Welcome to NOT The MotoGP News – our blog by Guy Anderson. Oh – and when you’re done, make sure to go follow Guy on Twitter – @SirGuyGuisborne
Hey there Jerez! How’s the world’s most middle-class drink?
It is most unlikely that fans of MotoGP will imbibe the sweet nectar of Jerez, but there are those of us in the bunker made from sherry barrels that do. And more power to our drink is what we say.
One of the greatest track in the world set in (No, please don’t do it – Ed) a natural amphitheatre (you went there after I warned you not to – Ed), Jerez is all things to all men. A wonderful circuit with fast, open flowing corners tied up with two hairpins and surrounded by hills that give everyone at least some good viewing. Silverstone it is not!
Moto3 was a bit of a dog’s dinner before the start flag had even gone out (eh?). Alcoba, Migno and Norrodin all copped grid penalties for staring at the hills around the circuit rather than trying to get a good lap in during qually. That’ll teach them. Maybe. Ni-Cola Bulega didn’t bother with any of that “looking around” stuff during qually; he was just rubbish anyway and that helped him back down the grid to 22nd. It’s either horse’s head in the bed time or goodbye at the end of the season unless he starts getting on the top step soon.
The race was a feast of all things wonderful unless you’re Foggia, Dalla Porta or Nanny McPhee – all down at the first corner of the first lap. That’s a helluva a long way to come just to race 300metres or less.
Being Moto3, the race was wonderful. Slipstreaming isn’t a big option here, so chaos from out-braking and generally being young, dumb and full of come ensued. This season there are actually a number of riders you can count on being up the front, namely Martin, DiGi and Bez. The rest are a bit more RNG (random number generator; thanks Stuey). With the track hotter than a hooker’s hot pants in downtown Jerez (and also, no doubt, a lot newer) no one managed a serious breakaway. RNG Kaiser Phil Oetl started to slice through the pack and reach the leading group as did Can-it’s younger teammate Lopez. Nice-guy Tony Arb-O-lino sounds like an extra from The French Connection but is in fact a top bloke and all ‘round good rider. The fact that he likes to elbow his way through the pack whilst not knocking anyone off, nor losing speed is worth the licence fee just on its own.
For once we have to suspend stupidity and happily salute a god of racing; lap 12+1 saw the bike-mad Spaniards stand and applaud as way of acknowledging the greatest of Ángel Nieto. Missed by so many.
The seriousness of the moment didn’t touch the riders one iota. On the train went, four abreast into any corner you care to mention. The front group broke away – yep, a bunch of 18 riders if you were counting! Kaiser Phil was showing good and we were getting excited by the thought…. In the meantime with 8 laps to go Can-it was up to fourth and looking to get his season back on track. Four laps to go and we had a breakaway of 6 riders but Can-it wasn’t going to let that develop. Oh no – he skittled Martin, Basti and Arb-O-lino plus himself in a senseless demonstration of testosterone overload. Can you guess which place he’s going to be starting from at Le Mans? Yep – the last place. That left Kaiser Phil and Bez all by themselves. As much as Bez fought for the win there was no way Oetl was going to let his debut win slip. Brilliant stuff from a brilliant rider. Achtung Baby!
Moto2 looked like it might be an interesting race. We had a coffee and realised we were being stupid. There’s more fun in watching Ant and Dec than in Moto2.
Badass Baldassarri had pole from teacher’s pet Marquez and Baggy Bagnaia in third. Lap 1 and Jorge Navarro plus Luca Marini decided the race was already too boring and piled off at turn 6. Good idea guys, we wished we’d bailed as early. It is an oxymoron to suggest South African Brad Binned-her is a nice guy, but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – he is. And he was giving the lead group a good seeing to. As it were. By lap three, his teammate Oliveira had sliced and diced through from 14th on the grid to 5th. Bloody hell, signing for KTM satellite team Tech=3 for 2019 certainly released the brakes….. Stylish Spaniard with the French-sounding name, Vierge was into the leading group of six by lap six, but Cal Crutchlow mini-me Fenati wasn’t. in fact, as the result of an off at turn 10 he was out.
Perpetual old boy, Pasini inched past Brad Binned-her whilst on the same lap Danny-boy Kent had taken his usual charge backwards to mid-pack mediocrity. From whence he later fell at turn 1 with 12 laps to go. Same lap and Alex M piled off from third place, stalled his bike and had to retire. As we’ve said, fine rider, just not a great racer.
With all of 9 laps to go the field had spread better than the inevitable (for this article) hooker from Jerez. Even if she had been asleep she would undoubtedly have been more interesting. Only Joan Mir kept us vaguely interested as probably rookie of the year.
Badass Baldassarri won by over 2 seconds from Oliveira, with Baggy a further four seconds behind. Once again, Zzzzzzzzz…….. sorry.
Marc the Destroyer has won at Jerez in MotoGP; in 2014 during his debut year when he won 10 races, but other than that it’s not his best track. You’d never believe it though. Blimey.
At first, the enigma that is Jorge Lorenzo rocked up and said, “Hello boys, I’m back and I wanna play.” He lined up directly behind pole-sitter Cal Lowcrutch (fecking autocorrect – Ed), and got the start of his career. We’re not sure where this Lorenzo had been hiding all these months, but he was a joy to see. For sure, Jerez is a great track for the Spaniard, but that bike isn’t the best for him. Suzuki in 2019? Maybe, but right here, right now, he was looking all red.
Social Media superstar Aleix Asparagus had the reverse of Lorenzo’s good fortune and retired the ‘Prilly on lap two. Bugger. Next lap and Marquez was in to 2nd place and looking more comfortable than a cat on a duvet. Lap 6 and Tilbury’s finest fell at turn 11 with the most innocuous front end wash-out. No doubt he finished the day decorating the motorhome in this good weather. His teammate had other plans and was already past and gapping Rossi. It’s always important to double check the spelling of “gapping” as “gaping” has so many bad connotations. You really don’t want a gaping Rossi. Just ask Uccio.
Eighteen laps to go and Marquez passed Lorenzo, whilst Cal Lowcrutch (autocorrect etc etc etc for the sake of a bad joke) slid off at turn 1 but managed to re-join. With 17 laps to go Dovi was past pundits’ fave Dani and into 3rd. This meant, with Marquez already past Lorenzo and away, Ducati had a 2, 3 on the books. Ahem.
Apart from Lorenzo, Dovi and Dani all battling for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, things got a little processional. Petrucci, Ian no-Knee and Miller all had battles with old Rossi, and that pretty much kept the fans’ attention. Until with 8 laps to go chaos at turn 6 ensued. Dovi ran wide and dragged Lorenzo wide too. Dani saw his chance and aimed for the apex to pass both, but Lorenzo had managed to slow enough to turn into the apex, however taking Dani off and then rebounding into Dovi who had just managed to square off the corner. All three down, and Twitter nearly went down too. The Grim Reaper had laid down his scythe and picked up his rifle to shoot the fox as Charlie Cox never said (only very old readers will get this reference). The next half a dozen or so laps were basically not shown as we watching and re-watched slo-mos of the accident. But Rossi pulled back past Miller and Ian No-Knee was up to third, with Johann Zarco in a lonely second.
Marquez picked up maximum points whilst Dovi picked up none as did Cal. Lorenzo showed us all something and Dani got hurt again. The factory Yams were flattered by the crash giving their riders three extra places. Viñales thought COSTA was his turn around. And yet Zarco riders around the issues. Maybe it was Lorenzo who made the M1 look good?
- Moto2™ and Moto3™ back on track at Le Mans
- Kornfeil: “It was just like motocross training!”
- Syahrin: “We had top ten pace”
- Back on track: Rossi makes podium return
- Miller: “Seeing Marc the whole race was really nice”
- Crutchlow: “They were panicking because I wanted to race!”
- Contenders crash at Le Mans: Zarco, Dovi and Iannone
- Marquez: strategic victory… and yet another save!
- Bagnaia reigns supreme in France
- Marquez equals Stoner as Rossi gets back on the podium