NOT the MotoGP News: Jerez
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
Well hello Europe. Here in the bunker news reaches us that the Circus d’Egos has reached its spiritual home – Spain! With Carmelo within easy reach of home, his cheery smile shone down upon us like the sun.
First round of the proper MotoGP calendar is held in the wonderful city of Jerez. We love this circuit and everything to do with Spain. Apart from bullfighting and chucking donkeys from church towers. And the Spanish Inquisition. And the armada. And British tourists. But apart from that, we love it all. Especially MotoGP.
In the paella dish of life, the most interesting ingredient (just where the hell IS this going? – Ed) is sometimes the smallest ingredient. As in paella, as in MotoGP – yep Moto3 is that little pinch of saffron without which paella would be just a bowl of fishy rice. Oh and we had a resurfaced track. Sound familiar? It did to us too, and we were keen to see how the rain would run off this track too. But the sun shone with a brightness only John Hopkins’ teeth could manage.
Dalla Porta lined up in pole with Suzuki and Vietti filling the other two front row spots. And as with just about every other Moto3 race the race became a random number generator not seen since the days of Melandri. Lap 1 and Suzuki made a break, Rodrigo fell off at the last corner and Antonelli hit second spot. By lap 3 title contender, Masia, was off at turn 2, and a lap later Dalla Porta was catching Suzuki up. At the start of lap the ninth lap Bad-boy “yo mama” Fenati was ninth. By the end he was second. Yes, it was that hectic. And then…….. and then it happened. By way of explanation, this round the VNE Snipers bike Fenati rides was mainly (and manly) pink. And you know when someone who was big in the 80s references a film that was typical 80s? well that. “Pretty in Pink.” Oh for the love of all that is good and righteous. Truly, that shot the fox.
By lap 14 Suzuki, Dalla Porta and Canet were the front three and gapping the field, but a lap later it was Dalla Porta, Ramirez and Canet at the front. A commentator’s nightmare to be honest, but ace to watch.
Four laps to go, and Ramirez had a massive off; it was frankly a miracle only Fenati had to take avoiding action. Either than of he didn’t want to win and just took to the grass to look cool. 2 laps to go and Tom Booth-Amos was off at Turn 1. Unfortunately Booth-Amos’s initials are TBA which is short for To Be Advised…….. There’s a joke in there somewhere about next season, but we’re too stupid to crow-bar it in here.
Last lap and Antonelli re-appeared for the win (witchcraft, we tell ye), from Suzuki who had been there or thereabouts all race and Vietti took third.
Now Moto2 with it’s new Triumphant engines on this circuit should be the one where this series took off. And so it did. Quite literally at turns 1 and 2. The Pinball Wizard would have been impressed with this number of strikes (we’re only doing jokes cos no one was seriously hurt). The resultant melee (yes there was a red flag) and clearing up meant the race was shortened to a 15 lap sprint.
The Sito Pons Flexbox HP Printer Malfunction bikes of Fernandez and Bad-Ass hit the lead like the proverbial stabbed cat with Toblerone Luthi in third. By the third lap (yep 20% of the race!) the field was more spread out than a tub of margarine in a Mary Berry cook book. The bikes are faster than last year, the track here in Jerez is mikes better than last year, and yet still it gets strung out. Sigh.
Three laps later the tedium was palpable (that’s an oxymoron really folks) with the front two miles ahead; not even Luthi was up to this. Lap 7 and Pasini (for yay! It was he!) crashed out (boo), Bad-Ass passed Fernandez for the lead and then Lowes crashed at Turn 9. Well that was the most watchable lap of the race so far.
The sprint didn’t really become a mad-dash sprint to the chequered flag, but it was watchable with the front two really trying to do battle without upsetting their team. Xavi Vierge slid past Brad “he doesn’t crash anymore” Binder for 5th place and Navarro moved into third past Luthi and then set about catching Fernandez. These last laps actually managed to get us all interested and for once we didn’t throw the young apprentice down the basement through Moto2 boredom.
Bad-Ass took the win and Navarro was second from Fernandez and to be honest it was better than we expected (mainly because it was short).
In a surprise move for MotoGP, Marc Marquez decided to a) not start from pole and b) be the oldest on the front row. This was because Yamaha-riding, petrol-sponsored herberts Quattro Formaggio and Frankly Mobid-deli were in front of him, and beside him, as well as being younger than him. Did this bode well for a tense race to the line? Errrrr no. Basically Marquez just sodded off from the start and had some solo fun as any young man would on a Sunday afternoon. Given half a chance. If you catch our drift.
Second lap, and Rins was up 3 places to sixth whilst Repsol waste of space Lorenzo ran wide and plummeted to 14th. Its not going well yet is it? On the other hand, Morbi was trying to give Marquez a fright and was chasing as hard as he could. However hard a Brazilian can do that; in fact hard enough too set the fastest lap. Next lap his teammate was playing the same game – fastest lap. Theyre good these two aren’t they?
However, a decorator on a Suzuki is also fast, and having notched up his first victory for Suzuki, Rins wasn’t going to let anyone think he was a flash in a pan. By lap 5 he was past Dovi and setting the fastest lap. (yes – it’s a new surface and we know lap records were going to tumble, but live and let live eh?).
New boy Baggy Bagnaia took a tumble on lap 7 at Turn 2 and a lap later Rins hit the lap record counter again (see above) whilst Marquez started to gap Morbid, and Viñales started to make real in-roads on Quattro.
A lap later and 2nd, 3rd and 4th were bunching up nicely for a fight worthy of everyone’s moolah with Quattro passing Morbid for second. 4 laps later however it was all over as the Yamaha of Quattro had a massive electrical problem (the gear change fell off). Gutted is a word best used for fish, but undoubtedly the young Frenchman felt likewise. Life isn’t fair, and neither is being French. Ce la vie n’est pas?
Meanwhile back in the action Dovi passed Morbid on lap 16 for third and after using his tyres up the invisible Ducati rider, Petrucci slipped past Frank too. Lower down, Rossi finally got past Jack Miller. By now Rossi was embarrassed enough to up his game, and he passed Cal too, whilst Morbid was going backwards on shot tyres.
Marquez was still miles ahead and decided to slow a little so the win didn’t look too embarrassing and Viñales, Dovi and Petrucci battled for third. Rins was safe in second – a win last time out and second this time; top work by the painter & decorator. Viñales took the last podium spot and for once he might just have found some continuity and confidence.