The Paddock Pass Podcast follow up show, fueled by Elf Marc VDS Racing, is back for a review of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes at Jerez. In the show, Steve English, Neil Morrison, and Adam Wheeler take a deep dive into what went down in the support classes at Jerez. They start off with Moto2, and debate whether Fabio Di Giannantonio's first win in Moto2 is a sign of an Italian revival in the class, with Marco Bezzecchi taking second place and Sam Lowes finishing third. They explain why you never hear about tires in Moto2 or Moto3, and what that says about the classes.
After a dramatic weekend, we look at some of the big stories coming out of the Spanish Grand Prix in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
Acosta: Another box ticked
Forget last lap scraps, or pitlane penalties. The true test of Pedro Acosta’s mettle was to gauge the 16-year old’s reaction to the pre-event press conference at Jerez. There, Acosta sat among the MotoGP field. He looked on boyishly as Marc Marquez, Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo opined on his talent, his potential, and his future plans.
One of the more outlandish questions was whether Acosta would benefit from skipping Moto2 altogether, and jumping straight to MotoGP in the near future. Fabio Quartararo was the voice of reason on this occasion, offering a timely reminder “Come on guys, he’s only 16.”
That aside, this was a love-in. Never more so than when the considered Franco Morbidelli gave his opinion. “Keeping the feet on the ground is important. But Pedro has something different. We’ve never seen something like this. I’ve watched races since I was a kid. He’s 16 but he doesn’t look 16. He looks like a really focussed guy. He’s not here to play too much.”
In the greater Superbike firmament there has been an endless reduction in the kind of special parts and technologies that allow a flagship streetbike to become a true championship contender. And only if you get the right crew, set-up and riders on board of course.
Bike racing is truly a team game, as those few people who do most of the winning would recognise, publicly or privately. It escapes some others at times, especially those who think they should be doing more winning. There is no escaping the fact that WorldSBK being such an equipment sport means you have to have all the right tech stuff, fettled and then ridden by people who also have the right stuff.
In an effort to even things up, reduce tech costs and then cut costs some more, we have seen either an endless dumbing down of WorldSBK’s technical packages or a increasingly realistic approach in what is fundamentally a production derived category of racing. The net results has been more and more rules to level things up in terms of tuning and performance.
The Jerez MotoGP round turned up more than its fair share of surprises, with Jack Miller taking a long-expected win and Fabio Quartararo running into an arm-pump-induced brick wall. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Steve English, Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, and David Emmett gather to take an in-depth look at the events of the weekend.
Adam Wheeler talks about being at a race for a change, and what a shame it is that fans were not at the track. Neil Morrison praises Jack Miller's race, and the emotion that the race unleashed for the Australian, and how revealing that is of the pressure Miller has been under. David Emmett discusses arm pump, where it comes from and how to fix it, and Adam pitches in with his experience in MXGP. The crew look at concussion, and how MotoGP handles the condition.
For many decades the wheels of motorcycle racing have been oiled by money emanating from unsavoury sources
Now that the initial hoo-ha over VR46’s alleged multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco oil company has calmed down, perhaps this is a good time to take a long look at motorcycle racing’s historic relationship with dirty money.
One of the first things you notice when you look at the KTM RC16 MotoGP machine is that there is so much space around the front wheel. Where the other MotoGP bikes look like the front wheel is tucked as tightly as possible under the front fairing, the KTM's front wheel seems to be pushed forward and almost hanging loose, as if they've forgotten to add part of the fairing.
You can see it most clearly when you put the bike side by side. The gap between the front wheel and fairing on Brad Binder's KTM RC16 seems huge by comparison with Alex Márquez' Honda RC213V. The line of the Honda fairing follows the circumference of the wheel. The KTM fairing is more of a 'boomerang' shape, two straight lines connected by a section of an arc.
For some, the Monday after the Jerez race was a busy day, as they worked their way through a full program of parts and settings to prepare for Le Mans and beyond (and in Suzuki's case, for 2022). For others, they had a relatively easy day, especially the two factory Ducati riders – to the victors go the spoils. And for the unlucky ones of the weekend, they either barely turned a wheel, or not at all, as they headed off for medical checkups.
Fabio Quartararo took no part in the test at all. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider headed back to France to get medical advice on the best options for treatment on the arm pump issue which cost him the race on Sunday. With his home race up next, his priorities were clear.
Aleix Espargaro, who had also suffered with arm pump on Sunday, did ride a little, but he only put in 12 laps before heading back to Barcelona and seeking medical advice. Marc Márquez did a quick run out on Honda's new aero package – one of them, at least – before calling it a day after just 7 laps. The Repsol Honda rider had neck pain from his huge crash on Saturday, as well as stiffness in his shoulder, and elected to focus on his recovery instead.
Maverick Viñales leaves the Monday Jerez test as fastest, the Spaniard finding his customary speed in testing. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider finished ahead of the two Suzukis, a fraction faster than Alex Rins, and four tenths quicker than Joan Mir.
Taka Nakagami ended the test in fourth, the LCR Honda rider a fraction slower than Mir, and a tenth faster than Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati. Pol Espargaro was sixth quickest on the Repsol Honda, while Miguel Oliveira was the best KTM rider in seventh.
Times at the end of the Jerez Monday test:
With two hours of the Jerez test left to go, Alex Rins sits at the top of the timesheets, the first rider to crack into the 1'36s. Maverick Viñales is currently second, while Rins' Suzuki teammate Joan Mir is in third.