Well it is the best circuit in the world alongside Mugello. But for some reason they hold it during Australia’s colder time of the year, which is all rather daft. Last race of the season would of course be better, but Carmelo likes to be near his bed for the after season party after Valencia.
So it rained, and blew and rained a bit more and then the sun came out, but still it blew some more. And just to prove that all track organizers/owners around the world are tight arsed, the marshalls had the worst waterproofs ever; a see-through flimsy piece of cling film. Really? Volunteers at the best circuit in the world in the best motorsport series in the world, and they get that? (Ok, move along – Ed)
Only Dani Pedrosa claims not to like this circuit; everyone else knows it for what it is…. The land of the shackle draggers! A perfect illustration of what deportation could do 300 years ago.
However getting parole, or even a weekend pass, seems impossible in Australia; only 36,200 got to the track. That’s not good at all for the organizers.
As usual Moto3 set the standard, and being at Phil Island, the standard was high. Not for Saltire McPhee though – he was nerfed at turn 1, lap 1. What a loada haggis! Three corners later on the same lap Darren Binned-her. Literally. Well at least the UK commentators got to nick our joke about binned-her. Ahem.
Meanwhile the front consisted of nutters “Che” Guevera smoking a cheroot no doubt; Fenati doing his best to spoil Mir’s party, and Can-it. Antonelli didn’t trouble the timekeepers for much longer tossing his bike down the road at turn 4 on lap 3. The front train was at least 12 long, with the rest of the pack already losing touch. Then on Lap5 Digi-digeridoo had a massive off at turn 2 – that is a fast place to have an off. Luckily he bounced like the proverbial kangaroo. Two corners later Can-It canned it but re-joined, retired and the re-joined again proving that Australian lager isn’t worth abandoning a race at Phil Island for.
By lap 6 Bez had put down his maracas and moved into second. And Mir popped in to the lead. At this point in a race you just know, that in Moto3 that situation isn’t going to last. And behold it didn’t. Jules Danilo tossed it at the scenery on the same lap at turn 11. Livio Loi, invisible teammate, to Mir suddenly popped up in second, then into the lead as the leading group played random number generator lap after lap.
Then it rained. Well on just on one part of the circuit – the track. No, sorry just in one section. Fenati went from leading to tenth to leading in less than two laps. Che Guevera flung it up the road at turn 1 on lap 9 in what can best described as a pretty spectacular fashion. Judges scored him 10 for style. Quiet boy of 2017, Enea Bastardsurname to spell made an appearance from as far back as Loi. Though unlike Loi, Enea has a ride next season. Just to spice everything up a little more on lap 10 turn 1, Martin nerfed Ramirez off. Just not cricket eh?
The race was getting madder and dafter as each lap ticked away, whilst the clouds got darker and lower. Lap 17 and down came the rain. And boy did it come down. Then slicks may have been warmer than a slapped arse, but they weren’t about to alter the laws of physics. And for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; rain down – arm up. To a man just about every rider in the leading group raised their arm as they hit the remains of Hurricane Bruce ‘nd Sheila. That was on the start/finish straightaway, and by turn 2 Race Direction had red-flagged the race. Scroll back a lap and Mir was leading over the line with Loi (!!!) in second. Title to Mir, Fenati looked sanguine in his box when he got back to the pits.
Next up was Moto2 just as a hangover follows a night on the piss drinking Aussie lager. Once again we’re not sure where to start in describing Moto2. In the words of the kidz, it just seems so “meh.” Yes, there are so many good riders, but why does it feel like less than the sum of its parts? Who knows, but if you do please write to DORMA with your suggestions.
The grid lined up like this: Pasini on pole and Schrotter in second spot on the grid. That wasn’t about to last. Oliveria and Brad Binned-her on the KTMs hammered away as soon as the lights went ping! Illegal oil using Domi Egg-shitter showed good again, getting back in the mix.
Second lap and Schrotter lost the front into turn 2 and wiped Pasini out. One very unhappy Italian. And a nervous German (that’s the first we’ve ever written that sentence).
By turn 11 Alex Marquez had a moment that shifted him backwards and Locatelli had had enough and piled off his steed. Same lap Navaho Navarro did likewise, and race Direction announced Edgar Pons jumped the gun as it were, and shot his bolt too early – one for the Moto3 kidz really.
It then drizzled and the UK commentators started talking of “mental rain.” We assumed they meant deranged hail storms and fish falling from the sky. But no, they meant drizzle. Anywho this was enough for Quarterpint-ro and he bailed off turn 9. Following on from his smart and nifty showing at Motegi, Xavi Vierge maximized the extra 100cc Tech-3 had given him and was once again up in the top 5.
He was followed by Tesco Raffin who was by now in sixth. Blimey – what was that all about. Origami was closing fast and then passed Vierge into 5th. Title contenders Morbid-deli and Toblerone Tim were having mixed races. Frankly was up for it and challenging for a podium like the crazy Braz-Italian has done most of the season. Slash from G’n’R will be chuffed to bits. Tim however was having a complete ‘mare of a weekend; a bang to bonce earlier might have been the reason. Riders were passing him with more ease than a drunk lad passes a curry after 10 pints of Guinness.
But Frankly Morbid-deli wasn’t having it all his own way – that lad Oliveira was disappearing fast and Brad Binned-her nipped past for second. Morbid-deli did get back and Origami also passed Brad, but as the laps counted down, the drizzle returned with four laps to go. Whether that unnerved anyone is anybody’s guess, but Brad got back into second, and Origami folded the front at turn 8 with 2 to go.
Yep, Oliveira lead from start to finish on a KTM, and Binder took second. How cool is that? Frankly Mordib-deli will be pleased with third with Tim so far down the pack – its Frank’s to lose with two to go.
Is 1000cc and 260-270bhp too much for Phil’s Island? Nah… not from what we saw. First off Jack Thriller Miller. Brilliant. That really is how to tear away at your home race. You might get caught, but that’s the way to impress. Bloody hell!
Lap 1 had Mavis Viñales and Marquez following Miller and closing him down, with Pol Asparagus into fourth! Blimey! However, two well known Ducatis were nowhere to be seen – Lorenzo and more importantly for the title, Dovi was MIA. Twentieth. Whilst these two and Pedrosa were looking lost, the new Simoncelli (in as far as his riding style goes), J-Z (Zarco), was ripping up the reputation book, and passing, being passed, and then re-passing the likes of Viñales, Rossi, Marquez as every lap. Yep – the front group were knocking chunks out of each other, and not a complaint in sight from anyone. Old groaner Rossi had years swept away from him, and was getting stuck in like a 20 year old given the keys to the booze cabinet. By lap 6 Miller was getting caught enough to be passed by both M1s, and then Marquez. Bugger.
It really did get a bit crazy to be honest, with Miller being passed, Zarco passing anyone, Viñales showing class and Marquez no doubt laughing his head off when not giving Rossi a love bite with the ‘Onda’s front tyre. And surprise of all surprises, the Maniac joined in too! To be honest he did get a bit heady, and he didn’t quite ever lead, but yes, he was there, and so was Rins to an extent.
Down in the bunker our notes for this race look utterly mad, and strangely full of things like “L13 – VR passes Miller into Honda” and “L16 – Masses of position changes throughout – J-Z past MM MV past MM into MGC.”
If anyone had said that this race would be better than the Moto3 race and possibly the best race of the decade before we saw it, we would have called them daft. But so it came to pass – the best race we’ve seen in years. On lap 24 though Marquez had had enough and pulled the pin and set a PB. And he didn’t stop either; two laps later he had a 2 second lead, but behind him the battle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stayed as tight and as fruity as a pineapple on heat. In the end it was Rossi second over the line followed by Mavis and then J-Z in fourth.
Fantastic stuff, only spolit by Dovi being 13th and his chance of the title slipping from his grip probably too much. Bugger.
- Dovi wins two-part race as Espargaro claims first KTM podium
- Perfect 2018 ending for Oliveira in dramatic Moto2™ finale
- Can Oncu stuns the field to create Grand Prix history
- Marquez 0.805 clear in rain-soaked Valencia Warm Up
- Lowes takes Sunday morning honours in Valencia
- Bezzecchi leads all-Italian top five in wet Warm Up
- Skinner takes the crown, Strudwick strikes back for the win!
- Dislocated shoulder to P5: Marquez’ miraculous Q2
- Q1 to pole: Viñales repeats Marquez’ Thai GP feat
- Best photos: Valencia GP