2013 Valencia MotoGP Sunday Round Up - Great Racing, Great Champions, And Tough Passes

I knew it was going to be a big day at Valencia when I found myself taking two hours to get into the circuit on Sunday morning instead of twenty minutes. After years of relatively light traffic on the back roads, I took a wrong turning and found myself on the main motorway going from Valencia to Madrid, which was packed with cars and motorcycles heading to the circuit near Cheste. The sun was shining, two titles were to be decided between five Spaniards, and that had brought the fans out in force. I was stuck in the middle of them, reminding myself once again that the best way - the only way - to visit a motorcycle race is on a motorcycle. These were big, big crowds who had come to see a show.

And what a show they got. The Moto3 race took a while to come alight, but once it did it was explosive. The first casualty was Luis Salom, the championship leader falling shortly after the halfway mark. It was his second unforced error in consecutive races, surprising given that Salom is the oldest and most experienced of the three men in the running for the Moto3 title. That left Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales, and with four laps to go, the battle started hotting up in earnest. Viñales was pushing, getting past Rins only to run wide and let the Estrella Galicia rider back through. He looked wild, off line, barely in control, and liable to crash out at any time. But he didn't, he held on, diving past Rins in the final corner to take the lead and leaving him nowhere to go. At Saturday's qualifying press conference, Rins predicted the Moto3 title would be decided in the last corner. He was right, though he had probably hoped that it would be him deciding it in his favor.

Viñales was the first deserved winner of the day, and the first title to be settled. Despite having the fewest wins of the three title contenders, the Team Calvo rider held his nerve, profited from the mistakes of Salom and Rins, and when it counted, pushed home his advantage. Before Motegi, he had given up on winning the Moto3 title, he said after the race. But when Salom and Rins crashed out, he believed it was possible. He had complained about his bike all season, that it didn't have enough power and he couldn't keep up with his two main rivals. At Valencia, his team had given him the best bike of the year, and Viñales had repaid them with a win and a title. After Viñales tantrums at the end of 2012, when he refused to race and walked out of his then team, he had looked to be more trouble than he was worth. But team manager Pablo Nieto had decided he was worth a second chance. At Valencia, Nieto's faith was repaid with interest.

It was an excellent day for the Calvo Team all round. Teammate Ana Carrasco rode a brilliant race to finish 8th, becoming the first female rider to score a top ten finish in 18 years. Carrasco came close to finishing even higher, battling for 6th for much of the race, but she was beaten back into 8th at the end of the race by Alexis Masbou and Isaac Viñales, two young men who have been regular front runners this season. Carrasco may well be aboard a KTM, but unlike her teammate, she is riding the production version, lower spec and less powerful than the factory bike of her teammate Maverick Viñales.

It was both a good day and a bad day for female racers. Carrasco may have scored a top ten, but because her teammate won the championship, Maria Herrera will not now move up to the world championship. If Alex Rins had taken the Moto3 title, then Herrera would have taken the slot in the Estrella Galica team vacated when Rins moved up to Moto2. Now, Herrera will have to wait another season.

In the Moto2 class, Pol Espargaro managed to end his own dominance of the weekend by the simple expedient of crashing out from the lead. Espargaro's eagerness to celebrate the title he secured in Japan seduced him into pushing too hard, and paying the price. Taking Espargaro's spot on the top step was Nico Terol, a worthy winner now starting to reap the rewards of a successful diagnosis and treatment of lactose intolerance. Like Casey Stoner before him, it is a hidden disease, not visible, and poor results are easy to blame on other causes. But like electricity, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

As entertaining as they were, for most fans, the Moto3 and Moto2 races were just a sideshow. MotoGP was the real draw, and with so much at stake, both hopes and fears were high. A title on the line in the last race of the year meant that there were more riders with more to prove: Jorge Lorenzo wanted to find a way to beat Marc Marquez to the title; Dani Pedrosa wanted to make up for his failed titled bid, which stumbled through a combination of injury and being taken out by his Respol Honda teammate Marquez at Aragon; Marquez was torn between riding like the wild man of MotoGP that he is, and focusing on the title; Valentino Rossi was desperate to put the string of fourth places behind him; Cal Crutchlow was keen to give his team a podium to celebrate as a leaving gift. The race had every possibility of being a classic, but there was just as much chance of it turning into a snoozer, as Jorge Lorenzo had already told the press that his only hope lay in trying to get away at the front and win the race, and hope for something to happen further back.

A broken engine in qualifying put a premature end to that idea. Before the warm up on Sunday morning, Jorge Lorenzo was extremely worried, having lost his best engine during qualifying on Saturday. After qualifying, Lorenzo told the media they expected it to be fixed for Sunday, but that turned out to be a little white lie - one of a couple Lorenzo would tell over the weekend. Putting one of his older, slower engines in for warm up, Lorenzo found he was still capable of running a good pace. That gave him extra options, and he and his team hatched a plan.

It was a plan the fans would be grateful for. For it meant trying to hold up Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez and allow the riders behind him to get involved. 'Winning was not enough today, so we decided to try to keep the group together for the first ten lap,' Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg told me. To that end, Lorenzo lapped a second slower than he had during practice, making his M1 as wide as the IVECO truck which brought it to the circuit. 'If you open the throttle a little bit later than normal, the rest have to wait as well,' Zeelenberg said.

The risk was that while he was trying to hold everyone up, either Pedrosa or Marquez would get by. Lorenzo's racecraft saved him, for every time Pedrosa passed him in the first ten laps, Lorenzo struck right back, either straight away or within a couple of corners. It was an impressive show of controlling the race, and spectacular to watch, Lorenzo and Pedrosa swapping places almost every lap. But Pedrosa was wise to Lorenzo's tricks, and changed the places he attacked, in an attempt to prevent Lorenzo striking back. Where previously Pedrosa had been forced to leave the door open when he passed Lorenzo, by choosing a different place to attack, Pedrosa could close the door and holding the Yamaha man off. It did not help, Lorenzo using physical force to get by, a departure from his user ultra-clean riding style. In the end, he pushed Pedrosa wide at turn 2, and the Repsol Honda man dropped three places back to fifth, his challenge for the lead at an end.

'It wasn't pretty,' Wilco Zeelenberg admitted, 'but Dani wasn't really a player in this game, it was between Jorge and Marc, and Jorge was trying to keep the group together.' Even Lorenzo responded almost with shame at his actions. 'In normal circumstances I want to be clean and race without touching, to be more respectful,' he said after the race. 'I had to race against my normal mentality.' That attitude earned him a trip to Race Direction, where he was spoken to firmly and told in no uncertain terms that they now have their eye on him. Handing points out would do no good - the points slate is wiped clean at the end of each season - but Lorenzo's card has been marked. If he decides the only way he can race against Marquez is by being more physical, Lorenzo may find himself paying the price next year.

While Pedrosa was rather upset with Lorenzo's behavior, Marquez, had no problem with the move. 'We are here to fight. Racing is like that,' he said.

Lorenzo's bullying tactics had no effect. 'It was right on the limit, but I thought it was a great show,' Wilco Zeelenberg said. 'Then again, it's not easy to hold up the two guys who are capable of winning, especially not by a second a lap. Unfortunately, there was nobody who had the balls to try to pass Dani and Marc, something I think was possible.' When Lorenzo looked behind him, he could see that Rossi and Bautista were too far back to be able to mix it with Pedrosa and Marquez, and Lorenzo resigned himself to signing off with style, in the knowledge that the title was Marquez' for the taking.

And take it he did. Marquez had struggled to suppress his natural instinct to get stuck in and join the battle when he saw Lorenzo and Pedrosa engaging in combat. 'It was hard to keep calm, as something inside me kept telling me I should be fighting as well,' Marquez said. He resisted that temptation, however, and was rewarded in the end with is first world title, becoming the youngest world champion ever in the process, taking the crown from Freddie Spencer and equaling Kenny Roberts' record as the only rider to win a premier class title in his first season. It has been a record breaking year for Marquez, as this press release from Honda illustrates, issued earlier. 'I speak a lot with Freddie [Spencer] and Kenny [Roberts],' Marquez said. It was great to have two such legends sing his praise, Marquez said.

How had Marquez won it? He won the championship by taking risks and learning quickly. The first half of the season had been one massive learning process, but he had adapted much better in the second half of the year, Marquez said. He had capitalized on the mistakes of others, scoring points after the Sachsenring when Lorenzo and Pedrosa were still suffering with injury. He had also learned quickly, getting quickly up to speed with the electronics on a MotoGP bike, learning enough that by the second half of the season he was comfortable giving input to his team, something which had seemed impossible after the first few races. Marquez' strongest points, Jorge Lorenzo told reporters, were his talent and his ambition. The strength of his will had been decisive, and allowed him to fight all year and come out on top.

That battle reminded Jorge Lorenzo of Jerez, where he had left the door open for Marquez, and Marquez had taken advantage, taking 2nd instead of 3rd. That was a difference of 4 points - the difference between 20 points for 2nd, and 16 points for 3rd. Nothing that Marquez could change now, his mind now looking towards 2014.

Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow both felt that Marquez had deserved the title, though both also mentioned that the Yamaha was nowhere near the factory Hondas as a package. The difference between Rossi and Lorenzo was that Rossi was not able to ride the bike as he wants to. After yet another fourth place, Rossi said 'this is my potential now'. Until Yamaha can come up with a bike that is much more stable on the brakes, Rossi is set to languish in 4th, with little else he can do.

So now, we have three new world champions, Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales joining Pol Espargaro for both the pictures on the grid. It has been a long and astonishing season, in all three classes. With Marquez having a new season under his belt, the top Moto3 men moving up to Moto2, and some of the most talented of the B group in Moto3 moving on to extremely fast motorcycles, this could be quite a year.

I knew it was going to be a big day at Valencia when I found myself taking two hours to get into the circuit on Sunday morning instead of twenty minutes. After years of relatively light traffic on the back roads, I took a wrong turning and found myself on the main motorway going from Valencia to Madrid, which was packed with cars and motorcycles heading to the circuit near Cheste. The sun was shining, two titles were to be decided between five Spaniards, and that had brought the fans out in force. I was stuck in the middle of them, reminding myself once again that the best way - the only way - to visit a motorcycle race is on a motorcycle. These were big, big crowds who had come to see a show.And what a show they got. The Moto3 race took a while to come alight, but once it did it was explosive. The first casualty was Luis Salom, the championship leader falling shortly after the halfway mark. It was his second unforced error in consecutive races, surprising given that Salom is the oldest and most experienced of the three men in the running for the Moto3 title. That left Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales, and with four laps to go, the battle started hotting up in earnest. Viñales was pushing, getting past Rins only to run wide and let the Estrella Galicia rider back through. He looked wild, off line, barely in control, and liable to crash out at any time. But he didn't, he held on, diving past Rins in the final corner to take the lead and leaving him nowhere to go. At Saturday's qualifying press conference, Rins predicted the Moto3 title would be decided in the last corner. He was right, though he had probably hoped that it would be him deciding it in his favor.Viñales was the first deserved winner of the day, and the first title to be settled. Despite having the fewest wins of the three title contenders, the Team Calvo rider held his nerve, profited from the mistakes of Salom and Rins, and when it counted, pushed home his advantage. Before Motegi, he had given up on winning the Moto3 title, he said after the race. But when Salom and Rins crashed out, he believed it was possible. He had complained about his bike all season, that it didn't have enough power and he couldn't keep up with his two main rivals. At Valencia, his team had given him the best bike of the year, and Viñales had repaid them with a win and a title. After Viñales tantrums at the end of 2012, when he refused to race and walked out of his then team, he had looked to be more trouble than he was worth. But team manager Pablo Nieto had decided he was worth a second chance. At Valencia, Nieto's faith was repaid with interest.

Comments

Awesome talent

I thought Casey was the best I've ever seen. Now I'm not so sure.....
And good God he's only 20.

Total votes: 65

It would have been great to

It would have been great to have Stoner there to help keep everyone honest.

Awesome display of skill from the top 3. Fearless Marc is legit. All 3 seem to improve each race.

Great ending to the season. '13 already feels like a big tease for what's to come in '14. I'll bet a donut on Lorenzo :)

Total votes: 60

No need for Stoner

to be there to keep anyone honest.

The man who beat Stoner in 2012 was just beaten by the Motogp rookie.

Thats the honest result.

Total votes: 72

Stoner was injured for half of 2012

But he beat Jorge handily in 2011. Fully fit He was the quickest guy out there, which even Jorge has acknowledged. Marquez managed to beat Jorge by 4 points, but that may well have been different if not for Jorge's injury at Assen. It's been an amazing rookie year for Marquez but given how close Jorge was to taking the title I wouldn't be pencilling in 2014 for Marc just yet.

Total votes: 65

True he was injured. But

True he was injured. But injuries aren't random bad luck. They are usually caused by going as fast as possible and crashing

Any rider can ride without crashing by going slow. If you go 100% and crash, that is part of the playing field. Everything is a compromise.

I'll agree fully fit he was the fastest guy. But that is because he risks crashing.

Marquez has got off lucky a few times this year with crashing and not being too injured to effect his performances on race day

As Eddie Lawson used to rightly say "we'll see how fast they are AFTER their first big painful accident"

Lorenzo had a few big ones in 08 and adjusted and improved. Hopefully Marquez maintains his awesome fearless speed. The kid is amazing. Love watching him ride~!!

Total votes: 63

Stoner didn't actually crash that much though

In his two years at Honda he crashed the equal least along with Lorenzo in 2011, and had relatively few stacks in 2012 as well, he was just unlucky to have been bitten hard in one of them. That's racing. In 2011 it was Jorge that got bitten in one of his very few crashes at the Phillip Island round where his finger got ground off, though the title was pretty much over by then. The fastest guys are the fastest because they have amazing control, not because they throw caution to the wind. Then you have years like Marquez has had where he's chucked it down the road at most rounds but has walked away from all of them. Every time they stack it's a roll of the dice.

Total votes: 47

Although it's been a great

Although it's been a great season, I still have a tinge of sadness that we never got to witness a season with all of Marc, Jorge, Dani, Casey and Marco competing on factory equipment at the same time.

Would have been pure magic no matter who you support.

Total votes: 45

A great championship

You know it is a good season when 3rd place has 300 points. The three of them dominated the season. Well done to all three and especially to Marc. He will be even better next year but that will not make it any easier. 3rd different champion in 3 years shows it is not easy to defend.

They need to change the penalty points system to work on a calendar year. Jorge should be starting the year with at least one point for hitting Dani not once but 3 times. He could have still played his game without endangering another rider. That was worse than anything Marc did all year.

Total votes: 81

congrats to MM

Congrats to Marc Marquez on winning the title in his rookie season.

The last 3 races, and especially this race, have shown how great of a rider Jorge has become. It looked like Lorenzo was toying with Dani for the 1st ten laps of the race, passing Dani, almost seemly at will.

Lorenzo's race craft improved throughout the year, and he raised his game because of the constant threat from Marquez.
I think i've become a Lorenzo fan this year.

I'm already looking forward to next year!

Total votes: 81

Lorenzo

JL is an amazing rider. He fully deserves a Marc Marquez to challenge him, making JL a better racer. But I think it's Yamaha that needs to be challenged even more.

2013 was an awesome championship.

Total votes: 61

Marquez Lorenzo Rossi

Marquez is here to stay. Anyone saying it is just the bike, he got lucky, or playing down his skill, talent, and drive are just pure haters at this point. That man has had every trick in the book thrown at him and has still won in his rookie year.

Lorenzo, has not ever been my favorite rider. Thought his victory celebrations were the most fake false spoiled child asking for attention things I had seen in my life. But this year he has made me believe in the champion in him the way he has fought back against Marquez when it looked like the championship was done.

Rossi, have to admit the stuff with Jeremy Burgess rubbed me the wrong way. Watching Rossi get left in this last race made me, (A longtime and still Rossi Fan), realize that he is no longer the young adaptive rider he used to be. All I keep hearing is the bike, JB, or something else, never him is the issue. If he could get second at Misano on the Ducati, there is no reason for him not to win there this year. That Yamaha is a better bike all the way around compared to the Ducati. There is nothing he can say that will make me think otherwise. No results next year and I think he needs to step down from Motogp. Otherwise it will be like watching Muhamad Ali past his prime getting hit by Larry Holmes.

Next year ought to be a battle royal between Marquez and Lorenzo. Marquez getting better, and Lorenzo refusing to submit. Looking forward to it all.

Total votes: 72

Rookie rule

"That man has had every trick in the book thrown at him and has still won in his rookie year."
Except for the Ben Spies rule, I mean rookie rule.

Total votes: 63

Because we all know Spies

Because we all know Spies would have won the championship in his rookie year. I mean, look what he did when he finally got on the factory bike. I bet you're still mad at Dani too.

Total votes: 72

Misano was the exception

Misano was not a good example to base what he could or would do. Everything worked to Rossi's favour that weekend. Casey injured, Dani starting from back of grid then taken out, foul weather so no practice time for anyone except Rossi was there within 2 weeks of the race testing there.

A better example of where he is heading is to look at somewhere like Phillip Island since Vale started. He dominated there with 5 wins in a row. The last 4 years he has not got within 10 seconds of the winner. Dani has beaten him in the championship now the last four seasons. Has not finished within 10 seconds of the race winner since Laguna. The writing is on the wall and everywhere else but to Rossi.

Still the greatest "racer" I have ever seen.

Total votes: 62

Lorenzo slowed the pace by a

Lorenzo slowed the pace by a second a lap, and Rossi still couldn't get in the mix. Better book your tickets now folks, because 2014 will be the last year we see Rossi on MotoGP bike!

Total votes: 64

Hypocrite.

Lorenzo's blatant hypocrisy is galling.

If someone ruffles his feathers or bumps him, he calls them out as being dangerous, overly aggressive, etc. I remember he went on a diatribe in the past about clean passes for the safety of the sport. However he's allowed to ride hard and bump into other people b/c he deems it necessary. (Per his post race statement.)

His post race apologies for hard passes he put on people these last two years were hardly believable either.

Just incase anyone misinterprets. I'm down with hard passing. The hypocrisy of being against it and then doing it though is not befitting anyone whose ever been a Champion.

Total votes: 108

I'd have to agree. He is a

I'd have to agree. He is a hypocrite. It's terrible any time you do it to me and I will whinge in the press conferences and interviews but if I do it then it's ok because I had a reason. Hypocrisy at its finest.

It was interesting listening him squirm and trying to justify it in the post race press conference. The journalists asked and his reasoning was hilarious to listen to after hearing him go on and on about this very thing for years.

Total votes: 88

an hypocrite

He's an hypocrite, and that goes for so many riders/people. I like JL for his riding, not for what he stands or what he pretends to stand for in life.
Last time I checked my bookstore I didn't see any book written by JL in the Philosophy / Religious / Morals sections.

But yeah I understand that it could irritate people.

Total votes: 69

Agree

You also need to factor in one needs to play mind games, to get that wee bit of an edge, to win. He is a champion and knows what it feels losing a championship. This is a sport where one bad season and riders lose their contract/rides. This is the big league, the big boys playing for big stakes.

Total votes: 58

You must have missed Jorge's comments after Aragon

Jorge has clearly made a decision that he will no longer play nice, as race direction has proven to be toothless when it comes to reprimanding dirty or negligent riding. So under the current administration it's clearly better to give at least as much you receive or you're effectively handing the opponent an advantage. He might personally believe they should be more strict but they aren't so he has changed tactics. That's not hypocritical, it's smart.

Total votes: 96

He even "announced" that decision back at Sepang

I've read a few people accusing Jorge of hypocrisy over the physical racing thing. Has everyone forgotten his Sepang press conference?

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/race/motogp-race/lorenzo-vs-marquez/

Total votes: 72

And with the exception of

And with the exception of Scott Redding in Moto2, the top 3 in each class are... Spanish.

Total votes: 41

Reg JLo

I could not believe, that he just gave up his tactic-which was a perfect one, bc he could not loose but only win-and went for this meaningless victory.He could´ve been World-Champion instead!He should have played cat and mouse with Marquez until he/MM93 made an error that put him into the gravel....JLO served him the title on a platter where he had all the options:He was clearly faster(proven by his win) and he had the motivation(proven by his maneuver with Dani)...I could not believe it.

And regarding Rossi:Lets give him one more chance.If he has the M1 that suits his style like it did in the past, everything is possible still. He is not too old, as John McGuinness(41) is proving it year by year on the IOMTT. He/VR just needs a bit of luck, just like MM93 had this year, with JLo/Dani or MM sick for some races and a last race where the other guy gives up or goes down.

Total votes: 74

IoM TT is different

The IoM TT rewards experience, because it is:

a) So long

b) So dangerous

It takes many *years* to learn how to go fast at the TT. The TT punishes mistakes far more severely than a short-circuit. So the riders can't learn the limit the short-circuit way, by pushing till they crash, because they will be dead *long* before they get competitive. They have to learn it slowly, always staying well within the limit of *both* the track and their current experience/knowledge of it, and ratchet their pace up over years.

Which is why the fast riders at the TT can be older than in short-circuit racing.

Total votes: 72

JLo did his best

But it came to a point where when he looked back Rossi was dropping back despite Jorge playing funny buggers at the front, Bautista was clearly not going to get involved and Cal had already crashed. From then on his only hope was that he could goad Marquez into making a mistake by just riding away from him, as he nearly managed to do at Motegi.

For all the people claiming the Honda is so superior, this is yet another round where Jorge had more race pace than any of the Hondas. 8 race wins don't lie. Injury decided this title, not any deficiency on the part of Yamaha.

Total votes: 83

About the M1

Whether the Honda is superior to the Yamaha in sheer performance and handling, I can't really comment. But the Honda seems to be more efficient and durable.

Total votes: 54

Not sure what your saying

"Whether the Honda is superior to the Yamaha in sheer performance and handling, I can't really comment."

But then you go on to comment anyway.

Although I'm not sure what you mean when you say "efficient" and "durable", I could guess, but in the end its all about performance with respect to some criteria.

Total votes: 40

This isn't tiddly winks!! you

This isn't tiddly winks!! you have to appreciate the southern European attitude to winning to understand, during the contest ANYTHING goes, afterward you make you apologies (in other sports this includes spitting and hitting out at your opponent!)

JLo did as much as he could, he slowed it down for the first third of the race but after he had a few looks behind, he could see no one was able to get to MM and mix it so he took off.

Total votes: 59

Winning when it counts

After watching the entire moto3 season One couldn't help feeling a little disappointed with that outcome. The best rider won on the day and the rider who had played bridesmaid for most of the season won the championship too. Outclassed and outfoxed all year bar 3 races and world champion. Sigh.

Total votes: 55

With Marquez not getting

With Marquez not getting negative penalty points at Jerez for his last lap punt on Lorenzo, there is no way Lorenzo should have been penalized for his shove of Pedrosa. He was not being hypocritical, he stated ar Aragon(?) positive points should be awarded because rough riding is good for the show. A man is allowed to change his opinion based on external factors (race directions demonstrated leeway).

Total votes: 60

Your sarcasm detector must

Your sarcasm detector must have been off for that comment. He wasn't serious. It was his version of the "Are you not entertained" speech from Gladiator. He was saying that what GP fans wanted to see was crashing and riders flying through the air. It was insulting to anyone that watches GP. Then he goes out and does exactly that when it benefits him. I've had enough of Lorenzo and his sanctimonious little head shakes. I hope that Marquez stuffs him every chance he gets next year. 

Total votes: 69

Marco Simoncelli

I was cringing with JL bunching that pack up and riding so aggressively. Banging fairings and obviously hoping that someone would outbrake themselves and take Marquez out. Totally thoughtless, classless, selfish riding IMO

People get killed (58 RIP) racing MOTOGP in tight packs where there is nowhere to go when a rider falls

I lost soooo much respect for Lorenzo and Yamaha today

I was pretty neutral on who I pulled for while watching, but I just developed an anti Lorenzo policy. Racing and winning 'at all costs' is wrong. Be a sportman first or else all your accomplishments are tainted forever

Total votes: 81

but it's all forgiven if it's

but it's all forgiven if it's the last lap last corner, isn't it? or so i thought everyone, including other riders and race direction, wanted jorge to learn and accept that simple fact..now that he seems to have learnt it a bit and executes aggressive riding with occasional but much standard simple fairing bashings a bit in the races if he needs to be aggressive to win, now those same people cant digest it.

it's also amazing how people seem to not see clearly how that incident with dani was just pure racing incident..those two were inches close to each other all the time and it was very likely someone would nearly clip the other..and thats what happened at turn 2 in lap 10, unless one cant see clearly owing to the mist and bias in their eyes...it's also amazing how so many people have almost fully self-assuredly assumed he did it on purpose, even though he himself also ran wide...so yeah maybe he clipped dani from behind on purpose, because he also wanted himself to run wide and risk crashing out !!..great logic i guess.

am so glad he's giving back some aggression, and why not ? everyone wanted him to accept in racing rubbing is more than fine (including full-fledged bumping against a rider if it's the last lap), and kept on reminding him his 250GP days when he was also highly aggressive, and now he's accepted all that and skillfully giving it back when he really needs/wants to be aggressive..it's not like he endangered the other riders anymore than he endangered himself, is it ? if he doesnt do that, the others might as well just walk over him...after jerez he told people it seemed as though he should go back to his 250GP days whenever he really needed it, and now in the last few races he has indeed gone to his 250GP days when needed to do so...

the dude cant do right by for some people at all ever i guess.

but hey, if it's the last lap last corner, forget simple touches, one is legally allowed to even go sideways and bump against his rival, isn't it ?

i also wouldn't know what's selfish riding, as opposed to selfless riding ? i thought it's professional racing and it's every man for himself as long as one of them is not nearly killing someone else...when did anyone ever not ride a selfish ride, that too at such a high stakes affair ?

Total votes: 70

I never had (and still do not

I never had (and still do not have) any problem with riders riding aggressively and on the edge; I enjoy watching them take the bike to the limit, or beyond, and pulling it back in. What I don't like is Lorenzo's hypocrisy of condemning that kind of riding (Simoncelli, Marquez) then going out and doing that exact thing when it benefits him. If he'd never said a word about it, then it wouldn't bother me a bit. But he did say something about it. A lot.

Total votes: 60

Accolades to Marc and flawless George

Thoroughly gripping racing in M3 through MGP. I was surprised Luis Salom blew it. Then I was rooting for Rins. Anyway,another well deserved title. In this case for Vinales...well overdue.Understated Nico Terrol was sublime. Once Pol had bombed out,the writing was on the wall. GP. Those first 10 laps were spectacular. In all fairness George owned the place,yet title wise found himself needing an assist. From who? Dani and Marc were surely not going to help him and the the rest could not stay their pace. End of story. Lorenzo did what he had to do and Marc did what he had to. Congrats to both of them. The newly crowned and the deposed war veteran. One can only speculate as to 'what if' there was one more round to go. I guess George would have hacked the remaining 4 points out of Marc,such was his commitment in the closing couple of races. A lot of negativity has been thrown Lorenzo's way over the seasons but for me he is one of the greats of the modern era. What exactly was he supposed to do given Marc's safe haven and Dani's aggression which was well appreciated? They did what they had to given the moment. Kudo's to all three of them. Memorable without a doubt. Way better than 2006. Rough and ready but no crashes for the leading protaganists. Marc and pressure. Clearly not a weakness in his armoury on track. Surely he must have had a few butterflies off the start line,but once he had blotted Rossi into 4th on the opening lap it must have been game on for title in his head. Accomplished with aplomb young man.

Total votes: 50

...and it begins again...

I've got to say, having read a few comments on here, over at MCN, and generally on the internet/twitter etc, it appears that the panto is starting all over again.

The public have spoken.

Marc is the new hero, with near mythical levels of skill.

Jorge is the new bad guy no matter what he does.

...and we will all be subjected to another endless Rossi/Stoner type argument for the next handful of years. I honestly thought we might have gotten past that - apparently not. Awesome.

From where I was sitting yesterday, I witnessed Jorge pulling off what I consider one of the most impressive displays of racing that I have seen for years. For the first ten laps he was riding the first five bikes himself. I only wish we had the opportunity to see racing like that more often.

Marc, equally, impressed with a mature response that I didn't expect from him - I honestly thought he would rise to the bait and battle Jorge, but he kept his head together and brought it home.

Two great riders, and a great championship. Can't we just accept their differences and appreciate the variety it brings to our sport?

Total votes: 66

A comment for David

Re: This bit at the end of your write-up...

***
The difference between Rossi and Lorenzo was that Rossi was not able to ride the bike as he wants to. After yet another fourth place, Rossi said 'this is my potential now'. Until Yamaha can come up with a bike that is much more stable on the brakes, Rossi is set to languish in 4th, with little else he can do.
***

There's two things that struck me when I read this...

1. I don't feel that Jorge was able to ride the bike how he wanted to yesterday either. He was appearing to be braking much later than he usually would, in order to keep the rest behind, before opening the throttle slowly to back them in to him. I would argue the difference is that Lorenzo can extract what he wants from the bike - after watching his performance yesterday, I don't feel the Yamaha is quite the one-trick pony we are being led to believe.

2. The statement that it will remain this way for Rossi until Yamaha does something about the braking performance, and that there is little Rossi can do about it, I feel is placing the blame for Vale's performance at the feet of Yamaha. This might be partly the case, but it is only one factor in an infinitely complex equation. As an engineer I love to keep things simple, but I think this might be a little too over simplified ;-)

That aside, great write-up. As an infrequent commenter but long-time reader, I appreciate the quality of your work, and the great discussion of your readers, even if I don't always agree!

Enjoy the off-season, and looking forward to 2014.

Total votes: 59

end of an era

So there we are, the season finished, and what a season it was. It’s the first year, for me, where all three classes have been riveting and where the champions in each class richly deserved their rewards. But for me it also feels very much like the true end of the Rossi era. For the previous couple of years I deeply missed the excitement Rossi brought to racing; Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa, taken together, were all about who could ride the fastest and disappear into the sunset. It was impressive enough, but boring.
Sadly Rossi does look like he’s lost that tiny fraction of speed that he’d need to be at the pointy end. Watching him a couple of weeks ago, he got a fantastic start, should have been first into and out of the first corner, but as the overhead shot showed, he hit the brakes half a second earlier than everyone else and that was that. In days gone by he’d have made up 3 places on the first corner, not lost them.
Marquez is the breath of fresh air that MotoGP needs to get over Rossi’s passing. When you watch him you just know that anything could happen, absolutely nothing is predictable. My guess is that he is going to be the man to beat for a good few years.
And it’s the end of coverage by the beeb. Personally I was more than happy with their coverage, I found Parrish and Cox funny, entertaining, knowledgeable and above all utterly into it all, and I’ll miss them. More to the point, I have a feeling I may also miss MotoGP, as BT doesn’t think small villages are worthy of any investment and the online BT sports app is about as good as a red ducati. We’ll see – maybe the video package will do the trick.

Total votes: 40

Oi!

Easy on the insults.... I've got a red Ducati. It's awesome ;-)

(although mine was designed in the 1990's when negotiating corners was considered a fundamental design requirement for a motorcycle).

Total votes: 45

I thought it was great..

Yeah, ok, Jorge went 180° from his clean riding, don't touch anybody style, and his too often criticisms of hard riding... but, it was the last race of the year, all in. That IS an exception in my opinion. And I forgive Jorge for going against his norm to battle his way to a championship victory.

I thought it was fantastic, what an absolute warrior. I have never been a huge Jorge fan, like most, the post race celebrations just plain turned me off. But, to watch him take it to Marquez playing Marquez's game was freakin awesome. To watch a rider of that level switch his super-smooth style to an old school battle style was the best way to end the season I think.

He made one move that was bit over the line, but other than that, his riding was a master class school in how to control a race.

Total votes: 58

Masbou

"Carrasco came close to finishing even higher, battling for 6th for much of the race, but she was beaten back into 8th at the end of the race by Alexis Masbou and Isaac Viñales, two young men who have been regular front runners this season."

Yeah... but Masbou started from pit lane!

But definitely a great week-end for Ana!

Total votes: 51

im missing the typical "this was a snorefest" MotoGp

race and comments on how Dorna and the Spanish dominance
have ruined motorcycle grand prix. For sure this championship would habe been better without Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Espargaro, Rabat, Rins,
Salom, Viñales,...even without the lady finishing 8th in Moto3

Total votes: 49

My reasons for liking Marquez

Here are my reasons for liking Marquez and being ecstatic about his being world champion

1. As is usually the case, youngsters who are extremely talented, bring freshness with them. Marquez did just that with his unorthodox ways.

2. The infectious smile; that was everything for me. Also that behind that smile is an iron will which refused to get intimidated by anyone or anything.

3. For putting to rest the notion that MotoGP is not what it was without Stoner (whose talent I respect enormously but believe that he is a person difficult to like; having said that I also respect the idea that every person has a right to be who or what s/he is).

4. For demonstrating that charm and charisma need not be attached only to the kind of celebrations that Valentino Rossi had on being victorious and how all that made most people believe are the only ways of being charming and charismatic (I am not saying he did that but some how people started believing that MotoGP's salvation lay in being Rossi or in being like Rossi).

5. And a personal lesson for me that I don't have to dislike people just because they ride a Honda (my very own irrational dislike for Honda is such that I will support any one who rides another brand, yeah and that includes one Jorge Lorenzo who I otherwise would be quite happy to dislike. And maybe my not liking Honda has something to do with my being a contrarian).

Total votes: 34

Re point number 3

Just imagine he was still there though, racing Marquez and Jorge. Sweet Jesus that would be awesome to watch. I live in hope we'll still see it.

Total votes: 43

Like Rossi said, its the rider that makes the difference

"Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow both felt that Marquez had deserved the title, though both also mentioned that the Yamaha was nowhere near the factory Hondas as a package."

This does not hold any significance, in my opinion. Rossi and Crutchlow haven't rode the Honda so would not know how much better/worse/different the Honda is to the Yamaha; just like us watching can't really comment on which bike is better, we can have our observations and theories but in the end we cant know for sure.

Rossi says he cant ride the Yamaha how he likes, same as he couldn't on the Ducati, perhaps also he might not be able to ride how he likes on the Honda. This is not unique to Rossi. The best riders (at the time) adapt to the bike they have and make the most out of its strengths. Lorenzo shows the Yamaha has strengths that when used can win races, the others must therefore ride in ways to also make the most of its strengths. Its all good asking for a better/different bike, but it in the meanwhile you have to make the most of what you have, which may mean riding not how you are use to but how the bike needs to be ridden to make the most of its particular strengths.

Lorenzo won 8 races this year. In 2012 he won 6 races and still won the championship. What cost him the championship this year was not the bike but rather his consistency and the improved consistency of his competition. All credit to Marquez for winning the championship, I for one thought Lorenzo would win for sure, but he put up a strong challenge, 4 points is not much at all!

I must admit, was very sad to see Stoner go, he was exciting to watch, and was worried this year may be a little bit less exciting. But Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez all raced hard all year and it was a really exciting year with plenty of good races. Looking forward to 2014! Thanks David for all your reports and articles, makes for great breakfast reading :) and finding out about all that is going on in the world of MotoGP!

Total votes: 48

Funny old bone Backmarker61

What endeared me to Lorenzo was his post race Misano antics back in 250. Clear intent was displayed in Rossi's back yard when he won and donned that 'Gladiator' outfit. Notice served to Yamaha prior to his joining. I always looked upon his post race celebrations once he joined factory M1 as tongue in cheek stuff to piss on Vale's parades past. Phycological warfare waged against a then formidable and all conquering force. He got it right in the end. Since he took the title in 2010,he has been an exemplary and gracious victor and loser. Sort of settled into the mode of his great friends and allies,namely Kenny Roberts and Wayne Rainey. Dare I call him the next Eddie Lawson. Yamaha better sign him quick for 2015/16. Meanwhile, Marc has certainly done a superb job of filling Casey's quicksilver boots. His understated demeanor given his youth is absolutely endearing.

Total votes: 51

I'm with ya...

Not sure if you're knocking on me or not... but, I am mostly in agreement with you Pit Bull my friend. I agree the celebrations were Jorge's way of playing Rossi's games, but Jorge pretending he was walking on the moon at the top of the corkscrew in some kind of weird silver 1950's sci-fi space suit.... eesh. That was rough.

Regardless of all that though. I (and I think most people who felt like me) have moved far beyond that after watching Jorge this season. He may not have won the whole thing, but the way he was riding was unreal. Smooth when he wants, aggressive when he wants, pulls a gap when he wants.... pretty effin impressive.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call him the next Eddie Lawson. Jorge is going to go down as one of the greats (regardless of weird space suits).

Total votes: 43

Ducati and Andy_748

A little off topic and given Ducati's dismal season, as a Ducatista through and through let's hope Gigi and Co. turn the corner for them prior to Sepang 2..The game needs it. And yes, my bunch range from '73 750 through '96 900SL and I'm too old and slow to take decent care and wring the neck of the superb 748R anymore. Enjoy yours.

Total votes: 44

Here's to that

Whilst we all like to have a laugh at Ducati's expense every now and then, (and, let's be honest - sometimes they make it very easy) I so badly want to see them running well again.

I admire the Japanese bikes immensely, but they leave me feeling a little cold.

Technically speaking, I've also always admired the way Ducati have been a little different over the recent years, and I was disappointed when they moved away from the stressed air-box design, if only for the loss of a novel idea. Whether or not it could have been refined enough, you can't deny that Preziosi came to the party with something that nobody else was doing, and they put it within a second of the best bike in the world at that time (developed through evolution over many seasons). For me that is an impressive, even if ultimately fruitless, endeavour.

I really hope Gigi can strike that balance of building something ruthlessly efficient, yet still beautifully engaging, even from a distance - the calling card of a great Italian bike.

I particularly like the 900SL, I've always viewed it as a "real Ducati" for the road and would happily have one parked at home. I originally bought the 748 as a track bike, realised it was way too pretty to crash, and bought a Gixxer that I have absolutely no emotional attachment to at all!

Total votes: 56

Backmarker61

Definitely not knocking you. Lorenzo was and is massive. I have not seen the like for many,many seasons. Kudo's to Marc for keeping it sensible, but you just knew that if he attempted to take it to the Spanish Bull,Gladiator or whatever, he would have come unstuck. Lorenzo is equally bloody minded in the moment of taking an attitude of "stuff the consequences' when the title is on line. Marc was a very wise young head at Ricardo Tormo 2013. Itchy and touchy one to boot. Casey and George were pretty tight over the lengths of their tenures at the helm. In a nutshell. Both inwardly were aware of the dangers each had in their armoury come race day and kit be damned. I thoroughly enjoyed the mutual respect between the pair of them podium after podium,battle after battle.

Total votes: 47

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