2014 Sachsenring Sunday MotoGP Round Up - Marquez' Perfect Record, Dangerous Starts, And A Spaniard-Free Zone

The former England soccer player Gary Lineker once described the sport as follows: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." It feels somehow fitting to paraphrase that quote on the day that the Germans play in the World Cup final. Motorcycle racing is a simple sport, where 23 people ride a MotoGP bike as fast as they can, and Marc Marquez always wins.

He found yet another way to win at the Sachsenring. A heavy rain shower between the Moto2 race and the sighting lap for MotoGP left the grid in disarray, with about three quarters of the field heading in to swap from their wet to their dry bikes at the end of the warm up lap. That left fourteen riders to start from pit lane, five abreast, after jostling for position. At that point, the race should have been red flagged – more on that later – but instead, they all got out of pit lane safely. Just.

Marquez showed himself to be a master of improvisation, pitting quickly, swapping bikes and elbowing his way to the front of the pits. He took advantage of the chaos, exited pit lane first, and led the charge towards the shellshocked remainder of the pack who had started from the grid proper. He was 8.5 seconds behind the leader Stefan Bradl by the end of the first sector, a deficit which he had cut to 7.7 seconds by the end of the first lap. Before the sixth lap was completed, he had caught and passed the LCR Honda man, going on to win his ninth straight MotoGP race with relative ease. He faced an early challenge from his teammate Dani Pedrosa, but Marquez was more aggressive in getting past Bradl, where Pedrosa hesitated for a second. Pedrosa pushed hard once past, nearly caught Marquez, but faded towards the end.

His strategy, Marquez said afterwards, was to copy what Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi did, as they are his nearest rivals in the title chase. Pedrosa and Rossi went to the grid with wet tires, so Marquez went to the grid with wet tires. Pedrosa and Rossi both came in at the end of the warm up lap to change bikes, so Marquez came in to change bikes. In the past, Marquez' strategy has been more offensive, to do what no one else dares to do. That has paid off with victory. In Germany, Marquez did the opposite, and that was successful as well.

Marc Marquez retains his 100% record this year, winning every race so far. He becomes the first rider since Giacomo Agostini in 1971 to win the first nine races of the year, and the first rider since Mick Doohan in 1997 to win nine races in a row. With Indianapolis up next, he looks like equaling Doohan's record of ten in a row. Two supposed Yamaha tracks follow, Brno and Silverstone, but given the ease with which Marquez won at Mugello, Barcelona and Assen, the other so-called Yamaha tracks, he has to start favorite there. If he wins those as well, he would match first John Surtees, then Mike Hailwood. The next goal would be Giacomo Agostini's all-time record of twenty straight victories, which the legendary Italian recorded over the 1968 and 1969 seasons. That seems like an impossible goal, but the way in which Marquez has dominated the season so far makes the impossible look eminently feasible. It is tempting to start idle speculation over whether he could manage to win enough to match his race number. Winning 93 in a row would only take a little over five seasons, after all …

Marc Marquez' win wasn't the only thing that went entirely as expected. The top four finishers were the top four riders in the world, on the four best bikes, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi filling the three slots behind the winner Marquez. But the three veterans of the class looked and sounded resigned to their position behind Marquez, bludgeoned into submission by the brilliance of the world champion. Rossi, Lorenzo, Pedrosa can all claim to have moved the bar in MotoGP, but they have been left behind by the newcomer.

Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo were happy with their pace, Pedrosa ruing his lack of aggression with Bradl. He said afterwards he felt he lost half a second there, and then matched Marquez for most of the rest of the race. He sat on Marquez' tail, but could not close the gap, dropping away at the end. Pedrosa also lost out in the start from pit lane, forced to begin from the second row of riders after qualifying on the front row for the race. It gave him a little more work to do to come through the field, but the backmarkers also allowed him to quickly catch and stay with Marquez as he charged forward.

Lorenzo, too, suffered at the start. Cold tires, and worse, cold carbon brakes meant he found he had no brakes as he exited pit lane. He swerved out from between the lines marking pit lane exit and onto the track as he knew he needed some space to get his brakes up to temperature, the carbon not working until it is warm. That meant he then had to give back a couple of places, after gaining them with his illegal maneuver. He held up his hand, let a couple of riders past, and then rejoined the fray.

After the start, though, Lorenzo rode a very strong race, despite not having the pace of the Hondas. It was exactly the boost he needed, after what he himself had described as the worst race of his career at Assen. He was able focus, and his physical fitness – always a key element for Lorenzo – meant he felt comfortable on the bike. It gave him confidence going into the second half of the season, though Lorenzo also pointed to the deficit which the Yamaha has to the Hondas. Yamahas engineers were working hard, but he still needed a little bit of assistance.

Most disappointed of the front foursome was Valentino Rossi. The Italian had been hoping for much, much more at the Sachsenring, but he never really had the pace of the other three. After qualifying, he had been confident of more, but Rossi slowly dropped off the back of his teammate, finishing the race 19 seconds behind Marquez, and 9 seconds behind Lorenzo.

Most disappointed of all was Stefan Bradl. The LCR Honda rider had taken a brilliant gamble to stay on the grid after the sighting lap while his mechanics swapped his bike around from a wet setting to a dry setting. The team came very close to pulling it all off, but a wayward spacer ruined their plans. Bradl's crew chief, 'Beefy' Bourguignon told the German publication Speedweek that they had planned to swap front fork springs, rear shock, and front brakes around for the start of the race. Normally, they would need 5:15 minutes to do all the work on the grid. But as the mechanics removed Bradl's rear shock, they dropped a spacer, losing precious time in recovering it. That left them with too little time to swap front fork springs, and with the softer of the front tires. The soft front forks meant that Bradl couldn't brake as hard as he needed to, with a dramatic effect on his lap times. He was quickly lapping in the 1'24 bracket, which gave him an advantage, but the riders behind were quickly up to speed. Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi were soon lapping in the 1'22s, and caught and dropped Bradl in no time.

The gamble which Bradl and his crew had taken was on building enough of a lead on the opening lap to give him a cushion to manage. If the team had managed to swap the front fork springs, he might even have pulled it off, though even then it would have been a push. With a soft and springy front end, Bradl stood no chance. It was a brave gamble, but one he lost. It was also a gamble which could be costly come contract time, as the German is in need of a result to strengthen his position.

That is a problem with which Bradley Smith is all too familiar. The Tech 3 rider capped off a crash-ridden weekend with another crash in the race. He picked the bike up to continue, but finished nineteenth, well out of the points. Smith goes into the summer break concerned for his future.

Andrea Iannone heads to the break full of confidence. The Italian put in yet another strong result to finish as the best Ducati, and ahead of the two factory bikes of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. With Ducati set to announce their plans for 2015 in the next week or so, Iannone is almost certain to end up in the factory Ducati squad. The only question is, who will he replace? The smart money is on Cal Crutchlow making the jump to Suzuki, though that looks like being a leap out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Scott Redding, too, had an excellent race at the Sachsenring. The Englishman ended as the first of the production Hondas, beating Hiroshi Aoyama by over eight seconds. He also held his teammate on the factory RC213V at bay for a very long time, as well as battling with the Ducatis. In the end, he was overwhelmed with sheer horsepower. If the updates rumored for Motegi come, Redding should be a very great deal closer to the sharp end.

The biggest talking point of the race was the start, however. Once again, a gap in the rules created a dangerous situation at the start. The rules allow riders to come in and swap bikes at the end of the warm up lap, the penalty for doing so being to start from pit lane once the rest of the field has passed. What the rule makers did not foresee was the situation at Sachsenring, where fourteen of the twenty three riders all came in and had to start from pit lane.

The riders lined up five abreast across a track three meters wide, with concrete walls on either side. The start went extraordinarily well, a testament to the reflexes of the best riders in the world, but it was incredibly dangerous. Both Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow said they came very close to crashing at the start. Jorge Lorenzo suffered a problem with his brakes not being up to temperature, and basically not being able to brake. Andrea Dovizioso nearly caused problems for the riders behind him, as he could not get his Ducati out of pit lane mode (he had to change into second gear to do that), and was limited to 60 km/h off the line. Though the start was exciting, we were lucky that nobody crashed and caused serious injury.

It was a surprise that Race Direction did not intervene. They have the power to make ad hoc calls for the sake of safety since the tire debacle at Phillip Island last year, and they would have been well-advised to make use of those powers. Seeing so many riders lining up to start from pit lane should have been cause to call off the start, and create a new procedure. Cut the race by one lap, and rearrange the grid to have all of the riders who stayed out on the grid at the front, with the riders who came in starting from the back of the grid, if necessary, only being allowed to start once the original starters had passed pit lane exit. It may have delayed the start by another five minutes or so, but it would have been a good deal safer.

Afterwards, many riders complained of the danger of the situation, and said they would bring the matter up the next time the Safety Commission convened. It is likely that it will not be necessary, as there is every chance that a new set of rules to deal with just this situation is being drawn up as we speak.

If the MotoGP race was eventful, and with a predictable winner and an all-Spanish podium, the two support races provided much more interest. Moto3 provided the race of the day, as ever, though this time it was not the multi-rider slugfest which previous races have generated. Jack Miller took a firm grasp of the championship again, leading the race from start to finish, though his victory was uncertain all the way to the line. Miller was harassed first by Alex Marquez, then later by Brad Binder, the South African coming close to beating the Australian on the last lap. Binder rode a superb race, matching master braker Miller throughout the race. If Miller is a demon on the brakes, Binder has trained under the same djinn, forcing Miller to do all he could to hold him off. Binder's podium – the first South African podium since 1985 – put Mahindra on the podium for the second week running, and with Alexis Masbou taking third, it meant there was no Spaniard on the podium in Moto3.

Alex Marquez came close, but could not get past Masbou, the Estrella Galicia rider still doing well in the championship. Danny Kent rode a solid race in fifth, just reward after a tough first half of the season. Miller's title rivals failed, though. Romano Fenati crashed out while chasing through the field after a phenomenal start from way down the grid. Alex Rins, on the other hand,was knocked off his bike by Eric Granado on the first lap.

Moto2 also saw a podium free of Spanish riders, with a brilliant ride by Dominique Aegerter to take his maiden victory. All race long, he and Mika Kallio battled for the lead, with Kallio holding the upper hand for most of the race. In the penultimate corner, Aegerter slipped through under Kallio, demoting the Finnish rider to second, and robbing him of vital points. Kallio had to settle for second, while Simone Corsi took third. Tito Rabat hung on to fourth spot, limiting the damage in the title chase.

The last time there was no Spanish rider on the podium in either Moto2 nor Moto3 was in Malaysia in 2012. That was in a soaking Moto2 race, so for both the support classes to have been run in the dry shows promise for an end to the utter domination of the Spanish in Grand Prix racing. There is a strong mix of nationalities in Moto3, and while most of the best riders in Moto2 are Spanish, they are joined by a mixed bag including Kallio, Aegerter, Jonas Folger and Thomas Luthi. The Spanish stranglehold only really remains in MotoGP, but even that will come under threat once the current crop of Moto3 riders reaches the premier class.

It is they – and French youngster Fabio Quartararo, currently destroying the field in the Spanish Moto3 championship – who will challenge the hegemony of Marc Marquez. For now, Marquez reigns supreme, and now has a 77 point advantage over his teammate Dani Pedrosa in second place. Marquez could wrap the title up as soon as Aragon, though it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he manages it even earlier than that. The title race is effectively over in MotoGP. The only mystery is how Marc Marquez will manage to win the rest of the races this year.

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Much like Rossi's years on the dominant 211v; Marquez has half a second on everyone.
Yes the championship is over for 2014. I wonder just how many races he'll win. 14, 16, all?

Dani had almost the same pace but He was never close enough to attempt a pass. Marquez is a phenomenon, but The new Bridgestones mean his only real competition is Pedrosa, and there is a reason Dani doesn't have any top class titles beyond just luck. The guys who could potentially give Marc a proper stouch are stuck on the wrong bikes at the moment.

Who are these riders that are better than Dani....???? That's a bold statement about someone who has 90+ podiums

So, have we all silently resigned to the thought the no one in the current MotoGP field will be able to win a championship over Marquez based on merit? There's still a good couple of years before the Moto3 talent reaches the premier class and even that does not guarantee competition.

I don't pedrosa was ever all that close tbh. Aside from a couple laps where pedrosa used marquez as a reference point on the damp, still drying track, I think marquez had more hidden pace that he didn't show. After marquez messed up a corner and lost about a second of his lead, he immediately stamped out 3 consecutive 22 flats that brought the gap back to 2.0 seconds. he seemed to have 2 or 3 tenths a lap over dani whenever he needed it.

It's marc's world and we're all just living in it. Honestly, I don't see him losing a single quali/race session for the rest of this season barring weather circumstances or crashes. The combination of his (still developing!) talent and that honda bike is just too much to overcome.

followed by boredom...

They should make them start with the tyre selected on the grid and they can only be changed at the end of the first lap.

At the very least they should be made to line up, line-astern and the position be maintained until the pit lane ends.

A boring race IMO.

I agree with David that the start was a debacle, surprised there wasn't a pile-up.

Yes there is a top 4 for sure, but it's certainly one plus three. No matter what the circumstances, MM wins, he is on truly dominant form and my hat is off to any of the other three who can take a win this year. It seems the only way he won't win is a DNF, and he has matured noticeably, so that doesn't look as likely as before. It will take a few more years for him to be considered with Hailwood, Ago, Doohan and Rossi, but he has the form, he is just brilliant.

Rossi seemed not to be his usual sure-footed self, Lorenzo virtually breezed past and was much more comfortable with the initially treacherous conditions. He will need to improve to get the consolation 2nd prize this year, as Pedro is looking good recently.

Feel sorry for Bradl, the brave decision should have paid off.

But I agree with kenstate, once it had settled down there was no racing at the front, although the Dovi / Cal skirmish looked good.

Really good Moto2 and Moto 3 races though.

Well done Jack for a strong race, Moto3 is a pressure cooker and it takes a lot to pull off a flag to flag win. Looking good for the second half of the season.

Chaotic race only to end up with the same outcome for the top guys as usual.

Pedrosa has got to be disappointed that he couldn't beat Marquez here. It was a head to head fight, the same as two years ago when he triumphed against Stoner, but Marquez just had a bit too much for him.

Biggest disappointment had to be Bradl who had the pace to fight for a legit podium in the dry, but much like Rossi at Assen, the weather scuttled his chances. Had to be heartbreaking, particularly when there is so much pressure during contract talks.

Rossi had to be disappointed to have been beaten so soundly by Lorenzo this round...

Most impressive ride IMO was Iannone. Crazy Joe has shown flashes of brilliant single lap pace and has put in some spirited races on a bike with which Crutchlow is struggling to beat the production Hondas. Iannone is quietly earning much respect, while Crutchlow is simply not in a good place at the moment....at least he was able to fight with Dovi this time.

Watching the top riders quickly cut through the field to regain front positions was egregious evidence of just how disparate the riders and bikes are. I thought it was embarrassing at how easily the top four got back to the front. Yes, perhaps they are the most talented and perhaps most able to exploit what they have, but it is ridiculous for such a large group with a massive deficit to get back to the front so quickly. It made me yearn for the exciting spectacle of the two-stroke era and the early days of MotoGP. Sure, the same few riders would always be in contention for a podium, but others had a chance, too. Nowadays, it seems that fourth place is the same as a podium for everyone else.

I wait for 2016 and tighter regulations to create a more evenly distributed field. For now, Moto3 provides be the best racing.

I agree that the start of the race was a little bit insane. As I watched more than half the grid line up in pit lane I thought surely a disaster was about to take place, but no, the riders were sent off like this was a pick up race amongst friends in a back alley somewhere and amazingly they all got through it fine. Thanks David for pointing out that race direction could actually have done something to stop that crazy pit lane exit - I was wondering if anything could have been done.

What came of that start was interesting to me though. It almost seemed as though the qualifying sessions were pointless (except that they're fun for us to watch). Just let the riders rush the track all at once and start racing and you'll end up with two factory honda's followed by two yamaha's crossing the finish line in that order, exactly as we all would have predicted.

we are watching a young genius,

don't blame him,or Honda,

blame ALL the others,riders and manufactures for not providing better equipment,

we should be honoured we are here at the start of a glittering career ,

Yes indeed - the other manufacturers should be blamed for not profligately tossing away the many extra $ millions that Honda pumps into their MotoGP program. Perhaps you have some ideas how they can be shamed into bankrupting themselves so we can be better entertained.

MM surely looks te be a phenomenon, his timing is impeccable to be at the right team at the right time,,, but to blame other manufacturers for not providing better equipment is a bit harsh,,, some teams tried to buy in on the honda dominancy but were only tricked out of their cashflow,,, i thought the start of the race was the most exciting in motogp i ever saw and yet the riders can only complain how dangerous it was (maybe they should start racing 20hp mopeds instead?) even though they chose the option to come in themselves,,, then as the race progressed it was pretty sad to see the difference between the factory bikes and the rest (ahum ducati) even on a track with a relatively short straight,,, just goes to show that even though MM is a consistent beast it is not really that hard when his peers are on bikes that do not even have the possibility to come close,,, the others are just getting of age IMO but with the changes to come i can see why they get their contracts resigned...... Love to see Jack Miller on best bike in Motogp

I think it might have been Jack Brabham that said, "in motorracing you go as slow as you can but keep everyone else behind you" That very nearly seems to be MM92`s motto, if someone gets close, just speed up a little to scare them off. He wins all the races no matter what the obstacles thrown up by the weather or anything else, i wonder what the situation will be when finally he is beaten to the flag. I wait in anticipation and wonderment. To those that find the races "boring" i find them facinating, to watch the most recent Hero`s totally powerless in his wake. Is he the latest GOAT i don`t know but its starting to look very possible.

David, as my recent comments (and some others) have suggested, I'm of the view that Honda has a made a significant leap in their bike development. Media-wise, creating the next hero as Rossi winds down is important (Lorenzo doesn't have that compelling personality, even if he has all the speed) - but motor racing has always been for the most part about the bike / car / whatever, even if a brilliant driver illuminates the machinery in a unique and special way. Senna didn't win a championship until he got into a McLaren...and Damon Hill beat Schumacher (and Hayden beat Rossi one year!). I don't intend to take anything away from Marquez by the remark; a lesser rider, I suspect, would not have won every race! Nevertheless, the factory Hondas are obviously way ahead.

The specifics of that leap, though, are unclear - or it could be a bunch of small things coming together (best engine / transmission, really well-tuned electronics / sensor feedback package, small chassis tricks etc.). Has there been any discussion about what some of those substantive advantages are? We know the transmission is better and we've heard of the famous torductor - which probably has implications that run through the drivetrain and possibly suspension. Are they running a mass-damper? Odd-ball bore / stroke on the engine?

Anyway, I think we'd be quite interested in reading about this generally. Or - maybe - Pedrosa is suddenly the 2nd and not the 4th best rider in the world, and it's all Marquez, while Rossi and Lorenzo embarrass themselves on the superior Yamaha...

I do not believe for a moment the "factory Honda's are obviously way ahead". The Honda with Marquez particularly is a great match but until the changes to fuel allowance the Yamaha matched Lorenzo rather well too. Honda may be a gnat's breath ahead of Yamaha but I'd bet it is not much. On a dry track, with a confident, top rider, the lap times between Honda and Yamaha are very close. Marquez is making the difference beyond that.

You seem to suggest- cgates66 -that proof of the Honda being 'way ahead' is because Dani Pedrosa came second beating Rossi and Lorenzo. However, Pedrosa has won many times and scored podiums many more ahead of Rossi and Lorenzo (and many others, of course).

Part of the myth of Honda superiority I believe comes from the different factory/company philosophies. Honda are all about being the best. They hate being shown up (seriously people lose jobs!) and sell themselves hard. Yamaha alternatively, culture the sense they are battling with cleverness rather than cash. Both companies' riders seem to buy into this too.

Maybe, if Bridgestone builds a tire that better suits the Yamaha in 2015, Lorenzo could beat Marquez by staying with Yamaha. But, given Marquez's Rossi-like (in Rossi's prime, anyway) ability to ride at whatever pace is needed to win (best post-race quote ever: "I go very, very fast, and this makes it possible for me to win"--Rossi after some race he won in 2001), staying with Yamaha might not be Lorenzo's best option.

Given that everything's a crapshoot starting in 2016, perhaps the most interesting thing for Lorenzo to do next year is ride the Suzuki. If he does well--and "well" would have a rather modified definition--he's a hero. If he does poorly, everybody'll understand--it's a brand new bike, blahblahblah. But beyond that, it might even be the most fun option for him. And for us.

I'm kinda hoping he shocks the world.

I call Bravo Sierra on this fork spring mumbo jumbo. Was he not riding the same bike/settings that he used to qualify on front row ? I know it must be embarrassing to lose an 8 second gap and then sink like a stone at your home gp, but who goes out on slicks on the "wet setting" ? Crew chief should be gone.

Bradl did the sighting lap on a bike with a fully wet set up - rain tires, soft suspension, soft engine mapping. His dry set up bike was in the pits, waiting for him. After the sighting lap, and as the rain eased off, the team felt that the race would be dry. Bradl has two choices: do the warm up lap on wets and come into the pits at the end of the warm up lap to swap bikes (i.e. do what the rest of the field did), or try to swap the bike over to the dry set up on the grid. They had 5:50 minutes, and Bourguignon reckoned he needed 5:15 minutes to do that. Unfortunately, they dropped a spacer, and messing about with that lost them too much time. If they hadn't, Bradl would have been a hero. It was a brave and smart gamble, unfortunately it didn't pay off.

So to answer your question, no, he wasn't riding the same bike and set up as he used during qualifying. None of them were.

Great day for Germany. It was quite a marathon Sunday as a couch potatoe, all the way through M3, M2, MGP, Rio World Cup and SBK Laguna heats 1 and 2.
My pick of the day across all events was M3 as it usually is.
I enjoyed the Lineker referall. MGP is now not disimilar....they all do this and that for a number of laps and Marquez wins. Long may it continue, he's earned it. I do not find it boring in the least. The TV coverage was really good. Swapping between the Ducati wars and woes.
The bummer for Bradl was no doubt a rare technical efficacy glitch as you correctly pointed out David. However, the old adage remains. If your rivals opt for scenario 2, go thee and do likewise. I never did hear of any gambler beating the odds on the table consistently. At least when you follow the rest like a sheep you enter the contest on level ground. Poor old Stefan. He got gobbled up like Germany gobbled Brazil and it was not his fault, but HRC are probably done with his contribution in spite of LCR protestations.
Well, that leaves whats left of silly season.
More importantly, 2016. When do we expect to see Michelin testing tyres with Ducati in Mugello...'and the first ones now will later be last-for the tyres they are a-changing'... Thanks Sprocket

This was the sort of race I feared we’d have all season a couple of months back. Hopefully there won’t be too many like this. What was most disappointing (apart from VR being trounced by JL) was that none of the following 3 were in any position to challenge the next up the road, especially after such a weird start. Makes you think though, about the point of qualifying sessions. I’m back to thinking MM is virtually unbeatable on the track.

David, I have just today heard SO much 'news' from folks about rider signings...any confirmation of the following?

A. Espargaro 2yr deal inked w Ducati for a factory seat (and turned down Suzuki AND LCR Honda!)

Iannone to the other Ducati factoty seat

Maverick Vinales signed to Suzuki Motogp

Dovisioso in process of finalizing w Suzuki

Jonas Folger, of all people, ironing out details for Smith's Tech 3 ride

Beautista signing w Aspar to take over Aoyama's Prod Honda

Dying for confirmation. A.Espargaro, you are going to regret passing over Bradl's bike my friend!

Crutchlow is going green and taking up riding pushbikes.

Bradley Smith is taking over Loi's seat at MarcVDS in Moto3 with a move to MGP alongside Miller in 2016

Hayden is becoming VP of Slide at CE's ranch.

Jonathan Rea moves from WSB to LCR in Bradl's old seat.

Suzuki are running 4 satellite bikes with 2 seats held open each year for winners of the Euro and Malaysian Lotteries (their new sponsors).

For 2015 Jack Miller and Wilairot will occupy the other 2 seats.

Eugene Laverty has been seen in Monaco tobacconists shops - thought to be buying-up lottery tickets.

For the full story see this weeks MotoCynicalNews.

Motomann, my favorite of yours is Rea to LCR - don't you think that would be a solid combo?!

There was a whirlwind of 'statements of news' at our local Ducati dealership where a good pile of us watch races Tues eve following the wknd.

They said Crutchlow AND Dovi to Suzuki, then were corrected by someone else noting Vinales signed and Dovi signing.

The music will stop soon, and Crutchlow sits on what seat?

RE the race, if ever there was a recipe for the Open bikes and Ducatis to get near the pointy end that was a good one. The super-soft slick was a gem of a tire. Horsepower deficits minimized on that little (and super fun looking btw) 600 track. A.Espargaro rode a great race to finish where he did.

I am surprised that there is not more consideration here and elsewhere about what specifically is (or rather isn't?) going on w the Open Yamaha motor this season. The Open Honda top end issue is clear as a bell, but last yr's Tech 3 motor w more fuel, tuned to last fewer races since they are allowed more motors, and look at the power deficit. Can this be explained exclusively by the Championship electronics package? Seems to me that on the straights the impact of that specifically would not account for it. A.Espargaro is getting good drive on exits traditionally.

... but I truly hope someone puts a stop to the Marquez-magic carpet ride, things are getting a bit bland. Especially now that Marc appears to be bathing in good luck to go along with his incredible skill. Bradl's team mistake and Marquez avoiding injury, despite body slamming himself cap off Germany. Roll-on Indy (which shouldn't even be on the calendar).