Like Mugello, Catalunya is a stunning circuit and one for MotoGP fans to salivate over. And moving the race from the wonderful cuisine of Italy to the world’s greatest city for eating (Barcelona) makes you admire Carmelo Ezpeleta even more. Chubby funster that he is. Unlike Donald Trump.
Anyway… Moto3 race is always worth a watch whether it’s here or on Mars.
And for once Jorge Martin didn’t start on pole. Enya did. No longer a Gaelic inspired singer, he snuck pole 0.1secs. Little did that matter for Martin though, as he lead into Turn 1 on the opening lap. And for a refreshing change Nanny McPhee had qualified well in 7th and was best performing KTM…! Yay!
It wasn’t such fun for Brad Binned-her who did just that on Lap 1 at Turn 12 along with Dalla Porta. By lap two there was a small and short gap from Martin leading followed by Suzuki in second back to Can-it who for once was keen to make hay whilst the sun shone.
Lap 6 and Jakob Cornfield was penalised for taking advantage of running off the track even though he lost 4 positions. This is getting a little daft, but we love the controversy it causes. And by now the front 2 were nearly 3 seconds ahead of the rest. Seriously we worried this was actually the Moto2 race being held first.
Then with 9 laps gone Jorge Martin lobbed it. What the actual eff? However, this meant Suzuki inherited the lead. And that was a problem, because without Martin to drag him along, he found the group catching him and had nothing to offer by the way of resistance. A bit like trying to resist the Borg apparently.
After Mugello a fortnight earlier, Rossi and Uccio must have done something to Bulega. For once he was up at the sharp end. Second in fact! In a group of nine nutter bastards. Marvellous. By lap 13 Nicola was leading. “Could this last?” we whispered. McPhee was into 4th and had been harrying the leaders all race so far. And the answer to our question came. No. That was the answer. Bulega was off on lap 15 in a ma-hoo-sive prang at Turn 4 along with Can-it and Arenas. Ouchy ouch. Two laps later at Turn 1 Migno and Masia had another big ‘un. How these whippersnappers survive these offs is beyond us. We’re just grateful they do.
The last lap saw a group of five mugging each other and in turn being mugged. Suzuki, McPhee, Rodrigo, Bez and winner Bastianini were 6 seconds ahead of the pack and good value for it too. Basti had pole and took the win but not without shenanigans and a great race. McPhee looked 100 times better than the rest of the races so far.
Moto2 could never live up to that race. Could it? Well Oliveira did his best. Yet again he decided to qualify so badly that the rest thought they had a chance. 17th. By the end of the first lap he was 6th. We loved that. And Marcel Schrotter seemed to have found something useful too. Sam Lowes though was cursed by “fuel pump” issues. This isn’t the first time that old CBR 600 has had fuel pump problems, and for Lowes, it meant starting from the back of the grid.
To counter Oliveira’s amazing progress on lap 1, Manzi, Tuuli and Bo’Selecta all crashed at Turn 4. Just seems so naff to have worked so hard all weekend and then not even complete a lap. Bigly sad.
Quartararo was big in Moto3 but seemed ever so slightly dwarfed by Moto2. Not this week he didn’t. Early days and he was up there in the leading group by lap 2 looking all good and racy. He was third from Schrotter and Marquez out in front.
A few laps later and Oliveria was chasing down Marquez for the lead. Oliveira seems to be making a thing of qualifying badly and then getting his head down especially in the first few laps. More power to his elbow we say! And by lap 8 Oli was in a three-way scrap for the lead with Marquez and Quartararo, whilst Danny Kent was somewhat shy of the leading pack in 27th. Hmmmmm he’s gonna be working in KwikFit next year isn’t he?
Next lap and Oli nicked the lead whilst Xavi Vierge (who we think really is class) took the lap record! Not to be outdone Quarter-pint took the lead from Oli and also took the lap record.
We’d no idea what was going on – an interesting Moto2 race? Blimey Charlie, it must be the one-in-a-season race. That means no more exciting Moto2 races in 2018. Heck. Just to liven this up a little more Thug-a-Like Fenati chucked it up the road with 11 to go at Turn 10. Poor bugger. And ruggedly handsome (so we’re assured) Mat Pasini edged past Baggy Bagnaia – quite the race eh folks? Yet Mir must have had his mind elsewhere; yep, he’s been continually improving and is a stunning rookie, but his team (and Alex’s for that matter) is imploding and confusing. Sugar Daddy Marc is playing hardball and all and sundry are mystified. Did it make Mir crash with 10 to go? Nope, but you know?
Quarter-pint continued to stretch is lead and took yet another lap record; verily, this was good. And then it all got a bit “Moto2” and became just a wee bit boring after all the fantastic stuff earlier. Ne’er mind folks; we can just about live with that (roll on Triumph eh kidz?)
So, you know? Mugello, Lorenzo and the next race here at Cataluña. Yeah, that. Nah, it wasn’t going to happen was it?
Well……. If he didn’t just hit it like a lap dancer and qualify on pole! Good grief man – this is what we wanted. That ‘tache maybe be risible, but that mind is back with a vengeance much in vogue*. And come the race Lorenzo he was still the man; past Marquez on the brakes (Yes! Literally on the brakes man!) and into the lead. Marquez headed after him and to be fair made a great effort in keeping Lorenzo honest. Viñales however started his own race back down the grid as did Smith who had shown promise and then didn’t. “Hello? Is that the Oxford Job Centre……..?”
But lap after lap Lorenzo was doing something that was just unimaginable a few weeks ago. It was time travel. Back to smooth effortless racing. Back to pomp and arrogance that either annoys the crap out of you or stuns you, and if it annoys you, you ain’t no MotoGP fan man.
Lorenzo’s teammate wasn’t having as much fun though – he flung it at the scenery on lap 8 at turn 5. Kind of yin and yan with Dovi as Jorge might say. Championship fight over? Bit early to say but the very idea of the thought entering our heads says something (yeah, it says you know nothing – Ed). Less than half way through the race Lorenzo and Marquez were well away. Blimey – that’s a bit weird for us to type. Hanging on to them like a pensioner hanging on to a packet of Viagra was Rossi. Wonderfully evergreen to say the least, and behind him was Dani. Wt actual f? Who cares – we loved it.
Cal Lowcrutch has been a bit quieter this season, but as ever he and his disappearing honeybadger never lose the chance to get stuck in, and soon he was edging closer and closer to Dani. By lap 17 Cal was past, whilst 1 lap later “Jewellery” Rabat realised he could never compete with Lorenzo in the attention stakes unless he set his bike on fire. So…….. there you go…. Fire!
Oh yeah – Viñales. After disappearing backwards at the start, memories of Paris Hilton came flooding back to him, and up he went to finish 6th (No more knob jokes yeah? – Ed).
And so there it was – Lorenzo. Well would you believe it? No, we wouldn’t either, but we loved it. Every single second of it (apart from flashbacks to Moto2).
Assen next and well, why not? Maybe he can.
*Orange Juice, and what are you gonna do about it?
- Moto2™ and Moto3™: KTM testing at Jerez
- Last call: what can we expect at the Qatar Test?
- Estrella Galicia 0,0 present 2019 project in Madrid
- 40 years, 23 seasons: a celebration of Rossi
- #Rossi40: All the birthday wishes from fans on social media
- Canal+: a new era of MotoGP™ coverage begins in France
- #Rossi40: 40 photos to celebrate 40 years
- The Team Kömmerling Gresini Moto3™ project is unveiled
- Jake Dixon ready for the challenge in Moto2™
- 46 turns 40: Rossi week on motogp.com