Feb 4, 2015

Posted by in Bikes

Almost Certainly All of This Will Happen

Almost Certainly All of This Will Happen

As the first tests of the 2015 MotoGP season are taking place this week in Sepang everyone, from fans to the media to the teams themselves, will begin to start reading far too much into individual lap times, positions and everything else in between.

Proper MotoGP journalists will start to dissect the new tech details of the 2015 machines. Fan forums will claim Rider X is clearly a disaster and Rider Y is unstoppable and then it will inevitably descend into an argument about Casey Stoner.  And MCN will run a 25 page spread of ‘Rossi at 36: The Greatest Their Ever Was is or Will Be or Could Be or Everything and Anything and Oh My God Isn’t He Beautiful and He’s Back to His Best’.

So whilst everyone is dissecting every tiny little detail and trying to glean anything they can out of it because, let’s be honest, it’s always a long winter for a bike fan, I’ve decided to take it one step further.

Because the bickering on internet forums is purely based on fandom 90% of the time.  Journos have column inches that need filling.  And that’s all fine.  But it’s always the same every year.  When it gets down to it, the predictions are of fans tipping their favourites and writers going for some safe bets.  Really?  You think Marquez will challenge for the title.  Stick your neck out why don’t you, you’ll have to stand by that.

Here are my ten outrageous, unfounded, based on little evidence, over-reacting, quite possibly insane predictions for 2015.  I’m making them in February.  That way if any of them come true I can link back to this article in October, be declared a genius and I’ll get a job supporting Sally Morgan on tour.  But odds are they’ll all turn out to be exactly what they appear to be on the surface.  Which is utter bollocks.

1) Valentino Rossi will not win a race in 2015_dsc_0027_original

Rossi benefitted last year by an out of sorts Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo having a crisis of confidence, Marc Marquez being so far in front half way through the year he made silly mistakes at the end of the year through lack of interest and the Ducati still being harder to turn than the stop cock above my boiler in the cupboard.  With Lorenzo focused, Pedrosa riding for a contract, Ducati improving, Marquez still being alive, Father Time will finally kick the nine time champ in the butt.  Rossi will never win another race.  Put your feet up Sete.

2.) Suzuki will pull out by the end of the year

Citing that they still need another year of development after proving to be woefully uncompetitive in the first half of the year they’ll cut back to one bike for Espargaro after the German round.  Vinales will return as a wildcard for Valencia before they pull the pin on the whole thing between the Valencia test and Christmas.  Meanwhile Alex Lowes and Randy De Puniet will run 1-2 in the WSBK championship.

3.) Ducati will win a Grand Prix

I’m not prepared to go so far as say it’ll be in the dry, but the bike at the end of 2014 was as good as it’s been post-Stoner.  Crutchlow was getting results, Dovi was too.  And with Dovi riding as good as he ever has and Iannone has a point to prove, they’ll win one this year.  And then various sites will break under the strain of people saying, ‘See, Stoner only won because the Ducati was so good in a straight line’.  And we wonder why we can’t have nice things.

4.) Casey Stoner will do a wild card at Phillip Island310115-stonersepang_original

He had a smile on his face the whole time he was testing at Sepang.  He loved riding the bike, his family were with him and he adores them and them being with him trackside.  There’ll be no pressure.  He’s already got a few other undisclosed tests lined up for later in the year so this is probably one of them. Shortly after the race David Cameron will convert to socialism, dogs and cats will form an alliance and Pink Floyd will reunite for a worldwide stadium tour with Led Zeppelin.

5.) Jack Miller will score more points in 2015 than Scott Redding did in 2014

The production Honda is better this year, of that there is no question.  Miller is probably more likely to adopt a win it or bin it attitude than Redding was, or is.  What that means is that Miller will probably spend more time throwing it at the fence and making LCR mechanics lose many a night’s sleep but when he gets to the finish, he’ll be ragging it.  And a few high end results, mixed in with a smattering of point scoring rides will be enough to best Redding’s impressive 81 point tally a year ago.  He’ll also get fined the first time he finishes top open bike and tells Gavin Emmett or someone in parc ferme that everything was ‘fucking aces’ on live tv.

6.) The championship will come down to Valencia

Marquez won’t have it all his own way this year.  Yamaha were embarrassed beyond belief last year and they won’t take it lying down.  Marquez might get too comfortable.  And Pedrosa needs a job.  And the Ducati’s are coming.  And so’s Pol Espargaro come to think of it.  He caught them napping last year.  He won’t this year.  Also he moved out of Barcelona so all of Spain’s put a curse on him or something haven’t they?

7.) And then, at Valencia, Lorenzo will win his third premier class title.

Because he wants it so bad.  Have you seen all those Michael Jordan quotes on his Instagram?  Jordan famously did that ad where said how he missed over 9000 shots in his career and that’s what made him great.  So Lorenzo riding round Assen scared of crashing last year should make him great this year.  You’ve been warned.  He’ll win it.  I’m not even sure I’m joking about this one.  Not even a little bit actually.  Fine, I’ll do 11 to make up for it.

8.) Bradley Smith will be top placed Brit at the end of the year_m4g_2987_original

Yes, Crutchlow and Redding have got factory Hondas now.  And yes, ragging on Bradley Smith is what a lot of people think those guys at CERN actually made the internet for in the first place.  But he’s got pace, a Yamaha, a job to fight for and consistency.  Redding will get nervous and need time to adjust. Same with Crutchlow.  Hopefully Crutchlow stays injury free and hopefully Scott doesn’t have any, ah, shall we say, off track social media based distractions as in Marc VDS years past.  But Marc VDS, professional as they are, are going to need some time with that bike.  I expect it’ll be a battle more intense than that for Scottish Independence and no-one’s going to come out the other side liking each other much but at the end of the day, Smith’ll be the one holding the chocolates.  And then giving them to his dad.

9.) Kawasaki will wildcard.

At Valencia.  With Randy De Puniet.  On Michelins.  And he’ll qualify on the front row.  You read it here first.

10.) Nicky Hayden will leave MotoGP

At year’s end the 2006 champion will head with Honda to WSBK to partner Guinters in 2016.  Then he’ll become the first person to ever win both titles.  And then he’ll back to the States and wrap up that last mile he’s been chasing. If you can find someone that says, hand on heart, they don’t want to see that happen, slap them for me.

And just for kicks.

11.) Freddie Spencer will make comeback number 12 345 675 121.

At Donington for old time’s sake.  He’ll be leading into the Melbourne Loop on lap ten and then he’ll get a bee in his leathers.  Or get attacked by a badger.  Or something.

All pictures copyright © motogp.com
  1. Phil Robinson says:

    Obviously I talking with hindsight that you didn’t have when you made these predictions, but you’ve got some very right.

    Let’s start with the Stoner Wild-carding at Phillip Island. OK so it’s not going to happen after the Suzuka 8 hrs injury, but why was Casey riding at Suzuka in the 1st place? Possibly to get “race fit” on a motorcycle to do precisely as you suggested? I certainly believe so. Oh and well done Casey, you’ve done something very few have achieved, got an apology from Honda!

    I believe it’s conformed that Nicky Hayden will leave Moto GP at the season end, so another point to you.

    Bradley Smith is currently the highest scoring Brit, you’ve on a roll here!

    Title could still well go to Valencia, and Jorge could still win it. However he’s not the favourite, more on that later.

    Ducati winning a race, at the beginning of the season looked a certainty, dropped off a bit now, and Suzuki have showed some form so hope they stick around.

    Now onto a certain Italian. I’m just going to comment on his riding here, and fandom issues or number and size of queues at VR46 stalls compared to others are not relevant here. If you’d made that statement at the beginning of last season i’ld have agreed with you. In 2013 Jorge Lorenzo blew him away, and he only won at Assen because Jorge was injured. BUT during 2014 he managed to raise his game to Jorges level, both struggled in the early season because the Honda was so superior and Marquez was taking full advantage. But as the Yamaha got better they both managed to get results, both got one slightly lucky win ( JL at Aragon, VR at PI ) and both a good win ( JL at Motegi , VR at Misano. ) He beat Jorge overall in the title race. So whilst I didn’t expect him to be leading the title chase at this stage of the season ( and without rain in the last 2 rounds I don’t think he would be ) I did expect him to win a race or two this year. Especially if ( as has proved to be the case ) Yamaha improved and could match the Honda. However any more idiot behaviour from them ( both of them guilty, )as happened at Misano COULD let Marquez back in through “the back door.”

    As they say though, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Thank you for this and many other articles which I have enjoyed reading very much. And I also agree with you that Senorita Maria Herrera is the real deal!

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