Every time you think the last race was insanely good, something better comes along.
The standards were set pretty high by Mugello, with all 3 classes producing such ridiculously incredible races that I didn’t even bother writing about them, words couldn’t capture the sheer beauty of things that happened that day. Today wasn’t much different either, but there’s only so many times you can excuse yourself out of your job. Here’s what went down the last 5 hours at Catalunya in Spain.
MotoGP: Bad luck, mending fences, and 100% commitment
I’ve never really cared much for free practice or warm up times, in the end it’s only qualifying and more importantly the race that matter, and there are plenty of people out there who suck at everything except that time when the red lights go out. When Rossi topped today’s morning warm-up session, I didn’t think much of it.
His and Lorenzo’s comments on the change of track had already left a bad taste in my mouth, and their accusations that Honda riders changed the track to make it better for their bikes made it look like the Yamahas were going to face huge problems.
As always, it all turned out to be bullshit in the end.
Lorenzo got the hole shot staring from 2nd on the grid, and pulled a decent gap in the first few laps. Rossi, as always, was completely swamped by the tsunami of riders from behind, and at one point found himself in 9th place. As the positions started to settle down a bit, Rossi clawed his way back to the top 3, by which point it looked like we were going to get that elusive Lorenzo – Rossi – Marquez triple penetration that we’d been waiting for so long.
And then Lorenzo fell down from the sky like a stone.
As Rossi overtook Vinales, and then Pedrosa and Iannone in one sweet move, Marquez was latched firmly to the back of Lorenzo. Then Rossi took Marquez, and within a short time Lorenzo, after which it looked like Jorge’s was riding in the wet, his pace seconds off the rest. Pretty soon he was gobbled up by Marquez, Pedrosa and Vinales.
And then came Iannone.
“The Maniac” as he proudly seems to call himself completely lived up to his name, the Ducati rider proved once again why people start shitting bricks the moment he follows someone. I’ve never seen such a stupid move in MotoGP, the amount of speed he was carrying in that corner, and the sheer amount of time he had to see what he was doing makes it look like he was paid to take Lorenzo out. A proper dick move, followed by furious flailing of the hands, followed by apologies, followed by explanations, followed by a penalty to start the next race from the back of the grid, no matter what position he qualifies in.
Lorenzo deserved better than that, I want to see a fight, not a stupid knockout.
At the front, Marquez slowly moved closer to Rossi and tried on some ambitious moves, at which point you could clearly see the difference in the riding styles of the two, and the bikers underneath them. Marquez is so sketchy, and looks like he’s riding after having a pint or two, but carries so much speed into corners and pushes so far beyond the limits. At one point he picked up the bike that was completely gone with his knee, like he has done many times before. But it was clear that Rossi was in charge, he always looked more comfortable, and just one mistake from Marquez is all it took for Rossi to sail comfortably over the finish line.
Another brilliant ride was done by Vinales today, although many people accused him of being far too wild, especially in the beginning. It looked like he was clearly told that he’d get a 1000 dollars every time he overtook someone, so he overtook everybody and anybody, before going wide, and then overtaking again. None of his moves were too dirty though, and he stayed inside race ethics from what I could see, although Dani didn’t have anything nice to say about him after the race.
Hector Barbera finished 10th after a stunning qualifying session, I had expected him to at least be in the top 7, but looks like he made a mistake in some corner and had to give up a few places. Dovi finished a sad 7th as well, but I’m sure the factory Ducati rider will at least be happy to get over the finish line without pushing his bike across.
Parc ferme also saw a unique scene as Rossi and Marquez shook hands to congratulate each other on an interesting fight. The amount of cheers that got was pretty phenomenal, and hopefully with this awkwardness gone Rossi will now start attending the safety commission meetings. Same for Lorenzo and Dani. A lot of riders also carried 39 signs and flags after the race, commemorating Luis Salom, remembering him the best way they could.
Here are the top 5 riders after the race:
- Pol Espargaro
And this is how the championship sits after Catalunya:
- Marquez – 125
- Lorenzo – 115
- Rossi – 103
Moto2: Ridden like a World Champion
The Moto2 race today was rather predictable, made interesting only by a few crashes and some close clashes. Zarco had clearly positioned himself as the king of the new layout and even though Rins tried real hard, he never really had a chance.
As the red lights went out, it was Rins and Zarco who broke away in a few laps, with Luthi trying his best to stay with them. It soon became clear that he couldn’t, and found himself fighting with Nakagami and Syahrin, as Sam Lowes kept making mistakes, never really looking comfortable with the bike or the track.
Slightly down the order, Corsi decided he didn’t like his countryman Baldassarri and tried to take him out with a genuine dick move, but instead found himself swimming in the gravel, with Baldassarri down the order but still in the race. Strangely, it was deemed as a racing incident and no penalty was given to anyone.
Alex Marquez finally looked like he’ll be able to finish a race without destroying his bike, but then again he’s the younger Marquez, and pushed beyond what he should have and crashed once again, but at least finished in 18th spot.
With seven laps to go, Zarco casually overtook Rins and then flew away like he had a rocket up his ass. It was kinda funny to watch him go, opening up a huge gap in just a matter of few corners.
I can’t imagine what Rins must’ve felt like, it was like he was on a Moto3 bike and Zarco had an M1 under him.
It was good to see Nakagami get on the podium again, he has shown real promise all throughout this season, but he always seems to be slower in the race as compared to the practice and qualifying sessions, something that needs to be sorted for sure.
Here are the positions at the end of the race:
And this is the championship standing after this round:
- Rins – 116
- Lowes – 108
- Zarco – 106
Moto3: A future GOAT in the making?
The Moto3 race was basically like every other Moto3 race, with 8 rides in the end fighting it out for victory. The only difference this time was that Navarro was surprisingly quick, and had it not been for his own mistakes, would’ve opened up a big gap to everyone else.
But the man of the race for me was Brad Binder again, and I am sure that we are watching a legend in the making. At just 20 years of age he already has the composure of a 147 year old robot, and the way he is able to hold onto the bike is simply breathtaking.
In Mugello, at the end of the home straight, he bumped into 2 riders, violently, at over 200 kmph, and then went on to win the race. In Catalunya, Rodrigo tried his best to slide away the rear tire from under Binder, but he just wouldn’t give up! The hunger that he has for winning, combined with his intelligence and calm, there’s a future GOAT in him without a single shred of doubt.
Fenati, Bastianini, Pawi, Bulega were all in the mix, slipstreaming past each other like they always do. Norrodin unfortunately crashed out once more on the opening lap, he just can’t seem to find even a little bit of luck. Antonelli at one point looked like he might be able to fight for the podium after a disastrous start, but he crashed out pushing too hard and ended up at 20th place.
Navarro had already shown he was clearly faster than everyone else, especially through 1st and last sectors, and was able to break away with enough distance to make sure nobody would have slipstreamed up his ass. But then he missed a gear and found himself right back into the mix, only to pull away in the second last lap and comfortably take the win.
It was Binder who had the most to lose, and who was almost taken out by the Argentinian, but pushed on once more to finish 2nd, overtaking 2 riders in 1 corner in the last lap and putting up an incredible show once again.
Here are the first 5 from the race:
And here’s what the championship looks like:
- Binder – 147
- Navarro – 103
- Fenati – 80
All in all, it was a very interesting Sunday after the worst possible start to the weekend. Riding as fast as possible is all these guys know how to do, and that’s what they’ll continue doing, no matter what. See you in 3 weeks at the legendary Assen circuit.