MotoGP Austria: A bag full of surprises



I would like to start this article with a polite suggestion to Ten Sports to go fuck themselves with a cricket bat, since they seem to have such a strong sexual fetish for it. Feel free to jam in a few leather balls in there too, and why not a few wickets while you are at it, pointy end first.

Before the Austrian GP began, it looked like an inevitable Ducati whitewash. The track is basically what Iannone and Dovi think of while making love, and it didn’t surprise anyone the way they owned the tests.

What did surprise everyone was the way things changed during practice and qualifying. Although the red Italians still roared, others were catching up, finding ways to keep their fronts down and push all that power through  the rear. Q1 saw the Honda of Crutchlow outpacing the satellite Ducati of Laverty, and things got even more interesting in Q2, with Rossi splitting the two factory Ducs, with the others not too far behind.

Here are some of my interesting observations through the weekend so far, on things that happened, could have happened, or might happen.

Fastest laptime is meaningless

A race is won by being the fastest overall for a number of laps, being the fastest on a single lap on a qualifying tire proves nothing.

Although the Ducatis have incredible advantages on this track as far as acceleration and wheelie control go, that alone would not be enough. Since the track is so quick, the quickest on the entire calendar, tire degradation would be a major problem. Iannone and Dovi can’t just push 100% from start to finish, they’ll need a soft touch and a big brain, which at least one of them certainly lacks.

Iannone got into a spat with Laverty this weekend, in another one of his trademark fat headed moves. As Laverty was trying to put in a fast lap, Iannone, on the better and faster Ducati, attempted to overtake him rather dangerously. When Laverty gave him no ground, he backed off. When the two got together later to practice their starts, there was an argument. When asked later about the incident, Iannone suggested that Laverty was slower than him, hence he should’ve let him pass and followed him for a good time.

What the fuck man!

That’s not how MotoGP works, that’s not how anything works. You can’t be an arrogant bastard and expect others to respect that.

Iannone’s constant bullying on the track has prompted rumours that the MotoGP safety commission has proposed something called IPS, which stands for the Iannone Proximity Sensor. This device, which is basically a bright yellow neon penis, will flash furiously every time Iannone is within 50 meters of you, so that you can get out of his way and watch him crash into someone else.

Team to rider communication updates

MotoGP is now also thinking of expanding their team to rider communication system. After Rossi’s embarrassing ignorance of the pit boards, it seems that teams want more control over what the rider does. Talks started with F1 style radios, but everyone seems to absolutely hate that idea, mostly because of how impotent F1 has been made by that technology.

Now they are planning to incorporate small text highlights on the rider’s dashboard, which can be changed 4 times a lap, with the pit boards staying the way they are. The people who seem to like this idea do so solely because it’s better than radios. You can read more about the situation here.

My opinion is that this would be a mistake. Although this idea is at a very early stage at this time, I think it’s a bad one.

The entire reason why motorcycle racing is so fascinating is because on the track, it’s just the rider and the machine. All the team can tell him is who’s behind him, and who’s ahead of him, and by how much. It’s as pure as it gets, and anything to dilute that position is a step in the wrong direction.

KTM debut their dissapointing MotoGP livery

Sometimes change isn’t good, and another sad example of that came with the KTM RC16 and its new paint scheme. Take a look for yourself, it’s basically looks like a glorified KTM Moto3 bike, as against the sexy black beast the test bike used to be.

I understand that sponsorship commitments leave little to change in the looks of the bike, but damn man, you didn’t have to make an exact replica of the smaller bike, especially when you had such a beautiful base to begin with. In any case, KTM seem to have the pace for 2017, at least when compared to some of the other factories in there, and with Smith + Espargaro on the bars, they should make an interesting, if a bit sad-looking addition to the MotoGP paddock.

Marquez shows us how tough racers can be

Take a look at this article for a series of pictures that show just how nasty Marc’s crash was. Here, once again, we can see the difference between a good guy on a motorcycle, and a bad one. Iannone found himself in a similar situation with Lorenzo when he took him out. With Marquez, Pedrosa seemed to be taking a really wide line, and Marc couldn’t stop in time. Rather than carrying on and hitting Dani as Iannone would’ve done, Marquez took the outer line and crashed all on his own. Remarkable stuff.

What happened afterwards was even more remarkable. His first reaction seemed to be cradling his collarbone, but then somehow found his feet and came back to the pits. A quick check by the doctors confirmed that there was nothing broken, but the shoulder had nearly dislocated. No concussion either, just a sore body that must feel like he was involved in a bar fight and lost.

He came back and did a bit of FP4, but conserved his energy for qualifying, given he was already into Q2. Once on the track, he was quick enough to get a 5th place start in the few laps that he did, which also included another one of his glorious saves where he picked the bike up with his right knee as the front folded under him.

Tough as nails, as they say.

A qualifying extravaganza

Q1 was intense stuff, with Petrucci, Laverty, Crutchlow, and a bunch of others all fighting for the top 2 spots. The top 3 kept exchanging places amongst themselves, while a number of laps kept getting cancelled, as has been the trend during this entire weekend, thanks to that slight change to Turn 10, which although might not do much as far as safety goes, will certainly give the stewards a hard time as the racing action begins.

In the last-minute, it looked like Laverty and Petrucci had done it, and then came a flying Brit with one hell of a lap to top the time sheets. Petrucci must’ve been deeply disappointed, but at least he went out with a fight against a worthy opponent, although the fact that Cal is on a Honda and is ahead of a number of satellite Ducatis must’ve rattled a few cages.

Q2, which I could only know of through other people’s tweets thanks to the twats at Ten Sports who decided that Q1 was enough and copy pasted the same cricket shit that was playing on Ten 3, was a spectacular run to the wire as well. The factory Ducatis were always close to the top, with Lorenzo at one point finding himself in first, but it was the GOAT who ended up splitting the Ducatis to create an all-Italian lineup at the front.

Iannone managed to clinch only his second pole position in MotoGP, even with bruised ribs from an MX spill, but that doesn’t mean a thing. Thanks to his unpredictable nature and giant ego, I wouldn’t be surprised to find him languishing somewhere down the order when the race begins, only to push too hard and crash out, taking some unlucky son of a bitch with him, as is the tradition.

Dovi surprisingly found himself at third, after having pretty much lead everything before that. Another surprise was Vinales, whose Suzuki seemed to like the cool weather, but things could be disastrously different tomorrow when the red lights go out.

Moto3 and Moto2 had surprises too

Binder dominated pretty much everything before qualifying, and found himself at second place afterwards, with Joan Mir scoring his first Moto3 podium, with a little bit of tow from Binder. Moto3 was basically a giant lap cancellation contest, with almost every rider running wide on Turn 10 and getting their lap time rejected.

Binder will be followed by Bastianini, Canet and Quartararo, with Navarro ending up 18th on the grid. Binder looks like he’s got one hand on the championship and the other waving to his enemies.

Moto2 was slightly less unpredictable, with Zarco stamping his authority all over the sterile circuit. Rins, his arch-enemy, will start the race back down in 9th, and given his problems with getting away from the line, the Frenchie could very well end up extending his championship lead.

Morbidelli qualified second, followed by Luthi, with a surprise entry of Alex Marque in 5th spot. If only he can bring the bike across the finish line in one piece.

All said and done, it’s been an exciting weekend till now, and the real thing hasn’t even begun. Don’t miss tomorrow’s races people, all 3 of them.

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  1. chuck sirron

    You’re a great writer man, keep it up. You’re inspiring me to write offensive, crotchety posts about shit I don’t like as well.

    1. AK

      Mission accomplished then.