Apr 30, 2014

Posted by in Bikes

Five Things About Round Three

Five Things About Round Three

It’s been a busy week so am posting this a little later than usual.  If you can count two rounds prior usual.  Anyway, here’s five things from Round Three in Argentina.

1) Marc Marquez is ushering in a new era of domination

As a whole, he’s different to those that have dominated before him.  There’s bits of Stoner, Rossi, Doohan, Rainey and Ago in this kid, sure, but he’s not the ‘next’ any one of those.  He’s the first Marquez.  And he might very well be unstoppable.  He’s the Hulk, the common cold and taxes all rolled into one.  And no amount of Loki, pseudoephedrine or off shore holding accounts in Malta seem to make a difference.  I’m doing an article at the moment about Marquez in more detail that should be up just after Jerez.

2) Jack Miller has the makings of a champion

After Romano Fenati quite literally punted Miller into third on the penultimate turn in Argentina, (a move that, I should add, I saw no real issue with), Miller returned to parc ferme fuming.  Speaking to the world feed for Dorna and also Gavin Emmett for Bt Sport, he was a long way from his usual exciting self.  It was 16 points, not 25, he’d said.  He had it won, he said.

Now, many people on Twitter and forums, let’s call them idiots for short, went straight in with the ‘Another Aussie moaner’ and ‘sore loser’ badges.  Here’s what’s important to note.  He didn’t really lash out at Fernati.  Claim he cheated.  Claim he was dangerous.  Nothing like that.  What really, really pissed him off was that he didn’t win.  This is a kid who last year would’ve given you a kidney for a top 5.  He won his first race about a month ago.  And now coming third makes him feel like he’s got a mouth full of bees.10294467_622435227837371_2033056828502866044_n

I said straight after the interview he has a whiff of the Wayne Gardner about him and I mean that in all the right ways.  He says what he’s thinking.  He’s equal parts laid back as he is intense.  He will flog the living guts out of a bike that is crying enough, as witnessed on the weekend with his KTM down on top speed and, well, all last year on a second rate Honda.  And he hates losing.  Third isn’t a win.  He lost.  He can’t believe he didn’t.  And he’ll be out for blood at Jerez.  I think he might be just a little bit special this one.

3) South America really like, and have really missed, motorcycle racing

Just look at the crowds.  Their size, their enthusiasm, their desire to buy a lot of over priced merchandise with numbers stitched on them.  Yes, there were hiccups such as communication difficulties with the marshals on Friday, and sure, the track was a bit dirty but be honest, overall, it went a hell of a lot better than I think most people expected.  Anytime the sport can expand into a new market hungry for MotoGP, it’s a no brainer for me if the infrastructure is in place.  Next stop Indonesia?

4) Jarno Zafelli should design more tracks

Many of the newer tracks are somewhat, to use a technical term, shit boring.  Termas de Rio Hondo on the other hand, was the dead opposite.  Zafelli took the existing layout and made some minor tweaks that made a major difference.  He added camber, a mini Assen, more passing opportunities and what we ended up with was a proper track.  A track that encouraged good racing, improved the spectacle and rewarded riders willing to take a risk on braking.

OK_DSC7861It was a true joy to watch the bikes going round that place.  The best race you’ve ever seen at Valencia is still someone more boring to watch than just Casey Stoner doing a solo lap of Phillip Island or Marquez on a qualifier at Termas de Rio Hondo.  And there’s a reason for that.  Humans design better tracks than computers.  Also, this was a track designed with bikes in mind first, instead of F1 and that makes a massive, and noticeable difference.  As good as COTA is, it’s clearly a track for cars first and bikes second.  Hairpins and first gear corners are great for F1, rubbish for bikes.

So in the future, when we’re constructing new circuits, let’s give Zafelli a call.  Let’s accidentally lose Hermann Tilke number for a bit shall we?

5) Bautista is in trouble with the boss

Three races and three crashes is one thing.  Only really appearing to be competitive in one of them is another.  That team owner Fausto Gresini saw fit to point out as much in one of the team’s official press releases is another thing entirely.

5077c6caa6351ac8611cd7b21e971f52Each race, each team sends out a pile of press releases to us media types full of quotes and pictures and, to be fair, a good whack of fluff.  Occasionally a rider will give a good insight into some aspect of the race but it’s usually fairly PR proofed.  So when one from Gresini this week has Fausto saying he was concerned about Alvaro’s level before the Argentinian race it stuck out like a sore thumb.  It is one Hell of a rare thing to read such a stinging criticism in a pre race release.  And he didn’t say he was worried about the team’s level of competitiveness either.  He singled out Bautista.  It was his level that had him worried.  And after another non score I dare not think what the actual quote was for the post race release before the PR guys got a handle on it.

Alvaro needs to finish in Jerez and finish well.  He can’t just have a ‘At least we got some points’ result.  Lorenzo’s had a shocking start and redeemed himself with a podium.  Iannone has had a career best finish this year, as had Smith.  Bradl has challenged for podiums and Dovi’s got on one. Bautista must be in the Top 5 this weekend or the shit could really hit the fan and he might find himself having to Go and have Fun somewhere else.  Sorry, that was a terrible pun.  I’m really quite tired.

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