2016 Jerez Sunday Post-Race Round Up: Of Genius Young and Old, and Tire Trouble

Jerez is an important punctuation mark in almost every Grand Prix season. Whether it kicks off the year, as it did ten or more years ago, or whether it marks the return to Europe after the opening overseas rounds, the racing at Jerez is always memorable and remarkable. Not always necessarily exciting, but always portentous, marking a turning point in the championship.

So it was this year. The MotoGP race saw a shift in momentum, and Valentino Rossi win in a way we haven't seen since 2009. The Moto2 race solidified the positions of the three best riders in the class, and edged winner Sam Lowes towards a role as title favorite. And in Moto3, Brad Binder broke his victory cherry with one of the most astounding performances I have ever seen in any class, let alone Moto3. Put to the back of the grid for an infraction of the software homologation rules, Binder worked his way forward to the leading group by half distance, then left them for dead. It is a race they will be talking about for a long time.

The old switcheroo

First, though, to MotoGP. Valentino Rossi needed a win to get his championship back on track, and he got it in the least Rossi-like way imaginable. The Italian got the holeshot, held off attacks in the opening laps, including a fierce assault from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, then set a metronomic pace which nobody, not even Lorenzo, could follow. He opened a gap of a couple of seconds, then managed it home to take what looked like an easy victory.

In reality, wins that look that easy are anything but. It was the result of dedicated hard work focusing on the race, rather than getting swept up in the mania of fast lap times. Rossi and his team had spent Friday working on set up and tire preservation, carrying that on through Saturday morning, before turning their attention to qualifying and securing pole. A minor modification on Sunday morning meant they dealt best with the much greater track temperatures, bringing the win within reach.

"We started well from Friday, and I feel good with the bike," Rossi said. Yesterday, I was first in both practices. When I was on the grid, I knew that I can have a good pace, but in the race it is always more difficult. My mechanic said to me 'first from the first corner to the last' and I say, this is a good idea – I will try!" And so from the start of the race, it looked as if Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo had swapped leathers: a metronomic Rossi laying down laps, while Lorenzo pushed and probed, all the while holding off Márquez behind him.

Old dog, new tricks

Taking pole and then the win in such a superior fashion is another sign of just how truly remarkable this stage of Valentino Rossi's career is. We have been over this before, but it bears repeating: at 37 years of age, in his twenty-first season of Grand Prix racing, Rossi is still just as competitive as he has ever been, and against much better competition.

He is constantly reinventing himself, learning new skills, working on new details, refining and moving forward. He trains harder than ever before, works at his dirt track ranch on specific techniques, identifies and isolates weaknesses in his riding, then teaches himself new ways of overcoming them. The mere fact he has engaged former 250cc champion Luca Cadalora to act as his riding illustrates his dedication and attention to detail.

Asked about being competitive so late in his career, Rossi said he did not think that age was a particularly important factor. "You can win races at forty. More important is motivation." That could spell bad news for his rivals: Rossi's motivation is beyond question, and if he continues to win, then the next two years may not be his final contract in MotoGP. He may choose to continue until forty-two, maybe, or perhaps even forty-four. He may even decide, for the sake of numerological serendipity, to race until he is forty-six. Anyone betting on taking over Rossi's seat when he retires could be in for a very long wait.

Ruing rubber

Rossi's victory left a despondent Jorge Lorenzo to finish in second. He had tried to hang on to Rossi for as long as possible, but a spinning rear tire had put paid to that. The rear had been spinning up not just in the many long corners which adorn the Jerez circuit, but also when the bike was upright down the track's front and back straights. He could only use 80% throttle down the fast back straight, having to coax acceleration out of the bike, rather than exploit the Yamaha's normally excellent drive. With a better rear tire, Lorenzo said, he should have been able of easily winning the race.

That hypothetical can of course never be tested. But what is certain is that the track was a good deal hotter on Sunday than it had been on either Saturday or Sunday. That pushed track conditions over the edge, grip dropping off a cliff and turning the surface greasy and slippery. That, in turn, had a radical effect on tire grip, and tire behavior. The Moto3 race was ten seconds slower than the race in 2015. MotoGP was over half a minute slower than last year. Everyone was struggling with rear wheel spin in a straight line: Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, Bradley Smith, Dani Pedrosa, even winner Valentino Rossi.

Time to test tires

Pedrosa was acerbic on the subject of tires. "I was losing like I was riding in the wet. So all my riding around the seventy percent of the race was like riding in the rain, with the throttle, with the gears, with the angle, everything super smooth," he said. "I didn't watch the race, but I guess it was quite a boring race. The tire manufacturer need to come up with some ideas, because I don't think the problem comes from the bikes. We need to get some improvement, either by changing some rules and allowing more tests for Michelins that they can apply some changes and we can test them. Or do something, the championship must do something. Because I don't think it's quite interesting like that."

Bradley Smith concurred, putting the blame on the rubber used in the center of the tire. That, and the safer, stiffer construction introduced in a hurry after Argentina meant Michelin were in unknown territory in reality. The current tire was basically a prototype, Smith said. "We did five laps on this tire before it was introduced for two race weekends."

There may be a solution at hand. There is talk of Michelin going back to two different constructions at the rear, and allowing riders to choose between the two at each round. That would allow riders to pick a tire with more grip and a softer construction, allow Michelin to gather more data on those tires, while also having the stiffer safety tire on hand to cover the contingency of exploding tires.

The problem was caused by the fact that the first three races of the year took place at such strange circuits. All three are wide, open tracks which are both highly stressful on tires, and get very little use in between Grand Prix. Now back in Europe, at more "normal" tracks, the tires may behave differently. Tire testing is high on the agenda for Jerez on Monday. Michelin have done an outstanding job on their return to MotoGP, but the size of the task is not to be underestimated.

Tighter now

Rossi's win and Lorenzo's second place tightened up the championship, with Marc Márquez finishing in third. But he had at least finished, Márquez said. "Already before the race Nakamoto say to me, please finish the race," the Repsol Honda rider joked. In 2015, Márquez threw away a lot of points trying to keep up at the front and finish on the podium when his bike was not capable of it. If he had settled for third, fourth, even fifth, he would have had a much better chance of staying in the title chase to the end of the season. That had been a painful but important lesson.

At Jerez, Márquez had tried to make up on braking what the Honda was losing in acceleration, the rear spinning up on corner exit without providing any kind of drive. The trouble was, doing that demanded too much of the front Michelin, and though the front tires are much better already, they are prone to overheating when pushed to such an assault. Márquez had understood that discretion was the better part of valor, backed off and taken 16 points. He still leads the championship, though is advantage is cut from 21 to 17 points. More importantly, consistency is what is keeping him at the head of the championship. Márquez is almost certain to win more races later in the season. But third places like this one at Jerez could be the difference between winning his third title and seeing someone else lift the MotoGP crown.

A disappointed Dani Pedrosa took fourth, though he had had to work to keep Aleix Espargaro at bay. Pedrosa ended three seconds behind his teammate, and ten seconds off the pace of the winner Rossi. Worse still, it brought to an end Pedrosa's astonishing run of podiums. The Repsol Honda rider has finished on the podium at Jerez in every race he has contested since 2004, when he fell off his Honda RS250. The Honda RC213V remains a vicious beast, and one which is increasingly hard to tame.

A bright future?

Two Suzukis finished behind the two Repsol Hondas, Aleix Espargaro outclassing his teammate Maverick Viñales. Espargaro put his success down to the approach of his crew chief Tom O'Kane, who had convinced him to concentrate on the hard tire all weekend. It paid off in the race, Espargaro pushing Pedrosa hard for a long time, before finally having to let the Repsol Honda rider go. The Suzuki could match or even beat the Honda in acceleration through fast corners, but it was out of slower corners where they were getting beaten.

A sixth place finish for Maverick Viñales could turn out to be more momentous than it has any right to be. When asked whether the result at Jerez could influence his decision to either go to Yamaha or stay with Suzuki, Viñales was alarmingly frank. "When you see Yamaha are first and second, and me and Aleix are fifth and sixth, it make you think a little bit," he said. "But I trust in Suzuki, and I trust that still they can show me the results. A decision on Viñales' future could come by Le Mans. That would not give Suzuki a great deal of time to convince Viñales to stay.

Andrea Iannone crossed the line in seventh, a result he had not been expecting given his otherwise dire weekend, but he merely closed the gap on the fastest Ducatis. Hector Barbera on the Avinta GP14.2 and Eugene Laverty on the Aspar GP14.2 lead the way in the championship. Both men are riding very well, and taking advantage as opportunities come their way. Both are also impressing potential future employers: on underpowered ART and Open Class machines, neither man made much of an impression last year. In 2016, they are both looking like viable candidates to take over better bikes. If, of course, such a thing exists.

On to Moto2. Or in Sam Lowes' case, "onit" to Moto2. Lowes came in strong, and put together the kind of weekend where he is simply unstoppable. Unfazed by the changing conditions, Lowes held Jonas Folger at bay for most of the race before putting his head down and getting away. Lowes, Alex Rins and Johann Zarco have now all had perfect weekends, with Jonas Folger on the verge of making the same breakthrough. The championship is shaping up nicely, but with Lowes extending his lead to ten points, his rivals need to respond. Sam Lowes' name is being bandied about with existing team managers, despite him having a factory Aprilia contract for next year. With so many strong manufacturers in MotoGP in 2017, he could have his pick of factory rides.

The alien's alien

As impressive as both Rossi and Lowes were, the ride of the day must go to Brad Binder. Binder has been on the verge of his first win in Moto3, and boy did he find a way to take his first victory. Binder was forced to start from the back of the grid after an inconsequential error saw him end up running a non-homologated software map. The mistake was almost farcically trivial: a KTM engineer made some minor wet-weather modifications to the mapping for the Dell'Orto spec ECU, and gave the new mapping a new file name. A USB stick was sent to MotoGP's Technical Director Danny Aldridge and Dell'Orto, who homologated the correct mapping with the wrong filename.

After qualifying, Binder's bike was checked, and an illegal mapping was detected on the basis of the filename. The FIM Stewards decided to put him to the back of the grid, despite an appeal by KTM on the grounds that the map itself was not illegal, the mapping just used the wrong filename. Binder was unlucky: if he had not qualified on the front row, the scrutineers would not have checked his bike. And given the fact that this was an official engine map supplied by KTM, you have to wonder how many other teams were running the same mapping, but were not caught, as they were not on the front row.

It was the race in which Binder was most impressive, though. The South African moved quickly forward, after nearly being taken out by his brother, passing everyone on the brakes – the strongest point of the bike, he explained. He was surprised at just how much faster than everyone else he was, even once he latched on to the leading group. Realizing his advantage, he pushed on and went on to take a truly remarkable victory. This will have done wonders for Binder's confidence, and he should be a threat for the win from now on.

Until Binder arrived, the battle for the lead had been intense, and intensely satisfying. Jorge Navarro appeared to be in control, but Pecco Bagnaia and Nicolo Bulega had entirely different ideas. On the final lap, Bulega launched an attack which saw him take over second. Meanwhile, Bagnaia, who has something of a reputation for taking other riders out, made a perfectly executed pass on Jorge Navarro on the last lap to take third.

The two Italians excelled themselves, but they did so on a day when Brad Binder achieved something truly remarkable. This victory will be talked about for a long time, and not just because it is the first South African victory since Jon Ekerold won a 350cc race in 1981. Binder totally owned this race, and owned Moto3. As motorsports commentator Marieta Evans put it, there is perfect, and there is Brad Binder.


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Total votes: 93
Total votes: 74

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Comments

Thanks David for the quick race roundup when so much happened.

 

Brad Binder, i do not know what to say, that was some on the edge riding. Amazing stuff, i haven't even mentioned the other 2 races yet.

Total votes: 63

Lorenzo is such a graceful rider. While on the bike. One take on his comments this weekend is that after both qualifying and the race he mentioned the tire as his problem as though it was particular to him. "I was spinning, otherwise I could have won the race." This is true, except that everyone else had the same tires on the same track.

Rossi was masterful. As he is. Lots of bikes were moving around quite a bit. Marquez closed the front several times as per the camera feed. If it was that clear from there he must have felt that he was really quite over the limit.

Great weekend hat tip to A.Espargaro and Bautista, you looked like you found something extra! Anyone see what happened for Bautista causing a crash?

Agreed that this was a boring race that was quite exciting to behold. Great to see the old Valentino side saddling his tank and laughing like a teenager. Fantastic job Vale and team!

Total votes: 100

If you are a casual watcher of Motogp, you probably fell asleep with 20 laps to go. But for fans that follow the sport deeply, that watch every practice, qaulifier , and race as well as listen to what all the racers have to say. You know this race, with not many passes, was a giant blow for two riders in particular.

I have every belief that they, Lorenzo and Marquez, will get past it and win again. But Rossi has not looked to have this kind of pace to be this dangerous in a LONG time. It hurt. Pole, Fastest Lap, Victory. Usually it can be written off as Rossi's experience in a tricky situation. Not today. Not this weekend. This bodes well for a good season if he can keep this up. Lorenzo nor Marquez are going to cave. This will be a good war of wills.

; )

Total votes: 84

So true about Jorge and his post race comments about his tire issues and how that affected his race! I'm forced to shake my head and laugh at the same time! Does he think he's in a race all on his own, the only one affected by conditions and circumstance?!!

As a fan and lover of motorsport I'm forced into begrudging respect of Jorge Lorenzo for his accomplishments, but he makes it really hard to like him based on how he acts and what he says!

 

 

Total votes: 133

. . . he not only has a problem with race fans, but also in attracting sponsors.

Remember when Rossi left Yamaha? Fiat's sponsorship went with him. Jorge had just won the championship but Yamaha were without a major sponsor for the next two years.

Rossi comes back to Yamaha and so does the sponsorship.

Ciao

Total votes: 55

Whatever you say someone's not gonna like it.

What's he to do, turn up and not talk about his situation??

Total votes: 64

Looks like unfortunately Lorenzo was the only one in the paddock that didn't knew beforehand that "tire management" was going to be *the deciding factor* (Dovi said this the day before) 

Total votes: 87

Espargaro; what an amazing race for him. I feel like he is being ignored because of Maverick but I feel he has his momentum back, whatever he and his team came up with, it is working. Great rider and Suzuki should keep him!

Total votes: 72

Apparently his amazing results with that year old, Frankenstein Yamaha have been forgotten.  I put it down to the obsession that fans and media have with youth.  I believe I heard a reference to his age as being a factor for replacing him.  Come on, the guy is all of 26 years old.  

Total votes: 59

Another great read and breakdown of the weekend in Jerez. Thank you David. The race itself was not as exciting as one would have hoped, but to see the old man stick it to the Spaniards on their soil, with such domination, was priceless. You could almost see it in the way Rossi lined up for the start of the race. Every little detail was calculated. Placing the bike just right at the line, the perfect release of the clutch, and lap after lap extending his lead tenth of a second at a time. Epic win for him and the team. Can't wait till Le Mans...

Total votes: 89

I heard someone mention (I think a moto3 rider) that the track officials fearing it might be a wet weekend water blasted the whole circuit to remove the rubber from the track.

Is this correct and could this have made the track "green"  and  more slippery when the weather and track temps warmed up leading to the lack of grip?

Total votes: 61

I realize that this is Year One for Michelin back in MotoGP, but the last few races have been quite unimpressive.  Hopefully they will rise to the occasion.  I really don't look forward to having the season decided by tire failures rather than rider skill.

Total votes: 85

Riders put the blame on tires a lot. And of course, things have changed since switching to Michelin. And yes, Michelin do need to provide a safe tire. But Lorenzo and Pedrosa put the blame on the tires pretty easy.

The best rider, who manages the bike and tires the best, wins. And if Lorenzo and Pedrosa aren't able to manage the tires like they're used to, they loose. It's very simple, everybody rides the same tires so they all have the same problem. 

Sure, grip could be better, and maybe it should be. But as a rider, you should deal with what you have. Lorenzo's statement that if the performance of the tires was better then he would win is stupid. The tires weren't better and he didn't win. Punt uit!

Total votes: 91

I have always been a fan of Valentino Rossi since he appeared 20 odd years ago and everything he does makes me warm to him more (as a person and as a competitor). He seems to be so relaxed and confident, able to make jokes about his win at Jerez and what it means (or not) for the season. He is also able to admit his own failings rather than blame something outside of himself. As a contrast, Lorenzo was petulant and the polar opposite of his team mate, keen to blame the tyres for his failings during the weekend. Did I misread the tyre choices or did they (Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez) all have the same tyres? I respect Lorenzo as a rider but dont like his character when things don’t go as he would like, this is what happened with his thumbs down jesture on the podium at Sepang (he just cant help himself).

Marquez has grown through his experiences in 2015 and its nice to see a more mature rider, maybe Rossi taught him some really valuable lessons in humility. I like him more as a result.

Its interesting watching the dynamics between the three of them during the press conferences. I believe that Rossi (so called mind games) have two purposes. The first and most important is purely for him to see them as competitors that he has to beat around the race track with no room for any feelings of guilt or remorse when he puts aggressive moves on them, at that point of total commitment there can be no room for doubt, no matter how small. The other, and I think this is secondary, is to try to get under their skin and make them doubt. It’s arguable that this is working with Lorenzo but not with Marquez, the next races will tell. Of the three, Lorenzo seems to be the one most under pressure to prove himself and this might be his undoing.

 

 

 

 

Total votes: 104

"Marquez has grown through his experiences in 2015 and its nice to see a more mature rider, maybe Rossi taught him some really valuable lessons in humility. I like him more as a result"

Rossi taught Marc humility? I thought what he taught him was that Marq intentionally derailing Rossi's CC chance by slowing him up in PI and Sepang, (and by winning PI, if that makes any sense)

I think the lesson missed its marc (pun intended), being poorly translated Italian-to-Spanish as a desperate paranoidal rant.

Total votes: 62

As always, an accurate summing up of what we witnessed.

The MotoGP tyre issues will probably continue for some time to come and it will be hugely interesting to see who manages them the best!

Yesterday was Rossi's day, next time might be Lorenzo's day!

All in all it's going to make 2016 a thoroughly fascinating season!

For me there was only one downside yesterday - Lorenzo!

I accept the fact that he was bitterly disappointed, (Jerez is often a happy hunting ground for him) but he showed more ill grace yesterday than I've ever seen from him, and it was a shame to see it from a rider of his undoubted quality!

Total votes: 86

I don't think this race was boring at all. Although, I loved to see Rossi win like this, it was nostalgic! But it was interesting (and exciting) to see who would take care of their tyres the best thoughout the race, and one man did it better than all others.

Lorenzo said that due to spinning issues he had to slow down his pace. But if I'm correct, I remember seeing the lap times of Rossi and Lorenzo, and the Italian slipped into 1.41s at the time when Lorenzo came close to about 2.1 seconds (he was in 1.40s), however, Rossi responded by upping his pace and again moving into the 1.40s. So, Lorenzo may have been suffering from tyre spinning (like everyone else) but Rossi did up his pace once again towards the end.

Total votes: 65

Now that the rear tire has less grip it doesnt push the front tire so much and thats the reason we didnt see alot of people fall. So for michelin at the moment is to make the tire more save but they cant make the rear tire to perform beond the capability of the front. It seems to me the only thing that needs a little work is the Middle of the rear tire. Its better the first year to be more slow but save.

Total votes: 59

As usual, pilots who lose criticize the new tire (Lorenzo, Pedrosa) when those who have good feelings with say "it's my fault" when they lose the front (Rossi in Austin).

Riders are like that and always will.

And as usual, Lorenzo doesn't accept to be slower, it HAS to be for some reason. The man is like that, he won't change, that's probably why he's so strong.

For sure, Michelin has to progress and they will, but this "tyre preservation" and the drop of performance at the end of races is what a lot of us hoped for with this new combo "Tyre/ECU".

And it has nothing to do with the show, after all, Jerez 2015 was also boring in Bridgestone.

Funny to imagine a guy who stopped whatching motogp after Jerez 2005, and turn the tv on this weekend, must have been a weird sensation of time travel...

Le Mans will tell if this is an "accident" like Assen 2013 or Misano 2014, the two last "easy" victories of Rossi in the dry if I remember well ... or if we start for a very very interesting season ...

Total votes: 63

Another fascinating article. Thanks. 

Total votes: 48

I wonder what Lorenzo thinks about his move to Ducati after this weekend?

Total votes: 72

I'm gonna be honest straight away... I am a fan of Rossi, so I am biased. But despite that, I also know that the old dog isn't always right. Yesterday was offcourse quite enjoyable to me, and I hope he can keep it up.

I actually like Marquez as well, not so much as Rossi, but still. Not to bad. I think he can be even bigger than Rossi, given enough time.  

But Lorenzo.... I mean seriously.... He really... I mean... You know... I sometimes get the feeling that he is doing everything in his power to make people not like him. He is a fantastic driver. But why is he always making remarks that are completely pointless. Take a mediatraining course. He has made countless remarks that are just wrong. We are actually calling him Smeagol these days. exactly for the things he says. "I would have won with a big margin".... really? The fact is... you didn't. If's and, might haves don't count. Never have, never will. If I was smaller and learnt to ride a motorcycle early in life, I could have been there fighting with you.... I can say it... But it is not true. everybody knows it isn't... I'd wish, but I'm riding a thirtyseven year old bike, because I like living.

But just stop doing that! Learn to smile like you mean it. Dare to admit you made a mistake, Dare to say "today was not a great day and someone else was just better".

It won't hurt you. People will actually have more respect for you. I take my had of  and bow deeple the way you can ride a motorcycle. I'm doing that for all those guys competing.

And to all three... start talking to eachother again. I know it is wishfull thinking, but babysteps perhaps? I heard Marc addressing Valentino with his first name again. It's a long shot, but maybe there is hope.

 

Total votes: 88

The only team-mate Vale ever had that beat him 3 times. The only guy everyone hates, the opposite of Vale. I love him just for that. Another thing; why is everyone so busy with whom they "like" better? Rossi used to blame the Ducati NON STOP when he was riding it, but everyone loved him and agreed with him even tho Stoner used to win races with the same bike.

Rossi is the best business person in the Motogp, he knows all this and he keeps milking it; and it even helps him win races, on or off the track.

Total votes: 149

On many occasions, Lorenzo has said he wasn't fast enough, made a mistake or pointed out other causes for not winning a race or being at the front. So when he says the rear was spinning and holding him back, who am I to say that's not true? That actually sounds like a more plausible reason than 'just not having a great day'.

He is an oddball, and not exactly a pr cannon like some other riders, but personally I like him for that.

Total votes: 82

I don't think anyone is denying that his wheel was spinning. The part that many are taking exception to is when he says that if it wasn't spinning he would have easily won the race by a large margin. What that comment fails to acknowldge is that the other riders were hampered by the same issue. Lorenzo was on the same tires, and dealing with the same issues as the rest of the grid, and he didn't win. 

Lorenzo is an amazing talent, but a huge part of racing is adapting to circumstances that are out of your control. Whoever does that best usually wins. Lorenzo is unstopable when everything is perfect but if it's too hot, too cold, wet, the tires aren't exactly what he needs, his dinner the night before the race has too much salt... it seems like almost anything is an excuse to trip him up. 

Someone earlier in the comments said something else that gave me a thought. Marquez and Rossi race to prove to themselves that they are the best. Lorenzo's seems to race to prove to everyone else he is the best. Oddly, that doesn't really endear him to a lot of fans. It really is a shame that he won't ever get the credit his riding deserves because his attitude off the bike means a lot of fans just find it hard to identify with him.

Total votes: 56

I can definitely believe that JL was held back by the spinning rear. I think most of us can. But what I think annoys the majority of us that complains about JL's comments is the "I would have won with a big margin" comment. If you exclude that, then at least I don't find any issues with what he said.

Total votes: 55

I agree with all you say except the last.  If I were Lorenzo or Marquez I would *never* speak to Rossi again.   Rossi called them liars, on the world stage.  If he ever apologized I'd consider it.  But people just don't get it.  He made a charge - fine.  They responded - fine.  He then respond by effectively saying "you're lying through your teeth".  I'd never acknowledge his existence again if it were me.

Total votes: 77

"But Lorenzo.... I mean seriously.... He really... I mean... You know... I sometimes get the feeling that he is doing everything in his power to make people not like him."

As opposed to that other guy who does everything in his power to make people like him?

I thought they were there to race motorcycles...

Total votes: 61

It was said this was Rossi's first premier flag to flag win. I'm not sure this is true but it is an interesting look at MotoGp. When Rossi arguably had the best tires / bike / support, over the years, he put on a show and deserved to be known as the Doctor. These days he can't afford those cat & mouse games. Possibly MM got away with them for a season and a half but ultimately started paying too big of price. Either way there was a long dry spell from the Doctor of old. Today, I actually thought near the end Lorenzo had a chance to snatch the victory. Seriously, I did.

Total votes: 59

According to Julian Ryder it was the first time ever that Rossi led every single lap from pole.  I couldn't believe it myself...lol

Total votes: 71

Surprices seem to be the second nature for MotoGP these days. 
Last year and this year has been full of them.
Who would think tat Rossi would take such a dominant win. 
Not the most exciting race, a description unheard of when rossi win the last 10 years, but as a fan I can live with that once.
But where the MotoGP race wasn't too exciting the Moto3 race was.
Both  Binder and Bulega did some amazing stuff there.
 

Total votes: 62

I am shocked by people actually wanting the riders act like customer service and give pre-determined template responses every single time.

Let's take the 2 facts that we know :

1. Lorenzo said that it was the first time his MotoGP career that he had the rear spinning in 5th and 6th gears on a straight.

2. The race was more than 30 seconds slower than last year and the laptimes were nearly a full second per lap slower than Lorenzo's FP4 pace.

If you add up those two facts, it's pretty easy to get an impression that the tires were holding him back.

If he says that today, when he knows that everyone had that issue (due to temperature), you could criticize him of it, but in Park Ferme, just off the bike, he didn't have that information and he was saying what he truly believed. I don't hold it against him.

Total votes: 119

Your arguments would make sense if he didn't repeat the same thing in the press release and the interviews after the Parc-Ferme interview.

Except for the post-race press conference. His words were more measured there.

I would have had more respect for him if he would have said it with Rossi by his side. Not to his face because they can't look each other in the eyes :).

That showed he didn't really believed it himself.

Total votes: 55

... holding EVERYONE ELSE BACK as well.  All the guys on the podium in addition to several places back were all complaining about wheel spin on the straight in high gears.  You play the hand you're dealt.

 

In low traction conditions (e.g., rain) or conditions where tyre management is a problem the cream rises to the top.

 

We saw that at Jerez.

Total votes: 53

This really is an honest question: if JL could only open the throttle at 80% because of tire spinning, how come his trap speed was just a few KPH's lower compared to the opening laps? In fact, from lap 16 up until 26, his average speed through the trap was 285.84 KPH, VR's was 284,03 KPH (it's all in the race analysis). So to easily win the race "with a big margin" provided he had a better rear tire? ....

A brilliant racer no doubt, just wish he'd be a fraction as grand a loser as he is an amazing winner.

Total votes: 76

....because Rossi said he could only open his 50%

I guess you don't have to take everything too literally.

Total votes: 49

A pattern is showing up as far as the Michelins go, and that pattern is, there is no pattern. They seem to have a narrow performance window, and if on any weekend your bike falls into that window, you are the lotto winner. A good thing no doubt that Ducati has a couple of teams with 14.2s, gives them better odds at hitting the window. Certainly anyone who built their bike based on last years tests is finding that was a futile exercise. Keeping a couple of alternate frames in the box might just be the hot lick. What remains to be shaken out is, does Rossi's experience with Michelin DNA give him an edge for the foreseeable future? Certainly when Lorenzo says he was in uncharted waters with a tire spinning on the straight, and Redding said he was scared, knowing how far you can abuse a tire can make all the difference.

Obviously, in typical fashion, Lorenzo had his head up his a** post race, and I say this as a Lorenzo fan. He had the chance to prevent Rossi from eeking out those tenths, early in the race. Perhaps he was saving his tire hoping Rossi would come back to him. Either way. I usually enjoy his cringworthy displays, not this one. It is interesting to see how most of the top 3, most of the time, go out of their way to avoid mentioning the others even when asked a question about them, usually phrasing it in terms of themselves. I can see Lorenzo is tired of being in Rossi's shadow. 

I don't envy Michelin. They better start bringing a greater selection of tires. Shameful to tell Redding that a tire missing chunks at the end of a race is 'normal'.

Total votes: 63

Brad Binders' glorious win makes me reminisce about former South-African riders. Jon Ekerold, as you mentioned. And Alan North. And the great Korky Ballington on Kawasaki. Would be great to see a new generation of South-African riders in MotoGP! 

I'm glad to see different nationalities in the Moto3 and Moto2. MotoGP is too much of a Spanish/Italian affair these days. 

 

Total votes: 58

then I'm afraid the move to Ducati is definitely a wrong move. The Ducati is definitely a bike more prone to mechanical problem (water pump failure at Jerez for Dovi this time, Engine failure twice for Iannone in 2015) compare to the Yamaha. I can't imagine how Lorenzo will take on these mechanical issues in 2017.

Total votes: 58

Dovi also had several mechanical problems last season including his sprocket teeth coming off- at Mugello I believe.  Yeah, I don't expect Jorge to handle this as nicely as Dovi.  He might just fire them as quick as he fired his helmet manufacturer.

Total votes: 69

I thought that the comments after qualifying on Saturday were as interesting as the comments in parc ferme after the race. Neither Lorenzo, nor Marquez could seemingly bring themselves to mention Rossi by name. One referred to him as "my teammate" the other as "the pole guy". For me, this shows how both feel about the prospect of being beaten by him; much "preferring" (lol) to be beaten by the other (even though their handshake after the race was hardly friendly). Of the two, Marc felt he had done all he could and to still be leading the championship was some comfort. For me, Lorenzo was far more frustrated at watching Rossi do what he normally does and that came out in his "big margin" comments, believing that that the only reason he had lost was down to Rossi having better tyres and he was clearly unhapppy about it.

However much Rossi dislikes Lorenzo, I think it pales in comparison to how much Lorenzo dislikes him and seeing him so happy at one of his home races was more than he could stand, without saying something to make himself feel better.

Personally, I like the animosity and the rivalry and drive to win it creates (as long as the no-one gets hurt). The end of last season may have been a step too far, but personality and characters make great races, seasons and championships and the closer this season is (the above caveat aside), the better.

Total votes: 84

With Rossi victory and Binder's unbelievable victory, it is easy to overlook, but no Spanish rider victory in Jerez. First time has happened at Jerez since 2009... and the MotoGP winner then was... Valentino Rossi. He also went on to win the World Championship that year.

Total votes: 63

Agos record still in sight - Don't expect Rossi to let up anytime soon :)

Total votes: 70

If you read the article in the comment that you replied to:

"It's a pity there's no proof of their supposed dangerousness - comments Ducati team manager, Davide Tardozzi - the only example used to prove the potential risk was the contact between Iannone and Marquez in Qatar, with the subsequent loss of the video camera. So I guess it's not important that the winglet immediately came away, that Marquez didn't even notice the contact and that it could happen with any part of the fairing."

Total votes: 52

Isn't this what was predicted by Mr Emmett & co from the pre season testing, that we would get different riders being able to ride these tires better at different tracks and we could look forward to this, this season?

Also Lorenzo is a racer that reminds me of Phil Read, a really, really good racer and worthy world champion but very marmite with the fans.

 

Go Go Same Lowes, the right stuff

Look forward to the podcast 

Total votes: 50

Interestingly enough, Moto 2 Race was 3.25 seconds faster than last year on tricky track conditions (high temperature and high humidity).

This might explain why so many riders crashed out of the race and makes Lowes and Folger's performance truly impressive (times for P3 and following are slower than last year). Although, as always with both riders, you wonder whether they keep any safety net at all (4 races without scoring any points for both of them in 2015).

Sources:

http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/2016/SPA/Moto2/RAC/Classification.pdf?v1_6835ee0f

http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/2015/SPA/Moto2/RAC/Classification.pdf?v1_8b3003a1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Moto2_season

Total votes: 53

After taking Pole, fastest lap, and then winning the race I think Rossi may love the return of Michelin. 

Total votes: 59

I've read that JLo has Asperger's (mild autism). I've met lots of people who say they have Asperger's but are actually just self-centered assholes. Or maybe they do have some syndrome but can't seem to get to a place where they are considerate of others' efforts and feelings, or understand why nobody likes them (and maybe not care that nobody likes them).

In any case it comes off ugly, whatever JLo's deal is. I don't want a textbook response (I agree with Ayush), but some respect for the winner is expected. "My tire choice/the tires sucked, I couldn't open the throttle, I think I might have been more competitive if things were different, but Rossi was the better man today" How hard is that?

Now I better watch that Moto3 race.

As always, great article and inside info Krop, thanks.

Total votes: 68

Lorenzo did acknowledge that Rossi was the fastest on the day, but that was later in the press conference

Total votes: 48

As somebody with the condition myself (or whatever it's called now - general ASD?) I've been wondering about this. It's hard to judge a racer, though, as they're nearly another species to begin with, and I haven't a clue how an autistic spectrum disorder might manifest in high-dollar international motorsport.

The following is a tongue-in-cheek casual analysis based on scant knowledge of the real man in question, and has crap-all to do with racing, so skip if you like:

--

The Disorder Formerly Known as Aspergers would make sense if his obsessive focus is turning out precision laps on a motorcycle. He does react poorly to disruptions in his process, and his social tone-deafness is well remarked upon. He's also got the sarcastic dick feature common to cranky, socially mis-connected geeks all over the world.

Now I'm familiar with ASD manifesting as highly focused, deep MENTAL skills, more than physical skills... So I get a Spock Eyebrow from the idea of someone with Aspergers being good at precise physical tasks, because usually we're clumsy. On the other hand, I've been riding a motorcycle myself for several years and I survived my one track day just fine, so it can be done. And, there's the small matter that he's been raised and physically trained to be a Champion since he was in diapers.

If he's really been diagnosed with something like this, hopefully he's getting counseling. Actually I hope somebody is studying him in general, because a MotoGP World Champion with Aspergers is a pretty incredible thing just from a medical standpoint.

Socially one of the most important lessons I learned was that being miserable, over-analytical, and complaining a lot, just made people not want to be around me. Learning to quit bitching and be happy (or fake it) has hugely improved my social life. If he's really got a spectrum issue, I feel for him, because he needs a friend to take him aside and talk him through how to not come across as a twat... That is, if he gives a shit, which he probably doesn't. It doesn't affect the racing any.

(Thanks for letting me splatter this great racing discussion with my random thoughts about the mental health of people I've never met!)

Total votes: 69

Well said Blue. Isn't it interesting that Aspergers was removed from use? The goal was to get those folks the supports they can get if included as on the Autism spectrum. Better yet is to speak of "Neuro-diversity" in that the genome is expressing itself w an array of neurological styles.

Lorenzo is not striking me as concrete rather than representational, nor with a focusing style that does not discern essential from extraneous, or other such typical things. Just lacking some social graces.

Let's quit saying "disorder" altogether about much of mental health diagnosis when we could better appreciate that a third of us are put together in interesting ways that have strengths/gifts and struggles. In my city our high tech industry is all in one area, and there is a ton of Aspergers diagnoses that instead are "successful technical professionals." I can't figure out how a computer works.

Aliens - I think more about figuring THEM out! And Lorenzo? Alien.

Total votes: 53

I don't like "disorder" either. I've got plenty of actual disorder already ;) , and there's nothing "wrong" about my brain wiring. It just makes some basic things more difficult, and other unusual things easier, to understate things in their simplest form.

(I was a little skeptical about removal of the Aspergers label, as it referred to a specific pattern of characteristics, but it does only describe about half of what people "on the spectrum" deal with IMO).

I'm reluctant to judge another's mental state if I haven't met them, because it's rude, and the racing life requires unusual character to begin with. Sometimes people can show qualities of somebody with an AS diagnosis without having a diagnosible pattern that interferes with their functioning. Meeting someone like that I might say "they've got traits". JL99 does exhibit some familiar qualities to me, but the truth is known only to him, his family, and friends.

In the meantime I do think he'd benefit from lightening up a little, even if he has to fake it. I get the feeling that, like a fighter squadron, the more seriously these guys take themselves, the harder the ribbing from the other guys gets. Self-importance is like painting a big target on your back. Rossi gets excused because he looks to be genuinely having a good time, even when he's plotting people's destruction. JL could learn from that, if he wanted to, but I can see his POV too, that he just wants to race and to hell with the rest.

Total votes: 58

As a mother of an 18 year old with Asperger's I have always wondered if I have seen it in JL. He certainly talks as if he does. Maybe that's why I have more patience with him than most fans, having  dealt with being on the receiving end of AS straight talk!

if it's true, it explains most of JL's behavior. Do you remember where you read this?

Total votes: 50

as the tires...'evolve'...expect to see different riders be able to extract the most from whatever this weeks flavor of round black things mich decides is the new best they've got.

Total votes: 53

So Lorenzo thinks that he would had won by a big margin, with better tires on sunday?, well...Rossi for sure would have had them better tyres too, and given the whack he gave them all on the "crappy" tyres, I would extrapolate that Rossi would have made good use of them as well and beat Lorenzo anyway. I think Marc was gracious when he said that Rossi was on another level, mostly because it was true. Big difference between the two spanish conquistadores.

Other thing is, everyone is blaming the tires ( even us armchair racers)  and how they degrade more noticeable than the Stones but nobody is taking into account that the software no longer has a sub routine to compensate for tyre wear and this may be the result surfacing.

Total votes: 52

A good point. To add to it, this is also what everyone was hoping for from the new rules last year. More tyre wear to manage, less electronics to help. 

 

That formula doesn't automatically mean every race will be a classic but those classics will come. There were 18 races last year and only around five of them were classics. 

No one really expressed an element of danger through the spinning tyres either, just frustration because they aren't used to it. As long as Michelin are constantly trying to improve and learn then I don't see a problem. 

Total votes: 59

We're seeing smoking tyres out of corners, like back in the days of the 990s and 500s.

​It's great.  it brings tyre management back into the picture.  I think it will make for more interesting races - is Rider XX running away and going to run out of tyre?  Is Rider YY going to come good at the end of the race?

​With the Bridgestones and factory electronics, riders could run pretty much the same pace the whole race, whoever got away at the start was reasonably safe barring something unforseen.

Total votes: 54

I was very surprised at Jerez.

1st time I'd ever been to a non-UK round. I was expecting to see lots of Lorenzo support reflected in merchandising. There was hardly any that I saw. Many of the Spanish fans (if their allegiance can be identified by what they wear) are MM fans, and even more are VR fans. JL is such a talent and certainly one of the greatest ever riders, I wonder if his truculent off-bike manner as demonstrated at Jerez costs him merchandising sales, and 'smiling assassin' MM wins much more support and makes more from merchandising dosh?

Shame, I'm sure he would be a nice guy to meet.

 

Total votes: 50