2016 Misano MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: Daniel in the Lion's Den

There are few more intimidating atmospheres in motorcycle racing than the MotoGP race at Misano. Unless, of course, you are from what the regional government refer to as Motor Valley, the area which stretches from the Adriatic coast and the up the Po valley towards Milan. The fans are fiery, passionate, and vocal. If you are not a local, to come here and race is to enter the lion's den.

The irony is that since 2010, Spaniards have won every MotoGP race held in Italy, with the exception of the 2014 race at Misano, which was won by Valentino Rossi. The enemy has come into the heart of Italy, and left victorious. It is a grave wound to Italian pride.

For the second time this year, it looked for a long time that Valentino Rossi would heal that wound. At Mugello, it was Yamaha who broke the hearts of Italian fans, after turning up the revs on the Yamaha M1 just a little too far, and causing the engine to detonate, leaving Rossi dejected at the side of the track. At Misano, Rossi took the lead with a firm pass, exploiting a minor mistake by Lorenzo and diving through the barn-door sized opening Lorenzo had left on the inside of Turn 14. There would be fall out from that pass, but not until the press conference.

Snatched from the jaws of victory

Rossi soon opened a gap, and was storming to glory in front of the massed yellow army which came to Sunday worship at Misano. The Movistar Yamaha rider was moving away a tenth of a second at a time, inching closer to victory. More importantly, Marc Márquez was struggling to find a way past Jorge Lorenzo, handing Rossi a healthy chunk of points in the championship. Victory beckoned on two fronts: a win at his home circuit, and closing the gap in the title chase.

When Dani Pedrosa passed Marc Márquez, that put Rossi in an even stronger position. It left Márquez worried. "If Dani had a good day maybe he can finish second or third, between me and Valentino," Márquez said after the race. But that was not to be. "[Dani]had a really good day and won the race in an incredible way," Márquez said.

And it truly was an incredible performance from Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard had shown strong pace in practice, but had suffered in qualifying, ending up eighth on the grid. A superb start put him into sixth after the first corner complex, directly behind his teammate Márquez. When Márquez got past Andrea Dovizioso, Pedrosa got a little stuck behind the Ducati, steadily losing ground to the leaders. Once past, he gathered his breath, and embarked upon his charge.

Faster

He won the race with outright pace. He was consistently faster than the riders ahead of him, converting them into riders behind him in the process. He lapped under the previous lap record, gaining a total of 4.6 second on Valentino Rossi, passing Márquez, Lorenzo, and finally Rossi in the process. The pass on Rossi was the signal for some fans in the Rossi grandstands to pack their bags and leave. But that left Pedrosa cold. He celebrated his return from the wilderness with abandon. It has been a long, hard season since Sepang last year.

To the outside world, it may seem that Pedrosa's win came out of nowhere. In reality, Pedrosa has been making solid progress since Brno. It was there that the Repsol Honda rider went back to basics, running through everything tested and finding a base set up. They found a setting which gave Pedrosa an idea of what was working with the tires, though it was not ideal, and decided to stick with that. "Then we didn't touch it for the next race and try to see how I can understand better the tires. So little by little I start to feel in Silverstone how to ride better the tire. Here also a little bit more."

Pedrosa's decision to stick with a set up which half worked and figure the rest out is illustrative of just how easy it is for riders and their teams to lose themselves down the rabbit hole in pursuit of the perfect set up. When something as major as tires change, it can take a while looking for the right baseline. If riders and their teams spend their team looking for the right feeling from the bike, they can forget the basics of motorcycle racing: you have to understand how the tires behave, and you have to understand how the bike behaves. Only once you have that understanding can you start to chase improvements.

At Brno, Pedrosa made first contact with the tires. At Silverstone, he worked on his understanding of the tires. At Misano, he plucked the fruits of that hard graft, winning his first race of the season, and extending his run of fifteen consecutive seasons Pedrosa has won a race. That puts him level with Valentino Rossi, who won a race every season between 1996 and 2010, and his win total puts him level with Phil Read, at 52 Grand Prix wins all time. Though Honda were delighted with his victory, and that his recent change of approach had paid off so handsomely, some were asking why he had not tried to follow that path at Qatar.

Losing the numbers game

Pedrosa's victory left Valentino Rossi visibly dejected. Rossi had come to Misano to win, and had been cruelly denied. Victory at home meant a lot – "next race is Aragon, his home race, why he doesn't wait?" Rossi joked to BT Sport in parc ferme – and coming second also meant losing valuable points. For the fourth race in a row, Valentino Rossi has finished ahead of Marc Márquez, reducing the gap from 59 to 43 points. Yet after all of those four races, the points per race which Rossi needs to close to Márquez has increased. Rossi needed just over 6.5 points per race after the Sachsenring. He now needs to score 8.6 points per race. Every time Rossi has beaten Márquez, the championship has moved further out of his grasp.

There was nothing Rossi could have done to beat Pedrosa, he admitted. The Repsol Honda rider simply had the better pace. Jorge Lorenzo admitted the same, both Rossi and Pedrosa were simply faster. As for Marc Márquez, he knew he could not match the pace of the podium trio, because he simply could not use the new construction front tires which Michelin had brought to Misano.

Those black and round things

Tires proved to be crucial at Misano, but in a different way to previous years. Most of the grid used the medium front and medium rear, while Dani Pedrosa used the soft front, and Marc Márquez and the two Suzukis used the hard front. In previous seasons, everyone would end up on exactly the same tire combination. That has changed with the switch to Michelins. "Looks like this year with Michelin everybody have to understand the right tire for him, not the right tire in general," Valentino Rossi explained.

That means finding a tire – front or rear – and getting it to work for you. Pedrosa's style is to be smooth and float the bike around the track, letting it go where it will. His size and weight give him no option, and it is a skill which he has mastered. But it leaves him unable to artificially create stress in the tire to try to generate more heat. His size prevents him from moving his weight around as others do, and stressing the tire more.

Marc Márquez, on the other hand, needs a tire which can withstand the heat. He hammers the bike into the corner, braking deep and getting the bike turned on its nose. Michelin's Misano medium was not able to handle the stress, and the hard tire was an older construction that could cope with the heat, but did not have the stability he needed. Braking deep into corners, the tire was still moving, slowing Márquez up.

Still leading, despite losing

Márquez himself was not too disappointed in his pace, though he was disappointed with the result. "My rhythm was really similar to FP4 but the others were able to be even faster," he told us afterwards. Márquez' race pace had looked good enough for a podium during practice, but he missed out in the race.

Even that he did not regard as a disaster. This is one of tracks he had marked on the calendar as having the potential to lose a lot of points. His goal was merely to limit the damage, come away as unscathed as possible, and take the championship fight on to other tracks which would suit him better. "Today, I felt good and I didn't want to throw away 20 points," he said.

Did he worry about being beaten by Valentino Rossi for the last four races in a row? Márquez response was a sarcastic "Ooh, pressure! Pressure!" Part of the job of a journalist is to ask uncomfortable questions. The smart riders throw such questions back in the reporter's face. I felt suitably rebuked.

Petty squabbles

There were more journalist tactics on display in the press conference. A TV commentator asked Rossi and Lorenzo about Rossi's pass on the Spaniard, making a special point of asking Lorenzo for his opinion. The question kicked of a session of bickering between the two teammates, in which Lorenzo accused Rossi of making an unnecessarily aggressive pass, and Rossi disagreeing and accusing Lorenzo of doing the same.

The argument provided some entertainment, but did not lead to much enlightenment. The scene was more reminiscent of two siblings bickering than anything else. Dorna were quick to exploit the tension, releasing the clip to social media immediately. It is a tactic they have been getting better at, but understood fully how they could exploit in the aftermath of Sepang 2015. Controversy generates interest, and interest generates income.

Was Lorenzo right to criticize Rossi for that pass? It did not look particularly harsh from my perspective. Lorenzo left the door wide open, and Rossi could not look a gift horse in the mouth. The pass did require him to claim the apex of the corner, standing Lorenzo up when he turned in and found Rossi in his path. But if Lorenzo had taken a more defensive line, knowing Rossi was behind him, the Italian would have found it much harder to make that move. It was not the kind of move which you might expect between teammates, but Rossi and Lorenzo ceased being teammates a very long time ago. They probably never were.

In essence, the disagreement comes down to a difference in philosophy. Since his move to the MotoGP class, Lorenzo has prided himself on being a clean racer, and only making passes which were there for the taking. Rossi has always been more of a brawler, never afraid to take a chance and try to force an opening, even if it upsets his rivals. Or perhaps I should say, especially if it upsets his rivals.

But Lorenzo is no saint. He has dished out a few hard moves in his time, though not often. Valentino Rossi pointed that out in the press conference, and then immediately undermined his own point by being unable to name a specific example. This is a soap opera which will run and run, and likely intensify when Lorenzo moves to Ducati. When the three main rivals are all on different bikes, there will be no team management trying to contain the friction.

Suzuki opposites

Rossi's future teammate, Maverick Viñales, came home in fifth. Viñales and his Ecstar Suzuki teammate Aleix Espargaro had diametrically opposite issues with the same bike. Viñales struggled with rear grip again, having to burn up the rear tire to help the bike turn. Espargaro chose the hard front tire and came to regret it, spending all race trying to manage the tires. "I was fighting all the time," he said. "I lose the front maybe 20 times until I crash."

Behind Viñales, the first Ducati across the line was Andrea Dovizioso. It was a disappointing result for the Italian factory, especially after they had tested here prior to the race. Dovizioso could not get the bike to turn, the Italian using a lot of energy to try to force the bike through the corners. That meant he could not run the pace at the front, ending the race in sixth. Temporary teammate Michele Pirro – promoted from wildcard to Dovizioso's teammate after Iannone was forced to withdraw with a back injury – had a very solid race, finishing seventh, three seconds behind Dovizioso.

Aprilia making progress?

The Aprilias also had a strong race, for a change. The Italian factory benefited from a private test at the circuit, but it also seems that they are making genuine progress. Alvaro Bautista ended the race in tenth, using a new frame and a different set up they had found at the test. Bautista believed that if he had not been pushed wide by Scott Redding at the start of the race, he could have been even stronger at the end of the race. Stefan Bradl had it tougher, his weekend made overly complicated by losing a chassis in a crash, and having to switch between old chassis and new chassis, and sort out a set up which worked.

More new winners

If there was no glory for Valentino Rossi himself, he could at least bask in the reflected glory of Lorenzo Baldassarri's win in Moto2. The Italian rode a strong race, benefiting from the struggles of others. If Alex Rins had not broken his collarbone before Silverstone, he may have been able to take the win from the Italian, but Baldassarri was strong enough to hold him off.

The leaders also didn't have Sam Lowes and Johann Zarco to contend with. Lowes slid out of the race from the group chasing Rins and Baldassarri. Zarco could not find the pace he had in practice, and which he believed could have brought him victory. Both men suggested tires might have been an issue, with grip in the race feeling very different than during practice.

This is one area where Dunlop hold an advantage over Michelin, and previously over Bridgestone. The intense media focus on MotoGP means that the slightest failing is immediately exposed. Though both Moto2 and Moto3 enjoy a wide following, the fans are less hungry for every single detail. Tire issues may or may not be more of an issue in Moto2 and Moto3, but we do not know, because all of the journalists in the paddock earn their bread and butter from MotoGP, and so they don't have the time to research these stories properly.

Zarco's result does mean that he has lost a lot of ground in the championship. After the race at Austria, his advantage over Alex Rins was 34 points. Three races later, his lead has been cut to just 3 points. The Moto2 championship is far from over.

Title for the taking

The same cannot be said for Moto3. Brad Binder won the opening race with ease, holding off a challenge from Enea Bastianini quite comfortably. His lead is now up to 106 points, an almost insurmountable gap. A second place finish at Aragon will be enough to secure the title before the flyaways, something which would please both the Red Bull Ajo KTM team and the sponsors, and giving them a chance to celebrate and promote it more fully.

That could be the first real pressure that Binder has come under this season. The South African has taken on a swagger which comes from knowing he is invincible, with no one capable of beating him. He needs to hold that confidence in check at Aragon, and not get carried away by it. The title is there for the taking.

The New Golden Era

Dani Pedrosa's win in MotoGP made it eight different winners in a row this season, a feat which has never been seen before. Baldassarri's victory in Moto2 made it 23 winners this season over all three classes, another record. The racing has been close and fascinating, and above all, unpredictable. This is a great time to be watching motorcycle racing. Long may it continue.


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Total votes: 127
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Comments

Those who were saying MM was dangerous due to making hard passes last week are now saying it's part of racing...How things change in a week.

Total votes: 197

This isn't a proper argument because you are putting words in the mouth of others to make them look stupid. No one can know if the very people who defended VRs move yesterday are the same people who complaint about MMs moves last week. So please stop trying to make people look bad if you do not have a single proof or a more detailed explaination or whatever.

Total votes: 165

agreed!
All this generalizing/speculating isn't doing anyone any good.

As a VR fan I thought last week was hard racing, but nothing more. I did not express MM to be dangerous, neither did I think it. When discussing his offtrack excursion behind VR I even defended MM as not having had an advantage. Not every Vale fan only sees yellow, I was delighted to see DP being back up there... even tough that meant for VR not to cut back as many points as he may have wanted. It just would've been nice to see an Aragonesque battle between VR & DP, just for the racing :)

Total votes: 100

That sounds so much more like sour grapes than a comment that is steeped in facts. 

However. last year in Aragon, Dani Pedrosa got the better of Rossi with some of the best close racing seen in a long time. The same at this round as well. No comments or contraversy. Just close and hard racing, the fans recognised this as did the riders. 

MM pursuit of Rossi from Argentina in 2015, the stupidity of copying moves made by Rossi in previous races (Laguna and Assen) are something completely different. On each occasion, it is worth noting, MM has come off worse. 

That is without mentioning T boning his team mate and knocking off his anti wheelie sensor, causing Pedrosa to crash and a number of other "events". 

There is a difference if you care to look. 

Total votes: 108

Talk about sour grapes and lack of facts.  

Rossi was entitled to his line at both Assen and Argentina. MM was too close at Argentina, crashed when Rossi flipped his bike into his front wheel.  That was the only time he has come off worse.  Lost nothing at Assen as he finished in second which is where he was before contact. Marquez had position in 2013 at Laguna, passing Rossi going into the chicane.  Rossi came in and pushed him wide which ended with MM going off track.  MM ended up leaving Rossi behind and winning so I'm not sure how he came off worse.  The fact that he practiced the move in FP is irrelevant to what happened during the race.  But I'm guessing that you didn't have a problem with the move until it was ruled a diabolical evil scheme that Marquez has been planning since he was a child.  And he never T boned Pedrosa to knock off his sensor.  Obviously made contact, but he never even disrupted Pedrosa's line when contact occurred. Honda was penalized for their poor equipment Pedrosa had a much harder touch in 2014 at Catalunya that almost took MM out of the race on the final lap and made Pedrosa lose a position.  

Don't let YOUR fan bias color the facts.  Clean hard racing is clean hard racing, regardless of who does it.  

Total votes: 129

Aleix Espargaro form since Catalunya has been woeful. Just two finishes from six races, and a total of 11 points collected. Whether it's down to being ditched by Suzuki after this season or his mind set is thinking ahead to next season already, I don't know. But in my opinion, I think Suzuki's decision not to retain him has been fully vindicated with this long spell of poor results.

Sure, having a young talent like Maverick alongside can't be easy, but he matched him well last season. This year he's been blown away and looked rather erratic again. No point being fast over a single lap if you can't maintain it over a race. That, and his rather emotional style, has been his main weaknesses. Aprilla's team next season won't lack commitment, but I worry it's going to be a rather expensive year of repair bills for the Italian team.

One last note, it's astonishing to see Binder could wrap up the Moto3 title in Aragon. This has been a truly dominant display this season. He's all set to become the first non European to win a title, since Casey Stoner in 2011! As I mentioned earlier in the season, I really hope Dorna sorts out a South African GP again soon, now that they'll have a soon to be World Champ they can promote.

Total votes: 114

What is funny, is that before Rossi and Lorenzo were asked about Rossi's pass on Lorenzo.......Rossi was asked much earlier in the Q&A about Dani's hard pass on him to take the lead. Rossi, clearly dejected at the loss, said this is racing, pass was hard, but in the last laps, not surprising.  He ended the paragraph stating "For me is OK."  A stark contrast to Lorenzo's statements and both passes were very similar, forcing the passed rider to sit up a bit, and alter their line into the corner.  One rider excepts the beating, the other does not.  This is Rossi's backyard, he lives so close he can walk to Misano.  For him to accept the pass, and the loss, then watch Lorenzo react completely opposite, tells a lot about each rider. 

Total votes: 193

Rossi couldn't help but take a completely uninvited shot at MM, saying that Pedrosa did a Marquez overtake, coming into the corner late, after the lead rider had already turned in.  Yes Rossi does enjoy the hard battling, but not if he comes out second best more than a couple of times.  Which is fine and, I think, necessary to be as successful as these guys are.  They must intensely hate losing.

 

Total votes: 115

Rossi couldn't help but take a completely uninvited shot at MM, saying that Pedrosa did a Marquez overtake,

I'm going to assume that you're referring to Rossi's comments during the post-race presser. If so, I think you misunderstood. From what I could hear, these are Rossi's words: "I don't know what I have to say with him [pointing to Pedrosa], what I have to say with Marquez in Silverstone when he overtake 10 times like this." I take that to mean, "I don't have anything to say to Pedrosa for his hard pass, or to Marquez for his hard passes at Silverstone."

I think you're wrong that Rossi was taking a cheap shot at Marquez. I think he's basically saying, "I get passed hard too but I don't cry about it."

Of course, you may be referring to comments Rossi made elsewhere that I haven't seen.

Total votes: 101

When the race began and the infographic on who was using what tyres popped up, it seemed like the little bit of variation between riders as there always tends to be for one reason or the other. Usually though the Ducatis will opt for the same front and rear, and the Yamahas (on a dry track at least) will likely be on a similar compound too, especially if all the riders are performing ok. Maybe someone struggling for setup will take a gamble come race day, but the factory teams usually know where they are come raceday. On Sunday at Misano however, the factory Honda of MM had a hard front/medium rear, whereas DP had a soft front/medium rear. CC (who had the newer frame from Honda?) was on Mediums front and back.

Is this not a good example of the problem Honda have just now, not just with their bike but their riders? They're trying to develop a more consistent, less angry machine but have two completely different riders to give it to, who probably both want completely different things. When one does well, the other will struggle. MM is the more likely championship winner so they'll err towards what he wants I suspect, leaving DP, who will likely be forever the bridesmaid of MotoGP, nowhere. They may as well hive MM off into a separate factory-run project and develop a more user-friendly bike for the future.

Total votes: 111

I agree that Honda have given themselves a daunting challenge trying to make a bike that will accommodate all of their riders, but I wouldn't look at 2016 as a year where Honda has delivered a bike that "suits" Marc at the expense of everyone else; nobody likes this year's bike.

It's probably fair to say that Honda's misfire was driven by an attempt to build a bike for Marquez--gobs of power, massive braking stability, and a short, flickable wheel base--but they missed the target. The Hayden-esque nature of Marc's (likely) title this year demonstrates that fact.

Look to 2014 for an example of what Marc can do with a bike that obeys his will. This year, Marc's bemoaning the Honda's rear wheel spin and wheelie tendencies as much as anyone, he just happens to have gathered up the most points while riding a disappointing machine. 

Total votes: 95

I thought I had only two bad habits turned into addiction espressos and cigarettes...then, this morning, after reading through the morning press, enjoying my third ristretto lighting my first cigarette and rejoicing at the thought or reading the post race Monday morning round up....NOTHING! I check again and then I'm almost ready to sue the Internet provider assuming it's a bad connection thing...then and there I realized I have this new addiction to Motomatters....:) David don't you dare leaving us hanging like this ever again! :)
It was a good race and I'm very happy for Dani. Hard to think that he is so tiny wich makes even more spectacular his achievements. Being team VR I cannot be totally satisfied with the outcome. But VR was great too... and fought so hard : his best lap time (just a heartbeat off Dani's record lap) came almost at the end..... he'll always be a warrior.
Far from me any intention of igniting a quarrel but I think that you stress too much that the heated exchange between VR and JL was hyped by the media. Yes it was. But at the same time it did happen and IMO revealing even further the self-righteous spite that JL brews against VR. Even the way he twisted the question as to make it appear that the journalist saw an aggressive move was revealing. Basically he said that VR makes dirty passes as a habit.... I started laughing at exactly the same moment VR laughed.... I mean in this particular case he was so wide that a train could have gone through! It's as if all of a sudden he expects people to stay behind him until he decides to kindly let them through....what's going on in his mind? I do wonder....
Given the performances in the last 3 races I would say the Honda has definitely improved (worrying form for Yamaha though: no wins in what? 6 races?) Which makes all the more puzzling MM performances of late: he should be thriving given the other Honda racers performances instead he seems to go backwards....or is it just an impression?
Last but not least....please indulge me, allow me an hipotethic....if VR had not had that catastrophe in Mugello.... what 5 final races we would have !

Total votes: 140

I didn't agree with Lorenzo's assessment of 'the' pass (I saw it as firm but fair and not unlike a handful of passes Lorenzo has made in the last season or two) but I didn't think he tried to twist the journalist's words.  Instead I thought that Lorenzo was saying to himself "see, if the journalist is asking the question then he must think there was something wrong, and if he thinks there's something wrong then there must have been".

I could of course be wrong, and either way it's hardly a defence of Lorenzo's comments, but I thought the exchange provided insight into Lorenzo's mindset not just of the pass itself but of how others might influence what he thought of it.  

 

Total votes: 110

And JL thought that the journalist saw something wrong ( a total twist of his question: he asked BOTH about the surprising early move never using the word agressive) then he's completely lost the plot. I saw again the slow motion of the pass he was soooooo wide that in fact when he turned towards VR, he had already passed and there was just his rear wheel.... how could he expect to go so wide and assume no-one was going to pass? How could he not feel and see that the Yamaha was there? I do wonder what was going through his mind right there and then. Did he think he had already made a break and the others were far? I don't know what to make of it. But to state that VR does not make clean passes using this pass as an exemple was bordering ridicule.

Total votes: 121

If your intention is not to ignite a quarrel, probably best not to claim VR is entirely in the right and JL entirely in the wrong.

JL has consistently been the cleanest racer (save Stoner or Pedrosa perhaps.) Rossi has always been an agressive racer. I think part of the reason Rossi fan's get so worked up about MM is because Marquez just out-Rossi's Rossi.

I couldn't quite understand which VR was saying: that this move was not aggressive - which I agree on the whole or that he was not an aggressive rider, which I certainly do not agree with. In fact, Rossi fans used to revel in his aggression until a certain young MM appeared. If we include passive aggression, I suggest Rossi is, in fact, the most aggressive racer over the last decade or more. None of which I write or believe is an insult, it is what makes him a fantastic rider and this is why I could not understand Rossi's point. 

Still, a bit of controversy helps the sport so why not. Now I am relegated to watching highlights (due to the doubling of the price of videopass) I like when Dorna will actually allow some content to appear on social media.

Total votes: 107

VR stepped into JLs statement during PC when JL claimed

"...that's his style [to overtake so aggressive]. Other riders overtake more clean."

Looking at it in another way he is saying that VR is a more dirty rider in overtaking then. So what VR was doing is defending himself by shaking his head and saying "this is not true" [that he is a more dirty/more aggressive rider than other riders]. Then he gives examples for his argument referring to DPs move on him and MMs moves in Silverstone and finally JLs moves that he couldn't remember. So to answer your question he was not claiming he wasn't aggressive, but that he was not the only rider to be aggressive. So there was no reason to denunciate solely him infront of a big TV audience.

Total votes: 100

FWIW, JL seems to do this with everyone, not just VR.  He complained all of 2013 about MM's passes.  Many of which were a little aggressive.  JL's an excellent rider, but his penchant for whining has always been there regardless of whom the target is.

Total votes: 96

And it is not a particularly healty or helpful one. Despite his clear talent, and multiple Championships, he often seems to find himself distracted,disturbed and offended by things that have little to do with making himself and the bike go faster. Riders are not robots, and personalities are what make the world go round, but JL does himself no favors. I truly expect his transition to Ducati to be a rocky one. These transitions are rarely easy for anyone and his mentality does not seem well suited to overcoming the very real obstacles such a move inherently contains, all the while battling those he alone seems to feel so deeply...........

Total votes: 105

I really enjoyed that!

I don't really dislike any of the riders, I don't know any of them for one thing, I've only ever met one of the current MotoGP riders irl, and he was really nice to me! (VR in case you're curious)

Dani completely smashed it, and he truly deserved it. There's something about coming from a way back, beating everybody and not needing weather, mechanicals or mistakes; to take a win, that simply can't be mitagated.

Bravo.

I don't claim to have a photographic memory or even to have read every single comment ever uttered by the bloke... But to the best of my recolection VR has never complained about another rider's pass on him, as long as he wasn't knocked off in the process.

So I think (frankly yet again) JL99 was simply demonstrating that while he may have a brain/throttle connection that we can only dream of, he doesn't seem to possess the brain/mouth connection that many of us take for granted. I appreciate he simply won't care what other's think of him, but sadly... the maxim that it's more important what others think of you, than what you think of yourself holds true in all walks of life. (YMMV)

Still FWIW (nothing) I had JL down for the win, so he probably wasn't in the best of moods when being probed by journos!

I so hope that Dani keeps the momentum from this.

As for the championship... Aaah Mugello... 

I think it's basically other... My HUNCH is that MM93 will have a bit of missfortune, just enough to make the VR fans think "maybe" but ultimately it won't be enough

It's certainly starting to look like JL will face a uphill struggle next year. New bike, new crew chief and a lot of expectation.. I wonder if in the long run - not only will JL99 have copied VR's move to Ducati... but he'll end copying his "tail between his legs" move back to Yamaha in 2019 too..

Let's see...

Total votes: 101

"Every time Rossi has beaten Marquez, the championship has moved further out of his grasp."

Wow, I hadn't thought of it that succinctly. I feel like Rossi's demeanour has changed a bit in the last few races, and that things are starting to wear on him.  Last year was such a battle and ultimate disappointment for him, and this year he's been frustrated by at least a couple of his own uncharacteristic mistakes, by a bike that blew up at one home race and by a competitor who was just too blisteringly fast for him at the other home race in spite of his own excellent performance. 

On top of that a 3rd of the competitors have won a race already this year and the series is simply getting more competitive due, in my opionion, to new technical regulation and tires and to an excellent crop of racers.  

Maybe Rossi gets enjoyment simply out of racing and being a part of the top flight of motorcycle competition, but if I was used to winning races and battling for championships, and hadn't claimed a championship in a number of years, and came so close last year only to lose, and was faced with losing the chance at another this year, and saw that it was only going to get harder in the years to come, I'd be demoralized.  

It will be interesting to see how Rossi copes with this.  He is no doubt still one of the best racers on the grid, but I feel like he's in the midst of a mental transition that is difficult to make.  

 

Total votes: 122

I think Vale wants titles. Race wins are nice but titles are everything. And this year, despite riding at his very, very best, it looks like another runner-up badge. And next year, another new hotshot team-mate to have to beat when what he really needs (and needed this year too) is another wingman. It'll be a shame if he never does hold the top trophy again but it looks to be getting tougher each year.

I've learned to not make predictions about Rossi, he confounds every norm of racing, so maybe he'll dig deeper still next year, or maybe he'll bow out gracefully. Who knows.

Total votes: 97

Every season, Rossi makes an unforced error or three - it's normal for him. If he didn't he'd probably have more titles.

Look at Valencia 2006, when he had the title in his grasp but binned it...

Total votes: 98

Personally I make a point of switching off the feed and taking one of the dogs for a walk about 2 minutes after the winner has crossed the line. That way I save myself the post race soap opera. I have practised this form of emotional disengagement since Stoner called it quits. Dorna exploit it and rightfully so. It brings in much coverage and resultant revenue. I generally wait for David's round up which is generally 99% on cue and look most forward to it post race weekend. The MGP race was not too much of a surprise. On Saturday, I figured Dani was up for the fight as did many others, 40% + figuering him for the 8th winner this season. It came to pass brilliantly. Once he had dispatched Marc without a bloody minded response...(credit to Marc), it was game on for a brilliant win. Rossi and Lorenzo? Storm in the same old teacup since 2008, both trying to score brownie points in front of the press...I read it here, never watched it, nor the boos for Lorenzo from the crowd. From my perspective all the passes were clean and hard made. Tires for riders and Dani got it spot on. Ducati were extremely disappointing. A couple more laps and Pirro would have had the edge on Dovi. Like someone on BT Sport said...'Their test riders are faster than their factory riders' Ouch! Lorenzo will have his hands full next year. A big shout out to the Noale factory. Looks they have turned a corner whilst the Bologna outfit are stuck in limbo.

Moto2 is on a knife edge, Rins is an absolute ace with plenty game and grit. Where's younger Marquez? Zarco had a duff race, but he is solid and not easily phased. I look forward to the KTM outfit next year, running a Honda engine in a trellis frame as much as I look forward to the GP bike full KTM engine and trellis frame a la Ducati 2007/8, white power suspension...nice.

Moto3. Well, this was another Daniel in the Lion's Den scenario. Mahindra suffered, but the rest was nailbighting. The Honda/KTM battle was blatantly evident. Strengths in different places and admirably exploited by their respective riders. Binder has a bit of a swagger right now as our scribe pointed out. He needs to keep it that way and treat every race on its merits with being win, win and win being his primary focus. Whether he can wrap up the title in a Spanish Lion's Den at Aragon is a moot point but he is surely not going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Danny Kent almost did last year against Oliviera and as Rossi did in Misano 2016.

 

Total votes: 115

I'm referring myself back to my comments of a week ago after Silverstone;

"Anyway, cracking race, 7 races, 7 winners, who's next? Dani, Dovi or another satelite? "

Dani kept it up at Misano, we need 9 out of 9 so get your finger out Dovi :)

 

Total votes: 114

I hated seeing JL99 booed on the podium. Dani wasn't booed - just ignored.

Total votes: 102

The Moto3 race was a great battle and Brad was incredible. The Aragon Moto3 race will be a total nail biter for us, we may have to watch through our fingers like kids watching a scary episode of Doctor Who.

Go Bradical!

Total votes: 96

to note that the M1 is consistently rated by scribes and enthusiasts alike as being the best bike on the grid....yet so many DIFFERENT riders keep winning on the RCV, while nobody except Rossi and Lorenzo can even podium on the M1.

I'm not saying the folks above are wrong but I do wonder how they arrived at their conclusions. Throw in the reliability of the Honda vs the high profile mechanical issues for Yamaha and the evidence just doesn't support the hypothesis.

 

Total votes: 100

the difference between factory m1s and satellite m1s are greater than factory rcvs and satellite rcvs

Total votes: 93

The reality is no one gave that pass much thought until Lorenzo brought it up.  Mind games?

Total votes: 92

I'm new to all this, bought a bike a couple of years ago after not having ridden for 40..  Am retired now and when I decided , and then did get back into riding a bit, I of course started reading in various places on the internet.  ADV forum was the hint to come here, and I've been following along pretty closely since.  I always enjoy reading the comments here, as there are obviously lots of folks in the know hereabouts.  I subscribe to the online streaming of MotoGp and Superbike races.  It's great stuff and just wanted to say thanks to all here who contribute.  Not much sense in regretting getting here late, but am very happy I finally crossed the line. 

Cheers!

Total votes: 101

i find the habit of some posters here of using initials to refer to the moto gp riders anoying. can't we just use their last names? go ahead and vote me 1 star you lazy gits!

Total votes: 102

I find bickering over details annoying... but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Live & let live?

Total votes: 88

i'm fine with it, typing moto gp instead motogp is more annoying ;)

but not as much as '90° v4' or '90° v-twin', just say L4/L2 ffs.

-a lazy git-

Total votes: 90

For those fans who carry their expressions of hatred of riders other than their beloved as the torch that keeps their fire alight every day:  this is what a TRUE sportsman has to say of a competitor who all but cost him the WC in 2006, through a misjudgement:

'Pedrosa haters gonna have to find somebody else to talk crap about tonight'.

 

NICKY HAYDEN: you are a LEGEND.  In 13 words, you have neutered and made ridiculous millions of words of fanboy BS lasting nearly 10 years. 

If David Emmett every has the time - say, in an off-season lull - to look at the 'human dynamics' of grand prix motorcycle racing - then this statement from Nicky HAS to be up there for examination. 

 

Total votes: 87

But where did you find this? Did Nicky say this after this race?

Total votes: 88

Dani ran a bike with no wings and a soft front tyre. Are these things related?

Total votes: 108

I really enjoyed these races, as well as David's article. Interesting comments about publicity politics of Dorna and the work of a journalist.

Can anyone comment about the Mahindra's in Moto3? It was rumoured that they were suddenly slow, much slower than in previous races, just because they expected an inspection and because of that brought the engines back to legal specifications.

 

Total votes: 83

is right! It is his opinion that the Italian of riding too aggressively. He stated several times that this is his opinion, you do nt have to agree with it, but you need to respect it.

Lorenzo: “Well if you ask this question maybe it is because the move is aggressive because if not, then you don't ask this question. You can have different opinions: my opinion was that the overtaking was maybe too aggressive; he didn't need to make this overtaking, but you know this is his style. Other riders overtake more clean… [Rossi laughs].

Lorenzo: “It is true – you don't know?”

Rossi: “No, no, no. Try to look another time at the overtake on the television.”

Lorenzo: “If I don't pull up straight the bike, we crash – I crash. Maybe you don't crash, but I crash for sure.”

Rossi: “This is not true. I don't know what I have to say – Marquez overtake ten times like this at Silverstone. What you say like this is not true.”

Lorenzo: “It is my opinion, my opinion.”

Rossi: “Also you overtake always aggressive, also to me.”

Lorenzo: “When? This is my opinion, also Race Direction will have another opinion. For me, if I don't pull up the bike straight I crash. Anyway he didn't need to do this overtaking, he was better than me today and he would pass me sooner or later, but he didn't need to be so aggressive on me. He will have another opinion.”

Rossi: “Anyway, I do not agree.”
 

Jorge also said that Rossi’s actions in these press conferences is disrespectful to other riders. I agree with him! Lorenzo said:
 

“If you are 37-years old, you have to be polite and let the others talk when they have been asked the question. Just stop talking and wait your turn. It’s about education. He always does the same, every Thursday, during the press conference. He needs to respect others and let them talk,” said the 29-year old of the Doctor.

“When other riders are talking, he speaks very loud. That was not him speaking, that was him interrupting me when it was my turn to speak. I wanted to answer the question that I was asked, to give my opinion.

“Suddenly, he started to laugh, as he usually does when speaking with other riders during the press conference.”

 

Total votes: 119

I am now not trying to defend VR in general on the issues you brought up by transcribing JLs interview where he obviously claims that Rossi lacks education and is therefore disresepectful in Press Conferences to other riders. I can not judge this because I don't know what goes on behind the desks of the PC.

And regarding the last PC: In my opinion it's of course ok for JL to give his opinion on Rossi. But if you say what he said ("Other riders overtake more clean" which essentially means Rossi overtakes more dirty than other riders) in front of all journalists and TV cameras you must be naive to believe that any such criticized rider will just let that happen and will wait, sticking to the protocol, for his turn to speak without instant protest.

Total votes: 95

Usually in press conferences even Rossi just shrugs things like this off. I don't know why this bit him so hard, it wasn't that big of an accusation now was it? Even Marquez in Sepang last year just awaited his turn to react to which were way harsher comments.

Ergo: despite all the talking of 'hate' between Marquez and Rossi, I think Rossi dislikes Lorenzo way more.

Total votes: 98

Completely side stepping all this debate about the press conference, I've wanted to ask you something since the last race:  I'm sure lots of people including me have loved seeing so many different riders, manufacturers and teams (including satellite) winning this season and really hope to see this continue.  With your inside knowledge and insight, what is the sense of whether the slight levelling of the playing field (ignoring some strange weather conditions) this year will continue, or whether the manufacturers with the deepest R&D pockets will inevitably find ways to extend their advantage again?

Total votes: 72

I think, more than anything else, that will hinge on the state of the electronics over the next few years. If the electronics arrive at a state where every crew can maximize the potential of the software, then we may continue to see more than 4 winners a season. But if the manufacturers successfully campaign for increasingly sophisticated electronic control, they will again eke out an advantage by monopolizing the tiny pool of talent capable of wringing out the last few percentages of performance that lesser engineers won't have the time or knowledge to find. 

Total votes: 91

I don't have a problem with what either of them said.

It was a aggressive pass.
It is Lorenzo's opinion that it wasn't necessary.
It is Rossi's opinion that it was necessary.
There are riders that pass cleaner than Rossi.
There are riders that pass cleaner than Lorenzo.
Marquez was aggressive with Rossi in Silverstone.

Really not much to debate then. ;)

Total votes: 87