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That 2nd tier though is REALLY intriguing to watch, as beyond the two main factory teams, the next positions of 5-10 seem to fluctuate every race. The midfield is as stacked as ever, with veteran Andrea Dovizioso leading the charge alongside Alvaro Bautista (Despite his AWFUL start to the season), Stefan Bradl, a struggling Cal Crutchlow (You asked for it brother), Bradley Smith, and the Espargaro brothers.

All are in the mix for Factory contracts, and guys like Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith have shown great improvement. Iannone is becoming a starting specialist and is punching WAY above his weight with the Pramac Satellite Ducati. He’s still a little 

raw around the edges, but he’s shown tremendous improvement so far this season.

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Bradley Smith seems to have had a fire lit underneath him so far this season; regularly beating his team mate in Moto2 World Champion, Pol Espargaro. Remember, Pol was given a factory contract, so Yamaha seem to be very high on him, and Bradley missing out seems to have motivated him into making some statements, the 5th in COTA the headlining achievement so far, as well as his 1st front row start.

Then you have Cal Crutchlow, who seems to be struggling on his new Ducati, when he was a podium level runner at his best days at Tech3… When will people learn that the Ducati is 

just not built for 90% of bike riders out there? Hope the pay check can justify his obvious frustration.

In Moto2: Tito Rabat leads a Recovering Division

2014 Rabat Pole
This is what I call a “rebuilding” year for Moto2. Sadly, over the last 2-3 years, that division has been cleaned out of all its elite talent (Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Scott Reddding, Bradley Smith, even Aleix Espargaro to a lesser degree), and as a result, it’s gotten to the point where the division is trying to find itself again. To the point where the most experienced, half-decent rider will come out of top, while the super-young and talented get a small boost up the field until they’re ready to leapfrog them into the top tier, ala Marquez or Pol.

Case in point, Tito Rabat. I love Tito, class act, very experienced and complete rider… But does anyone put him in the same league as Marquez, Espargaro or even Redding? I doubt it. And what doesn’t help his case is two more things, one – He’s already

24 years old, and there’s so much younger talent nipping at his heels, he may get passed by the top class. To borrow a quote from the NFL draft, it’s a matter of
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If you’re a middle of the road team like LCR Honda or Gresini, or a Tech3, what’s more appealing? A 24 year old Tito, or the 19 year old, super exciting

Maverick Vinales, who’s already won a GP and has shown brilliant adaptation? Let alone Luis Salom and Jonas Folger as well.

And that’s what’s already happening, Maverick Vinales seems to have settled in incredibly well, and Luis Salom and Jonas Folger are quickly finding their way through as well. I think Rabat will win the Championship this season and move up, but I don’t think his outlook is as bright as the others, over time. I feel for Tito, the talent pool makes his efforts look weaker, but we’ve spoiled in that 2nd tier since 2011.

Moto3: Is it Miller vs Fenati?

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Jack Miller seemed to be doing a good job of slaying the Spanish Armada behind him early on in the season, but now it seems like in almost all Moto3 races, there’s always 3-5 guys with a chance at the win at any given GP, and that lottery is what makes the 3rd tier the most exciting out of any in the sport so far this season.

Jack Miller had never even finished in the Top 4 before switching to the Red Bull KTM, and his braking ability is superb en route to him being a top tier runner. Romano Fenati is a real predator though, and is doing a superb job with the opportunity he’s been given with the new Sky VR46 team. Not to mention Efren “

I still need to remember to break” Vazquez constantly sniffing around the podium too.

Also, it’s intriguing to see the two Galicia Honda bikes of

Alex Rins and Alex Marquez fail to establish themselves after mistakes, and general lack of pace. For me, it was almost a dead certainty that Rins was title favourite coming in after missing the title last season by 3 bike lengths, and that Marquez could steal some wins too, but both have slipped up. Have to wonder if the increased competition has thrown them off the boil a little.


Hope you guys enjoyed the blog catching up everything with the season so far, let me know any and all opinions and I’ll catch you guys soon, sayonara!