Analysis

2016 Austria MotoGP Preview - Into the Unknown, Powered by Sugar Water

There is a lot of money to be made by using clever marketing to sell caffeinated sugar water to the gullible. So much money, in fact, that you can afford your own air force and your own space program. That money can be further multiplied by staging your own sporting events in sports that suit your brand, such as freestyle mountain biking, or motocross, though it is best not to ask about competitor insurance. This should probably not come as a surprise, though, from a company owned by someone who threatened to shut down a TV station when the people who worked there wanted to convene a works council.

The peddling of sugar water generates enough revenue to fund not one, but two Formula One teams, a soccer team or four, as well as backing large numbers of racers and teams in all forms of two-wheeled competition. It may seem churlish to complain about energy drink companies, given the amount of money they pump into motorsports, but that money also creates a major risk.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 13: What Remains, from Bradley Smith to Yonny Hernandez

In the final part of our mid-season review of MotoGP, we come to the ragtag bunch bringing up the rear. From Bradley Smith to Yonny Hernandez, nearly all have a valid excuse for their poor results. But excuses count for nothing in motorcycle racing.

16th: Bradley Smith, Yamaha , 35 points

A remarkable reversal of fortunes for Bradley Smith and his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Pol Espargaro in 2016. Last year, Smith's consistency was in stark contrast to Espargaro's continuous attempts to try to make the Yamaha do something it didn't want to. In 2016, it is Smith who is banging his head against a wall trying to make the rear Michelin do something it won't, while Espargaro is the picture of consistency.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 12: 11 through 15, from Espargaro to Bradl

After a stroll through the top ten, our mid-season review of MotoGP continues, and gains in both brevity and the number of riders under discussion. Here, we go through the numbers eleven to fifteen, from Aleix Espargaro to Stefan Bradl:

11th: Aleix Espargaro, Suzuki, 51 points

Where his teammate is being heralded as The Next Big Thing, Aleix Espargaro has struggled. At some circuits, his results have been impressive: two fifths at Austin and Jerez, followed by a sixth at Le Mans are right where Espargaro believes he belongs, running close to the front and looking for improvement. But the rest of the season has been mediocre. Two DNFs and three finishes outside the top ten are just not good enough for a factory Suzuki rider.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 11: Andrea Dovizioso & Eugene Laverty

The latest eleventh part of our mid-season review sees us come to the end of the top ten in the championship standings, and another brace of Ducatis. We take a look at Andrea Dovizioso's rough year, and the consistency of Eugene Laverty:

9th: Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati, 59 points

If it wasn't for bad luck, Andrea Dovizioso wouldn't have any luck at all. Of the nine races so far this year, Dovizioso has finished just five, and one of them, only by pushing his bike across the line.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 10: Hector Barbera & Andrea Iannone

In the tenth part of our mid-season review, we come to the Ducatis. Hector Barbera is the surprise leader of the Bologna pack, just ahead of Andrea Iannone. We compare Barbera's consistency with Iannone's impetuosity.

7th: Hector Barbera, Ducati, 65 points

First Ducati at the halfway point. That must be particularly sweet for Hector Barbera, given his reputation inside and outside the MotoGP paddock. With so many Spanish riders packing the grid, Barbera is one of the riders Dorna are believed to be keen to ditch. Yet the Avintia Ducati rider keeps finding sponsorship to ride, and keeps proving that he is still fast enough to compete. Both and without a tow.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 9: Maverick Viñales & Pol Espargaro

The next part of our MotoGP mid-season review focuses on the first of the non Aliens in the standings: Maverick Viñales and Pol Espargaro:

5th: Maverick Viñales, Suzuki, 83 points

Is Maverick Viñales the next Alien? There are many who claim that he will be. Yamaha clearly believe he has the potential to become one, as they signed him as Jorge Lorenzo's replacement for 2017 and beyond. In 2016, Viñales has show real potential with some impressive performances. Yet at other times, he has been positively middling. The jury is still out at the moment.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 8: Dani Pedrosa

Our MotoGP mid-season review continues with the man everyone tipped for the title on Michelin tires, Dani Pedrosa.

4th: Dani Pedrosa, Honda, 96 points

Before the start of the 2016 season, many insiders, including several MotoGP riders, were telling anyone who would listen to look out for Dani Pedrosa. The new Michelin tires played perfectly into his hands. The extra grip of the powerful Michelin rear gave him the grip he had been missing with the Bridgestones, and his smoothness with the throttle was helping to overcome the limitations of the spec electronics. Pedrosa was the unanimous outside tip for the championship.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 7: Valentino Rossi

As our mid-season review of MotoGP continues, we come to the man who was so bitterly disappointed in 2015, and started the current season out for revenge.

3rd: Valentino Rossi, Yamaha, 111 points

Yet another impostor. Valentino Rossi is arguably the most complete racer on the MotoGP grid, and probably the most complete racer of all time. His experience is unrivaled, as is his ability to adapt to circumstances. Yet he has thrown away one win and the chance of a very strong result through something resembling youthful impatience. The most experienced rider on the grid has made life impossible for himself as a result of two rookie mistakes.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 6: Jorge Lorenzo

We continue our mid-season look at the performance of the MotoGP riders with the reigning world champion, Jorge Lorenzo.

2nd: Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, 122 points

Who is the real Jorge Lorenzo? Like Marc Márquez, it sometimes looks like Jorge Lorenzo's place has been taken by an impostor in Movistar Yamaha leathers. The swap would have taken place at Barcelona: in the first six races of the season, Lorenzo's results included three wins, two second places and a crash in tricky conditions in Argentina. From Barcelona onwards, Lorenzo was taken out by Andrea Iannone as he dropped down through the field, a tenth and a fifteenth place finish. Tenth at Assen was Lorenzo's worst finish in MotoGP since his rookie season. Three weeks later, he had his worst finish in Grand Prix racing since 2004.

2016 MotoGP Mid-Season Review Part 5: Marc Marquez

Politics may have featured heavily so far this year – witness the first four pieces of this mid-season review – but there has also been plenty of racing. So now, lets take a look at how the MotoGP riders have fared so far in 2016, counting down the riders based on their current position in the championship.

1st: Marc Márquez, Honda, 170 points

2016 is the year of the impostor. Everything we thought we knew about the current riders in MotoGP has been turned on its head. Marc Márquez is a shining example of this. He has gone from a rider who wants to win every race, even if he risks crashing out, to one who is willing to settle for less when there are no better options.

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