British MotoGP: Fuck me sideways and call me Nancy

By | September 4, 2016

Holy shit that was one hell of a weekend.

Moto3 was insane fun as always, Moto2 was surprisingly exciting, and then there was MotoGP. Oh my fucking gawd what a race. Here’s a recap of the things I saw, but really, fuck this article, watch the damn thing, all 3 of them.

British MotoGP: Hyper super mega fucking monkey superman balls!

OK, what just happened.

The race started dry, so no chance of clever strategies and big balls for the win. The track was quite cold though, which the Hondas have never loved, unlike the Suzukis.

Vinales has always complained about the blue bikes losing out on acceleration when temperatures start to climb, and he proved quite emphatically that he knew what he was talking about. The moment the race began, he was there, fighting with Cal and Rossi into turn 1. It didn’t take him long to take them both and start flying away into the distance, but Baz and Pol had other plans.

It looked like Baz was gunning to the first corner, with Pol very close to him on the right. Baz went into the turn a bit too hot, and as Pol pulled up right beside him, he may not have been able to brake properly. By that time it was too late for the both of them, and the bikes and the riders both went flying into the grass and out the other side.

It was pure luck that the riders weren’t hit by their own bikes, or the people who were following them. Things could’ve ended up far uglier than they did, with both Pol and Baz missing the race, but alive and kicking.

If that wasn’t enough, replays showed that Marc had clipped the back of Redding’s bike before turn 1, another moment that could’ve ended very differently for the both of them.

After the debris had been cleared and the injured riders taken off the track, it was time for the quick restart procedure. The race began the same way, except for poor old Laverty, who had come up to 2nd the first time, but found himself at the back on second attempt.

Vinales took over at the front and did a Lorenzo, there’s nothing more to say about him from this point onward.

The entire action happened behind him, a series of remarkable overtakes, saves, paint swaps and powerslides. The stars of this show were Rossi, Crutchlow, Marquez, and briefly, Iannone.

When Cal pulled off that insane lap to take pole on Saturday, I had joked that he’ll now open his own race school, where the Level 1 training will be all about how to have a baby. Willow’s birth has massively changed Cal’s fortunes, but the insanity of what the Englishman is doing cannot be overstated.

He’s on the bastard Honda, the satellite one, the one that doesn’t get all the upgrades, doesn’t have an army of engineers around, doesn’t have millions of dollars worth of backing. On top of that, Honda’s have been the bastard bike this season, the spec electronics and the Michelin tires hitting them the hardest.

He’s on the worse version of a bad bike, and still fighting it out with the best of the best.

Another benchmark of his talent is the fact that the second satellite rider after him is Petrucci, who finished 9th, 23 seconds behind him.

As Vinales pulled away into the distance, it was Marquez who began the charge, using those soft option tires to stay at front. It quickly became clear though that he wasn’t fast enough, and was holding others up from catching Vinales, not that they had much of a chance. Rossi pushed through Cal and then Marquez to try and hunt down the Suzuki, but all it ended up doing was pulling the others in a giant merry train behind him.

Iannone, who made a stunning double overtake in the beginning, rammed his way through the train to take charge at front, but never really checking out like Vinales. Things started to hot up in this group, with plenty of paint swaps done between all the riders.

With 6 laps to go, Iannone lost the front and crashed out of the race.

It was at this point that some sort of switch was pushed in Marquez’s mind. His success in 2016 has primarily been because of his brains, his ability to take a hit for the team and not push all-out for the win, giving more importance to the points. No such shit this time though, it was the merry old Marquez back on track.

After a couple of very aggressive moves on Rossi, which reminded me of Sepang from last year, Marquez pulled away from him. His moves were hard but fair, and that’s what racing is all about. A lot of people were angry with him for pulling this shit on Rossi, and after the race were happy that he finished 4th, but that’s just idiocy. You love to watch him crash, to rub elbows with others, to slide underneath someone as they go knee down into a hairpin. Don’t fool yourself into believing his riding was wrong just because it was against Rossi.

There’s nothing wrong with loving Rossi, but everything is wrong about hating everyone else.

Marc opened up a big gap on Rossi and had taken Crutchlow, but went in too hot into a corner, clipped Cal’s elbow, and almost crashed, running wide and rejoining behind Pedrosa. He had run wide before as well while fighting with Rossi, but this time he lost quite a bit of time. All he could do from there was take his teammate and limit the damage to his championship, although it was beautiful to watch the angry Marquez back again, with his bike constantly on the limit, always looking like one step away from a massive life-ending disaster.

It was all over then, Vinales far too far ahead, Cal had a gap on Rossi, and behind it was all done and dusted. Dovi finished a solid 6th after big injury problems throughout the week. Aleix finished behind him in a great 7th position after medical issues this week and watching his brother being taken away on a stretcher, followed by a very slow Lorenzo.

It was surprising to see Lorenzo finish so far behind on a dry track, he’s usually a great starter, makes up at least a couple of places off the line, and then is generally able to fight his way forward. He also has a great record at Silverstone, winning here many times through multiple classes. The problem today appeared to be twofold.

First, he didn’t really get any dry riding time before the race. The beautiful English weather did its best to fuck up all the practice and qualifying sessions. Second, he really has been in a down-patch over the last few races, with the Red Bull Ring being his only podium finish since Mugello, rest all being dismal in every conceivable way. Racing at this level can be a lot about the psyche, and the Spaniard seems to have a few problems up there right now.

Laverty had a wretched race and finished 12th, just ahead of Alex Lowes, who scored points on his very first MotoGP outing, beating established names like Barbera, Miller and Redding. What an insane talent.

Vinales became the 7th winner in 7 races, and the 4th first-time one. This was Suzuki’s first dry win since 2000. This was Rossi’s 250th GP, Lorenzo’s 150th. What an incredible fucking race, 2016 is a great time to be alive.

Here’s the full result.

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki 39’03.559
2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +3.480
3 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +4.063
4 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +5.992
5 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +6.381
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +12.303
7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki +16.672
8 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha +19.432
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +25.618
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia +32.084
11 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati +36.131
12 50 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati +39.130
13 22 Alex LOWES Yamaha +40.143
14 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +41.356
15 53 Tito RABAT Honda +41.943
16 43 Jack MILLER Honda +47.610
17 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +1’56.177
Not Classified
29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 6 Laps
6 Stefan BRADL Aprilia 17 Laps
Not Starting:
76 Loris BAZ Ducati 0 Lap
44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 0 Lap

And this is the championship standing after the race. Marquez lost a few points, but the bare minimum. Lorenzo on the other hand is slowly slipping far away.

1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 210
2 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 160 -50
3 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 146 -64
4 Maverick VINALES Suzuki 125 -85
5 Dani PEDROSA Honda 120 -90