2016 Barcelona MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: On Healing Races, a Reconciliation of Sorts, and Silly Mistakes

On Friday, a young man died in a freak crash at the Circuit de Catalunya, and we mourned him. On Saturday, we went through the motions, picking up the rhythm of a normal race weekend, but in a state of mild shock. On Sunday morning, we remembered Luis Salom, the whole paddock and a circuit full of fans standing in silence, united both in the memory of a bright young talent who take took from us, and in the knowledge that it can happen again. On Sunday afternoon, we raced, and reminded ourselves of why young men and women risk their lives with the frankly rather futile objective of demonstrating that they can ride in circles on a motorbike faster than anyone else.

"It was difficult to not cry when we were in the minute of silence," Maverick Viñales reflected on Sunday afternoon. "It was a really difficult race, but I think the best way to remember Luis is racing, and trying to make the best result. I know he will be always with us." Marc Márquez felt much the same. "In the end also this Sunday, I liked it was again the atmosphere of the family, the MotoGP family. Because when we were there together on the grid, when we were racing, everybody was racing for Luis. Everybody dedicated the race to Luis."

And what races to dedicate to Luis Salom. The Moto3 race saw a tense battle go down to the line, and a thrilling finale and a win that had been a long time coming. The Moto2 race became a duel between two of Salom's recent rivals, with a masterful display to take victory. And MotoGP produced one of the fiercest duels we have seen in a while, a popular victory, and a shake up in the championship.

A management matter

The MotoGP race was the icing on the cake on Sunday. The icing on a highly decorated cake, with twists and turns, and intricate details worthy of examination all the way down the field. In effect, the race became a war of attrition, a case of managing tires as well as possible. Not so much the rear tire; though almost everyone chose the hard rear Michelin, Dani Pedrosa took third with the medium rear, and Pol Espargaro grabbed fifth. It was the front that was the bigger issue, and harder to manage, requiring balancing braking force and corner speed throughout the race, to go as fast as possible yet still ensure there was still some front tire left at the end of the race.

As at Jerez, Valentino Rossi proved himself to be the master of that. Despite a fairly disastrous start – he did not brake deep enough into Turn 1, he said, and got mixed up with Andrea Dovizioso – the Movistar Yamaha rider scythed his way through the field to move up from eighth in the opening corners to third by the end of lap three, where he found himself behind Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez.

Lorenzo had not been able to capitalize on his customary lightning start, for though he led the race, he was slower than the men behind him. The complete lack of grip on a hot and greasy Barcelona track was causing his front tire to start graining, an extreme form of wear made worse by Lorenzo's high corner speed style, which demands a lot of the front tire. Robbed of his usual strength, Lorenzo struggled to maintain his pace, experimenting with riding style to try to manage the front tire, and ride around it. That change in riding style would later prove to be his downfall, though the blame for that lies entirely with Andrea Iannone.

The duel we have been waiting for

Lorenzo's travails offered opportunities to both Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi. Rossi was the first man through on Lorenzo, but Márquez was quick to follow. Márquez stayed tight on Rossi's tail for twelve laps or so, though just how hard he had to work to do so was obvious when the Repsol Honda rider nearly lost the front completely through the new chicane, his body hanging way off the side of the bike, leg out like a track day parody of a knee down ride. He recovered his composure, and attacked with four laps to go, seeing the victory within his grasp.

That would prove to be an illusion. Márquez' attacks were fierce and frequent, but Rossi was not prepared to give ground. Every attack was countered, every loss of the lead saw Rossi strike back immediately. Rossi had been robbed of victory at Mugello by a cruel stroke of mechanical fate, and was out for revenge. Getting it in Barcelona, the town were Jorge Lorenzo lives and at Marc Márquez' home race would make victory taste all the sweeter.

Though Márquez rode an astonishing race, he was no match for a Rossi in masterful form. Márquez made a mistake with two laps to go, nearly crashing again, and the Spaniard started thinking of the championship. With Jorge Lorenzo out, second place was enough to take the lead in the championship, and give himself another chance later in the season.

Also on Márquez' mind was his experience last year, when he crashed out at both Mugello and Barcelona, before going into a much stronger second half of the season. Mugello and Barcelona were the two strongest tracks for Yamaha, Márquez explained, and his goal was to be as close to the championship leader as possible. With that goal exceeded, he can start dreaming about a third MotoGP title again.

Old dogs, and new tricks

There are plenty of obstacles in his way, still, and Valentino Rossi may yet prove to be the most significant. Rossi is in the form of his life, the fire of his ambition still burning white hot, and boosted by the switch back to Michelins. Rossi himself put his form on his laser-like focus on race day. "The important thing is be strong and fast Sunday afternoon at two o'clock," Rossi said. "This is what I think in all my career. Last year I fight for the championship to the last race but sometimes in the race I wasn’t fast like Lorenzo and Marquez. This year it looks like I am stronger, also if I have less points." He is fast, he is happy with the Yamaha M1, and it is clearly a competitive machine. Above all, he is happy with the change of tires. "I like a lot the Michelin tire because is something that I use a lot in the past, and I grow up as a rider with these tires, so it’s something very familiar."

Rossi has had less trouble adapting to the Michelins than teammate Jorge Lorenzo, especially when conditions are difficult and grip is low. The difference between the two Yamahas is not in set up – the differences between Rossi's and Lorenzo's set ups were minimal, Wilco Zeelenberg told me on Sunday – it was all about coping with tire wear.

This was something which Lorenzo acknowledged after the race. "Rossi, with the same bike, didn't have so much graining," he told us. "Looks like he rides differently than me and he can save more the front tire, normally. Also, he is very good in difficult conditions, in conditions with no grip. Today he made an unbelievable race. I could not ride like him and could not change my riding style to avoid the front tire problems, in all the weekend. This is the truth."

Reconciliation? Let's not get ahead of ourselves

Rossi's victory over Márquez, on a weekend overshadowed by Salom's death, helped start the first steps of a reconciliation between the two riders. Or rather, change their relationship from one of pure, unadulterated hatred to more workable dislike. Since Sepang, Rossi has been consumed by hatred of Márquez. Márquez, in turn, was hurt and angered by Rossi's comments in the press conference in Sepang, and distressed by the opprobrium which has been heaped upon him since Rossi turned his sights upon him.

Márquez had suffered under the weight of all that hatred, and had wanted to return to at least some kind of cordiality in the relationship, though he had no illusions – and probably no desire – to rekindle any kind of friendship. Rossi, though, had been implacable. When the two men encountered each other waiting in corridors to go into press conferences, or when they had to share a podium, Márquez kept his distance, and Rossi would not even look at Márquez, he blanked him completely.

That changed a little in parc fermé. Marc Márquez came over to Rossi to offer his hand, and for the first time since Sepang, Rossi accepted it. There was an acknowledgement that the current situation was untenable, but the reconciliation is far more practical than anything else. When asked about this in the press conference, Rossi answered, "last night I think that we need to stay quiet, to stay relaxed, because it’s a great sport. This is a great sport, it’s our passion, but it’s also dangerous. So I think a normal behavior and normal feeling with the other riders is also helpful for stay more quiet and stay more concentrated."

No mention of forgiveness, but things are too far gone for that now. Rossi's hatred of Márquez is undiminished, but he is prepared to come to an accommodation, a coexistence with the Spaniard. His energy can go into his racing, for though a healthy hatred of rivals can help to motivate a rider, they have to be careful not to let it consume them. This is the point which Rossi seems to have reached. It will only make him more competitive.

A Honda revival of sorts

For the second race in a row, there were two Hondas in the top four, and at Barcelona, there were two Repsol Hondas on the podium. The factory Hondas have made a step forward since the beginning of the season. In Qatar, the Yamahas had been walking away from the Hondas, and Maverick Viñales had done the same on the Suzuki in Argentina, Cal Crutchlow pointed out. At Montmelo, Viñales was having to try everything he could to try to pass Dani Pedrosa, because Pedrosa was once again fast on the Honda.

Where had the improvement come from? Márquez told the press conference that the only change was an improvement in the electronics, as HRC start to get to grips with the common software. Pedrosa admitted he had more changes than just electronics. "I advanced my testing, so I really did already some tests in the weekend with the parts we have for Monday," Pedrosa told the press conference. "This is because also it’s for me more interesting testing in a race weekend than in only a test day. Normally Mondays the grip is very good, after doing race pace you have more rhythm and lap times sometimes come even better, so it’s not only related to the improvements. So testing on the weekend on the race against the other riders in the race pace, it’s also sometimes very interesting."

The choice had been the right one for Pedrosa. Though this was his second podium of the season, the first one had come in Argentina, where the compulsory pit stop had confused the situation. Pedrosa had earned this podium in a straight fight, choosing the medium rear tire where the others used the hard, and holding off attacks from Maverick Viñales. Pedrosa's season is getting back on track, the podium coming after three straight fourth places. If Honda have a better solution to creating rear grip and acceleration at the test on Monday, then Pedrosa could soon well be a force again.

A gripping dilemma

Rear grip is what cost Maverick Viñales any chance of a podium. The Suzuki GSX-RR is a strong bike in the cool of the morning, when there is plenty of grip. But at tracks like Barcelona, when the afternoon heat robs all remaining grip from the track, the bike is only strong for the first few laps. Once the tires go off, that's it, Viñales said after the race. "When the bike has grip, like yesterday in the morning, in the first laps with a new tire, I can do incredible things. But then when the grip went down, I started to struggle with the bike," he said.

It is a constant lament, and a complaint he has had since the beginning of his time at Suzuki. It is also, perhaps, one of the reasons Viñales is leaving. Suzuki have done an incredible job to develop the GSX-RR, but this issue has remained unchanged. Whether this is the result of a design compromise or a fixable problem remains to be seen. The front of the GSX-RR is unbelievable, Viñales told us on Saturday. But the rear simply lacked grip.

Pol Espargaro solved his grip problems by going for the medium tires, both front and rear. It proved to be a smart choice, as he was quicker than Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha, and capable of staying with Andrea Iannone on the factory Ducati until Iannone took Lorenzo out. It had been a risk, Espargaro acknowledged, but one worth taking. He had been fast in the early part of the race, then just concentrated on nursing his tires home. With his tires gone, he probably lost an extra ten seconds to the leaders.

Cal Crutchlow found himself in a similar boat. Sixth place as a good finish in what has been a tough year, but it was a finish, and it was ten points. Crutchlow was buoyed by the improvement of the Repsol Hondas, though he had no expectation of receiving too many updates from the factory soon. However, if the improvement is coming from the electronics, as Marc Márquez says, then it should be relatively simple to make that available to all the satellite Hondas. That would be especially important to the Marc VDS riders, Jack Miller and Tito Rabat. It would be good for Honda too, putting the satellite bikes a little closer to the fight at the front.

Less can be more

Perhaps the most remarkable performance of the day came from Alvaro Bautista, for once benefiting from the Aprilia's weakest point. Paddock rumor puts the RS-GP's power figures at around 245 hp. That is probably 20hp or more down on the factory Yamahas, and well over 30hp down on the factory Ducatis. When tire wear becomes an issue, having less horsepower at the rear wheel reduces the stresses on the rear tire, and Bautista took advantage of that superbly. On lap 10, he was around a second a lap slower than the riders in the battle for fifth place. Ten laps later, he was a second a lap quicker than them.

Finishing eighth is an outstanding result for both Bautista and Aprilia, but it is also a clear sign of what Aprilia have got left to do. For the past couple of weeks, Bautista and Stefan Bradl had expressed hopes of seeing a new, much more powerful engine at the race track, but so far, that has failed to materialize. There are rumors of reliability problems with the new engine, and until that can be fixed, Bautista and Bradl will struggle. Given that the bike handles well, though, more power could make the bike look a lot more attractive for 2017.

The black sheep

With Rossi winning, Márquez in second, and Lorenzo struggling with his tires, the championship would have tightened up considerably. But Andrea Iannone taking Lorenzo out in Turn 10 made a much bigger difference. Iannone was penalized for the incident, and will have to start from the back of the grid at Assen. Viewed in isolation, that is a rather harsh punishment for what was basically a silly mistake, but given Iannone's previous incidents this year, especially in taking out his teammate in Argentina, Race Direction imposed a stiffer penalty upon him.

It was not stiff enough for some people. Unsurprisingly and understandably, Jorge Lorenzo said he felt Iannone deserved a race ban. Not so much for the incident, as to teach Iannone a lesson. "In soccer, you get a red card," he told reporters. He referred once again back to his own race ban back in the 250 days, which gave him time to think and consider his crimes. That would be the only lesson which might actually sink in.

What had irked Lorenzo the most was that the first thing that Iannone had said to him after the crash was to ask if there had been some kind of problem with Lorenzo's bike. He had not expected Lorenzo to brake the way he did, and so he found himself closing too quickly. That was why Iannone felt he had done nothing wrong, the Italian saying he had braked at precisely the same point as in previous laps.

Small mistake, big consequences

Pol Espargaro, sitting behind Iannone for most of the race, had a front row view of the incident, and confirmed what Iannone said. "We have to say for sure that Iannone didn’t brake late. Iannone braked in the same place," he told me. "It was not a crazy line, he was on the correct line when he hit Lorenzo," Espargaro affirmed.

The problem was that Lorenzo was struggling with the front tire, and having to brake much harder for the corner than normal. "Jorge had for sure some problems with the front tire," Espargaro said. "I don’t know why but he was not carrying his speed as his usual. His initial stop is okay but then when he have to release the brake, he hold it for too long." That meant that Iannone found Lorenzo in a place he had not expected to find him, and had hit him and taken him down.

That was no excuse for hitting Lorenzo, Espargaro was keen to point out. "It’s same as the cars when you are driving on the street. The one who is behind is always at fault." What Iannone would have done, was the general consensus among several riders and team managers, is go to the outside of the corner, not the inside. Valentino Rossi explained during the press conference, "Maybe what Iannone can do is try to go on the outside more than on the inside, because you arrive in one moment that you have to understand that you don’t stop and you have to try to go on the outside." If he had done that, Iannone may have ended up crashing, but he would not have taken Lorenzo out in the process.

Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi agreed with that assessment. "When you are on the highway, and someone put on the brakes and you hit him, it's your fault," Tardozzi said. It was a small mistake by Iannone with big consequences. But it was not like Iannone's other incident, at Argentina. That had been a major error of judgment, Tardozzi told us. This was a small mistake which anyone could make. But it could have been avoided if Iannone had gone outside instead of inside.

Perhaps Iannone's biggest error is the fact that he had plenty of time to attempt a pass somewhere else. He could even have run wide, and still caught and passed Lorenzo again. Iannone was seven tenths a lap quicker than Lorenzo on the lap before the incident. "We were catching Lorenzo so fast, in three laps we were with him," Pol Espargaro said. The issue was that Iannone had been here before, rather too many times. "He didn't make a crazy thing like Argentina," Espargaro said. "The problem is, he made this many times."

Moto2 & Moto3

There was plenty of spectacle in the junior classes as well. In Moto2, Johann Zarco and Alex Rins made a break from the field, both determined to win and dedicate the victory to Luis Salom, a rider they both knew well. Rins held the upper hand until late in the race, when Zarco should just how much he had been holding back. Though Rins could do nothing to stop the Frenchman, he was content to take second and the lead back in the championship, after Sam Lowes struggled to a sixth place finish.

Moto3 was the kind of barn burner we have come to expect from the class. A group with the best riders on the day made a break, with Jorge Navarro looking strong, and Brad Binder looking in control. But Binder ran into Gabriel Rodrigo, who, while riding brilliantly, was not quite completely in control. Rodrigo ran in too hot to the new chicane, clipped Binder's wheel, and pushed him way off line.

Binder was luck not to crash, though he bristled at the suggestion that it was luck which kept him upright, having worked hard to save the potential crash, then finish second. He was right to be offended that luck had anything to do with it. "This result is like a win," he said. "It was the best I could do after what happened with Rodrigo."

Jorge Navarro took victory, though, his first in Moto3, and a race win which has been a long time coming. Navarro is one of the few riders who have kept Binder honest, and prevented him from running away with the championship. Usually what happens when a rider gets one win, is that it opens up the floodgates to more. Though Binder has a very comfortable 44 point lead in the championship over Navarro, there is plenty of time for the Spaniard to start clawing points back.


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Total votes: 147
Total votes: 117

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Comments

Even if he had to drop back later on, it was great to see him getting properly stuck in at the start of the race.

Total votes: 114

You can say that. It's amazing how the switch to Michelin changed the order in the Yamaha garage. Vale seems to have the upper hand at this point of the season although the standings tell a different story. Jorge is still strong, but Vale has improved alot. If I'm not mistaken Jorge took 4 wins in a row this time last year. And then there is the improvement in qualifying for Vale. Things seem alot more equal this year between the top 3.

DeScheep 

Total votes: 120

It was at this time last year that Jorge had won four in a row, while simultaneously setting the current record for most consecutive laps lead in MotoGP history by maintaining the lead for the entirety of each race. It was the definition of dominance. The change in competitive advantages year-over-year has definitely been dramatic. 

Total votes: 105

I mentioned this last year when it was announced of the switch to Michelin. Knowing their characteristic is a huge advantage as they are known to be......unforgiving. What surprises me is that MM and JLo haven't been off more. 

Remember that only Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo have raced on Michelins. And Lorenzo only one season at that. I'm sure he was dreading the switch when he recalled how many times he was sent into orbit in 2008. 

Not a surprise at all. Just a surprise JLo and MM haven't been on the deck more. Still a lot of races left for that though....

Total votes: 132

Both Yamahas have had 2 dnfs, one their own fault and one out of their control. Yet Lorenzo is ahead in the standings. So who has the upper hand?

Short memories, again. Assen will be more like Le Mans than Barcelona, let's see if anyone remembers the reason Rossi was fast last Sunday.

Total votes: 126

The difference between Vale and Jorge has once again gone back to round 1. Identical results bar Qatar. 

Its gonna be a fun year. 

Total votes: 114

I think the sense that this year may favor Rossi is driven by the same reasoning that informed last year's analysis: Lorenzo is fastest when everything lines up in his favor, and Rossi tends to excel when the riders are forced to adapt and improvise. With the switch to spec ECUs and Michelins this year, we've already seen a lot of variability in performance from track to track. If the steep learning curve persists for the remainder of the season, I don't think it's really a stretch to say that the need to continually revise one's tactics and riding style would play more to Rossi's strengths than Lorenzo's. 

Total votes: 106

Not sure if Rossi excels when required to adapt and improvise, but he's certainly a lot better at it than Lorenzo so when they're both on the same bike the differences become obvious.  Though that's simply a function of Lorenzos smooth riding style which requires a bike that allows it.  Presented with tyres going off and/or a bike with handling gliches he can no longer remain smooth.  The one of the top riders that I'd say excels in that situation is Marquez, and in the past Stoner.  Would love to see what Marquez could do on the Ducati, but instead we're going to see Lorenzo which could well be a disaster for him.

 

As far as the championship goes this year.  With the improvements Honda has been making recently, plus the ability to improve further and with the position of Marquez in the last two races (very close to two wins - one he was unlucky not to get, the last he would have been lucky to get) I'd say he's the best placed.  Of course one DNF changes it all and given recent history there's going to be more.

Total votes: 105

...the anymosity? Can you explain what's behind your reasoning? I understand that in these times of culture supported by high technology we tend to develop the attention span and the memory of a fly... but! : why should we forget Rossi's performance last Sunday? It's easy to remember that he is an incredibly skilled rider in almost any given conditions... so what's your point?

On a fun note: Italian commentators are making jokes about VR. They say that he should be reported for felony, as he obviously carries a fake passport with a fake date of birth.... he cannot be 37! He lied about his age. On Sunday he looked 24...smiley

Total votes: 106

I dont think they'll ever be friends again, but it is good if they can at least be civil. MotoGP can do without football-like hooliganism.

Now I hope HRC find enough improvent to allow MM to remain in fighting form and regain some initiative. Yamaha have been a clear step ahead once the european rounds began.

Total votes: 125

The Honda might have improved, but it was still slow along the straight.  Rossi was taking tenths out of MM on laps where MM couldn't slipstream.  MM was making it up through the braking and handling sections though.  It's almost a complete role reversal of 3 years ago.

Total votes: 93

Márquez was no match for Rossi. Who would have thought, back in 2014, when Márquez won the first 10 races, that this would be the case in 2016? It's quite astonishing.

Total votes: 140

Iannone was already punished for his run-in with Dovisioso.  For that to be taken into account and him being given a greater punishment here is wrong.  He's being punished twice for the same offense.  Race direction has it out for Iannone, rightly or wrongly.

Total votes: 148

Iannone was punished for a boneheaded move that took out a competitor earlier in the season, and then punished again for another stupid mistake that took out another competitor in this last race.

Whether or not the mistake in the last race was less egregious than the first is mute.  The point is he's not learning how to be more cautious and prevent himself from taking out other riders so Race Direction is trying to help him learn by penalizing him. 

The only vendetta here is to try to stop the crashing. 

Total votes: 134

"Whether or not the mistake in the last race was less egregious than the first is mute."

Actually it's not a moot point.  He was punished for the first mistake already.  The last corner of the last lap fighting for a podium postion mistake he made.  If that particular pass had played out well for Iannone then he'd be on the factory Ducati next year, not Dovi.  It's as simple as that.  In this case race direction agreed with Iannone's data and the fact that he was caught out by Lorenzo's lack of speed through that corner, but they punished him anyway when taking the first incident into account.  If this had been any other rider then they would not have been punished; it would have been a racing incident.  They punished Iannone solely because he has a "history" - that's not right.  I remember when the penalty points system was in place Mike Webb was quoted as saying that he would not likely penalize riders for hard moves on the last lap or the last corner, but that's exactly what he did to Iannone, and now he's extending that penalty to a racing incident as well.  If you want to teach him a lesson on the first one, fine.  On this one what is the lesson - don't follow too closely?  This is top level racing, not a track day.

Total votes: 128

Iannone was indeed handed a three-place grid penalty plus a penalty point, for collecting Doviziso in Argentina.  Seems as though that was not enough to remind him so a little bit more serious penalty this time was evidently considered the correct decision by the management. This is, I believe, like progressive discipline (where penalties increase upon repeat occurrences) models.
 
But this particular case, I submit, it was not even the same offense (though same result knocking another rider who was well clear head).  One could say that Iannone was racing for the win in Argentina and pushed it just too far.  In Spain, Iannone was catching Jorge at a very rapid rate and would certainly, at that pace and with that many race laps left, have been able to pass safely.
 
And, I have to admit, his position of "I braked at the same spot as the lap before" sort of misses out upon the point that there was not another rider on the track at that same spot on the prior lap.
 
 
Total votes: 124

So the previous lap through the same corner Iannone braked at the same point and didn't hit Lorenzo, but on that lap he braked at the same point and did hit Lorenzo.  So one lap later Iannone should have anticipated Lorenzo would be that much slower?  He applied quite a bit of brake - you don't lift the rear wheel at that point in the corner without good reason.  He never meant to pass Lorenzo there; Lorenzo was simply much slower than he was on the last lap and that caught Iannone out.  Was he keeping the gap close to line up a pass soon thereafter?  Sure.  Again, this is racing, not a track day.  Espargaro said that Lorenzo looked to have applied the brakes at the normal point but seemed to hold them longer.  I'm not sure how Iannone could have anticipated that.  He was on the line and on the pace, Lorenzo dropped pace but stayed on the line.  I'm not saying Lorenzo is at fault, but this is a racing incident pure and simple, and Iannone is being punished for it.  No one else would be.

Total votes: 105

Lorenzo was already turning in. Something that no one is mentioning is that Pol says he could see Lorenzo was braking harder for longer but Iannone couldn't see the difference and corrected his line? He was closing extremely quickly before he decided to head straight for where Lorenzo was. 

It isn't uncommon to see riders fly by the outside of someone or let the brakes off and fly past the inside and wide. 

I don't think there was any intent to any of it. It was a mistake from Iannone, just a really stupid one. 

Total votes: 108

I do believe as well that it was Iannone's error.  A horrid result from it I think was the factor behind the penalty.  Knocking off the world champion and points leader is probably didn't help much his defense.

Total votes: 99

I wonder if Ducati and Yamaha will ever release the data from the crash(es)?

Ducati has signed Lorenzo for next year, so why should they excuse Iannone and perhaps put JL in bad lighting if he actually did brake earlier/more/??

Yamaha have lost the championship lead, and have no obligations towards Iannone, so they probably won't mind "throwing him under the bus".

Total votes: 105

...besides the terrible tragedy of Luis Salom death. No words can ever be good enough for the loss of a life.
Thank you for the write up, as usual.
Brilliant performance from VR which makes even more annoying the engine failure in Mugello: he really has his mojo going. He is strong focused fast if it comes down to a few points in Valencia....well, that would be a big shame. As for the handshake : I got the impression that HE made the move David.... but you're saying that MM was offering his hand "initiating" contact. I wasn't there. I just saw the images. From that angle it was more like VR going towards MM and grabbing his hand with both hands. I know it's a detail..... but you know what they say about details:)
I believe VR when he says that in trying to find some sleep the previous night he thought it's better and healthier to rid oneself of negative energy/thoughts and just concentrate on the race. The handshake was more a spur of the moment thing spontaneous and good for everyone. It takes some bitterness off. IMO the bad blood is still running deep down.
Now leading, if MM keeps on the great - and savvy when needed - performances the championship is for him to lose. It's interesting to see that he keeps the almost kamikaze moves just for FP and Quali (the way he punted Barbera... ouch ! )
I agree Iannone made a very silly mistake that cost dearly. And I guess that given the JL state of mind he should have avoided asking whether he had a technical problem.... for JL it must have been like adding insult to the injury ! It's quite amazing though to see JL almost helpless with low grip conditions.... I guess he'll soon become the main advocate for climate change! Jokes aside do you think he can overcome this handycap anytime soon?
Back to Iannone: I think people have been too harsh on him in this specific instance, this was more like the final straw. I would put some blame on Ducati management: last year Iannone finished in great form combative but not dangerous very promising and the the whole circus around Stoner and Lorenzo just put the two Andreas in a dark place. I'm not saying that it justifies yesterday's crash. But you can sense that since the JL presence hovering in that garage both riders have lost their edge. I'm surprised that MV's way too aggressive moves yesterday were not much commented: I think Brivio should give him a pep talk. He was unable to make clean passes and make them stick and instead of trying to find a different strategy he would obstinately do it again and again.... I thought he was going to take down first Pedrosa then Lorenzo!
Quick question: will you be reporting about the Yamaha private test scheduled for tomorrow? Or being private by definition reporters are not allowed?
Thank you for your great reporting

Total votes: 126

"As for the handshake : I got the impression that HE made the move David.... but you're saying that MM was offering his hand "initiating" contact. I wasn't there. I just saw the images. From that angle it was more like VR going towards MM and grabbing his hand with both hands. I know it's a detail..... but you know what they say about details:)"

The camera is on Rossi at the time (1:10:30 in the MotoGP Race video on their website), but it appears Rossi's attention is caught by Marquez, and then Rossi reacts by shaking hands and congratulating MM93. True, nothing definitive on video, but my impression is that Marquez initiates what is hopefully the first step toward detente.

Total votes: 99

Yes VR badly translates tranquillo which means calm with the word quiet.... which in italian would be quieto a word for serene and/or silent and/or not moving
My guess is that as the English expression "all is quiet...." is translated with the Italian "tutto è tranquillo...." then we wrongly use it when saying Sono tranquillo.... with I'm quiet.

Total votes: 111

A number of the spanish and italian riders also use the word quiet for calm, Marc and Jorge included.

There are other words Rossi and others mis-use (Rossi has trouble with the word "seriously", and always says "Sicily" for example), but i guess you have to remember that English is not their native language; and it's generally reasonably easy to work out what they mean via context.

 

 

Total votes: 106

I don't think Rossi struggles with the word "seriously", I think he uses the word "sincerely". He starts sentences with it a lot, in place of where a native English speaker may say "honestly". Eg; "Sincerely, I did not expect this, I 'ad to poooosh very 'ard on the lasta lap"

Total votes: 101

In Spanish (Italian is probably similar, but I'm not familiar) the word that Marc is most likely trying to translate is "tranquilo" which has both "calm" and "quiet" connotations, depending on the context. 

Total votes: 109

Yes, that's what they mean.  I'm Spanish and can easily see why they're saying it that way.  "Quiet" means calm in Spanish.  From another posting I  see that it's the same in Italian.

Total votes: 109

1. It looked to me that MM93 saved that front end washout on his elbow. Not his knee. Watch it a few more times and you can see the leathers around his arm take a beating. 

2. I swear i saw VR46 make the move to MM93 to shake hands at Parke Ferme  

3. JL99's line i to turn 10 was way off. I can completely understand how AI29 took him out  not condoning it, just understandable  

4. Maverick is a fighter - i love it  but he was very erratic  is thT due to tires? I don't know as i have only seen a lot of video of him from being at the sharp end twice  

 

Total votes: 130

I think (after watching Marquez and Rossi closely in parc ferme and in the press conference), that time is a healer and that bridges were re-built in the wake of tragedy.

I think that Marquez built the the bridge by offering his hand to Rossi. I've read that Rossi wants Lorenzo to do the same.

It's like something out of a 'Godfather' movie, but it is what it is - Rossi says that he'll now 'try' to attend the Safety Commission meetings that he's deliberately missed since Sepang, so everyone will now kneel and once again kiss the hand of the 'Don'. 

The end of a truely sickening weekend.

Total votes: 123

Loved the race and nice to see the MotoGP family honoring Luis Salom. Very touching.

Did Maverick lose track of the race laps? I thought I saw Yonny shoot by him at one point while Mav was slowing down or was that the end of the race? Mav came across the line WAY behind Dani.

Total votes: 105

Viñales did not lose track of the laps, but he was suffering more and more with a lack of rear grip. It's the Suzuki's biggest problem, and means they fade a lot towards the end of the race.

Total votes: 110

As I expected, the Bologna outfit would regress once they hit the heartland of GP (Europe). Iannone's sanction was a bit harsh, but is fair enough given his propensity as a serial offender circa 2016. He can and should take it as a positive. The plus for him heading into Assen is that he does not have to worry about qualifying and his grid slot so he can focus entirely on race pace Friday through Sunday warm up.

Happily no injury to him nor Lorenzo. Lorenzo has got to be a bit worried about his Ducati signing right now. I listened to Colin Edwards prior to the race and he summed it up pretty sensibly re- the manufcturer's, the Yamaha is great as an all round tool at a flowing circuit, the Honda is great on a stop/go circuit and the Ducati is the best  given enough of a dragstrip. I don't expect Lorenzo to have an easy time with the red bike next year. Dovi manages it well, but thats about all he can do with it.

Great run by Aprilia. Suzuki have caught up a lot quicker than expected.

Niceties between Vale and Marc were what they were, great performance by Rossi and equally smart savvy settle for the CH lead by Marquez. Much talk about HRC adapting to electronics. At the same time I hear much talk about HRC'S revised exhaust system playing a major role.

Great racing all round through all classes.

Salom's passing was tragic, but I do have one question.

Should a rider die during any practise, qually session or race, does the family have the call as to whether the event goes ahead as scheduled or not?

Is there any particular rule governing such regrettable incidents?

Where does the FIM stand on this topic?

At risk of sounding callous in the extreme, I do not know to this day why the Sepang GP 2011 was suspended after the Marco Simoncelli tragedy. There were no safety issues involved.

No offence, just asking.

Total votes: 99

Sepang 2011 was suspended because it took a long time to ascertain what Simoncelli's condition was. If I recall correctly, they had him in the medical center for a long time, trying to revive him and get him stable enough to transport him to hospital. That meant keeping the medical helicopter ready to go, and so preventing them from restarting the race. As the Sepang MotoGP race starts at 4pm, and sunset is between 6 and 7pm at that time in Malaysia, there was not enough daylight left to restart the race and run it safely.

Of course, that leaves aside the question of whether they had wanted to restart. Obviously, Simoncelli's father Paolo was at the circuit, and so first of all, they would have asked him for permission to continue. Then they would have had a meeting with all the riders, to ask if they wanted to continue. Only then would a restart be possible. 

At Misano, Tomizawa was transported to a local hospital, and was still being treated when the MotoGP race started. He was only officially declared dead after the MotoGP race had started. The riders only learned about his death once they returned to the pits after the race had finished.

Also worth bearing in mind that Luis Salom was killed in the last session of practice on Friday. If he had been killed in FP1 rather than FP2, then the afternoon would have been canceled, and a decision taken to continue after that. It is a little harsh to say, but the moment at which these incidents happen makes a difference.

Total votes: 114

... could've clung to Rossi yesterday. And cling he did, in the most exciting way possible; basically maintaining a controlled-crash for two laps. It was truly thrilling to watch, and quite a contrast, Rossi looking like he was cruising home from the pub, while Marc looked like a one-man Hollywood action scene!

Total votes: 136

Now that I've rewatched the Dorna feed, it felt like Nick Harris had known beforehand that they will do a handshake. And he didn't even sound surprised. I can't remember the last time he made hints like this, but taking his comments on parc ferme (and his voice tones) into consideration, I feel that this act may have been a preplanned event. What do I know though, it could just be my own fallacy wink

Total votes: 110

I don't think it matters whether it was planned or not, it's been long overdue and needed doing. Perhaps we can now begin to move on. For me at least this silly, childish squabble has taken a lot of the pleasure out of motogp since sepang, to the extent that I've been close to quitting as a spectator and follower. I hope all three of them now find a way back to respectful rivalry rather than hatred. I appreciate that stuff like this happens in families but it would be a great shame for Valentino to be remembered for his petulance as much as his performance, particularly as he's riding now like he rode 15 years ago and could genuinely earn that elusive 10th title this year.

Total votes: 118

I thought the same thing when I saw Carmelo E watching it happen from the corner. or at least it looked like him. Speaking of which, every time I hear a racer say,"...good for the show", it makes me wonder how much preplanning is going on behind the scenes for our entertainment. I still remember 2012 when Carmelo said that VR will be on a competitive bike in 2013 when Ben Spies was still riding the Yamaha. Shortly afterwards, BS11 started having weird problems with the M1. & while I am not into conspiracy theories, I'm sure things go on behind the scenes that the public will never know. 

http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/181272/1/rossi-ezpeleta-knows-more-than...

Total votes: 107

Carmelo always has a knowing look on his face, it's his way of hiding how stressed he is. Contract negotiations start a long time before anyone not involved even gets a sniff of them. Ben Spies wasn't lighting the world on fire before or after anything about Rossi's return to Yamaha was announced. 

MotoGP is entertainment, a particularly exciting race is good for MotoGP, therefore good for the show. 

Dorna, or whoever, trying to influence where or how a rider ends up somewhere is very, very different to MotoGP being some kind of WWE fallacy. 

Total votes: 113

I, too, saw Rossi move to Marquez in Ferme Park. The race was over and I was only paying half attention at the time when, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw Rossi and Marquez shaking hands on TV. I thought This is weird, and replayed it a few times. Maybe it was different in person, but I saw Rossi move toward Marquez first. And I loved the giant grin on Marquez's face. I mean, it's always there, but it seemed even bigger during the handshake.

Maybe it's just Rossi trying to get back the Marquez-related business his T-shirt company lost. I'd put a laughing emoji here if I didn't think they're so stupid. (OMG! the post directly above wasn't there when I originally wrote this! No offense intended! It was just another attempt at humor gone horribly wrong...in a completely new and unexpected way.)

And I was just thinking God, he's really going slow when BAM! Iannone torpedoed Lorenzo. Quite honestly, it was very much like what Lorenzo had done to Vinales (I think it was Vinales? Could it have been Rossi?) a few laps earlier, when Lorenzo slammed the door shut while Vinales/Rossi/Whoever It Was was trying to pass.

It's just that, this time, Lorenzo wasn't anywhere near as fast and, instead of being far enough ahead to cut across and make Iannone sit up and run wide the way Vinales/Rossi/Whoever It Was was able to, Lorenzo could only manage to get his bike in Iannone's way. Which had an entirely predictable result. Go back and watch what happened: Lorenzo was going wierdly slow, on a weird line, and initiated a turn that cut across Iannone's line, then Iannone made contact.

It was a crushing blow, but Lorenzo really needs to take a chill pill. It's not like Iannone wouldn't have made the corner without Lorenzo to use as a berm. Iannone would have gone around the corner exactly as he had every lap previously. Lorenzo seemed like he was pretty pissed off about one thing or another all weekend. Kinda like he does every race weekend, seems to me....

Total votes: 117

my favorite thing about the handshake was the crowd reaction. applause. wonderful.

Total votes: 109

...even in Spanish land there are more VR supporters? smiley sorry, I couldn't help it, being Italian and all...

But sincerely, i mean, but seriously, I feel that fair play has no flag nor passport. 

Total votes: 118

Dani called Maveric's riding "crazy during the initial laps". I am surprised there is no mention of that any where at all.

Looks like next season MV will be the MotoGP equivalent of Lorenzo on 250 or the Ianonne substitute for taking others out.

Total votes: 101

I got the impression Pedrosa meant that MV25 was trying many times to pass, not that Vinales was riding dangerously.

To my eye, Vinales seemed to take a line too far to the inside, almost giving the other rider too much respect/space. It put MV25 on such a tight line that he couldn't brake enough. Perhaps being a little ahead of the rider he's overtaking and closer to him would've afforded him a wider arc into the curve and the room he needed to keep the line.

Total votes: 91

How can you say Lorenzo was going slow?  if you watch him in the braking zone, his rear wheel is hopping off the ground under brakes.... that doesnt happen unless you are braking really hard.  Lorenzo is quite smooth and it never looks like he is struggling to get a bike stopped, yet when you look at Marquez you always wonder how he did get it stopped.

Total votes: 112

It's really visible from any video angle that JL is slow. Sure you can see he brakes harder, but he also brakes longer, resulting in slow speed.

Total votes: 110

... because objectively, he was being reeled in by about 0.7 seconds per lap at that point.

At this level, this year, with this level of competition, that's huge.

 

Total votes: 100

"Paddock rumor puts the RS-GP’s power figures at around 245 hp. That is probably 20hp or more down on the factory Yamahas, and well over 30hp down on the factory Ducatis."

How about the other factory machine?

Total votes: 112

I'd bet that Rossi had been looking for the right opportunity to do the public reconcilliation. To maintain that level of hate and to purposely ignore someone takes effort, and at his age he needs all his energy for racing. And I suppose to continue that cynical vein, Rossi also knows that he may need Marquez' help this year to beat Lorenzo, like he needed (and didn't get) last year. The difference between fondness and hate can make a big difference on the track in the nano-seconds decisions are made.

Total votes: 106

I said it before but my comment never surfaced, it looked to  me like Lorenzo was aufully slow compared to what is expected from "Mr CornerSpeed" himself, it looked *almost like he brake-checked Ianone a little bit. Of course Ianone has two eyes... he should have noticed, but without going as far as saying Lorenzo's fault, definitively it's not 100% Ianone, the root cause of the incident was the diferent speed/line Lorenzo was "experimenting" (his own words) in order to try to overcome the tyre problem.

I can almost understand why Ianone asked if there was something wrong with the bike, but given the precedent, Ianone looks guilty even before the trial started.

Total votes: 98

Step 1:  do not ride into obstacles or other riders in front of you.  Doesn't really matter why Jorge was slow.  He was.   It was obvious, and his pit board would have told him that.

 

#29 did not take that into account and just carried on riding as he normally would.  that was a mistake at best, and reckless and irresponsible if you ask me.

Total votes: 107